3 years ago, Avery Roth decided to change her life and become a Startup & Innovation Strategist. Based in New York City, while her clients and team are based worldwide, Avery shared with us how she made it happen, what challenges she learned to overcome and what made her pursue this career change.
Read on, true inspiration is up next.
“I spent over a decade working in finance around the globe and became totally burned out. When I finally left the industry, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to have fun and be creative.”
Avery then moved to Paris and enrolled in photography school, paying her way with contract work from hedge fund clients who asked her to help them launch their new businesses.
“I worked with them to position, market and fundraise for their startups. Eventually, founders across industries began seeking me out for help launching their startups. I was in my element at the confluence of business and creativity. Not only was I having a blast, but I soon lacked the bandwidth to help them all.”
That was a huge hint to a market need.
“I stopped to think strategically about my work and realized that there was an opportunity to build the first strategy consulting firm within the startup industry.
I founded the Startup Consulting Group because I saw a strategic opportunity in the market, but also because entrepreneurship fit with my personality.”
Being passionate about building a company that would empower her to live a life of fulfillment and do the same for employees and clients is to date, the key reason for Avery’s success.
What was the most difficult part of starting or building your business? Were you surprised by it? How did you handle it?
“Starting a business comes naturally to most entrepreneurs because we are creative species.
Setting up a new structure, creating a strategy, hiring a new team, these are all exciting. But it came as a surprise how challenging it is to maintain momentum and consistency.”
According to Avery, energy will ebb and flow, life goes on in the background (or sometimes in the foreground), projects hit organic breaking points. So it’s natural to want to take the foot off the gas pedal once in a while.
“The challenge is that you are the bus driver, so when you ease off, the whole bus can slow down if you’re not careful. In these moments, it’s important to remember why you started the business in the first place, your mission, which should connect you to the energy source.
Creating short-term plans of action helps with cadence. And recognizing that dips are a normal part of the process is critical for avoiding burn out.”
“Ethics are paramount. They have always been a core tenet for me and always will be.
When I was working at a big Wall Street firm some 10 years ago, an important client entrusted me with financially-sensitive, confidential information. My boss’s boss knew that I was privy. He wanted to use the information to make money (illegally) for the bank, individually pocketing a percentage. He tried charming the information out of me at first and became more and more enraged when I refused to divulge. Finally, red-faced, he bellowed at me: “Who do you work for, the bank or your client?!” Indignantly, I replied that I worked for my client.
Nowadays, I have my own mission-driven company. My clients are still my priority and I will work relentlessly to do the right thing by them and our other partners.”
LESSONS & BALANCE
“When I first started my business, I had idealistic visions of a team working together in blissful harmony and I began my recruitment efforts by casting a wide net for individuals that were scrappy, resourceful and willing to roll up their sleeves, all with a smile on their face. Of course, I also created a few hurdles such as applications and case studies. But I was more focused on my intuitive read of the candidates’ smarts and culture. The team we built is pretty awesome, but there was one factor I did not consider when hiring: candidates’ experience remote working or possession of character traits that would align with such a set up. In the end, our team loved working together but was relatively inefficient and disjointed due to scheduling and personality challenges.
If I could do it all over again, I would seek to understand each candidate’s working schedule, adaptiveness attitude, and prioritization of our business within the context of all their other new-economy responsibilities.”
״I struggle with this. They say that when you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life, and this really holds true for me. I love my work so much that I have trouble stepping away. However, for my own well-being, I have learned to be more disciplined, taking a holistic view and acknowledging when I need more play or down time. Sometimes it means that I enforce a day off or a night out and sleep-in the next morning. Sometimes it means I take myself for a walk to get fresh air. Other times, since I’m an introvert, if I feel I’m expending too much of my energy being social, I’ll recognize my boundaries and pull back so that I always have enough energy for myself.״
Before we wrap up this interview, there’s a question we ask all professionals. Pay-it-Forward.
Who are the professionals you trust and appreciate most?
3. Carlo Nerko, EA for NY startups Call
4. Brad Lee Steinberg, NY Real Estate Attorney Call
5. Jennifer Grace, Life Coach
Website | FB | Linkedin | Superr