Paige Parrino, Paige Parrino Marketing
Do you think email is dead? Paige Parrino knows email marketing is alive and well. While working at her first corporate job after graduating, Paige saw firsthand the value of email marketing on a business and realized that her skills were in high demand. With her husband deployed and more free time on hand, Paige dreamed, researched, and started her company, Paige Parrino Marketing, which supports e-commerce businesses' marketing efforts.
Episode 28 – Paige Parrino, Paige Parrino Marketing
[00:00:55] Sanjay Parekh: Do you think email is dead? Paige Parrino doesn’t think so. Through her experience in email marketing, Paige has seen firsthand the value that email has on a business. She started her company, Paige Parrino Marketing, to support ecommerce businesses in their marketing efforts. Here today to talk about her business, setting boundaries, outsourcing, and pursuing projects that excite you, is Paige Parrino. Paige, welcome to the show!
[00:01:20] Paige Parrino: Thanks Sanjay. Happy to be here.
[00:01:22] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, I'm excited to have you because you know, email marketing is actually one of those things that people think about, but I don't know if they necessarily do that well. And there's a lot to it now, right? It's not like the early days of email, but before we get into all of that, let's talk about your background a little bit.
Can you give us a little, like, just two-minute sketch about who you are, where you come from and how you got here.
[00:01:44] Paige Parrino: Sure. Absolutely. So, I grew up in Georgia, and I went to the University of Georgia where I got a degree in marketing. And there I met my husband who was in the Marine Corps. So, he went to the Marine Corps after college and right after college, him and I moved to the DC area.
So that way, he could finish, you know, his Marine Corps training. And during that time, I got a job with Wedding Wire. So that was my first job after college, and I started as an email marketing associate. So, entry level position and learned everything that I could, you know, during that position where, you know, I'm coding, I'm doing, you know, learning all the basics.
Shortly after that, we moved to California because he got stationed at Camp Pendleton. So, I was fortunate enough to continue working remotely for Wedding Wire, and I worked there for about four years. And then in, I believe August of 2021, I started my career as a full-time email marketing freelancer.
[00:02:54] Sanjay Parekh: So, when you went to school and then got that first job was email, actually, something that you were thinking that you were going to do, or is this something that just happened to you, getting that first job?
[00:03:07] Paige Parrino: So, kind of a mix of both. I knew I wanted to do marketing specifically digital marketing, and I didn't know if that meant social media or email marketing.
But when I was in college, I was working with a local boutique, helping them with kind of, all of their marketing. So, I was able to do a little bit of everything, which exposed me to email marketing. And then once I got the job with Wedding Wire, it was like, then where I was like, oh wow. There's a lot of potential here with email, and it's very niche, I think. And it's a pretty specialized skill, so I was excited to learn more about this one, very niche part of marketing.
[00:03:50] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. So, okay. So, you were doing the work from, or the remote work thing before the pandemic hit. So, you were early on in that, which is kind of interesting, but when you were doing that then, remotely. When did it come up to you that, Hey, you know what, I want to kind of branch out on my own.
[00:04:10] Paige Parrino: Yeah. You know, funny enough. It was actually because of a TikTok that I saw. So, I really kind of credit the start of my career to TikTok. It's crazy because, you know, during that time, everyone's home, locked down, everyone's on TikTok it felt like. And I came across this video of someone sharing their experience as a virtual assistant and how they were helping clients with Pinterest marketing, social media marketing, and they were talking about creating their own hours, setting their own rates.
And I was like, wow, this is really interesting. I knew that freelancing was an option, but I never really saw the full scope of it until someone else shared their experience. And it was then that I started to do a little bit more research, started, you know, watching all of her videos and started investing in an online course that would teach me about how to set the foundations, really, for my business. And yeah, it was, I really, like I said, credit this TikTok for showing me, you know, what I could do with my skills in email marketing as a business owner.
[00:05:25] Sanjay Parekh: So, did you discover this while you were still working and then started doing this as kind of a side hustle?
