Commitment – eLuminate Marketing

Episode graphic for "An Agency Story" podcast with Lyndsi Edgar - title Commitment - Hosted by Russel Dubree - picture of Lyndsi in the lower right corner smiling.
Lyndsi shares her journey of helping businesses establish a strong digital presence and sheds light on the challenges faced by local small to mid-sized companies. Lyndsi emphasizes the need to offload tasks and delegate them to others, allowing agency owners to work on the business rather than in it. She also highlights the significance of setting aside time for reflection, identifying what tactics are working, and creating processes to handle them efficiently.  

Company: eLuminate Marketing

Owners: Lyndsi Edgar

Year Started: 2014

Employees: 1 – 10

In this podcast episode, host Russel interviews Lyndsi Edgar, the founder of eLuminate Marketing, a boutique agency that focuses on creating customized and valuable content for established companies. Lyndsi shares her journey of helping businesses establish a strong digital presence and sheds light on the challenges faced by local small to mid-sized companies.  

The conversation revolves around the importance of creating processes and staying focused on priorities. Lyndsi emphasizes the need to offload tasks and delegate them to others, allowing agency owners to work on the business rather than in it. She also highlights the significance of setting aside time for reflection, identifying what tactics are working, and creating processes to handle them efficiently.  

Throughout the episode, Lyndsi and Russel discuss the benefits of learning from other business owners, including those who have grown and sold massive companies. They emphasize the importance of staying accountable, prioritizing tasks, and avoiding distractions from notifications and constant communication.  

Notable quotes from the episode include Lyndsi’s advice to “list out all the things that you’re doing, circle the things that are working in your business, highlight the things that are working on your business, and delegate the circle items.” Russel adds that a good tip doesn’t need a lengthy explanation, emphasizing the value of practical tips.  

Enjoy the story.

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Show Transcript

Welcome to An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up the first big sale, passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth, hear it all on An Agency Story podcast. An Agency Story podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit turned business coach. Enjoy the next agency story. Welcome to An Agency Story podcast. I’m your host Russel. On this episode, we have Lyndsi Edgar founder of eLuminate Marketing, specializing in online storytelling based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lyndsi got her start leaving the great blue ocean of the cruise industry into the open waters of entrepreneurship. Her story is a great tale of the discipline that agency ownership requires and how she leveraged that mentality to create a business that doesn’t overrun her life. From time management techniques to setting priorities. Lyndsi also shares how having a coach has helped her optimize her business to one she truly wants to be in and like any good discussion. We even talk of wine in this episode. Enjoy the story.

Russel: 

Welcome to the show today, everyone. I have Lyndsi Edgar with eLuminate marketing with us here today. Thank you so much for being on the show today, Lyndsi.

Lyndsi: 

Thank you so much, Russel. Happy to be here.

Russel: 

We are happy to have you. If you don’t mind, start us off. What does eLuminate Marketing do and who do you do it for?

Lyndsi: 

We are a boutique agency that produces customized and valuable content for established companies. I say established in the sense of we don’t work with startups, more companies have been around for two, three plus years. We create content on social media, email marketing, blog writing, display ads. At the end of the day, we’re helping them create a strong digital presence so when somebody needs them, they’re top of mind.

Russel: 

We came to this decision too. Like a lot of folks I talk to, nobody likes the startups. I feel like there’s a whole giant market opportunity for startups because nobody likes the startups. And I get why.

Lyndsi: 

Budgetary constraints there, metrics they want to hit pretty quickly. Inbound marketing takes time to see success and so that’s why it tends to be a better mark to work with an established company.

Russel: 

We did a lot more technology side of things and it’s like they’re trying to figure out the business in the process. We can’t build a business on the fly and build the website or we’re going to have to charge a whole lot more. Those poor startups. How did you come up with the name? What’s behind the name?

Lyndsi: 

Oh, man. I remember when I wanted to start my company and I, what should be the name? What should be the name? I kept thinking about it. I went for a run one morning along the beach, and I stopped to take a break and I looked up and there was a light bulb right above my face. I kept thinking, what I want to do is shed light on these businesses and the word illuminate came into my mind. Because I was going to be a digital company, I changed it to eLuminate. Removing the I and changing it to the eL. It was right then and there. I was like, that’s it. eLuminate Marketing. I pulled out my phone during the run, went on GoDaddy, bought the domain right then and there before I even got home cause I was like, I gotta get this domain before somebody else has this genius name idea. I bought it right then, and then I ran home and there was eLuminate Marketing.

