I love the Area Director opportunity for so many reasons. The flexibility it has allowed me to have in life while still owning and operating a business, for one.
Stuck in Seattle
I worked at a high-end salon in downtown Seattle for 10 years doing spa services. Specifically spa pedicures. I was also the department head for several years. I felt pretty stuck there and Stroll was something I saw potential in to get me moving in a different direction where I would have more control in my income and destiny. I wanted to find something that I would enjoy, would support my daughter and me and that I wouldn't be working crazy demanding hours to do it.
I was technically a single mom on a fixed income. Most of my income was Social Security survivors benefits for both me and my daughter, and the other part of my income was capped to keep our benefits coming in. As a result, I couldn't afford my mortgage. To add to the financial stress, my house hadn't yet recovered from the drop in prices after the recession and I couldn’t sell it. My daughter and I were living with my parents at the time to get by and Shea, my now-husband, and I were dating. I was broke and financially stuck, with no degree and little career direction. While I could make my bills, if anything unforeseen happened, it would’ve been very difficult to recover financially in my position.
I heard about Stroll from a friend who was an Area Director. So I began working as an appointment setter for her to get my foot in the door back in August of 2013. When an opening became available in the area, I was able to secure a spot to go to training in November of that year. From there, I worked with another Area Director for several months to learn the ropes. I started my own ramp-up in late February 2014 and was slow to launch my first publication, processing my first deadline in July of 2014. I wanted to reach a larger book of business before I launched, but ultimately decided to jump in when I was profitable and work on widening my client base as I went. I came in under my income goal, but since that was still higher than my fixed income had been, I was still pretty happy with it.
Starting out, I really enjoyed meeting new people and embraced generating content for my first magazine. I was consistently out there in the neighborhood and constantly thinking about it and working on that aspect of the business. I allowed content to be my main focus for a long time before I found the balance I have now.
I’m constantly receiving positive feedback from the community about how they look forward to their magazine and how they love it. People can feel if your intentions are positive through your content if it’s a true reflection of the community. They love the hometown charm we have with our community-first content.
I really love making an impact that has a positive ripple effect upon an entire area. I enjoy helping a nonprofit or volunteer amplify a great story, or making an experience fun and special for a kid to lift their self-esteem. There’s always more happening behind the scenes than just in the printed story alone. I love being a positive media source in the community when mostly all other media thrive on the negative. It’s refreshing and uplifting for people to read and shows us there is still good in humanity during trying times. We try to find purpose and positivity in all of our stories by taking the “Mr. Rogers” approach. I’m big on packing our pages with great content that isn’t just surface-level or filler. I find it very rewarding to have awesome stories in each issue and to produce a great product that I can stand behind in my sales meetings.
Some Good News
We featured a fun teacher award in our May 2021 issue of one of my magazines. The cover is a photo from when we presented the teacher with her award and it was super sweet! One of my clients put up $500 towards the teacher award and I matched his $500, bringing it to $1000. We promoted it in the community, on social media, and in the publication. The nominations that came in from people were so thoughtful. It might’ve been one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever done in the community. We will be doing it annually now as well as rolling it out in the other communities next school year.
Out of the events held in my communities, the wine tours are probably my favorite. We’ve also done some fun sushi classes with Sake experts, and an Omakase dinner. Those are always fun and people talk about these experiences for a long time after. It’s more the vibe and connection that comes from them that I enjoy. You almost can’t predict which ones will be the best ahead of time. I've had people meet at my events that have become best friends. I also had people meet that only lived a few houses away and didn’t even know it. They are always uplifting and fun – and you leave renewed and energized.
Every fall I spend time planning out my philanthropic efforts for the magazines. I make use of Stroll’s 501(c)(3) program, giving nonprofits free ad space in the publications. The nonprofits who want to participate can each request three or four different months that are a priority for something they need help promoting in the upcoming year. I’m big on giving these out and supporting the local nonprofits in the community. It all comes back around too!
We also do a lot of philanthropy through the article space when a resident is involved. Giving to nonprofits or things that serve a bigger purpose is my favorite thing about this role. We can make a huge impact with our audience.
When working with my advertising clients, overall, I try to stick closely to the program in my meetings since I do a good amount of cross-selling. I go above and beyond through private introductions, leaving my clients positive reviews, and finding ways to organically insert my businesses in relevant content.
I think the product sells itself and if we hold up our end of what we promise, clients are generally happy. I don’t overpromise and am clear and confident in what we do.
As for our advertisers, I have clients that have been with us for more than 10 years now in The Points (the publication I took over that launched in 2010), and I personally have signed up others in my first publication that have been with us since I launched that one in 2014. When it fits, it fits.
More About Lindsay
Shea and I are happily married and have two girls, Kayla and Avery. We’re a blended family and I thank my lucky stars every day that Shea and I met. I don’t know what we would do without him. He really is the best and if you know him, I’m sure you’d agree! After years of nudging, Shea is now an AD himself and publisher of Seattle Real Producers, under The N2 Company umbrella. We’re both enjoying the perks of being our own boss while making moves here in Seattle. We also have a Bernese Mountain Dog named Murphy and a Ragamuffin (Ragdoll/Persian) kitten named Jojo.
I love to travel to and vacation in warm, beachy places. I love good food and wine, biking on beach cruisers, and dog walks on sunny days. I enjoy a good mindless thriller or historical fiction for reading pleasure. Also singing really loud in the car! Good, mindless shows give my brain a rest from the day (Breaking Bad and Ozark are two favorites) and the occasional terrible reality show (The Bachelor, for example). I love having family time and hosting dinners and holidays for friends and extended family.
I love the Area Director opportunity for so many reasons. The flexibility it has allowed me to have in life while still owning and operating a business, for one. It’s given me an influence in the community to do such good things! Financially, I now have the ability to give back to a bunch of wonderful people and organizations and the reward of my sales efforts shows directly on my paycheck. This role has also allowed me to build lasting relationships both within the communities we serve and this company. Not to mention the home we’re in now is amazing and we couldn’t have afforded it without the N2 opportunity, as well as the traveling we’ve been able to do since joining Stroll.
I really could go on and on….
Thank you, Lindsay, for sharing your Stroll story and inspiring us to take control of our lives!