When it comes to achieving the elusive work-life balance, local businesswoman and blogger Shannan Boyer doesn’t have a secret formula. In fact, the owner of public relations and social media agency Scooter Media
and Family Friendly Cincinnati
, a blog dedicated to helping parents in the tri-state area discover fun places and events to enjoy with their broods, often puts in extra hours to get everything done. As much as Boyer loves running her own business, her husband and two boys, 11-year-old Sean and 8-year-old Brady, remain supremely important.
“You have to really make work-life balance a priority,” Boyer says. “Owning your own business is very time-intensive. There’s always something you could be doing that is work-related. I try very hard to be in the moment when I’m with my kids. I focus on giving them my attention and on engaging with them. I try to keep work outside of my 8 a.m.-5 p.m. office hours to after they’ve gone to bed, early in the morning before they’ve gotten up or when they are off with friends. Once the boys head to bed, I’ll typically log back onto my computer to look over my e-mail and check in on any social media accounts I’m managing for my clients. It means a lot of late nights, but it’s worth it.”
Boyer’s venture into the world of self-employment can be traced back to her work with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
, where she first discovered her passion for public relations. From there, she worked for Wordsworth Communications
as account supervisor and director of social media for seven years. In 2010, she ended up at the largest multidisciplinary arts organization in Northern Kentucky, The Carnegie
. Boyer spent a couple of years at The Carnegie before beginning Scooter Media in February 2012. Today, her local client list includes Brazee Street Studios
, Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore and Decafé
, Reach Magazine
, Fidelity Investments
, Sleepy Bee Café
and, much to Boyer’s delight, The Carnegie.
“Our goal is to help clients determine the most effective and efficient ways to engage consumers, build long-lasting relationships and to deliver results that ultimately have a positive impact on their bottom line,” Boyer says. “We came up with the name ‘Scooter Media’ after a trip to France. We noticed the streets were filled with scooters moving people around the city. When it comes to being effective and efficient, a scooter is right up there at the top of the list. We were inspired and wanted to bring that same effective and efficient service to our clients, only the vehicles in our case are TV, radio, print and digital.”
At Scooter Media, Boyer manages most of the day-to-day business-side operations like sending invoices or creating marketing materials out of the Covington
office at 132 West 6th
St. She also has two full-time employees to help execute the client-side tasks, such as developing strategies and running public relations and social media campaigns, and two contractors who offer assistance regularly. Family Friendly Cincinnati, on the other hand, is much more collaborative. Three editors and five regular contributors—most of whom have been with the blog since its inception in 2009—help Boyer cover all the aspects of why the Northern Kentucky
area is a hotspot for family fun. Family Friendly Cincinnati posts daily, and Boyer averages about a post a week. Her experience with blogging, however, began a few years earlier when she used the now-on-hiatus blog Mommy Bits to connect with other moms.
“It was before sites like Facebook and Twitter took off, and blogs were still the main way people could ‘talk’ to each other. I primarily wrote about being a mom—day-to-day challenges, victories, things we would do as a family,” Boyer says. “In the spring of 2009, I was online looking for something to do with my family that weekend and was having trouble finding things that were family-focused. The light bulb went off, and I saw an opportunity to fill that void.”
These days, her family has plenty of family-focused options for things to do. From kid-friendly events to restaurants and retail shops, Boyer tests out her potential posts with her family and relies on input from Sean and Brady before endorsing something. “Just about everything I write about, they’re a part of in some shape or form,” she says. “Whether it’s a post about an art class they’ve taken or a food truck we’ve discovered, they definitely weigh in and let me know what they think and what they think other kids and their parents will like. If it doesn’t get their seal of approval, you probably wont see me writing about it.”
Whether writing a blog post about a great pizza joint or helping a client boost her business through social media, Boyer defines success as a happy client. “For me, it’s about helping others. It’s about writing a post about a small business that results in more families visiting it; it’s about helping families get out and make amazing memories together,” she says. “It’s helping my clients at Scooter Media achieve their goals and increase awareness of the things they’re doing, the artist they’re promoting or the products they’re making. At the end of the day, I like knowing that the work I’m doing makes a difference.”
And despite the challenges of balancing quality family time with successful job performance, Boyer credits her husband with helping her along the way. “My husband has always pushed me to follow my dreams and passions. He’s extremely supportive and has always encouraged me to take leaps,” she says. “[Achieving life-work balance] can be done, but it takes planning. Before you take the leap, do research about starting a business and about the type of business you are thinking of launching. Craft a business plan; map out your business strategy for the first year. Set parameters.”
With two successful endeavors under her belt, Boyer is focused on enjoying the ride. “I hope things continue down the road they are currently on,” she says. “I never imagined that I’d own my own business and that I’d love it so much. I pinch myself all the time. I truly feel blessed.” As for whether she’ll build a third business, Boyer laughs. “Maybe when the boys go off to college.”
Karli Petrovic is associate editor for HOW and Print magazines. She contributes regularly to the HOW blog and tackles freelance articles in her spare time.