Lauren Molenda is Co-Owner of Riveter Design, a micro-agency out of Buffalo, New York. If you work in marketing in Buffalo, you probably know her. She’s a super-connector and delights in tapping into her network to help a friend in need. In this episode, Lauren and CJ discuss the shift in the workforce taking place in the marketing industry from in-house teams to freelance culture, and why it benefits clients and agencies alike. Enjoy!
Lauren and CJ Discuss their Micro-Agency Models, the Value of Freelancers, and Networking
Both Lauren and CJ consider themselves status-quo testers by nature, an attribute that led Lauren to branching off with Riveter and paving her own way of marketing.
Both Riveter and The Gist leverage the expertise of freelancers while focusing on strategy and project management in-house. Lauren reflects on the benefits of this model, pointing out that a person who is able to make a living off of freelancing is a person who has done their time and has proven themselves a master of their trade. Therefore, the use of freelancers for the execution of client projects expands the agency’s expertise in all directions.
The litmus test for this micro-agency model was 2020. Without having to worry about payrolled employees, Riveter made it through the turbulent year without devastating consequences thanks to the flexible nature of their team.
As entrepreneurs, CJ and Lauren soberly assess the fact that their strengths often lie in places other than running a business, and that freelance help can be clutch for business management tasks, too (ex. accounting). Moving from a realization of this fact into action upon it can take much effort, but it’s worth it!
What does Lauren think of Tim Ferriss’ concept of the four hour work week--taking on more work, delegating it down to virtual assistants and then repeating the process to grow rich with less work? Lauren can’t subscribe to that mindset. She does what she does because of the people she works with. She believes she works with the best of the best--that her team is irreplaceable--and she loves what she does because of those people. Perhaps limiting herself to this team will keep her from being a millionaire, but she believes it will keep her pretty happy, which is more valuable to her.
CJ sees Lauren as a “super-connector,” someone who is always meeting new people and connecting them with others. When asked why networking is important and how to be good at it, Lauren’s eloquent and realistic response was that she’s not sure networking is so important, but she is sure that helping people is important. She was helped by many people along her career journey, and she genuinely enjoys passing on the good will to others.