[00:05:32] Paige Parrino: I did, yes. So, I think for about the first six months or so into, you know, this business venture, it was really just about researching and gaining experience, taking small clients here and there, working on my website. But all of this was happening while I was working full time. So, I would spend, you know, my evenings and weekends taking a new course, doing a new project, things like that.
Just to get myself exposed to what it was like to start a business.
[00:06:11] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So, so that's a hard thing to do, trying to juggle having a full-time job and then starting up a, you know, a new thing. How did you manage the time there with life and everything else? And you were in California, your husband was stationed there.
Maybe he was deployed. So, you know, like how did that all factor in?
[00:06:35] Paige Parrino: Yeah, actually, funny that you brought up the deployment because that's exactly why I started investing in this because he was deployed during that time. So, I suddenly had all of this time on my hands, and I was inspired by this TikTok.
I wanted to learn more. And so I started to, like I said, take these courses. And I really just started to set aside a few hours a week. That really helped me to stay motivated, but not overwhelmed with everything. So even though my husband was gone, I was still trying to keep myself busy with these courses and, you know, with my friends and family, et cetera.
So yeah, by keeping, you know, a few hours a week that were dedicated to this, really helped me to stay balanced between my full-time career and this side hustle.
[00:07:23] Sanjay Parekh: You know, and this sounds like something that you hear a lot of: Military spouses that end up doing side hustles or doing additional things because their loved one happens to not be there because they're deployed.
Were there other folks that you knew, that were there in California that were doing the same kind of thing?
[00:07:45] Paige Parrino: Well, I met people eventually. I think we were in California for about three years before he deployed. So, it gave me an opportunity to really create a strong friend group there. And I had other friends whose significant others had already deployed, so I knew kind of what to expect going into it. My sister-in-law, my brother-in-law - he was in the military as well. So, he was deployed at one point. I had my sister-in-law to talk to about it. So there were other people I was around who had experienced it. And that was really helpful as well.
[00:08:23] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. I imagine the military also helps with this as well, right? Helps with spouses that are trying to do side – I hope they're doing something like that.
[00:08:34] Paige Parrino: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:08:35] Sanjay Parekh: If not, they should be.
[00:08:37] Paige Parrino: Right. Yes, they have, they have a bunch of resources, like Facebook groups, just like ways to connect with other people.
And yeah, that was, it was really nice to have that network of military spouses, you know, going through similar things and just being a support system.
[00:08:54] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Okay. So, you're on this journey. You're spending time learning and trying to figure this all out, and to launch your own thing.
What is the thing that, like tells you like, okay, now's the time to now leave full time job and go all in on the new venture? Like what, what pushed you over that edge?
[00:09:16] Paige Parrino: Yeah. I think, so at this point in my career, I had been with the company for about four years, and I was feeling like I was just ready for a new challenge.
Wasn't a hundred percent sure what that meant yet until I started to invest my time and energy into this side hustle, but I think what really started to pick up for me and what really motivated me to pursue this full time was the demand that I saw for this. I was starting to see more and more people reach out to me with these services. I didn't realize the value that email marketing had until I started connecting with other people outside of my corporate position, because in my corporate position, you know, it was pretty narrow in the fact that, you know, I'm working with the same team members. I'm working with, you know, we're working towards the same goals, but once I was able to step out of that and see how email marketing can affect a beauty industry or, you know, a service-based business, something that was totally different than what I was in, I saw so much potential for growth. So by being exposed to these different industries and brands, I saw the potential and I knew that the skills that I had were valuable and I wanted to serve as many people as I could.
[00:10:46] Sanjay Parekh: So, let's talk about that for a second. How did you figure out or find these people to discover that there was this potential? This unmet need out there? Did you go, just asking people, like, how did you find the first client? How did you find additional clients? What was that process for you?
