Boss Babes- Meet Leah and Jessica!

 

It is the end of another month, so it is time for another Boss Babes episode from yours truly! Seems like time is going so fast recently and I am loving all the fall items on display…however, I would like the fall weather to show up soon! Well, I am super excited about this Boss Babes post because I am featuring my friend from college, who was also my suit mate! I am so incredibly proud of her and all she has accomplished! Also, she is like insane with running and makes it look so easy… I know it’s not that easy, from the times I have tried. 😞 Anyway let me introduce you to an amazing social media company, Tangram Sky Interactive; Creating, Building and Growing online presence through SEO, PPC, website creation and social media!

I did a little interview with the two Boss Babes that run this company: Leah and Jessica! They are both answering the questions ( Jessica’s answers are in blue, Leah’s answers are in pink! )

Let the Interview Begin!!!
1. Tell me a little about yourselves and how you met! 

Leah and I met while working together at a media agency in Dallas. We connected over similar interests in running and how we believed business should be done.

Jess and I met in downtown Dallas working for the man! We bonded over a few incredibly stressful client meetings and started asking ” why is it this way?!” That definitely got us in trouble (in a positive sense) and landed us where we are today.

2. Tell me about your business!

We are a small online advertising company. Our core services include Pay Per Click management, Social Media management, Search Engine Optimization, and Website Creation / Redesign. We like to focus on other small businesses: helping to them create a (better) online presence.

You could best describe us as the online marketing department for small businesses who don’t have one or can’t afford one. You get all the expertise but at a way lower cost than hiring full-time people to manage your website and online campaigns. 

3. How’d you come up with this business and the idea behind it? 

We decided to leave the corporate world, imagining a better work experience for us both. We both loved what we were already doing. How hard would it be to forge our own way? So we popped up a website and starting looking for clients. We haven’t had very much time to look back!

I love Jessica’s response, ha! That’s really how it is! I was commuting to downtown Dallas every day and was just tired of the stress, the games, the numbers. It was exhausting and felt meaningless. Once we discovered how similarly we thought about business, and the real value of transparency, it just seemed like the right thing to do. It was incredibly scary – I mean, we started with zero. We just put ourselves out there, started talking about what we did, and building up our portfolio and our credentials…and here we are! The most important thing is that we’ll always do whatever we do (Facebook campaigns, small websites, etc.) with honesty and transparency. What you see is what you get!

4. What is your favorite part about your job?
I love creating graphics to accompany Leah’s fabulous social media posts and designing beautiful, but functional, websites for our clients. 

There is nothing cooler than seeing everything really WORK. We have one client and I sometimes can’t believe how much business we get for her. It’s crazy what she ranks for on Google and we are constantly just pumped to share our excitement about her success online! So, I think seeing our clients be successful is really my favorite part. And, obviously getting to work with someone as cool as Jess. 

5. Have you always wanted to be in this field or career? 
I always wanted to be an artist, but didn’t think I could make money doing it…so when I fell into graphic design, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Simple graphic design skills turned into creating print ads, business card design, company logos, websites, and social media posts. I get to apply beauty and fundamental design elements to a company’s tools to (hopefully) create a more effective presentation to their potential clients. It’s a great job!

Umm.. my least favorite class in college was web design. Kind of hilarious now, but I can say I always wanted to be in marketing! I love the variation, the clients, and I just think it’s fun to go to work every day and think up new ideas. I love to write copy, and so running campaigns and managing sites helps me have the opportunity to do more of that. 
6. What kinds of things have you been able to do because of your work?

Owning our own small business has allowed us to work from home. This saves us on overhead costs and cuts back on travel time. No more commute for us! We are both avid runners, so the time spent pounding the pavement is easily fit in to our schedule. Plus I get to be home for my kids (I’m a single mom) when they get home from school and then shuttle them to their various activities! 

Oh I definitely think Jessica and I wouldn’t have been able to train for a full marathon if we didn’t work like we do! I love the flexibility – I can get work done in the evening if it’s necessary, and it definitely allows me to be true to the values that I hold – we get to feel good about what we do. That’s more important to me than anything. You aren’t in that box of “two weeks of vacation each year” anymore; it’s very liberating. 

