Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Barnes.
Laura, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my first business with a partner when I was 18 years old. I invested “sweat equity” while my partner invested the start-up cash. We saw an opportunity in our small Texas Panhandle town – Pampa, to provide database and mailing services for local political candidates and businesses in need of direct mail services. We began providing marketing campaigns and assisting those businesses in their advertising endeavors.
But as the oil boom during the 80’s brought the local economy to a near halt, I discovered, by my 21st birthday that in order to sustain as an entrepreneur, I would need a better skill set to rely on for my future. But even during my college education, I found that I could only perceive my education through the lens of entrepreneurship. So, stepping away from a career as a degreed paralegal, I started my second direct mail service company – Data Recovery Service.
It was during this time, that I did in fact, actually expand my business acumen to incorporate my BS in Legal Studies. I decided to employ work from home students, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, etc. who wanted to start a small business and work at their pleasure and set their own salary and revenue goals. I helped my employees set up their small businesses, taught them to set up the accounting, books and legal administration and provided computer training because some people at that time had never even seen a computer. It allowed my business to grow in a unique way all while helping others to build a skill set that would give employable skills for the future. This was when I realized that I was forever meant to be an entrepreneur.
And this was when I also learned that being an entrepreneur also meant, no job security, no benefits and long hard hours of work to cover all of the administrative functions that a growing company required. And this was also when I learned, along with a lot of American businesses, that the horror we all shared on September 11, 2001, was just the beginning of another economic downturn that would affect small businesses in certain niche markets. It was again time to diversify.
It was always a tedious and stressful journey for me to find meaningful employment — even armed with a college degree, very specific retail management and operational director skills – I struggled to find work that would utilize my diverse skill set.
I began to realize that me working for an institution or large corporation was never something I could tolerate for myself. So, in 2005, I left my corporate job, took a few months to focus, got inspired by a spiritual revelation and started Mark 541 Group, LLC.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Mark 541 story. Tell us more about the business.
Mark 541 Group is an Administrative, PR and Media Firm that assists creative entrepreneurs in launching their dream. We work with a diverse set of business owners to help them bring their entrepreneurial dream to reality.
Our client portfolio ranges from security industry vehicle manufacturers, water conservation entities, building contractors and vocational education companies to international fashion designers, fashion events and fashion and lifestyle products.
We design custom business development packages based on our client’s actual business growth needs. We find that our administrative support packages are the most sought-after services in the world of aspiring entrepreneurs but I personally enjoy helping start-ups.
This work has allowed me to experience some of the most rewarding moments of my life including being part of a team that provided security posts for the last two presidents of the United States and traveling throughout the country introducing great and useful new products and experiencing extravagant fashion industry events.
Our PR division works with creatives to assist with brand expansion through social media and event support. This division focuses on the fashion lifestyle business and our work with emerging creative entrepreneurs has allowed us to begin publishing Mark 541 Magazine to support these emerging fashion designers, bloggers, photographers, models, Hair and Make Up professionals, musicians and fashion shows both in America and internationally.
I also think it is so important to support other entrepreneurs so we began collaborating with bloggers, authors, photographers and other aspiring creatives and have had so much fun and success with this approach.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Social and Live Media has definitely changed the way entrepreneurs interact with their clients. Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups have so many resources for brand exposure and can now easily communicate with their followers and customers making conventional advertising and PR less impactful or relevant. However, there is always room in business for a fresh perspective on proven concepts. We like to think we offer that customized service most of all … and our reputation for fresh approach business development campaigns ensures that we always stay current on new ways to help entrepreneurs leave their mark!
- Address: 197 Bass Lane,
Bridgeport, TX 76426
- Website: www.mark541.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: fivefortyone
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarkFiveFortyOneGroup
- Twitter: @onemark541
All Photos were taken by Laura Barnes or Mark 541 Group, LLC Publications and are the property of Mark 541.