Talk Freelance To Me

Mastering the Balancing Act: Lindsay Diven's Secrets to Having a Thriving AEC Marketing Career and Growing A Successful Business

June 04, 2023 Ashley Cisneros Mejia Season 1 Episode 7
Talk Freelance To Me
Mastering the Balancing Act: Lindsay Diven's Secrets to Having a Thriving AEC Marketing Career and Growing A Successful Business
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we’re delighted to chat with someone who truly embodies the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship while successfully balancing an incredibly successful 9-5 career – Lindsay Diven! Lindsay is not only a dynamic professional who’s won awards for her leadership in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry; she also generously shares her knowledge with other AEC marketers through her training company and podcast, Marketers Take Flight. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to get the inside scoop on what seasoned marketing leaders look for when hiring a freelancer for a project. Join us on this insightful journey as Lindsay shares her wisdom, lessons learned, and strategies that have led her to her current success.

Time Stamps

00:04:43 What marketing looks like in the Architecture, Engineering, And Construction (AEC) vertical

00:09:07 How Lindsay founded her training company, Marketers Take Flight

00:11:24 How Lindsay has been able to excel in her career while growing her own company

00:15:06 What Lindsay looks for when hiring a freelancer

00:18:40 How Lindsay got started in real estate investing

00:23:09 Lindsay’s tips for managing a full-time job and a growing business while being a great wife and mother

Connect with Lindsay

Lindsay's LinkedIn Profile

Marketers Take Flight on LinkedIn

Lindsay on Instagram

Link to the Full Focus Planner recommended by Lindsay:
https://www.marketerstakeflight.com/fullfocusplanner

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Simply download and go through the prompts to explore potential niches that will quickly set you apart in the marketplace! Grab your copy here: https://pages.talkfreelancetome.com/

SOMETHING SPECIAL JUST FOR YOU
We released our “Niches Get Riches” Brainstorming Worksheet – and it’s absolutely free! This worksheet will help you identify the most profitable niches for your freelance writing business.

Simply download and go through the prompts to explore potential niches that will quickly set you apart in the marketplace! Grab your copy here!

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Ashley Mejia:

Welcome, everybody to another episode of the talk freelance to me podcast. I have an amazing guest today, I'd love to introduce you to my friend, Lindsey dibban. Lindsey, welcome to the podcast.

Lindsay Diven:

Thank you. I am so honored to be here and to see you and talk to you again.

Ashley Mejia:

Thank you.

Lindsay Diven:

So I love it when our paths crossed.

Ashley Mejia:

Absolutely. And if you guys have been following me a little bit on social, you've seen that I actually had the great opportunity to be on Lindsay's podcast called marketers take flight couple weeks ago, and she is actually about to celebrate like three years of podcasting. So it's awesome. It's a big honor to have someone at her level to be on this podcast. So

Lindsay Diven:

Oh, thank you. You're making me blush.

Ashley Mejia:

You can listen to this later. What do you need to pick me up? Right? So freelance fam. I'm going to read a little bit of Lindsay's bio to you because she's done so much and I want to share some more about her with you. So for more than 17 years, Lindsay has worked with architecture and engineering firms to build sales and marketing strategies that resulted in increased revenue growth and profits. This included serving as a marketing director and principal for a 300 person AE firm. In that role she was a member of the executive team responsible for leading the firm's marketing and business development strategy, oversaw six market lines with a team of 16 sales and marketing professionals. Now she is the marketing and sales manager for Full Sail partners. She oversees marketing campaigns to position the firm as a leading provider of Deltec vantage point, and black box connector software solutions and business consulting for AEC firms. She is also the founder of marketers take flight and AEC industry specific marketing and business development training company. She hosts a podcast by the same name and is the creator of the proposal pro course. Outside of the office. She is married to an amazing man and has two kids and a Labradoodle attempts to work out regularly and enjoys a glass of wine. She is addicted to real estate investing in her beloved Florida Gators Go Gators. Yes,

Lindsay Diven:

yes. I'm with good company today. My fellow Gator.

