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Meet our CEO and Founder Shavaughn Baker

We are super excited to have the opportunity to sit down with our CEO and Founder of The Corporate Concierge Group, Shavaughn Baker. We learn about Shavaughn's entrepreneurial journey, prior to launching The Corporate Concierge Group. Readers will come to know what drives the face behind the brand, and how it aligns with The Corporate Concierge Group's overall mission. We'll also discuss our new entrepreneur membership program, OakSTART. This is a 3 part, transcribed interview which we'll update to our blog over the next three days.

Part One

K.E.: Tells us a little bit about yourself

S.B: My name is Shavaughn Baker. I am from the Bay Area, an Oakland native. I’m a sports fanatic (Generally, I root for all Bay Area teams!). I love Basketball, Football, Boxing, I only watch Tennis to see the Williams sisters compete.

I’m a “people person”. I know it sounds cliché however, I truly enjoy the company of great people and having thought provoking conversations. I love meeting unique individuals and hearing their stories and backgrounds, while learning new perspectives.

I enjoy hiking (laughs hysterically) nah let me stop. I tried hiking once and got lost from our group with another person for 30 minutes-that was it for me with hiking.

I am however, very passionate about helping people, especially when it comes to achieving their goals. I know how important it is to have someone that not only believes in your potential, but is willing to help you reach it. That’s truly a blessing.

KE: What role do you work in at The Corporate Concierge Group?

SB: I’m the CEO and Founder of The Corporate Concierge Group.

KE: The Corporate Concierge isn’t your first business correct?

SB: No, The Corporate Concierge Group is my second business.

KE: What kind of startup was it and what made you start the first company?

SB: I started my first business for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, I’m a huge believer in honing in on your strengths and skills set, while finding ways to monetize those assets. That is your greatest power. At the time, I had worked in finance for over a decade. I was searching for new ways to transfer my skills, and background in finance to earn a decent salary.

I felt like I had reached this glass ceiling, which led to me being pretty frustrated with the lack of opportunities available for upward mobility within the companies I worked for. In addition to that, the banking industry became extremely “volatile” once the economic crisis hit in 2008. I was unfortunately faced with several layoffs over the years due to government regulations, which resulted in companies having to downsize or close altogether.

That’s where the idea came from to start my first company.

My first company was an outsourcing solutions company within the financial services industry. I decided to launch my own business, while working a 9-5. I wasn’t in a position to quit my job and jump into entrepreneurship full time. I had bills to pay and no support system to help “carry me” until my “dream” took off, so I had to figure out how to make it work, while working a full time job.

KE: Can you elaborate a little more on your first business? What exactly did the company do?

SB: Financial institutions often use companies to outsource various functions from insurance services, to operational related tasks. My company focused on operations consulting, with the goal of facilitating in helping the organizations meet and or exceed their goals. I worked primarily with mortgage companies, brokerages and financial institutions. I had a strong background working in both sales and operations so I figured it was an “easy” transition to create services that focused on those areas.

I learned that the “journey” was really an “informal” educational program with various “professors” that came in the form of hard lessons, peaks of “highs and lows” advice, people, and processes.

K.E. What’s the one thing you knew going in that would be your greatest challenge with starting your business?

S.B. First, I didn’t have a lot of money to get started. I had to be resourceful and use what resources I had to get started. If I “waited” to have everything in place, I would’ve never gotten started. One thing I knew going in was the ins- and outs of the industry, so this wasn’t “unfamiliar territory”.

What I didn’t know was how to start a successful business in the financial services industry. I began researching for hours, days, and months how to start and launch a successful company. I personally do not come from a family with a history of entrepreneurship which meant, I couldn’t lean on my network to provide resources, expert advice nor capital. I did not have any mentors to guide me through the process of building a business. I was definitely on my own.

When you don’t have a “blueprint”, you pretty much try to figure things out along the way.

K.E. : Explain what your journey was like as a new business owner.

