What happens when two creative entrepreneurs combine their experience and talents to launch a marketing company focused on supporting small businesses? They form RSP LLC.
MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Co-Owners Jason Pinette, Chief Marketing Officer (pictured right), and Daniel Brownstein, Chief Content Officer (pictured left), to learn more about how and why they launched their startup.
NAN: Tell us a little about your experience and how it’s gotten you to where you are now.
JASON PINETTE: I joined the military when I was 21. I was enlisted for about 13 years. I found my voice as a leader and learned a lot from working in a melting pot of people who weren’t from Connecticut, where I was born and raised.
When I got out, I was in my 30s and living in the Greater Seattle area. I had experience relevant to the military but, like most veterans, I wasn’t sure about my next stage. In the military, I’d worked in supply and logistics, but I didn’t want to do that was a civilian. I wanted to do something more.
I knew I needed additional experience. I’d always enjoyed the Geek Squad brand provided by Best Buy, so I applied for a position. I told the hiring manager about my military experience and convinced her to bring me on in a management role, which I did for a few years.
But I was inspired to do more. I had learned a lot about marketing strategies and running a business. Around that time, I became friendly with the owner of a nearby computer repair shop. One thing led to another, and I ended up buying his business.
Eventually, I recognized how the industry was changing, so I sold the computer repair shop and around 2014, I moved back to Connecticut. I had grown up here and I felt the state offered better programs for my daughter, who is on the autism spectrum.
NAN: Daniel, what experience are you bringing to RSP?
DANIEL BROWNSTEIN: I’ve always been driven by my creative mind but it took me a while to find my place in life. I went to cooking school, which I enjoyed, but it wasn’t a passion. So, I kept trying to figure out what really drives me.
I’ve always loved creating visuals. One day, it just hit me that I should follow that passion to create cinema. I got a broadcasting certificate, learned some basics, and continued to build my skillset.
NAN: How did you two come together?
JASON: I met Daniel when I was CEO at Clovercrest Media Group, which I helped co-found. At the time, he was going to broadcasting school and people were talking about his storytelling skills. When we met, we just clicked. Clovercrest brought him in as our Video Director. Eventually, we both transitioned out of that company and decided to combine my background in marketing and business management with Daniel’s eye for the creative and launch our own marketing agency and in-house production studio.
NAN: How did you find your niche?
DANIEL: It’s an important time right now for businesses like ours to help other small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how changes in the economy can put a company out of business because they’re not prepared for things like this to happen.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we began our business last year, right before this pandemic hit, because we’ve been able to establish ourselves as marketers and content creators. We know what we can offer and we offer it at a fair price. And because of that, small businesses can afford our services.
We’re a couple of local guys who care about small businesses—those are the ones that need our help more now than ever. We focus on small businesses because that’s our home, that’s our community. And we want to see small businesses thrive the same way we’re trying to thrive.
JASON: Our clientele is startups, entrepreneurs, small businesses, content creators, and podcasters, who we help by creating and/or managing their marketing strategies and video production.
I uniquely understand the struggles of a small business because I’ve lived them. Many small businesses don’t have the time to focus on marketing or the budget to hire somebody to do social media, advertising, and creative commercials. Those were always the things I needed but didn’t have time to do.
NAN: As a marketing company, how are you marketing?
JASON: As storytellers, we also like getting out there to tell our own story—which is why we reached out to IDH. We do some public speaking. For example, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia offers an international marketing class. They asked us to present, so each semester we prepare materials and talk about marketing in the United States.
We also do some old-school guerrilla marketing—but it’s modernized. It’s an action speak louder than words approach. We pinpoint businesses we love and create content for them in a commercial form for free. It shows people and other businesses what we can do as a company. And it shows our content marketing skill level and strategy.
NAN: Any advice for others starting out?
DANIEL: Taking the leap to start a business is one of the most challenging yet rewarding mental commitments you can embark on. Prepare your mind by situating yourself as a whole. Proactively align a positive spirit and mental clarity, so once the challenges of entrepreneurship begin, you’re living in the moment and solutions are easier to find.
JASON: As a marketer, I think Nike’s “Just do it” campaign was brilliant. It’s what I would tell any aspiring entrepreneur. You can talk about it, you can dream about it, but the moment you do it, you change your life.
And don’t be afraid to fail. I failed a lot. This is my third business. But I’ve always tried to stay on my path to bring me to that next level. So, my best advice is to just go out there and do it. Work hard, put in the time and the effort, and you will find success.