Chelsea Cunningham
Chelsea Cunningham interviewed by Gregg Greenberg of C-Suite Network

Chelsea Cunningham always knew she wanted to be her own boss. After several years of working in the automotive industry, she decided to launch The Title Girl in 2015.

Cunningham's business, which serves auto dealerships in the major cities of Texas, offers a variety of title services, including bonded, duplicate and lost titles, and a runner service to conduct title transfer work at local tax offices.

"I ended up seeing a niche … and I decided to take advantage of it," Cunningham said in a recent interview with CO—. "We've grown ever since then."

As Cunningham says, "there's no formula" for starting a niche business, so getting The Title Girl off the ground proved to be challenging. Gaining a client base for a highly targeted service wasn't easy, especially since Cunningham's business was the first of its kind.

"It's never been done before," she said. "My biggest challenge was figuring out pricing and what the [business] model looked like."

Graduating from a business of one

Like many entrepreneurs, Cunningham ran every aspect of The Title Girl herself in the beginning. Eventually she realized she needed help if she was going to expand beyond the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"What I had to understand is, if you want to grow, you've got to gain people in a larger capacity," she explained.

As she grew her staff, Cunningham had to learn find ideal partners and develop clear, replicable operating systems. This is no easy feat for a solopreneur with such specialized industry knowledge, but Cunningham was committed to hiring the right people with the right attitude.

"You can train skill, but you can't train character," she said. "So [I] find the person with the right character, train them with the skill and move from there."

Because of her smart hiring practices, Cunningham has been able to adhere to a strict "no micromanaging" policy at The Title Girl.

A box of donuts and showing up on the doorstep is the best way to do it.

Chelsea Cunningham, founder of The Title Girl

Marketing and growing a niche business

When it comes to spreading the word about her business, Cunningham relies on good, old-fashioned guerilla marketing. This means getting out there in person to have sales meetings with local auto dealerships.

"A box of donuts and showing up on the doorstep is the best way to do it," she told CO—. "Our slogan is 'We don't drag our heels,' so we're in that dealership and we're closing that business."

Although it's taken a lot of time and effort to get her business to this point, Cunningham has never stopped working at it — and there's not much she would have done differently if she had to do it all over again.

"I probably would have planned a little better," she admitted. "But I think that ignorance is bliss when you're first starting."

Expanding beyond state lines

What's next for The Title Girl? Cunningham says she plans to continue on her current path of growth and take her business nationwide. It won't be an easy journey: The automotive industry is known for its "old school" bureaucracy, and each county has its own regulations about vehicle titling.

Cunningham knows these county-by-county policies will be a significant hurdle to The Title Girl's growth, but she is confident that her concept and business model will thrive beyond the state of Texas.

Watch our full interview with Chelsea Cunningham for more insights on launching and growing a niche business. This interview was conducted on behalf of CO- by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg.

Chelsea Cunningham interviewed on behalf of CO- by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg. 

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