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Welcome to our Blog Podcast Episode #33 with Rachel Pienias is now live!

Updated: Jan 23

In this episode Colby and I have a chance to interview Rachel Pienias. Rachel is the co-founder of Roots Marketing Agency in New York. She launched the agency alongside her longtime friend after they both graduated from Florida State. They have built their agency from the ground up and now have multiple full time staff, an office space, and clients pouring in regularly. In this episode we discuss Rachels leap into entrepreneurship, tips for partnerships and collaboration, and the keys to social media. Enjoy!

Intro: Welcome to the Grit-org Podcast with Colby Harris and Brian Harbin!

In these episodes, they speak to top achievers in athletics and business to understand the habits and mindset they apply in order to build more grit.

Colby Harris: Welcome back to the Grit-org Podcast. My name is Colby Harris. Alongside me is Brian Harbin, and we're here with today's guest, Rachel Pienias. Rachel, thanks for being here today.

Rachel Pienias: Thank you for having me. Very excited!

Colby Harris: Absolutely. A little bit warmer weather here than you're used to up in New York, so I'm sure you're enjoying it this time of year.

Rachel Pienias: Soak in while I can.

Colby Harris: Yeah. Back to a little cloudier, a little rainier. It's actually raining here today, which is super.

Rachel Pienias: Well, it's been nice. Everything else besides.

Colby Harris: Good, good. We're excited to have you here today. So Rachel is the co-founder of Roots marketing agency. She's a former Florida State University cheerleader. We're going to talk all things sports, entrepreneurship, marketing, social media, content creation. So, Rachel, I'll go ahead and kick it over to you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what it is you do.

Rachel Pienias: So I'm 24. I currently live in Manhattan, New York City. I'm a co-founder of Roots marketing agency. We specialize in social media management, but we also provide services like email marketing. And we do content shoots for clients that are in the area. But we do all things social media to best represent businesses online for all their services and products, in a nutshell.

Brian Harbin: I love it. And where did the name roots come from?

Rachel Pienias: So we get that question a lot. And it's funny because we were bouncing around with, like, a million different ideas, and I honestly couldn't even tell you what the other ones were. But we came to the conclusion of roots, as in a business needs to know their roots in order for it to grow. Like, you have to know what your core values are, what's your mission? What are you actually trying to do? So then you can best represent everywhere else, because if you don't know what you're trying to do, it's a lost cause.

Brian Harbin: Yeah, no, absolutely. I like that. And speaking of kind of to the roots. So tell us about growing up. I think you're born in Chicago, grew up in Tampa. And tell us a little bit about that and any defining moments growing up as a kid?

Rachel Pienias: Defining moments? Well, yes. My whole family on both sides from Chicago, my family was the only one that left Chicago for the longest time. So we were always taking trips back up there. Moved to Atlanta for a little bit, then to Florida, which my family still lives there in Tampa for 15 years. We were pissed when we moved to Florida. Me and my brothers were like, this is horrible. It's so hot all the time. Now I love it. I don't know how anyone lives anywhere else. 

And I'm saying this as I live in New York, but defining moments, I would say just moving in general. Granted, I was younger, but I appreciate it more now. Just getting more experience in new places, meeting a bunch of new people. Like, I still have connections in Atlanta and Chicago, and I feel like people that haven't moved a bunch, everything is a hard adjustment because they have never done anything like that before. 

And now making my decision a year ago to pack up and move my life to New York, where I don't know, literally anyone to everyone else was like, what are you like? Are you scared? I'm like, honestly, like, I'm excited. I don't know. I'm just going to figure it out when I get there. And it's been great. So no complaints there.

Colby Harris: Yeah, I haven't had a chance to go up there yet. I haven't been to Chicago. Other than the airport.

Rachel Pienias: You have to go to Chicago.

Colby Harris: I've always heard it's kind of like a hub, especially in the US. I mean, probably like top ten cities to visit or to be in. I was actually lived in Atlanta for a little bit, North Carolina as well. And then I moved to Florida when I was in 6th grade. So I can share that. What you learned from moving? When you said that, I was like, we got that going. We talk about that all the time. I have three siblings and we're all like, what would it have been like if we didn't move? If we didn't go through it? Because we're all super sociable now. I'd love to talk.

Rachel Pienias: I can't imagine staying in this people. I'm like, you've lived in that house your whole life. Sorry about that. But, yeah, I couldn't imagine. I appreciate moving and all the things, but yeah.

Colby Harris: And early on, did you have an interest in cheer or was it sports in general? Do you have siblings as well?

Rachel Pienias: Yes. So I have two brothers, one older, one younger. My family, like, our core values are sports. We joke that our parents aren't our parents. Like, they are our coaches. We are members on the team. My whole family calls herself team Pinus. We are the home team. We all were in bajillion sports. I did everything from soccer, track in order to get a cell phone. I was in middle school. I had to make the basketball team. So that happened. I played basketball for a little cheer, was the last resort. I was playing tennis for six years, and my mom still to this day, plays tennis, like, in a league all the time everyday. 

And she, both my parents kind of sat me down, were like, Rachel, we'd rather be on the team than cheering for it. I'm like, picture this is its own team. And they're like, sure, sign up. You're going to hate it. Whatever. We'll dodge a bullet later. I loved it. Had the best time. Sent the papers over to my mom, was like, okay, like, signing up for the next year, and she's like, are you serious? I was like, yep, we're doing it into it. So, yeah, sports was huge for everyone in my family, and going to FSU was awesome because my parents were like, college part. Like, they went to every game and were up every weekend. It wasn't even for me. It was just like, be back in college for the most part. But, yeah, sports is a very, very big portion of everyone in my family's life.

