Mirus 10 Year Anniversary
The moment Julie Seal-Gaustad decided to invest her all into her company was a big step.
“I was working full-time, and getting my Master’s [degree], and handling Mirus, and it was becoming too much,” Julie explained. “I needed to quit something. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna take the risk; it’s the right time.’ And I haven’t looked back since.”
That one brave decision is what launched Mirus Promotions, Inc. into what it is today. As we commemorate the company’s 10 year anniversary, let’s rewind a little bit and hear from Julie, founder and CEO, about how it all began.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THIS AGENCY?
“I started, myself, as a brand ambassador when I was about 21, just on the side, while I was in school to become a teacher. And when I got a job as a teacher, I continued to do it on the side, because I really enjoyed interacting with people and setting sales goals for myself. At the end of 2008, I was out of teaching [due to budget cuts] and doing full-time communications with promotions still on the side. I was working with a new, innovative brand when they were starting to get big and starting their tasting program. I was the only brand ambassador in San Diego and Orange County, and they wanted me to work a lot more than I could, and ding; then it hit me! Why don’t I just start an agency?”
WHAT WAS YOUR VISION FOR THE COMPANY WHEN IT FIRST STARTED?
“When I started the business, I knew what I wanted the company to stand for, and I knew the type of people I wanted to work for us. In 2009, social media had just started getting bigger. I started noticing when I was in the field working a demo, interacting with people who would mention that they had seen the product online and were enthusiastic to try it and learn more about it. It was about connecting me—that human connection—with what they had seen online, and thriving on that. I wanted to continue to engage people and connect with them with the brand and have a positive, educational experience.”
HOW DID THE NAME MIRUS COME ABOUT?
“It was pretty simple—I knew I wanted the business name to use the word “extraordinary” or “exemplary” with regards to promotions and to embody the work we do, but I wanted it to be creative, as well. I just Googled different language translations and ended up really liking the Latin word, Mirus.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW THE COMPANY GREW AND DEVELOPED OVER TIME TO GET TO WHERE IT IS NOW?
“It grew organically until 2015. It was then that I realized I’d done as much as I could, and I knew that I could see it growing into something bigger. I really wanted to take it to the corporate level but I was unsure of how exactly to do that, so I got connected with Coach Karrie Kaufmann at the end of 2015. The following year, business doubled. We went from having no employees to six employees, and the following year 11 employees. Within those two years, we doubled in size—we even were announced the #26 fastest growing private company in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal in 2018.”
“Having a coach with more business acumen knowledge helped transform me into a CEO, more than handling the technical work, as well as having people join our team to help be part of the adventure—being as excited about it as I am, to care about our clients and our field team just as much as I do. I had friends and old colleagues who were instrumental in offering support and helping guide me along the way.”
HOW IS IT BEING A FEMALE CEO AND LEADER IN BUSINESS?
“As a female entrepreneur, it’s been very empowering because I’ve been grateful enough to have other women come to me to seek advice about how to do this or that. I love being able to support other women in this business and have that camaraderie and community, especially now as a wife and mom.”
WHAT ARE SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS OR USEFUL ADVICE THAT YOU’VE LEARNED ALONG THIS JOURNEY?
“One of the biggest lessons is to set big goals. Set goals that seem completely outrageous, and then work your way backwards, and take steps to do as much as you can to get there. I think that’s key. I’ve set so many goals, and I’ve met and even exceeded them.”
“I’ve also constantly read books and listened to podcasts. I wanted to be the best leader I could possibly be, helping to develop leaders within the company and give them responsibility and make it safe to make decisions. That’s huge because as a business owner; there’s no way you can do everything yourself. It’s okay to give control to people that you’ve trained and that you trust and that believe in the vision as much as you do.”
WHAT ARE SOME FUTURE GOALS THAT YOU HAVE FOR MIRUS PROMOTIONS, INC.?
“There’s a few different goals that I have for the company. The vision that I see is to be the #1 trusted agency—that is trusted by our clients, building trust between our field team and office team, and continuing to build those connections. To get to #1, just constantly looking at how we do business, how we can get better. There’s no end. Maybe we’ve perfected this one thing, but there is always room to grow and change. Constantly growing, and constantly changing.”
“Our primary business is food and beverage, and alcoholic beverages. We recently launched into new industries, working with vitamin and wellness companies, as well as technology. I would like to get into beauty and skincare. I also think there is opportunity in other industries like construction that haven’t been tapped into with expos; there are creative ways to connect with companies’ target customers, whether it be at a trade golf tournament or other events. Maybe they don’t think about having representation at the booth, but having someone who is educated and can speak to the industry and knows how to engage with people is huge.”
“Now we’re in 46 of the 50 states, and I see us growing in the most current markets and continuing to saturate cities where we currently have a handful of people, growing them to have a solid team in more regions like we do in a lot of our regions.”
“I’d also like to work on developing our internal team. Now we have three departments, so working on growing those, while giving people opportunities to grow in their leadership and take on ongoing responsibilities.”
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