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Erin Blaskie is a fractional CMO and marketing advisor to startups and scaleups.
In 2004, she founded one of the first virtual assistance businesses in Canada. Her very first client was a startup in Silicon Valley that she worked with until they were acquired by Ancestry.com for $100M.
In 2008, she pivoted the company to a marketing agency and provided services to many of the world’s leading brands, including Disney, Microsoft, Post, Ford, and Alliance Films.
As social media rose in popularity, she worked with Hollywood actors, best-selling authors, and professional speakers to craft their personal brands and build communities of raving fans.
In 2017, she joined L-SPARK, a B2B SaaS accelerator, where she led their marketing and community-building efforts while also advising and mentoring the startups in the program.
In 2020, she then joined Fellow, a B2B SaaS platform for meeting productivity and team management, as their first head of marketing hire.
In the media, her work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, The Globe & Mail, and more.
She is also the Chair of the Entrepreneurship Program Advisory Committee at Algonquin College, the Ottawa Chapter Co-Lead for the Slack Platform Community, and a digital marketing instructor at the Telfer School of Business.
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00:00 — Erin Blaskie, Fractional CMO
02:38 — Back to the beginning.
08:40 — Lessons learned, escaping the 9–5.
17:16 — Societies definition of success.
20:30 — Mental health and entrepreneurship
24:14 — Is the grass ever greener?
28:16 — The importance of self awareness.
34:43 — Why you need to outsource the operational stuff.
37:25 — The importance of personal brand.
41:32 — Entrepreneurial myths.
SUCCESS STORY PODCAST
Stories worth telling.
Welcome to the Success Story Podcast, hosted entrepreneur, intrapreneur, investor, executive, public speaker & podcaster, Scott D. Clary.
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Read The Transcription (Machine Generated)
Scott: Welcome to another episode of the success story podcast. I have Erin Blaskie, who is currently a fractional CMO. She is scaling her own business in a big way. It wasn’t always like that though. She has done entrepreneurship. She has pivoted and started working for somebody again, scaling SAS companies.
And then she went back into entrepreneurship. We’re going to break down her career story. She is a name in marketing. She’s had her thoughts, opinions, ideas they’ve been featured in Forbes, a wall street journal. Entrepreneur globe and mail to name a few. She is a marketing professor at the Telfer school of business and my hometown Ottawa.
And she also sits on an entrepreneur council as an advisor at Algonquin college. She has some great branding, entrepreneurial and just general life lessons to share with people that are looking to build their own thing. Or intrepreneurs within a company. We also have two incredible sponsors for today’s episode.
So for CFOs entrepreneurs, we have Gusto. They have a special offer for everybody. Who’s listening. If you’ve never heard of them, they are payroll solutions. This is going to make your life easier. And then our second sponsor is StoryWorth. They have a special offer set up for everybody who’s shopping for mother’s day.
So please stick around until around the halfway point. You’re going to get both of these offers exclusive to success story podcast, listeners. I hope you enjoy it. Let’s get right into it.
thanks again for joining me today, I’m sitting down with Erin . Erin is a fractional CMO. She is a startup and scale up marketing consultant. She’s an adviser. She is a Ted ex speaker. She is a digital marketing instructor. She’s been featured in Forbes, entrepreneur ad week and wall street journal.
I’m really happy to bring her on. She’s had an incredible career. She’s gone back and forth between entrepreneurship and working for incredible companies. And you know, when Erin thank you for coming on and, and I’m excited, sort of unpack your story, but I’m also excited because like when I’m speaking to you now, so today is what, like we’re.
Friday, March 26. This is like a very important point in your career because you had some big changes recently, and I want to dive into those as well. So thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.
Erin: Yeah, no worries at all. I’m super, super stoked to have this conversation and we’re talking about all my favorite things, so it’s a good, a good day.
Scott: Good, good, good. It’s a good Friday. Okay. So let’s, let’s cue it up for everybody who’s listening. Let’s just. Walk through your career where you came from. I just read off the stuff that you have on your LinkedIn, but there’s a whole bunch of other stuff. That you’ve achieved over your career, so, you know, walk us through it.
Erin: Yeah. Yeah. So every time I do this, I always scare people because I say like, we have to go all the way back to 1986, which people are usually like, Whoa, Whoa, we don’t need that much detail. However, what I will say about, you know, going back that far is, is really like my love of technology. My, my love of this idea of.
Business and everything. It came really early on in my life. And in, in around 86, my dad brought home a Commodore 64, which for anyone listening that doesn’t know what that is, it’s a computer. I actually have one in my office on a shelf right above here right above me. But anyway, he brought home this computer and I would just remember.
