Have you ever wanted to work with someone you trust well enough to call them in the middle of the night and know they’ll be there for you?

Since I moved to San Luis Obispo County, California in 2005, I developed personal and professional relationships on the basis of unrequited trust — that people can reach out to me when they wanted to talk, discuss an idea or get something done. I liked the idea of someone always knowing I’d be there for them.

Around the time I moved to the Central Coast, I was in my early twenties, running around and helping people fix their computers. I developed steady clientele of seniors who preferred house calls over taking their computer to a repair shop. I quickly developed a reputation as someone who was reliable. Over the course of two years, I started getting referrals to entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for a “tech person” to help them improve their business. I noticed my work product had changed from software troubleshooting to marketing. But for the sake of keeping my wages low, my clients preferred for me to not call my services “marketing.” Nevertheless, I found myself developing and maintaining their web and social media presence, often times creating a digital infrastructure from scratch for their business. The goal? Improve their customer engagement, brand visibility and profitability.

Then I’d get the phone calls and text messages at all hours of the day, especially late at night. One client would text me ideas for restaurants and ask me out of the blue, “What do I need to do to start one?” she asked me at two in the morning. I answered her honestly: “I have no idea, but I’ll find what you’re looking for by ten.” Though I miraculously found time to sleep, I managed to research the prerequisites for starting a restaurant in the area, gathered the necessary paperwork and even pitched in a few recipes for entrees that I knew she’d cook exquisitely. I also prepared a brief marketing strategy for promoting her business online and on social media. She was pleasantly surprised I put in the effort and jokingly asked me, “Do I have to pay for all of this?” No need, I said. I wanted her to succeed; that her success in fulfilling her dream was all the payment I needed.

Then she dropped out of contact.

But this broke, starving college student learned a few things from the experience. For one, clients respond more favorably to accessible, compassionate professionals who enthusiastically meet their challenges and exceed their expectations. Two: marketing is essential, but seriously undervalued and often underappreciated. And three: marketing is more than an idea. It’s meant to be a vision, an executable campaign that perfectly embodies the spirit the client’s identity and core values. It’s a budget-conscious expansion of an expertly custom-tailored legacy. Most importantly, it has to be real.

About a decade later, it finally dawned on me that I should start a marketing business and put my instinctive problem-solving ability to good use. By then, I amassed a clientele of ten reputable businesses throughout the Central Coast with each client having narrowly tailored needs that required laser-like precision to satisfy on an ongoing basis. I was comfortable working behind the scenes, but in order for businesses to recognize the quality services I’ve provided for over a decade, I had to branch out. So in 2016, I created Ochs Public Relations as an affordable, freelance alternative to large-scale marketing agencies. But in our current economic climate, clients need more than stylish flyers and viral social media posts to achieve success. I decided the best way to move forward for my business and my clients is to expand our repertoire of services.

This year, I re-launched the agency as Ochs Creative, which now includes business and political consulting.  Marketing remains a valuable asset in our arsenal, but it’s important for clients to have a strong foundation they can rely on to successfully carry their marketing and public relations strategies forward. With our growing team of marketing and public relations professionals, we can build that foundation with the innovation necessary to make our clients stand out above the crowd.

I hope you can join us on this fun and exciting venture.