Brian Harbin: That's great. We have a couple, our cousins daughters are really big into cheer. It's very acrobatic, very competitive.

Colby Harris: I did gymnastics for a while, so I have a whole newfound respect for. That was early on, I got humble. That was probably like eight years old when I got into it with a couple of the girl classmates I had and stuff, they're like, come try open gym and whatnot. 

Rachel Pienias: Ohh, open gym.

Colby Harris: Two, three months in, they were asking me to do too much. I'm like, I'm not ready to break my neck.

Rachel Pienias: It's a little scary, too. I think that's why I liked it so much. Because. Not that I was the best person at every single sport, but I was honestly better than most at everything I tried. Not that it was easy, but I don't know. I like being in a team, but I also like the individual aspect of cheerleading. So when you're tumbling, it's only you, but then when you do stunts, it's everybody. 

So I like that it was a little bit of both because when it was only teams, I'm like, I did amazing, and we still lost. Like, this sucks. But then when it was only me, I'm like, I have no one else to blame. I'm the only one that screwed up at this. And that was. Yeah, sure, it was good outlet for both.

Brian Harbin: Yeah. So tell us, why Florida State? How'd you choose Florida State?

Rachel Pienias: So that's always a funny question because I feel like anyone that sees me or knows me. FSU was all around me, and it seems like I was the biggest FSU fan forever. Not even close. No one in my family went to a huge state school, so we never had a team we were always rooting for. And then I'm in Florida. I'm applying to colleges. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn't know where I wanted to go, so I was kind of just, like, putting out feelers everywhere. But then I decided I wanted cheer. 

So I'm, like, looking at cheer schools, places that people had went that I knew. And truthfully, FSU, the girls that I knew from my cheer gym at home, had not good experiences. It was a lot different back in the day, so everyone was telling me not to go number one. Number two, I wanted to go out of state so badly, I don't know why. I was just like, everyone's going to go to FSU that I know. I want to start over. I want to create my own life. So I was kind of set on Clemson first. I didn't think I was getting in there at all. I had decent grades, but you never know. 

So when I got in the acceptance letter, I was like, we are in there. Because that cheer team, on paper, was easier to make than FSU. So I was like, if I get into the school, we're going. So then we go to Clemson. And I was actually the very last person cut from the Clemson tryouts. And that was the trial that was still during, while I was in high school. It was like the weekend before we graduated and stuff, so everyone knew I was going. Everyone knew I was trying out. I get back to school, my principal stops me in the hallway. He's like, how'd it go? And I was like, well, yeah, I didn't make it. So that was fun. 

When that happened, I didn't know what I was going to do because my parents were like, well, do you still want to go to Clemson? We'll send you there, but what are you going to do? And I was like, they didn't want me. I'm not going. And so then the other schools I applied to were honestly just random. I was like, I'm not going to spend a crap ton of money to go cross country for no reason. So then I get to FSU for tryouts. I'm like, okay, if I make the team, like, it's just a sign. It'll all do what it needs to. 

And surprisingly enough, I made that team, which was immensely harder to make than Clemson, and everything happens for a reason. It was the best four years of my life. Met all my best friends and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Colby Harris: I've visited Tallahassee a few times. I can definitely say it's a good time to get over there and go to the stadium. We had someone, we went and watched. They were playing actually for Sanford, but I went to a Sanford Tallahassee FSU game and it was awesome. But do you have any favorite memories from that time at FSU? Or maybe it was within cheer as well.

Rachel Pienias: It was definitely within cheer. I can't even express how much fun I had at FSU. Loved my time there. School was amazing. Cheer was amazing. But my favorite things from cheer, I would say there's not like one specific moment or competition or…. I don't know. I would say just spending quality time with my best friend. When we're traveling, we're going to weigh games, even just like the horrible weeks of practices and the crazy camps we had to go to. It was fun because we were all in it together. And honestly, I met all my best friends there, so I owe FSU a lot. FSU chair, for sure.

Brian Harbin: And you did, was it because I think they have separate teams for football and basketball. Right? So you worked with specifically the…..

Rachel Pienias: We did all of them. We did football, basketball, and we did volleyball, surprisingly. But, yeah. So we did all the football games, all the basketball games, all the volleyball games. Sometimes there's an overlap of all three of those sports. So, like, you have three different games, maybe even four in one week, and then you have three practices, you have two lifts, you have cardio day. There's a lot going on in cheer, for sure.

Colby Harris: Game day is still game day, you know?

Rachel Pienias: Game day is still game day. Absolutely. Game day is the best.

Brian Harbin: What about any takeaways that you feel like you learned from that or any most memorable experience from the four years?

Rachel Pienias: I would say learning a lot from sheer definitely, things including working and working well with all different kinds of people because you shove 30 girls that are 19 years old in confide space, you got a lot of personalities in there and you're supposed to work together and you're dropping people and people are getting hurt. 

So especially not even death as you throughout the years of cheerleading, dealing with interesting coaches, interesting people you're working with, stunting with, like you're this close to at all times, you have to trust them with your whole life and people's life. That was definitely interesting task that I very much appreciate and does well with pretty much every part of life now. 

