#ProfessionalGal Rana Campbell is a skilled marketing strategist that teaches individuals how to successfully make their entrepreneurial dreams become a reality. She is the founder of RanaCampbell.com, a website for creative entrepreneurs full of branding and marketing tools, and by night, she is the host of the Dreams In Drive podcast.
During her downtime, Rana is an avid dancer, chocolate lover and movie watcher. Let’s see what this Jersey girl and Princeton University Alumni has to say about entrepreneurship and how she’s killing it.
What do you do?
I graduated from Princeton in 2013 and currently work (day job) in marketing for an e-commerce fulfillment center. There I help the marketing team with all the marketing content and marketing initiatives.
By night, I am the host of Dreams In Drive. A podcast that teaches people how to take their dreams out of park and into drive. So far I have over 108 episodes streamed on iTunes, Soundcloud and Google Play. This project has been my baby over the past two years.
Tell us about your journey?
My journey started when I was in college. I used to intern at CBS Corporation in New York City. Each summer, I interned in a different department. By the end, I had four years of understanding and experience in how a media company works. When I graduated college, I thought I would have this big time media job, but that didn’t work out. So my first-year post-college, I spent in the nonprofit world.
I also became involved in media freelance writing and with the help of my mentor; landed my first freelance writing position. I wrote for a lot of fashion and beauty sites and realized that I had a knack and love for interviewing entrepreneurs. During that first year in New York City, I interviewed people who ran fashion and beauty brands that I admired and eventually launched my own blog.
In the summer of 2016 when podcasting was taking off I thought “hey, this is something I know I’m good at – interviewing people.” With this idea in mind, I figured out how to start a podcast and ended up launching January 2016.
What do you think is the most important aspect of building a successful business?
I think you really have to understand the audience you are trying to target. It’s crucial to understand your core demographics and what their needs are. Many people build brands or have an idea for a brand and spend a lot of time with things that don’t matter.
For example, if I run a podcast and I’m catering to women ages 25 to 34. I need to understand what their main challenges are and how my platform can help them navigate those challenges in their lives. The bottom line is, you won’t find success if you’re not giving people or providing value for the audience you are trying to target.
What is the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you at the beginning of your journey?
I wish early on someone would have told me to understand the business behind the business. To study the “non-sexy stuff” because that’s how you get ahead. For example, in fashion everyone loves designing but no one wants to think about supply chain and that’s also important.
A lot of entrepreneurs when starting out get really fascinated by the fun parts of the business, but you also need to understand the trends in the industry and understand accounting. These are areas where people sometimes struggle. Podcasting is a business and there is this whole business behind podcasting that I’m getting educated on right now.
How do you deal with setbacks that occur in your business?
When you’re growing a business, it’s inevitable, you will encounter setbacks. A tip for dealing with setbacks is to not see it as a setback, but as an opportunity for learning. Figure out how you can learn from it and then move forward from there. This way you’re shifting your focus and how you define the problem. For me, whenever something is a “setback” I sit back, assess it and figure out what I did wrong. What could I have done better? What can I learn from this?
How do you achieve a work-life balance?
I separate time for both. Scheduling everything into my calendar and sticking to it really helps because I live by my calendar. So when I’m at work, it’s all about work and I’m trying to learn as much as I can. At night time it’s all about me, my podcast and my personal brand.
With my podcast, I set specific days I do podcast interviews. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are my podcast nights and then I’m open Thursday and Friday to do things with my friends. I think it’s important not to get too caught up. Whether it’s your professional career or your side hustle, you still need to make time for other things that aren’t those.
What is your go-to piece of professional workwear?
I love a nice, professional black dress that you can accessorize, dress up, dress down, wear in the winter or in the summer. A well-fitted solid colored dress is the best thing ever! I also love a timeless skirt that is fitted to your silhouette. This is a staple piece you can wear any time of the year.
What would you tell a female interested in making the leap into entrepreneurship?
Research, research, research! Don’t go into it enamored by all the sexy things because there is a lot of non-sexy stuff you need to master if you want to be successful. Do your research, build your network, seek people who have done what you’re doing and who are currently doing what you’re doing. You know the saying, been there done that? This knowledge is very important in navigating past potential mistakes.
You also need to have a strong support system and don’t be afraid to be different. If there’s a feeling in your gut that’s telling you to try something different I would say: listen to it, but at the same time do your research.
Where do see your brand/company in the next 5 years? What is your goal?
From a personal brand standpoint, I would love to be seen as the go-to person for marketing, connecting entrepreneurs with resources and creative entrepreneurship.
From a business perspective, I would love Dreams in Drive to be the go-to place for people who want to get inspired and motivated to keep following their dreams and become a top podcast business known worldwide for the resources and value it brings to creatives and entrepreneurs. Long-term, I would love Dreams in Drive to be its own media company.
Want to learn more about Rana Campbell’s tools for creative entrepreneurs or her Dreams In Drive Podcast?
By: Percy Jimenez-Nagy