For Kim Bode it was all about making connections when she launched her business 834 Design & Marketing.
Involvement in local organizations like Grand Rapids Young Professionals gave Kim a foundation of friends, mentors, and supporters during the launch of her company. Like any first-time entrepreneur, Kim had a lot of questions about the ins and outs of running a business, and her contacts were there to fill her in on the details. Kim advises all future business owners to find others off which to bounce ideas.
"Find a mentor, that's my biggest piece of advice. I wouldn't be where I am if I wouldn't have surrounded myself with smart people–people you see doing things you want to do. Find another woman out there…I am so blessed everyday because I call them friends and colleagues," Kim says.
Kim wasn't always going to be a business owner. It took her some time to link an occupation with her ambitions.
"I was going to be a marine, and then I was going to be a police officer. I think I just really wanted to shoot a gun…I always wanted to do something that the boys did. If a guy can do it, I can do it! I was a feminist at birth. For me…when it came right down to it, I wanted to do something where I could be independent. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I didn't know how to put it into words back then," she says.
When she did pin point the perfect career path, Kim hit the ground running, and has established a business that flourishes in West Michigan. The basis of 834 Design is to help other companies achieve their goals through marketing and public relations. The company works within other companies providing the kind of top-notch marketing and branding assistance.
"If I can help you, I'm going to help you. That's what 834 is based on," Kim says.
The company has worked with the likes of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring, Gina's Boutique, the Grand Rapids Auction House, Funky Junk Flea, and the Miss Novi Pinup Girl contest.
Kim got her bachelors degree at Grand Valley State University. She has been featured in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Grand Rapids Magazine's Forty Under 40, and Grand Rapids Magazine's Influential Women. In 2009 she was nominated for an Athena award.
Throughout her journey, Kim's sense of humor has never failed, her secret ingredient to success, she says.
"Never lose your sense of humor," she says. "If I didn't have that, if I took myself too seriously, then I would have failed long ago. You cannot let little daily things get you down. Approach everything with a positive attitude."
Written by: Erika Fifelski was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, sewing, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.