Over a year ago I experienced one of the biggest blows to my ego – I got laid off. There were so many things that ran through my mind that March morning. My feelings went back and forth between anger and sadness, But my underlying thought was, “I AM PISSED OFF.” I am a hard worker, I pour my heart and soul into my job – always have, always will.
At the time of this “dismissal”, I was helping a new start-up build a corporate sales program. When the news came that they no longer needed me, it hurt deep into my soul. After that pronouncement, I walked into my house and tearfully said to my husband, “I got laid off, I don’t have a job anymore.” I expected him to say “There, there, it will be alright.”
But, and this was a biggie, he told me, “This is the best thing that ever happened to you.” I definitely did not believe him at the time – but it was.
The next day, I woke up, went for a run and dove into what was next. I told myself I had until January 1, 2018 to have a successful entrepreneurial business. It was that or go back to the grind of a nine-to-five lifestyle.
Spoiler alert: it’s been over a year and I met my goal with my company Selby New York — I cannot imagine going back to the office environment. I would love to say that, boom, day one I was doing exactly what I liked and what I was good at, but that was not the case.
Initially I just needed to make money and pay the bills (you know, adult stuff.) So with a list of my contacts and years of relationships, I now needed to figure out what to sell. I started my company as a wholesale representation firm, working to get brands into stores and corporate accounts.
As time went on, I began to focus more and more on corporate sales, which is my true expertise. A few things I knew going in:
It needed to be a great product, something unique if I was going to represent it.
I did not want to be limited to one product, I wanted to be a one-stop shop.
I hardly ever, say “No” (good and bad, mostly good!)
It was not until I was working with a client that my regular representation business turned into a design firm creating bespoke merchandise and SWAG for companies, brands and individuals. They asked, “Can you do a sweatshirt, flip flops, beach towel in addition to the brand name items you’re already providing?” And of course, the answer was, “YES I CAN!”
I knew the logistical steps to take: I got a resale license and signed up for a Square account to get my company “up and running”. I gave my client everything they needed for a camp themed event in upstate NY. Due to saying “yes”, I have continued to work with this client creating gifts for their amazing sales retreats as well as the famous Cannes Lions event in the South of France.
My clients now range from media companies to dating apps. Every day is exciting, unique and creative. I develop unique merchandise for a wide variety of end users! My advice to anyone questioning whether to “take the leap” is if you can, DO IT!
Do your research.
List your strengths.
Go after your dream!
Make sure you give it everything you’ve got. That way you never look back thinking, ”What if?”
One of the best aspects of a coworking space is that you’re working alongside people from all different walks of life. It keeps your workspace fresh and inspiring. However, diverse personalities and backgrounds also means that there needs to be certain rules in place to keep the peace and maintain the positive environment. Without these rules, you can have a disgruntled group of coworkers — which makes for a not-so-great workspace.
Here’s what you can do to keep your favorite workspace from dissolving into chaos.
Be courteous with your phone calls
First things first, check to see if a phone booth is available. They are there for a reason. And that reason is that no one wants to hear your conversation. If the phone booths are all full, try finding a lounge area, ducking into a hallway, or perhaps find an area with high ceilings. Plan ahead and look for a spot at least five minutes before your phone call.
If you absolutely can’t find a quiet corner and you want to avoid having people give you the stink eye, lower your voice and keep the call short. Your neighbors will understand that you’re trying your best to be respectful.
Avoid strong smells
Strong smells are a no-no. That includes sweaty gym clothes, your favorite perfume or scented lotion, or fish lunch. It’s better to leave those scents at home. What smells good to you might be super stinky and distracting to someone else.
Avoid creating an unpleasant work environment for others by containing these smells and go for more neutral alternatives. Keep your sweaty clothes in a sealed bag. Pick subtle smelling beauty products. Replace that durian snack with something non-smelly and just as delicious. Our favorites are trail mix and seaweed. Try it out!
Keep your personal workspace small and tidy
Leaving dirty cups, dishes, and crumbs everywhere? Have your stuff taking up two coveted ergonomic office chairs? Putting your bare feet up on the lounge couch? Congratulations, your neighbors might be secretly hating you.
A coworking space is a shared space so you should try to keep your personal workspace area to a minimum. Make yourself comfortable, but not too comfortable that it is bothering anyone passing by. Rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t do it in a traditional office setting, you should think twice about doing it in a coworking space.
