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E35: Social Media Strategy, Advice for a 12 year old, Web 3, and going from Solopreneur to Entrepreneur with Lena Grundhoefer of ZEITG3IST
Episode 3523rd January 2023 • Remote Start Podcast • Jim Doyon
00:00:00 00:32:04

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In this episode, Jim Doyon sits down with Lena Grundhoefer, founder of ZEITG3IST, a marketing and strategy agency, to discuss the important topic of delegation and outsourcing for growing businesses. Whether you're just starting out or looking to scale, learning how to effectively delegate and outsource tasks is crucial for success. Listen as Lena shares her own story of transitioning from a solopreneur to running a team and provides valuable insights and tips into social media, web3, and advice she would give her 12 year old self. Join Jim and Lena on this episode of The Remote Start Nation.

Learn more about Lena Grundhoefer at:




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Jim: Remote Start Nation, if you were just starting your business or you've been on your own and it's finally time to grow, learning how to delegate and outsource is a key element to helping your business scale. But when do you know it's the right time? How do you go from being a solopreneur to running a team that helps you grow? That's what we'll be uncovering today. I'm Jim Doyon, your host, and on today's episode, we're gonna be talking with one entrepreneur on just that.

Lena Grundhoefer, founder of ZEITG3IST, a marketing slash strategy agency focused on go-to-market strategies. Fractional CMO support and social media marketing is going to share her story and knowledge with us today in order to help you, the Remote Start Nation on your journey. Thank you for joining us. I'm absolutely excited to have you. How are you?

Lena: Really good. Thanks so much for having me, it's been a long day business-wise, but we're here, so yeah.

Jim: Awesome, awesome. And like we just talked about, I'm thankful that today's almost over and then it's the holidays. So we're rocking and rolling. So to get started, there's a lot I'm really excited to talk about. You know, going from solopreneur to managing a team, you know, web three point, web three I think is gonna be great to talk about, but, you know, getting started, give us a background on your business journey and tell us where you started and where you're at today.

Lena: Yeah, so, originally I'm from the city of Chicago, born and raised, moved to New York about eight years ago and haven't looked back. I pretty much have been the marketing space doing a variety of things anywhere from event management on the intern side to social media management, on the management side, and everything in between. In college, I had about seven internships across a variety of different companies, especially in the fashion sector, realized it wasn't necessarily for me. And then after I graduated, I pivoted into tech and I worked at Meta for about a year in a half to two years. And once my contract ended, I was consulting on the side and I took on a full-time job and pretty much realized that I like to wear many hats, I like to do many things, and the nine to five work life was not for me. So that's where my entrepreneurial background kicked off, and yeah, it pretty much runs in my blood cause my dad has printing business that basically is family owned and my mom's a psychologist, so I pretty much knew from a very young age that I was cut from a unique cloth and I like to manage myself at my own time.

Jim: That's awesome. So growing up in a family with entrepreneurs, and understanding what that life is like, you feel that had a pretty big effect on your eventual role to go and start your own thing?

Lena: Yeah, I think just being born and raised by family members who really always kind of walked and talked at their own pace, really inspired me from a young age to also do the same. I feel like compared to like people I grew up with, I've always kind of done things on my own accord in like terms of interest and opportunities and always said yes and always was hungry to learn and always have this growth mindset because you know, we only have this one shot in this one life and I wanna make every moment matter and count.

Jim: That's awesome, I love that mindset. Let's go back to when you were at Meta. What, was there like a certain thing that happened that made you realize like, I'm going to start my own business? Like I can't, I'm not gonna go do this any longer.

Lena: Honestly, there wasn't like an aha moment, I pretty much, okay, so I was hired from a 40 hour capacity to do a full-time job, but realistically my job was anywhere probably at most, sometimes 30 hours, 25 to 30 hours. And so, my mentor who happened to be on Project Runway was a designer, was like, Hey, I have an opportunity for you to start consulting, potentially a freelance client on the side, and that was kind of like the catalyst that's rippled into way more opportunities and prior to that I was taking on free opportunities to, you know, advise or like help people where I could because the fashion industry, it's very tight knit, everyone helps each other. ‘cause a lot of people that I went to school with were starting their own want, want to start their own business, but didn't necessarily know how to do that. So like, marketing people ended up helping the fashion designer people and the fashion designer people helped the graphic designer people. So everyone was resourceful in their own unique way, and that's why I think going to Arts slash Marketing School was a really good win, especially for me.