And I would say time management because as I just gave you a little snippet of like a week in cheerleading while you're also taking six classes and trying to graduate and get straight A's and find a job. It's a lot. And learning to get a lot of things done in the 15 free minutes you have during the day is a vital skill that has done well for me now.

Colby Harris: Yeah. And I was going to ask my philosophy with college, kind of a little bit of what you just said. You didn't really know what you wanted to do, but you knew you liked cheer, which is kind of like I just told you. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I was looking at going and joining the surf team at UNF just because I knew that's where my passion was. 

So I always advocate for people. It's like, if you don't know what you want to do, it's a great place to buy back some time and explore your options. Is there any advice you would have for somebody going through that same process or any philosophies you found on that you would want to share to someone that's looking at going to college or navigating those next steps?

Rachel Pienias: I would say keep an open mind because I honestly had written off FSU in that whole path, but it was like my safety school. It was not on my radar. You never know what the opportunity that lies ahead of you can hold. And testing different things out. Like once you get to a college, testing classes out, different routes of industries you can go into. You don't know what you don't know. So you might like something you never thought of. You might not like stuff you thought you were going to like. So having an open mind is definitely important.

Colby Harris: And you're only 24 now, so I'm assuming that roots marketing agency was either in the back of your mind or front of mind when you were first leaving Florida State. Tell us more about those next steps once you graduate. Whether you were going all in on the business right off the gate, why or why not. Just tell us a little bit more about when you were first graduating and what the plan.

Rachel Pienias: So, yeah, it was an interesting time, to say the least. COVID was happening, so that was a whole other situation that no one knew how to navigate. So honestly, I give a lot to Covid because although it was probably the worst time ever for everyone in the world, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. And people would ask me, and graduation is approaching in junior year, going to senior year, people are like, so what are you going to do? I'm like, I have literally no idea. I haven't even thought about it. But if that didn't happen, I probably would know. Just went to the career fair, got a job, sales, probably. 

But as senior year was happening and our friends are doing just that, me and Jenna, my partner, we're like, I don't want to do, like, I don't want to get a random sales job and move across country and sell, I don't know, some it product that I don't care about. Well, some people do it and do it really well, and they love it. More power to you. I did not want to do that. So we were like, we just needed one idea. Like, what could we do to get things started? I was helping with social media for the shear team. Jenna, my partner, was on the dance team at FSU. She's helping with their social media. Both of us had jobs outside of shear, so we were kind of helping with their social media and stuff. 

And we had literally seen a TikTok of this woman, and she was about our age, and she was saying, she started this marketing agency doing exactly what we're doing, and she's making crap ton of money, and we're like, we could do this. You could pay for this. So that's kind of how roots was born. And so we didn't really tell too many people while we were kind of behind the scenes, like, looking up how to get an LLC, what's a domain? All those kinds of things. And once that was all kind of wrapped up and ready to go, I can't even lie. I was the one that was very apprehensive. I was like, we don't really know how it's going to go. We're going to tell everyone that we started this whole business. I don't know. 

I had then started working part time for my dad's insurance company. Right after we graduated, we launched the business April Fool's day of all days, actually, right before graduation. So we were doing that. We had a couple clients lined up, but it was kind of half that, half working from Tampa still. We just graduated with my dad's insurance company, and for a while, it was good. And I still do marketing for my dad's company, but I was having issues with balancing. When you're kind of half in a lot of things, you're kind of not doing much of anything in the grand scheme of things. So I had to take a step back and be like, okay, we're not getting anywhere here doing this. So you're either going to have to go all in or opt out and find something else to do. So that was kind of when I made the decision of, all right, I'm going to do this for real. 

I also started modeling a little bit on the side. So I signed with a modeling agency in New York. So my partner who lives up there, she was begging me to come. She's like, just move up here. Like, I'm just going to pick up a move. So then between deciding I wanted to do it full time, go all in, and then I signed with the modeling agency. I was like, literally everything is pointing to, you need to go to New York once you get there, if you hate it, we can reevaluate then. But again, you don't know till you go. 

So I went, and that's kind of how it all came together. And that was really the catapult of our whole business and getting things rolling because we went from maybe five clients to now we have like 25 and growing in employees. But, yeah, I was slow mover. If we did not have Jenna, this company would not come to be, that is for sure.

Brian Harbin: Yeah. Well, it sounds like you guys complement each other well, and I think having sounds like you guys were friends in college, which is a good base, and then going up to New York. So tell us about kind of once you got up to New York, and like you said, you had a couple clients with the cheer team and the dance team, but how did you prospect for new clients? Or I'm guessing some referrals there. But even then, how did you go about getting referrals and expanding from 5 up to 25?

Rachel Pienias: Yeah. So that was an interesting task. And people ask a lot. It's a numbers game. You can't be upset about the no's because there's going to be a lot of them. We were on platforms like Upwork and indeed, like freelancer website kind of things. So you go on there and you can see companies that are looking for a social media manager, a digital marketer. They need help, so you already know they have the need. And then you just start sending proposals, copy and paste, like, as many as possible. I don't even know what the number would be of how many people we had reached out to. 

But, yeah, it was cold calling emails, messaging them on social media, walking into businesses that we already went to, like around where we live. It was a little different for Jenna and I because Jenna is from New Jersey, so her family, she has a lot of ties there. She knows a lot of people. Her parents are very well connected. So thankfully, they gave us a lot of leads and spread our name everywhere. So that was nice in the beginning because they fed us a lot of companies to work with. But while they definitely gave me some, by all means, that was kind of Jenna's scene. 