Russel: 

That’s a very unique name and story. That’s why I was going to ask. There’s even names that seem like they’re obvious as to why the names are what they are. That’s not always the case, so thank you for sharing that. Want to hear more about eLuminate and all the good stuff you’re doing there, but let’s go back in time a little bit. What was young Lyndsi thinking she was going to do with her life?

Lyndsi: 

Young Lyndsi enjoyed coming up with commercials. I always loved in my head thinking, okay what would the commercial be for this product? My sister also played in that role too. We used to actually joke, say we would create these commercials together. That stuck with me. I also love to write as well. I started college right at the advent of social media. Facebook was coming out and this was a great opportunity because I would intern at companies, and they look at the young intern that’s a freshman or sophomore and they’re like you must know how to do this social media thing. I didn’t, but I had a great opportunity to come to the table and practice and learn. I think that’s where my passion for digital marketing grew was when I was in college. I always loved the core of marketing from being little, but then changed into digital as it became available to me.

Russel: 

Sounds that there was a young inspiration that carried through college. What was your career like before you actually started the agency?

Lyndsi: 

I worked in Carnival Cruise Lines, the cruise ship. I’m sure many people are familiar with it. I worked in their headquarters and the marketing department. Got a sense of what corporate life is like. I loved my co-workers, loved what I did, but at the end of the day I wanted to go off on my own. I then went to another agency that focused a little bit more on the digital marketing aspect and that was when I realized, I think I could do this on my own. I believe I could try. I decided, okay, let’s go off and see what happens. I told myself, if I don’t get three clients in the next six months, I’ll go back to looking for a job. But within the first six months, I think I had 10 clients. I thought, okay, you know I’m on to something. Let’s keep going and May of 2024, I’ll be celebrating 10 years. That was 10 years ago, which is crazy how fast time flies.

Russel: 

That’s the truth, man. That’s awesome. You quit your job, cold turkey and said, I’m doing this. No ramp up or anything like that.

Lyndsi: 

Yeah, I remember it was going into Memorial Day weekend and I had put in my notice to leave. That Friday I came home and I spent the entire weekend Friday, Saturday, Sunday writing a business plan, writing out what my mission was, my goals, my branding. That’s all I did the entire Memorial day weekend that year.

Russel: 

It sounds like you had some pretty fast success, those early days when you were getting started, was there any moments of, oh crap, what did I do? Or was it too much going on and the clients came your way so it was full speed ahead?

Lyndsi: 

Little bit of both, honestly. Certainly full speed ahead in the sense that there was a lot of demand for this at the time. So when I first started the agency, there was a huge presence of Fortune 500 companies excelling on digital marketing on social media. They had their look, their field, their branding, it was very professional buttoned up, but then you would look at these local small to mid companies. They were maybe taking articles online and posting them. There wasn’t a cohesiveness with branding, no strategy. That’s where I thought, you know what? These small to midsize companies deserve to have Fortune 500 looking social media. At the time, my little spiel was Fortune 500 social media without the Fortune 500 price, and there was a huge demand for that. There was a lot of small to midsize companies coming to me saying, hey, we want this look. Now, fast forward 10 years later, that’s not as prevalent. Everybody has a little bit more of a strategy and brand cohesion no matter what size of company, but at the time it was very novel. Therefore I was getting a lot of clients and I stayed tunnel vision focus. But of course, if clients came and went, businesses sold or got acquired, I would lose business and business would go down. Those were the occasional days where I was like, oh man, this is tough. I don’t get that paycheck that comes to me on a monthly basis. It’s ups and downs, keeping clients happy and keeping employees happy. There are days that I thought, oh, is this the right choice? But at the end of the day, now, 10 years later we don’t have as many ups and downs as we used to. I don’t regret it one bit. It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, to start my own agency.

Russel: 

I remember one of the things we had chatted about before was that you feel like you have this idea of a lifestyle business. We talked about how that wasn’t how the beginning starts, and even though a lot of people, that’s why they might start their own businesses, thinking that they can get that right out of the gate. What was the key to maybe that switch from, man, this is a grind, this is a hard job, to now I get to enjoy some of the freedom.

Lyndsi: 

Absolutely. I love how you put it as a lifestyle business, because that’s certainly how it is to me. As you mentioned before, I have two little kids. I have a three and a five year old. I’m a mom and as much as I love my business, I love my family even more, so, for me, I’m not working those 80 hours a week that I did back when I first started. What made that turning point was I think a combination of, I had grew to a point where I could offload the work I was doing to my account manager. I had finally, founded the right team of account managers that could handle the work and handle it well, which is so important. You’re only as good as your worst employee. Making sure that you have a great team in place, that was number one, and then for me to change the mindset of stop working in my business, work on my business. I’m not saying that I have that to a perfect system now. I’m still working in my business, but certainly not as much as I was before. That was two big shifts that occurred.