Jim: When they say it's not always about what you learn at school, it's about who you know and you know who you surround yourselves with. And I'm such a big believer in that.

Lena: Oh yeah. And I mean, personally speaking, like my first year in college, I did not do that well, I was like going out all the time and enjoying myself, but because of those experiences, I was meeting so many different people, I interned way before everyone else, I was able to work at two of the top fashion houses in the world. I actually started working from an internship perspective very early on, and most people started their late junior year or senior year, and because of that, I had this astronomic amount of work experience that most college students don't have, so that was a competitive advantage. So it was really interesting to learn that early on.

Jim: So this is coming from a personal question, but my daughter's 12, she's been growing ever since she was little, she's come to work with me and learned, and she's very into fashion design. And absolutely loves everything about, you know, designing what models are gonna wear and laying it out and even making some of it. Is there any advice you'd give to someone like her who's young and looking at getting into the fashion world and the design world and, you know, with your background in Web three and how things are changing? Is there anything that, she's 12, but I imagine there's a lot of kids right now from, you know, her age and even up that are kind of thinking about like, Hey, I want to do this for a career, you went into this for school and changed, you know, changed what you're doing. What any advice there?

Lena: Yeah, I mean, if I were to talk to 12 year old Lena myself, I would probably say continue on the path of, just trying as out as many things as you like, because the earlier you figure out what you do and you don't like, I think it's the better just because people inevitably will find, figure that out on their own. But, in terms of just interests, like say yes, like take your daughter to cool events and popups around, you know, the city or the country, whether that's, you know, museum exhibits that feature local designers or signing her up for a sewing class and giving her a headstart in that direction, or connecting her with or him with mentors that align in that particular perspective of things, whether they're on the merchandising side or whether they're on the design side, or whether they're on the business other side of business side. There's a lot of different angles that I think a lot of people don't see, and early on I was able to grasp bat just because I enrolled in like a high school course that showed us all these different sides of it. And I took a fashion class in high school that showed me how to sew and showed us how, like what goes into creating an editorial campaign and what goes into that. So as long as she gets a headstart, even now or a few years ahead yeah, she's, she's doing just fine.

Jim: That's awesome, I appreciate that. And I can't, like, as you're sitting here telling me this, I'm like, I cannot wait to share this episode with her. She's gonna, she's absolutely gonna love it. But to what you said, it brings up a lot of good points, and I've talked about this in previous episodes, but as you're young and or any age, and you're thinking about getting into a career, it's so important to get involved and it's so important to get involved in the community that you want to be in. And so, like you said, like go and travel and go to the different popups, go and learn, go take different classes, like right now, especially in this era of everything is at your fingertips and there's YouTube videos about everything you wanna learn and understand, if you have thought about starting your own business, about jumping into something that you like, you know, you're passionate about, but you don't know. It's so important to get out and learn and understand what's really involved in it before making a decision.

Lena: Yeah, absolutely. And I also know people in their mid to late twenties who still don't know what they wanna do, but like at, they're going at their own pace and there's also nothing wrong with that either. And I most importantly wanna shout that out just because like, there is no right or wrong path as long as you know you're on this upwards trajectory I on your own accord, that's the mo all that matters.

Jim: That's a great point, I'm with you so much there. So let's talk a little bit, so you're at Meta, you get an opportunity and you're ready to start your own thing then what?

Lena: Yeah, so, I basically helped co-found Mitch Bogan, which is now one of the top selling, stock companies on Amazon, basically while I was traveling around the country for meta, because we were helping them grow their ad services at the time, I basically took my photography skills that I learned early on in life and helped shoot content around the country with various models that I connected with and all the Photoshop editing that I learned throughout the years and so forth, and that alone helped them go from zero to one because prior to that, their brand didn't have this like unique essence, and the Sock company, Mitch Bogan, is actually a very colorful, unique, affordable sock brand where they sell eight to 12 set packs, that range anywhere between, you know, 10 and 15 bucks, which is way more affordable than like your average happy sock brand, that's like one pair for $15. So that alone was amazing, but me in my growth mindset and rat race to like consistently get bored with things, I was like, okay, what's next? So, I actually applied to Five Pro, when I was working at this company and I was granted the opportunity to become an expert in social media, and so from there it was just this domino effect of nonstop clients in every sector. And because of that, I was able to work with financial firms, I was able to work with crypto firms, I was able to work with e-com brands and even like Fortune 500 institutions and like household name, like, camera brands, like RE So it opened up a lot of doors and helped me kind of like f hone in on the piece that I liked the most, which was web three and so forth.

