Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jessica Shely, Founder, and CEO of GPD Creative Agency, located in Cincinnati, OH, USA.

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

GPD Creative Agency is an award-winning, full-service digital marketing firm that assists organizations in increasing their online and brand awareness. GPD supports small, medium, and large-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations to develop a high-converting digital presence through the web, video, and custom content.

Tell us about yourself

I founded GPD in 2015 after having a life-changing experience where I traveled around the world to 11 countries in 11 months. My travels took me to four countries in Central America, five countries in Southeast Asia, and two countries in Africa, where I was immersed in the culture and servitude of each community. At the end of that experience, I wanted to find a way to capture what I learned and apply it to everyday life in the States. I founded GPD on the pillars of sustainability and social justice, and it is our purpose to do business and do good for our clients and community.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As we enter into our 8th year of business, I am most proud of our longevity. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart, and most businesses close within the first five years. I’m grateful that GPD’s client base continues to grow and that we are continuing to add members to our team. It says a lot about the vitality and endurance of our company in surviving the pandemic. GPD is also a multi-award-winning agency. Some of our awards include Emerging Business of the Year, Marketing Pinnacle, and Best Digital Marketing Agency.

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

One of the biggest challenges is knowing and understanding the many facets of being a business owner. There is so much to know and keep up with, and being ignorant can cost you. That’s why I stress the importance of reading, networking, and being unafraid to ask questions. I am privileged to be a member of various professional development groups, and our agency is also a certified minority and woman-owned business. These affiliations provide insight and opportunities that help our business grow.

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

  1. Don’t be shy … get out and NETWORK! One of the simplest ways to market your brand is through networking.
  2. Leaders are readers who apply and implement information. There is always something to learn.
  3. Write it down! Every business has a starting point which should include writing a vision and goals.

Where can people find you and your business?


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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