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Meet Rachel Jordan of 929 Marketing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Jordan.

Rachel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a mom of two who went from Berklee College of Music to a career in nonprofit development, to Fortune 500 corporate marketing, to solo entrepreneurship. I launched my own marketing practice, 929 Marketing, in 2016 as a way to bring my creative heart, mission-driven mind, and corporate marketing skills to people who weren’t being helped by traditional marketing agencies.

And today, it makes perfect sense that I’d bring the three first chapters of my career together to work with creative and mission-driven entrepreneurs…but it took me some time to get that clarity. After attending Walnut Hill in Natick, and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, I did what I’d planned — I played bass in a band and taught music lessons at the now-defunct Cambridge Music Center.

But I found myself questioning whether the life I’d planned was the life I wanted. That’s how I went from teaching music lessons to raising funds and inspiring activism at UUSC, a nonprofit in Cambridge…and then on to leading b2b marketing for the Watertown-based Fortune 500, Bright Horizons {they’re now a Fortune 100, actually}.

Along the way, I got married and became a mom {two times over}. As lucky as I was to work in amazing organizations, doing work that I was excited to do, I dreamed of working for myself…even if the idea was equal parts thrilling and terrifying. It was in 2016 when I was lucky enough to be part of Seth Godin’s altMBA program, that it was time to stop wishing and start doing.

Since launching my practice, I’ve had the honor of helping some incredibly inspiring people make a difference in their work. My clients are all over the country, but one of the most inspiring is right here in Massachusetts — the Pinecroft School in Rehoboth, a small charter school with big heart and amazing faculty and staff.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
These last two years have been an adventure. Running your own business means experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows…sometimes all on the same day. It takes believing in the potential of your own ideas and being disciplined enough to pursue them until they work — or abandon them when they don’t. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my family, the business of marketing, and the business of being in business for yourself.

One of the hardest things, in the beginning, was feeling like I was in this all alone. Yes, my husband was incredibly supportive. Yes, my friends were supportive…even if they thought I was nuts for taking this leap. But, it was just me alone in this home office, day after day. Some days, I really felt like I was on decision-overload. But I didn’t have to be in this alone.

The best decision I ever made was to join a virtual co-working community for solo entrepreneurs. They are my cheerleaders, my mentors, my confidantes. I don’t know if I’d have made it to year two without them. Another constant struggle has been balancing my own expectations with the many voices out there. There are too many get-rich-quick online entrepreneurial promises today.

Entrepreneurship is not a fast track to fabulous wealth and a dream life on your own private island somewhere. That’s just not how it really works. And if you’re not earning seven figures in seventy days, or exceeding any of the other massive promises the self-described gurus are pushing, it’s ok. I have learned to define success for myself. And I’ve learned to help my clients do the same, which has changed how I help them think about their marketing needs.

Finally, to run my own show, I’ve learned that I have to be able to trust my gut. We’re not always hard-wired to do that. Running your own business means making every decision yourself — what you’re doing, who you’re doing it for, how you’re getting it done, what you’ll charge, how you’ll get out in front of the right people, and on and on… You have to be able to notice what’s happening around you and respond.

You have to believe in what you’re doing, and keep plugging away day after day. You’ve got to ride the intense ups and downs that fill every day, without giving up in the dip…or getting complacent at the highest point of the wave. There’s an endless number of people out there ready to tell you how to run your business. And, at the same time, there are no performance reviews, no annual work plans, no boss to tell you what’s expected of you today. It’s all you, all the time.

And all of that takes trusting your gut. You can’t be paralyzed by indecision, waste time with overthinking or spin your wheels trying to achieve perfection before moving forward. You have to trust yourself and just go. All of these things might’ve been challenging — and sometimes exhausting — but I wouldn’t trade a moment of this adventure for anything. The lessons I’ve learned have made me not only a better business owner, but a better marketer, and a better version of myself, too.

929 Marketing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At 929 Marketing, I help educators and creators to understand and own their marketing. People hire me when they’re ready to grow, but they don’t know how. My clients have established themselves as being great at what they do. They’re people who teach, people who create, or people who help others achieve great things — like videographers, charter schools, photographers, test prep coaches. The people who’ve found them love them, but the question now is…how to help more people find them.

Sometimes, my clients already know that they need to up their marketing game. Sometimes, they just know that it’s time to grow and they have no time to waste on doing the wrong things or trying to do all the things all at once. I’m proud that the way I do this work is helping to change the way purpose-driven small businesses can get access to marketing help that actually helps them.

I help people truly understand their marketing, to feel empowered to grow the thing they’ve created. And then I help them get to work. It’s really different than the traditional marketing agency/consultant model. I even give clients a three-month marketing plan that they can put to work themselves, immediately, if they want to. I explain, in plain English, what you need to do, when, and how to know it’s working.  And, perhaps more importantly, I explain what you don’t need to do.

Knowing what you can skip, guilt-free is huge for busy business owners. When I first launched this practice and described who I wanted to help, I heard from a lot of skeptics and naysayers. But I held my belief in doing well by doing good. Turns out, a lot of other people have held on to that belief, too. And they want to work with someone who understands what they’re doing, someone who values how they define success, In the beginning, my clients were a really diverse array of mission-oriented small businesses and solo entrepreneurs.

There was the artisanal gifting service that was breathing new life into the corporate gift market while raising up local artisans; the kindie rock band who was teaching valuable lessons through lots of different media; and the clinical psychologist – turned – success coach who was helping driven people to conquer their own personal challenges in order to reach their dreams. As I continued to hone my purpose and processes, a niche revealed itself to me.

My background in the worlds of music, nonprofit, and education-focused corporate make me a perfect fit for entrepreneurs who are focused on educating people or creating art that moves people. Clients like The Pinecroft School in Rehoboth, MA, the videographers at Cheer Films in NYC, and the wonderful test prep coach, Stacey Howe-Lott, of Stellar Scores, have all found the kind of focus, direction, and empowerment that my process provides.

I’m overjoyed to have been part of each of these people’s entrepreneurial journeys. I’m proud to explain to my kids what I do. And I’m excited every day to get to do this work.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me, success {in general} means a thriving family life, inner life, and business life. It means doing work that I love, with people I believe in, for an income that helps my family thrive… and on a schedule that’s in balance with the other parts of my life. I know that to bring my best to all the parts of my life — work, parenting, marriage, friendship — I have to take care of myself.

I have to have time and energy for doing the things that bring me alive, like writing, reading, and exercising. When any of those things start to fall away, I feel it. I find that little things make a big difference to keep that balance going. When I leave the home office, I need to leave my phone there, too. At least for a little while. Otherwise, I can’t fully turn off. And then I’m not fully present with my family.

And if I’m so stressed about the business at the end of the day that I’m finding it difficult to be present for my kids, it’s time to take stock and make some changes. So that I can keep doing the things I need to do to keep each part of my life going.

Pricing:

  • Marketing advising {aka The Breakthrough Session}: $150
  • The Springboard {the first stage of the Master Plan}: $575
  • The Master Plan: $2975 {Or, for clients who’ve completed the Springboard, $2400.}

Contact Info:

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