District Boss Interview: Erin Kirkpatrick Fabio and Casey Crowe Taylor
Meet the two lovely ladies behind the Down the Foxhole podcast, Erin Kirkpatrick Fabio and Casey Crowe Taylor!
If you've been looking for a new podcast to obsess over, look no further! Down the Foxhole is the real deal. Casey and Erin discuss the ups and downs of entrepreneurial life with real ladies in the biz. They don't introduce their listeners to picture perfect influencer who leave you scratching your head and wondering how to just magically succeed, they share stories and struggles of what it's like to put in the extra hours on top of a 9-to-5, or the fear behind leaving your corporate job behind to pursue something that might not be enough to support you.
Not only are they so relatable, but they'll make you feel like you've been friends for years and having a girls night gab session, when in reality you're just typing away in your neighborhood coffee shop. We couldn't be happier to introduce you to Casey and Erin below!
1. Tell us about your business!
Casey: Down the Foxhole was born from two things: 1. I think Erin and I are really entertaining and 2. We both have an overwhelming desire to help and lift people up. We are in super early days (our launch day was January 10, 2018) and our brand is constantly evolving at this point but we always want to be TOTALLY (if you’re a listener you will get this LOL) transparent and REAL about the struggles of starting and maintaining your own business and just life in general. Erin and I have zero interest in “keeping up with the Joneses” or anyone else for that matter - we just want to be us, in PJs drinking wine and having real (+ real funny) conversations with people. I mean we are still recording on our phones right now LOL but I think it’s part of why people like listening - we’re not fancy, we’re scrappy, we are interviewing our friends and not “famous” entrepreneurs. It’s kind of crazy that in less than two months of launching we are already overwhelmed with people asking us to come on the podcast. It’s really, really important to us that we have genuine connection with whoever we have on - they have to jive with our energy and be ready and willing to come with us Down the Foxhole.
Erin: Down the Foxhole is a podcast that celebrates the irregular - people doing things off the beaten path, have followed their calling to leave the typical 9-5, and are fulfilling their passions every day. In trying to find resources for ourselves and our businesses, we found that most podcasts are speaking with entrepreneurs who have already MADE IT - which is fine and cool but there was nothing speaking with people who are currently going through the ups and downs of starting their own businesses, so we wanted to fill that void with real-talk and unfiltered truths (like really unfiltered so giddyup - sorry in advance for my bad mouth). Other than that it’s just a really fun outlet for Casey and I to channel our irrational amounts of energy into something that we think can really be a helpful resource to lift people up and give that extra YES YOU CAN to people who need it - and we think we all need it from time to time.
2. What lead you to where you are today?
Casey: My parents. I used to think that I got really, really lucky and was magically born with natural self confidence and assurance LOL. But, the older I get the more I realize that what I got was really, really lucky with who my parents are. From a young age my parents taught me that no one can determine my self worth but me - not even them. They never tried to fit me into a box of who they thought I should be and for that I will be forever grateful because it allows me to be who I am and chase dreams without ever feeling like I need to ask permission or get validation from anyone besides myself. I grew up watching my mother teach herself to do so many things like cooking, quilting, playing the harmonica, speaking French, photography and more. She has always been a self starter, never wasting time asking for permission or getting caught up in self doubt she always just goes out and DOES IT. I watched my father work really hard climbing the corporate ladder for 30+ years and it showed me first hand the great value in doing the work and having patience. Without having parental role models like them, there’s just no way I could have accomplished any of the things I’m proud of now.
Erin: Maybe it’s the ginger in me, but I’ve always been a beat-to-my-own-drum kind of girl. But at the same time I kind of like rules and structure. And yes, I know that makes no sense but welcome to the wonderful world of my weird mind. What that translates to in the real world is a kid wearing a lot of tutus to school and a lot of managers telling me I'm “hard to manage.” Well EFF that. It’s fun being hard to manage and maybe some people aren’t meant to be managed. Take it from me - I managed Casey when we worked at Bluemercury and that was no walk in the park trying to fit that little magical mermaid into corporate boxes. No ma’am. Separately, I very much believe in a “if you build it they will come” mentality - but you have to BUILD IT and believe in it. I wanted to be a business owner so I started doing the work and clients came. I’ve got an insane work ethic instilled in me and I’m a risk taker so early on in my career I made financial and professional goals and have done everything I can to hit the mark. So far, so good (with a ton of ups and downs along the way.) Local Grit has been a labor of love that I slow rolled out pretty carefully since 2014 by constantly saying YES to new opportunities. Can I do this thing for you that I’ve never done before? SURE CAN! Do I want to try an industry I’ve never tried before? YEP. Can you manage this budget that’s way bigger and scarier than you’ve done before? YOU BETCHA, CLIENT! I think it’s such a luxury that I can now start saying NO which is so important, but my life has been built on saying yes to opportunities - and I believe in it.
