Spotlight: Olivia Plotnick
Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Founder of Wai Social
Interviewed by Lauren Hogan
Olivia Plotnick is the founder of Wai Social - a social media marketing agency, which she started six months before the pandemic. As if trying to start your own company wasn’t enough, making it through a challenging year, and being stuck outside of the country you operate in, makes it even more difficult. Now back in Shanghai, when Olivia is not managing her business and learning about the latest social media trends, she continues to stay busy as President of IPWS - Shanghai’s International Professional Women’s Society.
To learn more about her busy day-to-day and how her journey has been from working for a big agency to starting her own, we speak to Olivia to learn more about her experience and how she manages her time and mindset.
Tell us what you do, and what a day in your life looks like
Perhaps one of the things I appreciate most about running my own business is that each day can be different and unexpected (which also means it can become hectic and overwhelming very quickly).
I’m up by 4:45am in order to work out and get to the office by 7am — I’ve learned that I am most productive in those precious quiet hours before everyone else is up and at it.
Because I run a social media marketing agency, part of my job is understanding and anticipating the latest social & digital trends — which in China could be a full-time job on its own — this means I need to spend part of my day reading the latest reports, looking at social media posts from brands, reading the news, sharing and discussing the most interesting bits with my team so that we can ensure the work we deliver to our clients helps them stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
The rest of my day is filled with some combination of talking to clients, getting to meetings, working together with my team to create strategy and content for our clients, answering emails and WeChat messages and, if I’m lucky, some time planning and thinking about our own company strategy and business development.
I do my best to leave the office, make myself dinner and get to sleep before 11pm (that’s a work in progress).
That is one busy day. What’s your most effective daily habit?
I would love to say that I wake up, don’t look at my phone for an hour, meditate for 20 minutes and write in a gratitude journal — but currently, I don’t.
My most effective daily habits are exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner and trying to get 5-6 hours of sleep.
Do you think you live more in the past, present or future?
When you’re running a business, you don’t have time to live in the past. The goal is to be simultaneously executing in the present and planning for the future — easier said than done most days!
Especially on a schedule like yours. What is one of your biggest learnings through your entrepreneurial journey?
Setting boundaries is going to feel (and work out) so much better than trying to please everyone.
Set boundaries when it comes to the time you spend working:
As a founder there is always going to be a never-ending list of things to complete. You can choose one of two outcomes:
1) Work non-stop to complete everything on the list and compromise both the quality of work as well as your mental and physical health and quickly burnout.
2) Complete several important tasks and deliver high quality work. Have the mental clarity to plan & delegate how to deal with the tasks you have not completed, and create better systems within your business to continue growing.
Set boundaries when it comes to your worth:
Know the monetary value of your product and don’t let anyone try to guilt you into devaluing that.
Pricing your product combines two very difficult tasks, especially for women;
- Objectively evaluating your worth in a monetary capacity
- Not trying to please everyone
When you set boundaries on your pricing, you give yourself the opportunity to deliver the best product possible and you’ll attract customers/clients who align better with the business you are trying to build.
P.S. Don’t forget that your worth changes over time!
That’s excellent advice! What’s some advice someone has given you that has stuck with you through your journey?
From a friend;
“You know what’s harder than saying “no” to someone?
Putting up with the consequences of saying “yes” when you didn’t want to.
The most expensive way to earn money is to do work you hate.
Saying “no” is a superpower”
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