Lauren Cracower is the co-founder of Suite 203 Communications. She is a passionate marketing strategist, with over 15 years experience in building and safeguarding corporate images. She provides creative and engaging marketing solutions for an array of lifestyle brands. Lauren is a mom of three kids who lives in Montreal, Canada with her husband.
The Upside: What did you do in your past life before going out on your own?
Lauren: Prior to launching Suite 203, I worked at a number of large fashion retailers, including Tommy Hilfiger, guiding their marketing efforts. I also worked in-house at advertising agencies and freelanced as a lifestyle copywriter.
What's your current elevator pitch?
I help lifestyle brands become the #1 choice for their target market by recommending the best combination of strategies and tactics to reach the right people, at the right time.
You've been out on your own now for five years. What originally made you pull the trigger?
The timing was just right. I had recently had my second child and was trying to find the work-life balance. After spending many years in-house, while being asked to work on contracts I knew that these opportunities made breaking off on my own a viable option.
What's been your biggest *win* as an independent contractor?
Launching the Karen Millen fashion brand in Canada with the opening of their Montreal store. Building this relationship took much persistence and follow up but it taught me that you should never give up until you hear the words "No."
What's been your biggest challenge as an independent contractor?
Doing it all. Being able to make my own schedule allows me to spend time with my family during work hours (recitals, sick days...) but it also requires many late nights, weekends and always thinking about my clients and Suite 203's next steps.
What was your biggest stumble and what did you learn from it?
Saying yes to everyone. At the beginning it was hard to say no but over time I've learned that if it doesn't fit then it's probably not going to work. In those cases, it is always better to say no before getting into a relationship that could potentially fail.
What do you love most about being an independent contractor?
I am the one who is 100% accountable for my clients' outcomes. Their successes are my successes.
How did you land your first clients?
Word of mouth. The Suite 203 website hadn't even been launched yet but referrals starting coming in once we announced our company's pending arrival.
Who helped you along the way and how did they help?
I couldn't have done it without my business partner. We are lucky to have each other as sounding boards, best friends and our own worse critics.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about independent contractors and freelancers?
That they have all the time in the world to do whatever they want, when they want. Being a contractor means that the hustle is real and you constantly need to be "on".
What steps do you think one should take when first starting a consulting career of their own?
I think it's always important to work for someone else first. It is so important to see different working styles, learn from others and get a sense of the corporate world. I also think that planning is key to minimize any surprises that may come your way.
What advice would you give someone who's interested in going out on their own?
Do it! It is the best, scariest decision you will ever make but once you do it you will never look back!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What's next for you?
Still doing what I love to do, but on a larger scale. Working with large brands who have the budgets to make their marketing a priority and who take the time to understand what their brand stands for and how it is important in the lives of their customers.
Ok Lauren, now give us some of your insider tips:
My favorite app is Word Swag because it makes everything pretty.
The technology that has changed the way I do business is my iPhone/ Apple Watch combo because they help me never miss an important call, text or email.
The Sharing Economy is the trend that excites me most because it encourages community, saves people money and is a major catalyst for empowerment.
Passion is the future of work because so many people are realizing that life is too short to not love what you do. The term side hustle will shift to pure entrepreneurship as more people make their passions their business 24/7.
Follow Lauren Cracower's journey: