Like most great creative professionals turned entrepreneurs, Adria Carey Perez, Founder and Managing Director of Odyssa Media, identified and took action on an opportunity to turn her craft into a business. After spending a decade as a freelance writer, editor and strategic marketer, along with moves to Columbus, OH, Washington D.C. and England, Perez decided in the fall of 2017 that the time was right to settle down and start her own agency.
"When I was a freelancer, we moved around a lot." she said, "Primarily because of my husband's job. I'd get a freelance contract here and another there, but I didn't have a lot of regularity. The flexibility was great at the time, but when we moved back to Florida in 2017, I got settled, introduced more strategic marketing services and started to focus on more long-term contracts."
When Perez launched Odyssa Media, she was confident in her ability to deliver exceptional writing, editing, strategic marketing and creative consulting services. However, as a new business owner, she knew there'd be a new set of challenges.
"My success and failures were, and still are, completely dependent on me," she said. "I depend on myself for my income. In the beginning, my entire focus was on finding clients. I did a lot of training and took some classes online. I also did some online and direct marketing. I stuck with it and, eventually, the business started to grow."
Perez, who loves that every project is a new challenge and adventure, distinguishes herself from other similar media companies through the quality and content of her product.
"There are tons of internet marketers out there," she said. "But they're not necessarily well-versed editors or writers. The quality of the emails or content they're writing for their clients might not be great. The writing component is my bread and butter. That's what sets Odyssa Media apart from the rest."
Perez has built a solid reputation by delivering outstanding content and marketing solutions, and by delivering on her promises. Through honesty and transparency, she's formed strong relationships with her clients resulting in much of her work coming from word-of-mouth referrals.
In addition to Odyssa Media, Perez also produces an online travel magazine as a "passion project" and also as a marketing piece to show her clients the kind of work she loves to do. Used as a marketing tool, the magazine allows her to write about her love of travel and to network with other writers. Together, the magazine and Odyssa Media will allow Perez to reach her future goals of serving more clients, meeting new people and building new relationships.
What advice does Perez have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "If you're on the fence about jumping into the world of entrepreneurship, I would say start by dipping your toes in first," she said. "If possible, get a client while you're still working in your full-time job. See what it's really about before you jump all the way in."
Perez continued, "Once you do take the plunge, be prepared for lots of ups and downs and be willing to accept, and be okay with, the unknown. If you're a creative pro, it's important to find the right balance between the business aspect, self-expression and serving your customers. Lastly, develop a system early on to keep track of expenses, invoices, profits, losses and other financial matters. I didn't come from a business background, so I had to learn the importance of this along the way."