It was 2019 and I was sick of working in the corporate world. I’d achieved things beyond my wildest dreams – like managing social media for accounts with tens of millions of followers, traveling internationally to work with teams overseas, flying to Germany, New York, LA, and San Francisco so often it became commonplace. I’d managed budgets of millions of dollars and work I’d done went viral and won a Cannes Lion.
But I was bored and unsatisfied. Growing up with not much meant I was earning more money than I ever thought possible. But I kept getting up from my desk and pacing around the building.
I dreaded going into an office, with its fluorescent lights and too cold A/C. I hated “decision by committee,” where mediocrity rose to the top.
I was drinking more than I should have in the evenings to cope. I was deeply unhappy, and I couldn’t get one time of my life out of my head – when I spent a year freelancing in 2013..
I set my own hours, did work I decided to take on, and made a real impact for small businesses and nonprofits. (It’s depressing to work hard all year and see the sum of your efforts be a sub-bullet of a bullet point on a slide deck.)
I was newly divorced, financially unstable, had just moved from the home and neighborhood I loved.
Needless to say, it was NOT the perfect time to quit my safe, well-paid job and take on a huge financial and career risk. But I did it anyway. #entrepreneurbrain
Arnold Marketing Consultants was born.
Fast forward to 2023, and our journey took an unexpected turn.
After a breast cancer diagnosis in late 2022, my personal and professional lives became interconnected in a way I never imagined. Experiencing our healthcare system’s peculiarities firsthand, I realized the immense potential and demand for better communication and marketing within the health and wellness industry.
With this newfound awareness, my team and I decided to pivot our agency’s focus to the health & wellness industry exclusively.
We took this direction for three main reasons:
- Firstly, we’ve historically experienced the most success in this field, with about 60% of our past “best” clients being in this industry.
- Secondly, my personal interest in health & wellness, which dates back to my early twenties, could finally play a central role in my professional life. I’m that nerd who reads scientific studies and meta-analyses to learn beyond the hype of new trends.
- Lastly, my personal health battle with cancer highlighted the pressing need for the services we offer in this sector.
However, going back to why I started this in the first place… There were some specific “wrongs” I wanted to right.
- Bad management – I’d had many coworkers and employees with serious mental baggage from past managers. One of my employees would get so anxious during performance reviews he would hyperventilate.
- Work to burnout – In many jobs it was expected to be “always-on” and not leave the office until 8pm.
- Meeting hell – To make things worse, everyone’s day is so packed with meetings that there’s no time to get the actual work done.
- In the agency, there was no consideration for capacity – it was to say yes to everything and simply have the current staff stuff this new work into their day. This led to sloppy, rushed work for the client.
- Both working at an agency and working with them, I’d find the junior people increasingly in charge of the account – with strategic input from the higher-ups nowhere to be seen.
- No consideration for the business goals on efficacy – agencies get obsessed with making work other agencies will find cool… not with what actually drives results for their clients.
- Because of the “always say yes” culture, this meant that staffing was a constant up and down. Gain a huge client? Hire a ton! Lose a client? Time for layoffs. The ad industry is a constant churn of people. This cycle is compounded by businesses going through cycles of deciding to do it all in-house vs. outsource.
- Communication – I get that you can’t be totally open book to your employees, but almost every organization I’ve been in had a serious coordination and communication problem. Senior management would have a new directive or direction every week, or they’d say nothing at all about what we were supposed to be driving to. Maybe this is why there were so many meetings…
- Treating people like people: I had a direct report tell me in a 1:1 that she wanted to start her family, but was scared of the impact to her career. Plus, we had zero maternity leave given. This was heartbreaking – a smart, capable, productive person in a loving marriage didn’t want to have a baby because of work. (she’s since moved on and had a beautiful baby boy.) That’s one example out of tens I can personally give from my own experience. This is bad. We are living to work, not working to live. Not to mention other times where you had to report on every second of your day or use vacation time to go to the doctor.
With AMC, I wanted to fix these problems.
I had no idea it was possible. I’d never run a business before… it sure is easy to criticize when you’re not the one in charge.
I started with these major values in mind:
- Treat people like people – no need to micromanage time and work. As long as the work gets done, I don’t care if they take an hour to have coffee with a friend or go to the dentist. Emergencies happen, and it’s our job to pull together and support them when they do.
- Gig and remote work – Having a full staff of W2 employees is a lot of risk and overhead. Why not use a hybrid model to both get great talent and not risk layoffs? Our team comes from all over the U.S. We were remote from the start.
- Flex workers – There are a lot of people who don’t want full-time work, but do want something stable and consistent. That happens to be moms. We have a few team members who want to be done at 2 or 3pm so they can be with their kids. By offering something besides full time, I get great talent that others overlook.
- Treat clients like partners – I’m not here to bill clients out of every possible dollar… I’m here to make their businesses grow. Their goals are my goals. Their customers are my customers. We are obsessed with their success, not ours.
The three things I wanted to prove have (so far) been true:
- Can I serve businesses in a meaningful way?
- Can I make money doing it?
- Can I have a happy team while doing so?
We aim to support businesses like yours that are making real differences in people’s lives. Our mission has always been to provide meaningful services to businesses, generate sustainable income, and maintain a happy team.
With our new focus on health and wellness, we’re more determined than ever to fulfill our mission while championing the H&W industry.
Overall, our commitment to treating people like people, utilizing the gig and remote work economy, and treating clients as partners underpins our business values. Now, with our niche focus on health & wellness, we are excited to use our expertise to contribute to an industry that has become so personally significant to me.