Clare Tries is a creative copywriter and passionate marketing strategist who helps organizations harness the power of marketing to grow their business. She is the founder and CEO of Clash Creative, a marketing agency that provides services for businesses of any size or industry, with a unique specialization in providing collaborative and rewarding marketing solutions for IT industry professionals and female entrepreneurs.
In July of 2020, Clare noticed a growing problem that she knew she could solve. Too many companies invest in marketing initiatives that aren’t strategic and produce nil. Moreover, most marketing agencies lack the industry knowledge required to compose authentic content. With a background in the IT industry and years of creative writing experience, Clare began providing a solution.
Within six months, she had assembled a team of skilled and diversely experienced individuals, comprised entirely of women. Under Clare’s leadership, her team creates clear, concise messaging paired with a strategy to guide all marketing initiatives, so their clients close more business.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Clare Tries: Hello readers! My name is Clare, I am a passionate marketer, mom, and bookworm. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, spent almost a decade working and honing my skills in the IT industry, and recently started a company because I wanted to empower women to build rewarding careers and lead extraordinary lives.
To get us started, Can you tell our readers what does your company solve differently in the crowded marketplace? Give an example or share a story.
Clare Tries: Where we stand out is by focusing on our strengths, and this was a lesson I learned the hard way. When you are a new business owner, you tend to want to say “yes” to everything – every penny counts when you are trying to get your business off the ground. In the early days, I said “yes” to too many projects that pulled my team in different directions and ended up being more work than it was worth.
Over time I realized the importance of focusing on what we do best, working with clients who fit our ideal profiles, and partnering with other great marketing agencies that excel in the areas we don’t. Now we have incredible partnerships that enable us to bring strong marketing solutions to businesses that will truly benefit from what we offer, without sacrificing the quality of the work we do or increasing the stress on my team. We spend time getting to know our clients and their stories, becoming a part of their team, and connecting with them on a personal level. Because we work with the right people on the right projects, everyone feels fulfilled and passionate about their work. This means we have happier clients who love to refer us!
While your company is growing, what are some of the challenges you face? Hiring? Tech development? Raising capital? Branding? Tell us more about the journey.
Clare Tries: Where to begin?! The number one challenge I faced in the earliest days of growing the business was hiring. It was time-consuming to post jobs, review resumes, and interview. Additionally, it was also difficult to predict what role to hire next. I also realized quickly that hiring people who fit the culture and who believed in the organization’s “why” was more important than experience and training. While an employee needs to be capable of doing the job, they don’t have to be absolutely perfect or come on board with 10+ years of experience. Employees who believe wholeheartedly in why you are doing what you do are far more likely to stick with you through the tough times, and that is important when you are a new business!
Speaking of tough times, the second biggest challenge we are continuing to face is acquiring funding. It is difficult to find lenders willing to take a chance on a new business, and going through my first business plan was a learning curve. We struggled with client retention in the first year because we were unfocused and taking on projects that we weren’t suited for, which only made funding more difficult. While I learned an important lesson about running the business lean, I am hopeful as we grow that I will have better luck with business funding in the future.
Everyone has a different story, what influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur, what would you have done differently?
Clare Tries: Truthfully, I was tired of working hard to make someone else rich. I found myself fighting for a living wage in every job I had, and never once felt that I was earning what I was worth. I spent long hours away from my children – on workdays I would only see them for 2 hours a day between their school and my work schedule, and I often travelled on weekends without being compensated for my time or childcare costs. I wanted more time and flexibility. I wanted to feel appreciated. On a deeper level, I saw many talented women around me earning less than their male counterparts as well as leaving jobs because they couldn’t commit to regular hours. I believed I could do something about that by building a business that offered living wages, flexible work hours, remote work opportunities, and marketing solutions to support female entrepreneurs who wanted to offer the same.
If I could do things differently, I would fail faster and ask for help sooner. I spent a lot of time and money trying to figure things out on my own when I should have moved on from bad decisions and asked for help and guidance more often.