You know, I grew up in a very small town. I grew up it was a very like blue collar town. Didn’t have a lot growing up, but when this computer came home, I was amazed. I was so impressed, you know, with it. And I remember we set it up and my dad was like, yeah, just go ahead, like play with it. And my sister and I We would set up like an office in our house.
And of course I was the older one, so I was always the CEO and she was my secretary every time. And I would just like play office. And, and I remember, you know, I didn’t have examples of it. I didn’t have like anyone in my own personal life or even in our community really that had this like, You know, lifestyle, but for some reason I was just obsessed with it and that sort of continued on.
And I, I remember like, even as I was growing up, I was very entrepreneurial. I used to like go and pick out like rocks and bark out of the forest and then go sell them to the cottage areas nearby. They bought it, you know, probably cause I was like this little like cute kid and they couldn’t resist.
But but yeah, that just that this like trend sort of continued through my whole life and, you know, showed up in high school. It showed up in college and. When I got to you know, I went to school and I left school. I tried to get out of school as fast as possible, cause I just wanted to work. So I left finished school and then ended up working in a company and realized like really quickly that I just didn’t love being boxed in, you know, to one specific role and, and really just like, you know, kind of being limited by what I could do.
And so at the age of 21, I decided to launch my first one. Company. And so I launched at that time, a virtual assistance business, and this was 2004. It was like pre social media pre you know, the internet, as we know it today. And. I got really lucky in some ways, because my very first client in that company happened to be a startup founder in Silicon Valley.
I did not know what Silicon Valley was. Okay. Like I was, like I said, small town girl in the Ottawa Valley in Canada. And here I am. Working with this company and this company and this founder, we’re doing such incredible things. Like they were leveraging the internet to market their product. And they were pulling at the time was a lot five figures a month.
And then they grew to six figures a month. And I just remember experiencing all of that thinking like this is. This is incredible. Like, I love this and, and my eyes, of course, like growing up with nothing, when all of a sudden you’re seeing all of these dollar signs on the internet, you’re like, whew, okay.
I want to do this too. So I started like really cracking the code of. You know, what does it mean to market on the internet? What does it mean to create passive revenue sources? Like what kind of businesses can be built? And of course jumping on things like social media and, you know, all of these different platforms as they were coming out and over the next like 14 years, which is a hard bucket to sort of.
Capture. I really spent that time working with about 300 different different businesses. Again, over like the 14 year period, doing all kinds of crazy things, like mostly, mostly marketing related. But I was working on personal brands for, you know, Hollywood actors and professional athletes, bestselling authors.
I was also doing, you know, work with Disney and craft and Travelocity and different, you know, bigger brands. And just absorbing everything. Like I was, I was a sponge and I wanted to learn as much as I could about marketing. And yeah, so I did that for 14 years before, starting by the way. Yeah,
Is still all entrepreneur. Okay. Okay.
Erin: Yeah. So that was all just like me figuring it out, you know made a lot of mistakes. A lot. Everyone does though. So that’s good. That’s good. Yeah. And really grew that business to, you know, I mean, for me at the, in my twenties, like I grew it to about a quarter of a million dollars a year in sales with literally spending no money on advertising or marketing just doing it all myself and building.
You know, a referral network and that kind of thing. And and then I started consulting locally in 2017 with a startup accelerator. And then I fell in love with like their business model and the company and the team, and decided to close up shop and join them full time. So did that for a couple of years, then I joined a B2B SAS company called fellow and then was there for a year.
Really helped them build out a lot of their marketing foundations and start to get ready to scale. And then at the beginning of this year, I quit. Yeah. That’s
Scott: when we first started talking. Right. That’s I think you were like, when we first were trying to queue up this podcast, I think you were like, you were quitting or you like quit like the day before Scott would chill.
Yeah. I gotta get my shit together. And then, and then we’ll do it in a couple of weeks. So now, now you’ve had some time. We were just talking about some of the successes you’ve had. So we’ll talk about where you’re at now. But let’s, let’s dive into some of the history because the history definitely queues up, like what you’re working on.
So non non-linear career path is one of the things that you’ve definitely lived. Yeah. Why did you let’s let’s just figure out why. After making 250 K, did you ever want to work with somebody 250 K you know, in your own business, why would you work for somebody again over the benefits? What were the lessons learned?
Was it difficult? Let’s talk about just pivoting because I think people think the opposite. Of what you do, right. They want to escape the nine to five. They want to escape the company, right?
