In episode 52 of “How I Work,” host Josh Becerra interviews Heather Boschke, a strategic marketing leader with over 20 years of experience that spans Fortune 20 companies to nonprofit organizations. In 2021, she left the corporate world and started her own marketing organization called Vogel Venture with the mission to help small organizations drive growth and engagement, regardless of team size or budget.
How I Work, Episode 52 with Heather Boschke
This episode is an illuminating exploration of her path to discovering the power of alignment and the importance of acknowledging what truly ignites your passion. Heather Boschke’s journey from corporate marketing to entrepreneurship is a captivating narrative of self-discovery and aligning life’s choices with personal values. Her experience exemplifies how entrepreneurship can be a powerful path to freedom, fulfillment, and the pursuit of what truly sets one’s soul on fire. It’s a story that resonates with anyone seeking a more purposeful and authentic life. Plus:
- The Lightbulb Moment: What pushed her to make the career transition
- A Journey of Self Discovery: Acknowledging patterns and confronting imposter syndrome
- Freedom as a Guiding Value: The focus on having more time, peace, and freedom
To learn more about Heather Boschke and Vogel Venture visit: https://www.linkedin.com/company/vogelventure/
Transcription: How I Work, Episode 52 (Heather boschke)
Josh Becerra (00:33.375)
Hi everybody, this is Josh Becerra from Aguria and welcome to this next episode of How I Work. I’m super excited to have Heather Boschke here with me today. Thanks for being here, Heather.
Heather Boschke (00:43.33)
Thanks for having me.
Josh Becerra (00:45.043)
So Heather’s a strategic marketing leader with over 20 years of experience that spans Fortune 20 companies to nonprofit organizations. In 2021, she left the corporate world and started her own marketing organization called Vogel Venture with the mission to help small organizations drive growth and engagement, regardless of team size or budget. Heather’s a believer in filling up all of life’s buckets. Heather’s most passionate about helping people unlock the answer to this important question, which is, what sets your soul on fire? I’m super excited to have this conversation today. So when we were talking before, you had such an amazing story about how you found your passion for marketing in the first place. And then you went on to do big things in the corporate world and how that wasn’t really meeting your needs and how you left your kind of real job and struck out on your own with Vogel Venture.
So can you talk a little bit about that journey for the audience?
Heather Boschke (01:46.782)
Yes, and I will say it wasn’t so much that I left my real job as I got fired from my last job, but we’ll get into that. So to back up, yeah, so in my undergrad, I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had no idea what I wanted to do, PS what 17-year-old does. In fact, I feel like I’m still uncovering this in my 40s. And so at the time, my mom mentioned being a nurse practitioner was a good stable career and I said, I don’t know what that means, but okay. And so I was taking my intro classes and I had this marketing class and the professor talked about the four P’s of product, price, place, promotion and that marketing is this bridge between customers and companies and this light that I didn’t even know I had turned on and I just never looked back and that moment is the exact reason that I now teach undergrad marketing to really pay forward that incredible gift that I got.
Josh Becerra (02:17.643)
Heather Boschke (02:46.23)
all those years ago. And so I thought I was gonna climb the corporate ladder. I worked for companies like Miller Brewing Company and Verizon and Radisson Hotel Group. And leading a marketing department within an organization is what I thought I wanted. And in 2017, I got that job. I was marketing VP for Shop HQ at the time. It was called E-vine, which is a home shopping network that competes with companies like QVC. And so I got the job.
Josh Becerra (02:47.667)
Heather Boschke (03:14.89)
Outwardly, it looked really great. I was so excited to update my LinkedIn with a shiny title that I always wanted, right? Check, got it. And then the actual reality of the job was, what you see online and what happens in real life, like do not mistake, the two don’t always align. In fact, they rarely do. So when I got promoted, they actually never backfilled my role, so I was doing two jobs. There were calls every weekend at both 8 a.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays that I had to sit through. All the leadership had to be on every single, every weekend, 8 a.m. Then they were these most painful weekly two-hour meetings of literally 25 people you had to sit in. And since this company, we tracked dollars per minute. It was a 24-7 live retail shopping channel. We would know very quickly if an item was going to hit its goal and if
Josh Becerra (03:52.811)
Heather Boschke (04:13.022)
If it wasn’t, we would adjust on the fly, which meant marketing was at the end of this crazy tether, constantly updating social and email and the website because we were literally changing products and offers in real time. Madness, right? So I got laid off. Oh, go ahead.
Josh Becerra (04:26.503)
Yeah, right. Death by meetings, death by meetings, and I was just saying like death by meetings and crazy pressure.
Heather Boschke (04:36.546)
The pressure, the meetings, the politics, all of it was just a mountain that I didn’t even realize I was getting buried under. And so I got laid off from that job in 2019 after a new CEO came in and I had the summer of Heather, which I wish for everyone.
