Visibly Self-Employed


Visibly Self-Employed

Montrie Rucker Adams, APR, Fellow PRSA, DTM, MBA is president and Chief Visibility Officer of the award-winning Visibility Marketing Inc. Through strategic and effective marketing communications and public relations campaigns, companies become “more visible” thus increasing their awareness and ultimately impacting the bottom line. Clients include government, academic institutions, energy, capital improvement and healthcare institutions.

An award-winning writer, Adams has served as editor-in-chief, editor, and contributed hundreds of articles to several publications.

She was inducted into The Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows and earned several awards for her civic contributions. She is also an accomplished public speaker, having received the Distinguished Toastmaster Award from Toastmasters International.

When and why did you join NASE?

I joined NASE almost 3 years ago. A colleague suggested I investigate the organization and consider becoming a member. As a member of several business organizations, I find that NASE is focused on helping businesses grow and thrive. It offers articles featuring business owners that help in my quest to become an exceptional business owner.

What inspired you to enter the field you are in?

I love writing and telling stories. I enjoy communicating the positive contributions individuals and organizations are making in their communities and beyond. Many years ago, I was introduced to the field of public relations. As a writer, I found it to be the best discipline for me after a stint in sales.

When and why did you start your business?

My father owned a business in Puerto Rico. After a few “take your daughter to work days,” I decided at 10-years-old that I wanted to be a business owner. I watched him and saw how he interacted with his employees. I saw the collaboration, and working as a team to satisfy the customer. Even as a child, I knew that what I experienced was what I eventually would do.

It was after my second downsizing experience that I decided it was the best time for me to make good on my dream of business ownership. I had high aspirations in that organization. Once that dream was shattered, I looked at it as a sign to stop hoping and start doing.

How do you market your business?

I built and marketed my business from networking. I serve on community Boards, participate in professional organizations and as often as possible share business information, and highlight successes on social media.

What challenges have you faced in your business? How have you overcome them?

The challenges and lessons are many. Each challenge presents an opportunity to learn and grow.

One of our main challenges is capital. The other is finding key staff. It’s difficult to raise the capital needed to continuously expand. We want to move into different markets, and it takes additional marketing efforts and people to execute the plan to make it happen.

We try to incorporate and experiment with innovative ways to help us move forward. For example, we found that a line of credit is helpful when additional funds are needed. We take advantage of students and interns who are eager to learn and expand their portfolio. We always use creative people to help us and our clients. There are many new online platforms that make our journey easier.

Do you have any employees?

After the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve had to re-set. We lost a few clients and it’s been difficult to rebuild. We also decided to move to a different geographical location. We have two full-time employees and we consistently use very talented independent contractors to assist with many of our engagements.

My goal is always to employ as many people as we can handle while we build a million-dollar business. Though we have had to reassess our future, it still involves adding people to the payroll. I never envisioned a business of one or two. My vision has always been to help others achieve their professional goals and aspirations in the marketing communications field. It was how I became involved, and I love to pay it forward.

What’s your schedule like, what’s a typical day for you?

I begin my day with prayer/meditation and exercise. I walk for one hour in the morning. Most of the day is spent sitting at the computer, so walking early ensures I don’t miss out on much needed movement.

I plan my day prior to going to bed at night. I have a list of “must dos.” As many business owners know, we can easily get off track by a phone call, email, or text.

I check in with my team to make sure all is going smoothly and there aren’t any snags in the deliverables. It’s very important to me that we follow through on our client responsibilities. When we engage with our client on a project, it’s because we come highly recommended, or they have previously worked with us. It’s imperative that we maintain our reputation of a company that provides high quality outcomes. I then move from there with phone calls, meetings, reviewing content, marketing plans, proposals, media relationships, and sales. The tasks are many.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?

Our children are in college now, but when they were in school, the best thing was creating my work schedule around theirs. I attended parent-teacher meetings, volunteered at their school, attended sporting events in which they participated (there were many), and was available to take and pick them up from school. Those car rides were the best opportunities to catch up and communicate with them because I had a captive audience.

There is a downside. I often stayed up until after midnight or did not sleep at all. The work didn’t stop because I had Mommy duties.

I often balk when people want to start a business because they “don’t have to answer to anyone.” What I tell them is, “Every client is your boss.” You must answer to them the same way you must satisfy your responsibilities where you work. As a business owner, you may have more bosses than you have on a traditional job.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?

Following are two client testimonials that shows the importance I place on doing an exemplary job:

“Montrie is an extremely talented communications professional with unique and diverse experiences. She has advanced herself, the public relations profession, and others as she has built a very successful company, consistently mentoring others in the industry.”

“…she is the consummate professional who puts the interests of her profession at the forefront. She spends quality time making a difference in the community and is dedicated to making a genuine impact on this world of ours. She is a walking testament that implementing impactful public relations strategies can make change happen.”

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?

It’s important to study your industry, potential clients, competitors, and skills you may need. Learn as much as you can about how to operate a business. You have access to capital, sales, marketing, payroll, insurance, taxes, human resources…there’s a lot that goes into keeping your doors open.

Also, align yourself with successful business owners in your industry. Join and utilize the assets of professional industry organizations. Take advantage of all the business resources available to you. NASE is definitely one of them.

Any other information you would like to share?

The world of business ownership may be alien to some people. There’s a lot of work involved, but if it is your passion, the results are rewarding.

Gain as much knowledge as possible and seek help whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to ask. There are many people who want you to succeed.

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