Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global marketing strategy consulting firm whose clients range from early stage start-up to Fortune 500 companies including Colgate, Virgin and The New York Times Company. She was formerly VP Marketing at Zipcar and VP Marketing at Inc.com before the company was sold to Bertelsmann. Prior to that she held the title of SVP Marketing and was a key member of the IPO team at Launch Media, an Internet start-up that went public in early 1999 and was later sold to Yahoo.
Arnof-Fenn has also worked as a special assistant to the chief marketing officer of global marketing at The Coca-Cola Company and held the position of director of the 1996 Olympic Commemorative Coin Program at the Department of Treasury, U.S. Mint. Previously Arnof-Fenn worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble. Arnof-Fenn is a founding Board member of Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology and she is currently serving as Board Chair of the Alumni Board of Stanford University. She is also the former Vice President of the Harvard Business School Global Alumni Board and the current Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Sports Museum at the Boston Garden. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is quoted regularly in the media, was a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur for several years, is on the IDC Technology Advisory Council, and a Time Magazine Opinion Leader.
1. What made you take the entrepreneurial leap?
I did it gradually. After many years in Corporate America I left to go be a senior person in 3 consecutive startup companies as the head of marketing. I was lucky to have positive exits on all 3 so after getting bought out of the third one I started my own firm.
2. How would you rank the following factors in determining a startup’s success: Idea, Market, Team. Please explain.
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I do think it was a good idea first and foremost. In fact Harvard Business School wrote 2 cases on my company. Second the market timing was right, I started it right after 9/11 when marketing was the first thing to get cut from budgets everywhere but companies still had lots of marketing problems & now needed help to solve them. I actually had clients before I admitted I was starting a company. I pulled together a strong team from the start and am really only as good as the people around me. Our work comes mostly through referral & word of mouth so we try to over deliver with every project. I joke that I have built a team of Type A neurotics so we cannot help ourselves ;-)
3. What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
You will work harder than you have ever worked even if you were known for having a strong work ethic, trust me. No one works harder at making your company a success, it will always be a reflection of you.
4. What is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
You know what you are made of, your DNA is everywhere. When I worked at Fortune 500 companies I never knew how much was me & how much was the momentum of working on a well established brand. I created the Mavens & Moguls brand from scratch so if anyone has heard about it then it was from something I did which is incredibly rewarding.
5. What’s your advice for someone who is thinking about starting a business?
I used to write a monthly column for Entrepreneur and did a piece on this very topic in fact: http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/startupbasics/startupbasicscolumnistpaigearnoffenn/article76352.html
6. Where can we learn more about your company?