On Feb. 18, I was privileged enough to attend the Southern Regional Press Institute where I came across the opportunity to interview the CEO of Intrigue Media Group, Ivan Thomas, for Lethal Grind. I put all of my fear aside of being turned down and jumped on the opportunity so that I can keep my promise to you all and begin to deliver tips on how to become a CEO of your own companies. Luckily for us, he agreed to being interviewed with no hesitation.

Thomas went through the struggle of becoming an entrepreneur after completely quitting his jobs that he was unhappy with and building his company from the bottom to the top with almost no financial backings. When getting more personal on the issue of struggling to become an entrepreneur Thomas said, “The primary goal is getting money so I was working with clients that I didn’t really want to work with [non-entertainment], but I was like ‘Man, I’m hurting, I need some money’.” I believe that almost all entrepreneurs can relate to this in when they do things and services just to get by so that they can get to the next level, I know I definitely can.

When it comes to managing finances when starting your business Thomas said, “Prepare as much as you can when starting a business. Sometimes it comes spur of the moment and you just decide that you have to do something else because you hate what you are doing [in your career], but try saving some money and get some financial backing prior to starting your business. See if you can save six months to a year worth of income.”

When starting his business, Thomas faced many obstacles that almost jeopardized the vision of his company. “The biggest obstacle I had to face was staying true to my brand and learning how to turn down business,” says Thomas, “When I started my company my focus was arts, culture, lifestyle and entertainment. Sometimes you are going to meet people that need your help but they are not in the area that you decide to start your company in. You don’t want to compromise your brand early by working with people who don’t fit into the vision of your company because it can divert you from where you are trying to go in your business.”

One of the biggest issues that many up and coming entrepreneurs face is fear of taking the leap into being a CEO and putting their plans into action. “The first step to overcoming fear is getting testimony,” said Thomas, “You are not the first entrepreneur and you will not be the last. Look at people that you admire and what you’ll find is that most of them have stories in which they were either going through something or they were scared. People told them they wouldn’t make it for multiple reasons, but look at their testimonies of how they overcame their fears and got started in their careers.”

“If there is something that I am scared of, as long as it’s not life threatening,” says Thomas, “I make it a point to conquer it. Attack what you are scared of and force yourself into a position where you will have to face that fear.”

“You are the face of your brand,” said Thomas, “People don’t know anything about your company until you come and talk to them and they are going to decide if they are interested in your brand depending on your interaction with them.”

So, bosses, make sure you are practicing your communication skills and taking Thomas’s wise words to heart. One day you will have your own company too but it is up to your will, drive and ambition to achieve your goals. You have to be willing to work hard and put away all fears in order to make your dreams of having a company come true. Let’s get to work!

Ivan Thomas is the President and CEO of Intrigue Media Group, a public relations company that focuses on the entertainment industry and is based in multiple cities such as New York, Atlanta, Orlando, Baltimore and Chicago.

For more information on Intrigue Media Group visit www.intriguemediagroup.com.

I am a Savannah State University grad with a bachelors in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Entrepreneurship. I was born in New Orleans, LA, but raised in Washington, DC, where my family are natives. Since the age of 14, I am able to say that I have worked at over 12 different companies, which led me to knowing that I am good with working with people and in communications. I love writing (when I have the time) and run two businesses on top of a full-time career in public relations. When I have free time, you can find me plotting on my next business ventures, visiting different hole-in-the-wall restaurants, spending time with family and friends, or catching up on my favorite television shows that I rarely have time to watch. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter: @queenshalaya

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