3. What brings you the most joy when planning and recording your podcast?
Casey: We don’t do a ton of planning before recording which is part of the beauty in the success we’ve had I think. We are focused on getting real, candid insight from people and ourselves. There are two things about the podcast that make me super happy. One is working with Erin. Not to toot our own horn (TOOT TOOT lol) - but Erin and I have a special dynamic. We are kindred souls PLUS we have complimentary characteristics. When I want to run wild with an idea, Erin makes me slow my roll and be more intentional and sometimes when Erin can start to overthink things, I do my best to convince her to just jump. This is how I recently tricked her into coming to Miami on a whim LOL. We truly have great energy together and a big part of our podcast’s success is our shared passion for lifting people up and making them laugh. The second is helping people. I can’t even tell you, I honestly CRY every time we get a DM, text, email, review from someone telling us we helped or inspired them. It seriously hits me in all the feels. IT JUST MAKES ME SO HAPPY I COULD FLY and now I’m crying.
Erin: First and foremost I get to hang with one of my favorite humans (Casey) and create something together that helps people - and ourselves in a lot of ways - does it get any better than that?! I feel super duper lucky that I crossed paths with such a kindred spirit - we both have a very strong drive to lift people up and live with no judgement. We truly believe in the YOU DO YOU mentality and that probably drives some people nuts but we 100% feel that everyone needs to do what is best for themselves and not try to be anyone but their best selves. Plus, if nothing else, Casey and I crack each other up and that’s what life is about. We also balance each other really well and when it comes to planning and recording we take cues from each other to make sure things stay on track. Casey’s saying things like TIGERS TO OUTER SPACE? I’ll bring it back around to words other people might understand. Am I trying to over process things? Casey will make us jump in. It just works for us and we have a blast doing it. We’ve already had so much amazing feedback and people are truly finding value in Down the Foxhole and that just lights up my life. I can’t wait to see where we can take it.
4. What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur? The most difficult part?
Casey: Being my own my boss and being my own boss. Are you confused because I am too LOL. But, honestly, the best part of both of my businesses is seeing people happy, whether it’s with their wedding photos or having someone send us a message telling us that listening to the podcast inspired them or finally made something “click” for them. The most difficult part of being an entrepreneur for me is turning off. It is SO DANG HARD for me to stop working because I love all of it so much but I would really like to stay married to my husband (LOL) so I have had to create boundaries and I’m going to be honest, I have to work at not working everyday because it’s just not that easy when you’re the one and only boss.
Erin: Never going to the grocery store on a weekend ever again. Just kidding but that part is FAB. The best part is not having to try to fit into so many boxes that corporate life dictates. My brain does not just magically turn on from 9-5. I work best on my own schedule and can find so much inspiration doing things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had to be behind a desk every day during business hours. The most difficult part for me is not having a team around me. I am an EXTREME extrovert and truly get my energy from other people, so I’ve had to work really hard to create a great network around me of colleagues and contacts that I can brainstorm with, bounce ideas off of and feel their positive, creative energy.
5. How do you stay motivated and continue to grow, personally and professionally?
Casey: I am insanely self-motivated and possibly borderline nuts - ha! I feel lucky that I rarely have motivation issues with owning my business but I do think it becomes a little bit of a curse when working with other people. I think my high energy can be tough for even the most patient of humans which is challenging for me because when I get excited about an idea, I want to run with it immediately and not stop or come up for air until it’s done. Without realizing it, I think I can come off as overly dominating but it’s really just me getting tunnel vision on execution. Erin has been victim to this behavior many a time (LOL) and her patience should be award winning. She’ll check her phone after a meeting with 87 messages from me going from 0 to 60 in no time at all. I’m working on it :) If I feel like I’m in a rut, I’ll listen to Gary Vaynerchuk for a solid kick in the ass - he never fails me and always inspires me to execute. As far as personally, while I hated traditional school, I LOVE learning and am obsessed with constantly learning new things and exposing myself to new experiences and places. Complacency is my worst fear and it’s a great motivator to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible.
