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Leading Ladies - Kristen Daukas

LeadingLadies_KristenDaukas

I love being able to share friends who have had such an impact on my life and business! Kristen Daukas has always been such an inspiration to me with everything she does. We first connected about six years ago when she was "Twin City SAM" and have been friends ever since. Kristen is a lady with many hats, but also hats she wears quite well -- Director of Social Media at Atlantic Webworks, Founder and Editor in Chief of the parenting site Ten to Twenty Parenting, blogging her fun family stories at Four Hens and a Rooster, President of ConvergeSouth Conference -- head spinning yet?

She's one you need to make sure to connect with! Follow her on Twitter!

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

Customer service and supporting small businesses has always been a passion of mine. Almost every position that i’ve held, I’ve had some level of marketing responsibility - with limited resources. When the magazine that I was working for 8 years ago eliminated my position, I decided that was the time to do something on my own. Combining my love for technology, being an early adopter and the desire to help small businesses, I launched my own digital marketing agency Twin City Sales an Marketing. Four years later, I merged that company with a larger firm, Atlantic Webworks, where I currently oversee our marketing as well our clients. Being with a larger company gives me access to more talent which in turn, gives our clients more engaging content to use. 

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

Going out on my own was a HUGE step for me but once I made up my mind to do it, I just did it. Of course, having a spouse who was working full-time took some of the burden off my shoulders when it came to clients and payments but with a family of 5, it was still a big risk. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?

That I’ll become irrelevant or I won’t be able to keep up with the changes in the industry. Digital marketing is still very unchartered and it’s easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest shiny object. Knowing which ones to focus on and which ones are passing is something that I deal with every day. There have been times in the past when I let things go before they really caught on and I’ve regretted it. 

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR POINT FOR YOU?

Definitely immersing myself into the world of digital and social media. Not just from a work point of view but the connections that I have been able to make. There are so many fabulous people in our industry and most of them are willing to give their insight and advice if you just ask. Starting my own business gave me the confidence and the knowledge that the only thing that is holding any of us back is ourselves. 

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

  1. If it’s not a “hell yeah!” then it’s a ‘no’. As women (and mothers) we are pulled in so many different directions and you have to make choices. But by saying yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another - even if it’s not a verbal no. By saying “yes, I can volunteer at the school” then I may be saying “no” to a networking opportunity and vice versa. The other piece to that puzzle is about being in the moment no matter which moment you choose. When you’re being a mom, be a mom 100% and when you’re being a professional, be that 100%. 
  2. You are in charge of how you react to things. When I was 17, I went to work for American Express and the then President of our operations center addressed all the new customer service hires. He was paralyzed from the waist down which drove his story home even more. Knowing that we’d be at the receiving end of a lot of angry customers, he stressed that it was our choice how we reacted - you can take it personally and let it bring you down or you can empathize with them as a professional and move on. So many people choose to let someone else’s bad mood to affect them and they let every negative thing that happens define who they are. That lesson has always stayed with me - both personally and professionally.
  3. What’s the worst thing that can happen? This is so simple but it’s so true. Fear of rejection is crippling especially when it comes to getting what you want and deserve. But you have to reach a point where you’re confident with yourself and your abilities to get past that. Unfortunately, a lot of people never get there. I’m grateful that I was able to at a pretty young age because it led me to do the amazing things that I’ve done in my life. 

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

Giving up too soon on things.