Tracy Knight, founder of Knight Marketing, grew her freelance work into a successful communication and marketing agency that she sold in 2015. The buyer, international software and marketing firm Imprezzio, retained her as managing director of Knight Marketing.
"I struck out on my own at the ripe old age of 25," she said. "I didn't want to drop my newborn baby off at daycare so I was an independent contractor for seven years for communication and marketing agencies in south Florida. I was in the right place at the right time and started my agency with Clevland Clinic as my first client. One thing led to another and the business kept growing."
Knight Marketing is an integrated communication and marketing agency with specialties in healthcare, tourism and senior living.
"We know our specialties extremely well," Knight explained. "We've been doing healthcare for a long time and have a deep understanding of the healthcare landscape including healthcare reform that a generalist agency will not have and the same goes for senior living. We are also backed by some very sophisticated technology. Imprezzio is a software development company so we have a whole team of mobile app and website developers."
Knight grew the agency to 15 employees before she felt like it was time to sell.
"I had been doing it for 18 years and my husband and I are in our early 50s thinking about the next stage of life," she said. "I went to a seminar series on selling your business. I was concerned about valuing it correctly. Many people think their business can sell for more than it really can. Then I consulted some accountants and experts in industry who had been involved in sales of marketing agencies. I listed it on some of the websites and started getting inquiries almost immediately."
Knight's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to maintain a safety net and take care of yourself.
"Don’t ever over-leverage yourself," she said. "Never put your income that you need to live at risk and be prepared to work a lot. There are no hard lines between personal and professional life. It all melds together. Also, you have to do something to maintain your sanity so find a healthful way to do that and carve out time to do that whether it's meditation, exercise or something else. You have to let your mind and body rest from the work."