Erin: I’m super lucky that motivation has never been a problem for me, for the most part. I’ve always loved working hard, I love change and I love progress. It’s so important to be self-aware enough to allow yourself the room to change and grow and to surround yourself with people that also allow and encourage that. There’s nothing worse than being around people that don’t see and encourage your growth. Again, extreme extrovert here, so it’s all about people for me. I have the most amazing mentors in my life and also get so much energy from mentoring a few rockstars in my industry. It’s all about lifting people up and helping them be who they want to be.
6. What’s your nighttime routine?
Casey: I love this question! Good sleep is so important for entrepreneurs because we work 24/7 and I’ve finally found what works for me. First, I don’t eat or drink anything after 8/8:30PM - only water (on occasion I will have herbal tea) two hours before bed. I normally start my skincare routine around 9PM and it takes me 20 minutes: brush my teeth, wash my face with Cetaphil, then exfoliate, use my ice roller for 1-2 minutes, apply Witch Hazel with a cotton pad, apply my dermatologist prescribed retinol cream followed by a heavy moisturizer. After this, I get in bed and read a non-business related book (this is very important, if I read a business book I will be wired and up all night working LOL) for 30 or more minutes and then sleep time. Also, no screens 30 or more minutes before bed!
I also have a strict morning routine that sets me up for a productive day. First, always make your bed - it sets the tone of being productive for me, 30 seconds after waking up I’ve already accomplished something. Then I do my same beauty routine just swap night creams for SPF. After that I drink one liter of water and meditate for 10-20 minutes. After that I answer any emails (while listening to Gary) that are waiting for a response and check all my analytics. Between 10-10:30AM I take my dogs for a brisk 30 minute walk. When I come back I make my smoothie and continue working until lunchtime which is around 2/2:30PM for me.
Erin: Wahoo! We ask this question all the time. Lately mine has been a little chaotic with a new puppy but in general it’s this: I drink sleepy time tea while I wash my face and wind down for the night. I use Glossier Milky Jelly or PTR acne wash, then I use a super awesome adult acne medication called Aczone because hormones are cool, and then I use M-61 PowerGlow Eye Cream and Darphin Hydraskin Gel as a moisturizer. I brush my teeth and then hop into bed for some journaling or reading until the hubs comes to bed. I use ThisWorks lavender pillow spray to help me calm my brain and I sleep with a white noise maker to help keep my brain off.
7. What’s one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs in your industry?
Casey: I’m coming in reallll hot and maybe a little hard on this one but here I go. Do the work and don’t give up. If you can’t easily see yourself committing at least 60 hours a week to working on your craft and business, the road ahead is going to be hard and long. I get a lot of people who are surprised I’ve only had my wedding photography business for 1 year but that’s because all they see is my Instagram highlight reel (which, I’m trying to change with my #REALLIFETALK posts) and not the fact that I was willing to do what many people aren’t - THE WORK. They didn’t see me wake up at 6AM and work for 3 hours before going to my 9-5 and then come home and work on my business again from 5-9PM every single day for 6+ months. They didn’t see the hundreds of hours I worked for FREE photographing couples and teaching myself how to make a website and run my business. No one sees the 18+ hour days I put in teaching myself Lightroom and Photoshop. Entrepreneurship is just not for everyone. From the outside it looks so shiny and glamorous but let’s be real, on the other side of the curtain it’s blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice. This is why many entrepreneurs fail in the first year. They want it too fast and they don’t want to do the work. Overnight success does not exist, you only get what you put in.
Erin: DO YOU. You will never win if you’re constantly focused on what other people are doing and trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Put your head down and stay in your lane. If you stay true to yourself, your goals and your mission, you will get there. Also - surround yourself with a support team of rockstars who share your values. And then lean on them - hard.