Erin: Yeah. Well, I mean, here’s the thing, like when you, when people start businesses and like, if they at all have this vision in mind that they’re escaping a nine to five, I mean like park that, that is, you know, that is just absolutely 1000% not true.
In fact, you’re going to work more than, than the nine to five. If you start your own thing and a lot of what you do, you’re not getting paid for. You know, so you have to do a lot of the business calls and the accounting and the bookkeeping. And even if you’re not like, even if you outsource that stuff, you still have to facilitate it and organize it.
And you know, so there’s a lot of stuff that you do when you’re self-employed that you’re just not getting paid for. And you don’t get the luxury all the time of just closing up the laptop at the end of the day. And then, you know, not looking at it again until you go back. So. For me personally, what ended up kind of happening for me is that in, in about 2015, 2014, 22, 2015, somewhere in there, I ended up painting a pretty significant wall of burnout.
And that burnout led to like, I, I I’ve always been predisposed to depression my whole life. Like I’ve dealt with it. From the time I was probably 14. But. I really had, was like impacted greatly inside of my business. I was at the St you know, I was going through a divorce. I was like you know, kind of managing a lot of different things, obviously learning how to be a single parent starting to figure out like, how am I going to sustain this business and this, you know, raise my daughter and also do do this all on my own.
And there was just a lot going on. And then at the same time, I had a subcontractor that we were working on a lot of web development projects. He ended up bailing on me, out of the blue, which is the complete risk you run when you don’t have employees, you have freelancers and subcontractors. And it was kind of like everything came to a head for me.
And I just realized how trapped I felt like. I, I F I had this enormous amount of, you know, burnout and I, I really couldn’t function. And but at the same time I had no choice, you know, and I think it was in that moment that I really had to look at, you know, everything in my life. Like, what was I doing?
How had I structured this business? Was this actually set up in a way that could sustain my life and could sustain the ups and downs. And. If the answer was no, you know, the answer is absolutely, it was not set up that way. So I spent the next year after that, after I actually came out of that burnout and that depression and, you know, worked really hard to get through that.
I spent the next year restructuring everything and, and really evaluating what was important to me. And when the, when I started consulting with L spark the accelerator I honestly, in that moment, I love the team there. Like I still do there. They’re still amazing. And I loved what they were doing. It was very similar to what I was doing, but in inside of four walls.
Right. And, and there was like team support and. There was people in the founders were all in there and it was a coworking space. So it was dynamic and interesting. And I had spent 14 years working by myself in a home office, just like this. You know, and so for me, it was like, because I had had that experience and began, really began evaluating like what was important.
It just fit, you know, and, and the moment was just right for me and, and it fit, it checked a lot of the, kind of the boxes that I was after. So yeah. I decided, you know I’m very much a gut person. Like I will listen to my gut all the time. And for me it was just like, this is right. And so when they sat me down over lunch and asked me one day, like, Hey, would you ever consider coming on board full time?
I didn’t hesitate. I was like, yeah, let’s do it. Let’s do it. I don’t care what it looks like. Let’s do it, you know, and then I closed up shop essentially and took a job. So for me, it was right in the moment. You know, it was, it was the perfect job in terms of like what I needed at that time, the community involvement, the, the level of, you know, just like deep appreciation that the team had for each other was exactly what my heart and soul kind of needed.
And Yeah. And then, I mean, of course we can talk about like any lessons learned going into like the next kind of phase of like next full-time company. But that, that was just like the perfect thing, you know, that my soul needed at the time.
Scott: I do want to unpack some of those lessons. I just want to highlight something that resonated with me from that.
And it’s something that I see hurting a lot of people in their career or entrepreneurs and it’s that they feel like. Pivoting into something else. It could be in their own business or going into, or going from entrepreneurship back to working for somebody, or even if they are in a role. And they feel like they’re burning out in that role in a company, there seems to be this stigma against changing or taking care of yourself or doing something that.
Perhaps to some people may be less impressive or less, and I’m not saying what you did was less impressive. But for example, if you’re in a role that’s burning out, I use this example a lot and say, you’re. A VP level or director level at a startup, and it’s not going well. And you just hate every single day.
And you don’t want to take a role at a larger company that perhaps could be a better suited role. You’d have more resources, more support because it’s a different job title or something like that. Like just you you’re afraid of, of changing because of what people will think of you. What, you know, I don’t know.
