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When I was the Director of Marketing at Columbia State Community College from 2007-2011, I really learned a lot, and enjoyed my work, but not my job. I knew that acquiring the skills I was acquiring at the time was what I wanted to be doing, but I knew that the space of application was wrong. I didn't want to be in higher education. Too much politics, not enough pure productivity for my taste.

Fueled with an entrepreneurial spirit from the time I was a teenager, I knew I had to get out, so I was proactive. I interviewed for probably 5-6 other marketing jobs while I was at Columbia State. None were the right fit, which in hindsight was probably proper foreshadowing to me running my own business now.

One job in particular that I didn't get, was a lower level marketing job at a professional wrestling entertainment company based in Nashville, called TNA Wrestling.

They said I was overqualified, but wanted me to come back and meet with 3-4 other members of the team, including the CMO, COO and President/CEO.

They said, we have nothing for you, we were just really impressed, and want you to come back and meet everyone.

I could have laughed in their faces, but I went back and made my rounds.

It went well, but nothing came of it until about 18 months later when I had a business idea about creating a Fantasy Wrestling App. I was able to not only get a meeting based on my earlier interviews, but eventually close a partnership with them and launch a deal that would greatly change the trajectory of my entrepreneurial career and vault me into a headspace of confidence and eventual real success.

The lesson - say yes to every opportunity, even if the result looks to be a clear "no" coming from the other end. The momentum and contacts you are building along the way are worth everything.

Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC and founder of The Voice Event, and The Voice Designer, has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 15 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing, Email Marketing and most recently, Voice App Design and Development – Alexa Skills and Google Actions. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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