[00:11:02] Paige Parrino: Yeah. I'm laughing because my first client was my dad, and best client I could have asked for, you know, is the perfect first client. I could make mistakes. And he has his own business, so he was able to kind of guide me through, and that was such a great learning experience. So, you know, if you're looking for clients and you're nervous about where to get started. See if you can support a family member or a friend, because it just takes some of the pressure off. So, I'm fortunate that I was able to start with him, but then my first non-family member client I found through Clubhouse, which I don't know if you remember what Clubhouse was.
It was about a year and a half ago. It was this huge, like, app that just kind of blew up. It was, you know, all audio communications. And people would go into these rooms and have conversations with people in similar industries. And I started just listening. And then I started speaking, and then I started sharing my experience and someone eventually reached out to me saying they needed email marketing support.
So that's when I was like, wow, I didn't even realize I could connect with people like this. And then I started to build up my Instagram, and I was able to connect with other women in business on Instagram. Someone reached out to me there, and then a lot of it was word of mouth. So, as my business continued to grow, more people heard about me and were able to recommend me.
So that has been – now, today, word of mouth is my number one source for clients.
[00:12:42] Sanjay Parekh: Okay, that's awesome. Yeah, you'd never know kind of that serendipity of something that you do, that, what it might lead to down the line. So that's, I think you're the first person I've ever heard of tell me that, Clubhouse was how they found their first client. Their first non-family member client.
[00:13:02] Paige Parrino: Yeah.
[00:13:03] Sanjay Parekh: But that's kind of a neat story right there. It's unfortunate that some of those tools and apps that were doing those audio rooms have kind of blown up and gone away. But you know, yeah. It is what it is.
[00:13:14] Paige Parrino: It was, it was a trend.
[00:13:16] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So, now looking back. You've been doing this now for a couple of years, well, it's a year, two years, a year and a half? Two years?
[00:13:26] Paige Parrino: A year.
[00:13:26] Sanjay Parekh: A year.
[00:13:27] Paige Parrino: One year.
[00:13:29] Sanjay Parekh: So I don't know if you've got this perspective yet, or not or maybe you do, depending on what's happened, but what do you feel like the biggest risk is that you've taken in starting this business? Has there been something that you're like, man, this is putting all the eggs in one basket or something?
[00:13:44] Paige Parrino: When I first started this job, my husband and I were going through a huge transition period in both of our lives. We were living in California at the time, and he was getting ready to get out of the Marine Corps and start grad school. And I was just feeling emotionally, mentally ready to leave my corporate position and start something new.
And all of this kind of happened at the same time. So, we're going from two very stable sources of income, one from the military, one from a corporate position, to him going to graduate school with no income, and me pursuing my freelancing career. So, we really did risk, you know, going from two stable incomes to one risky income.
And that was definitely the biggest risk. And it was really hard starting out because, you know, I'm like, I don't know where this is going to go. And I'm just grateful that my husband was so supportive in everything and really encouraged me to pursue this. We were fortunate that we were able to prepare ourselves, you know, we saved ahead of time.
Like I said, I had started doing this research, I think about six months before I officially took it full time. So, during that time, you know, I'm saving up and I'm just giving myself a little bit of extra cushion. So that way I knew once it was time for both of us to leave our positions, we were able to do this.
So yeah, that was definitely, going from two stable incomes to one is definitely the biggest risk I took.
[00:15:27] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. And I will say this, listeners of this podcast I think have probably heard me say this before, is that, I actually reframe those kinds of risks and say that you actually went from a risky job to a less risky job because now the only person that can fire you, is you.
Whereas when you used to work for a corporate position, there were people that could fire you and you didn't know coming into the job any, you know, random day, if that was going to be the day. Whereas now every day, you know, if you're going to get fired or not, because. It's only you, and it all kind of relies on you making it.
So, I think you've taken the less risky path. So, you’ve actually de-risked -
[00:16:06] Paige Parrino: Oh, thank you.
[00:16:07] Sanjay Parekh: - from before. So good on you. Okay, let's switch gears a little bit and talk about balance, and how do you kind of balance all of these things? So, your husband's back, not deployed, but now he's going to grad school.