It just seems like that’s something that we should champion more and make okay. More because there is no right way to do life or do a career or do entrepreneurship. And we have, we think that like, Oh, if you’ve achieved a certain status level, that’s where we have to stay or up or bust. Right. And you’ve proven you’ve, you’re, you’re living proof that you can pivot and do different things and take a step back and refresh, and then look at where you’re at now, which is a much better version, a much better iteration of where you were.
You know, I guess two, three years ago. So just something to take note of, because I don’t think it’s talked about enough that taking a step back two steps forward.
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Erin: And honestly, I think like one of the best things I think I’ve ever done in my life is, is completely ditch societal success, meaning like, you know, the typical version of what success looks like in society. I’ve taken that and like literally thrown it out. It, you know, because for first, for some that’s very motivating and it’s very, you know, it’s very aspirational to drive towards all of the things we think are.
Successful. And to your point, a lot of those things are upward trajectories, right? It’s like you got to earn more, you have to have the bigger title. You have to have the bigger house and the better car. And, and like, none of that, none of that has mattered to me for over a decade. And I think. That has literally been, I think the biggest driving factor, like driving kind of forced for me to be able to make these decisions is I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.
I know people say that I actually don’t care what anyone else thinks of like my career and like what my choices are, because at the end of the day, I’m making them based on, you know, fulfilling the needs that I have. And, and I was just actually talking to someone this morning. We were talking about goals and like setting goals for your life.
And I was saying like, I’m in this weird spot right now because I actually feel so content with my life and like what I have, and I’m so grateful for what I have that I actually don’t have a lot of like those traditional goals that people have. Like I’m not striving for, you know, a million dollar business.
I’m not like. Trying to have the BMW in the driveway. Like I’ve had those things and they literally made my life 0% better. Like, you know, they didn’t because like, at the same, at the end of the day, I wasn’t listening to like what was actually in my heart in terms of like, What would make me feel truly successful.
And, and what I’ve realized is for me personally, again, this is a very personal thing. For me personally, it’s like, I just want to be financially secure. Like I want to be able to pay my bills without worrying about it. I want to be able to buy myself something every once in a while. You know, I want to have free time though.
Like I want to be able to get out and hike and kayak and, you know, do the outdoor adventure stuff. I love. I want to have time to spend with my daughter, you know, she’s 10 now, and she’s at this beautiful age where she’s like cool to hang out with, you know, like we can hang out and do stuff. And like, as long as I have those things and I have like a house over my head and food on the table, I’m good.
Like, I’m actually good. And I don’t really want for anything. Which you know, is kind of it’s a great place to arrive at, but it takes really throwing out. The comparison, you know, game that you might do with other people or any of that, like, I don’t have any of that anymore.
Scott: And how did you arrive at that?
Was it the burnout? And just the two-part question. I hate doing this, but it’s important that I add on how would you recommend somebody try and ex and come to peace with what they have. Without having to go as far as you did.
Erin: Yeah. That’s a great, I actually really like how you phrased that question because I don’t recommend that anyone do it the way that I did it.
You know, I actually did a lot of therapy. Like I’ve done a lot of personal work on myself with the help of professionals. Like I’ve done, you know, psychotherapy, I’ve done like a lot of different things that were very helpful too. Allow me to really start to unpack, like what was important. And I’ve also done a lot of like work on my own.
Like I’m constantly reading, I’m constantly you know, learning about other people’s experiences. And I feel like the more that I expose myself to the experiences of others and like, you know, the experiences in the world, it’s very easy when you do that to then have a lot of gratitude gratitude for what you have, because you realize that this isn’t like.
You know the norm. Right. And I also, I honestly do attribute a lot to my humble beginnings. Like I didn’t grow up with a lot. I, in fact, like a times we were, you know, very poor. And that, that humbles you, you know, in a way, because I don’t take anything I have for granted or at least I try really hard not to.
And so. I think if if folks are kind of struggling with it, I think, you know, realizing that stuff in your life is not going to fill the void that you might have and chasing things. It won’t necessarily bring you ultimate happiness. I think you is, is really. Doing some introspection on that, trying to figure out, like, what do you really want in life?
If you actually put aside a lot of those materialistic things. And that’s not to say by the way that I judge anyone, if they have like more materialistic goals, like that’s, that’s again, it’s a very personal thing and, and that can be completely motivating for some people. But I do think that there’s some value in doing the work, you know, that’s required.
And honestly there’s no real shortcut to it. I think you have to just do the work. But honestly, therapy is great. Oh yeah,
Scott: totally. No, I was going to say it’s, by the way, you mentioned some point about about not, you know, if people have material goals, it’s fine. But I do believe that there are far more.
