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"Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty." —Kiley Peters of Brainchild Studios

With a network of more than 600 professionals from every industry, the mentor program is the crown jewel of 1871. Every day, mentors dedicate their time and expertise guiding our members from issues ranging from legal to tech and everywhere in between, forming valuable relationships and producing concrete outcomes. This week, we say hello to Kiley Peters, Owner and CEO of  boutique digital marketing agency Brainchild Studios.

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  • What do you consider your greatest success?

Never settling. Personally and professionally. It's a constant internal struggle of being brutally honest with yourself and making some hard decisions, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

  • What did you have to learn the hard way in your professional life?

Balance. I tend to get excited and really dive head first into things and balance is a life lesson I'm still learning. It's a lot easier said than done, but I think it's really important to live a well-balanced life. It's a skill to not burn yourself out with work and still find the discipline to take care of yourself (mentally, emotionally, physically), spend time with friends, family and maybe even find time for a hobby or two. Like I said, I'm still working on it, so I'm open to any suggestions!

Be gentle on yourself. As entrepreneurs, we expect a lot from ourselves and we tend to push ourselves really hard, which can be a blessing and a curse. My mom reminds me of this when I get myself too far down a rabbit hole. Be gentle on yourself. Be kind to others, but also to yourself. Again, working on this one too, so open to suggestions on how to continue to improve here!

  • What do you know today that you wish you had known when you first got started in business?

Don't be naive and so quick to trust others. 
Trust yourself more. 
Understand your value. 
Get everything in writing. 
Invest in a good attorney. 
Understand when to say no to clients. 
Understand when a client isn't the right fit for your business.

  • What skills do you think are the most important for an entrepreneur to have?

Tenacity. It's a rough road with lot of bumps and potholes that you will never see coming (and some that you might have an inkling are waiting for you). You will fall down. Pick yourself up and invest in a lot of band-aids. Be prepared for the long haul and to keep moving forward, no matter what obstacles may present themselves. 

Drive. Have a purpose. Have a reason for doing what you're doing and believe it in with everything you have. This is what will keep you going when you're still working at 4am for the third night in a row...

Grit. Be resourceful. Be creative. Be determined. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, because chances are you'll spend more time knee deep in the mud than standing at the finish line sipping a cocktail.

Humility. You won't have all the answers. Allow yourself to learn from your mistakes and be open to constructive feedback from others. It will only make you stronger in the end.

People Skills. At the end of the day, your success will be dependent (to some degree) on others. You will have to convince others to buy from you. To work for you. To sell your product. To believe your service is worth their investment. To endorse your company. It's all about relationships, so understand people and their trigger points. Be genuine and treat people well.

  • What is one piece of advice you would give to a rising entrepeneur?

Everything is temporary. Your successes. Your "failures." The late nights. The thin budgets. Everything is temporary. So remember to celebrate the good and not wallow too long in the bad. The majority of people who fail fail because they quit too soon. Keep moving forward and be grateful for every lesson you learn along the way.

Now for the fun stuff... 

  • What is your favorite spot in Chicago?  iO Chicago
  • What do you like to do in your free time? Watch movies. Read. Spend time with friends and family. See a great improv show. Travel. Cook. Drink wine.
  • What hashtag best describes you?  #cantstopwontstop
  • What book would you recommend every entrepreneur read?  "When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead" by Jerry Weintraub
  • Which city do you hope you'll have a layover in?  London
  • What is your personal mantra? Everything happens for a reason.

Follow Kiley on Twitter @kileypeters and check out the Brainchild Studios marketing blog here


Are you interested in becoming a mentor or teaching a workshop at 1871? Learn more here.  

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