So that's a whole ‘nother thing, but how do you balance your business, and prioritizing time with, you know, your family and friends and everybody else like that. How do you think about that and how do you make sure that happens? How do you protect those boundaries, to make sure that you can, you know, spend the time where you want it to be.
[00:16:39] Paige Parrino: Yeah, absolutely. And it's tough. I'm not going to lie. It is. It's hard to maintain those boundaries and set specific guidelines, you know, for yourself and expectations. With my husband being in grad school, he is so busy during the week. So, I'm really busy during the week. So, you know, during that time, we both are focused on our own things, which really works for us.
And it makes our weekends that much more sacred. And we really prioritize the time that we get to spend together in the evenings and on weekends. So, I am very protective of that time. I do my best not to check emails, get on Slack, like I'm really focused on the time that I do have with my husband as being present.
So yeah, I think, you know, we both understand that during the week we're doing everything that we can. We're setting the time, we're hustling, and then the weekends are really our sacred time together. So really try to maximize that.
[00:17:50] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. So, I want to dig into something you just said there. You mentioned Slack, and Slack is usually only mentioned when you have a team.
And so far, we've only talked about you. So, do you have a team? Who's on the team?
[00:18:04] Paige Parrino: I do. Yes. So I have a virtual assistant, and she's not on Slack with me, but I do have a freelancer. An email marketing freelancer who supports with client projects, and she's on Slack. But you know, I also have a client who, I connect with over Slack as well.
It just seems to be the best channel of communication. So, when I have, you know, client projects or when I'm communicating with my other team member, I try to set boundaries and time limits on Slacks. That way I'm not checking in, you know, on Saturdays or Sunday evenings, things like that. But yes, I do have two team members.
[00:18:46] Sanjay Parekh: Okay.
And what drove you to think about getting a virtual assistant? Like what was it that you're like, I need help with this.
[00:18:54] Paige Parrino: Yeah, it was the small tasks that seem small, but take up a significant amount of time, repeatedly. For example, checking my email inbox, you know, and following up with leads. That lead generation portion of my business is huge.
But if I'm focused solely on lead generation, I can't manage my current clients that I have. Then I also have social media, and that has been a huge part of her responsibilities, is making sure that I have the content that I need, that I'm engaging with accounts and just staying present. So, she's really helped me to take care of these tasks that are important for my business, but that kind of take me out of my area of expertise, which is email marketing.
[00:19:47] Sanjay Parekh: That's interesting. I think a lot of people struggle and I’ve got to admit, I've struggled too with this. Like, when is the right time to hire a virtual assistant and, for what really? And how to delegate tasks. So, it sounds like you've kind of really honed in – your virtual assistant, really does just a couple of things.
What made you hone in on those tasks as the thing that you wanted to outsource to somebody like that?
[00:20:13] Paige Parrino: Well, I started taking inventory of what was taking away energy for me and what was giving me energy. And so, I was finding that engaging on social media and, while it is exciting, and I do like to connect with other people, I found that it was taking up a lot of my time. And I could spend hours on Instagram, but that was taking me away from my business.
And so that was the first place where I was able to recognize, I need support here. Same goes with lead generation and just making sure that I'm following up with clients. You know, I could have an email that hasn't been responded to in a couple of days, cuz it just slipped my mind, but by having someone else hold me accountable, that's allowed me to be more present and respond quicker to emails and give my clients a better experience overall.
[00:21:03] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Doom scrolling through Instagram is probably not the best way to build a business. So, whatever you can do to avoid that is a good thing.
[00:21:14] Adam Walker: Support for this podcast comes from Hiscox. Committed to helping small businesses protect their dreams since 1901. Quotes and information on customized insurance for specific risks are available at Hiscox.com. Hiscox, the business insurance experts.
[00:21:35] Sanjay Parekh: Let's dive into kind of some other tools. We've talked about Slack, and you talked about Instagram is one of your main things, but are there any other technologies or apps or systems that you've implemented for yourself or for your team that you'd recommend and kind of, if you could share, like how did it help you launch your business?