People that speak about the hustle culture, the, you know, the achieving material wealth through perhaps entrepreneurship or otherwise there’s too many people waited on that side of the discussion and not enough people waited on this side of the discussion that your, or their lens that you’re sort of looking at entrepreneurship in life is success through, which is you can be successful.
You can, you can achieve, but understand what that success comes with. As well,
Erin: right? Yeah. And I’ve also seen those founders succeed and get, you know, the, the million dollar plus access I’ve seen them, you know, get on the other side of that and they’re miserable. Because like they, you know, they don’t know what to do with themselves and they’re not fulfilled.
And, and I think if you don’t do the work to figure out, like, what does success actually look like for you beyond those materialistic things? You’re going to arrive at those moments and you’re still going to be unhappy, you know? And for me, like, that’s why I spent a lot of time really asking myself.
You know, what, what do I want this to feel like? Like what do I want my life to feel like? And as long as it feels right, and the work I’m doing feels fulfilling and, you know, I have that security that I’m sort of makes me feel very comfortable. The rest of it, like, yeah, for me personally, again, it’s a very personal thing, but it just doesn’t really matter.
Scott: Okay. So I want to. Just we’ve spoken about a few things that we were actually, that I was actually going to ask you about. You kind of just like gone into these topics anyway, so it’s good. Any other lessons that you’ve learned coming in and out of entrepreneurship that we didn’t touch on?
Yeah. So, so in this okay. So I want to talk a little bit about, you know, as I talked about obviously like landing at the accelerator and that, that role being like exactly what I needed at that time. Right. Like it, it was like soul fulfilling, right. So many ways. And then I want to also talk about when it’s not right, because I think that’s equally as important because I think as an entrepreneur who may be going back and forth, or even if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re kind of thinking like, Oh man, the grass looks.
Screener on that side. Knowing that it doesn’t always work out the way that you think it’s going to. And so for me, when I, when I ended up going from the accelerator, which again was a very like relationship, heavy community role. I was surrounded by people. I was very engaged with a lot of different founders.
I was not only working on the, you know, brand of the accelerator, but I was also working as an embedded advisor for the startups. So it was a very dynamic and interesting. But people focused role and that’s key because of what I’m about to say. Is a, is a, is a shift. And so when I went to fellow, which is like a SAS company, you know, I was so excited about that role.
I was so excited about taking on that work, but what I didn’t realize, and, and, you know, you don’t know these things until you get in them, to be honest, what I didn’t realize was just that being in a role that is actually. Not people focused, you know, that doesn’t have that community element that doesn’t have that dynamic nature.
It’s not that the role wasn’t dynamic. I mean, I was doing so many different things and working on, you know, very cool projects and I had an amazing team and the company’s great. The software is great. I still use it today. Like, there was nothing about the actual like company that was bad or anything like that, but it was just that I realized in the role that I was like dying on a vine a little like, meaning.
I didn’t have that, like, You know, ability to connect with humans every day and, and have this like really dynamic heart feeling thing. It was, it was like analytics and, you know, landing pages and copy. And those things are great. It’s part of marketing, but for me, it was just like, I realized, like, wow, I actually need a lot of that human.
You know, kind of centric work to do much, to feel like I’m doing my best work. And I need that community involvement which I had so much of it all spark and then had none of at fellow. And so again, it’s not a, there’s no part of, you know, fellow that is, is responsible for that. It was literally just like a fit in terms of the role itself.
And so, you know, I had to kind of ask myself as I went into 2021, like. Is that what I really want, you know, for my career and my future, or do I need to like, make a hard decision now to sort of get back closer to the type of work that I love to do. So I think. I think sometimes it, it also, you, you know, you can, you can get into a place where you also have to be real with yourself and it’s, and again, like to your point earlier, it’s not about like failure.
It’s not about like, Oh my gosh, I failed at this. It’s literally about like, identifying, okay, this is it’s going well, we’re achieving a lot, you know, all of our numbers are up into the right. Like this is good. But at the end of the day, like, does it feel right? You know? And, and I think sometimes. A lesson that I’ve learned over the years as well, is that you just have to listen and you have to be willing you know, to, to like zag when, when you think you should be going a different way.
And and I think that was yeah, that was another big lesson for me is like, sometimes it’s not going to be right. You know, sometimes you’re gonna get it wrong.
Scott: Yeah. You know, all that I’m hearing out of this is. Throughout your career what’s really contributed to your success and your happiness is this incredible heightened sense of self-awareness, which I think is important.
