Name: Omari Allen (he/him)
Business Name: Omari Allen LLC
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Describe your business:
I provide growth and lifecycle marketing services to consumer tech companies in the entertainment, media, and wellness industries – like mobile apps and web platforms with media content or online classes.
Tell us about your self-employment journey.
Like many people working for themselves, I found myself burned out after the first few years of my career in various full-time roles. Even though I had some amazing opportunities and the privilege of having what I would even consider my “dream job,” something about the independence of being an entrepreneur was attractive to me.
My self-employment journey really started about two years ago. I had dabbled in freelance work before but when the company I worked for dissolved shortly before the pandemic, I was forced to figure out how to make my side hustle my main hustle… quickly.
The first year was naturally tough. But now, I’m thankfully fortunate enough to be more selective of the clients I work with. And the type of projects I take on, so I can ensure they align with my interests and goals.
What area of your business are you most passionate about?
I love the learning process that comes along with it. As a business owner and marketer, you get to wear many different hats and the landscape is always changing.
There’s never a shortage of new things you need to learn to help your clients achieve their goals.
You also don’t have to feel pigeonholed into a single role. In a way, you can reinvent yourself as much as you like.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned early in your career that has contributed to your success?
How to manage myself.
Knowing how to manage your time, figure out things you don’t know, and take initiative to move projects forward are vital skills to have – whether you’re in a full-time role or doing things on your own.
When you’re self-employed you have no one else to do those things for you. You’re your own boss.
How are you pivoting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Thankfully, I haven’t had to pivot my business much during the pandemic since I primarily work with tech companies.
I did have to pause a few projects at the start of the pandemic with clients who relied largely on foot traffic, but things soon ramped up again once they figured out how to go digital.
What’s a recent project that you’ve worked on that you’re really excited about?
I recently was able to tackle a real-world problem many of us were facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was really rewarding to see the fruit of my labor at play every day. And know that I was having an impact on peoples’ lives during a challenging time.
Are you part of any freelancer communities? Which ones?
I’m a marketer-in-residence at a collective called Right Side Up. They help match digital marketers with high-quality projects from vetted companies.
Although I don’t work with them for all projects, they’ve been a great resource for connecting me to quality clients and projects. They also have an online community where fellow marketers can share knowledge, experiences, and best practices.
What advice would you give other self-employed people?
It’s okay to start slow! Don’t expect to land high-quality clients or have consistent work from the jump. Regardless of how much full-time experience you have, impostor syndrome is real when you first go solo.
It’s common to have to take on a few less-desirable projects in the beginning. The most important thing at this stage is to learn, make connections, and build your portfolio.
The confidence will follow. And soon you’ll be surprised by the type of brands interested in working with you and how much they’re willing to pay. Before you know it, you’re ready to play with the big dogs.
How has forming an S Corp helped you level up your business?
Of course, becoming an LLC and S Corp helped me save a ton on taxes.
But on a more intangible note, it’s helped me feel more legit and confident as a soloprenuer. It’s also been a major relief to be able to offload my accounting and bookkeeping – which easily gets pushed aside when you’re busy.