Ashley Mejia:

I love it. I love it. At the same time. I think we're graduating when I was just arriving maybe or we kind of just missed each other. But it's definitely anybody here in Florida. Or if you know about the Gators, you know that we ride strong for our team. And we have a great alumni network. And it's an awesome school, I must say.

Lindsay Diven:

And it's great to live back in Gainesville and be able to go to so many things here as alumni living back in the town.

Ashley Mejia:

That's incredible. So do you find now that you go to more things that you didn't go when you were an undergrad? Or I guess it's a different type of things

Lindsay Diven:

that we like go to all the gymnastics meats, and I never went to them when I was in school, and we go to the baseball games. And we've been to more basketball games. And so my son is in a different university. Now. He plays football for another university. And I tell him go to all the other sporting events. Because when we go to the volleyball matches, like I never went to any of those when I was a student. I don't know what I was doing. But I definitely wasn't studying like two birds or anybody.

Ashley Mejia:

Me neither. No, I think about that. And it's so interesting how going to a big school and you meet other alum later. And there's just all of these smaller sub communities within the university that you could go and have a totally different experience or, you know, some folks are really into the outdoors. Some folks are really into concerts and a lot of people interested in sports. But yeah, imagine that is different now as a professional living there. Yeah, definitely. That's incredible. So you have done as your team, as you can hear from her bio, she's done amazing things.

Lindsay Diven:

Thank you.

Ashley Mejia:

Like, I don't understand how you do this much in just 24

Lindsay Diven:

hours. I don't know either of you look great. Thank you.

Ashley Mejia:

So that's amazing. So for 20 years, you've been doing this AEC marketing, which is super interesting. You know, for someone like me, that knows a little bit but it's a whole world and I was learning from listening to your podcasts, kind of from the perspective of someone who's marketing and telling that story. Very interesting. Can you tell us what is marketing look like in the AEC industry and what is the typical day for you look like

Lindsay Diven:

and how cheese? Okay, well first it no two days the same, which I think most marketers in any industry could probably relate to, but marketing for when you're working at an architecture engineering or construction firm marketing kind of wears two hats. They have Traditional marketing and marketing communications. So like website press releases, media relations, social media, content marketing, kind of those, what I would call traditional marketing. Now this is changing a little bit. But historically, a lot of firms they also support what would typically be like sales enablement and other industries, where they're putting together proposals, because a lot of the proposals are like qualifications based or technical approach base. So they're doing a lot of gathering of data, putting them together in books, writing, editing, a lot of technical editing, from the engineers, or the architects putting them together and these proposal books and getting them into the clients. And then a lot of times they're shortlist presentations. So where the team actually goes and presents to the client to then be awarded. And so they're helping prepare the presentations and preparing the presenters in coaching, especially because there's a lot of smaller firms. These marketing professionals were these like dual habits, or it's a two small team, but they're doing like both, quote unquote, like traditional marketing. And then what I've realized from other industries, they call it like sales enablement. You know, they're kind of supporting the close of the sale, which is a new project, because architecture, engineering construction firms, they're pursuing projects. So a new building at US campus, a new hospital, I used to live in Lake Nona, you know, the new hospital building or a new office building. And so they're pursuing those type of projects or new roadway. And so it gets complex. And that's why I say no two days are the same. Because one day you might be in a shortlist interview preparation, and then the next day, you're preparing for a trade show. It's just crazy. But exciting.

Ashley Mejia:

That is amazing. I could definitely see the challenges with being kind of pulled in many different directions. But also like, what a cool place. It's almost like a gym for marketers like to really exercise those muscles, because you know, you're helping the leadership get ready to present to a very specific audience for a specific purpose to win business, but then also thinking about all the external things that you have to do as well. So that's amazing. Some of

Lindsay Diven:

the larger firms, and then the firm I used to work with, it was pretty much we built like a whole marketing agency, internal. We had graphics, we had communications, we had marketing specialists, we had an events person, some of the larger firms start to build almost like an internal agency to support the firm.

