"I'd rather talk to 10 people for 20 minutes than one person for 10 hours. Varying perspectives are invaluable for your business when you're starting up. They're key checkpoints for growth, even if you're a seasoned business leader." — Melissa Wilson
An established marketing, advertising, and book publishing leader who is building The Spark Center — a Chicago-based nonprofit that promotes social media literacy.
- Marketing & Advertising
- Chicago, Illinois
- Clarity Member Since:
- March 2013
- Call Data:
- $700 spent; 5 calls
- Advice Sought:
- PR, nonprofit consulting, pricing strategy, demographic targeting
balanced feedback, proof of concept, direction for new business development and growth, direct coaching from one of her favorite marketing experts, access to industry leaders, expanded network
"Clarity has helped me save a lot of time and a lot of dollars by helping me figure out how to start with my target audience in mind. Clarity helped me connect my idea to the need that I was addressing."
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Melissa is a seasoned entrepreneur, marketing consultant, career coach, and publishing expert. She's authored 5 best sellers and has been advising companies on growth strategies for more than 2 decades. She's currently building The Spark Center, a nonprofit that educates experienced professionals in digital media, online marketing, and social media.
"Entrepreneurship is first and foremost about people. As a social scientist who specializes in professional networks, I've realized how invaluable it is to assemble a powerful group of coaches, advisors, and mentors. I'd rather talk to 10 people for 20 minutes than one person for 10 hours. Varying perspectives are invaluable for your business when you're starting up. They're key checkpoints for growth, even if you're a seasoned business leader."
As a publishing leader and social scientist, Melissa encourages professionals to build their own networks and establish themselves within communities of fellow-experts. In her work, she is a relentless advocate for the value of advice — and she takes her own recommendations to heart.
"I am constantly building new resources. That's how people build networks. They're iterative, can scale, and are very unique."
Life Before Clarity
Melissa is a passionate leader and relentless advice seeker.
"Thought leaders want to talk to one another. Experts want to talk to one another. I love to surround myself with maven connectors who have talents for imparting wisdom, finding resources, and building communities."
Even as a natural networker, she acknowledges that conferences and meetups have an ever-persisting pain point.
"At an event, you're always hoping for the opportunity to catch someone or plead with them to spend more time with you. I'm just not a fan with it — it's not systematic."
One of Melissa's biggest sources of inspiration is Chris Brogan, a marketing and digital media expert who advises major companies like GM, Coca Cola, and Microsoft.
"I wanted to hire him for advice. I kept asking him through the years — 'what do you charge?' He didn't have a model to answer that question or work with me in that capacity. Then came Clarity, which gave him the exact solution to work with entrepreneurs like me. That's how I found out about Clarity. I gave it a try and instantly found immense value. "
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Clarity Empowers Her with Accessibility, Flexibility, and Validation
No matter how experienced you are, entrepreneurs need networks of fellow experts. For Melissa, Clarity makes these networks practical and accessible.
"Thought leaders and experts need to talk to one another. It's how we become better. It's how we move forward strategically and intelligently. It's a gift to be able to have that kind of access to experts. Clarity is bridging a major gap between experience and innovation. It's solving the problem of accessibility."
For Melissa, the core value of Clarity is beyond knowledge and networking — it's about flexibility.
"I've worked with consultants in the past, and it's always been a major commitment. These partners are in it for the long-haul, but at the beginning, you have no idea if the fit is going to be right. Business leaders are constantly struggling with this idea. Clarity helps you truly find the right advice, people, and ideas. I love that there's an entire community around it."
Melissa's goal with Clarity? Knowledge. Validation of her idea. The opportunity for experts to challenge her and poke holes.
"I ask experts to poke holes in my ideas. They don't hold back. It's extremely empowering and helps me move my venture forward in a strategic and intelligent way.."
Clarity has helped Melissa save time, move quickly, and get more done. The following calls were mission-critical to her experience as a leader:
Chris Brogan — Journalist, Author, Marketer
Evaluating the digital channel with a systems approach
Boris Wertz — Entrepreneur, Investor
Poking holes to strengthen her plan
Monika Platek — Sports Marketing & Media Strategist
Hillary Rettig — Author, Leadership Coach
Strategies for nonprofits
"For the value you get, Clarity is inexpensive. Even as an experienced entrepreneur, I feel like I have a smarter start. I can get more done, quickly. It's invaluable for different phases in your business as you're starting up. They're key checkpoints for your growth."