How Vix Reitano incorporates unconventional tactics to successfully cultivate creativity within her own marketing company, Agency 6B
Vix Reitano shares with us how her frustration with the culture of marketing led her to create her own agency, the importance of making sure to prioritize yourself while growing a business, and how she incorporates mindfulness in every aspect of her company.
Describe your business in a few words?
Agency 6B is a full-service advertising agency providing bespoke solutions for Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, and Content and Video Production services in an evolving world.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I knew that I wanted to create a space to disrupt the dysfunctional model I saw myself – and my creative friends – suffering in. We were multi-talented, passionate and young – and to everyone we encountered, that was a threat. I believed at the time, in 2015, that starting a business would be something I’d do “down the road.” I took on one freelance contract Memorial Day weekend and then another, and another and the rest is, as they say, history. I matched my six-figure salary in six weeks and started my company. I hired my first contractor in October 2015 and have been growing the business ever since.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have a print journalism degree (which makes me chuckle every time I say it although it is truly the best description of what we do) and I started working at This Old House magazine when I was still a student at Quinnipiac University. I then launched Aol’s Commack Patch, managed Patch.com social media sites for all of Long Island. Then I worked at ABC, NBC and Telepictures as a Digital Producer before moving to an PR/Digital Agency where I felt that creatives were abused, overworked and undervalued. And that’s the ecosystem I have been working to disrupt ever since!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! Absolutely. I thought it would be something I did in my 40s or later in life. I knew I wanted to be in control of my career in a way that would allow me to be a mother who had the flexibility to enjoy being with her children and also who had the ability to continue to advance in her career. It’s one of the reasons I chose to freeze my eggs at 29. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur at 27 nor did I think I’d have evolved my business to the level where it currently is in 5 short years, especially with a global pandemic.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
My marketing strategy is actually my personal, proven method that I’ve trained and certified my entire team in — the Lead Generation Framework and the Ten Tangibles to 10x Your Business Success. I used my personal network and my strategies to continue to build, grow and evolve my business from day 1 to this very day. I have always found a way to turn obstacles into opportunities to create new areas of revenue no matter what.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I have faced a lot of challenges. For me, 2015-2017 were years where I spent a lot of time building the business, evolving my reputation and enjoyed a lot of success. Then, 2018-2019 were two of the hardest years, personally and professionally. I survived those years by using all of the tools I share with clients of the Agency and clients that I work with 1:1 for myself. The biggest mistake I made was sacrificing myself, my well being and my mental and physical health in favor of the business. Building a business and being an entrepreneur requires sacrifice, but not at the level I thought it did. I preached that because I believed it but I hadn’t found a way to do that until I took the time to heal myself personally and it paid off! I learned that, above all else, my well being matters just as much as the people I built this business to protect and that if I do not take care of myself, and I’m not good to anyone!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Opening an office/production studio hybrid in a physical, private space at the end of the first year of the pandemic.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Hiring for my team is something I’ve evolved as I’ve evolved the business — it started with junior members I knew from other jobs and then it began to include individuals who were more specialized. Since I am an expert who can execute every service we provide, it was challenging to find individuals who had similar passions and skill sets at different levels. When I hire now, I ask about their mindset practices and for their sun, moon and rising sign. I believe in Astrology, Numerology and Human Design in evaluating what type of creative you are and how to manage that creativity.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Advertising, Marketing and Social Media are more important than ever before and I believe that that will only continue to be the case. While we work with businesses in every niche and sector, our Fitness + Wellness clients and hospitality clients have certainly seen more of a challenge due to the pandemic. I have found that a lot of clients are more open to a boutique experience for their advertising, marketing and social media needs than ever before and that has allowed us to have conversations where we can truly shine and close more business in more unique industries than before.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We recently launched The Lab by Agency 6B, a membership that provides DIY support and live workshops for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs for just $297 a month. The Lab also has a series of services available for a fraction of the cost. We provide this support by extending the turnaround times and providing the bare minimum deliverables needed to help clients of The Lab get the support they need at a cost they can afford.
You’ll see more of this in the next few years.
I am also going to raise Venture Capital to create more equity, opportunity and diversity for creative folx across the board.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Great things come from owning your story.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew that healing was the path to greater strength earlier in my life. That asking for help doesn’t show weakness and that growth is acceptable for me, too, not just the people I coach, hire and support.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
My daily mindfulness practice is intense but it is powerful. Every morning, I write down 1 mantra, 2 yes to statements and 3 things I want the Universe to manage while I work on things passionately, intentionally and intently. It works for me. At the end of the day, being grounded in growth is an intentional decision and one I am willing to make every, single day.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
YES! I absolutely do! I wake up at 5am every day and workout shortly there after at least 3-5 days a week. I take naps on the weekends to recharge and it works for me, but this isn’t always a solution for everyone. I journal in the morning, at night and whenever I feel like I need to release and regroup. I am kind to myself at every step of my growth and that’s more important than ever before!
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I went to 8 different elementary schools, I have 8 tattoos and I lived in Italy for 6 months in 2008.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Focus Blocks — 45 minute sprints of work followed by 15 minutes of “break,” whatever that means to you.
- Journaling — it really does work!
- Have a list and a plan — my team uses Teamwork and Slack to stay on track.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means being in control of your destiny and helping all those you can be in control of their destiny too.