Business owner turns failures into success

When Starr Hall was forced to pull the plug on her San Luis Obispo-based company, SmartyVA, an online training program for virtual assistants who specialize in social media management, she turned her misfortune into a national news story and a learning experience for other entrepreneurs.

Hall started SmartyVA in 2009. After two years in business, the profits weren’t there to make keeping the business open a good idea, so in 2011 she called it quits.

In December, Hall responded to a query The New York Times sent out over the Internet. The newspaper was looking for business owners whose companies failed in 2011 because of a myriad of reasons brought on by the current state of the economy.

The article, “5 Businesses That Failed To Survive Trials of 2011,” featured business owners from various states who had been forced to shutter their enterprises.

“I didn’t hesitate to share my failure because people need to hear about it,” Hall said. “Obviously, the New York Times is a huge paper, and the response to the article has been almost overwhelming.”

Since the story came out, Hall said she has been inundated with requests for speaking engagements and lectures.

“You think the article is about failure, but it turns out that it’s really about success,” Hall said.

Aside from working as an international marketing consultant, Hall has a passion for working with startup companies. She has had many successes and some failures. However, Hall believes it’s not the fact that you have failed, it is what you do after that matters.

“I am going to be sharing my challenges and lessons that I’ve learned. I will also continue to work with start-up companies. I like to start companies and sell them. It’s just who I am,” Hall said.

Hall is currently working as a consultant and is in the process of putting together a webtv program that offers marketing advice and tips to business owners about how to grow their business.

The show will feature three segments weekly and include interviews with entrepreneurs from around the world who have learned from past mistakes and set backs and how they overcame them.