Angela Jia Kim

Savor Beauty + Spa / Savor the Success - CEO + Founder
New York, NY

    Woman of the Week: Melissa Cassera of Cassera Communications

    April 5, 2012

    Getting into Melissa Cassera's brain is a little like going to a Candy Shop. Her ideas pop, her PR pitches are eye-catching, and if you're lucky, she will hand you a six-figure business idea along with a strategy that is fun to implement. As you will read, her company, Cassera Communications, started out 40K in debt and now is skyrocketing into multi-six figures just by helping business owners to become business celebrities in their industry. 

    I saw Melissa a couple of weeks ago and asked her to fork over a special just for Savor... so see her special deal just for us Savories below. :) 

    She'll also be one of our Roundtable Discussion Leaders at Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World in NYC on April 24-25 so don't miss her there! 

    She's quirky, she fun, and she's fearless... get inspired by our Woman of the Week!

    What's your story? How did you get started?

    After ditching Corporate America, I started my business at the age of 26 with no funding, no clients, and really - no plan. Certainly NOT something I would recommend. I bootstrapped, cried, freaked out, and made a lot of mistakes that first year. Then I started to identify my sweet spot and where that met my ideal client's needs. 

    What was one of the biggest obstacles you faced when starting your own business? What advice would you give to a woman facing the same or similar obstacles right now?

    I had a real lack of support in the beginning. Coming from Corporate America, the only entrepreneur I knew was my husband. I spent time desperately seeking community before I found Savor. I would truly encourage women entrepreneurs to seek out a community that aligns with their values, and one that is filled with people that can "hit the ball back" (as our fearless leader Angela Jia Kim would say).

    How did you fund your business?

    Self-funded over credit cards and our savings account. 

    How did you pay off your credit cards? Did you pay yourself back?

    Yes. In my first year, I had a 40K loss. It wasn't until my third year in business that I started to see the profit. I paid off my credit cards by paying a minimum of $500/month using money that was coming in from my writing gigs. I specifically got writing gigs knowing that this would be money that would go to my credit card debt. And I eventually was able to pay myself back as well.  

    What is something you wish you would have known when you first started? 

    I wish I would have known to just be myself. I know that sounds cliche, but when I was in my twenties, I tried to be a mold of a what I thought a business owners should be: stiff suits, attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, and be all things to everyone. 

    What ended up happening was that I was just attracting the wrong clients. I have learned that it's okay to be yourself and not feel like you have to fit into a mold. 

    Is there one person in your life you found to be the most supportive during your start-up, and even now?

    Definitely my husband. He is the one who encouraged me to strike out on my own and is still the one to encourage me most to keep going. He is a lifetime entrepreneur (has never even had a resume!) and it's really nice to have someone there 24/7 who is in the same boat. 

    What made me make that big leap into becoming a business owner is that he used to always ask me, "Why are you making money for someone else? Why aren't you making money for yourself?" In corporate, you end up working so hard for someone else so I decided to launch my business thanks to his support.

    Where do you see yourself and your business ten years from now?

    My business will be the leading source for entrepreneurs to become the most celebrated person in their industry. 

    In one word characterize your life as an entrepreneur.


    Take a picture of your desk and explain why you have what you have. Is there anything there that motivates you?

    My desk is really big and I have poor lighting so excuse the picture. If you can see the Charlie Brown cork board on the right - my Dad was a Sheet Metal worker and made me that for me when I was little. He passed away when I was 15, so it's a nice reminder of him and it makes me smile :-)

    If you are having a rough day at work, is there anything that can instantly turn your day around? How do you recover from a tough day?

    Usually a big cup of fancy coffee works, or having my husband whisk me away to get a cheesesteak. 

    If you got to play "hookie" from work one day, what would be on your list of fun things to do?

    I would probably watch an entire season of True Blood with a large pizza, pint of Ben + Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch and an unlimited supply of coffee with pumpkin creamer - and maybe some trashy tabloids to read. 

    Was there something in your childhood that happened to you that may have influenced why you are doing what you are doing today?

    I always wanted to be an actress when I was a kid. I still pursue that goal today, but I wielded it into my PR business by helping turn business owners into business celebrities. 

    Also, when my dad was 46 years old, he passed away. This experience really opened my eyes to the fact that you just never know when your time runs out and so we owe it to ourselves to live our dreams now.

    Ladies, you are in luck! Not only do we LOVE Melissa, but it's very clear that she loves us too - and wants to offer a wonderful discount.

    Savor members can take $400 off of Melissa's upcoming class Anonymous to A-List that takes you from Best Kept Secret to Business Celebrity. Expires April 30, 2012. Contact Melissa directly to enroll with the special discount. 

    Melissa will be speaking at a roundtable discussion about becoming a business celebrity in your industry at Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World in NYC on April 24-25. Don't Miss Her! 

    Angela Jia Kim is a woman entrepreneur advocate, organic lifestyle guru, doting mom, New York City (not house)wife, and author-in-the-making.

    She uses her organic skincare business, Om Aroma, to empower and inspire other business owners by openly sharing mistakes (the kind most sweep under the rug) and lessons learned (the kind most keep as secrets to get ahead).

    She believes that building business is directly tied to self growth, that it takes a village to raise a business, and that your business is meant to serve the life you want to live. 

    Read Angela Jia 's other blog entries >

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