A fearlessly accelerating leader, and a motivated and immensely experienced entrepreneur, Cara Scharf is a rare blend of courage, spirit, and wisdom. She is the President and Founder of a New York-based advertising agency, ‘Fearless Media’ that offers complete marketing solutions to their clients- specializing in entertainment, consumer electronics, video games, and technology verticals. Prior to Fearless Media, she worked as Executive Vice President at another agency where she successfully led the agency’s growth and business development, by boosting the company’s revenue from 10 million to 50 million USD. Walking away from the agency was a huge decision for her. She says, “I’d risen to the highest level I could with that firm, but I found myself feeling unsatisfied and unhappy. Leaving was a huge decision, but a quick one. I’ve never looked back.”
Thus was born Fearless Media in 2009. In the initial two years of establishing and growing her business, Cara was pretty much working at all hours. While it was backbreaking, it wasn’t enough to put down Cara’s belief and enthusiasm. Led by her sanguinity, Cara became a successful businesswoman. She was recognized as the ‘Professional Woman of the Year’ by the National Association of Professional Women in 2014, and most recently she was named the ‘Marketing & Advertising Entrepreneur of the Year’ by M&A Global Awards 2018. Cara’s list of accomplishments doesn’t end here. She has been honored with numerous awards throughout her ongoing journey including Corporate Excellence Awards of 2018, Clutch Awards for leading media buying agency NYC and top ad agencies, CV Executive Award for Most Innovative Marketing and Advertising Executive Northeast 2017 and many others. Talking about what she learned in the process, she shares, “it’s exhausting at times, but it also provides the benefit of not really giving you a lot of time to worry about things, like second-guessing whether it will work. You’re in the middle of it, you’re doing it and it is working. Once you are able to make the mental transition from working as an employee to becoming a small business entrepreneur, you also begin to move to make strategic decisions rather than living moment to moment. It happens gradually, but is one of the most rewarding things I have experienced.”
“We like to think hard, move fast, and solve problems to ensure success,” says Cara Scharf, President and Founder, Fearless Media.
Cara also believes that the amount of success you achieve as a business person depends heavily on the kind of people you hire. She states, “My industry, and really all industries that media and advertising touch, moves so much faster today than even two years ago. You can’t know everything yourself. You need to hire skills for today and aptitude for tomorrow. It’s crucial to hire smarter people than yourself. It’s scary sometimes, but if I’m the smartest person in the room, I’m not only bored, I’m helping neither my clients nor my company.”
Along with her hardworking and dedicated team, Cara works with their clients to develop marketing strategies, execute campaigns, and drive revenue by creating integrated solutions and communication across all media. Everything at Fearless Media begins with digital at its core. Their proprietary, ‘customized analytics dashboard’ gives the brand management team the exact data they need to make informed decisions. As their end focus is on maximizing the return on investment of their clients, they tie everything back to ROI to help their clients justify every cost up the ladder. No wonder their campaigns have won 16 awards in the past year alone. Cara asserts, “We’re here to build something special with our clients. Our proven combination of strategy, planning, and overall innovation enables our clients to be Fearless.”
Cara is indeed a valuable advisor for any organization seeking to develop a marketing campaign or increasing its digital presence. She further adds, “Your company has to move fast. I know because we help grow companies like yours to turbo-charge their digital marketing strategy and creative execution. By marrying media with creative, establishing an exceptionally integrated approach, and building a team of relentlessly curious marketers, we have cultivated a Fearless machine that works hard to drive revenue for our clients. We only take on a small group of clients at one time to ensure performance, provide best in class service, and drive ROI. Also, we focus on specific categories so we became experts at understanding what we do.”
Cara Scharf, President & Founder, Fearless Media.
Want to know how to contain the ‘fear’?
Cara’s advice to all those contemplating to start their own business someday is not just inspiring but something that we all should tie a knot of, “You can think of a thousand reasons not to take the leap, but the truth is that you need to follow your instincts. If you are sitting in a job somewhere and are unhappy, that’s a horrible feeling to come to day after day. If you know in your heart that you can do what you are doing better on your own, or that you want to be doing something completely different, go do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect to succeed and if you give it your best, the odds are very good that it will go great. You don’t need confidence to start, you need guts. The confidence comes with knowing you have been able to beat all the odds. Only 0.1% of the founders in advertising are female. That is what I think about if I start to doubt my abilities. I am here 10 years later.”
These words reveal the kind of faith she has in herself and more importantly the kind of leader she is. However, even after all this success, she has to deal with the same long glances and deep sighs that every woman does in the course of their careers. She says, “One of the most difficult issues women face is that people don’t always take you seriously. If I am running a successful business for almost 10 years now -that should mean something.”
And of course, it does in many-many ways.
You don’t need confidence to start, you need guts. The confidence comes with knowing you have been able to beat all the odds.