Now for the main focus of this interview: what qualities or characteristics do women entrepreneurs have that make them great leaders? Please share some examples.
Clare Tries: Of course, I can’t speak for all female entrepreneurs, but my sense is that a lot of women today are fed up with the fight for equality in the workplace. They become great leaders because it is a way to take matters into their own hands and start actively solving this problem. For the most part, women entrepreneurs employ the same great leadership qualities as their male counterparts, but they do so with a completely different experience behind them. Women entrepreneurs are passionate and driven because many of them have had to fight twice as hard to get where they are as men in similar positions.
As an example, I choose to offer flexible work hours and remote options to my team because I know how much I struggled as a mom to spend time with my children and build a career. I understand that there are many talented women who have so much to offer, but they aren’t given the opportunity to prove it. Whether they are moms who want to spend time with their kids, young women who want to travel the world, or people who live in remote rural areas with fewer jobs, I strongly believe that they deserve a chance, and I want to give it to them.
What are some of the biggest challenges you still see women face while conducting business, compared to their male counterparts? What would you like to see change, and how would you make it happen?
Clare Tries: I still see women being second-guessed when they make a suggestion or offer a solution, only to have a male counterpart make the same suggestion shortly after that is accepted without question. With the move to remove work, I have also heard countless stories of women entrepreneurs hiding pregnancies because they were afraid of losing a sale because the prospect would believe they couldn’t focus on their job as a new mom.
I would love to see attitudes change towards women in the workplace; pregnancy and motherhood shouldn’t jeopardize a woman’s ability to build a rewarding career. I would also like more support from other men in the room to call this kind of behaviour out when they see it. Did a man just make the same suggestion that a woman made 5 minutes ago to rounds of applause? Call it out. Did someone just question whether a female business owner was up to the contract (even though she had the best presentation) because they noticed she was pregnant? Call it out. Women need men to rally as allies when this kind of behaviour presents in a business setting (or any setting!).
I will work to make this happen by checking my own biases and calling out this type of behaviour when I see it.
With all of your experience as a business leader, what is the most important thing you can tell fellow entrepreneurs that you’d like to share with aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Clare Tries: I would say don’t be afraid to fail fast and ask for help! Most cities have mentorship groups for women entrepreneurs, see if yours has one and join up. Find a way to plug into a community of people and resources who have been in your shoes to increase your chances of success.
What do you plan on tackling during 2022? Share your goals and battles you expect to face.
Clare Tries: I plan to double the organization’s revenue in 2022, and I am excited to have the ability to start showing employee appreciation in thoughtful and fun ways this year as well. I expect to face internal battles as I say “no” to opportunities with clients that don’t fit our ideal profiles, but I believe this strategy will pay off in the long run. Externally, I expect to face challenges finding and retaining new clients as supply chain issues worsen due to the war – often when companies are struggling, marketing budgets are one of the first to get cut so it will be important for us to focus on serving the right industries while proving the value of what we offer.
How do you keep learning? Podcast? Books? Audiobooks? Videos? Share some of your greatest sources of inspiration? Share an impactful story.
Clare Tries: I am an audiobook junkie! I currently listen to two books a month, and almost all of them are focused on business success or marketing. Occasionally I will attend online webinars and conferences if the content seems really impactful.
The greatest book I have listened to in the last two years was “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller. This book was such an “AHA” moment for me in terms of how to structure marketing language for any type of material. Now, I share this book with every new member of my team and often recommend it to other business leaders if they are struggling with their marketing. It is absolutely fantastic and guides every marketing solution we provide to our clients.
I’m sure our readers will be very thankful for the insights you have shared. Where can our readers follow up with you?
Clare Tries: The best place to connect with me is on LinkedIn
I absolutely love connecting with new people and am always open for a chat about anything – family, life, business, marketing – whatever!
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Clare Tries 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 Clare Tries or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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