Chris Campbell - Entrepreneur Extraordinaire
Think it’s difficult to run one successful business? Try operating two successful business that you started in the same year. 23-year-old Chris Campbell is a pro when it comes to launching a successful business and won the 2009 Outstanding Entrepreneurial Award from DePaul University. Take note of the keen advice from another one of Chicago’s Young Entrepreneur and learn more about his business ventures, Lakeshore Branding and GreenWerks.
Lakeshore Branding & GreenWerks
79 W. Monroe St., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
312-229-0038 (Lakeshore Branding), 312-345-1700 (GreenWerks)
CEO (GreenWerks) and SEO Specialist (Lakeshore Branding) – Chris Campbell
Start Date of Company - GreenWerks (Fall 2007) and Lakeshore Branding (Winter 2007)
How did you come up with the name of your company?
For GreenWerks, I was searching for a name that was not trademarked and would make it easy for potential clients to understand that we were a sustainable company. I also thought that we would incorporate a marketing campaign that Green does “Werk”, we never ended up using that in our marketing materials. Also, research has shown that brands that have a “k” sound are easier to remember.
For Lakeshore Branding, we wanted a name that was easy to spell and was associated with Chicago. We researched several names, and it was very difficult to find an available domain name that was broad enough as the internet marketing field evolves over the next few years. I think we made a great choice.
It has been shown that one's entrepreneurial ability is determined by these four attributes: initiative, decision-making, innovation and risk-taking. In which attribute are you the strongest and why?
My strongest quality would be initiative. The definition of “initiative” is “an introductory act or step; leading action,” which is sometimes the hardest part of starting and leading a business.
Why did you decide to open your businesses?
When I started my first business at 18, I did not understand the term entrepreneurship. Over the past few years as I have grown personally and professionally my passion entrepreneurship is undeniable. Besides the fact that I consider myself unemployable, I enjoy the freedom and running my businesses way too much.
What have you achieved with your company thus far?
GreenWerks has had tremendous growth over the past two years, we are on track to grow 300% this year to earn $1.2 million in revenue. We are also very proud of the fact that our staff has volunteered over 1000+ hours to the Chicago community. We are a carbon neutral company and have completed dozens of sustainable remodeling projects.
Lakeshore Branding has been in the “beta” stage the past two years as our team has been working to develop systems that enhance the customer experience and strengthen our service offering. We have recently completed our client “tool box” which allows them to submit requests, view and pay bills online, create new company emails and several other exciting new features on our website. Our developers have also developed a content management system for websites, so that our clients can easily edit their websites. We hope everyone enjoys the new website we launched for Lakeshore Branding a few weeks ago!
What has been difficult about running a business? What disappointments have you experienced since becoming a business owner?
I have had the opportunity to be part of four startups and every business has its own set of challenges and strengths. However, if you are able to work through those lows, then the highs can be some of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.
What advice do you have for aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. To run a business, it takes ambition, dedication and persistence. Having these qualities is the common thread I find among many of my fellow business owners. My advice would to build a strong foundation for yourself before you launch your business. This can come in many forms depending on your business. You can build up your financial resources, business contacts and networks or obtain moral support from your family and friends. In many cases, you need a combination of all of these.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't".