Friday Feature: Rachel Azaroff
This week's Friday Feature is Rachel Azaroff! You can find Rachel working out of our Capitol Hill location running her two businesses, Pitcht and MoneyBuff.
Rachel first came to The Riveter after seeing Amy speak at F*Bomb Breakfast Club about a year ago. She previously worked out of City Club downtown and from home, but she knew they both weren't the right fit for her. After hearing about The Riveter, she kept a sharp eye on our progress and even toured our Capitol Hill location while it was still under construction! She is one of our founding members, joining the The Riveter a few weeks before we opened. This week, we chatted with Rachel about The Riveter, her founding stories and Women's History Month.
What are a few of your favorite things about The Riveter?
I love the vibe and the community. I have met so many great people and enjoy how the Riveter is a community hub—I’m always running into interesting people. I live walking distance from the Cap Hill location and walking to work is huge for quality of life for me. I also love being able to workout at lunch by just running downstairs. The meditation room is also great for meditation and sometimes I nap there.
Tell us about yourself! Include 3 fun facts
- I was an elite swimmer growing up. I was ranked top 5 in the U.S. in 100-yard breaststroke when I was 10 and I was on the U.S. national team at the Maccabiah Games (the Jewish Olympics) in Israel when I was 17. I swam for two years at Kenyon College.
- I had a brush with fame as an extra in the Pelican Brief. My brownie troop was in one of the scenes. If you watch it, look for the girl about one foot taller than everyone else in the brownie troop in the Mount Vernon scene. I met John Lithgow and Denzel Washington.
- I’ve run 4 half-marathons, done multiple sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, and biked a few half-centuries (50 miles) and one century (100 miles).
Tell us your founding story. What scared you when starting your own business? What advice can you give to other women entrepreneurs in your previous shoes and looking to launch a new venture?
I currently have two businesses I founded and am working on.
My first business, Pitcht, is almost two years old. We do marketing for startups and small businesses with a focus on positioning, messaging, strategy and pitching. I got the inspiration for what became Pitcht when I spent a year working at Alliance of Angels and met with about 400 startups seeking capital and saw the challenges many founders have telling their story and pitching their business to investors. I decided to combine my strong writing and business skills and passion for helping others succeed into founding this business.
My other company is a consumer finance app called MoneyBuff: a personal trainer for finance. I spent two years wondering why so many smart people who make a great living have a hard time understanding money and how to navigate financial decisions. I decided to pursue it further this past fall and am working on bringing the product to market later this year.
Starting a business is scary. There are a lot of unknowns and you are doing many things for the first time. I started Pitcht about one year after graduating from my MBA at UW, and I quickly realized that business school does not prepare you for starting your own business. Starting a company is dynamic and is a lot of trial and error. There are also a lot of differences between starting a services-based business vs. starting a product-based business. Be open to trying new things and be real with yourself about what is working and what is not working. Time is your biggest resource—be mindful of how you spend your time and have boundaries around how you engage with people, projects and opportunities.
Tell us about a time in your career where you failed and how it changed your life. What did you do to overcome it? What did you learn?
About six months into starting Pitcht, I organized a series of pitch workshops at co-working spaces around the Puget Sound. I spent a lot of time event planning, working on my content and promoting the events. After all of that, I got one sign up, and ended up cancelling the workshops. I felt terrible and thought that my business was doomed.
Getting back to the trial-and-error theme I touched on, this was something I tried that was not successful at that time, and that is okay. It is part of the journey.
What does Women's History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month means celebrating women and our achievements. In thinking about Women’s History Month 2018, we are at a critical inflection point as a society with #metoo, #timesup, etc. We have come a long way, and we have a long way to go. [This year] we are at an inflection point as a society. Women are calling out bad behavior, are running for office, starting companies and getting out there and changing the narrative. Great work is happening, and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
What woman in history do you relate to / admire most? Why?
Three women I admire in history are Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart and Esther Williams. They are all adventurous women who took risks and broke boundaries. They followed their passions and made history with their work.
Which women are rocking your world this month? Why?
I get a lot of inspiration from Megan McNally of Diana and F*Bomb Breakfast Club, Amy Nelson of The Riveter, and Leslie Feinzaig of Female Founders Alliance and Venture Kits, and all that they have accomplished in the last year, as well as the communities they have built for entrepreneurial women. I like having people to look up to who are a few steps ahead, so the work ahead of me feels more manageable—I think about all they have accomplished in a year and what a year from now could look like for me.
I am also inspired by my friend Rianka Dorsainvil, founder of Your Greatest Contribution. She is also a bit ahead of me on her entrepreneurial journey and has been doing awesome work and getting amazing recognition and media. Additionally, my childhood friends, Megan and Caren Kelleher, are inspirations. Megan started a PR firm, MKTC Consulting, and Caren opened a record-manufacturing facility in Austin, Gold Rush Vinyl.
Stay tuned every Friday for a feature blog post on #TheRiveterMembers! We have an amazing teams and members in our Capitol Hill and Fremont spaces and we're excited to share their stories. #TheRiveterCommunity