Thank you. It’s very important because that’s what led your decisions and that’s what’s led. And now I’m going to, I’m going to ask what you’re doing now and how it’s changed from. What you did in the past, but I think it’s all driven by self-awareness and that’s something
Erin: people need to work on. I love that.
You’ve said that. I think honestly, that’s one of the greatest, greatest things that you can work on. You know, building in yourself is definitely self-awareness, it’s always helped me no matter what, like, whether it’s, you know, been in parenting or work or in life and relationships self-awareness is so key.
It’s it’s not easy. You know, because I mean, it’s led to me like getting a divorce. It led to me quitting my business. It led to me quitting jobs. Like it’s not easy to have self-awareness. And sometimes it is hard for people to understand your decisions. Especially if they think, you know, you should be doing things a certain way, but at the end of the day, you know, it’s, it really has allowed me to get to a place where I do feel today happier than I’ve ever felt, which is, you know, I’m so grateful that I was able to get there.
Scott: So let’s, let’s talk about that. So let’s talk about, so a fellowship, good, good company doing all the right things, but it wasn’t your vibe. So what is your vibe? What, what prompted you to take the next steps and how, how do you make this iteration of entrepreneurship of, of the level of next level in your life?
How do you make it better than what it was before?
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Erin: Yeah. Yeah. Great questions. So. In, in a lot of ways when I quit my job at fellow, I actually had no idea what I was going to do.
Scott: Oh, my bad. I, I called the fellowship. I’m sorry. I missed
Erin: that. No, it’s okay. So when I quit there, I like, honestly had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew. I was like, okay, like, I feel like I’ve, I’ve done a lot.
I feel like I’m going to end on a high note, you know, like w w when it’s still, still really, really great. And but like, yeah, I just kind of, I quit and then, you know, I put on LinkedIn, like, Hey, I quit, you know, open to conversations. Like, let’s see what comes up. And the next three weeks I had 70 plus phone calls.
Like it was honestly. Overwhelming in so many ways. And just like, there were so many things, there were full-time offers. There were, you know, contracts being put in front of me. There was like the potential to join some companies as their CEO and like, you know, others as their COO and like just all of these different things.
And I had to really sit and assess like, what do I want? Cause this is a lot you would think. That that’s like a great position to be in. And it is like, I’m so grateful that I have a network that was willing to like step up and support me like that. But like, It’s also very hard to have, like that much choice.
And I was afraid of like making the wrong decision, but, you know, again, I went back to that same thing where I just checked in with myself and thought like, okay, what do I really want? And for me, it needed to be a couple things. I knew I needed a role that was like people, community. Dynamic doing different things.
I love working with startups and scale-ups like a lot. I love the beginning phases of, of marketing in a, in a business. I love building foundations around marketing. And so I S I just started like allowed myself to kind of gravitate towards some of those things. And. The other thing I did very differently this time was I actually priced my services appropriately this time.
Like I didn’t undervalue myself or what I do. And I also knew that I needed to price myself at a certain point. If. I also didn’t want to have to fill a full 40 or 50 hours of work a week. Like I wanted to maybe fill 20, you know, and then like have the other 20 to do things like this, like podcasts and mentor and coach and, you know, work with accelerators or.
Whatever the case might be. And so it really was about like, okay, I need, I need things that are aligned with like those, you know, the, have the elements of what I love. So foundations, startups, community, people, that kind of thing, but it also needs to be companies that are willing to invest in marketing and understand the value of it so that they know that when they’re investing in me, That, you know, what we’re going to do together is actually going to exponentially change their business.
But they have to have that knowledge because otherwise you end up in a place where they’re investing, but there is, there’s a lot of fear or maybe like hesitation that, that can come along. And then that just makes things muddy and not so great. But yeah, so it’s just about picking like really great clients doing work.
I love. And and then just being open to whatever kind of comes up.
Scott: Yeah. And what, what, I guess, you know, you’ve learned lessons in entrepreneurship you mentioned things about pricing yourself and valuing yourself and sort of protecting your time and looking for the right like the right target clients that you don’t waste your time.
Are there any other things that you’ve done differently or you would suggest somebody sort of keep top of mind if they’re going into entrepreneurship or starting their own thing, almost like as a service-based or consultant based business for the first
Erin: time. Yeah, outsource the stuff that is like business operational right away.
I mean, a lot of people, even myself and my first business, I waited probably seven years before I actually, you know, hired an accountant as an example, or got a lawyer to look over my contracts. Like I was doing all of that in, in business one. I was doing all of that on my own and there. And the reason I did is I w I didn’t have the mentality yet of like, I should invest in my business and in these areas, because if I do, I’m actually going to be able to like, spend that time making money versus, you know sort of doing it on un-billable, but I was, you know, I just didn’t have that mindset back then this time around the very first thing I did.
