I can’t believe I am here. Working with amazing people like you. The journey to get to this point in my professional career has taken a lot of different curvy roads. I sit back sometimes and thank God for the failed attempts, mistakes, and most importantly - the journey of entrepreneurship.
Filling in the Gap - the way we are doing business isn't working. Business education, growth, and sustainability for small and midsize companies have been a pain point for a long time; it's time to shift our thinking and create a way where everyone wins.
I am very passionate about SMARK and have been relentlessly working to create SMARK over the last 3 years and roll this company out. To say it's my baby, would be an insult to the ultimate goal of this company. From the beginning, I never wanted SMARK to be about one founder's journey to building a successful company. I wanted SMARK to be the voice of the people and businesses everywhere. A platform that really hears what small businesses, creatives, and consultants want and desire for their lives and creates solutions that accommodate them.
I've always believed this would be an ecosystem of leaders and partners that stepped up and came onto this company and built it out. - Industry experts that wanted to build a company that impacted a culture. SMARK for me, as I hope it will be for you, is a way of setting new standards of integration in key business areas. education, and technology. - Making the process of starting, managing, and sustaining a business, far easier and under one roof.
Founder, CEO - ThinkSMARK Inc.
My Entrepreneur Story.
"Entrepreneurship and life; are all about failing forward and learning to make adjustments, be real with yourself, and keep going."
I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. I laugh at the thought of that now. Everything that I understand to be true about what it means to be an entrepreneur was everything I was doing naturally. I just had to see it for myself.
When I was 11 years old, I started a company called Rock a Bye Baby Babysitting services. We didn't have the internet or technology yet, but I loved the babysitters club. I watched the movie over and over again and assessed how I could do this in my neighborhood. When I finally figured it out, I went to my mom and had her make my flyers, posters, and magnets.
Every Wednesday & Sunday I knew we would be at church, so I passed them out to everyone I knew. First few weeks, I had multiple appointments set and babysat my first couple of kids. I absolutely hated it - but I kept getting business. So I hired my sister and cousin to take on appointments, I took a clip of the fee and promoted rock a bye baby. That business ran for almost 10 years - through my younger sister's senior year of college.
As I continued through my life, there were so many signs that showed me, my true calling was guiding others in business and being an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, with my marketing agency, things didn't go how I wanted - it was like a bad country song, and I just gave up. The pain of failing and humiliating myself was too much to process and figured it would be best for me to get a job again and focus on my corporate career.
While working again, I read this book called Failing Forward y John Maxwell and he made a statement saying "Failure isn't Final, learn from your mistakes and move on" - that book changed my life; I was standing on the 7th floor of the CDW building in Chicago; Ill never forget what I said to myself. "I was building this. I can have this - what am I doing?" - and with that, I made some calls to old clients and used that capital to start the tech company you know now as SMARK. Am I making mistakes? yes. will I continue to make them? different ones, but yes. But through all of this, if I could give anyone advice - it would be. "Keep going, deal with yourself and be kind to others, it will go a long way."
With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and partnerships. Amber has worked in National Accounts for companies such as AT&T and James Hardie Building Products. Managing corporate and retail relationships with Apple, LG, HTC, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, and more. After leaving AT&T; Amber started her own marketing agency focusing on sports wearables, Healthcare SaaS products, and youth consumer sports brands, with clients ranging from the Lebron James Shooting All-Stars Tournament, Pulmonary Apps, and Nascar Race for Autism Initiative featuring driver Armani Williams.
After 3 years of running her agency; Amber decided to return to corporate and continued her career as a Sr. Account Manager for Simon and Myers Ad Agency, developing client services strategies for clients such as Devry, and Delta Faucet, from there advancing her corporate career with Safeware Insurance heading up the Technology Segment for the US Market; in direct partnerships with CDW and Insights, overseeing the channel marketing, sales, and partnership initiative for North America, Amber finished her corporate career as the Chief Revenue Officer for the Canadian tech-enabled marketplace Cansulta.
Amber has a degree in Interpersonal and Public Communications with a focus in rhetoric from The University of Akron, minoring in piano performance and consumer marketing.
Over the course of her career, Amber has built multiple 6 & 7-figure brands and mentored, coached, and hosted workshops for small business owners all over the world. She loves chocolate chip cookies, volleyball, college football, golf, sharpies, marvel movies, and spending time with her family & friends. That's in no particular order... check out her social! @ambercpayden on Instagram & LinkedIn.