Meet Janie Schmidt – a beautiful lady inside and out. Janie’s smile is contagious and fills any room. But beneath her sweet demeanor lies a keen businesswoman. When asked how she had the savvy and ambition to start her own marketing company Janie explained that she comes from a family of entrepreneurs with an unbelievable amount of energy. She learned from the best.
During college breaks Janie would come down from North Georgia to help out at her aunt’s and uncle’s Baytowne Wharf businesses in Sandestin: Moo La-la Ice Cream & Desserts and Blast Arcade and Laser Maze. When her relatives began construction of their next venture, Thrills Laser Tag and Arcade at Seascape Towne Center, they hired Janie’s then-boyfriend Josh Schmidt to be their general manager. Josh asked Janie to marry him, and that’s what brought her to Walton County permanently three years ago.
Janie graduated from Piedmont College with a degree in journalism. Her classes in communications equipped her for just about any job that came her way. She worked for NCAA.com and Turner Broadcasting in the editorial sports division while living in the Atlanta metro area. She enjoyed the pace of Atlanta. “There are great restaurants and always something to do in a big city,” she says. But she was ready for something different. The relaxed pace of this beach community was quite a change. “It’s a little slower here, but I like it.”
While searching for a job in her career field Janie volunteered at Dog Harmony, a local shelter. That’s where she found Finn – a black mixed-breed she calls her child. Janie eventually began planning events for Dog Harmony and worked on a new marketing plan for them. During one of these events she was introduced to a local marketing agency called The Hive Creative Consulting. The Hive hired her full time, where she worked on search engine optimization (SEO) for their clients. “It was a professional position focused on marketing. I learned a lot about the area by meeting people. I learned what it takes to market a business in this community.”
After about a year with The Hive, Janie’s innate entrepreneurship began to rise inside her. A little nudge from her godmother was all it took for her to take a leap of faith and start her own agency, Free Agent Marketing Company. She now helps her own clients with social media management, website design, and pay-per-click advertising campaigns.
What’s on Janie’s bucket list? “Well, I am only 25 years old, so my list is pretty small. I just want to be happy wherever I am. I am a ‘now’ sort of person. I don’t look too far into the future; I want to be content wherever I am. But I would love to see more of the world. Besides places in the US, I would love to go to Ireland, Greece, Australia and Japan.”
What advice can you give people your age who want to start their own businesses? “I think you just have to make it happen. If you don’t know how to do something, figure it out. Our generation has such an incredible amount of information available to us through the internet. If you decide to do something, just do it.”
Janie likes to sit on the beach and loves to spend time with friends and family. She is involved with her church and has fun playing Lacrosse with her husband. One of her most favorite things to do is to spend time with her dog Finn.