June 19, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Hilary Young, Hilary Young Creative

Who are you and what business did you start?

Hilary Young, I started Hilary Young Creative, which provides brand strategy and content strategy for businesses looking to grow.

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I started my career in NYC working in television for productions like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, CollegeHumor, and PlumTV. In 2011, I moved to Philadelphia and shifted gears into marketing. I was serving as the Communications Manager for a medical device company by the time I got pregnant with my first child in 2015. There was an ice storm when I was 7-months-pregnant and I was denied the request to work from home. I was so mad! I was forced to use vacation time and I ended up building a website that day that positioned me as a freelance content marketer. Since I wore so many hats in my role at work, I figured I could easily parlay my skills into a side hustle.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I felt very alone, but also pretty bold in going forward with this idea that I had been kicking around for a few years. I had always been too scared to make the leap, but knowing I had a maternity leave looming actually gave me the confidence I needed to take a break from my day-to-day work focus. I took a 5-week course through Wharton’s Small Business Development Center (a $250 investment, and so worth it!) and felt more ready to launch afterwards. One of my first clients was actually a contact I had made through the course!

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

For the first 5 years in business, my growth strategy was all word of mouth and referrals. I connected with parallel businesses and became referral partners with many of them. We cross-referred business to one another, and it was really a win-win situation. For the last 2-ish years, I’ve expanded into social media marketing, which has just exploded my business. Instagram in particular has proven to be a remarkably effective marketing tool for my business.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

In January, I’ll hit 7 years in business! I have office space here in Philadelphia, and a strong stable of clients. I’m working on scaling the business by developing products and courses that are geared towards startups and small businesses who have small budgets and cannot afford the full stable of my services.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I’ve learned that finding a good accountant is essential to success! I’ve also learned to outsource the administrative tasks that are time-consuming and not appealing for me to handle.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I use MailChimp, Google Business Suite and Instagram

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

How I Built This (podcast), Wellstruck Events (networking group), HeyMama (networking group)

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Connect with seasoned entrepreneurs to mentor you or guide you or simply provide you with some nuggets of advice on your journey. And don’t be afraid to fail!

Where can we go to learn more?