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Meet Maddie Eickhoff

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maddie Eickhoff.

Maddie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
How I got to where I am today? Well… I’m not from around here, as I’m sure many of people who now live in LA would say. I “grew up” in a small town in Minnesota. Although I think I did the most growing up when I moved to LA. I was 21 and have never been to California but decided to move on the luck of being a famous actress. I packed my car with all my belongings, drove out to California and landed in a beach house in Redondo Beach.

(Funny story, a week before I moved to LA, I didn’t know where I was going to live but a friend I went to school with offered her Aunts empty beach house. I mean, you don’t get a better sign to move out to California than that!)

I remember my first night in LA, I wanted to see Hollywood. So I printed out Mapquest directions, (back in the no smartphone era LOL) and drove myself to DTLA thinking that was Hollywood. I was so confused and disappointed. There was no Hollywood lights and glamour. So I drove back to Redondo Beach, and that was my first impression of LA.

I quickly realized the acting career wasn’t for me. But Los Angeles… Now, that was for me! But as I’m sure we are all well aware of, living in this beautiful city requires hustle and grind to pay for it.

I remember, for months I would wake up at 5 am to open Starbucks, then get off and run to my hosting job at Eva Longoria’s restaurant only to end my shift around 10 pm and work as a promo model for Don Julio at the club next door. I was constantly working multiple jobs at once. Which honestly is not uncommon for the young LA resident. I started to get more involved in the natural products industry and working with young, local start-ups.

When you work for start-ups, you tend to wear many hats in the company. Which is great, because it helps you learn the areas of business you are good at and enjoy more. I started to really enjoy marketing and specifically the visual side of it. I would hire social media agencies to help me strategize for the brands I was working with, and I would be at their photoshoots just thinking, “I could do this.” I then landed what I thought was my DREAM job — working on the marketing team for Whole Foods Market.

It was my first time working for a larger company, and it was honestly such an amazing experience. I had all these skills on the brand side of marketing that now I was getting the retailer side of things. Which I believe is super helpful when working with my clients today. When you work for a larger company though, there is not a whole lot of creativity involved, at least not in the position I had. They have their set ways, and they have their creative team.

I was missing this creative outlet. So, started to get clients on the side, running their social media campaigns and brand photography. I would get other brands reaching out to me for social media and visual needs that were sent by my other clients. It got to the point where I was turning down clients because I had this full-time job, plus all this side hustle business that was honestly more lucrative than my full-time job.

I then needed to make this decision of what success was to me. Was it to work my way up in this company that I loved so much? Or was it doing this job that I never knew was even an option, but allows me to go see my family whenever I want without taking time off.

So I made the switch over a year ago, and I have more than doubled my clients, I have seen my family so much more than the last ten years I have lived in LA. And, I’m ultimately just HAPPIER to work from home. To me, success is not in my position or the amount of money I’m making or even that I run my own business. To me, success is being free to do what I want. And it’s an added bonus that I get paid for it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I wouldn’t say there were many struggles. I mean, I did live in a living room in Hollywood with two girls I met off craigslist for two years, haha! I would say, it’s just been a lot of work. And of course, you have the self-abuse one puts on themselves. I’ve never taken a photography class except for a film photography class in high school. So of course, I tell myself daily I’m not a REAL photographer. But that’s what I strive to get better at. Photography and telling myself I’m talented and it’s ok to be self-taught. Maybe all creatives feel this way. If so, we should all talk about it more so we can all just relax and feel better about our skills. 🙂

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
My business specializes in creating visual content for brands in the natural products industry, specifically, delicious food photography. However, I believe in having a balance of lifestyle content to show a consumer how the product can be enjoyed throughout the day. My business also runs social media accounts for brands to build brand awareness and sales. I believe my business is different because, although I work on the creative side, I have a full understanding of the marketing needs that a brand and retailer is looking for.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plan is to start working with more chefs and helping them with their food photography. I am actually starting culinary classes in the spring. I see that as an opportunity to improve my food styling skills, and ultimately that will help me one day when I do work with more chefs. I would love to shoot photography for a cookbook one day.

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