Russel: 

Tell me this, you encounter, and this is my own experience and other folks that I talk to to, right? We get to that capping point where it’s like, we need to offload some things. It takes time to offload some things and all while working on the business. It’s hard to find that time and I’ve heard unique stories. Like for us, it was 7 to 9 AM was only time we could find the on the business time, or it was evenings on a Thursday evening, did you go through something similar?

Lyndsi: 

Funny you say that, cause I am nodding my head in agreement. I’m a very process oriented type person. It’s how my brain works. In order for me to get things done, I schedule things out in chunks of time on my calendar. I try not to move those chunks of time, to commit to certain things for my business. Every morning from 9 to 11. I don’t have meetings, and usually it’s maybe 9 to 10:30, that is time for eLuminate. It’s time to look at sales. It’s time to meet with my account managers. And then I saved my afternoons for more of meetings and dealing with the nuances of a business. I always like to have a reoccurring time slot on my calendar that I do not mess with. That forces me to stay on target with working on the business.

Russel: 

What I hear too is a lot of folks try that and maybe some, it comes more naturally to be process oriented than others. Any hacks you had to employ, like you get a glass of wine after a successful in the business session, or again, did it come naturally for you?

Lyndsi: 

You know me so well, Russel. How did you know that? No, I would say I’m a quite disciplined person, so when I put it in there, there was no if ands or buts. That chunk of time was sticking to that chunk of time, a hard rule. I certainly have my glass of wine at the end of the night, so maybe that could be it.

Russel: 

Yeah. I think it goes without saying, to level up, whatever that level is for someone in their business, it does take discipline. It does take that investment, even when maybe the results don’t seem so immediate or whatever, but if you stay the course, the results come.

Lyndsi: 

One thing I wanted to add, too, when you mentioned how did you stay that course? One thing I find very important, at the end of the day, I call it my offboarding work. I look at my to do list and I put together my to do list for the following day, and then I prioritize what I should do. One, two, three, maybe four, five things I should do tomorrow, so then the next day, when I get to my desk, I’m not going straight to the email and then getting down the rabbit hole of checking emails. I go, okay. Look at my to do list, what’s number one? And then I finish number one. Maybe I’ll finish the first two, three things on my to do list before I even look at my email. That’s something that try to stay focused. It’s so hard to do now with the Slack going on and the email dinging and the text message going, but try so hard to put those away and look at those, one, two, three priorities and get those done first before you start looking at those notifications.

Russel: 

That’s such a good one. I’ve heard a lot of folks talk about that and how important that is, and even to bring in the brain science, I can’t remember where I read this. That’s my side hobby, is all things brain science is, if we start with the email and things like that, that puts us in dopamine mode. Where, in our brain it’s very hard to switch over to strategic kind of deep thinking, deep work mode. If we start our day, it’s like drug mode, then it’s hard to get off the drugs.

Lyndsi: 

And it feels so good, though, when you get those things done, because then you’re like, all right, I am moving forward with what I wanted to achieve rather than it’s noon and it’s what have I done all day? I’ve answered emails, I haven’t done anything and so you don’t feel very motivated at the end of the day. You don’t feel like you achieved much.

Russel: 

Yeah. I find those days to be the most exhausting, where I did a bunch of small tasks and I’m like, why am I so tired? I didn’t do that much today. But I think it goes back to, I was like literally on drugs all day and then crashed from your drugs and then that’s it.

Lyndsi: 

There’s a constant twitching of like, okay, let me answer Slack. Let me answer email. Let me answer this text. It’s exhausting.

Russel: 

In case someone is only half listening, I’m not doing drugs during the work day. Or at all, but sometimes people can half listen, Russel does drugs at work? But that’s cool. One of the things I think you mentioned too, has been a very critical success point that I hear a lot of folks talk about on the show and I would say it was one of the foundational ones in our own business is you talk about this idea of learning to say no and less is more thought process. How has that looked for you and what is that journey like?

