We had the good fortune of connecting with Kari Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kari, what role has risk played in your life or career?
All entrepreneurs are risk takers! We know that over thirty percent of startups fail within the first 2 years and only 40% of small business are profitable. With these stats imagine starting a business 9 and a half years ago – it was full of risk.

What I know about risk and have learned throughout my career:
• Not every risk will pan out as you had hoped, but have the right mentality to learn from it you will be better than you were prior to taking that risk
• Growth is it what happens when you take risks!
• The uneasiness and fear that comes with taking risks- that energy propels you to get into action and get outside your comfort zone
• The same path for too long is a recipe for stunted growth

Ultimately those who take risks have a competitive edge! In business you are either growing or you are shrinking. You must have the courage to take risks and grow. My word for the year during COVID was “Courageous”- you have to have the courage to face those risks.
Ultimately, I believe in “No risk no reward.” Playing it safe or playing too small doesn’t get me the level of success I strive for.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
E Factor stands for the “EXPERIENCE” factor. People remember the experience they had at an event, or the experience they felt with your brand. We focus on those little details with every touch point someone has with your brand or event. They all matter and make a difference. We find joy in the experiences we create. We help our clients build their brand and create loyal customers/clients through marketing, event production and branding.

Has it all been unicorns and rainbows- absolutely not! Business ownership comes with its fair share of challenges. Try being an event firm when COVID hits and you lose 90% of your business in 2 weeks. It wasn’t pretty and definitely not something we had planned for. We learned quickly the need to have a diverse porfolio of clients and learned what it meant to pivot your business. We had a choice we could sit and wait for events to come back, let go of all our employees and wait it out OR we could start form scratch as we had 9 years ago and rebuild in a different way. If you know me- you know there was not a chance I was going to sit and wait it out- I am best when I get into ACTION. We went back to the basics of picking up the phone and “dialing for dollars” and learned new skills. We moved to virtual events learning what that meant and how to create them and started a new division of corporate gifting. This still fit with our niche of creating an experience- so if we couldn’t be together in person how could we bring the experience to people at home.

Owning a business takes GRIT! We learned this more than ever during the pandemic. I am grateful for the time because our business is more resilient and I am a better leader and stronger business owner because of what we experienced.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
#TeamEFactor deserves the credit and recognition! Every employee who has played a role in the success of this company. I can’t build this on my own and I am beyond grateful for those who have believed in the vision of E Factor. My husband was the first one to believe in me and what I saw this idea could grow into. I am grateful for his support and encouragement. I have learned so much from our team- some hard lessons that ultimately only made me better as a leader and business owner. The journey of entrepreneurship can be a lonely one, but I believe in surrounding yourself with authentic people and people who are better than you. If I was a betting woman I would bet on our team 10 out of 10 times- there is no task they can’t handle and I appreciate what they give to this business day in and day out.

Website: www.teamefactor.com

Instagram: TeamEfactor

Linkedin: E Factor

Facebook: E Factor

Image Credits
Audrie Dollins Brodie Pierson Joe Katchka

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