Running a Funky One-Woman Show
By Kathryn Walsh | Photography by Alice G. Patterson
Amanda Funk knows how radically a plan can change. Before she started her own marketing firm, The Funk & Jackson Group, the Cortland native planned to become a homicide detective.
But after her now-husband proposed while she was working toward a criminal justice degree, she rethought her goals.
“Pretty early on, we had that conversation about having a family,” Amanda said. “I decided it was not best to have a murder book on the coffee table, or to miss chorus concerts, or any of those things that kids really expect you to show up for.”
She doesn’t miss any concerts now, thanks to the flexibility of owning her own business. Amanda is able to balance the needs of her clients with the needs of her husband and two children, now ages 5 and 8.
“I’ve specifically built my business in a way that supports my family,” she said. “I find that those businesses that are built for business and business only — sadly, they’re not sustainable because life happens. You need to build that flexibility, especially when you’re a ‘momtrepreneur.’”
The Funk & Jackson Group is essentially a one-woman show, although Amanda does employ three subcontractors. Her company’s name — particularly the “& Jackson” portion — is a holdover from an original partnership with a high school friend, who later decided day-to-day business operations weren’t for him.
Helping other small businesses succeed and flourish is Amanda’s speciality. The Funk & Jackson Group provides a wide range of marketing services, like developing social media and email marketing strategies. It’s her job to fill in the blanks, Amanda said.
“I look at companies and I see what’s missing in their marketing. So many small businesses think marketing is advertising, but it’s a much broader category,” Amanda said. She explained that marketing answers the question: “What have you done to make sure your advertising is going to work, and are you prepared for when it does?”
She works primarily with local businesses, both because it allows her to meet clients face-to-face and because she’s passionate about supporting the community.
“The thing that I absolutely love about my business the most is watching the ripple effect of its impact,” she said. “If I support business A, they go on to do business with these other 10 businesses, and those businesses go on to do business with another 50 businesses. It’s actually enriching Central New York as a whole.”
She estimates that 80 percent of her clients are women, and that’s no coincidence.
“My biggest passion is helping women self-advocate when it comes to their own businesses,” she said. “I find that so many women have been trained to not value themselves appropriately.”
That’s part of the reason Amanda is in the process of becoming a certified life coach. She’d like to offer an even broader range of services, using what she describes as a “holistic approach” to address both the professional and the personal. Small business owners tend to let their businesses and personal lives intertwine, she said, so when problems arise in one area, they have the potential to knock everything off-kilter.
Amanda has big plans for the future, including hiring more employees and working to develop the Cortland community. And, of course, she’s going to keep doing what she loves: helping her clients meet their goals.
She doesn’t regret changing her career path, especially when she hears from grateful clients.
“Honestly, it’s getting that phone call where someone calls me and says, ‘You know what, I didn’t think it was going to work, but that was the best quarter we’ve ever had,’” Amanda said with a smile. “I get those calls a couple times a week, and I love it.” SWM
Women Business Opportunities Connections (WBOC) is a non-profit organization that has been supporting the Syracuse and CNY area for more than 20 years. To become a member, visit wboconnection.org or follow the organization on Twitter at @WBOConnection. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a signature sponsor of the WBOC.