Quotable Podcast Episode


Q&A on Life & Biz With Quotable Founder Alessandra

We recently asked our listeners and Instagram followers to send in questions for Quotable founder, Alessandra Pollina, to answer for a fun Q&A episode of the Quotable Podcast. Alessandra is the founder of Quotable Media Co, a Boston based PR agency and also the publisher of Quotable magazine and host of the Quotable Podcast, both by and for female entrepreneurs. Listen in as she answers your questions to get to know her a little bit more and be inspired by her drive to make things happen for her business- all while being a wife, mom, and Airbnb owner.

In this episode you will hear:

  • How Alessandra schedules her week as a business owner
  • A peek into Alesssandra’s professional journey as a PR agency owner
  • What is it like being an Airbnb owner
  • What inspired Quotable branding decisions
  • Books that are on Alessandra’s summer reading list
  • Quotable founder’s favorite way to decompress after a work day

Other episodes you’ll enjoy:

A Go-To Guide for Amazon-Selling Success with Ashley Kinkead

Strategies for Building New Business Relationships That Last

Bringing Integrated Healing Mainstream with Anabel Oelmann

listen to the episode

We’re just doing a q&a episode. I just thought it could be fun for July. And for no real reason in particular, it just was thinking about it. And my team was like, Yes, we should do that. We never do something like this. Very rarely, I think, a q&a episode once like a couple years ago, maybe for like an anniversary episode of like, couple years of the podcast or something like that. But very rarely and definitely not in a very long time. And I always think they’re super fun when I hear people doing things like that on a podcast and yeah, we just decided to do that for this episode, so I have some questions. We’ve mostly posed this to like our Instagram followers. It’s kind of random. We kept it super open ended on purpose, just to have like a variety, wanting to see what kinds of things people asked what kind of things people wanted to know. About or talk about. So it’s pretty random. I kind of didn’t I went back and forth, but I did not end up like even categorizing them because I was kind of thinking, well, if somebody finds, like non work related stuff really boring, I don’t want to have them all in a row and then you don’t want to listen to anymore. So I decided to just not even try to categorize them at all, you know, I was thinking should it be like work related questions or business related questions or, versus, you know, something more personal related questions. I left it totally open to like any kind of question. I think most of them ended up being pretty work related. Though, yeah, but we’re just gonna I’m just gonna go in order kind of like how I saw them, how they showed up. Rather than trying to do it in any particular special order. So I’m just going to kind of read out the question and then say my answer, and I’m hoping it’s not gonna be too long. I want to try to get them all in. So if anyone were to similar, then we can kind of skip. We’ll see clearly I didn’t put too much preparation into this one. I wanted it to be kind of off the cuff and see, see what the questions and answers are. So the first one actually let me see what order I’m doing because they’re kind of not in Okay. The first one is how do you schedule your week as a business owner? Is there a specific task days etc. Um, so, I feel like the one thing about routines and schedules is that they always change especially for I think, especially once you have kids schedules are like constantly changing and so I almost like have trouble saying, I just, you know, there’s seasons of life, there’s seasons of every year. So I have kind of like how I try to schedule my, my days throughout the week, and I’ll tell you what, that mostly looks like but I just feel like anything that has to do with like, scheduling or routines like has to have that caveat, because it’s always changing and even what I do in terms of my weekly or day to day schedule. I feel like there’s just season state something