Ashley Mejia:

I could see why you would need that. Like, that's a lot. Wow, that's so fascinating. And so the products that you're marketing now and your current job, or those proposal, or there's like business development software's, is that what they are?

Lindsay Diven:

Yeah, so it's software that serves architecture, engineering, environmental consulting firms. So it's their software. I used to be a user. Oh, interesting. And the firm that I worked for trained me on it. And then when I wanted to change, they were like, Well, where are you going? And I'm like, I don't know yet. And they're like, Well, do you want to come here? Whoa, I took a couple months off to renovate the house that we live in now. And then I started working with them. It's still in the same industry. It's just now I'm on the, like a vendor side serving the firm's instead of being in house at a firm. Wow.

Ashley Mejia:

And I'm sure they love that, because you've been the end user, so you can speak to that audience. Wow.

Lindsay Diven:

And I and my company, wholesale partners, the company I work for, that's what they try to do. They try to hire people who are users to consult and teach people. So I was a CRM consultant. So I help like, implement. And then two years ago, I moved back into marketing, because that's my real love. I love marketing.

Ashley Mejia:

Very cool. And then so you love marketing so much that you teach other marketers like as if these this day job wasn't enough. You've celebrated over 10 years with your own training company with marketers take flight, and you have the podcasts and you just reached three years, you're celebrating three years? Can you tell us more about your own businesses? And what you offer?

Lindsay Diven:

Yes, growing up in this industry, I didn't go to UF there was no AEC marketing degree. I just got a regular marketing degree, then that kind of taught me the basics, but I really learned on the job. And throughout my career, I've built four different marketing teams. And I've probably trained a couple of dozen marketing coordinators in specifically to our industry. Well, when I first started, like, there was no training available. It was just kind of on the job learn as you go learn from other marketers. And so I started putting together like checklists and training guides for the people. I was hiring onboard them to train them. And then I was like, Well, why should I keep this for myself? This is a common issue and all of the industry. And so that's when it started as a blog. And then in 2017, I started The online course, the proposal pro course. And then this year, I just launched content marketing, clarity, which teaches content marketing, like how to create a content marketing campaign for AEC firms. And so it just kind of evolved from there out of like, what I needed, and then what I developed for my team. And then I'm like, Well, this was gonna be useful, industry wide. And so that's kind of how it evolved over the last 10 years.

Ashley Mejia:

I love that. I mean, if I was, you know, a newbie, a beginner marketer in the AEC. Industry, I mean, that's golden, to be able to have resources like that the blog, the podcasts, the course, that you can invest, and really just like, skip maybe some of those painful trials. And you know, that's really special. I love that.

Lindsay Diven:

Yeah, I love doing it, you can tell that's what keeps me going, Yeah,

Ashley Mejia:

I can tell that you have that passion, and you have to just be able to sustain it for that long. And you've been able to do that you've been able to do something that people are trying to do, or they're thinking about, which is having your successful day job, and also having a thriving business. And you've done this, not only for a little while, but for years, you've sustained this for years. So tell us your secrets, what advice can you share for people that want to do the same, I will

Lindsay Diven:

say I was really able to focus on it probably in the last five or six years. So the first four or five years, it was very sporadic. And it was kind of just a blog, and some ebooks and stuff like that. So I will say once we moved back to Gainesville, and I have my new job now and got rid of my one hour each way commute, I had a lot more time. So I want to preface that by saying, you know, I got back two hours of my day. So that really goes a long way when you're trying to you know, put out a weekly podcast, and develop a course. And so that's part of it, just my like lifestyle. And my day job changed a little bit. But then I am a huge proponent. In fact, I'm a certified CRO, and I do not go anywhere without my full focus planner. Oh, nice. Yeah, they're beautiful. And the full focus system is a goal achievement system. And then the planner is for you to achieve your goals. And so it really helps you stay focused, like when you have a little bit of time, like I have an hour or two a day to work on market or state flight, I know exactly what I'm working on. And that's what I do. First, I know my daily big three that I need to do for Full Sail partners, and marketers take flight and for the house, let's be real. I'm a mom, I work from home, I'm the house manager. Let's be real. So I'm the kids assistants, their personal assistants. And I'm the house manager. So that really helps me keep track. It's kind of old school because it's paper, or there's just something so real about that. And between the daily big three and the weekly preview and then each quarter I start over again, I just did my quarterly preview. And so without that, I don't know what I would achieve, because I'd be so scattered because it's so easy to get overwhelmed and get stuck in your email inbox. wouldn't just triaging your inbox and reacting to that and send a saying no, no, no, I need to do this today. I need to get this done today. So I'm a big advocate for the full focus play on the full focus system.

