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Meet Kayla Gladney of DawnG Media in Birmingham, Alabama

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Gladney.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
During my last semester of undergrad, I interned in Los Angeles at a talent agency to finish up my degree in Film Production. I wasn’t crazy about the city, especially living smack in the middle of Hollywood. But what I learned while I was there was really invaluable – I was capable of doing whatever I wanted, where ever I wanted.

At the end of my internship, I drove back the 3,000+ miles to Alabama dreaming all the while about how I could help move the film scene in Birmingham, about how I could use my skills to actually help people and tell valuable stories, how I could work for myself and give others opportunities that they didn’t have to drive across the country for.

Naturally, reality settled in once I graduated with no job or steady income waiting on the other side of the stage. I ended up working at a startup for a little while, and then I moved on to a news station. My experiences in those worlds were actually harrowing — enough to push me completely out of the workforce. But all things happen for a reason, and I can recognize now that God had to shake things up in order to get me to take that leap because I’m good for getting comfortable and settling.

So, in Septemeber of 2018, I left my job to start my own media production and digital marketing company called DawnG Media. My goal was to help the small business community in Birmingham, particularly those owners who looked like me, who oftentimes didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to navigate their own marketing in the digital world, and who were often left out of the scope of the larger ad agencies.

I’ve been fortunate enough to leverage my network from college to get me on the right track. I’m closing in on the end of my first year soon and though it has definitely been a difficult journey, it has been rewarding, worth it, and possibly because of my support system.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The first initial bumps came from being primarily a B2B company starting in the 4th quarter. Who’s bright idea was that? Needless to say, things were definitely slow in the beginning. But just as we were getting into the first quarter of the year where things would have possibly picked up, my mother suddenly fell ill and died.

It’s difficult to define the loss of a parent as a “struggle”. It was as difficult as you would imagine it was, especially since she was my #1 supporter. I really could do no wrong in her eyes, which was so comforting when imposter syndrome said I didn’t belong in any of the rooms or any of the circles I walked in.

Working for myself during this time was both a blessing and a curse. For one, if I wasn’t working, I wasn’t making money. I didn’t have PTO or sick time or bereavement. So, that time and opportunity were lost. But the blessing was that I didn’t have a timeline for getting myself together because I didn’t have to report to a job within a week.

I know that’s not the typical sales struggle you hear from a business owner, but that was the largest struggle I’ve faced so far.

Please tell us about DawnG Media.
DawnG Media is a media production and digital marketing company. We help business owners tell their brand stories visually so that they can reach their target market. We create visual content with videography and photography, but we don’t stop at production. We work with business owners to make sure they get the most out of their visual investment by offering web design and social media management services. So not only are we helping businesses tell their stories, we’re helping them get that story out to the world.

Since my background is in Film Production, we approach all of our digital marketing services from a visual perspective. I use my understanding of the psychology behind visual storytelling to inform strategy.

The natural educator in me also works to make people self-sufficient, so there is a huge educational and discovery piece to my business and my relationship with my clients that I’ve found makes our relationships stronger.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I definitely would not have started in the 4th quarter!

I can’t say there are any glaring regrets. I’m still in my trial and error phase; I don’t think that’ll ever really end. But there are some shifts in marketing and structure that I probably would have taken a bit earlier than I did.

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DawnG Media

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