And then I show up, and I'm like, I don't know, literally anyone here. And I was the apprehensive one, so I was like, this is going to be interesting, but something about moving to a different city where you don't know anyone, that was kind of like a freeing scenario. I felt like I could walk in anywhere and start handing my cards or talking about my business and not feeling like they're judging you or they have preconceptions of what you should be doing or they know what you do or how you should have been doing. 

So I would say it was definitely interesting moving there and not knowing anyone. But the way we really got things going was swallowing our pride and sending out as much information to everyone we could. And things stopped after a while. It's a numbers game.

Colby Harris: And you've said, too, a little bit. I want to revisit this about Jenna, too, because we wanted to try to find a way to get her involved today. 

Rachel Pienias: I know.

Colby Harris: And, yeah, just with all the post production things like that, you get, like, it's just easiest with that. We got two nice Sony cameras here. We could have shipped one out to her. Maybe it would have worked. But, yeah, I just want to ask you a little bit more about that and working with Jen, because obviously it kind of happens in stages. 

Rachel Pienias: Right. 

Colby Harris: Right? And now you guys are in a thriving stage where you're growing, you're hiring more employees, and I'm sure the vision is clear than ever. Tell us a little bit more about how you guys have cultivated that relationship, from friends to kind of new teaming up as entrepreneurs. And then now, full on, you guys have been growing and running this business together for a little while.

Rachel Pienias: Yeah. So people ask us a lot, like, how do you work with your best friend? And to answer that, she is probably the only friend out of all of my friends and love you all that I could ever work with. We're both very rational people. So in college, she was on the dance team. I was on the cheer team. The teams didn't really mingle for the most part, but her and I got connected. She was in a bunch of my classes, actually. But she and I have a very strong willpower to succeed, always. Nothing has stumped us yet. Nothing's going to stump us. I mean, there's going to be bumps in the road at all stages of life and through this business. 

But she is also a problem solver, like I am, and she thinks in the same kind of respect that I do. We're very rational, seeing all sides of the story before we make decisions. So she has helped a lot. And like I said, she is the reason this business even got off the ground, because we complement each other in a lot of ways. And in the starting, she was the one that was like, we got to go. We'll figure everything out else later. Just start it, and we'll figure it out. 

So that's kind of how it happened with us. But there's some level of being able to have tough conversations with your friends or your business partners. You have to kind of put the friend role aside and sit down, be like, this didn't go well. This isn't going well. How can we adjust it? And both of us take those conversations very well. So when we have to sit down and check each other, we don't take it personally. So that really is the main reason that we're able to keep this rolling.

Colby Harris: Yeah. And I think it's super important to always remember. You want to always say it's like, oh, it's 50-50.

Rachel Pienias: Right. 

Colby Harris: But some days, you're going to have personal things come up where it's like you need the business part, someone to tell you, hey, remember when we talked about doing this? Well, hey, we need to get back on our high horse and keep things going. And definitely, I could imagine grant with me and Brian, of course, and then anyone else we work with. It's very much like kind of those different experiences, right? Different kind of generations. But I would imagine that you two being so close in age and then obviously kind of having history together, that you guys are kind of learning alongside each other. He saves me a lot of time, for sure. Brian saves us a lot, a lot of time. But learning together through that process, I'm sure that definitely deepens it as well.

Rachel Pienias: Yes, 100%. Because we went to business school, we did the whole thing. They didn't teach me anything about how to start a business. Not one thing. We didn't realize how much we didn't know until we were starting. It's honestly comical. We're, like, calling our dads. We're like, so what does this mean? They're like, what did you learn in school? I'm like, not this, but both of our parents are also entrepreneurs, so we both kind of have an entrepreneurial mindset. 

But, yeah, no, our dads are on speed dial for this past year and a half, two years, every question we're like, what do you mean, file taxes? How do we do that? There was so much we didn't know. But yes, the fact that she is willing to learn as much as I am, that's the key to any business, any industry you're in. Everything's going to change from year to year, day to day. So if you're not willing to learn and grow with the industry that you're in, it's just not going to happen. And both of us are.

Brian Harbin: Yeah, no, I love that. And that's what's so unique about entrepreneurship, is that every day is different and gets you out of your comfort zone. So I'm curious, is there an example of an obstacle or challenge or something where you hit a wall that you guys had to kind of figure it out and overcome that? Any particular challenge that stands out that you guys have faced? Kind of initially?

Rachel Pienias: For me especially, it would be like your first really difficult client. Because we're young, we're girls saying that we're starting this industry or this business and we can help you and do all these things, which we can and we do, but not all people mix and sometimes not a good fit on their end or our end. In having my first client that very disrespectful, they're older gentleman that maybe thinks he knows more than I do, people that are not really up to date with how marketing works in this day and age and social media is necessary for every business. 

But yeah, when you're on a phone call with a grown man, they're yelling at you and telling you, you don't know anything and that you shouldn't be starting a business. It's a humbling experience, to say the least. I would say that was my biggest roadblock. It's like a knock to the confidence. For sure. Both of us have had our fair share of these things happening, but that's kind of what you said before. When she's down, I'm up. When I'm down, she's up. So we're always helping pull each other through. I don't know how anyone does this by themselves. I know people that do what we do, and it's just them. I could never. Because when you have a bad day, it's hard to pick yourself up by yourself. 

