Carissa Robinson is the founder and CEO of The HumbleBeginnings Group, an agency that helps organizations develop relationships and social media strategies to improve online visibility. She has worked with multiple industries, however, her greatest passion is working with the busy entrepreneur in helping them connect with individuals whose lives can be changed by their product or service. As a former educator, Carissa masterfully leveraged the power of relationships with people from various backgrounds and ethnicities. She attributes her success to her belief in God and the principle of the Golden Rule. Carissa enjoys learning new things, traveling, and having a hearty laugh with family and friends
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Carissa Robinson: I am Carissa Robinson, founder, and CEO of The HumbleBeginnings Group. We help organizations connect with individuals whose lives can be transformed by their product or service. I’ve worked with organizations to build their online presence for almost ten years, while simultaneously working in special education at the elementary level. Realizing I couldn’t do both, I decided to forego the stress of education and pursue something scary, new, and completely out of my comfort zone – leaping fully into entrepreneurship.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Carissa Robinson: I believe entrepreneurs are born, while business owners are made. If you talk to a business owner long enough, you will hear at least one story about someone with whom they had a special connection in the past, usually a family member or close friend. They will tell of the many lessons they learned from this person, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They will reflect on this person’s way of life and how they interacted with others. Eventually, the entrepreneur will begin speaking about how that person framed how they do business today. The business owner, on the other hand, will give bullet points about past accomplishments and the nuances of the business.
Most times, their conversations are largely about the business of business, not the relationships they’ve formed along the way. One example of this is the Bill Gates and Paul Allen partnership. Gates had a strong desire to solve problems. So much so, that he was willing to do whatever was necessary to accomplish those goals. He ate, lived, and breathed, Microsoft – even before it was Microsoft. He recognized that a partnership with childhood friend, Paul Allen, would put them both in a position to change the world – and they were well on their way to doing that. However, Allen did not have a connection to the work. He had sheer talent, and talent is never a substitute for drive and determination.
Gates possessed the talent, drive, and determination. As a result, Allen exited early and had to watch Gates change the world from the sideline. Gates was the entrepreneur and Allen was the business owner.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Carissa Robinson: I seek out ways to do things differently that not only deliver results but build lasting relationships
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Carissa Robinson: Initially, I operated my business with a freelancer mindset. I was running around, doing small projects here and there. Once the project was complete, my relationship with the client ended.
Over the past few months, I have begun shifting my business to focus more on long-term relationships with clients and teaching clients to develop long-term relationships with their customers. I now develop strategies as my first point of contact with a business (they were optional in the past). I realized that creating graphics and schedules, alone, doesn’t help a business in the long run. Those things are necessary to have, but they don’t address why a business exists and how its product or service can change a customer’s life.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Carissa Robinson: When starting a business, an entrepreneur must assume all responsibility and expect it to consume much of their time and mental capacity. With an online business, setting boundaries for clients regarding your availability is paramount. On the flip side, being consistent and doing what you promised is just as important. Before starting the business, it is extremely important to not only save money for living expenses but to include enough funds that will allow you to detach from desperation. The client will try to take advantage of you and assume you “need” their business because you’re just starting out.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Carissa Robinson: Before starting my business, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to build clientele. In hindsight, I would have started out seeking clients instead of trying to have everything perfect and ready to go, first. I spent too much time trying to look like a reputable business instead of becoming a reputable business by providing value to the people I wanted to make my clients.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Carissa Robinson: I would advise myself to my time on the things that really matter instead of trying to have everything look picture perfect. I would advise myself to have more confidence in my abilities and don’t worry about the “gurus” or what others are saying.
Seek ways to build relationships with people, without bringing up your business. Relationships take you farther and further with people, and all relationships have some level of trust – be it high or low. Regardless, when you get into people’s hearts, they will willingly open their wallets to you. And this isn’t something you have to be afraid of because you’re different. You’re not in it for the sale, you’re in it to help change their life and business.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Carissa Robinson: The worst advice I received is to “only go after” people or industries who make a certain amount of money. I would like others to learn that it doesn’t matter the industry or the amount of money they make. If you can deliver a product or service they know they need, they will find a way to pay you for it. And if you can give them a superb “sample” of your product/service, they will pursue you.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Carissa Robinson: Prior to COVID-19, business owners could get by with a lackluster online presence (outdated website and social media) and putting it on the back burner. “Contactless” became a word and a way of life that forced businesses to put their best digital foot forward – even though some didn’t have legs to stand on. Because of COVID-19, a business’s online presence is must be a part of its daily operations as 71% of buyers are more likely to purchase products/services based on social media. What hasn’t changed is the fact that customer service and the business’ story remain a vital part of their public perception and success.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Carissa Robinson: A common myth is that entrepreneurship is glamorous and easy. It’s fulfilling if it’s a passion, but I would advise any new business owner to prepare to work hard and to take the time to build the business correctly from the beginning. I would also advise them to continue learning – even when they reach their ideal level of “success.”
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Carissa Robinson: Follow-through and sincerity are two of the most important qualities to have before starting a business. Regardless of the business, if there is an audience for your product or service, they will be loyal to you if you are loyal to them.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Carissa Robinson: Aspiring leaders can prepare for challenges by studying the people who have gone before them in the same field. They can study how they deal with successes and failures. They can watch interviews and pay close attention to their body language when asked certain questions. They can also listen to what those people aren’t saying during the interview. A few books include Eat That Frog (Brian Tracy), Atomic Habits (James Clear), and The Complete Turtle Trader (Michael Covel).
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Carissa Robinson: I’ve had many jobs – TV, radio, retail, customer service, and teaching. Of them, I enjoyed most enjoyed teaching, however, I would never choose any job other than being an entrepreneur.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Carissa Robinson: I would add Mother Teresa to Mount Rushmore because, well, she’s a woman! After that obvious reason, I’d add her because of the power and influence she held across the world while remaining such a humble individual.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Carissa Robinson for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Carissa Robinson or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.