Octavia Gilmore is the CEO of Creative Juice. Octavia is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Octavia provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Creative Juice. Octavia Gilmore joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Creative Juice with our Impact Company of 2019 award. We are delighted to have Octavia join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
Octavia, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. Octavia, please tell us about Creative Juice.
Creative Juice is a graphic design agency that uses our unique perspective to create fun, bold, forward-thinking design solutions for our clients. Our services include web design, print design, logo and branding, digital marketing, social media marketing, and so much more.
2. What is the one thing that makes Creative Juice great?
The fact that Creative Juice is a minority, millennial run, female-owned agency is amazing and inspiring. I started my own company at the age of 23 without having first ever worked in one. 6 years later, we are still going strong; paving the way for future minority entrepreneurs to beat stereotypes and reach for their dreams.
3. What is the key to being a great entrepreneur?
Resilience. Entrepreneurship is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done – but I wouldn't trade it for the world. It pushes me personally and professionally to grow in ways I never imagined. It also puts my problem solving skills to the test.
4. What is the best advice can you give to a young entrepreneur just starting out with a new venture?
Don't be afraid to get feedback and pivot. If something isn't working, change it. And change it fast. Test your market and validate your assumptions before you waste thousands of dollars.
5. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
To stay grounded and find a tribe. This tribe is a group that you can vent to and have candid conversations with. They should be other entrepreneurs who understand what you're going through. Typically, no matter the size of the company, we call face very similar challenges.
6. How do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Provide them with superior service and go above and beyond. We also get to know them on a personal level. If we can help fix what keeps them up at night, then we have done our job.
7. When hiring employees, what is the one most important thing you look for?
Character! Skills can always be taught but a person's character is who they are. You need to make sure you trust this person to represent your business when you are not there.
8. What is your Why? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Creative Juice?
My goal is to inspire other black and brown kids to become entrepreneurs and build in their communities. I do this by – leading by example, offering mentorship opportunities and having students intern at Creative Juice to get real world experience.
9. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.
This faith-based book combines spirituality with business and has really kept me grounded throughout my entrepreneurial journey. It has kept me focused by asking the important questions – Who am I? Where do I want to be? How am I going to get there?
10. What one thing makes a great leader?
Someone who never stops growing or learning. Life is a journey and even the greats will tell you that they get up early and read. It is important that you constantly invest in yourself. You can take classes or get certifications – but it doesn't stop there. You can learn from anyone and anything – including interns, employees, peers, mentors and friends.
Octavia Gilmore, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Creative Juice, nothing but the best.