Today's Notable Young Entrepreneur is Marissa Schroder, who launched endurance and outdoor sport publication Get Out There Magazine after recognizing her desire to combine both her personal interests and work. What advice does she have for other young professionals? Find out in today's profile...
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Get Out There Communications Inc. helps companies deliver their message to an audience of active Canadians using the best of traditional and new media, including: a print magazine, digital assets, social media and events. It’s a magazine-meets-PR company-meets-social media consultancy.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
My first real job out of university was at a bank. Very quickly I came to the realization that I didn’t want to dread the daily commute and spend the work week looking forward to the weekend. I wanted to combine my personal interests and my work in a way that didn’t feel like they were separate and competing entities. I was passionate about endurance sports and around that time I noticed that there was a gap in the market for a magazine catering to this audience. Five months after I first conceived the idea, the inaugural issue of Get Out There Magazine was published.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my job is taking an idea from concept to reality. I thrive on creating and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an idea come to life. I get a real high from new projects and it’s that high that keeps me motivated to grow and build my business.
I struggle with the limits on my time and how much I can do in the course of a day. However, the biggest challenge for me is staying focused. It’s my Achilles heel. I have a short attention span and get bored easily. I’ve worked very hard to learn how to stay on task and complete one project before moving on to the next.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
My business operates as a hub-and-spoke model. The print magazine is the centre (and continues to be a growth business for us despite a changing media environment) and everything else flows from there. Over the next five years we’ll continue to add more spokes to the wheel; complementary businesses that will help us connect with our audience in even more ways. We have a number of projects underway whose purpose is to further cement our role as Canada’s leading destination for endurance sport athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. I’m particularly interested in television and video as a medium to reach our audience.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is having time to cultivate a wide range of interests and knowledge, being able to live in the moment, good physical and mental health, deep and meaningful relationships with friends (and the time to develop and nurture these), my family’s happiness and security, a stimulating and fulfilling career, and enough money to make it all happen. It’s a work in progress.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I rarely take the time to think back on milestones. Generally I’m very much a forward-thinker. Looking back, there have been many memorable moments: picking up the very first issue of Get Out There Magazine at the printer, our first “national” ad buy, purchasing another company, launching our iPhone/iPad app and hiring my first employee are among the highlights. Really, it’s a culmination of all the little successes along the way.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Take risks when you’re young. You have energy to burn, little to lose and time to regroup.
Ownership is key. Partner wisely and sparingly.
Live debt-free and below your means. Instead of buying “stuff,” use cash to move on new opportunities.
Find the time and mental space needed to generate new ideas. Then, follow through. Execution is what makes you different from everyone else with a great idea.
Do you support any charities? Is so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I volunteer time at a homeless shelter in my community and sit on its board of directors. It’s a visceral reminder of the depth of challenges faced by so many – particularly those dealing with mental illness and addiction. It’s not an entirely altruistic pursuit on my part; I derive tremendous fulfillment from working with a team of incredibly caring and dedicated volunteers.
I am a member of the (stellar) planning committee for Cycle for Sight, an annual bike ride in support of the phenomenal work being done by the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). The FFB funds research into treatments for eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.
For familial reasons I also support the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.
What is Notable to you?
People with a multitude of interests and related knowledge. Risk-takers. People with unbridled confidence.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone in my purse. (Long-suffering) BlackBerry in my stock portfolio.
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
Energy is not a problem for me. Relaxing is! I enjoy “active relaxation” – travelling, live theatre, baking and more recently, collecting art. I get tremendous joy from spending time with my friends, family and large extended family. My husband is a great source of calm and balance for me. Otherwise, my lifestyle regimen is simple: I maintain a healthy diet, drink lots of water and move often.