Ashley Mejia:

Oh my goodness, do you have a code you could share with us? Because I think I need that today. And we'll make sure we add it to the show notes too.

Lindsay Diven:

Yes, I can. And if you use my code, I will send you my QuickStart Video. So you can just get started right away. Okay, I

Ashley Mejia:

need to write this down today. So tell us your code. Is it Lindsey or

Lindsay Diven:

I have to look it up. Okay. It's marketers take flight.com/and I forget what after the slash, so I'll send it to you.

Ashley Mejia:

Perfect. And we'll make sure that we include it in the show notes freelance fam so that you guys can get on that because that sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.

Lindsay Diven:

And I like that it has my whole entire life. So my work life, my side, hustle life, my kids life, home life, everything in one place, because I can't keep more than one calendar.

Ashley Mejia:

No. I mean, that's, that's amazing. And I tell my husband that all the time he'll sleep like, what do you get done today? And I'm like, Well, I got distracted from makiya administrative work. You know, just like you said, managing the house and the family. It's a lot. Thank you. Thank you for sharing with us about your planner. That's awesome. So I was on your podcast, which was super fun recently, and we were talking about how freelancers how AEC marketers and internal coordinators can use freelancers. Let's talk about the other side of the desk. Can you share some insights into what you're looking for? So what are clients looking for when they're trying to find freelance talent? What types of freelancers catch your eye And how can we as freelancers stand out to you as the hiring manager or our client?

Lindsay Diven:

Yeah, so I'll talk with me personally, and then I'll kind of do some generalizations about that. So for me, when I'm looking at I'm first talking to a freelancer, I really pay attention to the questions. They're asking me, because if they're insightful questions, and they're trying to dig deeper, because a lot of times I know the end product, we want a case study, or we want an article, but I don't necessarily know maybe exactly what I want. So I look for Freelancer that's asking those questions to kind of dig a little bit deeper. Okay, here's the concepts or here's the abstract, like, here's what we're going to do. So that's the first thing the questions and then I think the second thing is if they have a process that they follow, if you don't know me, I'm a big process person. Usually, I'm hiring a freelancer because they don't have time. So I don't want to figure out a process. Like I have a podcast editor. So you set me up with an Asana board, I use her Asana board, I use it all and I love it. Like I didn't have to think about it. I didn't have to figure out how to do anything. And she's like, here's what we do, we do this, this, this, this, you name it this and give it to me, you know, so be adaptable. If the client has a process, I guess that you want them to follow, but I look for a freelancer that comes to me and says, Okay, here's what we're gonna do. Here's how I operate, here's what I need from you, here's when you get the rough draft, here's when we need the revision, here's how we're going to share documents, here's how we're going to yada yada, yada, I think those are the two biggest things for me personally. And then a third thing that I think could be like me, or generally would be, I look at kind of the industries that you've worked in, I don't really care if it's necessarily AEC, like engineering, architecture or construction. But I do look for commonalities. So there's some things for our industry, you know, we have clients that have multiple decision makers, long sales cycles, working with these really super smart technical experts and trying to like translate that. So I kind of look, you know, if you have experience in other similar types of industries, or working for other types as clients, I look more at that than I do. You haven't written for an architecture firm. Oh, forget it, like because I don't necessarily want to sound like every other architecture firm either. So but I do look for those complexities. So where I found luck before is like people who've worked in like, very regulated industries, like healthcare, finance, but on like the b2b side, you know, where they're selling maybe like enterprise software to hospitals, you know, stuff like that.

