We’re no longer taking for granted the things we once did. That trip to the movies? The long walks down the aisles in Target? Going for hikes on Saturday mornings? I think it’s incredible that we’re all realizing how much we looked forward to the little things now that we cannot experience them. It’s definitely allowing me to embrace and practice gratitude for the little things.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place. As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shauna Armitage.
Shauna Armitage is a fractional marketing director for early-stage startups, guiding founders at all stages of growth in developing an impactful marketing program. Bridging the gap between freelancers and agency, Shauna takes a hands-on approach in each and every business which is quite innovative in this space and leads to a custom marketing program that gets results.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
When I graduated with my second Bachelor’s degree in 2011, the economy had tanked and I couldn’t get an interview, much less a job. I started freelance writing and was hired as the Director of Digital Content for a marketing agency and quickly fell in love with all things marketing. After a few years, I realized the “typical” marketing agency blueprint wasn’t working for me or for our clients. I decided that I would go out on my own and offer a new service I wasn’t seeing in the marketing industry: a fractional marketing director. This role was designed for companies that were not yet big enough for a full-time hire, but wanted a dedicated team member to bring all the pieces together and drive brand growth.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
Starting my company was pretty interesting! My husband is in the Air Force and I was fired/started my businesses 3 weeks before he left for a 6 month deployment. I had 3 young children at home and no idea how I was going to make my business work. It was a crazy time in my life and required a lot of late nights/early mornings, but it paid off!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I just launched my first course! In working with my clients, I found that there’s one big problem they all face: how to generate revenue NOW. I put a course together to help founders identify a strong offer (no matter what their business model is), to help them determine cost-effective traffic generation strategies, and to show them how to convert their new leads into sales.
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 about that?
Like most female entrepreneurs, I’ve had many mentors who have guided me and helped shape my journey. However, I think I am most grateful to my old boss who fired me from his marketing agency back in 2017. I wasn’t happy with the work, I wasn’t happy with the way clients were being treated, and I knew I wanted to work differently — but I had a stable paycheck! Being let go from that position was exactly the push I needed to start my own company and become truly confident and what I had to offer.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
I have four kids at home — 3 of them under the age of 6 — and I tend to be the primary caregiver for them all because, as the owner of my business, I can be more flexible than my husband with his job in the Air Force. I’m accustomed to being alone all day to work, so all of a sudden having 4 co-workers who are not particularly good at keeping themselves busy has been a huge challenge and has forced me to rethink the way I work.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I love lists and schedules, so the first thing I did was make a new schedule for the family! Having some structure around their day has really helped the kids cope with the changes. They know what activities we’re doing and when, and they have something to look forward to.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
I’ve always worked from home, and I thought “turning it off” and separating work from family was difficult before! Now it all seems to blend together because home isn’t just my office now — it’s the school, playground, cafeteria, and playroom, too!
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
First, I’ve changed my own schedule. I can count on an hour or two during the day as work time when the baby is napping and then I can get in a few hours a night when the kids go to bed. Second, I’ve gotten much more proactive about hiring support and letting go of the mentality that I have to be the one to do it all. Most importantly, I decided that I would take on less clients and give myself a bit of space to adjust to this new reality. We all want our businesses to be profitable and to grow, but for me, this is a season where I need to learn to let go of expectations I previously held so I can be better at home and at work.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
Give yourself a little grace! It’s ok if all the schoolwork doesn’t get done or if there’s a kid joining your Zoom call. Covid has changed the way we all work and we need to be forgiving, not only to our colleagues, but to ourselves as well. Try to keep your “to-do” list to a max of three things that you HAVE to get done. This will help cut down on the feeling that you have to do “all of the things”. Plus, who doesn’t like checking things off a list? If you finish all three tasks, cool. Add another thing or call it a day!
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
We’ve been doing a lot of family game nights! It’s a chance for us all to be connected and engaged with one another. Other structured activities have included things like puzzles, drawing classes, dance parties, and designated “quiet time” when we all get out our devices and cuddle up together.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- My grandma has learned how to FaceTime! She has had an iPad for years but always said that she “couldn’t figure out how to do it” and it was a big downer because we live so far away and she never gets to see the kids. (My little ones are too young to really be engaged with a phone call.) The pandemic made her lonely and she asked someone to help her learn FaceTime and now she sees how easy it is and loves seeing the kids face to face.
- All the “forced togetherness” had been tough for everyone in the family, but it’s forced us to rethink the way we spend our time together. We’re engaging more and we’re being more intentional with the way we spend our time. It’s led to us discovering a deeper understanding of the activities that light up our kids. My girls LOVED taking up yoga with me!
- There’s nothing better than getting outside and feeling the sunshine on your skin after being cooped up inside social distancing. Go into the woods or tend to your garden or go for a walk (safely) around the block. Turn off the news and get some fresh air!
- I think it’s really beautiful that so many businesses are showing that they are fully capable of online and remote work. This is beneficial to so many people who have been told their position couldn’t be done remotely. A lot of businesses are showing that this has led to more employee retention, there’s an access to a wider pool of applicants, it eases anxiety because people can find a way to work that suits their lifestyle, and businesses are making better use of technology!I truly hope that more businesses adapt remote work as an option in the future.
- We’re no longer taking for granted the things we once did. That trip to the movies? The long walks down the aisles in Target? Going for hikes on Saturday mornings? I think it’s incredible that we’re all realizing how much we looked forward to the little things now that we cannot experience them. It’s definitely allowing me to embrace and practice gratitude for the little things.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Anxiety can be extremely hard to navigate, especially in times of a crisis (or you know, a global pandemic). Everyone is feeling lonely right now. The best thing you can do for your loved ones is to check in on them and make sure to give them space to share their feelings and frustrations. Being “heard” makes a huge difference and will lead to people feeling supported. It could be a text message, a quick email, or a phone call. There are even tools that you can use (some are built into your phone — like text message scheduling) to pre-schedule your messages to remind them that they are loved. Simple things like that go a long way. My absolute favorite thing is to bestow “happy surprises” on others. My grandma always used that quote when she handed us a 5 bill dollar or had milky ways ready for me in the freezer when I visited. I like to send someone flowers just because it’s Tuesday or a small trinket simply because it made me think of them.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” — Jim Rohn
We can either sit around and talk about how 2020 is “canceled” or we can get up, keep putting the work in, and make a difference in our lives and the lives of our clients/customers. So, are you going to run the day or are you going to let the day run you?
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!