Beth Cochran is the co-founder and CEO of Wired PR, a full-service agency specializing in tech and business-to-business public relations. She’s also the founder of SuccessLab, a mastermind group for entrepreneurs.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I’m a native Phoenician. I moved around a bit – a year in California and four months in NYC, but always returned.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I studied journalism at ASU at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I’ve always been intrigued by entrepreneurship, but my true obsession for it didn’t begin until I was at ASU writing for the State Press, the college newspaper. I covered business and every opportunity I had, I would seek out stories about student entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurial initiatives that were just starting to percolate at ASU. I spent a lot of time at the W.P. Carey School of Business, talking to students and faculty who were a part of the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative. From that point on, I knew I would one day have my own business . . . I just didn’t know what that looked like yet.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
I wish I had a fun “hustler-since-the-day-I-was-born” story, but that wasn’t quite my path. I suppose my first venture was selling used items on eBay. That—combined with working part-time and an intrigue with the stock market—is how I paid for college.
How did you come up with the idea for Wired PR?
It was more of a natural progression. I went from writing for The Arizona Republic to working at a local PR agency. After a couple of years there, I couldn’t fight that urge I’d had to one day have my own business. I left that agency and started Wired PR with a couple of clients. That was in 2008. I’ve since joined forces with an amazing business partner, Kristin Hege, and the rest is history.
What was the biggest challenge in executing this idea?
The biggest challenge was mustering up enough guts to actually leave the “security” of a paid job and venture out on my own. As we’ve grown there’s been a ton of other challenges along the way: some expected, most unexpected. But that’s part of the thrill of entrepreneurship.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
I love that no two days are the same. Every day presents a new challenge and learning opportunity. And the fact that you really are the director of your own destiny is a pretty empowering and motivating feeling.
How did you come up with the idea for SuccessLab?
SuccessLab rose out of a personal need. I wanted to join an entrepreneurial group, and the one I had my eye on had a minimum revenue threshold that my business hadn’t quite reached yet. I felt like every business owner should have access to something like that—the support of peers and mentors—especially those striving to reach that next level in revenue. I kicked the idea of starting a mastermind group around to a few other entrepreneurs and they were looking for something similar, so we launched with our first meeting, and it has grown since. It’s morphed somewhat over the years as I’ve discovered what worked and what didn’t, but it’s still about having a trusted place to share with peers, who become somewhat like your advisory board. We discuss “biz hacks” and challenges we may be experiencing, then collectively come up with solutions. At the end, we leave with an action item that we are held accountable for completing.
What are your goals for the future with SuccessLab?
I’d love for more groups to launch in Phoenix as the need arises, and possibly get mentors involved or local businesses to host SuccessLab groups for meeting spaces. I want it to remain a resource for entrepreneurs who can come together in a safe place to talk candidly about their challenges and victories, and be held accountable for leveling up. I also want to continue to highlight amazing entrepreneurs locally and beyond on The SuccessLab Podcast in hopes of helping and motivating other founders.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
While there is a lot being done here, and many past milestones to celebrate, in many ways it still feels like a clean slate. There’s a lot of opportunity to shape the future of Arizona and to leave a legacy.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
How spread out everything is. I wish we were more “walkable,” though the weather doesn’t always accommodate that.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
I think a lot cities struggle with this, but it would be great to see more in the way of sustainability. And development of cultural and advanced educational programs.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
My house! I have my weird favorites that I make. Brunch is another story. There are so many great spots in Phoenix.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Pita Jungle or Flower Child.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
This is tough. A go-to is Pita Jungle or True Food. If it’s a special occasion (or ramen night) then I’d have to say Posh.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
Well, we operate out of CO+HOOTS, and I’ve been hard pressed to find another favorite.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
Drink wise, Bitter and Twisted is pretty amazing, but business meetings are great at Sip or The Henry. I always seem to run into someone I know there and end up building a new connection.
Image by Fabulous Arizona.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
Having grown up here, there are so many. One that comes to mind was when I got to shake Dan Majerle’s hand. When I was little I used be a pretty serious Suns fan. I had the Thunder Dan rubber band I used to wear around my wrist religiously. One night I was with my parents at Marjerle’s in downtown Phoenix and who happened to venture in? The man himself. I shook his hand and vowed never to wash that hand again (that didn’t last long, luckily). Another time that really stands out for me was during my first year of business when I got involved with PodCamp AZ and started going to Gangplank fairly regularly. While it’s not one specific memory, that time was just so impactful on my life—the friendships I would form and the direction my business would take.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
A common misconception is we don’t have cool, eclectic things here or a diverse culture – both of which are growing every day.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Don’t eat yellow snow. Oh, wait . . . that doesn’t apply here. Get involved and get outdoors. To really experience the true character and beauty of this great state, you have to get to know the people here and take time to enjoy the varied climates and scenery.