LEO + LAINE’s Lynzee Krohne’s Tips for Teamwork and Embracing all Aspects of your Business
Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
Lynzee is the CEO and Founder of LEO + LAINE, and also serves as the Lead Creative Director. In her role, Lynzee manages the day-to-day business operations, and also works closely with the team to strategize, ideate and develop content for local and national clients. Lynzee started LEO + LAINE with the promise to build an agency unlike any other. One in which fun and friendships reign supreme, while providing best-in-class creative solutions for her clients. Lynzee said goodbye to corporate America and the big name clients she served after 10+ years. All the while, she was honing her craft in photography, graphic design, content development and social media management as a side hustle, and finally, as her own venture as LEO + LAINE in October 2019. Now, Lynzee brings her creative specialities to each client under the LEO + LAINE umbrella. Lynzee graduated from Ball State University with a degree in public relations. Prior to LEO + LAINE, she worked in corporate marketing roles, including two creative agencies, for more than 10 years, working on brands such as KitchenAid, JennAir, Newell, Sharpie, Calphalon, Sur La Table, Baby Jogger and more. The professional side of Lynzee loves embracing the female entrepreneur role and learning how to be a successful business owner. She also has a passion for mentoring others, and her favorite things about LEO + LAINE are the people, including her all-female team and clients, along with the flexibility and fun that comes with it all. Outside of the LEO + LAINE world, Lynzee is obsessed with her husband, family, friends and pets, and is addicted to traveling. Lynzee’s philosophy is to work hard to get what you want out of life, but have fun while doing it.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I love that in today’s digital-first world, EL has provided like-minded females a network to connect, collaborate and share their industry expertise. Entreprenista League has been a major driver in our success of expanding our clientele and friendships across the US.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I debated doing it for several years, but I was always crippled by the ball and chain that is “corporate America” (401k, health insurance, guarantee of steady employment). After constantly wondering why I care more than the presidents and higher-ups of the companies I worked for, and always debating how things could be run more efficiently, less complicated, etc—I finally trusted my gut and took the leap. I had about 2-3 clients that could keep me afloat and a badass right-hand woman, now my COO, who I could trust to help me grow the business. In less than three years we’ve peaked at 32 clients all over the US, and 10 (all female) team members. This journey has been so rewarding and incredibly liberating!! *I’ll never go back! 😉
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in public relations. Prior to LEO + LAINE, I worked in corporate marketing roles, including two creative agencies, for more than 10 years, working on brands such as KitchenAid, JennAir, Newell, Sharpie, Calphalon, Sur La Table, Baby Jogger, and more.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Deep down—absolutely YES!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Stay small and scrappy. Be genuine and never over-promise more than you can deliver. Do great work and get referred. Lock in a solid network of people/clients you trust. Listen to others you trust (but not too many others) lol! — 1,000% yes it did! I still have amazing relationships with clients we supported early on, and we still stay in touch – they still refer LEO + LAINE to their friends/colleagues.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
Challenge 1: Growing a team – we’ve been fortunate so far, but the hiring/interview process and really finding a team you can trust is always scary. — Trust your gut on these decisions and definitely check their past work/references. Challenge 2: The ever-changing industry landscape. As soon as I would invest in a new software or service, a big change would happen in the industry and we’d all have to (once again) pivot and adapt. — I learned here that change is 100% OK and that if you accept it with an open-mind, your clients and team will too.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
LEO + LAINE’s growth chart. Within three years, we peaked at 30+ clients and 10 team members. Our work continues to improve every single day, our process has become more refined, and our team culture is sought-after/desired. I’m proud of the BALANCE we’ve achieved in this uncharted space, and how we’ve been able to make it our own without sacrificing things or succumbing to industry/agency norms.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes! 👏 I. 👏 Do. 👏 — We tell our team…Get your sh*t done and live your life as you wish to. LOL! Communication is everything. We operate off a strong project management program with deadlines and deliverables very clearly spelled out. We communicate and collaborate daily to get the tasks done and celebrate and support each other’s deserved time off. Strong mental and physical health are imperative to achieving a better quality of work. We’ve all experienced burnout before LEO + LAINE, and we fight every day to avoid that.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Don’t shy away from the “boring” side of your business. Processes, tax payments, accounting and daily business logistics are all equally as important as the creative side of what you’re starting. While you can outsource them, I encourage you to still understand them and have full ownership in every aspect / department of your business.
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
We completely restructured our business about 6 months ago. In doing so, we’ve gone from being a “yes” brand (working with anyone who came knocking) to a selective brand, now specializing in work we love to do for clients we love to work with. These clients aren’t afraid to invest what it takes, and they are much more pleasant to work alongside. They have a mutual respect for your way of doing business, and they admire our criteria in place to get there. It’s been pretty powerful to watch it unfold.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We’re curating a passive income stream that feels unique to who we are and what we do. Not just a copycat revenue generator of things that already exist. We’re planning a content creation retreat for women in business to get away, relax and leave with 30, 60, 90 days of polished content for their social media, website, paid ads, newsletters, etc. *More to come on that very soon!*