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The Unintended Journey, A Founder’s Story with Chad David Shearer

Over the last sixteen years, Chad David Shearer has developed Caren West PR into a regular fixture on the music festival scene, which ably complements the lifestyle and entertainment public relations division.
In addition to serving as the firm’s co-founder and Creative Director, Shearer has served as the PR project leader for many of CWPR’s music-based clients. Past projects include Relentless Beats, Imagine Music Festival, the Frye Company, Big Night Out, Phoenix Lights Festival, Goldrush Music Festival, Decadence, DUSK music festival, Seismic Dance Event, Camp Bisco, Project Pabst, Gem & Jam, CRUSH, BOO!, Mad Decent Block Party, Wildwood Revival, Euphoria Music Festival, Global Dance Festival, TomorrowWorld, Dad’s Garage Theatre, Wild Heaven Craft, and more.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up? 
I was raised in Albany, NY, by two very loving and giving parents, who in retrospect probably passed along their entrepreneurial leanings to me. It did not pass along to my sister, however.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur? 
After school I found that I felt held back by my creative ambition and the directives of the company I was working for. Naively, I thought I could execute better and it took me a while to understand better, which led me to public relations and may current business partner. I stumbled into current venture as a matter of opportunity. At the time (2005), my soon-to-be business partner’s company was going through some changes, and she was unsure of her path, and at the time, I was a freelance graphic designer with limited opportunities. Her previous company had tapped me to supplement their client needs with graphic design projects, so we had familiarity with how we work together. Having worked together on these projects, I knew there was a niche and a need to create a house that would handle PR and design all under one roof. I pitched her the idea, and she thought it was worth the shot. Sixteen years later, and we are still going.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder? 
Have passion, without it you are just going through the motions with anything you do in life. That is why when I speak to hungry startups, I encourage them to get out to explore the various disciplines out there. It is not what popular culture has made out to be. Starting your own gig is long hours, very stressful, and depending on the project, not always profitable. That being said, if you are passionate about what you are doing and you are living comfortably, I’d say you can do just about anything. Also, learn how to slow down and make sure what you are working on is correct. The mistakes I’ve made in my career stem from trying to do too much at once and not taking time to focus.
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