It took some time, a lot of hard work, a decent amount of heartbreak, more than a few smiles and many sleepless nights, but I made it to today. Now as a serial entrepreneur, business advisor, start-up specialist, mentor, consultant and lifestyle expert, I am ready to share what I've learned. Although it wasn't always easy...
I've done (what feels like) it all. I've run my own business, I've been an employee, I've had successes, I've had failures, I've made money, I've lost money, I started a start-up, I worked for start-ups, I've been the writer, I've been the editor, I've been on-camera, I've been behind-the-scenes, I've worked 80 hours a week for myself, I've worked 90 hours a week for someone else, I've made huuuuuuuuge mistakes and I've learned from them. And now I can finally say that I'm in a place to help, advise, consult, and mentor others using everything I've learned (although, admittedly, there's much more for me to do in that department).
A little bit about my background: I graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. Degree (as in Bachelor's of Science, not what you're thinking) from the School of Communications. I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with my life after having studied theatre, journalism and Italian.
After myriad right-out-of-school jobs, I soon became a publicist at a boutique firm (my clients included the Radio City Rockettes and Lynda Carter - yes, Wonder Woman) before branching off and starting my own PR firm. I specialized in entertainment and restaurant clients.
At that exact time, I was really starting to explore my wonderful city and realized that I couldn't find an online publication that really spoke to me - there was no city-centric, female-focused guide to Chicago...so I created it. And thus my love affair with entrepreneurship was in full swing.
CheekyChicago.com became the number one online resource for women in the city and a very well-respected tech company. International clients advertised with us, and hundreds of women attended our events each month. Cheeky was the first female-owned company - and the very first wave of companies in general - to be accepted into 1871 (one of the country's largest digital tech hubs) and it opened the door for me to do a lot of other very exciting things.
Cool Jobs & Kudos
I became a contributor for NBC online and an on-air correspondent for their digital television station (covering all things food and lifestyle). I frequently lectured at Northwestern and spoke on numerous panels and at many conferences. I was even the youngest person ever to be inducted into Northwestern University's prestigious Council of 100, a hand selected group of NU's most successful female graduates, whose role is to mentor female students and young alums. Today's Chicago Woman magazine honored me as one of their "100 Women Making a Difference." And just for fun, I run a food and recipe blog called Jewtalian.
All of this led to me being hired to launch and run the entire Chicago market for Reserve, a start-up backed by the Co-Founder of Uber.
I've met a lot of people through all of these opportunities and experiences and am very proud of the network of friends, colleagues, supporters and co-workers I've built, specifically in the start-up space, the tech realm, the hospitality industry, the editorial sphere and the entertainment world.
Now...Erica Bethe, Inc.
So here I am taking all of that experience (some good, some bad) and using it in the hopes of helping other companies grow, make money, create a better product, or build a better website; advising entrepreneurs on how to monetize, find their voice, and not give up hope.
I've had the opportunity to work with some pretty great people...and they had nice things to say about me:
“I've known Erica since 2007 and have worked with her in several different capacities.
It has been impressive to watch her career flourish over the past 10 years, including launching and growing a successful business. She is skilled at building partnerships, finding win-win solutions, and elevating everyone around her. Erica is driven, diligent, innovative, and goes above and beyond for her partners. Plus, she is just fun and kind! I would happily work with her again.”
— Cassandra Gaddo, Managing Director, Step Up Women's Network
"In a sea of self-proclaimed experts, Erica is an authentic voice and proven brand strategist.
From her keen sense of editorial to whip-smart entrepreneurial roots, she's shaped revenue-driving businesses and proved to be an asset to some of the biggest brands and fastest-growing startups in the world. I've known Erica both personally and professionally during her time as Founder of CheekyChicago.com and served with her on Northwestern University's Council of 100. Erica is a natural born leader and mentor that has not only guided me but has undoubtedly shaped the careers of other aspiring female business owners."
— Stephanie Paige Miller, AVP Global Communications, Kiehl's
"I definitely hit the jackpot in getting an opportunity to work with Erica.
Before we began collaborating I already knew of her stellar reputation in Chicago amongst various industries. Immediately following our first conversation I knew she was as remarkable personally as she is professionally. Erica's coveted relationships, unparalleled expertise and stellar work ethic knows no bounds, she's as strategic and creative as she is authentic and generous. I am beyond grateful to work with Erica and am in awe of all she successfully executes on a daily basis. Both our young business, and my life, are richer as a result of my work with Erica."
— Carrie Jablonow, Category Director, IfOnly
“I've had the pleasure of knowing Erica for over half my life.
As my college roommate at Northwestern, she was an endless source of adventure and laughter. As a young adult, she was my go-to for comfort and advice. As my maid of honor, she was a supportive planner extraordinaire. And always, as a businesswoman, she has been bold, visionary, tenacious, and energetic. I enthusiastically recommend Erica as an entrepreneur, as a strategist, and as the friend you want in your corner."
— Julia Travis Foxworthy, Senior Marketing Manager, Innovation at Constellation Brands