Today’s guest blog post is by Amy Bermar of Corporate Ink on her inspiration to do a startup…serving startups…
Amy: OK, it’s the first time I’m outing myself on this. I started my PR firm 22 years ago – 4 hours after my last employer fired me. Although everyone loves to ask what you do, and how you founded your company, the question of whether you left on your own or were, ahem, shown the door, doesn’t really come up. So I didn’t talk about it, because it seemed like of ugly…and embarrassing.
I was just 30, had been working, admittedly unhappily, at a large corporate news organization. Let’s say it wasn’t a good cultural fit.
That was Friday. Corporate Ink was running on Monday. I didn’t have a clue what I would do. I’d been a reporter, so I figured I would, well, keep on being one. That worked — and a few months later, a company I’d never heard of asked if I would write a press release. Of course, I said. (I didn’t say I’d never written one before.) And that’s when I discovered it’s a lot more interesting to be part of the news before it’s made, than just reporting it.
At the outset, I thought I’d create the anti-PR public relations firm, since I’d grown up in newsrooms, where disparaging ‘flacks’ is a highly evolved hobby. In truth, since I’d never worked for a PR agency, I didn’t have to worry about being constrained by what they did, or how they did it; I did know that I wanted to deliver direct, straight-up information, and create relationships where reporters could count on a straight story, in language they understood.
We focused exclusively on B2B technology companies – especially those vying to create new markets. The reason: The challenge of creating new markets still gets my adrenalin going, and the innate of possibly changing how business is done is intellectually challenging, and personally thrilling.
As for getting fired, I still believe the way this company handled it was illegal (I’d just returned from maternity leave), but mostly, it needed to be done. I was sticking around to qualify for the profit-sharing plan, and life is too short to keep a job you hate. And shame on me for burying this story under the carpet for so long. There’s something to be proud of in being fired. Especially when you don’t fit, and get to go on to do something that does.
Amy Bermar founded Corporate Ink to create new markets and accelerate sales; four of its clients have been acquired in the past 12 months. The company won The Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Workplace in 2007. She can be reached at @AmyBermar or at firstname.lastname@example.org