Lyndsi: 

It’s still a journey. I wish I could sit here and say I figured it out and I know exactly when to say no. I’ve gotten much better at it. In fact, we even started the show when I was saying how we work with established companies and not startups. Over time, I’ve realized what our strengths are as an agency, and I’ve realized what my super user is and who my ideal customer is. I go after those individuals, and if they don’t fall within those parameters, I take a step back and think, am I going to help this person? Can I make a difference for them? Or is there another agency or another consultant that can do a better job than what we can offer? I’ve certainly gotten better on the nose. I’ve done some practices where I’ve listed out what exactly is my customer and do they fall into these categories before I take on a new customer?

Russel: 

I know that thought process will lead to very good things. It sounds like you’re already well into it and are getting some of the rewards, but I can definitely say it only gets better. Once you came to this realization, did you find that hard? Because I know a lot of agencies struggle with that idea because it’s revenue. It’s more runway.

Lyndsi: 

It’s hard to say no.

Russel: 

Did you go through those same struggles? And was it more validation, the more you said no over time reinforced it or, how did you get going in the beginning?

Lyndsi: 

Back to this idea of the lifestyle company. If I’m bringing on clients that are not a right fit, what’s going to happen is we’re going to have to work harder to achieve what they want. There’s going to be a lot of sleepless nights of me trying to to appease and please and get to what they’re looking to achieve, and maybe we can’t do that for them. I mentioned before, I have two kids already. I have enough sleepless nights. I don’t need more sleepless nights because of my company. I’m learning that saying no is giving me the freedom to find the right customers.

Russel: 

And to the point it takes discipline and sacrifice. There’s already a theme.

Lyndsi: 

It’s hard to say no though. I’ve certainly said yes to a few that I should have said no. It’s an ongoing lesson that should be learned.

Russel: 

We even went through kind of this process to check ourselves. One, ask, what are the qualifying questions, like you mentioned here. We’ve got to check a certain amount of those. The ones that are in the gray, it’s, okay, let’s at least then talk through the reasons, good or bad, why it might be worth it to take this on, not to sell ourselves, but maybe do more of a risk management assessment. If we start talking and asking those questions, it seems like it can, one, clarify, okay, no, we need to stay the course here or, hey, we’re taking a risk, but we know where the risk lies.

Lyndsi: 

Exactly.

Russel: 

As I understand, more recently another kind of upgrade working on the business, you’ve had a coach join the mastermind. Tell us a little bit about how that’s worked out for you.

Lyndsi: 

Yes, I had reached out to a colleague and she had made the recommendation to bring on a coach, and I did do that. Honestly, it’s nice to have somebody else’s perspective. You don’t know what you don’t know. I started this agency when I was 26 years old, so I certainly didn’t have all the answers. Even 10 years later, I definitely still don’t have all the answers, so it’s nice to hear from other business owners on what their issues are, how they’re navigating those, as well as from people who’ve grown massive companies and sold them. They know a thing or two, and they’re able to give me that knowledge. If you can invest in yourself to learn and to continue to grow, then you’re going to reap the reward within your own business.

Russel: 

I can’t say I’m not a little biased to that thought process because it is very part and parcel to what I do, but I can say in my own experience, that was certainly the case. We had a business coach pretty early on. I started the business at a young age. It was absolutely impactful to have a coach. It does seem a little bit in the world, people are very quick to get coaches for when it comes to the physical things like our body or sports and things like that. It seems people are a lot more hesitant when it comes to our knowledge and our brains effectively. Do you have any thoughts on why that is?

Lyndsi: 

Good way to put it. You’re right. Absolutely, it’s very easy for someone to go, I have a fitness coach, but then a business coach doesn’t seem as common. But we spend more time on our work than anything. The business coach has allowed me to think about things I normally wouldn’t think about. Not to mention, going back into the minutiae of we got email and projects and working on your business, the business coach allows you to take a step back and make us look at things at a different point of view. That’s one thing that I find extremely valuable. Now we have, for example, AI coming into the fold. Originally I looked at AI as terrifying, oh, my gosh, what’s going to happen with my industry. Now, working with the business coach, I’m looking at AI as an opportunity. I’m building out a plan on how to incorporate AI within our agency to further help our clients. That is one thing in specific that we’ve been working on that it’s worth having a business coach for.

Russel: 

I love that. Go make friends with what you’re afraid of, effectively.

Lyndsi: 

Exactly. I was up at night going, what is going to happen in the agency world with AI? But I’m feeling a little bit more confident as I’ve navigated this new AI world.

Russel: 

It’s certainly the hot topic amongst all things agency, maybe the world outright, but certainly in the agency space and how that’s going to affect things. I tend to, it’s more about how can we leverage it? It’s not going to turn anything upside down, is my take. This is Russel’s opinion, but not the official AI guru or whatever. What is your big goal with the business? If we’re having you on the podcast for round two, 10 years from now, what are we talking about?