Instantly. It was, I emailed my lawyer and I was like, Hey, we need it. We need to set up a corporation. Let’s go. And then he emailed my accountant, you know, that I used before. And I said like, Hey, look at me, I’m actually engaging with you on day one. I’m so proud of myself. You know, and I got, I got him on board, like immediately, and I said, listen, I don’t want to have to think about a single aspect of this.
Like the, the accounting side of the business. I don’t want to have to know when I need to re file for HSC. I don’t want to have to like, do that. I want you to just take care of all of it. I’m going to build it into my rates. You know, I know it’s a hard cost and it’s a cost I’m willing to spend, spend money on.
So I think the thing I’ve learned this, like, especially in, I’m doing a lot differently this time is just putting those systems in place from day one so that I’m not having to later transition that over or, you know, end up. W w this is what happened last time is I ended up with a $45,000 bill from the CRA that was very unexpected.
And thankfully, thankfully, thankfully turned out. Okay. It was just a, an error, but yeah. Even still getting those bills in the mail are not fun. And I didn’t have an accountant then. And you know, it was just one of those things where it ended up like derailing a few weeks of my life. And I just don’t want to have any of that slow me down this time or, or get in the way of like my happiness.
So outsource as much of those things right away, as you can, even if it does feel like a cost, you know, it, it honestly does pay off in spades down the line.
Scott: And the only, the only other we’re, we’re coming up soon too to the hour or close to it. So I don’t wanna go into a whole other topic, but you are an expert at this.
And it’s something that has allowed you to really hit the ground running. So I know you’re building a course on personal brands, full course, but, but advice, advice on people. Personal branding, how to do that preemptively promptly, possibly while still in a role so that if they do want to do something, they can do it like you’re
Erin: doing it.
Yeah. So I feel very bullish that every single human that’s in business should be like, whether you’re in an actual like career, you know, in a full-time role or you’re running your own business, like absolutely. I feel bullish that everyone should be building a personal brand. And the reason is, is because it’s honestly the one thing that you can take with you.
Whether you are, self-employed employed. Coming back to self employment like me. You know, it CA it goes with you, like, it, it follows you around, you’re building a network it’s yours. It’s not your employers. You know, the body of work you create around your personal brand. Like if you’re doing some blog posts, let’s say, or simply posting on social you know, any of those things, like those are yours, you own that.
And yes, I know it’s on a third-party platform in many cases, but you still own the content. Especially if you do end up with like a, like I built a firstname.lastname@example.org. I put a lot of stuff there and, and that’s mine, you know, and I think the thing that has always helped me to, to both get clients without actually having to act market to, you know, find jobs without having to apply for them, it’s all been through my network.
And it’s all been just through the, you know, the fact that I’ve built and grown this online. And so like there’s easy things that people can do. So, you know, you could. Put up a website like I email@example.com. You know, you could throw up a blog there, you could put up some media mentions. You can start to maybe even outline some speaking you know, kind of topics that you would be able to talk about on a podcast or otherwise.
You know, you can use that as sort of your home base, put your portfolio there, whatever, whatever the case might be. And then of course you can leverage social, like. There are today is so much easier than when I started in 2004, because we have platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, tick talk, even, you know, tick-tock is a, obviously a very fast growing platform and these all exist and they’re, they’re, they’re free to use and they’re free to create on and you can meet so many people.
So I would say anyone watching this, like. If you’re just looking for a few little things to do the first thing is like, kind of come up with like your pillar topics or, you know, sort of like two to three areas of focus for you. So for me, it’s usually marketing entrepreneurship, and then, you know, some sort of startup Kind of ecosystem stuff is usually what I share on you know, on the more business focused platforms.
And then, you know, behind the scenes on Instagram, I’m sharing a lot of like outdoor adventure stuff and, you know, things that I’m doing. But come up with your pillars and this will give you like a bit of a guiding light to follow. And then from there, just show up consistently on those platforms, like.
Post regularly. It doesn’t have to be five times a day, but if you’re just like showing up consistently, I promise it will grow over time. And then the other thing I’d recommend is like wake up every day and try to connect with at least five to 10 new people across those platforms. And this is so simple because it doesn’t have to be a big deal.
You can just like. Go on Twitter, search out people that you’d like to connect with and then follow them. There’s a good chance. They’re going to check you out following back, and now you have a connection that you can start to nurture. So there’s a lot that can be done. And I just think it’s just so important.
