Greenpoint Gazette
Sabina Ptacin

Tin Shingle Helps Small Business Survive and Thrive

BY Jeff Mann

Sabina Ptacin wants to get you high.

“If entrepreneurship was a drug, I would be its pusher,” exclaimed the small business junkie, co-founder and “Chief Excitement Officer” of Tin Shingle, a Greenpoint-based, online small business resource community.

Ptacin’s entrepreneurial story is a familiar one. She arrived in Brooklyn from Chicago nine years ago, optimistic, unemployed and overwhelmed. “My first week, I sat on the floor of my apartment and cried,” she remembered. “I’d never even ridden on the subway before.”

With the encouragement of a friend, the former high school teacher sought a public relations job. Despite a complete lack of industry knowledge (“I had to Google what a press release was”), she excelled and a year later left to start her own firm. Like many first time business owners, she sought advice where she could find it, searching online and attending networking meetings.

At one such event, she met Katie Hellmuth-Martin, a designer turned SEO/web entrepreneur and the two immediately hit it off. They also shared a discovery. “We realized that none of those groups taught the meat and potatoes of growing a business, like how to get the word out about your brand,” Ptacin said. “You can have the coolest invention, bakery or bike shop in the world, but if no one knows who you are, it doesn’t matter. We couldn’t find a community that offered that kind of advice, so we created one ourselves.”

They launched ‘preneur in 2012 and soon after renamed it Tin Shingle. The goal of the start-up was to help connect small businesses and advise new entrepreneurs on how to grow (“We’re like Entrepreneurial Godmothers”). Today, the Tin Shingle community offers free content such as business-related articles, expert advice and audio classes. It also features a fee-based membership package from which people can get media contacts, PR leads and other tools to help get the word out about their brand. “We’re all about helping them ‘make their Shingle shine,’” Ptacin said. The company name comes from the concept of “hanging a shingle” when opening the doors to a new business. Members are referred to as Tin Shinglers.

“Entrepreneurship is the new green,” added Ptacin, “but first, you need to learn how to turn your passion into money, and that’s where Tin Shingle comes in. “We’re not going to tell you how to bake your bread, but we are going to tell you how to make sure everyone knows you’re a bakery.”

Tin Shingle aspires to be the first resource for new business owners after an accountant and a lawyer. “This is my heart’s job. Katie and I burst with joy for every small business owner’s success.”

For more information or to become a Tin Shingler, go to www.tinshingle.com.

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