But yeah, I would say that was probably the biggest roadblock. Because once your confidence is knocked down, it's hard to get not only things you need to do accomplished, but then to grow your business. It's very difficult.

Brian Harbin: Right. And sometimes you feel like, oh, well, everybody must feel like that, and you kind of internalize it. So I'm curious, too, what is kind of your pitch? Like when you meet somebody and they ask, well, why do I need a marketing agency to help me?

Rachel Pienias: Yeah. So we kind of say, in today's day and age, marketing has changed so much. No longer do people have to walk and drop off newspapers at your door every single day. There are faster and more effective ways of getting information to people. So you have to stay up to date with what goes on. I mean, every business in any industry needs to be on social media, and you have to think of it as your online portfolio. It's essentially like your mini elevator pitch without saying words of what your business is, how it's helpful, and why someone else would need to be a part of it. 

So usually if we walk in somewhere, we look them up before and say, you have a lot of great stuff, you have great products, you have great services, but there are better ways to present these things and reach more people. And that's really the thing. Social media is helping every business reach more people than they normally would before if they weren't on your block or in the relative area, no one's going to hear about your business. And a lot of companies can't pay to go on commercials and spend thousands and thousands of dollars. This is the most effective way to reach as many people as possible and get the word out about your business. 

So having a social media manager do it for you not only will be better, it gives you time to focus on what their actual role is in the business. The owner of the business shouldn't be focusing on taking pictures and finding captions and hashtags. It's just not their job. Even two years ago, the role social media manager didn't exist. That word did not exist. And now pretty much every company that's a full time hire right there. 

So another little pitch that we would say is, I mean, instead of hiring a full time employee like we're a freelancer third party, realistically, it's going to be cheaper for your business to do it this way and you need it. So it's either pick this or you're going to have to get somebody on salary and try to train them in something that you don't know how to do.

Colby Harris: Yeah, and I think the most important thing that people need to understand is like, the cost of acquiring your customer. I mean, if you look at, I'm sure you know, Alex Hermosi, he's an awesome entrepreneur. His wife is Layla Hermosi. I would definitely recommend you follow. They're incredible. And his wife is awesome, too.

I've actually brought him up on probably like the last three podcasts I'm pretty obsessed with. Yeah, and everyone should be watching. But that's what he talked about. His most recent event, he did a book launch. He had 500,000 people on a live Zoom event. And he said, it cost me, all in all, $2 per head to do all this because he spends $60,000 a month on content. He's like, we didn't run a bunch of ads, but for what I got out of this, if it would have been through paid ads, I would have spent, I think it was $3.1 million on advertising to get the amount of reach that he had received because it was hundreds of millions of views. 

But if you wanted to talk for a second just about content creation in general, what do you think most people need to understand? Not just they get that they have to have a social media, what do people need to know when it comes about actually producing content?

Rachel Pienias: Content is key. So having good content is definitely crucial because you want to present your business product service in the best light it can be, but you really have to meet your potential customer consumer. Where they're at and where they're at is on their phone. It's whether it's TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, the platform may vary depending on age group and whatnot, but that's kind of another key seller of why people need to get on it, because that is where your consumers are. 

So in order to get in front of them, you need to get on their phone. So that's number one. But I would say remembering that it is your online portfolio, and if somebody didn't know anything about your business and somehow end up on your page, would they be able to figure out who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact with you? Those are the three most important things. 

And then lastly, I would say equally as important is consistency, because the start of anything is slow rolling for sure, but you don't know what's going to happen until you keep at it. And the more you produce, the more your reaches and the more eyes are going to be on your page, your name getting in front of consumers. And they say it takes seven times for you to promote something or for somebody to see your company's name for them to then make any sort of action. So seven is a lot, honestly, but that just shows like, you have to be consistently putting things out for people to take action anyway towards your business.

Brian Harbin: Yeah, I was curious, kind of along those lines. Is there a different rule of thumb depending on the platform in terms of how often you should post?

Rachel Pienias: Yeah. So that's like the hot topic. Everyone's like, what's the magic number? There is no magic number. And everything kind of depends on the type of industry or type of product you're promoting, type per se. But I would say normally we see the best results with like three to four times a week on Instagram. TikTok is an interesting case where it's not as much the quality of your content, it is the mean. This is a rule of thumb pretty much for all platforms. It's designed for you to stay on the app. You will get rewarded for the more you use the app. 

So the more you're posting, the more you're engaging with other people. Your post will then be promoted on the algorithm to be pushed out to more people. So the more the better, truthfully.

Brian Harbin: So with these customers, I know you said that you're kind of putting the content out there. So where do you get your footage and pictures? Do you go get a bunch initially from them, or do they send it to you and then you work with what they send you?

Rachel Pienias: A little bit both, depending on if the client is in our area. We provide content shoots, so we get the photographer, videographer, we make the short list, we show up, take photos and videos of literally everything we can to ensure that we have enough to use to then create the content, edit the videos, make all the graphics and whatnot. But if the client is not in range, yeah, so we start off saying, send us over everything you have, like branding all your logos, any and every picture or video you have that somewhat relates to your business. And then we go from there. And then if we do run out, we help them then create their own content shoot so they know what to do. We can get everything we need and go from there.

Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I mean, there's so much pre planning that goes into that because you really have to study their business, their content. But I feel like there's an extra layer of what they get from you guys is that here's somebody that's coming in looking at your business from a totally different angle, and you're also finding kind of a new way to attract people that, generally speaking, they're not going to have found on their own. 

Rachel Pienias: Exactly. 

Brian Harbin: And kind of a new target market, potentially. 

Rachel Pienias: 100%. And I think that's what a lot of our value comes from, because a lot of the businesses that we encounter or know of the people that own it are not usually 24 years old. So they grew up in a different era. They have a whole different toolbox of knowledge in there. So not only are we coming to help promote their business and whatnot, but, yeah, we have new and innovative ideas to do so that they wouldn't get on their own. But, yeah, definitely it keeps it interesting. And I would say being young and right out of college and kind of at the boom of everything changing right now, it gives us a little edge compared to other agencies that have been marketing forever.

Brian Harbin: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I love the fresh eyes concept. I mean, there's even times ask my eleven year old, I say, max, what do you think of this? And it's like they say something and it's actually really profound. Like, wow, I never even thought of it that way.

Rachel Pienias: Every call we go on, I swear, people are like, so I was asking my 16 year old daughter and she said that we had to talk to you guys because, yeah, I don't know anything she's saying. And she keeps telling me things to do and I have no idea how to do them. She's probably right.

Colby Harris: And you said, again, this is kind of, I'm assuming that you probably post a good amount on social media, whether it's your personal page, your personal LinkedIn, or through the company account. So I personally, I've always enjoyed making content. I think it's fun making videos ever since I was a kid. Like, I made Vines ten years ago. Like the little six second one. You couldn't edit it, couldn't do anything. You could only record and upload. That was it. And always had fun doing it. So I want to ask you, where did you find that passion for yourself? And then also now to help other people do that?

Rachel Pienias: Me and my friends have always loved taking pictures and creating aesthetically pleasing social media pages when it was like Tumblr and it's changed a million times, but I've always liked that stuff. So that was always my cup of tea. And then this kind of all worked out of things I already like to do, but I would say, wait, what did you ask? What was the second part of that question?

Colby Harris: No, just finding the passion for creating content and for other people as well, helping them.

Rachel Pienias: So, yeah, figure out what you like to do. There's a million different ways to present your business and ideas online. But even like with our company, people love day in the life. Jenna loves making those. I hate making those. So she makes those, but I make carousel graphics. I do the quotes. You have to find what you like doing and then build off of that, because if not, it's dreadful. You have to find stuff that you actually enjoy doing. 

And that's what we say to clients of what part of your business do you enjoy the most? What could we highlight that it reflects off if they love doing it. And then people can see that, you know what I'm saying? When you have them take videos of, of explaining their business or parts of their business, you can see when people light up about certain parts. So take that and run with it.

Colby Harris: And something I want to ask you on that note is about how you encourage people to get to that point, because it can be scary to start being content and get in front of the camera. I don't know if you're familiar with the Toastmasters. It's a public speaking group. They're over 100 years old. Brian and I started going earlier this year just to help with the podcast. Public speaking sales, you name it. But some people, they're like, I have to get in front of one person, two people, or even a camera. No one's in the room. I can't look at the camera and do this. Exactly how do you help people get over that? Because if someone's terrified to do, it's going to take a little bit of coaching to get them there. So what do you do in that situation with a client?

Rachel Pienias: I mean, you have to be patient with them, but you just kind of have to instill confidence and reassure them that especially in today's day and age, with social media, the more authentic and real it is, the better it'll perform. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's not a commercial. If you screw up and fumble your words. People, honestly, those types of content do better because somebody's seeing it as like, oh, they're a real person that wasn't scripted. They actually are speaking from what they know and what they think is real. 

So keeping it authentic is very important. So if they are super scared, like, you know what? Start with just the audio. I'll put something together of what you're talking about as you're talking about it, but it's not your face. First you get comfortable just even speaking on film, and then from there, then we'll get the face in there. It definitely is more effective with a face to a product brand, anything. 

But some people are definitely timid and understandably so. I feel like growing up, everything in marketing up until pretty much now has been edited, super curated. It needs to be perfect. And now it's, like, totally flipped. So that gives people a little more comfort in kind of getting warmed up on social media. But, yeah, I would say baby steps. If it's really something that's scary to you, take it slow. You'll warm up to it the more you do it. Because every little piece you put out, you see all the feedback and how well it does. So it's gradual.

Colby Harris: Yeah. It only takes one of those comments that are like, yo, you helped me so much, or, this is so valuable. I'm sending this to everyone I know that sort of stuff. Because now there's probably one in every 20 that might be, like, positive. Not everything's positive, but when you get that one that really hits home, it's like, wow, I actually understand why I'm doing this.

Rachel Pienias: Exactly. Because that is the whole reason why you do it. And then hearing the validation, it's like, okay, I'm doing something right. It's not only for me, it helps other people. And, yeah, social media is very powerful. I will say positive or negative, that's for sure. But, yeah, it can do a lot of good.

Brian Harbin: What about advice as an entrepreneur? So, obviously you guys have a good base of clients. You've got a great office, you're comfortable with your pitch, you know exactly what you're doing. How do you figure out what your next area to focus on is for growth? Or where do you see the next step is for you, or where you guys are going to be in a year or two, or any plans along those lines?

