Note to self: My 17 professionally-personal happenings in 2017

2017 was a big year for me professionally. What started as a mystery turned into a year of building.

📷 by Erika Rosenbaum

This post is mostly meant to be self-reflective but if anyone is interested in what’s happened since I jumped ship at my steady in-house VP gig to build an advisory business (as a new mom of 2), here are my 17 professionally-personal happenings of the last year:

  1. After months of struggling, and very little planned for what came next, I announced on January 17th that I was resigning after 5 years of leading marketing at Unbounce. It was the end of an era for me.
  2. Not 20 minutes after my personal announcement was posted to Facebook my inbox began to blow up. Catch-up calls, consulting inquiries and (seriously amazing) job offers. I was floored. I guess I’d made a name for myself while thinking no one had noticed.
  3. I quickly came to realize how rare senior and executive-level experience was in SaaS (software-as-a-service). And, despite my sometimes feeling like a founder of Unbounce, this realization was my chance to return to entrepreneurship.
  4. Not really knowing what I was going to do, I began taking on clients. All I knew was that I loved tech and SaaS and that I wanted to continue working exclusively with growing companies in that space. Besides, there was clearly a need.
  5. A testament to #3, I’m incredibly grateful to say that since taking on my first client in January, not once have I had to go looking for work (quite the opposite). No sales calls, no proposals. I incorporated A Better Customer Experience Inc., launched a good enough website and hired a part-time assistant. Shit’s getting real.
  6. Somewhere along the way, I remembered that I have a knack for pretty quickly understanding people and their situations. I love to challenge people’s assumptions, provide helpful advice and I don’t pull punches. This is as true in my personal life as it is my professional. Motivating people to do their best work and grow motivates the hell out of me.
  7. I hit a point in my career where people were asking to pay me for my opinion. And so, my weekly strategy sessions were born. Combining my love for tech, marketing, customer experience and motivating people, I now work exclusively with SaaS founders, heads of marketing and customer success as an advisor.
  8. I was invited to a small peer group of women in my industry who I’ve admired for years. I felt like I’d been invited to sit at the cool kids table. Most importantly, now working solo, I regained a team. This group, based on Shine Theory, has touched me personally and influenced my business in more ways than I can count.
  9. Through an obscene amount of Zoom calls and a hand full of in-person “deep-dives” I’ve gotten to know, and have now officially partnered in business with the ever-talented Claire Suellentrop. Though she lives 1600 kms (1000 miles) away and is 10 years my junior, I’ve learned a ton from her, this woman is a rocket. I couldn’t be more grateful to have found her (shoutout to TechLadies).
  10. Having both left in-house marketing roles at the start of the year, Claire and I both quickly recognized a chronic problem with marketing in tech: it is too often an after-thought and marketers (and ultimately the companies they work for) suffer the consequences. So, we launched free weekly workshops called Forget The Funnel. These workshops help SaaS marketers to be more effective, think more strategically, and make seat for themselves at the table.
  11. After repeated outreach from marketers attending our workshops and VCs acutely aware that marketing is too often undervalued, Claire and I took things to the next step. We built and taught a (this time paid) 8-week beta training program for marketers at SaaS companies. And, we’ll be launching, this time a 12-week training, SaaS Marketer Essentials in March 2018.
  12. At some point it dawned on me that all of my clients were white cis men. As a long-time advocate for women in tech, I decided to offer free strategy calls to women, and other underrepresented, founders of tech companies. I’ve spoken to (and hopefully helped) some incredibly inspiring women as a result.
  13. I was invited to join the advisory board for a 3-year government funded initiative for advancing systemic change for women working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). We’ll be developing programs to help companies support, retain and advance women more effectively.
  14. A few months ago I was hit hard by the news that Unbounce was closing the Montreal office. The one that I pitched (while living and working in Vancouver), and helped to open in 2014. 15 incredibly talented people were let go (but luckily scooped up by others quickly). It was heartbreaking (for all involved). The end of another era.
  15. As women, our single biggest career decision we make is our choice of partner. I remember reading this years ago in Sheryl Sandberg’s, Lean In. I didn’t truly understand it until 2017 though. I may be the one building my business, but there isn’t a chance in hell that it would be possible without my partner’s diehard dedication to our family. I credit surpassing my 6-figure goal to him. Full stop.
  16. My daughters, 2 incredibly smart, stubborn and hilarious kids, turned 3 and 1 this last year. Being new to motherhood, the Trump regime, #metoo and the list goes on, my fierce protectiveness and devout feminism was in overdrive in 2017. I suspect though, that won’t change anytime soon.
  17. Last but not least. Ten years ago I visited Hawaii for the first time and spent two months falling in love. I vowed that I’d turn my career into something that would support me working from anywhere. Though I’ve returned for short visits a few times since, a few months ago my husband and I booked the month of January on Kauai (in fact, I’m writing this from my condo here while my kids sleep.) When people gasp at our ability to take a month away from work, I’ve been proud to correct them. I’m indeed working here, doing what I love and building my business.

If you made it to this point 🏆, I sincerely thank you for following along. Though I wrote this mostly for me, I’d be happy for any comments or questions. And just in case…

Here are some places to find me/my work:

One-on-one SaaS advice & coaching 👉 
Free workshops for SaaS marketers 👉
Waitlist for 12-week training for SaaS marketers 👉
Free strategy calls for women 👉
Personal projects & what I’m up to 👉