that works for like a couple of months and then I tend to shift it a little over time. So right now, one thing that I find that really works and has tended to work for me for a long time, is to schedule meetings on certain days, and then keep essentially the other days pretty free. From meetings so that I can focus in more on other things. So the one thing I’ll say that is always static in terms of how the week works. Is that that you might not know is that quotable is on a four day workweek, so we only technically work or in the office from Monday through Thursday, and then Friday is technically off. I like to use Fridays for kind of either personal things or just like more fun things. Sometimes you would probably call them work related. Like if I’m going to meet somebody for coffee or lunch or any like I want to get together with someone in person I try whenever possible to only schedule that on Fridays, just because otherwise it tends to like take up the whole day and I just it’s kind of fun for me to make that be a thing that can be Friday thing. I mean, not always if it’s like a work if it’s like a meeting like or like a client related meeting, even if it’s a coffee or lunch, you know, obviously we’ll schedule that around needs but if it’s like something where it’s like kind of just for fun or kind of just like a connection or relationship building thing. I tried to do that on Friday. And sometimes I’ll do things like podcasting or things like that on Friday things that are like, feel more fun to me, I guess. But other than that it’s technically not a quotable workday. So what we do is we have scheduled meetings on Mondays and Thursdays we have our beginning of the week, like team meeting on Monday mornings. And then we have an end of the week team meeting on Thursday afternoons. And so because of that, I also tried to schedule other meetings around those times to I like to kind of stack my meetings because I do get very I just think it’s helpful I get like into something and then I also have trouble kind of switching gears out of that so I don’t love having like a meeting and then you know it only an hour or two for like creative work and then another meeting, and then an hour for creative work. I like to have longer stretches of time. And so also by default, I like to have my meetings kind of in blocks of time to that I’m kind of like in meeting mode and then it can be out of meeting mode. So Mondays and Thursdays are usually more meetings, client calls and internal team meetings and things like that. And then Tuesdays and Thursdays I tried to keep very free of meetings, and that those are days that I try to do more like deep client work if I have if I’m going to be doing pitching or things like that for the week that also is great for Tuesdays and Wednesdays because you know everybody’s inbox is pretty full on a Monday anyways to kind of try not to do too much pitching on a Monday and same with Friday. I mean, these are kind of updated. I think like, I think these days everybody’s in their inbox all the time. But like if you asked it traditionally, like people say, Mondays and Fridays are the worst days for pitching media. So we kind of keep that in mind, even though I don’t necessarily notice that to really be the case. If there’s something I don’t want to email somebody about on Friday. I usually will. But that’s kind of like the idea of why I was like, you know, we’re not missing anything if we’re not like pitching on a Friday. That being said, also just about the four day workweek thing like in the world of PR we’re not going to ever let something like go I’m always keeping an eye on my emails. I don’t say I’m not like in my inbox on Friday like if and when media get back to us on a Friday like I will be setting up an interview. You know, I will be setting stuff up. But it’s very rare that that people are trying to do that on a Friday anyways, so those are kind of the main structures of my week. And yeah, Tuesday, Wednesday, being more of like client stuff and also business building stuff, strategy millages any of that I think those are kind of the main structures.

