2013 had already been a tough year. In April, my oldest brother suddenly and unexpectedly died, which was a shock to my entire family. Soon after, my niece's home was flattened by a tornado – a storm she barely escaped. And then, in November, I found out I would be losing my job.
At the time, I worked for Bloomberg Television doing daily live and recorded reports from the New York Stock Exchange on the latest business news for around 160 TV stations around the country. It was a comfortable job, and secure — or so I had thought.
For reasons that I still don't totally understand, executives at Bloomberg decided to exit that part of the business. The decision was made despite the amazing exposure my team gave the company to an audience that didn't watch Bloomberg's cable channel. Our unit was thriving financially, but our team of 12 people was told Bloomberg wanted to go 'in a different direction.' That direction was mainly digital, not broadcast.
Terrible right? Not so much. This development, while scary, was also filled with opportunity. Something I had been wishing for had suddenly been handed to me on a silver platter. My dream was now a real possibility. I could finally be an entrepreneur.
I approached fellow team member, Bob Morris, a long time TV syndication salesperson, about taking over what Bloomberg had decided to leave. He was on board but there was a lot of work to do. We found out the New York Stock Exchange was not able to accommodate the 4:30 am recording schedule that TV stations wanted for their morning shows. Miraculously, the NASDAQ was able, and we began discussions with them.
Now that our studio needs were met, we began work on sales. Reaching out to stations about our new venture was tricky, as we were all still working at Bloomberg TV for a few more weeks; Bob and I weren't sure we were ready for news of our venture to be public. There was competition, too, namely CNN, which was aggressively pursuing our clients. We decided to start with those stations where we had the closest relationships. Some turned us down, but others took the risk. We launched on Jan. 21, 2014 with 12 loyal TV stations. We had coffee cups made with each of their logos and call letters on them as a gift. These stations will forever be known as our 'coffee cup stations.'
Almost three years later, LilaMax Media, LLC has expanded from those initial 12 stations to 70. We are also doing a podcast, which focuses on teaching kids about money. We've added regular web reports for TheStreet.com, Small Cap Nation and others. In September 2016, we expanded to daily radio updates to our business offerings.
The journey has not been easy. That first year, it was almost impossible to get into many station budgets because of Bloomberg's timing in letting us go. Additionally, our business was embraced by some but not others. But we survived and have since thrived.
What have I learned? As an entrepreneur, you should rarely say no. Ideas are proposed, opportunities presented — and I rarely turn anything down. I don't think too much about the math behind every little thing. I don't want to lose my creativity.
Entrepreneurship is not easy but it can be very, very rewarding and actually very fun. As an entrepreneur, I feel more alive in my career than I ever have, and I look forward to a long, fulfilling and profitable career as a business owner.
About the author: Jane King is the founder and CEO of LilaMax Media LLC, a multi-platform provider of video content on consumer and business news. Since launching in January 2014, LilaMax Media has quadrupled in size with plans for more growth. Jane currently provides daily business reports from the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square for 70 TV stations as well as the TheStreet.com. Jane also conducts occasional interviews for Facebook Live and Small Cap Nation, and others.