Jim: Let's talk a little bit and thank you for sharing that background with us on your journey. Let's talk about web three a little bit. I know it's new. A lot of people don't know about Web three. Let's talk about from a business, a brand standpoint, what are some things that you can recommend to other small business owners out there, of what they should be doing to kind of get on board?

Lena: Yeah. So, obviously Web three is this next iteration of the internet. Web two pretty much was, where we've been the last decade where a lot of brands have sat on these, you know, mega conglomerates of social tech, where your data's being, your data is centralized and owned by, you know, the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world and so forth. However, Web Three is taking a step back and focusing on decentralization, which ties in crypto, it ties in AI, it ties in VR and AR. So all in all, it's this amazing process that has really brought all these different areas together and it's been absolutely rewarding because it's a space that's constantly evolving there's more and more people entering it on a daily basis, there's more brands entering it on a daily basis, including Fortune 500s, and it's honestly where the future's headed. And people, like right before this I was at a family party and one of my family members was like, you realize like crypto is just fake money, right? And I'm just like, you're funny, but, I was like, I'm not gonna have this debate over like a table right now, but, right? Yeah, it's just a funny time to be alive.

Jim: It's awesome. And that your experience and doing what you're doing, like, it's really cool to be on the forefront of that and, you know, help other brands through it with your agency.

the next iteration phase for:

Jim: So talk to me a little bit more about the future for the brand.

Lena: Yeah, so essentially my brand was initially just a consultant consultancy, and for about two, three years I was doing that on the side, and then it became a full-time endeavor as of mid-August of last year. And pretty much I was doing everything on my own. It was 12 hour days, probably sometimes 70, 80 hour weeks, you know, code was happening. So I was pretty much locked inside and a workaholic at the time, and it wasn't sustainable and I didn't know when to say no, and turned down opportunities and I could probably manage it most from like a part-time basis across everything, like three brands. But I was literally just like, I can't do this anymore. So, Last NFT, this past NFT NYC, I met my business partner at some random event. We hit it off and she was like, oh, I come from operations and I've worked with restaurants and managed hundreds of people. And I was like, I love you, like let's start. I was like, we should become business partners, and it was like, love it first sight. And then like the next day, I like barely remember the conversation, she texted me and I was like, oh my God, I have this conversation with this girl and we hit it off and we've been basically doing this trial around this lap, these last six months and we catch each other, there's blind spots, we pretty much understand each other, where each other's strengths are, and we haven't looked back. So the future holds the pretty much becoming the best strategy agency in our field. We hope to focus on e-commerce brands, entertainment brands, gaming, web through gaming brands and tech and, you know, advise a few brands outside of those sectors. But, yeah, that's kind of what the future looks like for zeitgeist.

p to where you two are now in:

Lena: Yeah. And like, I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but sometimes like there's like God moments and I don't, whatever. I'm agnostic, I don't really believe in God, but like sometimes I just feel like some things happen for a reason. Some moments happen for a reason. And what that day was like that and I woke up the next day and like I could just feel over my body, I was like, this was supposed to happen and it was like this, serotonin that I just like felt and it, you'd have this like euphoria when, you know, something just feels right and it's incredible.

nded up selling that brand in:

Lena: Yeah, funny you mentioned that actually. So a few years ago I took this test called StrengthFinder, have you ever heard of it?

Jim: I haven't, no.

Lena: Okay. So it's based, you could buy a book and they give you access to this test that comes with it, it's like 15 bucks. But what StrengthFinders whole principle and mindset is you take this like personality test and it tells you what your strengths are and broken up by these four categories. And I think it's broken up one by like strategy and other ones, another sections like leadership, and whatnot, and pretty funnily enough, like mine was like broken up into all four of these different sections but what StrengthFinder does is it tells you where your strengths are and the whole purpose of that is to lean in your strengths so you can meet and partner with more people that are complimentary to that, because if you lean into your strengths versus like, you know, try to take on new skills where you know you're not that sharpen for example, like I'm not good at crunching numbers, like, and Victoria is like, that's why we compliment each other. You become so much more successful because you hone in on like where your brain, your brain's more attuned to.