The next question was tell us about your professional journey. How did you start quotable? I’ll go into that a little bit. I’ve definitely talked about that before on the podcast. I don’t expect us to have listens to every single episode but I think there is like a whole episode towards the beginning. Maybe probably the very first episode like I think was kind of like a here’s everything, here’s the journey. So you can probably go back and find that but basically I started the company about 11 years ago. Now how crazy is that? I feel like I just we celebrated 10 year anniversary last summer, and that was technically in August. And it’s July right now. So yeah, 11 years. I started it somewhat accidentally I did not set out to start a business. I never said okay, I’m going to now like go start a business. I never thought I would be a business owner or anything like that. I just had never thought about it. But I was long story short, not working in a job that I loved. And I Well, let me see how far back to go. I had a very terrible job right out of college basically. And so I basically called up a friend like somebody I had worked for in the past in college, and was like Do you have any work for me? And he said, Yeah, kind of and gave me a couple days a week

Speaker 1 9:59
of kind of helping him out with clients in his power agency. And over time, that never fully grew to like full time it wasn’t super steady, but I still liked it a whole lot more than what I had been doing before that. But eventually my husband who was my boyfriend at the time was like why don’t you just do some more clients on your own to because you have some time and that just could fill in the gaps and make little extra money and be in charge of it yourself. And so basically, I was like, Yeah, I guess it could do that. It’s exactly the same thing as wanting to do right now. And starting a company it was it was we focused on restaurants, restaurant PR local restaurants in the Boston area because that was what I had been doing before that too. Like that was where I had specialized so I knew everything about the media landscape and the restaurant world in Boston from from having that, that background, so I just started doing some on my own if they were like people I knew or smaller clients than what the other agency would take on. So it wasn’t like, technically a conflict of interest or anything or if it was he didn’t care. I mean, like I talked to him about it. He knew I was doing this. It wasn’t like a shady thing or anything. He was like Yeah, go for it. If there are some that you want to work with that aren’t that we weren’t going to work with, you know, as an agency anyways. Um, so yeah, I just used my personal connections to meet make, like meet the first couple clients. And then just kind of eventually was like, Oh, I guess I like have my own business. And I still was doing both side by side for a long time. So again, it wasn’t like I ever took like a big leap. I was never like, Okay, tomorrow I’m quitting my job or tomorrow I’m starting a business. I was just basically doing my own clients on the same time on the side as the same time I was doing work on other clients with somebody else for a pretty long time and then but then it just like eventually it was like I was doing more of my own clients and less of his because it was like, I don’t know, I can’t I can’t remember specifically but like I guess like as you know, maybe a client project would end with him. Eventually it was like rather than me being like a couple of days a week kind of with him. It was just, oh, if a new client came on, he would say do you have do you want to do this on with me? And I’d say yes or no depending on whatever. Yeah, and then once I had my son, I basically needed to scale back which is a whole story in itself. Just because he was born early. I wasn’t prepared at all. So I and he was in the hospital for a while. So I basically was like only doing my own thing from then on essentially excels like that. It was easier to cut back on the clients that were not like my clients that I did not own. So then after that point, it was like essentially no looking back. So yeah, that’s kind of how we got started. I will say for anyone who is new here. I rebranded the company in 2020 I think so just because the way the question is worded, how did you start quotable? I would say, you know, you won’t say anything about quotable before the last, you know, three or four years before that we were called Polina PR, which was my last name I had it named after me. I was not being very creative there. But obviously that’s pretty. That’s pretty custom. And a lot of you know a lot of people do that. But eventually I realized too, that I wanted to be able to grow the business beyond me and they didn’t want you I didn’t want it to feel like it was just me or have people have that expectation. Because I knew I wanted it to be a team. I knew I wanted it to be more of an agency at that point. And I also knew I wanted to do more with it and I knew I wanted it to be able to be more than just PR as well so that’s why we rebranded to quotable media co a couple years ago, and that just seems relevant to mention. Um, the next question is I’m just nothing I felt there’s just so much more I could say about their professional journey. But again, I feel like I’ve already talked about that so many times and like other other episodes, and also other interviews, like when I’m on someone else’s podcast and stuff. So there’s, there’s, there’s more, but I feel like we have to move on.

