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How Lexi St. Laurent Hartmann Is Navigating Entrepreneurship With Authenticity and Determination

An Interview With Brooke Bohinc

Lexi Hartmann's headshot

Meet Lexi St. Laurent Hartmann, the Founder and CEO of iHartContent, a bilingual content agency empowering creators to take control of their digital narratives.

Lexi’s journey to becoming a founder was a combination of daring to take a leap of faith while carrying on her family’s entrepreneurial legacy. Her company was born out of the pandemic and was fueled to success thanks to her passion for the power of content. Through Lexi’s leadership, iHartContent is cultivating a culture where being vulnerable isn’t seen as a weakness, but rather as a way to build stronger bonds and tell meaningful stories. Ultimately, her story is a testament to the strength that can be found in community and the power that comes from nurturing a relentless determination.

We asked Lexi about the founding story of iHartContent, how she navigates self-doubt as an entrepreneur, and what she would tell her younger self if she were to start her entrepreneurial journey over again.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on iHartContent?

The pandemic saw the end of many businesses, but I’ve come to realize it was also the catalyst for the birth of many others. After years at a corporate agency, the unexpected shift to full-time home life, combined with the challenges of having two young children on lockdown and a husband who was on the front lines as an infectious diseases specialist, created a perfect storm that resulted in my being let go.

While it was difficult, it was also a relief; it offered me the freedom to align my career more closely with my passion for the power of content. Motivated by this newfound perspective and the desire to create a healthier online space by amplifying the messages the world needs to hear, iHartContent was born.

Lexi is looking at the computer screen at hers home office

What makes iHartContent different from other companies in the industry?

At iHartContent, our core belief is that authenticity is the cornerstone of a safer, more inclusive world. This conviction guides our mission to challenge and transform the culture of inauthenticity and superficiality that is so prevalent in digital spaces.

We intentionally seek out clients who are willing to forego the highlight reels in favor of real life, prioritizing narratives that reflect real, relatable experiences. My own experience navigating the negative mental health impacts of social media led to this focus. I was concerned about how it would impact the next generation as the line between digital and offline life continues to blur. I feel strongly that if we surround ourselves with reality—be it unretouched photos or vulnerable moments—we begin to feel more comfortable with it. Proactively creating and consuming content rooted in reality helps combat the feelings of inadequacy and disconnection often exacerbated by a feed that shows only curated perfection. We believe this approach doesn't just create a healthier online environment. It also fosters deeper, more meaningful connections between brands and their audiences, which is better for business too.

In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur?

For many, entrepreneurship can feel like an impossible dream. But as the daughter of serial entrepreneurs, my upbringing made me believe that entrepreneurship is not only possible but a perfectly viable path. It also reframed what success means for me. In seeing the ups and downs of  my parents’ businesses, I understood that pivoting—and even failure—are part of the path and the process. We will all experience roadblocks at some point. It reinforced for me just how important it is to remain agile and listen to the market. Your audience is constantly telling you what they need from you, and success is often a matter of whether or not we choose to listen and respond. As an entrepreneur and leader, this insight has compelled me to stay alert for signs it’s time to adjust our trajectory, while still prioritizing alignment with the vision I have for the company. 

 Lexi with a laptop in her hands

What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

My two biggest mistakes have been classic missteps for a new business owner: I didn’t build for scalability right from the start, and I undervalued my time.

I started my company as a solopreneur, and, although I had the support of several contractors, I did not invest enough time and resources into ensuring I had a plan for training and offloading the daily implementation work to my team. This led to the classic conundrum of getting stuck working in my business rather than on my business.

At the same time, I was undercharging—a problem rooted in discomfort around the topic of money, a sentiment many women share. I had to do some deep work healing my relationship with money before I became comfortable asking for my worth. 

Have you struggled with self-doubt as an entrepreneur? How do you navigate this?

It's easy to fall into the trap of comparison and impostor syndrome, and I have battled those feelings many times throughout my journey. I choose to navigate the self-doubt by intentionally putting myself in the same room as the very people I feel intimidated by or even envious of. In doing so, I have found that nearly all of us are in the same boat and deal with insecurity from time to time. 

Surrounding myself with women who embody the future I seek for myself and my company, while initially challenging, did more than shift my perspective. I've formed incredible bonds with women who are now not just peers but friends and collaborators. They've shown me that, to some extent, we're all figuring it out as we go, and that's more than okay—it's inspiring.

Proactively creating and consuming content rooted in reality helps combat the feelings of inadequacy and disconnection often exacerbated by a feed that shows only curated perfection.

Lexi and four other women are having tea and chatting

Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?

I’ve found that the temptation to quit tends to creep in mainly during seasons of unfulfillment or intense challenges. When fulfillment wanes, I pause to identify the misalignments—be it a mismatch with a client or a shift in my vision for the company. By giving myself space to reflect on the heart of the issue, I can realign our path forward more meaningfully.

During tougher times, I lean into advice from my mother: “Don’t quit in the winter.” This advice was born from cold days riding horses in the dead of winter in Pennsylvania, and it now guides my approach to entrepreneurship. By waiting for “good weather”—a metaphor for clearer, calmer times—I ensure the decision to quit, pivot, or carry on is made with clarity, not from a place of haste or temporary discomfort.

Has your definition of success evolved throughout your journey as a founder?

Absolutely, and I think the definition of success will continue to evolve. Initially, my focus was on financial milestones like celebrating our growth from startup to six-figure agency in under six months and then achieving multiple six-figure milestones shortly thereafter. However, as we've matured, my measures of success have shifted. 

Today, I take pride not only in our growth but in our relentless commitment to authenticity and alignment with our core mission. A pivotal moment that underscores this was our decision to offboard a large account to better serve those smaller, mission-aligned clients whose voices we are passionate about amplifying. This choice to prioritize value alignment over financial gain represents a deeper, more fulfilling definition of success to me. 

Have you discovered any underappreciated leadership traits or misconceptions around leadership?

In our work, we’ve noticed many leaders express concerns about how their openness might affect their team's perception of them. There's a common misconception that vulnerability is a sign of ineffective leadership. However, we find it's quite the opposite. Vulnerability can profoundly strengthen leadership, fostering deeper connections with teams, building trust and relatability, and creating a culture of open communication—all staples of strong teams. Openness reinforces the leader's role as a facilitator of growth and learning, rather than merely an infallible authority figure. Through our consulting and content work, including ghostwriting, we help leaders navigate the nuances of vulnerability, demonstrating how authenticity can make them more effective and respected leaders.

Lexi's headshot

What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again?

Be ruthlessly, unapologetically honest with yourself and others about what you want. Listen deeply to your intuition when something feels out of alignment. Building a business is deeply personal, and it’s okay to not want the things you think you’re supposed to want. Businesses can and do grow from a place of alignment and authenticity. It will be scary to tell your story sometimes and be visible. But it will be worth it. 

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