And in that summer, I had to really figure out what is my value beyond what I’m paid to do because I really equated who I was and the value that I brought to this world with how much I got paid, what my title was, which I have dismantled that now, but I was living that for a really long time. And so to my surprise, I still had value even without that paycheck every two weeks. And that whole experience really helped me view success differently.
Josh Becerra (05:11.6)
Heather Boschke (05:28.01)
And it was the year I decided I was done grinding. And no longer was I gonna let a job become my whole life. And so more than anything, the value that emerged and the indicator for success for me that I felt was true in my bones was freedom. And freedom became my North Star. So, and to me, that’s the most important thing now. It’s not the money, it’s freedom. And it’s making choices that align with that.
Josh Becerra (05:49.419)
I love that.
Heather Boschke (05:57.814)
Which sounds very simple when I say the words, but that is not how I was showing up. And so in my next career adventure, I took a much less demanding role at a smaller organization. I ultimately ended up getting fired from that job, which could be an entirely another podcast. And in 2021, I was applying to jobs like I’ve always done. I was just gonna go get another job, no big deal.
And work started showing up in a new way. And people were asking if I could help with this project or plug in for their marketing VP that left. And so after having four or five of those conversations, I figured, why not do my own thing? And if I don’t have clients in six months, who cares? I’ll just go get a job, because that was the plan. And so I’m still waiting for those six months to happen.
Josh Becerra (06:44.215)
That’s awesome. And you’ve been doing Vogel now for a while, right? So 2020, 12 years, yeah. So I don’t think those six months will ever come, it seems like, at this point. Um.
Heather Boschke (06:49.282)
Well, two years. Two years, yeah. Knock on wood, I hope not.
Josh Becerra (06:59.599)
Yeah, so I want to wrap back a little bit to that experience at the Home Shopping Network, because, yeah, it sounds like it was pretty high stress and dramatic. But it’s also interesting to me, like this idea of marketing at every minute, right? Or this idea of that speed of changing marketing. So what do you think?
Heather Boschke (07:19.074)
Josh Becerra (07:25.895)
Did you maybe learn about either sales or brand building from that experience in that kind of an environment?
Heather Boschke (07:34.218)
Yeah, so before that job, I had for the most part worked at companies that understood the strategic role of marketing and valued it. And at SHOP or E-vine, we really had to do a lot of education on what marketing is. So we were building this new department and that marketing is a long game. And that contrary to some belief, marketing doesn’t have a faucet that we can turn on that instantly adds revenue and leads. And
While email is generating a good amount of sales, the logic of let’s just do more email actually doesn’t make sense. So there’s definitely this shift that I felt with a company of how marketing was seen by the business and it certainly wasn’t seen as a strategic partner. And while I was up for that challenge, it was really, really difficult. And so when you prioritize sales overnight versus brand over time, you will never win. And beyond that,
It burns out people. It creates a culture where nothing matters except for the numbers and reported earnings. And in an environment like that, you also lose your sense of agency. And you know when this happens because instead of fighting for what’s right, you simply do what’s asked. And that is the exact moment that your soul says, we need to get the F out of here.
Josh Becerra (08:48.415)
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I feel like it’s like this psychological safety is like completely gone out the window as soon as you get to that point, right, where it’s just like, I’m taking orders and I’m responding to fires, right? And there is no kind of like longer strategic thought put into anything, right?
Heather Boschke (09:06.286)
That’s exactly right.
Heather Boschke (09:18.474)
Yeah, yeah, and you know it because in the beginning you say, what about this and we need to do this. And then conversation after conversation, you just say, okay, sounds good.
Josh Becerra (09:27.227)
Yeah. So if that sucked your soul out of you, obviously now in your consulting business and the work you do with clients, I’m sure that you’ve completely turned that on its head. So what does that kind of look like for you? What does the right approach look like?
Heather Boschke (09:45.97)
Yeah, I mean, I think what I learned, there was one meeting in particular that stands out to me at that company where it was one of those weekly two hour meetings with over 20 people. And I actually felt my soul float above my head and ask, what are you actually doing? And what are you doing to me? And in that moment, I could also feel the sands of time going through the hourglass and I knew I was wasting it.
Josh Becerra (10:05.215)
Heather Boschke (10:13.962)
And so I really learned to just pay attention to when there is a gap between how I feel alignment and how I’m living my life. And so in the past, I would stuff it down. I would ignore it. Maybe I’d buy myself something to feel better. But as that misalignment grows, there is nothing that can fill that hole that’s starting to form. And so that sense of alignment is literally how I make decisions.