So next question is what is it like being an Airbnb owner? And what is your connection to Barbados? So yeah, that one’s not really work related. I do manage an Airbnb, a house in Barbados. My husband is from Barbados, and we ended up basically building this house there. And so yeah, my connection is he grew up there and as from there, I am now actually, also technically a Barbados citizen. I became a citizen. through marriage, there was really not much required in order to do that. It was not It’s not like become a Senate citizen of the US didn’t have to take a test or anything. Just kind of had to prove longevity in the relationship essentially. It was a very long process to but but mostly just in terms of paperwork. And it was kind of like by the end they were like, Oh, you’re still trying to do this. And it’s been this many years like okay, you can have a hit. So that was great. It was pretty easy and cool to to have that citizenship. We had the house finished even before that, though. We had been working on it for a very long time. Just kind of building it piece by piece. Over time, whenever we kind of had time or energy or money to focus on, you would build a little more onto it. That’s kind of how you build there. You can just it’s literally a house built out of Sprint blocks and you can add more on to it and then just leave it there for a little while and then add more on to it. So we kind of did that for a while and because we ended up building a second level onto it and making it two units. And then now rent them both out. So the reason we did that, too, I will say was that his mom had a piece of land that she was not going to ever use and she basically had given it took him a while ago. And so it was just like there and it just seemed like a missed opportunity not to do something with it. So it’s been really fun. We also both really like real estate and like houses and things like that. I really will someday become a house flipper in my free time. I think like I really love that stuff. So I think we’ve been renting out the first unit since the end of 2019. And then the second one was finished after that, I think in 2020 and what the question was what is it like? I like it a lot because again, I like that kind of stuff I love like the hospitality ness of it. I think I don’t I wouldn’t say love the hospitality industry, but I love certain pieces of it and certain parts of it. I always thought I would want to like own a bed and breakfast. Or run a bed and breakfast or something. And that’s part of that. So we don’t make breakfast for people, but I kind of like do all the communication and management in terms of like going out with someone looking for do the guest management essentially and then we have people on the ground there who can help with like if something goes wrong and my husband mostly manages like the management management of like the building in the house. And like you know if a plumber has to come look at something, things like that. We have someone who can come and do that. And I would say um, yeah, that’s what it’s like. It’s it’s fun. It’s just kind of something we do for fun on the side. It’s not like a main, you know, business for us. I know that for some people. It is I think in that instance, it could be a little bit stressful because it fluctuates a little bit in terms of like when it’s a busy season and when it’s not a busy season. When it’s busy and it’s booked back to back there’s like a lot more to it, obviously. And when it’s then I also could see it getting stressful when it’s not busy. And you’re not bringing in any money. But since again, it’s all just kind of for fun for us. We wanted the house anyways, we were going like we go there when we’re whenever we can. It’s a house we’re gonna use and have forever no matter what and we don’t have a mortgage on it or anything. So it’s just x, you know, it’s just for fun. Um, I would say it is yeah, it’s easy. I think then people think I just kind of, you know, message somebody back if they message and you know, mostly do it just I don’t know whenever it’s whenever it comes up it doesn’t take a lot of time all at once is what I’m what I’m trying to say it’s not like a block off like oh, now I’m gonna you know have to spend an hour on doing this Airbnb stuff like every day or every week or anything like that. It’s just like when it comes up you message someone we’ve had really great guests. I think we’ve only had one person who like was not good. But other than that

Speaker 1 19:56
everybody’s been really, really pretty great and it’s much simpler and easier than I expect. We don’t get any of those like nightmare guests that you hear about or things like that. Where they like require a lot of like effort or anything like that. And so yeah, I love it. And if anybody wants to talk about it more, I would definitely always be available for doing that. But I also think we should move on to next question. My let me see next. Oops, I keep closing it.