 

7. What is a typical day like for ya’ll? 

I get up with my boys & the dogs. Boys take the bus to school, and we take walks. When I am training for a race, I would also fit this in. Breakfast & coffee follow, and I trek 5 steps into my office to start checking email and working on our projects. Leah & I chat through messenger, cc each other on emails to we can stay in the loop on everything going on! I start making dinner around 4:30- 5. I try hard to find healthy things for my boys to eat without grumbling, lol. Then more dog walking and/or “Ubering” the boys to practices/games and finally chilling out with my boyfriend with a little Netflix. I keep wondering if being in bed by 9 means I am old…or just happily tired from every day being stuffed with important and fun things to do?

I try to run first thing in the morning. It’s pretty cool that I don’t have to worry about running out the door! I am still learning how to manage acceptable business hours at home without being online by 7:30 a.m. and working through to the evening. Before I know it, 12 hours have gone by and I didn’t ever take a break! (Sorry Jessica!) Our junior partner, my 95-lb Golden Retriever Gordon usually sits in the office with me most of the day. He keeps me company! I love to experiment with recipes and cook at home most nights, and I have lots of other hobbies I try to keep up with – knitting, writing, leading small groups at my church…so each day is different. All of this is interspersed with multiple trips to the coffeepot, because I’m an addict and drink about 6 cups of straight-up black every day. It’s a problem, I know. 

8. Any advice you could give for entrepreneurs and Boss Babes? 

Anyone can do it. I’m not saying it was or still is easy. It was terribly scary at first, but I let that fear fuel my work. It took time and research to learn how to set up a company, register it, figure out taxes, where and how to pay, finding clients, keeping clients, staying up to date with new tactics in SEO and software, invoicing & collecting, figuring out how much to charge clients for services. Leah has been a great partner to me and I hope I am to her as well, we build each other up and learn from our mistakes. And we have both made mistakes. The best advice I could give is to know that you are going into the unknown, know that you will make mistakes, but don’t let any hurdles stop you; just dodge it, jump over it, side-step it, or crawl under it – you can make it work!

What she said! It is not an easy road, but man – we are learning so much about ourselves and we’re creating something that does good for other people! It takes commitment, discipline, and dedication, that’s for sure. If you’ll work hard and put your all into it, you can do it. Celebrate the little successes along the way – FRAME that client email that praises you! And never ever stop learning. You can’t know it all and you never will, but you have to realize that early on and take some time each week to devote to develop your skills. 

9. Who has been your biggest support as you launched your business? 

I have a great support crew! Leah has been and continues to be a massive pillar for me. My boyfriend Scott has been a wonderful sounding board when I am unsure or anxious. He has a remarkable ability to see things differently than I do and it has helped me tremendously see the world from his view. My mom has always been a source of strength that I draw upon; for advice and comfort.

My husband has learned FAR more about online marketing than he ever wanted to know! He is such a great listener and supports me in every way. I definitely think I have one of the best business partners the world has to offer in Jessica, and I feel so blessed to be on this great adventure with her. My family is all here in Dallas, so that has been an incredible help; they are positive and encouraging. 

10. Is this business full time or part time? And if part time, are you trying to make it to a full time company? 

I think that anyone, including myself, that has a small business has a full time job whether they want it to be or not! Even if I am not actively working, work is but a thought, text, or email away. But I can block my time around my personal life in a much more manageable way than I could before.

Is there a “beyond full time” choice? Just kidding. It is most certainly full time; I think when you’re running any kind of company it is sort of all encompassing. I’m still working on that separation of personal vs. work time, but when you’re building something it’s going to take work. So I’m okay when I have to put a little extra time in. 

WANT MORE INFO ABOUT THESE AWESOME BOSS BABES??? Check out their site- www.tangramsky.com

Interested in being one of my Boss Babe features, email me at erinruscel@gmail.com!

Till next time,

Stay positive and fashionable!

Erin Ruscel

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