Ballet + Spanish + Ambulance Chasing = ?
Hi, I’m Lauren Pawell and when I tell people that I love to help businesses grow through lead-generation, lead qualification and lead nurturing, there is often a little confusion about exactly what that means and why that’s so exciting for me.
So let me back up a bit and share more about the way I’m wired and then it will all make sense.
Throughout my life, I have always pursued interests where I can get clear, immediate results. While my varied activities may seem all over the map, there are some interesting similarities. Each of the major paths throughout my life, whether personal or professional, has always involved:
- finding a way to communicate with others, or
- gaining a specific result in a way that can be immediately and accurately tracked and then improved upon.
For instance, when I was 2.5 years old, my mom took me to see a performance by a local ballet studio, and I instantly fell in love. I wanted to learn how to dance as beautifully as the ballerinas on stage.
And for the bulk of the next 22 years, I devoted 40+ hours per week toward what I thought could eventually be a career as a professional ballerina.
You might be wondering what on earth this has to do with my business.
Let me explain.
For me, ballet was a beautiful, creative outlet to express myself within very strict rules and constraints. Also, I was able to track my improvement each day based on my teacher’s feedback, as well as whether or not I was able to turn out my foot further and raise my leg higher than the day before.
As I got older, my parents allowed me to continue devoting most of my free time ballet because I kept my grades up. Consequently, I became a decent student as well.
While I was in high school, my Spanish teacher, Ms. Levitre, pushed me in a subject I excelled at. She showed me how new languages allowed me to learn an entirely new set of constraints by which to both:
- express myself and
- learn about people who saw the world differently than I did.
In college, I ended up pursuing a major in Spanish, which led me to study abroad in Spain for my entire junior year. I loved that I was able to measure how well I mastered the language by my ability to converse (or not) with locals. As a result of all this, in addition to acquiring a new language, I also developed an empathy and a love for learning how other people live.
During this time, many of my extracurricular pursuits (outside of dance) were related to Spanish:
- I made money tutoring local high school students.
- I got a summer job taking students to Costa Rica and helping them immerse themselves in the local language and culture.
- I volunteered at low-income schools where many of the students’ first language was Spanish.
Well, as you probably noticed, once I become interested in something, I pursue it fully.
My passion for foreign language eventually propelled me pursue a trilingual MBA program in Europe. Eventually, I landed in Brussels, Belgium, to work in sales and marketing for a European medical device company. I had a wonderful opportunity to juggle 3 different job responsibilities at once…none of which I was remotely prepared for: EMEA product specialist, distributor support, and CRM assistant.
While I learned quite a bit at this job, I was consistently working 60-70 hour weeks for 3 years, and to be honest, I burnt out.
I distinctly remember when it happened. I was on the train coming back from a really tough heart attack case at a hospital in Ashford, England. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong. Including an intern mistakenly instructing me to grab the patient’s family and bring them to the operating room so they could break the news that he wasn’t going to make it. Talk about high-stress.
On my way home, sitting in that train car alone, I first thought: “F*** this sh**.” (Pardon my French, but that’s truly what came to mind at that moment.) This thought then led to “Why on earth am I doing this?” and I immediately broke down sobbing.
It was my 24th birthday. What a celebration, right?
Little did I know, this moment was a huge gift as it pushed me toward becoming a business owner.
The reality was, I was tired of working my butt off, as one of the top performers in the company, only to have very little control over my destiny — financially, professionally and personally. Not to mention, there were a whole host of challenges that come with having a corporate job, that quite frankly, I was no longer willing to tolerate.
Wanting to stay in Europe and figure out my next career move, I moved to London and trained for six months at a digital marketing agency. During that time, I discovered a love for the digital marketing world, which was fast-paced and very results-oriented. However, when I completed my 6 months of training, I received a job offer that was far from appealing — I wouldn’t have been able to live on the salary in London, let alone pay for the required flights back and forth to the US every 3 months because the agency was unwilling to sponsor me with a visa.
Frustrated that working for others wasn’t providing me the freedom to pursue life the way I wanted — professionally, personally, or financially — I didn’t see any other choice than to create my own business and finally find the path that worked for me.
While working with large, global brands at the agency in London, I knew that much of what I did could make an enormous difference in small and medium-sized businesses as well. Plus, I saw there was huge demand for digital marketing services in that market.
So, 7 years ago, I made the decision to move back to the U.S. and start my own company.
As my business grew, one of the pieces that has made what I do so rewarding and I think what tends to set me apart from others, is that I view my role with clients as an educator and collaborative partner.
In fact, many prospective clients are shocked if I tell them that I don’t think our services are the right next step for them. They’re frequently coming from relationships with online marketing agencies who have constantly upsold services without really educating the client on what they needed and why. So having an honest, transparent dialogue is often a breath of fresh air.
I see the trap that so many business owners fall into, which is believing that by spending 90% of their resources into creating a pretty website, and 10% of their resources into building and nurturing their audience — they will be able to attract the many high-quality customers. Unfortunately, this is far from the right tactic.
My approach is to flip that formula — put 10% of effort into building your site, 90% into growing and nurturing your audience.
After 7 years of working with clients and auditing the direction each of them has chosen, guess what I’ve found?
Those who decided to focus the bulk of their efforts and money on site aesthetics are no longer in business. Those who have focused 90% of their time and money on building and nurturing their audience still have a thriving entrepreneurial venture.
I think the biggest compliment I receive most often from clients is their immediate relief and ease that they have finally found a marketing partner who isn’t focused solely on selling to them, and instead will listen to their goals, their frustrations, and educate them about the strategies that truly make the most sense for them.
Also, since much of my client work is confidential, I’ve created a fun way to demonstrate exactly what I do — the Transparent Marketing Project. This is a year-long marketing experiment where I show exactly how to build a site and grow an audience, from scratch. (And of course, that site is travel-themed.) It’s just one more way that I can creatively and transparently communicate to my audience what my approach looks like while also delving into my love of traveling like a local in destinations all over the world.
I’m someone who is innately drawn to exploration and guiding others on their own path towards entrepreneurial freedom.
Truly, the greatest reward I receive in my business is our role in helping companies make the daunting become doable by generating more leads, customers, and revenue. I love translating complex marketing and tech challenges into a clear strategy.
Together, we develop their marketing roadmap, so they can stop wasting time and money on efforts that don’t bring the desired business impact. This allows clients to take back their freedom by clarifying and simplifying what they actually need to do to get the results they’re looking for.
My ultimate goal with every client is pretty much the same, to provide a sense of peace that comes with knowing they are on their own way to pursuing their own version of personal, professional, and financial freedom. We cut to the chase and remove what isn’t working, so they can focus only on the most effective strategies, saving them time, money and frustration. Why? I want them to achieve their goals efficiently and with more ease.
If you’re ready to get unstuck in your business and embark on a journey towards a steady stream of qualified prospects, then schedule a complimentary Strategy Session with me. We’ll outline your objectives and the different paths to meet your goals, as well as talk about how I can partner with you to get your business where it needs to be, so you can run a company and live life the way you want – on your terms.