“In the agency world, things are all on fire all the time, so I was expected to respond from my closing appointment and again once I got home and had more data available. Today, I set the rules. If I have a quiet time on the weekends or in the evenings, I will respond to client email, but most times, I set it to ‘delay send’ until the next morning. I don’t want to train my clients to expect an answer day or night, or I’ll never have the balance that I need.”
As a part of my series about the strategies that extremely busy and successful leaders use to juggle, balance and integrate their personal lives and business lives, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Lindteigen, the President & Founder of Etched Marketing. Rachel is a marketing industry vet with nearly 20 years in the industry. She’s worked for the corporate office of franchise organizations, non-profit organizations, special events, and ad agencies. She spent five years running the SEO and Content Marketing teams for a NY Ad Agency before leaving the corporate world to open her marketing agency that focuses on training & consulting programs for small businesses.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thanks so much for having me. I’ve been in marketing for about 20 years and have held high power, high-pressure jobs that required a lot of time away from home for clients, staff, and leadership meetings and events. The last five years of my corporate career were spent leading the SEO and Content Marketing teams of a NY ad agency, and as you’d expect, I spent a ton of time in meeting rooms, hotels, and airports. For years, I thrived and loved traveling and exploring new cities after our client meetings wrapped up. I had favorite restaurants in cities coast-to-coast and would visit them when I was in town. And then, everything changed. In 2015, I had my son, and the travel started to wear on me greatly because I felt that I was missing out on too much at home. I’d get a video of him from the nanny, and it would make me sad because I wasn’t there to see him doing whatever amazing thing it was in person because I was on the other end of the country figuring out a client’s marketing strategy. While my career was thriving, I was missing out on my personal life and those moments I was missing could never be repeated.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I founded my company in the spring of 2017 with my husband’s blessing. We discussed the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to replace my former income for several years and that because of this fact, the overall family income would decrease for a while. We were both in agreement with the decision because it was what was best for our family in the long term. It took me about five months from when I decided to go into business for myself until I signed my first client. I was so excited to be earning a paycheck again and contributing to the family, though less than I’d earned previously. Within 30 days of me signing my first client my husband’s company laid off their entire leadership team and 2/3 of the staff as part of a sale. My husband’s executive role was eliminated without warning. In less than 12 months, we both lost our jobs because of the sale of a company. When he told me what was happening, I asked if I should go back to a corporate role and he said no, I had worked too hard to get where I was, and I was starting to gain traction with my business. We made the decision that I would continue with my business, and he would look for another role. A little less than a year later (September 2018) our family moved for my husband’s new job, and I’ve moved my business. Had I sought a new corporate role when he was laid off, I would have most likely had to give it up to move for his new position here. Since I had my business and clients already established, I was able to move to the new city and continue to work from home.
What was your biggest challenge to date either personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?
In the fall of 2016, the agency I was working for sold to a new investment group and shortly after many roles were eliminated, mine being one of them. I was called into a meeting and told that someone who had never met me had determined they didn’t need me anymore. At that moment, it felt like my world was shattered. I had a 6 figure income until that moment. I’d worked for the company for nearly five years and had led my team and grown our service lines every year. It took me a while to determine my next step, but in the spring of 2017, I decided that I wanted to go out on my own and focus on building a marketing agency that would focus on small businesses and help them grow. Today, my business is thriving, my income is nearly where it was in the corporate world, and I’ve found a way to have a career that’s challenging & fulfilling and be the mother I want to be for my son who’s now 3 ½.
What does leadership mean to you and how do you best inspire others to lead?
To me, leadership means encouraging my team to grow and improve on a regular basis. I want my staff to feel challenged by their work and supported by their leader. I don’t ask my team to do tasks that I wouldn’t do myself. I’d rather people want to follow my lead than feel forced to go in a direction they don’t agree with. Seeing my team grow and earn promotions makes me so happy. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with a company and in my experience, it’s better to keep happy employees than continually hire & train new people.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There have been several people who helped me along the way. The first was one of my bosses about ten years ago who told me that sometimes what we learn from a leader/boss is how not to be and how not to treat staff. She had recently left the company, and her replacement was very different from her and not an inspiring leader at all. He led by intimidation and demands. On the terrible days, I’d think about her words and remember, I don’t ever want to be like this guy. To this day, I’ve never behaved in the ways that he did or treated my staff the way that he treated his team.