And again, that’s the one thing you can take with you and it’s totally 100% yours and no one else’s and I think that’s so, so critical.
Scott: Yeah, no good advice. Good advice. And you’re in, you’re preaching to the choir. Okay. Before before we cut off a couple of rapid fire questions, just about your career and life lessons you’ve learned.
Is there anything else that you wanted to bring up? We’ll get like the socials and stuff at the end, but anything else that you wanted to bring up? We didn’t touch on.
Erin: Yeah. I mean, I think what I would just say is like, you know, if there’s anyone watching or listening to this, watching this that, you know, is sort of feeling stuck at all, you know, don’t be afraid to make a change is the only thing I’d say, you know, I’ve done it so many times.
And as long as you trust yourself and you, you know, you bet on yourself and you know that no matter what, like you’re going to come through for you. You know, I think like don’t be afraid to make it, you know,
Scott: just do it. Good advice. Good advice. Okay. A myth about entrepreneurship that you want to debunk,
Erin: That it’s easier than, or like w you know, more freedom or flexibility.
Like those things aren’t true. And the, this isn’t like a myth, but I do think it’s one of the things I’d like to say that’s important is surround yourself with other people, like other entrepreneurs when you’re an entrepreneur, especially if you’re like a solo printer. You know, running your own business with no, if you don’t have a team and that kind of thing, get yourself some people that you can connect with often who also understand what you’re going through.
Scott: Okay. So that was a perfect segue into the next question. What’s what’s a person that’s been a mentor or a help to you.
Erin: Oh, honestly, like, this is a hard question for me to answer because I really do feel like, yeah, I feel like I learned something from everyone, honestly. Like I do. And even today, for example, I was having a conversation with someone who was actually you know, inquiring about my like, kind of.
Coaching advisory services. And, and then we got into this like more deeply psychological conversation about goal setting and like what to do when you don’t feel like you have any goals. Anyway. So I think like if you’re, if you’re willing to be an open person in general and very transparent and authentic with like other people, you can find those mentorship moments.
Everywhere. If you’re willing to just like lead with openness. I find if I do that at people are more open in response and yeah, everyone becomes a mentor.
Scott: Good a resource book or podcast that you’d recommend.
Erin: Oh my gosh. Also so many, I would say there’s a podcast called everybody, hates marketers, I think is what it’s called.
I know I’m going to probably, I’m probably butchering the title anyway. It’s a really great one. If you’re looking for a tactical marketing podcast, that’s like actually tactical walking you through like tactics. Super. I really liked that. I just read a book called the courage to be disliked.
Life-changing and I quit my job immediately after reading that book. So read with caution. And I also think if you’re a B2B marketer, Dave Gearhart’s podcast is also incredibly great. It’s very, very practical.
Scott: Yeah, I just, I Google it. Everyone hates marketers. Learn to stand the fuck out by Louis granny.
That’s literally, that’s what the podcast is called. Right?
Erin: Exactly. Yeah. And it’s honestly, like, I don’t love, like, I really, I like like very tactical marketing podcasts because like there, you know, you can put them in practice, in practice right away. And that one is exactly that.
Scott: Cool. Okay. A lesson you tell your younger self.
Erin: Hmm. Don’t don’t I mean, I guess it just goes back to that success thing. Like, don’t be, don’t be, don’t follow other people’s definitions of definitions of success, like create your own.
Scott: And then last question asks, ask this to everybody. What does success mean to you?
Erin: I mean, I think I’ve already defined it.
Yeah. But it’s
Scott: the last question on this list. I got to ask it again.
Erin: You got to go, I’ll do it. So for me, it’s literally just like having that financial security, you know, that you don’t have to worry about paying my bills. And then I have, I have the time in my life to spend with my daughter and my, you know, my partner and that we can do outdoor adventures and and just like really absorb life.
That’s it. Good?
Scott: Yeah. It’s a good answer. I know you already said it. I just, I ask everybody at the end and you just, you just preemptively answered it. That’s not my fault. Okay. Where do people connect with you online? How do people email you contact you socials all that?
Erin: Yeah, so, I mean, I’m pretty easy to find on the internet and you just have to Google my name.
And honestly, I’m my, you know, at Erin Blaskie just about everywhere. Email address is the same Erin and Erin blasts. Dot com. And I, and I honestly love getting questions and things by email. So if you’re ever like, you know, curious about anything, you’ve got a question about marketing. It’s great.
Inspiration for me for like my YouTube channel. My Tech-Talk talk like all of it. So never hesitate to reach out.