Ashley Mejia:

That is amazing. I hope everybody was taking notes, because those are some gems right there. And that distinction between being a busy bee and a note taker and a waiter or waitress, and you're taking orders, versus being a consultant, that's huge, being able to work hand in hand with your client and guide them and make their life easier, not creating more work, just making everything easier and more simple and pleasant. I mean, I think that those are really good insights and advice for us. Thank you. You're welcome. So if this demanding job full time job, plus the training company, plus this highly rated podcast weren't enough, you're also a real estate investor. And you have properties that you rent out. And you mentioned that you also bought a property and renovated it. Those are huge, long term projects. Can you tell us about this real estate stuff that you're doing and how it's impacted your family's goals,

Lindsay Diven:

though? Yeah. So marketers takes light on the real estate investing all spawned out of the last recession? The Oh, a oh nine. You know, my husband and I both work in the same industry. And we are both saying layoffs, like left and right. Luckily, neither of us were laid off at that time. But it really spawned this need to create multiple sources of revenue, not from our W two jobs because we wanted to, if one of us lost our jobs, we didn't want to like lose the livelihood. We had two very young children then we didn't want to like have to move back in with our parents. So we got the bug. I started listening to a podcast on my commute on the BiggerPockets Podcast, and they really broke it down and made it seem really like realistic. And so we saved up some money. Well, first we got out of debt. We followed the Dave Ramsey got out of debt, but then we started saving money. And then we sold some things, bought some land, sold the land, yada yada yada. And then probably five or six years ago, when we sold that piece of property we bought a long term rental here in Gainesville, just a small little house. And my husband I like every house we've lived in we've renovated a little bit like ourselves, we do some of the work ourselves on the weekends in so we bought that house and then we were like, Okay, that's pretty easy. We had the same renter in there for almost five years. In fact, I'm just renewing his lease this week. And then I wanted to beach house. So we started looking at condos. And we were lucky enough to buy a condo and a house in the St. Augustine area, we bought them in 2020. So just before everything like skyrocketed, and so those are vacation rentals. And then last year, we sold the house. And so we've been able to use that to fund some foliage and things. And right now we're just laying low. But I would say the biggest advice is, we just wanted to make sure the idea is to buy some properties, and then either sell them when a kid goes to college, so we can pay cash for college, or give them to the kids as maybe their wedding president or if they want to sell it, or they can use money or they can live there. So for me, it's easier to understand than some of these other financial, like Bitcoins. And so like I can see a house, I can see. And the numbers make sense on paper, we're taking in more money each month than we're spending. It's just very simple to me. And it's real. And there's always people need a place to live. Now, we still have like our other investments and stuff like 401 K's, but I'm a big advocate of owning real estate. And there's a lot of tax advantages to which helps. So a lot of people think we're crazy. But you know, I just tell people, we do a spreadsheet. And if the numbers make sense, we pull the trigger. And we don't really get emotional about it. If that's something you're interested in, I would highly recommend BiggerPockets podcasts because they make it very simple.

Ashley Mejia:

That's amazing and super inspirational. And just what a testament to hard work and the willingness on your part, to learn something new and to make those sacrifices on the weekend instead of you know, just chillin, you know, you're renovating a house

Lindsay Diven:

for the St. Augustine properties, of course, we bought them at the same time. But well, it's just like when you find a deal, you got to execute. And so we spent about four months, every weekend going over there, and some time off work to get those ready. That's amazing. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't low stress. But now the condos kind of on autopilot, we have a management company, so I don't have to deal with the tenants or anything. So

Ashley Mejia:

that's so cool. And you guys are both from this space, like from the AEC. But the construction space like long project management, you can manage a project it sounds like, that's amazing. Very cool. And you mentioned your kids, you mentioned that your son's playing sports in college and I know your daughter, she's in high school, right? And she in high school or middle school?

