Amanda Slavin | Crain's Las Vegas

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Amanda Slavin


CatalystCreativ is an experiential marketing firm. Founder and CEO Amanda Slavin has a background in education and engagement, which she brings to the company, utilizing educational methodology to strategically engage targeted consumers – specifically millennials and GenZers. The company functions as the curator of learning for the annual Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas.

The Mistake:

The mistake I have made has probably been undervaluing myself personally.

I am one to give myself freely to different projects and I want to support so many different people, and I really have not charged properly for the amount of time I put into those things. I usually say, "I'll donate my time and we'll charge for everything else." And that's just really not sustainable for me or for the organization.

We need to create boundaries with everyone and just really ensure that we demonstrate, "This is the value we're providing and this is how much it costs," and not be afraid of that. I always want to give and give and give, but it's just not a sustainable way of living. That's a mistake I'm realizing now is a long-term growth opportunity for me.

I have been undervaluing myself personally.

The Lesson:

I'm still figuring out how to make that change. As a new company we went above and beyond for clients just to get business, and we've really had to come up with new systems and structures to show the actual value in what we're doing.

We've had to focus on formalizing processes, ensuring there's a certain amount of hours that are allocated, being able to have different rates for different individuals. It all sounds like, "Of course." But again, when you're a new company or a new agency, you just want to do everything for everyone.

We had to create processes for that so that we can do the right work for the client because a lot of times the work we do is large-scale experiences, whether it's digital or physical or even communications strategy work. We really get deeply involved in companies and we need to charge according to that. So it's about creating systems to track those processes, and this is just a part of growing up.

We also need to be very clear and communicative with our clients, telling them upfront what we're providing. We do go above and beyond but after a certain point, we do have to charge. It's like a relationship. You have to be open and communicative, and really not be afraid to do that. This way we will have the resources necessary to set us up for success and set our clients up for success.

Follow Amanda Slavin on Twitter at @AJSlavin and CatalystCreativ at @CatalystCreativ.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Slavin

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