Waverly Ave Consulting Founder, Melissa Lohrer, on Launching Her Own Strategic Growth Consulting Firm
Hello Melissa! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
Hi! I’m Melissa and I run a consulting business is called Waverly Ave Consulting. I’m a Strategic Growth Consultant and Business Coach for Agencies. I’m a solopreneur (for now!) working out of my apartment in New York with big aspirations of partnering with agencies to be at their best.
So Melissa, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I’m in my first year as an entrepreneur and so grateful to be part of this community. The League has created a home for me as a Solopreneur and given me an opportunity to ask questions, support other business owners and feel a part of something bigger than myself. In just a few months, I’ve built such strong bonds with women in similar businesses and have even met a couple of clients.
What made you take the leap to start Waverly Ave Consulting?
For the majority of my career, I’ve played the role of intrapreneur, building a business inside someone else’s business. I wasn’t necessarily being offered those roles but was always creating my own roles in organizations. After years of reaching new levels and setting the next mile markers for myself, I was feeling really burnt out. I decided to take some time off and after having a few weeks of having headspace, inspiration rushed in and I started a business. Once I took the leap, I realized it was where I was meant to be – but that every experience and role I had leading up to this point taught me the lessons I needed to learn to be a successful entrepreneur. I wake up so grateful to be in a position to run a business and truly can’t imagine doing anything else!
Melissa, what was your background prior to starting your own consulting business?
I worked agency-side as a Business Development leader for 12+ years – from a global advertising network to a growing independent branding agency, going from startup to established player. In my last full-time role, I was Head of Growth leading business development and marketing for a NYC-based agency with an amazing team of people.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entreprenista?
I’ve always had an entrepreneur “itch” and natural tendency to build / create but wanted to feel like the timing was right. I’ve always admired and connected with entrepreneur stories, which is probably why I gravitated towards working with founders and business leaders in my role agency-side.
Take us back to when you first launched Waverly Ave Consulting, what was your marketing strategy?
When I launched, I wanted to start by connecting with people in my network and other entrepreneurs whose businesses I admired – to learn and understand what about my story resonated most and if my offering was something businesses needed. That ended up becoming a very successful marketing strategy and brought me my first 4 clients in a way that felt very natural. I was able to be my authentic self to find the right clients for me – and didn’t have to do any other form of selling.
Melissa, we all know entreprenistas face daily challenges. What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way?
My biggest challenge has been balance. The opportunities as an entrepreneur are endless (and quite overwhelmingly exciting), but protecting your time and energy is so important. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) when to focus, when to ask for help, when to invite opportunities in and most importantly, when to say no.
Melissa, you have lots to celebrate! What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
My proudest accomplishment is launching my business – having a name, a brand, and business that is out there. Making it a reality so that it wasn’t this intangible dream was step one. My second proudest accomplishment was hitting my monthly revenue goal, which I thought would take me a lot longer than it did. I was so pleasantly surprised by how easy it was because my offering and my target client’s needs were so well aligned. Luck definitely had a hand in my early success but I’ll also credit myself (which I’m learning to do more of) in that I worked hard, met with many people to share my story, and invested time in showing my potential clients to see how I would make a difference to their business.
Balance is nice in theory, but can be difficult to achieve. Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
100% and this is probably the most important thing as an entrepreneur. I’ve worked with and seen so many entrepreneurs make the mistake of burning themselves out – which has a real impact on the business. I’m working with a female founder client right now on reframing “hustle” and finding different ways of channeling her unwavering commitment and energy productively, while keeping healthy boundaries around her business. Hustling doesn’t mean working overtime and burning yourself out to the point that you and your business suffer. I work with my agency founders to look at their time differently, almost like funds and anything they put their time into as an investment. Staying hyper vigilant about your time and where it goes to bring out the best in you, will have a direct impact on your business. Making time to do the things you love and stay inspired is often overlooked and underleveraged.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Take it one day at a time, our vision or ambitions can easily make it so overwhelming when you get started. Each day brings unexpected opportunities, so its best to not plan too far ahead or you might miss out on the (fun) detours.
So Melissa, have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
Hiring a support team and admitting I can’t do it all myself. I’m lucky to be bringing on a couple of people in 2023 that I fully trust to support me and allow me to maintain that balance that keeps me being the best entrepreneur I can be.
What’s next for Waverly Ave Consulting?
Next is growing a small power team, getting a better handle on which projects light me up, perfecting the tools we use and share with clients, and being a true ally for agencies looking to grow.