How She Got There: Cassie Petrey, Co-Founder of Crowd Surf

Name: Cassie Petrey

Age: 29

Job Title and Description: Co-founder and Co-owner of Crowd Surf

College Name/Major: Middle Tennessee State University/Music Business


Twitter Handle: @cassiepetrey and @crowdsurf

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Cassie Petrey: My job entails one common theme, and that’s making things happen. That comes in a lot of different forms; [it] can be anything from planning and executing a marketing campaign, to locking in a new project, to making sure everyone gets paid on time. There is no typical day, which I love. It keeps you on your feet, and you never get bored.


What is the best part of your job?

CP: Making a difference and knowing that you’re playing your little part in something big. One thing that’s amazing about Crowd Surf is that we have mastered working with our clients and making things happen. We know that our clients' careers and marketing campaigns would be a little (or drastically) different if we weren’t working with them, and that really gives our team a sense of satisfaction.


You and your co-founder Jade Driver started Crowd Surf in college. What advice do you have for college women looking to launch a business while they're still in school?

CP: Regardless of starting a business while you’re in school or not, the most important advice I can give is to start a business because you see a problem that you know you can solve. Don’t ever start a business just because you want to do it. Start a business because you see a problem, and know that your business or product can play a part in solving.


What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

CP: That clients often pay their bills late, or sometimes end up not paying you at all. When you start your business, it’s imperative to plan your budgets knowing that you’re not always going to have and/or receive all of the money you are owed.


Your clients have included everyone from Miley Cyrus and Steven Tyler to Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. What important career lessons have you learned in particular from working with such high-profile people?

CP: I've learned that you have to work really hard to achieve initial success in your career, but it doesn't stop there; you have to keep working really hard to continue being successful. The entertainment space is extremely competitive, and you have to be put in the long hours and extreme attention to detail to make it work.


What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

CP: We didn’t hire a team to help us with finances from day one, and we ended up paying for that in the long run. Literally. Business management help isn’t as expensive as you might think, and they play a really important role in your business. Hire a great person or team to keep you on track.


What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

CP: I was one of the Backstreet Boys’ guests when they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They were my first concert, and I was a fanatic. Prior to working with them, I had seen them in concert 75 times. Who knew that I would end up working with the group that inspired me to love music in the first place? It was a culmination of a huge dream of theirs coming true, while realizing how surreal it was that I was experiencing the same thing. It was a very emotional day for everyone on the team.


What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

CP: Great attitude and great work ethic. A problem solver. Somebody who may not have a ton of exeprience, but has the ability and determination to solve the challenges that they will inevitably come across.


What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

CP: Work hard, solve problems and be a team player. If you’re taking work off somebody’s plate and increasing the quality of their brand, there will always be a company or client who needs your help.



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