Editor’s Note: Welcome to From a Founder, a monthly entrepreneur profile about the highs, lows, and plateaus of building a successful brand or business.
When Vix Reitano entered the workforce, she didn’t set out with the clear goal of being her own boss. After several years of navigating roles that spanned tech and digital production, she began building a business during her spare hours on summer fridays. Today, Reitano has established a platform as a content creator and consultant, and as Founder and CEO of Agency 6B, which helps clients build a unique creative identity, develop strategy, and target consumers across platforms and marketing channels.
Reitano recently reflected on her career track, from the earliest stages of her work experience, to her company’s growth surge last year, to launching and then expanding her agency’s physical headquarters in the pandemic.
Squarespace: What inspired you to launch your business?
Vix Reitano: As an expert generalist and a young one at that, I found that I was often looked at like an alien or as a threat. I started my company to be able to employ, train, and support creative folx at all stages in an environment that helps them maintain their creativity and learn how to contain it to achieve all of their goals.
SQSP: What was the first step you took to make it a reality?
VR: I built this business as a six figure business in six weeks in 2015 — the first step was taking on a side hustle Memorial Day Weekend. It’s why every year, this year most of all, I run some sort of summer school for up and coming entrepreneurs in my business. I built my business during summer fridays and always want to provide careerpreneurs (my word for people who want MORE from their career and treat it like a business with clear goals and objectives) the tools to do so, too!
SQSP: In every entrepreneurial endeavor, there are unexpected risks and challenges. What was the biggest risk you took?
VR: I often say I had half a plane built and jumped off a skyscraper and kept building, rebuilding, and recalibrating the plane on the way down. Six years in (as of August 10, 2021) and we haven’t hit the ground… we’ve been really, really close and yet there’s always some trick I manage to pull out of my back pocket. The biggest risk I took, truly, was opening our first physical headquarters. The benefit of this business was that we had relatively low overhead as we grew. And then I took another big leap of faith and opened a headquarters in December of 2020 when everyone else was shuttering storefronts and negotiating their way out of leases. For me, it was a big risk. In March of 2021, I took an even bigger risk signing a five year lease on double the space. And as of May 1, when I ran the numbers, that space contributed to an 843% growth in the business over Q1. I can’t wait to see how the second big leap pans out.
SQSP: What surprised you the most?
VR: My unwavering tenacity. My second job post-college was at a small tech-trade publication based on Long Island. My boss at the time, when I left to be the Digital Producer at a national morning television show at the ripe old age of 24, said I had the tenacity of a bulldog in my review. At the time, it hurt. Now, nearly a decade later, I am honored by the comparison. I am tenacious. Entrepreneurs, as one famously successful one has said, can’t have an exit plan. You have to believe in yourself SO HARD. Every single day. It’s exhausting, exhilarating and scary too.
SQSP: After a challenging day, week, or month, what keeps you motivated?
VR: Views of Manhattan from my Hoboken home. Long walks along the river with my french bulldog, Fiona. The excitement of being able to hire creative folx, pay them well, teach them, support them and help them realize their dreams while realizing mine. A great dirty martini.
And most of all? The 24-year-old girl I was when I started my “big girl job” in Manhattan at that television network. And the 19-year-old kid who commuted from my out of state school to a job in New York City. And the 27-year-old entrepreneur who grabbed on to the wave and continues to ride it for all it is worth. And the 40-something entrepreneur who has the flexibility to be class mom at her kids’ school. And the 60-something entrepreneur who has the flexibility to fund creative humxns’ dreams with grants, training, and more.
The thing that keeps me motivated? The good I see myself doing. The risk I took and proved to myself was worth it. And the untapped potential within myself that I work every day to access to a greater degree.
SQSP: How has your online presence contributed to your business success?
VR: My entire business — even the 843% growth in 2020 — is word of mouth. My brand attracts people because of my authenticity. My speaking engagements convert because I know my stuff and I’m passionate about it. And my content inspires people to know they can do this too.
SQSP: How do you see your online presence evolving in the future?
VR: My big goal is to get back to my podcast, vlogging, and social content creation. It’s coming. Don’t you worry! I have a coaching and consulting program as well as a Mastermind Membership for entrepreneurs called The Lab by Agency 6B and I see my presence evolving in that way — teaching, training and forecasting the future of this industry as a thought leader who fought in the trenches and changed the world.
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