Meet the creative head behind style, food and travel blog AustinFoodstagram, Rachel Holtin. She was recently a speaker at our latest event that took place at The Riveter for our Austin launch with our partner Decent, an insurance company for the self-employed. Rachel is an expert when it comes to the ins and outs of all things foodie related to the Austin world. Just a quick scroll through her Instagram or website and you can for sure count on your new date spot or happy hour.
Scroll down for more information on how @AustinFoodstagram became to be and everything in between!
Why did you start your company and what motivates you every day?
I started my company from my pure passion for exploring the city of Austin and its food. It was later after creating the Instagram account that I started to realize the value of the community I was able to create online through social media. I was lucky to be a pivotal part of the rise of the influencer economy throughout my early career. After deciding I no longer wanted to be a Speech Pathologist, I took an internship in the media world with a local newspaper and then worked my way up quickly from agency life to running social media in-house for a high-growth startup to taking my own personal brand full-time. It has been quite the journey in five short years, but there is something so rewarding about starting your own business.
I am motivated by the fact that I control so much of my own success. It pushes me harder every day, and I am proud to say that we are having our biggest month of partnerships ever right now.
I want this feeling of empowerment for every woman. Whether you have your own business or work for a company, you should feel empowered by leadership in your own role within that business. I had this early on in my career and it was life-changing.
What are some of the major lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve learned many lessons… but I think what resonates with me the most is my newfound ability to stand up for myself and my business. Throughout my childhood and even into high school, I was very sheltered. My parents raised my sister and I in a suburban town that was literally called the ‘bubble.’ I was somewhat of a homebody and not very social, outside of attending dance class and school.
College really awakened me to the world and opportunities for all… I saw diversity for the first time. This was so eye-opening and really important in what I’ve done in my career. I have had to be very aware of the opportunities around me…and I think I was lucky to have several doors open at the right time that I could have easily missed. I quit jobs that didn’t make me happy [several times] without a safety net, I took leaps of faith and they always ended up working out. Now running my own business, I am taking more leaps of faith than ever before. I gave up the security of a stable salary, health insurance benefits, and a 401K to chase a dream. It has 1000% been worth it.
Tell us about a setback you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Most of my daily setbacks have to do with technology and learning new systems, which sounds funny when you run social media businesses. People expect you to know these platforms and be able to operate them flawlessly, but the reality is that Instagram and Facebook are constantly changing their algorithms, rules, and regulations. My agent and I oftentimes have to educate our own partners on tools we need to be using to make partnerships more effective. Instagram communicates major changes like taking ‘likes’ away, but they don’t tell us about new branded content tools, new trademark enforcements, etc. and all of these things have a major impact on my business.
What advice do you have for women who feel stuck in their careers?
There is always another option. The world is changing and while my parents have held the same jobs their entire lives, the reality is that most Millenials/Gen Z will not. Learn a new skill, see if you can shadow someone within your current company that is in a different position of interest, take an internship or volunteer in a new space that you think you might love. You are never too old to explore new opportunities!
We all know how difficult work/life balance is, how do you draw the line to create separation in these two spheres?
I am still working on this one. It is the biggest challenge because my boyfriend and I moved in together this past year and we both work from home on our own startups. We are very passionate about our work, so it is easy for us to wake up, start working and never put the laptops down. Our puppy is a great reminder to take a walk, put down the phone and/or computer and refocus our energy. We also try to go out to eat occasionally where it is not all about the photos/capturing content.
I am actually posting less than ever this year, because I determined that keeping up with 20 IG stories a day just wasn’t going to be a healthy lifestyle for me. There is a certain pressure to always be on and always sharing. Some bloggers wake up every day and walk you through their entire lives, but that was never realistic for me. There are certain things I’ve kept for myself and chosen not to share on my personal brand. I am in the pictures, but people do not need to know every detail of my life.
We love to support women-founded ventures. Is there a company/product that you’ve come across recently that you think more people should know about?
I just started using a local skincare line that has done wonders for my skin. It is called Austin Skin+ and the Founder, Carly Pilar is amazing. She is an esthetician and will formulate a morning and nightly routine to clear and brighten your skin. Her makeup line is also amazing. I wear super minimal makeup and I love how lightweight the foundation is on my skin.