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She wants to turn your side gig into a full-blown business

Photo courtesy of Tina Lerouge

Northeastern alumna Christina Lerouge wasn’t intimidated by the near daily announcements that one business or another had shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic; instead, she saw an opportunity to start her own.

“I saw this as the most opportune time,” Lerouge says, “because as companies are slowing down, people have the time and space to think about what they really want to do—to figure out what their passion is.”

Lerouge’s business? Helping people realize their passions.

Photo courtesy of Tina Lerouge

Thus was born Creative Cycle Consulting, a marketing agency designed to help new entrepreneurs and young businesses get started and stand out. Lerouge officially launched the business in November 2020, having done marketing and web design on a freelance, ad hoc basis for several years prior. Since November, she’s taken on 10 clients with businesses ranging from theater to Caribbean cuisine.

Most of Lerouge’s clients have been people who decided to focus their time and energy on building out their passion projects or their side gigs—the kinds of things people did in their spare time. And, as a side effect of the pandemic, those people often found themselves with a lot more spare time to pour into the work they loved, Lerouge says.

“With the pandemic, I think people thought, ‘Life is short, and I want to do something that makes me happy,’” she says. “I provide the services that make it possible to build out those passion projects into fully functioning businesses.”

Lerouge graduated from Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies in August 2019, after completing a program in digital media management. Lerouge comes from a line of Northeastern graduates: Both her mother and aunt earned engineering degrees at the university. The youngest Lerouge was also selected for a Martin Luther King Jr. Graduate Fellowship at Northeastern, and was featured in the university’s MLK celebration in 2018. 

An entrepreneur at heart, she conceived of the idea for Creative Cycle Consulting during her very first semester at the university, she says.

Among her first clients was Mark Stock, the founder of MiniCityArt, a company that uses 3D printing to create hyper-detailed models of major cities. Lerouge designed a promotional event for the company near Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, which grabbed the attention of the executive vice president of the Boston Red Sox during her lunch break. The two spoke, and “a week later, Mark got a request from the Red Sox to design 1,000 models as a holiday gift for Red Sox employees,” Lerouge says. “From there he just took off.”

Her know-how comes from her experience at Northeastern as well as several years working in marketing in the corporate sector. Lerouge has worked in various capacities at big firms, including the insurance giant GEICO, but says she “always felt like a round peg in a square hole,” and eventually set out on her own.

Lerouge’s business is still growing—she just moved into a new office in February—and she hopes to be able to hire more employees soon, but already the work is gratifying.

“In the same fashion that I’m helping clients with their business, they’re trusting in me to get it done,” Lerouge says. “That people see potential in me as a young entrepreneur, early in my career, that’s all the motivation I need.”

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