Rachel Pienias: So we actually are lucky enough to work with. One of our clients is a business consultant. So she comes in with us every quarter to look at all the numbers, do all our projections, our goals. So that is very helpful, for sure. But I would say we want to grow it as big as it can go. We want to have a whole bunch of employees. They're out getting their own clients, they're building their book, making money. 

And at some point, we're going to be running the business instead of being in the business. But I would say to anybody that's starting a business, just being able to always have the student hat on, you're always learning. And especially with social media, it changes hour to hour, day to day. So if you are not willing to always put in the work to learn and grow, it's not going to work out. So that is a very key factor in starting any business of any kind.

Colby Harris: Yeah. And that applies to us. Even. We've been kind of going to the drawing board a little bit with our content lately of just like, hey, some of this was really popping off like every day. It was like guaranteed thousands of views. Like just guaranteed because we knew what we were rolling with. Yeah. Like mainly with the podcast clips and how I formatted them and stuff. 

And then sometimes recently I'm like, that was like in my head, that was a good video. I knew that was going to be a decent one. It did nothing. So kind of trying to keep that on just like you said, has been super important. Something I'm sure you have to remind yourself sometimes as well.

Rachel Pienias: Yes, and a bunch of our TikToks, that's like kind of our personality on social media, but it's like joking around, being like a post that I just spent 3 hours making. That's gold. Got like three views, what happened there? But then you never know. You could repost it again in ten days and it could have 3 million views. So, yeah, it's always changing.

Brian Harbin: Yeah. And one of the things you said earlier, which we heard this in the beginning and we've definitely seen it to be true as well. It's just consistency, you know what I mean? You can't expect to put out two or three videos and want them to pop off. I mean, it's just forming the habit of doing it consistently. And at some point if something does hit, then it actually helps everything previously., I mean, look, anybody that made a Deion Sanders video in the last couple of years, everybody's going back to watch it now, right? 

And so not that any business is necessarily going to pop off like that to that extent, but the point is that it just takes one and you don't know who's going to see it, where they're going to see it, who's going to share it.

Rachel Pienias: And that's why you have to post stuff that you actually enjoy posting, because whatever does pop off, that's indicating to you that people that you're looking to market to enjoy that piece of content, if you really don't like that kind of content, you're going to dread making that for the rest of time. So you got to put out stuff you like and it's effective.

Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely. We just had a bodybuilder from Tampa, Matt Greggo, who, you might not recognize his name, he just moved down there, so he hasn't even been there a month yet. But we talked a lot about mean because now he has over a million followers across all platforms. And he talked about going through that for a while. He's like, man, I just got to the point where I knew what I liked. Making it really wasn't what was hot, tried doing some other stuff, and then next thing I know, I didn't post for a month because I was, like, so burned out on the content thing just because it really wasn't what I enjoyed anymore. 

Moving into another question I want to ask you. So you got the business. You're fresh up to New York, you guys are thriving. You obviously have to dabble in leadership and getting the team going because you got all these other people under you. But for you personally, do you have any habits for success or daily routines that you try to incorporate to keep you level headed amidst all this madness?

Rachel Pienias: Yes. And it's funny you asked that because I'm such a routine person. I, when in doubt, halfway back to my routine to put myself in my Zen, per se. But my partner is so not like this. So she willy nilly is fine all the time, and then when something goes wrong, she's like, just go back to your routine, Rachel. You'll be better. 

So my routine is I need to work out, like, have to, have to probably ingrained, like we said, from my family and the sports, and I've always worked out, but that is like my release. It's my free therapy of getting everything out that I need to. It feels good. I feel good after. So that's number one for sure. And then I would say more recently in the past year, I've started journaling, which I kind of thought was like some woo woo. And whatever people are like, it helps. I'm like, okay. 

But now that I've been doing it, it does. I'm not going to lie. That is a big factor here that not only kind of gets everything that's in your head jumbled up on paper and clears it out, but I like to write down the wins. I make sure to big wins, small wins. Because when you get in your ruts of like, I don't want to post for a month, I don't like what I'm doing right at this very moment. You can go back and see all the good things that have happened thus far and kind of get your momentum back rolling. But, yeah, those are my two things that really have to happen for me to stay in the zone and stay focused and get things moving the way they should be.

Colby Harris: And you just said something about falling out of your routine sometimes because I feel like that's something that I've learned to in the past year. Go a little bit easier on yourself with that sort of, you know, hustle culture obviously is very strong these days where it's like David Goggins, he's like, there's no such thing as a part time savage, no such thing as a, you know, for a while, I was, like, fully bought into this whole thing, and you end up being pretty hard on yourself of, like, if I didn't work out or if I didn't do everything to a t, it kind of makes you feel bad and puts you in that rut where it might have been a couple of days or maybe sometimes even like a week before you've done. So how do you try to pull yourself out of those, like, get back to your routine? Not just, like, getting to the routine itself, but what kind of drives that to pull you back in?

Rachel Pienias: That is, like, the question that everyone needs answered, including myself. But truthfully, it really just comes down to discipline. I'm a very disciplined person, and I feel like that comes into play. You're not always going to want to do everything. I don't want to get up to go to work. I don't want to make this content. I don't want to go meet with this new potential client. But if you have the discipline, you do it anyway. That's the only way to get it done. And then right when you get back to working out for the first time, you don't want to be there until you're halfway there and you're like, okay, I feel a little better, honestly, this is kind of nice.