And so it’s a lot more based on what feels good, what feels true, what feels right versus anything else. And so I’ve passed up client work based on that, but I’ve also taken on clients because of that feeling. And so I really try to let my intuition and gut guide me more than external factors, which is definitely a new muscle that I’m working on because it’s counter to everything we’re taught. You know, we’re taught to listen to other people and we get validation from grades and promotions and year-end reviews. And so we’re not really taught to listen to ourselves. And as a woman, there’s a lot to unpack around being seen and not heard as well. And so I think that what I’m really trying to do now is to unwind from what is expected and instead follow what really feels true to me.
Josh Becerra (11:32.923)
I love that. Yeah. I love that. It’s very kind of values driven, obviously, like highly reliant on your gut or your intuition. You know, at Agurian, we try to do a lot of things that are, you know, live out our values and very like demonstrable ways. We’ve had the opportunity to work with bad clients and have had to like cut the cord, even though, you know, it hit the bottom line in ways that weren’t great for us. But every time that we’ve ended up doing that, I’ve always said we should have done that like three months ago. Like for our team’s own kind of sanity and health and all of those things. So yeah, choosing who you work with and the type of work that you’re doing with people is super important.
Heather Boschke (12:17.823)
Yeah, and what you just explained demonstrates the strength of your leadership because one of the most important things that you need to do as a leader is protect your people. And by not taking the work that you know would abuse them, you’re doing just that. So kudos to you guys.
Josh Becerra (12:41.479)
Yeah, and sometimes it’s only once you’re in the work where you actually are like, oh, this is not a great fit. Yeah, exactly. So one of the things that when you were talking about, we get taught these things. We’re always like, what grades did you get? What school are you going to? What’s your t—-
Heather Boschke (12:46.974)
Oh no, abort!
Josh Becerra (13:05.451)
Title what’s your career path like, you know, there’s just so much in our culture that kind of pushes You know, I in my first question. I was kind of joking about how you left your real job or like. This idea of having a real job and then starting your own marketing consulting is like, what are you like? Playing business like what are you? What are you trying to do over there?
Heather Boschke (13:29.442)
That’s exactly what I tell people. What do you do? I play business.
Josh Becerra (13:34.831)
I remember in our conversation, you said like, your mom, your mother was like, when you made this decision, she was like, oh my gosh, how is that, how are you gonna make that work? That’s crazy. And like being an entrepreneur myself, my mom still kind of doesn’t really get exactly like what it is I do. I like her, I like my own Google or like, I don’t know. He owns Google. And I’m like, well, I wish, but no, that’s not quite right.
Heather Boschke (13:57.25)
Hahaha. Do you get calls at like 2:30 or 3 o’clock because she’s just assuming you’re not doing anything?
Josh Becerra (14:09.079)
Some of that happens. But anyway, I was thinking about, do you think that there’s a shift maybe happening generationally? I feel like my mom was very much like you, going to nursing, a stable job. Then there’s our age group that’s more of a, hey, I can build my own business and make money and live the life I want. And I’m seeing more from like even younger, younger people, how they’re very much focused on things like this, the whole career thing has just kind of been shifting. What are your thoughts around like generations and how this idea of work is looking?
Heather Boschke (14:47.287)
Yeah. Well, I think what’s interesting about what you just said there is that we’re part of Gen X. And I think a lot of us are now starting to build because I think we tried on what worked for other people for the first half of our careers and realized maybe that didn’t work for us. So I think there’s something interesting. And we sort of tried it one way and realized that didn’t work. And now we’re trying it a different way. And so for me, my dad was the first to graduate college in our family and his family idea of a white collar, W2, job with benefits, that was the goal. And so thinking of leaving that and doing something else still, you know, it didn’t, and it still doesn’t make sense to my mom, but that is what they worked so hard for. And so, you know, there’s that. And for as much as those younger generations sort of get scrutinized when it comes to working and work ethic, being of the Gen X generation, I actually think I’m seeing them sort of swing back the pendulum in a very healthy way. You know, we had boomer bosses and from them, we learned to get in early, to stay late, to dress for the job you want, you grind it out, you do what it takes to get the job done. There was zero talks of boundaries or balance. And I remember one time I was at Verizon and I was at my desk at 7 a.m. Like I always was like a good little worker bee.
And I had this coworker, I don’t know, six or seven years younger than me, and she comes in and she drops her bags off. And she came in probably around nine o’clock. So I’ve been there for two hours. She drops her bags off. And the first thing she does is she goes into the kitchen to heat up her breakfast sandwich. And I’m at my desk, hyping away, and I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. And I remember, like, I can remember being so annoyed. And then the more I thought about it.
I realized like, okay, who’s the dummy here? We’re both getting paid every other week. I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. She’s enjoying a meal. And I realized that there was something to learn from that. And that I was actually jealous of her like audacity to do what she wanted and needed for herself. And so I do think that there’s this good and healthy shift with the younger generations who ask for what they want and they don’t live to work. And… At the same time, I think there’s really tremendous value in our generation, in Gen X, as the ones who we’ve lived and we’ve saddled these two very different ways of thinking and operating in the world between boomers and millennials. And we’ve kind of found the best parts to make it work for our own style. So I actually think there’s tremendous value in being this kind of sandwiched generation because we’re trying on and using what we think is best for us to find a new way of working, quite honestly.