Lindsay Diven:

Not Yeah, she's in seventh grade.

Ashley Mejia:

Seventh grade. Okay. So you've got kids, you also volunteer, I know you are a leader in the professional marketing association. And you also cheer on the Gators, and you do a lot. So let's talk some more. Do you have any other tips for us? We just need to know how do you juggle so much? How do you keep all these balls in the air, but also thrive and have some fun along the way? Well, the

Lindsay Diven:

full focus planner, I already talked about that. But I believe in the philosophy, you can do it all but not at the same time. So there are some times where I pulled back a little bit. I don't do as much on marketers take flight. Like this past weekend, I surprised like last minute trip to the Taylor Swift concert. I was supposed to like podcast episodes this weekend. And I said, eff it, you know, we're gonna go to the cancer. So there are times we're like, fullback, because I don't think you can do everything all at once. You can do everything you want. You just can't do it all at the same time. So I believe in that philosophy. And then I also say no to a lot of things. And that's what people don't see. Like, if I really don't want to do it. I say now bypass. And so a lot of that you don't see, because it's not on my socials, not talking about on my podcast, I'm not seeing it. So I do say no, a lot. And I think that's okay. Especially if you do have kids, and you get pressured to volunteer on like PTA days, or go to volunteer events at school, or industry organizations, you know, maybe saying no, I can't be the lead on this. But I'll show up for two hours and work a table. But I'm not going to take the lead. So I do a lot of that.

Ashley Mejia:

I said Mark, I love it. I love it. You heard it here people. You can say no, it's a good thing. You can

Lindsay Diven:

say no. No, is a complete sentence.

Ashley Mejia:

No, yes. No, no, no, we don't have to justify. I mean, for me, that's something I still work on is using silence as a tool and not filling in the space around it with all these justifications. So that's really huge look at what you can achieve when you do guard your time and you manage it with your planner and you say no, that's amazing. I think this is a case study in itself. So

Lindsay Diven:

yeah, I gotta practice it. I mean, I have to remind myself I am not perfect at it. But I remind myself lat.

Ashley Mejia:

I love that. So Lindsey, I know people are going to be in love with you. And they're going to be so excited. So how can people find you online? How can they learn more about content clarity and all the wonderful offerings you have?

Lindsay Diven:

The two biggest places is my website, marketers take flight.com. And then I'm on LinkedIn, I would say probably like I'm most on LinkedIn. So you can just search me out Lindsey, Devon, and connect with me. I love connecting with listeners and audience members and starting those relationships, like pulling them from offline to into the real world. So those are probably the two places because if you find me there, then you can get a hold of me. That's awesome.

Ashley Mejia:

Lindsay, thank you so much for being on The Talk freelance, me podcast and for all of these gems that you shared with our audience. I really appreciate it.

Lindsay Diven:

Well, thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Ashley Mejia:

Thank you. And with that, we've come to the end of another episode. Please make sure you hit subscribe if you haven't already done so. And give me a five star review on Apple. This will help out a lot and getting the word out about this brand new podcast. I invite you to check out the show notes and also grab my free niches get Rich's freelance writing worksheet to brainstorm the best niches for your writing business. If you're not a writer, you can still use it to get business ideas. And until next time, this is actually a talk freelance to me. Don't forget, we all get this one precious life. Don't constrain yourself to a box that you were never meant to fit in. It is your right to profit from your own creative gifts. This podcast was created by Ashley Cisneros. mahiya our music was composed by Donna Raphael of world instrumentals talk freelance to me is a product of Phoenix creative studio

What marketing looks like in the Architecture, Engineering, And Construction (AEC) vertical
How Lindsay founded her training company, Marketers Take Flight
How Lindsay has been able to excel in her career while growing her own company
What Lindsay looks for when hiring a freelancer
How Lindsay got started in real estate investing
Lindsay’s tips for managing a full-time job and a growing business while being a great wife and mother