Would you ever want to expand your business beyond the Boston area? Yes, I mean, our clients are not all in the Boston area in terms of clients. And our work we are. We work nationally we work with national media, we work with clients anywhere in the country, or elsewhere. I mean, we had a client in Canada. We could go beyond that as well. I don’t think we ever technically have but in terms of our well in terms of our team to we’re not only Boston based we are fully remote right now still, and we have team members elsewhere in the country and definitely could see having some kind of headquarters set up somewhere else you know especially if if and as we grow the team, if somebody is somewhere, you know else in the country and we have a little team based there too. I could see getting like little office spaces. I don’t foresee anything in the near future where we’ll have like any kind of, you know, major offices just because we’re a small team, we don’t need that much space. But yeah, I could see I could see him doing that. And I could definitely see expansion outside of Boston in general. Whatever that looks like and let me see someone said how do you pick how did you pick your brand colors? I will say that also came I mentioned before that we rebranded a couple years ago and we I hired a company to do that with us. So I knew we wanted to like totally do a whole new website, kind of as part of that they had a branding package. I think what I had said basically was my colors had was well my colors had always been kind of like a purpley color. I sort of wanted to not be I always liked pink and purple to be honest and I didn’t want it to feel too girly. So I kind of had gone with like a deeper purplish color as like the main brand color from the beginning. Just because it makes me happy and I liked it and yeah, it felt like kind of a little feminine without being too girly. I guess kind of that’s like a weird term. Like I love girly. So I’m not like saying that that’s bad, but a lot of my clients, especially back back then we’re not women and I didn’t kind of want to be seen as like too girly back then to be honest. So that was really the main main reason. And then when we rebranded but but you know, I didn’t want to be like I didn’t want to go totally outside of like what I would enjoy like I just didn’t want to have it be like you know, blue or green or something that like I didn’t feel drawn to in that way. So when we rebranded you know they came up with some some complementing colors that kind of went with it and things like that. So we’ve kind of go with still a slightly different but similar kind of like deep plum color and then somewhere like Tanner pinker shades A complement it that’s pretty much where we are right now. I don’t know we might be making some little tweaks and polishes to the brand in the next couple of months. So if this does not make any sense to you, if you listen to this later on, keep that in mind. But that’s where we are right now. Um, oh, this other question was very similar. What inspired you to start your own business instead of working for someone else? It’s very similar to what we already talked about before. I was inspired by Hey, just wanting to do my own thing a little bit more. And really, it was just wanting to have little more control over my income. At the time, I just needed more I needed to make more money. I needed more work. So that was really what it was at the beginning. I’m not going to tell you there was like some tip some deeper inspiration at the moment. I did not realize I was going to like you know so enjoy being in the business world and like love running a business and being around other business owners so much and like if you do know me now are you You know listen to the podcast and all the other things that we do like a we’re very business focused brand in terms of like working with other businesses and brands like that’s what PR is to but also between the podcasts in the magazine like I just love being around other business owners now and like having those conversations and getting to know them and things like that so I hadn’t really no idea though. Like that all just came afterwards once it was already there. Um, what else? What books are on your summer reading list or are you currently reading such a good question? Okay, this is making me wish I had done some prep because I often read several books at a time and I don’t always do great with remember. They all are. I have a stack of books. So that’s pretty much my summer reading list. Right now I’m reading seven rules of love by Jay Shetty, I think is a seven or eight eight rules of love. I think it’s pretty new. I got that from the library. It seemed interesting. I usually always am reading like a fiction and a nonfiction book. I like to have some kind of professional development or like sort of business related book. Going but then I like to also have fiction too. At the same time, but that’s more for like unwinding and relaxing. So right now you guys are gonna think I’m crazy. I’m reading a couple of them also in a book club and I’m a little behind them like all the last couple books and I’ve started them all and not finished them all. So I’m reading Clara and the sun and I’m reading and I also do book of the month so I’m reading Hello beautiful, which was the book club and I was the business that I’m reading right now. Is the 15 commandments of conscious leadership which is great so far. Um I wish I had looked because I don’t want to get up now. But it’s really bothering me that I can’t think of some of the other ones that are like my to be read pile next to my bed. But those are all the ones I’m reading right now. And I think that’s a pretty good start a pretty good answer to the question, but there might be something else and I just can’t remember what my book of the month when that’s on its way right now. But that will be my next My next read for the summer. And no, I just got another one. I just got another one for the book club. And from the library and it was called the people we keep so I have not started that yet. But I would say that concert is my summer reading book because it is next on my list. Um Yes, there will be so much more I used to do I used to share on Instagram every month I tried to take a picture of the books that it was reading or had just read or something. And I totally got out of doing that. Because I think it just like forgot a bunch of times. But maybe I will try to do that. Again. I always love to see what other people are reading and sometimes I like to talk about it. So maybe I’ll try to do that actually. Tomorrow or something. post something on Instagram with the ones I’ve been reading or the hour have just read elsewhere just read them read we won’t go there because this was the question was what are you currently reading or is on your summer list? So we’ll go to what I just read. I think is there one more what inspired you to have your own at home garden and what do you think overall? Um, what inspired me nothing. I mean, not nothing. Um, I grew up in Vermont and my mom always had a garden. We always had a garden when I was growing up. I didn’t know you could not have a garden. It wasn’t an option that I knew of. So when I moved to the city I obviously didn’t want to obviously but I moved here for college so I did not have any kind of outdoor space for a very long time. I lived in obviously dorms and then obviously I don’t know why I keep saying that. I lived in the dorms when I first came for college and then you know a little shared apartment after that

