Why not business ownership?

Cathy Hirko//January 15, 2019

Why not business ownership?

Cathy Hirko//January 15, 2019

She started the company full-time after working in a corporate atmosphere for several years in the midstate. Just recently, she moved to the Lehigh Valley. Because of family commitments and business clients, she spends her time in both the midstate and Lehigh Valley. She now lives in Emmaus.

Why take the leap into your own business?

“It came out of the need for me to help people. That’s how it manifested itself,” Gray said. BeYOU does a lot social media consulting and management work. She helps clients ”maximize their social media presence.”

We asked her a few questions about her work, travel and starting anew in another area of the state.

CPBJ: What are some of the differences in the markets, Harrisburg vs Lehigh Valley?

Gray: Lehigh Valley has a lot going on. There are similarities as to how to get your feet in the door. I never joined the chamber when in Harrisburg, but I certainly attended a lot of chamber events. I think the chamber here in the LV is more robust and its broken into many divisions. The perspectives are different. I still have access to both areas. I looked for organizations that support women.

CPBJ: What’s the best way to network?

Gray: I jump on Facebook and look for events. (there are search tools that you can filter out) I have found that very, very valuable. It’s been very helpful to me. Other than that it’s just building my relationships with other women in these networking groups.

CPBJ: Why venture out on your own?

Gray: Corporate felt very stifling for me creatively. I started looking at companies that would afford me that creativity, and I would have started at the bottom up anyway. I just got to the point that I thought I should start my own business then. Do what I want to do.

CPBJ: How many clients do you help out on a regular basis?

Gray: On a monthly basis, maybe 5 to 8 clients.

CPBJ: What surprises you about your work?

Gray: People understand the importance of social media, but they don’t know how to put a dollar figure on the value. They know they need it and they know my costs aren’t crazy but they don’t have money allocated for social media. 

CPBJ: What’s one thing a small company could do to help with their social media presence.

Gray: I want to give you 10 answers for that. What I can say is stay up with trends. For example, Instagram is where you need to be right now and so many businesses are not taking advantage of it. People are doing a disservice by not staying relevant and keeping on top of trends.

CPBJ: What can you share with our readers about getting out of their comfort zone? How valuable is that for a person to grow?

Gray: Oh boy, that’s so true. It can be hard. I work from home and I’m a little more introverted and it can be really easy to just want to stay to myself. But I need to go to this event tonight and I need to be open to meeting new people. And, I need to keep in mind, that when I meet someone new I usually connect with someone on this awesome level. Usually with every event there is one person I meet and I say afterward, “I’m so glad that I went.” It’s motivation to push yourself through it.

CPBJ: Do you journal?

Gray: I do. Every night before I go to bed I have a gratitude journal. One page every night.

CPBJ: You mentioned introvert. Do you classify yourself as an introvert?

Gray: I classify myself as an introvert in an extrovert’s body. If I had my way, I’d probably be an extreme introvert. I like to be outgoing but being around people drains me really hard. So I have to find that balance for myself. I listen to a whole lot of books. I listen to a whole lot of personal development. I like to listen to my inspiration, but I like to physically hold a book that’s going to tell me a story.

CPBJ: What does the future look like for you?

Gray: I see the fruits of a lot of learned lessons. These past two years I have learned so much the hard way. I see myself taking those bits of information and molding the business as best as I can. I love that my business gives me the flexibility and to help people in some manner. There’s a lot that I want to do in the future with women empowerment. I definitely see myself podcasting and writing a book. That might not be directly related to social media, but I’m grateful what social media has provided for me and will continue to provide for me.

A note about this story: Gray’s interview first appeared in Lehigh Valley Business. I was introduced to Gray after asking Harrisburg business women to lead me to some contacts in the Lehigh Valley. Her story was a perfect way to introduce the Lehigh Valley’s launch of its own Women in Leadership newsletter, which debuts this week.