Lyndsi: 

Big goal, I am not as motivated by money, I think, as a lot of business owners are where they want to grow it, maybe sell it. For me, it’s growing it to a place that, obviously comfortable, within my means, but more focused on that lifestyle company, again, where I can have the business and work on things that I’m very passionate about and help businesses, but then spend time with my family, spend time on doing other things that I love. I love outdoor stuff. I love scuba diving and camping and running. I would love to do more of that in addition to my work. 10 years from now, I love a business that runs on its own, but if I want to jump in and take part in a business strategy because I simply love doing so, then so be it.

Russel: 

There you go. Seems like worthy goals to strive for. Much as I’d love to keep asking many more questions, we’ll come to our time here. The last big question I have for you, are entrepreneurs born or are they made?

Lyndsi: 

I always believed that in order to be an entrepreneur, you had to grow up as a kid creating that lemonade stand and making money in your own small little businesses. I never did that. I was more focused on coming up with advertising and marketing and writing. It was never in my wheelhouse that I could be a business owner ever. Even in college, I envisioned I would become a marketing director, CMO for some corporation. It wasn’t until after when I was in the field that I thought, I could possibly be a business owner. For me, I think they could be made. You didn’t sell lemonade as a kid, or you never dreamed of being a business owner. It doesn’t mean you can’t start a business. It’s worth it’s if you’re passionate about something. If you love it, then go off on your own, it’s worth the risk.

Russel: 

All right. That’s a very wonderfully articulated made story, which I can always appreciate.

Lyndsi: 

What’s the percentage of made versus born? I’m curious.

Russel: 

Man, that’s a good question. I’ve actually wanted to sit down and go back and do the statistics on this. Born is the last, probably less than 20 percent of people say born.

Lyndsi: 

Interesting, okay.

Russel: 

And probably a decent, even mix between kind of a middle approach or made. What does that leave us? 40/40 on hybrid or made.

Lyndsi: 

Cause the stories on the TV are always like, ever since he was three years old, he was setting up lemonade stands, so then when you see that, you’re like, I never did that. I guess I’m not meant to be a business owner, so don’t let that fool you. You can still be a business owner.

Russel: 

I think that’s proven out that, like anything, some people were born to do a thing and then some people had to get there through other means, but neither one are the defining factor per se. Or put another way, I liked this one I heard one time it’s, they said born, but successful ones are made. I thought that was a pretty cool way to put it. If people want to know more about you and eLuminate Marketing, where can they go?

Lyndsi: 

I would say LinkedIn is probably the best place to take a look at the content that I put out there to connect with me. Lyndsi Stafford Edgar, Stafford’s my maiden name. That’s how you can find me on LinkedIn. You can also check out our website, eluminatemarketing.com. That’s where there’s tons of videos, tons of blogs on marketing advice, inbound, outbound marketing, so if you’re looking for that for your own company, take a look. I think we can give you some good ideas.

Russel: 

Wonderful. Absolutely fabulous conversation today, Lyndsi, thank you so much for sharing all the parts of your journey that you’ve solved and not quite solved yet. It was a great pleasure to speak with you today.

Lyndsi: 

Thank you so much, appreciate it. Glad to be here.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to podcast@performancefaction.com. An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction. Performance Faction offers services to help agency owners grow their business to 5 million dollars and more in revenue. To learn more, visit performancefaction.com.

Lyndsi: 

I was doing the email marketing for a political campaign. I was handling the social media and email for this individual who was trying to run for office. We created the email and I was ready to send it out. I looked through the entire email, I sent it to everyone, approved it. Everything looked good, and then once we sent out the email, I looked at the subject line and it was a misspelling. Instead of saying beaches, it said beachers, and I wanted to die because we sent it out to 10,000 people misspelled on this gentleman’s behalf. I honestly thought that was going to be the end of my career, but you learn from it. Always read your subject lines. Always. Cause it can happen. It went through three other people and they missed it too.

Russel: 

Oh man. Doesn’t sound like it was the end of your career. That’s honestly why in the early days we were doing print work for clients and two or three times where we did something like, cause we’re used to web, right? You can change web on an instance. It’s never permanent. And so that’s where we were like, all right. Print’s not for us because this whole having to check, double check check. Too stressful. It wasn’t our style and all to make a couple hundred bucks or something like that. Not worth it.