SB: I learned that the “journey” was really an “informal” educational program with various “professors” that came in the form of hard lessons, peaks of “highs and lows” advice, people, and processes. During this time period, you are really stretched beyond limits, which essentially attributes towards growth in both your personal life and business.

This extensive learning period, along with “hands on” experience, definitely helped shaped me as a person overall, not just as business woman. I realize now that my earliest days of entrepreneurship, coupled with my years working, only contributed greatly to this journey.

KE: What were some of the challenges you faced as an entrepreneur.

SB: Oh boy where do I begin? Let’s see… Attracting and retaining customers.

Attracting and retaining customers is critical to generating sales and growing sustainable businesses.

I figured, it would be an “easy” transition into self-employment because I was “already familiar” with the banking industry for 10 years and had a sales background, so marketing shouldn’t be a problem.

Lord, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Attracting customers was one of my biggest challenges when I first started.

When you don’t have a “blueprint”, you pretty much try to figure things out along the way.

I learned rather quickly that all methods and strategies are not created equal. Everyone’s business is different and each company has its own unique offerings, which meant, I needed to find an approach that worked best for my business. I literally purchased webinars, bought books, read articles of various strategies only to come up short.

Why? Because I didn’t realize that number one who was my target audience. Number two, I didn’t understand that my business was considered to be a “niche” market which meant my target market was smaller and required a unique strategy for sourcing customers.

There are various methods and strategies used to attract and retain customers, conducting market analysis is one of them. This was definitely a stepped I missed very early on that could’ve saved me time and money.


KE: How did you go from running an outsourcing solutions company to launching The Corporate Concierge Group?

SB: I remember one day, I was sitting and thinking to myself “I wish there was a single source, entity or platform that walks you through the steps of launching a business, depending on your industry of choice”.

It was then I decided that I wanted to launch a brand that served as an informational resource. Entrepreneurs need solutions and strategies that makes sense for their specific business needs and I was inspired to do just that. That’s when the idea came to me to start blogging about my personal experiences.

I remember in the beginning, I would follow all of the “business experts” and or “coaches (I swear everyone was a ‘business coach on Instagram back in 2016). I noticed that a lot of the info shared was vague feedback, or the so-called “influencer” would demand that people “pay them for their time” rather than answer simple business related questions. I saw more “motivational quotes” from these “influencers” with no proof of a track record of truly “influencing anyone”.

I could see the frustration of new business owners who were seeking answers. I remember being in that space where I too needed help. I wanted to provide a space where an entrepreneur could come to my social pages or website and find the answers to their questions. I created most of my content based on my personal experiences, as well as the conversations I found online.

As someone who was “in the trenches”, I know that entrepreneurs don’t need another “quote”, or webinars with broad information and brunches which seems to be popular amongst the “online entrepreneur community”.

Entrepreneurs need real solutions and strategies that applies to whatever stage they’re at in their business, and that’s what we aim to do with our company. It was very much about placing ourselves in the shoes of those who can relate to the struggles of starting a business.

Eventually I started creating step-by-step e-books, with the goal of educating entrepreneurs on the proper steps to implement in their business. I knew that there were people out there with limited resources, along with great business ideas, but may be facing the same challenges I was with implementing those ideas. Voila, the birth of The Corporate Concierge Group!

KE: What was the process like in terms of creating e-books? Walk us through the steps of creating the e-books, from concept to the finished product.

SB: Baaaaby, it was a lot of work let me tell you! I’ve written over 25 books covering various topics from how to start a food business to creating effective email marketing strategies for e-commerce businesses. I went on to host online workshops and seminars.

Most of the content and or ideas came from blog posts I had already written, to genuine curiosity about certain business topics, including industries. As previously mentioned, I love learning, so researching information, while absorbing it, then educating others on what I learned was an incredibly tedious, but rewarding process.

KE: Do you still continue to write business educational e-books?

SB: No, I haven’t wri