Craig Fuller | Crain's San Diego

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Craig Fuller

Background:  

San Diego-based advertising and branding agency Greenhaus specializes in “place-making,” or helping clients make consumers feel connected to their place. The agency works with clients in real estate and hospitality. President Craig Fuller, who began as the creative director of a PR firm and owned his own graphic design studio, co-founded Greenhaus 20 years ago with partner Beth Callender, who recently sold her stake in the company.

The Mistake:

I wish I knew how to carry forward my passions from childhood.

If I had realized earlier how to take the things I was naturally interested in and had a talent for and understood how to integrate it and deliver it in some level, I could have advanced my career more rapidly.

Everything that’s happened in my life, I’ve sort of fallen into and it’s been sort of a coincidence. What I would have done different is realized a career earlier where all the different things that I was interested in as a child – art, architecture, product design, interior décor, landscape architecture and urban design – could come into play.

I ended up going to art school, and after, had to figure out what to do. But I could have advanced my career more rapidly if I had a sense of what the commercial world could offer. Instead of wandering around for the first 15 to 20 years, I would have pursued it in college, and right out of college, and I would have had a longer career doing what I’m actually good at.

I didn’t know anybody in design, advertising or marketing growing up. But I should have read books and figured it out on my own.

I wish I knew how to carry forward my passions from childhood.

The Lesson:

Don’t accept stereotypical ideas of what you can do in the world.

If you want to get somewhere in a forceful and efficient way, you need to figure out who you are and what you love in a way that can be monetized in the world. Don’t just pick a career path and see where it takes you.

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email cberman@crain.com.

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