December 7, 2016
Hello! My name is Chirag Shah and I am a college graduate, community advocate and believe in pursuing the American Dream. While being raised in Panama City and Marianna, Florida in a family of two hard-working parents and four loving older sisters, I had the pleasure to learn the family business of hotel management from the ground up by learning every position from housekeeping to general manager. What I learned from this experience is the fact that I loved meeting new types of people every day and solving problems in an “out of the box” kind of way and hoped one day my future career would include both.
Like every new graduate, starting a new life in a big city is the ultimate dream. We think we want the skyscrapers, busy streets, and bustling night life. From what I've noticed, our college students here in Tallahassee are so accustomed to Tennessee St., North Monroe, Collegetown and Apalachee Parkway, they are apprehensive to venture outside of the familiar. But what they don't know, or realize, is that Tallahassee is so much more than those 4 areas and offers an abundance of activities! From community clubs targeting new graduates and young professionals, to a multitude of volunteering opportunities, it's hard to say that there's “never anything to do” in Tallahassee.
During my time at Florida State University, I was able to build several relationships not only on campus, but also throughout the Tallahassee community. To me, Tallahassee is not a big city, yet not a small town, but we see it grow more and more each day. The opportunities to grow as a person through my company and personal involvements, coupled with low-living costs, are the reasons I remain in Tallahassee. Through my part-time and full-time jobs and internships with local businesses and organizations, I was able to help them grow their clientele through my graphic design, social media, and web development background. During my internship with Next Level Baseball, I had the responsibility to help rebrand the entire business from the logo to the website. After tripling their clientele and monthly website traffic, I knew I finally found my calling. However, my parents had other intentions.
My parents wanted me to take over the family business. When I came to them with the idea of starting my own marketing agency, their initial reply was, “Chirag, why do you want to start a new business, when all you have to do is manage ours and you're set for life!” My quick reply to my parents was, “That was your legacy. You came from India 30 years ago with a middle-school education and $10.00 in your pocket. You were able to serve as housekeepers for several years that lead to opening up your first 16-room motel and now you own several profitable businesses throughout the State of Florida. If you can do all of that, why can’t I do better? I have a college education, I can speak English and I know how to work a thing called a computer, I know I can do better!” And truthfully, they knew it, too. After getting full support from my family, I was finally able to step out of my comfort zone to make my dream into a reality.
On March 18, 2014, I started CPS23 Marketing with Savannah College of Art and Design Alumnus, Savannah Swindle. Today, two and half years later, we have had the pleasure of working with over 50 clients, locally and nationally, ranging from a youth heart-health organization to a candy store. We are a team of innovators, collaborators, and creative minds coming together to connect our clients to their customers through effective online and offline marketing strategies through our services of branding, graphic design, photography, social media, videography, and web development in just 23 days or less.
I won't lie, it hasn't been easy. Creating a startup is hard…really hard. With the shiny new name and concept comes hurdles and setbacks that we have had to overcome, and overcome we have! If you do decide to step out of your comfort zone as I did, just know this: you can do it. Stay humble and hungry throughout the process. At CPS23, humility is our strongest characteristic. We strive to provide internships, jobs, and scholarship opportunities for our local students and have donated services to local nonprofits and organizations. We stay hungry by continuing to develop our knowledge of our services through certifications, professional organizations, and attending conferences and seminars. At the end of the day, our clients are our main priority, and we want to ensure they receive the best quality results and service Tallahassee has to offer!