Josh Becerra (17:43.963)
Yeah, I love that. Yeah, it’s super interesting. Our workplace is multi-generational, but there’s a lot of younger people here. And…
And we do have a core value around balanced work life, work smarter, live better. And we try to create like teams of people so that if somebody is taking time off, they have backfill and support, you know. We don’t have it all figured out and it’s not all perfect, but I do think that there’s elements that really do allow people to kind of live there, you know, be more fulfilled in their life outside of work. So super important.
Heather Boschke (18:09.858)
And you know what, I think that work smarter, live better is such a simply stated, but powerful sentiment around, you don’t actually have to be here from X to X. And if you can just be smart about getting the work done, you can, I just, I think what a great, what a great value.
Josh Becerra (18:44.623)
Yeah, yeah. So the other thing that you and I talked a little bit about is just how rewarding it is to be an entrepreneur and do what we’re doing. And it can be challenging at the same time. But you said that entrepreneurship is the biggest journey in self-discovery. So how so?
Heather Boschke (19:06.014)
Yeah, you know, we think about, you know, the corporate ladder and ladders go one of two ways. You can go up or you can go down. And in this new world of entrepreneurship, I feel like I am growing and expanding in all directions, not just up or down. It’s like everything’s getting bigger, you know, because when you’re doing this, you’re learning about, so I’m a marketer, I know marketing, but in this world, I’m learning about taxes and accounting, and I’m figuring out how to balance business development work with client work and also balancing that feeling of, I don’t know what the F I’m doing, but also I do know what the F I’m doing. And so there’s so much where you have to really get honest with yourself because it’s only you. And so things that I could have blamed on, bad bosses or coworkers or that’s not right. It’s like, oh, some of these patterns are showing up and it’s like, oh, it’s you, not them. And the other thing is really learning.
What is important to you? And so last year was year one of my business and I made a bunch of money, but I was way too busy and I didn’t wanna do that again. And so this year it has been all about less, less clients, less revenue, less meetings, but all in a spirit so that I could have more time, more peace and more of that freedom.
Josh Becerra (20:21.999)
Yeah. You talk about freedom as being like a core value. And I do think that that’s the one great benefit of being an entrepreneur is like you have your kind of hands on the controls, right? You can, you know, move the levers and turn the dials to get them to where it feels good for you and gets to a place where it’s like both rewarding financially, but also kind of you know, emotionally and in so many other ways. So I love that. And I don’t know. I just I’ve been like seeing this as a journey all in the whole time, right? And I feel like when I’ve been my unhappiest as an entrepreneur is when I’ve been comparing myself to, well, they started, that person started their business after me. And look at the level of success that they’ve achieved. And I haven’t achieved that. And I’ve been doing it longer. And that’s where I think I got to reign it in a little bit, right, as an entrepreneur. I feel like what you said about kind of
Heather Boschke (21:18.872)
Josh Becerra (21:37.507)
not knowing what the F you’re doing, that idea of imposter syndrome. Because you are, you’re having to do accounting and HR. And you’re doing all these things that aren’t necessarily in your wheelhouse. You have this constant imposter syndrome. So working on getting over that, there’s a lot to unpack as an entrepreneur.
Heather Boschke (21:58.886)
Yeah, I feel like, you know, when you decide to become an entrepreneur, someone should hand you an immediate therapist and say, okay, you two have a lot of work to do. And I love what you said about that self-awareness with what you want to build because it’s so easy to look at other people and they’re, and they celebrate four years and now they’ve got 30 people and an actual building and, and being really clear on what it is that you want. And honestly, anyone can learn from that entrepreneur or not. Cause I just think there’s a lot of people that wake up and live a life that actually they don’t want. And I think as long as people can start getting quiet and listening to themselves, I wonder how many people would show up differently and choose a different life and start taking action to do other things because we do a lot of things based on what we think we should do. And the sooner we can start doing things that we actually want, we will live that life of alignment. And so whatever you’re building, hopefully it’s what you want, and what I’m building is what I want. And as long as that’s happening, we can high five each other and say, your yellow brick road looks amazing for you, but I’m doing me.
Josh Becerra (23:06.383)
Yeah. Whatever sets your soul on fire, right? That’s what you talked about. Awesome. I think we should end this episode of the podcast on that note. That was super inspiring. So I really do appreciate your time and for being a guest today. So thanks, Heather.
Heather Boschke (23:09.13)
That’s right, that’s you know it.
Heather Boschke (23:23.81)
Thank you so much for having me.