We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Ferngren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cynthia, how do you think about risk?
I spent the first 10 years of my career working in New York, which is where I grew up. I can remember the moment I decided to take the biggest risk of my life. I was working on a new business pitch and was asked to put a slide together of my personal life. There I stood staring at this blank PowerPoint slide, I had nothing to put on it. I had no hobbies, or interests, or really anything but work going on in my life. I decided at that moment to change it. I quit my job, sold my house, and moved to California with nothing but 7 suitcases, with the mission of finding my passion and my purpose in life. As a result of this quest, I have taken many risks, I have gotten certified in diving, learned to race sailboats, spoken in front of hundreds of people, hiked Yosemite, gone beekeeping in New Zealand, and started 3 companies, including Cynthia Ferngren Consulting, where I help startups start their companies. I believe that what holds us back from taking risks in the first place is fear. In order to get yourself beyond the fear, the want needs to be greater than the fear, and that starts with purpose. So figuring out why you want to do something, and how you want to feel after accomplishing it is the key to getting yourself past your comfort zone. I can remember when I was trying to decide whether to leave NY and everything I had ever know, for California. I sat in my backyard with my father and he looked at me and said, “It is about odds, you have a 50/50 shot if you go for it, You have a 100% shot of being miserable if you stay exactly where you are.” That was all I needed to hear, That made it simple. Do something different and get a different result, or stay the same and stay stuck. I have applied this same philosophy to my business. I work with startups for a living. In working with them, I help them get out of their comfort zone and create a safe space for them to feel vulnerable. For it is the space outside your comfort zone where true genius happens. So often we are trying so hard to adapt our business to be a solution for everyone because we are afraid to put a stake in the ground and stand for something specific. What often happens, is that you can then end up standing for nothing. I work with my Clients to feel brave enough to stand out and get specific with who their audience niche is and how we can connect with them in an authentic and meaningful way. My goal is to allow my Clients to feel brave enough to be perfectly themselves and stand in the light and go for it. Because really why not me? why not you? why not any of us? It is all possible if we allow ourselves to make decisions based on possibility.
What should our readers know about your business?
Cynthia Ferngren Consulting, CFC, is an outsourced CMO firm that bridges the gap between the expensive full-time senior-level marketing professional and the day-to-day team, providing both flexibility and value. We work to lead our clients and provide the necessary leadership and expertise to start, scale, and grow their businesses. What makes CFC unique versus other marketing consulting firms is that our process is grounded in data and market research. We conduct comprehensive audience research to identify the insights, emotional levers, and potential barriers to entry. This said all of our recommendations are based on target audience insights. Prior to starting CFC, I started a digital marketing firm about seven years ago, which focused on execution. What I realized through the experience was that clients really needed help with the upfront strategic work. They needed to uncover who their key audience was, where to find them, and how to connect with them. Once they had a roadmap the execution became easy, and cost-effective, as there was less trial and error. Once I realized this, I pivoted and formed what is now CFC, which was four years ago. The journey has been one of the greatest in my life, but also one of the greatest risks in my entire life. When I started, I went all-in and self-funded my own company. It is scary when you wake up in year two and realize that you no longer have savings to lean on, and you have to figure out a way to make it work. However, I think that is what has allowed me to create such deep relationships with my clients. The fact that I understand the journey as an entrepreneur gives them confidence in me. I get the sleepless nights, I get how it feels to take a bet on yourself and not win the first time. I also know that doesn’t mean you give up, it means you pivot and keep going. It is that determination and understanding that makes Clients feel safe in trusting their company to me. I treat it as if it were my own and that is what makes CFC special.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA has so much to offer. I love this city and its diversity. One of my favorite places to go is Angles National Forest. The fact that I can hike in a national park every weekend and see vistas of the entire city is incomparable. I also love the westside for its beaches and love spending my weekend at the beach in Santa Monica. I love to do stand up paddle boarding in Marina Del Rey. For culture, I love to go to the museums. I think the Getty and the Getty Villa are two of my favorites, as they both have such incredible grounds. You can pack a picnic and spend the afternoon at the Getty, taking in the vistas and the art. For music, there is a blues club in Santa Monica that I love called Harvelle’s. I love this place and the live music there. I also love to take a drive up PCH and spend the day at ZUMA beach and then for dinner on the way home stop at the Reel Inn for seafood, which is a great seafood place that has a casual grab and go vibe to it on the way home.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would dedicate my shoutout to my ride or die friends. Those are the people who will celebrate your wins and also be there to build you back up when you fall. They are the ones that make you feel perfect, just as you are, and allow you to feel brave enough to go beyond your comfort zone and take the big risks in life. I have a couple of those folks in my life and if it were not for their support, I probably would have given up somewhere along the way.