Meet Lindsay LaShell of Diamond + Branch Marketing Group in North Park
Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsay LaShell.
Lindsay, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My career path was pretty random before I figured out what I wanted to do. I was a stage manager, then a collections accountant, then I worked for a few different startups during the first dot-com bubble. After that, I taught elementary school in Oakland for a while, which was where I started to get passionate about social justice and making the world a better place. I got recruited back into technology after five years in the classroom and finally found the path that would get me to where I am now. I worked in a startup business strategy, then digital marketing agencies for about ten years before I finally figured out how to put the pieces together.
When I started Diamond and Branch over four years ago, it was with the idea of blending my core competencies with my core passions: We work with women-owned and purpose-driven organizations to help them make their marketing more effective. We believe that if we help those who are making the world a better place, then we are producing our own positive impact.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In some ways, yes, in other ways no.
Our first year had lots of very exciting growth, but some of that success was short-lived because of the mistakes I made. As a first-time entrepreneur, I had to learn some hard lessons about knowing when to release ineffective team members, when to pass on a client opportunity, and how to set reasonable expectations with new clients.
I messed up a lot, so our second year was really rough but we recovered and continue to grow!
At the same time, we signed a couple of great clients pretty early which allowed me to hire a couple of great people. Having both clients and team members who have been a part of Diamond and Branch since the very beginning has been super rewarding, and the stability did so much for our ability to do great work. The whole business is stronger because of the commitment and loyalty these folks showed early.
Please tell us about Diamond + Branch Marketing Group.
Diamond and Branch is a digital marketing agency that works with women-owned and purpose-driven organizations. We don’t care if you’re for-profit or nonprofit, we just care that you’re doing good work so that we can work with you do make it even better.
The actual work focuses on three key activities:
1. Audience messaging strategy: Who are you trying to sell to, and what are the ideas that will motivate them to choose you?
2. Content creation: We create all kinds of digital content for our clients, including email newsletters, website articles, social media content, search engine optimization, and a bunch of different kinds of online ads.
3. Reporting and optimization: We are data-driven marketers, so we are always looking at the numbers to make sure that we are getting the promised results and to try to find ways to get even better.
We are passionate about using our powers for good, and this year we’re proving it by becoming a certified B-Corp. This is earned through a rigorous audit that evaluates your business beyond just profits and examines your employment practices, environmental impact and community involvement to make sure you’re a significant net positive impact for everyone who is impacted by your organization.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Oh man, this is so hard. There’s like a million little things–spend money on the right lawyer to get the right contract templates, don’t sign that client, don’t offer the work at that price, don’t waste your time at that event…but thankfully, the impact of each of these errors was relatively small.
I work hard to learn from my mistakes, but I’m also pretty great at learning from others, so I think I’ve avoided many of the fatal errors that can really ruin a small business.