Amy Tiller | Crain's Portland

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Amy Tiller

Background:  

Founded in 2015, Inspired Results is a brand management firm that deploys its expertise in the print and promotions lifecycle to advance its clients’ marketing efforts. Inspired Results has offices in Portland and Seattle.

The Mistake:

Being really hard on myself and nearly giving up.

Earlier in my career, I owned a business with five locations, and did everything I could to make it a success. Things looked good on the outside, too, because we were getting awards. On the inside, however, we weren’t doing so great, financially.

After the 2008 financial crisis hit, the company became insolvent. The experience completely knocked me out emotionally and psychologically –  I had tons of self-doubt, and kept wondering whether I was meant to be in the business world. I ended up deciding to spend a couple of years working for a company called Safeguard.

My plan was to take that time to rebuild myself psychologically and figure out what I wanted to do. But working for another company felt like I had given up, because I was really more of an entrepreneur.

When you fall down, you have to get back up.

The Lesson:

When you fall down, you have to get back up.

While I was at Safeguard, the company decided to resell three businesses it had acquired, and I saw an opportunity. At that point, I had a decision to make: Keep my secure corporate job, or buy the three companies and try to make it on my own, again. I went with the latter decision, and my now-co-founder and I ended up turning those three companies into Inspired Results.

Sometimes, you have to stay with something before good things can happen. When things go wrong, that doesn’t necessarily make you a failure; those are the experiences that will make you stronger because you have to learn from them.

Inspired Results, today, is the culmination of hard work and perseverance. My co-founder and I have stuck to our vision for the company, and it’s begun to reap significant rewards. What’s more is that I won the 2017 Gold Stevie Award for “Female Entrepreneur of the Year,” [in the category of a business in advertising, marketing or public relations with 11 to 2,500 employees], and it’s all because I decided to not give up.  

Photo courtesy of Inspired Results

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