Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of global branding and marketing firm Mavens & Moguls based in Cambridge, MA.
What exactly does your company do?
Mavens & Moguls brings world-class marketing to organizations that need expert talent to help them with their toughest branding, research, advertising, and communications challenges. We work on both a project or retainer basis to find the right words and pictures to tell a compelling story to help sell more of your products and services.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
For me it was admitting that the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you. The hardest lesson when I started my company was not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff but out of loyalty to them, I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A” team people like to be surrounded by other stars. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier though but lesson learned for sure!
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
I was lucky to get a lot of great advice but it really is a marathon, not a sprint so do not set arbitrary goals like being named 30 under 30 or 40 under 40 because it may take you longer than Mark Zuckerberg to hit your stride and that’s ok. Most people take many detours on their career path before finding their true calling. Don’t be disappointed if you get to 40 and are still exploring because the journey really is a great adventure so enjoy it! Don’t be scared to fail, just learn from every bump in the road so you make better mistakes next time, that is where you learn the most! You learn to do by doing. Course correct and pivot along the way, it makes for a fun career path. Prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! It is true you should never burn a bridge, that really is great advice and I can tell you dozens of stories over the years where that has served me well. You just never know when your paths will cross again with old colleagues, former bosses, etc. Kill them with kindness and don’t ever burn that bridge, trust me it pays off! Also, be the best prepared at every meeting, work your butt off and smile.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
So many people have inspired me and been role models including both my grandfathers and dad who all had interesting careers and were entrepreneurial in their own ways. I love reading about leaders like Sara Blakely, Arianna Huffington, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson too. They all hit bumps in the road and kept finding ways to pivot and course correct until they succeeded.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I have been so fortunate to have mentors, teachers, and a supportive family to help me get to where I am today but the person I am most grateful for is my husband who I always know has my back and I can trust to give me the good, bad and ugly. He is with me in good times and bad and I know I can count on him which is priceless.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
To me, success = happiness and I am genuinely happy spending my time and doing work I enjoy with and for people I respect, not wasting my time. Having a meaningful life I enjoy.
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