Jim: Yeah. I bet that was such a like thrilling experience to understand that, like what? Like you could read it, but like actually understanding me like, oh wow, yeah. And then defining her and being like, okay, this is what, now I know what I'm doing.

Lena: Yeah, yeah. So it's incredible, highly recommend, but yeah. Sorry, going off.

Jim: No, I love it. That's what this is about, so tell me more about, so you were a solopreneur for a while, what was that first, like you burned yourself out, you're like, I can't do this anymore, like, I've got too much on my plate, I'm taking on too much, so before even meeting her, did you go out and start hiring?

Lena: So actually I was doing a lot of it on my own. So my consultancy was strictly social media management, which is my bread and butter. In the beginning, when I was interning, I said yes to every opportunity, and that led me to where I am today because I understood where I, what I liked, what I didn't, where I excelled and so forth. And social media, interestingly enough, was like, what I like the most because of the creativity aspect, the strategy aspect, the analytics aspect and so forth. And so I was doing, I was probably at most managing four or five brands, at a time, and at that point I didn't really know when to delegate. And so the first person I hired part-time was my graphic designer, and she's been a really helpful because that leaves me to obviously focus on the other aspects of the social media side, which is like the scheduling, the strategy and so forth, and every aspect can be delegated. It's just a matter of, you know, honing in on what you're good at from a high level and you know, streamlining everything from the bottom out.

Jim: Yeah, I agree. You got, you have to really self-reflect and understand and even like if people tell you you're not good at something, listen to it. Like understand, like maybe that's not your strength. Family's really good at that for me. I don't know about, you know, being in the holidays and hanging out with family. I don't know if they're like that with you either.

Lena: Yeah, no, they definitely, yeah, no boundaries don't exist with family sometimes.

Jim: Definitely not with my family. Anyways, so that's, that's exciting. So, let's talk on, let's get a little bit on the social media side and that being your passion and, you know, with TikTok and Instagram and LinkedIn and so many different channels, like what are some advices that you could give to the remote start Nation on, you know, what they could do to better their social media?

Lena: Yeah, I mean, honestly, so there's no one size fits all approach to social media. I can't just be like, Hey, these are the three channels you need to be on, because every industry is so different. So if I'm talking to a SAAS, you know, sales as a service or someone who's selling services, that's way different than a brand that's like, let's just say an e-commerce brand just starting out, because when you're selling services, you don't necessarily have case studies to begin with, so you have to go directly where the source is for lead generation and client acquisition, which would be LinkedIn. However, if you're looking at it from an e-commerce perspective and you're looking at it from, I'm trying to get the word out there and really make help with brand recognition, help people understand what your product does and how it benefits consumers, then ultimately and who the, your target market is. So like, whether you are looking to target Gen Z or millennials versus, you know, baby boomers, like you could go the Facebook path if you're looking to target older consumers, however, majority, like, I think 40 or 50% of Gen Z consumers are now looking to TikTok versus Google Maps when they're trying to find like restaurants to eat at or other, you know, unique services around them, which I think is a really interesting data point just because the entire market's shifting and…

Jim: Right, it's so interesting.

Lena: So like, even with the music industry, like that's another side of things. So yeah.

Jim: Where within the music industry is it TikTok as well?

Lena: Definitely. I think that the issue with TikTok is now everyone, like TikTok was the secret sauce, I think a few years ago. And now everyone's kind of figuring out that you needed, you need like a sound, you need a great short strategy to, you know, really catch people from the first, second and onward. But now that TikTok has videos where you can run them for minutes long, it's completely shifting that. And now there's YouTube shorts, there's Instagram Live, there's Instagram reels, there's Facebook Lives, and all these different social media platforms are trying to do the same thing.

Jim: So with all these, all these platforms, and like you just said, it's all changing and, there's so much to try to understand as a small business owner, what's, give some, what would you recommend for someone that's maybe has a social channel, maybe they have all the social channels, but they're not seeing results. What would be a piece of advice that you could give them?

