Christina Orso – Saying ‘No’ is the better route in entrepreneurship

February 03, 2021

Orso Marketing Interview on Enterprise League

You can have the world’s best boss but when entrepreneurship calls, you pick up. Such was the case with Christina Orso, a marketing expert for restaurants and food brands. Not only did she leave her 9-5 job but her boss strongly encouraged her and became her client and mentor.

Successfully navigating the Boston food scene, by leveraging the network she’s built at her former work, only 6 months into her business Christina was already hitting 6 figures. Of course, on her path to success there were doubters and naysayers but that didn’t break her bright spirit and determination. 

If you’re thinking about venturing out on your own, but have doubts, Christina’s story will be the final push for you.

Feeling under-appreciated as an employee, a nonexistent work-life balance, financial struggles, getting out of bad relationships – these are the most common triggers that push women to become entrepreneurs. Tell us about your trigger?

The triggers that pushed me into entrepreneurship were a desire for a flexible work schedule and financial gain. Though my previous full-time position was flexible, I wanted the ability to work from wherever I could get my job done and not be tied to a desk or a specific location. I also had reached the top, salary-wise, and knew that going out on my own meant that the sky was the limit as far as making more money.

Christina Orso

How did you come up with your business idea?

I was previously the marketing director for a restaurant group here in Boston. My former boss, who is now my mentor, encouraged me to start my own business. He didn’t want me to leave the company as much as he knew that I was capable of doing so much more. I already had social media side hustles with other restaurants and food brands, but his constant pushing to go out on my own showed me how much greater my efforts would be if I wasn’t tied to one single brand.

Have you had support from someone, even if just encouragement? Who was that and how did it help you?

As mentioned, my former boss is the greatest mentor I’ve ever had. He’s an entrepreneur and former lawyer, so he did a great job of showing me the ropes of starting a new business. Since starting my own company, I’ve used this mentorship as not only a means of asking questions and advice, but something to constantly encourage me to grow.

Female entrepreneurs are often underestimated and overlooked. Have you ever felt at a disadvantage?

There were a couple times when male owners of other marketing companies didn’t take me going out on my own very seriously. One in particular tried to get me to come work for his company. He was very aware of my skills and that I had built a network of my own, and, in my opinion, wanted to use that to his advantage. While that in itself may be a compliment, I took it as a sign that he thought my business wasn’t at a point where I was already successful on my own. He was very wrong and that conversation motivated me very much. 

Some say it’s hard work, others say it’s talent and resourcefulness that play a crucial role for success in entrepreneurship? Which traits have been instrumental for your success so far? And why?

Tenacity, a good work ethic, and humility. 

I’ve always been extremely motivated when I want something, and very determined to succeed. My work ethic improved greatly when I was finally passionate about my career and having my own business. Humility is equally as important as there are so many unknowns in entrepreneurship. You can’t be afraid to ask questions, do your research, and know when to ask for help.

What excites you the most about being an entrepreneur?

The most exciting thing for me is to be able to look back and realize I did this all myself, and very quickly. I don’t have partners, only a mentor. I attribute my success to being motivated and curious. With entrepreneurship, you are constantly learning, and being open-minded to perpetual growth is key.

Share with us some of the worst business advice you’ve ever received?

“Say yes to any business opportunity.”

I firmly believe that saying “no” more often is the better route. It’s important to learn when to say no to projects that don’t align with your values or clients who may not be the best fit. In the beginning, you may feel like you have to say yes to every opportunity to grow, and that’s understandable. Within time you’ll realize that saying no eliminates future issues and stressors. I’m so much happier knowing my worth and when to actually say yes.

You’ve got a high stake investment opportunity. Pitch your business in 150 words.

My company focuses on digital marketing for restaurant and food brands. Some of our services include social media strategy, photography, email marketing, influencer marketing, and copywriting. I currently have one part-time employee and one virtual assistant.  If I were to take on investment money, I would use it to hire an in-house team of creators and social media strategists so I could replicate what I’m doing now and scale it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs?

If you have an idea, go for it. Stop questioning yourself and creating more doubt. Be confident in what it is that you want, and go after it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and will support you, and eliminate anyone who may hold you back.

What are your goals for the upcoming year?

My goals for the upcoming year are to really strengthen the relationships with my current clients, and continue to expand my restaurant client portfolio. I have a part-time assistant now, and I’d love to see her become a full-time employee so that we can really drive my business forward together. Aside from that, I’d love to do more speaking engagements and make more connections in the Boston food and beverage industry.

Connect and partner with Christina Orso on Enterprise League

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