The other help came when I decided to start my own business. Many people from my network reached out, shared my name, offered introductions, and helped me get started. During my first year in business, most of my clients came from word of mouth and referral marketing from my network. It feels great to know that people you’ve worked with and for believe in you and want to recommend you to their new companies, friends, and clients.
Was it difficult to fit your life into your business/career and how did you do that?
When I was in the corporate world, it was challenging to fit my life into my career because I traveled so much. Yes, it gave us great memories like the fact that I could bring my stepdaughter’s favorite cupcakes back from New York City for her 12th birthday party, but my flight got delayed by 5 hours and I didn’t get home until almost midnight that night, and I missed the party. The girls got fancy New York bakery cupcakes for breakfast the next day because they were all asleep by the time I got home. Now that I work for myself, I’ve made my life and business fit together. Finding balance is one of my top priorities and focus areas for my life and business both.
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life?
In the corporate world yes, 100%. The more responsibilities I took on at work, the more demand there was for my time. The agency world doesn’t respect “personal” time. I remember having a boss texting and calling me while I was waiting to close on the home I was buying. I was sitting at the escrow company and furiously responding to emails about a client issue. Looking back, I can’t believe that happened. I should have been allowed to focus on the closing of my home purchase. It was after hours, and the issues were not so important that they couldn’t have waited until the next day. But in the agency world, things are all on fire all the time, so I was expected to respond from my closing appointment and again once I got home and had more data available. Today, I set the rules. If I have a quiet time on the weekends or in the evenings, I will respond to client email, but most times, I set it to delay send until the next morning. I don’t want to train my clients to expect an answer day or night, or I’ll never have the balance that I need.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal life?
My top pieces of advice are to choose what matters the most to you and add that time to the calendar exactly like you would any other meeting. If you schedule it in, it’s more likely to happen. For example, I work out most days; my workout schedule is on my calendar like any other meeting. If I don’t block out the time, it won’t happen.
Take advantage of the services that free up your time. Do you need to spend an hour or more at the grocery store each week or can you shop online and pay $5 for someone to pull your order together and bring it to your car? I choose to do grocery pick up service most of the time because it allows me to cut my grocery shopping time drastically. I schedule the pickup so that it aligns with my son’s school drop off or pick up time so that I can do both during the same trip.
Amazon Prime is my best friend. I don’t know how I’d manage to make sure we have everything we need when we need it without Amazon Prime. We have something arriving most days.
Take time for yourself. If we don’t do something to take care of ourselves, we will burn out. I know it’s hard when you feel like you’re pulled in different directions all day long but I can do more for my family and my business both if I have time to myself once in a while.
Get help. Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself. Figure out what you like to do around the house or in your business and what you don’t. Hire help for work or personal life. I have a housekeeper and a yard person. My son is in preschool during the workday. I have a graphic designer and need to hire a virtual assistant for the business. I buy a lot of Trader Joe’s items that are healthy, tasty, and easy to cook. I use the Instant Pot & Crock Pot to cut down on the amount of time it takes to cook dinner for the family. You don’t have to do this all alone. Balance takes a team.
What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and pride.
My son recently told me I was the best mommy in the whole wide world. Heart Melt.
A client recently told me I was amazing and had helped them achieve goals they never thought possible. Amazing.
It’s a bit of both. Knowing that I’m excelling both at work and home gives me a great sense of accomplishment and pride. What I set out to do is working, and I am thrilled.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want to inspire parents, moms especially to see that it’s OK to chase after a dream. It’s OK if that dream is to run her own company, bake the most amazing cake, or raise the best-behaved children. You can find a way to have both a family and a career if that’s what you desire. There’s no use feeling guilty over one or the other when you figure it out; you can do both simultaneously. You don’t have to work for yourself to make it happen, but you do need to work for a company that believes in their staff and is flexible.
What is the best way for people to connect with you on social media?
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