Lelna Desta has created a road for herself by following and developing her technical and soft skills.
She is the founder of A&G consulting, a marketing analytics firm she began after completing her MBA.
In this feature, we catch up with Lelna and learn about her about her journey into entrepreneurship.
From engineering to MBA, and A&G Consulting
Lelna Desta comes from a diverse background in engineering and business. After receiving her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, she worked at Medtronic as a quality engineer for several years. Her original passion to help people was embedded in her desire to go to medical school. However, through the many organizational leadership roles she had taken she learned that there is more than one way to help people. Diving deeper into management, she completed her master's degree in business administration and a certification in business analytics from the University of St. Thomas.
Following graduate school, while working full time as a senior market research analyst, she pursued her own venture by starting her own consulting firm, A&G Consulting. Her company is proudly named after her mother, Almaz, and her father, Getahun, who paved the way for her success by working hard as Ethiopian immigrants in the U.S.
As a consultant, Lelna wants to help small business owners develop the strategies, structures, and systems they need to obtain stability, higher financial return and ultimately “achieve greatness.”
Continue below for her tips to fellow Mogul Millennials about life and career.
Marketing analytics and strategy
“The world we live in today is exploding with data. From the devices around us such as our phones, smartwatches, and computers to the apps and credit cards we use to buy any product, businesses are interacting with our data on a regular basis.
Educational programs are playing catch up to train professionals to deal with the amount of data a business collects. Marketing analytics allows us to understand the needs of our customers, to analyze feedback that can be collected in different digital platforms, to research competitors, to make decisions based on real-time data, etc.
My advice, as you pursue your own side hustle don’t be afraid of data. If you can use data to create strategies, you will get a higher return. If you aren’t the data guru in your business, that’s okay. Just make sure you have a team member that is.”
Beginners take note
“It has been a long-time dream of mine to own my own business. However, I did not know how I can be held accountable for this dream. Working with my business and personal coach, Todd Buterbaugh, has been extremely helpful.
Starting off as a passionate entrepreneur can easily burn you out unless you set your business up in a way that works best for you. I was fortunate that I came across Todd early on when I started my business. His coaching sessions have allowed me to learn a lot about myself and take the necessary steps to set up the foundation of my business.”
Managing corporate America and a side hustle
“My job in the corporate world allows me to work with data and present the voice of the customer. I am continuously learning and developing my skills. Loving my job and my team allows me to get up every day and continue to deliver on my goals. Consulting, as a side hustle, allows me to connect with small business owners and help them think through the details of their business. Both jobs give me a different type of rush but both jobs allow me to do what I am passionate about: to help people.”
What you need to succeed
- Planning: The Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt allows me to plan my goals for the year as related to my job, my business, my health, my growth, etc. It allows me to effectively plan my calendar and focus each day on accomplishing tasks that will help me accomplish my goals.
- Being mindful of my limits. Although it has been tough, I am learning how to say “no” to activities that push my limits. I am mindful of my health and my well being so that I do not reach a point of burning out.
- Reflecting constantly allows me to learn about myself and understand my limitations.
- Being open to learn new ways of accomplishing something. I am not stuck in my way and if I can learn a new way of thinking or a new technique I am open to try the idea.
Tips for new entrepreneurs
1) If you are able, get a business coach that will help you take the necessary leap to start your business off correctly.
2) Befriend the data around you (social media data, transnational data, financial/operational data). It will tell you a lot about the stability and opportunity of your business.
3) Set SMART goals for your business. Breakdown your annual goals to quarterly (maybe monthly) goals that you can hold yourself accountable for.
4) Don’t get lost in your passion. You will burn a fuse if you don’t take the time to breathe and reflect on your own well being.