Speaker 1 29:45
and really missed having some outdoor space. And yeah once once we found the house that we live in now had a huge backyard which was a huge draw for buying this house to begin with. Because it’s really unusual in the city. We are technically in Boston Proper, but in this neighborhood is like homes with backyards and stuff a lot of the time not always it’s a lot of multifamily homes. And for whatever reason this one just had a huge backyard for the city. And so I really liked that I’d like to have some space and I just knew I needed to have a garden i don’t know i honestly like don’t even think I really thought about it was like if there was space. I knew I wanted to grow things. I just love being able to go outside and pick your own vegetables in the summer. And yeah, that’s really all there is to that I think I do like to garden I don’t love like I don’t love. I don’t love to garden. Actually I like to have a garden and I like to harvest my own vegetables. I don’t really love to garden but I find I can put in very minimal efforts to my garden and still have pretty good results. So I plant things and then I let them grow and I weed once in a while and that’s really all I do. And it’s a raised garden beds so it doesn’t like take as much i think i don’t know i I’m always surprised that it doesn’t get more weeds and whatnot. But yeah, so what do I grow was the the product question. Oh, mostly like a lot of lettuces and stuff I like to like lettuce, kale, spinach, things like that because I like to make salads as much as possible. That was another thing when I was growing up, we had my mom eat a salad like every night for dinner, not just that like with dinner. So that’s like something I was always very used to. And tomatoes like to grow tomatoes, mostly because it’s very satisfying. Thing to grow. So many tomatoes come on each plant love those little cherry tomatoes. Sometimes I grow like zucchinis or cucumbers. similar reasons I do like cucumbers. I don’t really like zucchinis but it’s so satisfying. It gets many one plant such as the sacred it’s not that big. So I like to grow things. Where I can get a lot of yields per square foot or per plant. I always grow garlic I grow green beans, and peas. And what else do I have right now that might be the main things I’ve you know, done some other things over the years like I have grown like things that did not work as well in my area I guess or like for me I’ve grown onions I just don’t find it worth it. I don’t have enough space. I could only like grow so many and it was like spend all the time growing it and I ended up still having to buy them from the store for most of the year because I only grew like enough for a couple of weeks. Peppers always like died. I don’t know I’m not I have not done good with pepper so I just don’t bother anymore. I’ve grown like broccoli and stuff too. But some of those things take so much space broccoli, like carriage they make this a very big plant for like one head of broccoli. So same thing I was like this is not worth it. So I haven’t done those last couple years. I would say I have a couple of squash plants too. I think those are the main things we also have blueberry bushes and raspberry blueberry and blackberry bushes though in the yard not in the same garden bed but separately and fruit trees too. But those are not really my thing. That’s my husband’s thing. I liked the blueberries. I liked the fruit but I just don’t I can’t take any credit for those. Yeah, we tried to grow as many edible things as possible. I thought there was one more question. Oh, one more question on here. And this has entropy way longer than I expected. I think so. Apologies. If any of this is boring to you, but I’m having fun. What is your favorite way to decompress after a work day? Oh I think you already know the answer. I’m reading a book I guess I think would be the answer because it talks a lot about all the books in reading. I would say also I would say I it happens less often. But I would say my favorite one of my favorite things would be like especially when it’s nice out or like in this because I’m in summer mode right now lying in the hammock with a glass of wine. I guess lying in a hammock with a glass of wine while reading a book would be one of my favorite ways. I would say though more often than not you know I also just love to like watch TV or watch a movie with my family and yeah, I love that. So one thing I would say I would say probably my favorite way to decompress after a work day would be to take like a bubble bath. But we don’t have a bathtub right now. That is I’m working on that. What I would love to be able to do after a long work day. But we don’t have a bathtub so I’m trying to figure out how I can make that happen. manifest that into my life. Because I think that is seriously lacking in my life. And I love a good bath.

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