Lena: So from that perspective, I think you have to go from the to from the very ground up and ask yourself your why, right? So why, or do people wanna purchase my product? And then you have to take another step, and you have to understand from a target market perspective, like who those people are. So for example, if I'm selling a unique funky colored sock, I'm probably not going to target your average basic consumer, I'm probably going to target consumers who are into like laying around the house more introverted, maybe people who like have adding like little spark to their fashion sense, or they love giving gifts out to their family and friends during the holidays. So in understanding your target market, you have to understand their age brackets, you have to understand which genders would gender, what, wherever you lie on the spectrum makes the most sense, geographically, where, where your consumers are, are they metropolitan consumers or do they live in the suburbs or in the country? Do they even reside in the United States? There's so many different angles from that perspective, and then you have to look at it from the interest perspective, and so once you understand your basic consumer, then you start thinking about, okay, so what social media platforms should I engage with? And I've had multiple brands that be like, I want to launch my company on 10 different social media platforms and sometimes they're like 20, and I'm like, absolutely not. Let's start with like the bare minimum, let's do two to three and go from there, because surprisingly enough, like social media platforms will surprise you. Pinterest has done really well actually for a lot of e-commerce brands in helping get the word out there, especially, and with infographics and you know, inspirational photos because you know, a lot of people go to Pinterest simply for inspiration. So there's a lot of different ways to go about that but I hope that answers your question.

Jim: Yeah, totally did. I think that's great advice and I know from just even my own experience, like you think you have to be where everywhere, your customer is, but in all reality, it actually could hurt you because if you're not doing it right, then it doesn't look, it doesn't look, it's not a good look, right?

Lena: Yeah, yeah. And I think, like for me, like I think I want my, I want every one of my clients to do well and I care less about the money, I care more about them performing their most optimal, the most optimal that they can, just because at the end of the day, like they're here to pursue their passion and they're trying to make this a full-time job and potentially feed people and make, and also just make their business into a dream. And without starting with a marketing strategy from the ground up, which includes social, like, it's hard to do that.

Jim: Yeah, that's so true. Well, I know we're starting to come to an end here our time for the show. So I wanna make sure before we end you let everybody know where they can find you.

Lena: Yeah, so, again, my name's Lena Grundhoefer, you can find me on Instagram @Lenagrundhoefer, on LinkedIn, you can find me at Lena Grundhoefer. ZEITG3IST, we are spelled Z-E-I-T-G-3-I-S-T. And then that's pretty much it, and if you wanna email me my email's

Jim: Awesome, thank you for that. I want to, before we do end, I want to know like, what is the one biggest takeaway that you can lead the remote start nation with today, that we either, we either hit on or we didn't hit on, but you want, for someone starting out or starting to get in, you know, their business to that next level and starting to, you know, hire and delegate, like what are some, what's like one takeaway that you can give?

Lena: Yeah, I think honestly, you never know if you never try, and I think, a lot of people just automatically dive into one sector and think, think that's their end all be all. And I think in learning and just being a sponge and falling on your face and realizing some areas might not work and surviving and optimizing in others area might help you over the long run, and even if it's, let's say you start off in accounting and you don't want anything to do with it could still be very beneficial for you down the road if you wanna be an entrepreneur, because that's the foundation of everything, the money and the financials. So say yes to every opportunity, don't second guess yourself. And imposter syndrome's real, but everyone experiences it.

Jim: That's great advice. And to add on that too, I think to your point, when you jump into every opportunity that you can get into, I think it's important to learn as much as you can while in that opportunity and not, you know, that so many times you see people in a job or position, oh, I hate my job, I hate this, I hate that, like, like turn that around, say like, I love, like, I don't like this part about it, but like you said, like learn, if it's in an accounting firm or whatever it is, like learn those things, learn, don't just be negative and be like, I can't wait to get outta here. Take advantage of it while you're there because yeah, you can use that for future and to better yourself in whatever way that might be.

Lena: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: Awesome. Well, Lena, I thank you so much for your time, it was awesome. I can't wait for this to come out and everybody to watch and get as much value as I did. So Remote Start Nation, I hope you learned as much as I did today and you could put some of this to work for you, from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for joining me on this journey as I help you to start your business, grow your brand, and connect with your community. Remember, leave a comment, go visit Lena, say what's up, get our services, let's get started on social. Until next time, get something started, start today and go build the lifestyle you desire by taking action.

Lena: Thank you so much, Jim.