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Conversations with the Inspiring Catherine Trestini

Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Trestini.

Catherine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I studied the humanities in college, having no idea what I’d be doing afterward. I figured it’d be something vague related to helping people and “brainy” work, as I’d never been great with my hands (unless you want to count photography and typing skills). When I was taking visual art classes, it was recommended that I try out a career in public relations due to my community involvement. I had no idea what PR was at the time, being that I had no marketing background, but my writing skills translated well to the field. So, I joined a book publicity firm as my first “real” big-girl job out of university, thinking I’d be a publicist. Wrong. My boss wanted me to “figure out this Twitter thing” for his businesses (a larger book marketing company and smaller do-it-yourself startup to help authors at all levels and budgets). Essentially, I was thrown into an opportunity to do social media marketing for two businesses when social was new and hot. It was fun, I learned a lot, and was able to track sales. This was the beginning of my career in social media management and marketing. Eventually, I left the firm to get more marketing experience. Over the years, I had several marketing roles that allowed me to learn about full-service digital marketing. I was a project manager, a social media strategist, and a community manager at some point. I worked primarily at startups, a few being marketing agencies and one being in-house at a tech startup. Essentially, my entire adult career has been with startups, so I’ve always had that self-starter, hustle, get-sh*t-done attitude to work. This is what allowed me to venture off and do my own thing (consulting and freelancing) at a fairly young age full-time. I love it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, entirely. I’ve learned the hard way to have my own back and always be looking forward to the next opportunity: it’s just business. One thing that gets me hired easily, or attracts clients, is my personal and friendly demeanor. The downside is the people-pleasing and doing what’s best for others, not for yourself. So, I’ve learned over the years to make decisions that best fit the type of life and work I want to build for myself over time, rather than what serves my clients best. That might sound rough, but the other way around will have you guessing why you don’t just have a 9-5 anyway. I’m not chasing money, I’m creating a lifestyle that’s less stressful, has more flexibility, and is just generally more enjoyable than my previous experiences. I still work with people I like and spend some time in the office or shared spaces to collaborate. At the end of the day, it’s about being in control of your finances and your own life, not being at the mercy of one employer or client. Not all companies or employers are evil, bad or stressful- and the ones I’ve experienced haven’t all been like that either – but being in power over my business choices makes me sleep better at night. I don’t have to worry about finding a ladder to climb, I’m not going up one specific mountain. I’m more on a backpacking trip, dipping into this and that. Poor analogy paints somewhat of a picture, no? 🙂

My advice to other women is to listen to yourself, especially when you’re young (in your 20’s, for instance). I doubted myself so much and looked up to people who weren’t necessarily the best authority. Hopefully, you don’t find this to be true, but for me, I found that most of my heroes turned out not to be my real heroes. There are a lot of powerful people, who are perceived as leaders, have huge followings and are Twitter verified (for instance) who will absolutely let you down. Some of these people I’ve worked with haven’t paid me right, were a general headache, and just overall disappointed me. Many freelancers experience this. Be a good person and stay true to yourself and your character: that is what will truly allow you to propel in this world. Stick up for yourself and demand what’s right. Move on if it isn’t working. And fear not: by doing so, you will find the right people to surround yourself with and the best clients to work with. Don’t be afraid when the rose-colored glasses come off because at some point they will, but there will always be much greatness in life and business to come.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into your business story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m a digital marketing consultant and freelancer who’s ventured off on her own. I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half full-time, serving large and small clients in all sorts of industries. My specialization is in content creation, social media management, and editing/writing for online publishers. I enjoy the work I do and love working on various projects. It keeps things interesting. I would say that I’m proud knowing that I can work with clients of all sizes long-term. One company I contribute my work for a just made publisher of the year by Digiday. It’s those wins that make me feel like I’m really making a difference in the online world for businesses. That level of success brings a huge feeling of accomplishment to my life, which is important for people like me who work primarily in isolation. 🙂

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Oddly, I don’t do a lot of reading or media consumption these days when it comes to the marketing industry. I read some news here-and-there, but mostly I have conversations with other marketers, content creators, and social media managers about marketing trends and what’s going on in the industry. We do this both IRL at community meet-ups and through Facebook groups and Twitter chats. I like this approach more to just reading, so we can engage with the topic at hand and problem solve next steps for our clients/brand(s). I also sort of digest this type of information by going to conferences and listening to people speak about specific topics through presentations. I recently attended Social Media Marketing World (2018) in San Diego and primarily focused on the content track, which was a helpful reinforcement in regards to the latest know-how’s.

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