Plato has been quoted as writing, "Necessity is the mother of invention," and so it was for Gayle Hill, owner of UpHill Marketing Group. "My employer approached me in 2014 and asked if I would be willing to take an unpaid "summer vacation," as they didn't have enough work to keep me busy," she said. It was then that Hill decided she would continue working but as a self-employed entrepreneur who would create a boutique marketing company to address the needs of small to medium-sized businesses. Thus, UpHill Marketing was born.
Though she had a marketing degree and many years of professional experience, Hill said that nothing would have prepared her for the challenges of starting her own business. "The biggest challenge was going from a salary to zero income," she said. "I didn't have a lot of working capital, and I was operating on a shoestring budget. I did have some savings and was able to use that to supplement my income for the first couple of years."
Hill said her business development breakthroughs were the result of joining local networking organizations. "I joined the Central Pasco Chamber and a local BNI group to network and make business contacts," she said. "At my very first Chamber meeting, I met a prospective client who became my biggest monthly client for two years. That was a big boost early on.”
UpHill Marketing is a boutique marketing firm that provides customized solutions for individual clients. Hill said she loves the fact that no two clients are alike, and she doesn't provide "cookie cutter" strategies. "This really affords me uniqueness in terms of learning about many different industries," she said. "I'm able to take a strategy that works well for a fitness studio and apply it to a business in the medical industry."
When asked if she would consider returning to work as an employee, she said that she loves being able to provide her clients with custom solutions that are rarely availed in a large agency setting. She also loves the flexibility that comes with being her own boss.
Hill said that she often is asked about the secrets to successful marketing. “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to effective marketing," she said. "Doing one thing is not enough. You can't just do e-mail marketing or social media. A single tool or tactic does not constitute a marketing strategy. However, there are inexpensive ways to develop a comprehensive and impactful plan.”
“You'd be surprised at what you can do with one piece of good content,” said Hill. She added, “You can create a lot of exposure from a single article from which you can re-purpose to include in your email marketing, social media, press release distribution or even video."
Looking to the future, Hill plans to add an employee that would play the role of an account executive. For now, she prefers the Gig Economy model where skilled positions such as graphic designers, copywriters and others are hired on contracts for specific projects. She continues to be actively involved in a number of local networking groups where she continues to find most of her UpHill Marketing clients.