Katelin is a WAHM ("work at home mom") currently operating her own freelance social media marketing and consulting practice. Prior to being a freelance consultant, she spent eight and a half years immersed in the world of social media at an agency. She went to Denison University in Granville, Ohio and currently resides in Pasadena, California with her husband and son.
What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
Pretty much everything! I was just talking to my husband about this. At one point I wanted to be a cop… and an actress, and an artist, and a kindergarten teacher, and a dolphin trainer. They all sounded really fun in theory.
What was your major in college?
Communications with a minor in English.
Did you want to pursue a career in that field?
I did. And I remember when I was applying to college, I was that rare person who declared my major going in and never changed it. I knew that communications was what I wanted because it was broad so I knew that I could do anything - writing, marketing, entertainment – with that degree. And English came second because I accidentally took lots of English classes. So I realized that I was a few classes shy of a minor and took a couple more English classes.
When you got out of school, what did you do?
I originally planned on taking the summer off. Which I did: I moved back in with my parents with no real plan. I went to college in Ohio and knew I didn’t want to stay there, so moving back to LA made sense. Then towards the end of the summer, I decided to try to intern somewhere; because I was fortunate that, living with my parents, I had the luxury of not needing to immediately have an income. I ended up landing an internship at a social media marketing agency. Three weeks later I was hired as their receptionist. And then stayed there for eight and a half years.
Describe the evolution of those 8.5 years.
I pretty much had every role that was available at my company. I interned, was the receptionist, then the receptionist/another position, and then I kept moving up. In retrospect I realize that the last 2-3 years there I was a bit stagnant, professionally. I was working on different projects, but I wasn’t really growing. I realized that I didn’t want the top position there. It came with more stress and responsibility without the reward or pay. It worked out that I stayed there long enough that I was one of the last people in the LA office. They eventually shut down the LA office and I was, literally, the last person in the office when I got laid off. When I was six and a half months pregnant. I was there at a great time: I watched social media evolve. Twitter wasn’t a thing when I started. Facebook was just for people, not for brands.
It just kind of worked out for them (the company) and me.
Did you find it fulfilling?
I did. I did in the beginning, especially, because it was my first job out of college. I was fulfilled in that I made great connections with my coworkers, some of whom are still really good friends, and I was fulfilled in that I learned a lot. But when towards the tail end of the company, it started to leave a sour taste in my mouth. I parted with them in a good way, but was kind of like: what was the last year all about?
What are you up to now?
Right now I’m doing freelance social media marketing and consulting, which landed in my lap after I was laid off. It’s been really nice. When I was laid off, I had a client that had been working with my company who I began working with personally until my son was born.
I didn’t have a solid plan for what to do when my son was born. My goal was to stay at home with him for a year. And I ended taking on an array of projects over the last year and a half. Some are short and others longer; one that I’ve been with for over a year. But they’re all really different: I’ve also gotten to do some fun copywriting, including for a film and also for a Wolfgang Puck Facebook app. And a pet shop. So it’s been all over the place. It’s been really nice to work for myself and make my own hours.
What do you see is next?
My husband and I have been talking about this a lot, because he works for himself as well. It has its perks, but it has its downsides too, in part because it doesn’t provide a lot of stability. So I am looking at going back to work fulltime. But it really has to be the right job in order for me to give up the flexibility I have now. I haven’t nailed down what that is – maybe social media but with more writing. It has to have the right factors. I’m too old to just take anything right now.
What would those factors be?
When I look at pros and cons, I think that the people, the office atmosphere, are a huge factor. Definitely commute. Also what the work is, because I have looked at a few jobs, like doing social media for an insurance agency, and I know that I wouldn’t be passionate about the work. It sounds so cliché, but I want to be passionate about what I’m doing. If I am going to be doing something every day, I want to be passionate about it.
What is been the most rewarding part of your life right now?
I think the most rewarding thing right now is my son, probably because we tried so hard for him, which I’ve been really candid and open about. I joke that the timing was perfect, because if I had been pregnant a year earlier, I would have had maternity leave instead of being laid off. We worked so hard for him to get here, and now he’s here. And I’ve been able to keep some connection to the outside world – still work – which has been pretty rewarding and also kind of crazy at the same time.
A side tangent answer: that my husband and I haven’t lost each other or our families. While I say that our son has been really rewarding, I was worried that it might distance us from some people. But really it’s brought us closer to our families and many of our friends. Some you lose touch with, but that’s natural.
What is the most challenging thing about right now?
Staying organized and on top of everything. Being my own boss and having to work weird hours because I’m working around the schedule of a toddler and my husband (who is also not on a set schedule). Just making sure we both stay on top of everything. And making sure that we’re organized with our finances and our responsibilities, in general. We know what we need to do, but it’s still a challenge getting it done. Having flexible hours is great, but sometimes it means not starting work until 11am, and then taking a big break from work in the afternoon, and then staying up late because I basically can’t get anything done when my son is awake.
What is your greatest weakness?
I think that I try to please everyone. And that sometimes I forget about myself. I’ve realized that both with working and just being human, I’m very much a yes woman – that I want to say yes to everything and want to please everyone without thinking it through. And then I take on too much. I’m well aware of that, but I’m still working on it.
What is your biggest strength?
I think it’s somewhat similar: in that I’m a really big people pleaser. I’m personable and I ask a lot of questions. I’m always wiling to learn and always want to know more. At my old job, they would joke about that: “Hey Katelin, what do you think about this? I know you’ve got a question?” I keep things light.
Are there any goal setting, organizational or other tools you must have?
Surprisingly, no. I’m kind of old school in that I have a lot of notes written down. I’ve converted my kitchen table into my desk, and it’s where I keep all my notes. I also live and die by Google calendar. From 6th grade through two years ago I was using a paper planner. Our schedules were getting so mixed up, and my friend was like, “why don’t you use Google calendar?” That saved my sanity. Having a person calendar, a work calendar, my husband’s schedule on our joint calendar – all in one place.
What do you see in your future: work, life, everything and anything?
As crazy as it sounds, hopefully another child.
Not any time super soon. And I’ve been talking a lot about how my career could go one of two ways. I could stay independent and have clients I really like, maybe partner with another consultant, or I could go to an agency. And if I’m going to go back, I want to go all in. Since I’m not 100% sure what that is, I hope that as I keep looking, I’ll find that thing. If there’s a job out there that would pay me to watch movies, binge read books, and drink wine, that would be great.
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