Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jen Girardi, Owner of Alto Marketing + Management, located in Whistler, BC, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Alto Marketing + Management is an agency that provides marketing, production, and athlete management services. We focus on working with brands connected to the outdoor industry and action sports.

Tell us about yourself

I started working in marketing as a snowboard athlete representing brands. Seeing how the marketing teams worked behind the scenes inspired me to work in the field, and I had some great team managers along the way that gave me opportunities to learn. I made the leap to start my business after having a hard time finding the right role. I went through a tough job search experience interviewing with some of my dream brands for dream roles and making it to the final rounds without success. It takes a lot of energy to do three, four, or sometimes five rounds of interviews with presentations and projects without receiving an offer.

I learned from every conversation and embraced this experience as it showed me I was capable and lit a fire in me. I had the skills, experience, education, connections, and drive to do this work. I just needed to create my own seat at the table. Once I made the commitment to running my business full-time, things grew quickly. I am grateful to have the opportunity to do work that I am passionate about and fulfilled by. Every day is different and poses new opportunities and challenges to solve. I am motivated to create opportunities for my clients and see results.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Every time I see my clients succeed is exciting. Still, my biggest accomplishment was helping one of my athletes, Sandy Ward, secure a global ambassador sponsorship and funding for her personal project, Slides on the Mountain, from Arc'teryx. Her passion for chasing her dreams and supporting her community inspires me. I am grateful that we have continued to lock in additional opportunities, and I am so stoked to see her get the recognition and support she deserves.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business owner is the behind-the-scenes aspects of setting up and running the business correctly. Invoicing, accounting, and keeping the books balanced! All very important tasks. I am thankful for a great accounting and bookkeeping team supporting me. I've focused on working with my strengths and outsourcing my weaknesses. This has proven to be a very good decision that has allowed me to scale my business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make a plan before you start.
  2. Know what your growth plans are and how you are going to achieve your goals.
  3. Start today. Time continues to move forward with or without us.

Where can people find you and your business?

Instagram (Business):
Instagram (Personal):

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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