And then the momentum starts rolling from there. It's really just scraping it together and being like, I have to because it's one of those things, you know, that's going to help you, but you just don't feel like doing it. So you have to. You get up and you do it once and then starts rolling again, fall into a rut and then make yourself do it again. And that's the only way to do it. I wish there was, like, a magic potion or like a little mantra I could say that just clicks everything back into place, but that's not it. It's just pure willpower of, I don't want to feel like this anymore and I want to get back on my game. So let's get to it.

Brian Harbin: I've got one more question I was going to ask you. So you're the youngest female entrepreneur we've had on, and I wanted to ask, too, just for any advice you have, whether it's that you would have as a female entrepreneur, that's reflecting back anything that you are glad you did anything you wish you would have done differently, anything along those lines that you could maybe offer as advice for anybody out there.

Rachel Pienias: Yeah. So it's kind of all wraps in a one of what we did versus what I wish I had done. Just start because I was the one. I was maybe, maybe in a month from now or maybe next week. And she's like, we're posting it today. We're telling everyone we know. And I'm like, okay, let's do it, Jenna. But that's the only way to do it. You have to. 

And the longer you wait, the more in your head you get. So you think you're overthinking things now. If you wait three months, you're going to be in a whole other spell of all of these potential problems that could happen. But you don't even know what the problems are until you get there. So, like, start, you make adjustments. Our whole mantra is everything is figureoutable because it is. You start, you adjust later if something comes up and say, they say, can you do this? Yes. Figure it out later, because you will and you can. 

So I would say just sending it, because if you don't, it's going to eat you alive, number one. And number two, you're going to regret not doing it. And if it doesn't work out, it didn't work out. It's now an adjustment to something else. And you've learned that you either didn't like doing this or this wasn't going to work the way you thought it was going to, but it pushes you into something else. So I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason. So start, and it will roll how it's supposed to.

Brian Harbin: Love it!

Colby Harris: Yeah. Really overcoming that analysis paralysis, you have to do it like a full send, because if you kind of dabble in it, you're almost, like, leaving what you're trying to figure out still on the table. You're like, I'm going to avoid this portion of it because I don't know what I want to do yet. Well, it's been awesome having you here today. Go ahead. And before we roll into our last question, if you will, go ahead and shout yourself out with all your handles. The business handle. If someone wants to work with you, how could they get in touch with you?

Rachel Pienias: Yes. So our Instagram is Roots Marketing Agency. Same thing on TikTok, pretty much every social media. It's just at Roots Marketing Agency on all the platforms. Our contact information is in there, so you can click a button. Our email is and, yeah.

Colby Harris: Quick other question, because I think Brian will like this question, too. I do have a question about your domain as well. You mentioned earlier you didn't really know anything about domains. It's Roots Marketing Agency?

Rachel Pienias: Roots Marketing Agency, LLC, domain name.

Colby Harris: Nice. Yeah, I was kind of thinking about, I was like, I mean, if you, Roots Marketing Agency by itself was probably like, I mean, that's pretty high acquired domain. I would assume that would definitely draw a lot of attention.

Brian Harbin: That's your site, right? It's

Rachel Pienias: Yeah.

Colby Harris: Say LLC is on the end.

Rachel Pienias: No, it's just roots marketing.

Colby Harris: Oh, that's the best I got you. Cool.

Rachel Pienias: Yeah, that was something.

Colby Harris: So was that going through that process a bit of up and down, or were you guys able to just scoop it up pretty quick?

Rachel Pienias: Somehow we were able that. We just typed it in and it was available and we clicked. Right now, literally, I was like, I don't know what this means, but, yeah.

Colby Harris: We'll figure all the rest out. Again, overcoming that analysis paralysis.

Rachel Pienias: Everything's figured out.

Colby Harris: Well, like Brian said, that you've been our youngest entrepreneur in general, actually, to be on the show up to this point. So really been awesome to have you in today. As you know, we finished everything out on the show asking everyone what part of the grit creed resonates most with you and why.

Rachel Pienias: I loved the grit. Not going to lie, I would say the parts that resonated with me the most was that I am cool, calm, and collected. I am mentally, physically, and emotionally resilient. I love that because it's funny. This is called grit. Grit is like my word. That is the word that my parents use to describe me. 

And then my other word is resilient, because I feel like that encompasses everything I'd ever want to be. Nothing has stumped me yet. Nothing's going to stump me in the future. Like we just talked about, everything's figureoutable. It's not a no, it's a redirection. So that's me in a nutshell. And I love grit.

Colby Harris: And just, again, a little follow up. What does grit mean to you exactly?

Rachel Pienias: Grit means to me, it's like you're scrappy. Against all odds, will figure it out. You will do anything necessary to get to where you want to be.

Colby Harris: Love that. We always get a different answer. That's why I love asking. Because it's like if you go by the book, everyone kind of knows the book definition, but they're like, that's not like, kind of made my own.

Rachel Pienias: Yeah. No, literally, I don't know what the actual definition is, but that's my head. What it is.

Colby Harris: Scrappy. That's something I would. I mean, I could honestly write like a half a book for a single definition for.

Rachel Pienias: Right. Seriously.

Colby Harris: But thanks again, Rachel, for coming on today. We'll attach all your handles, and we'll make sure send some clients over there to roots marketing agency. Hopefully you're enjoying your trip down here. That's a wrap today at the Grit-org Podcast. Be sure to check out all their socials. Visit Share this episode with someone you think it would resonate with or impact. As always, we appreciate you tuning in for another episode of the Grit-org Podcast.

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