[00:21:56] Paige Parrino: Sure. Absolutely. And I will say before getting into the tools and platforms and everything like that, I will say that there are so many out there now, that the best piece of advice I can give is to find one and stick with it. It's so easy to get distracted by all these different tools. But I found the most success is that when I can utilize a platform to its maximum potential. So, whatever that platform is for you, just utilize it to most that you can. For me, I've found that Notion is really helpful. Notion is a project management tool that my virtual assistant and I use to stay organized on content, leads that need replying to, things like that.
It's just like a really, one place for everything. And then with my clients, I use Asana to track projects. So those are two tools that I use almost daily in my business.
[00:23:01] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, those are two great options as well. And I think for a lot of people, I think your advice is really great there, of like, don't get distracted.
Don't be the dog in the movie "Up" that gets distracted by the squirrel. Right? Like, don't do that. Because there's always going to be a new tool out there with something shiny that whatever you're using doesn't have, but that doesn't mean that it's worthwhile necessarily to make a shift and have to relearn everything.
[00:23:28] Paige Parrino: Exactly. And I was finding too that, especially when I was just starting my business, that I was, the same thing. I was like, oh my gosh, I can build a website. I can, you know, work on my branding. I can work on a logo. There were so many different things that were taking my attention away from just getting started.
[00:23:47] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah.
[00:23:47] Paige Parrino: And I find that, you know, once I've made a decision and saying, okay, I'm going to work on my website today. That's what it's going to be then. That has helped me to progress and just get things done. And it doesn't seem as overwhelming, you know, when you just take one project at a time.
Cuz yeah, it's so easy to get overwhelmed and distracted by what you could or could not be doing, you know? So many different things.
[00:24:16] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. The blessing and the curse of having the internet. Right? Before the internet days, it was a lot harder to get distracted cuz you didn't have anything to entertain you.
[00:24:26] Paige Parrino: Sure.
[00:24:27] Sanjay Parekh: So here you go.
But then again, without the internet, we couldn't do email. So, you know, kind of goes hand in hand.
[00:24:34] Paige Parrino: Absolutely.
[00:24:34] Sanjay Parekh: So last piece of advice for our listeners, for folks that are thinking about taking the leap and launching a side hustle or taking their side hustle into a full-time business, like you did.
Other than not getting distracted by the shiny new features of some new app and tool, what advice would you give them?
[00:24:54] Paige Parrino: Absolutely. So, when you're thinking about starting your business, I think it's easy to think really big. I could create this global company with hundreds of employees. And while sometimes it seems exciting, can also prevent you from taking any action at all, because you don't even know where to start.
And I know that I felt this way too, when I was starting my business. So, I would say just start small, start with one project at a time. Start by building your social media presence. And then once you feel comfortable with that, take on your website or start your lead generation. There are so many small ways to get started, that are going to continue to add up over time.
So just start with something small, and really get it to a place where you feel comfortable before taking on anything else.
[00:25:52] Sanjay Parekh: I love that. I love that. And, email should be one of those things that you should think about doing.
[00:25:58] Paige Parrino: Absolutely.
[00:25:58] Sanjay Parekh: Because there is a lot of value in email. And email is not dead, no matter what other people tell you.
Paige, it's been awesome having you on the show. Thanks a lot for coming on. And if people want to find you, where can they find you?
[00:26:11] Paige Parrino: Yes. Well, thank you for having me. You can find me on Instagram. My handle is @paigeparrinomarketing, and join my email list as well. So you can sign up from my Instagram bio, but thank you so much for having me.
I really appreciate it.
[00:26:24] Sanjay Parekh: Thanks again.
Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the Side Hustle to Small Business Podcast, powered by Hiscox. To learn more about how Hiscox can help protect your small business through intelligent insurance solutions, visit hiscox.com. And if you have a story you want to hear on this podcast, please visit hiscox.com/shareyourstory.
I'm your host Sanjay Parekh. You can find me on Twitter @sanjay or on my website at sanjayparekh.com.