EntreCon: Entrepreneurship is the American Dream

Tim McHale is showing giving his "Crazy idea or sound plan?" presentation Friday morning at the Entrecon seminar. Tim is the chief revenue officer, Mobile Media.

Tim McHale knows his way around Madison Avenue.

With nearly 20 years in traditional marketing and more than a decade in interactive and marketing, McHale is considered an advertising guru.

Over the years, McHale has had a hand in planning commercials and serving more than 150 top-tier national brands from Procter and Gamble and McDonald’s to Anheuser-Busch and Nike.

His career and experience ran the gamut, starting as an intern at Oglivy & Mather, acting as media director at a number of Madison Avenue agencies and serving as chief media officer for Tribal DDB Worldwide.

Now as chief revenue officer of Mobile Media Summit and Mobile Media Xchange, one of the largest mobile media and advertising conference series in the world, McHale understands  what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

“It means being enterprising, it’s a way of thinking,” McHale told about 150 people in attendance at the second day of EntreCon Pensacola at the historic Rex Theatre in downtown Pensacola. “It’s wearing all hats, the epitome of the American Dream.”

Advertising, McHale said, is art that makes products and services amendable.

“You can’t communicate and educate without entertainment,” McHale said.

In today’s market, Madison Avenue is an outdated form. Advertising now is global.

“Look at it as the street of dreams,” he said.

McHale prides himself on being a part of clever, catchy ads that “brought the spice of life and entertainment into advertising.

During his presentation, McHale used video clips to showcase his work and pinpoint some quality ads.

Among his favorite and best work included the urban-centered, tongue-wagging “Whassup! iconic Budweiser campaign that won the 2000 Cannes advertising festival Grand Prix.

The spot became a quotable phenom and Budweiser’s stock spiked as a result.

“It won virtually every award imaginable,” McHale said.

Advertising, at its best, is about telling a story and getting the masses excited about something they already need and want, McHale said.

With today’s shift to the Internet, advertising is all about using the right tools to reach a targeted audience.

The Internet is one of the most powerful mediums available, and all a business needs is an Internet address.

It’s not about technology but what it can do to help people,” McHale said. “It’s about satisfying specific needs.”

McHale laid out blueprint for perspective business owners and entrepreneurs to follow.

The key, he said, is building solid relationships, surrounding yourself with quality people, trusting your instincts and standing by your convictions.

Pensacola entrepreneur Jibril Sulaiman, who attended both sessions of EntreCon, practices what McHale preaches.

He started out in a local market and carved out a niche market with his independent wireless stores. He followed his passion for phones and built a retail business, PayCell, , a technological solution for independent wireless retailers that allows them to accept refills from their customers even when the customer can’t get into the store.

Suliman said takes advantages of conferences like EntreCon to ask questions, make good contacts and share his story of entrepreneurship.

“You have to make sure you own your own story,” Suliman said. “Present your story, don’t let life hold you back and surround yourself with a strong base.”

McHale’s life-story took a tragic turn  during the pinnacle of his career that taught him lesson of adversity and perseverance.

In 2010, during the pinnacle of his career, a physical setback almost ended his life.

While jogging in an unfamiliar area, he slipped on a hill and rolled down a ravine, shattering his back.

In a coma for 12 days, he awoke to find himself paralyzed and uncertain about his future in marketing.

“I thought my career was over,” he said. “I imagined them rolling me in the nursing home and throwing away the key.”

But a friend reminded him that he was not done and promised to help him make a comeback.

They set up a website for support and help, touching him in a way that no one had ever done before.

“Life is hard, (stuff) happens, but don’t lose hope,” McHale said. “I never lost faith in what I did, but I lost hope in how I would do it. I’m more successful now than I ever was. You can do almost anything if you use your mind intelligently.”