Network only when it makes sense
You know what it’s like to have a crazy busy day. Those days where you just want to sit down with your coffee and stay laser focused on what needs to get done. Recognize when your neighbors are having one of those days and leave them alone.
If they have headphones on, that usually means they don’t want to be bothered. If they are in their private office with the door closed, think again about knocking to ask for a favor. However, if they are lounging around in the shared kitchen area, that’s fair game. Introduce yourself and say hi!
Follow the community manager’s lead
Their space, their rules. Each coworking space has their own house rules and the community manager is there to enforce them.
Before you hop into the empty conference room, speak to the community manager to see if it’s okay. Before you leave your travel luggages in the hallway, check in with the team. If you want to do anything out of the norm, ask first. And remember that community managers are not there to ruin your day by not accommodating your special request. If the answer is no, respect that.
Some coworking neighbors are better than others. Now you know how to be one of the good ones!
Nisha Garigarn is one of the founders of Croissant, the app that lets remote workers access coworking spaces on-the-go. She loves exploring New York’s cozy coffee shops and trying coconut flavored snacks.
2017 marked the end of year two of business with Six Degrees Society. Two years ago I was in a corporate office, not quite sure what drove me and trying to figure out who I was. I was so unsure of myself and the choices I made. As a business owner I still have no idea what I’m doing but love making choices knowing that if they don’t work that it’s on me. While running a business feels like your whole life, I took this year to start understanding how I wanted my life to look. Through our event programming I learned so much that I was able to implement into my own life. Check out my year of learnings below.
Go natural (when you can):
We hosted 3 fireside chat events with Phoebe Lapine to discuss her book the The Wellness Project. Through her book and the learnings of Ashley Peate from Beautycounter, I realized how important it is to go natural with the products you’re using every day. From makeup, deoderant, body wash, laundry and more. Start checking those labels! I’ve started using Think Dirty App to get a better understanding how dirty my products really are. For deodorant I really liked Schmidt’s but have recently fallen in love with Native (vanilla and coconut is my fav and smells like frosting!). For makeup I’m slowly tossing my old makeup goodbye and replacing with Beautycounter.
Be open minded to advice:
Get help from outside opinions. Mentors, colleagues, coaches, therapists and more. However, at the end of the day make decisions because you want to make them and not because you feel obligated to make them.
Outsource and delegate:
As my good friend Reese Evans always says, “think like a CEO.” Again one of the struggles I’ve had is the feeling like I need to do it all from instagram to bookkeeping. However this year I learned the importance of focusing on the big picture items and delegating where you can.
For bookkeeping I hired Paro to keep the expenses in check!
For payroll I hired Gusto to file all of my quarterly taxes and make sure I was IRS compliant.
For a marketing assistant I hired Byron to find me the perfect virtual assistant to unload all the small stuff!
To make my life easier with delegating I’ve started templatizing my life. From outreach emails, to “how to” guides, I’ve taken note of my day and ways that someone else can do it.
Get a life (and live it):
As much as I love my business I realized it was devouring my life. This year I made a huge effort to start treating my business like a job– having the hours adhere to a typical 9-6ish schedule!
That meant allowing time to be present with friends, relationships and family. And as much as the people in your life love and support your business it’s important to turn that brain off when with them and be the normal person they know and love.
Additionally, take a vacation! You’re world will not implode if you disconnect for a little bit.
Set a routine:
There are many days where I’m running behind schedule or I’m on the West Coast and am already far behind the east coast. Remember to prioritize your health and wellness. Working out brings me so much joy, provides so much energy and jump starts my day, yet there are so many days I throw away that little hit of happiness because “I have stuff to do.” No matter how much time you have stick to the routine, even for a little bit. You’ll feel happier for it.
I regularly talk with established professional women who tell me that they are starting their first job search. They share that they’ve never looked before because jobs have come to them via a friend or former colleague. “I’ve been really lucky and have never had to look for a job,” they say. I disagree wholeheartedly with that statement. These are women who have grown their network, kept in touch and proven themselves to be reliable, smart and professional, so they are called on when a job opens up where their expertise could be put to work. That’s not luck, it’s building and maintaining relationships, so people think of them when opportunities arise. Let’s talk about how you can position yourself to be one of the ‘lucky’ ones, too.
Have you ever heard someone say that networking is farming, not hunting? Take a moment to think about the images this phrase brings up. Hunting is quick. You find your target, aim, shoot and you’re done. You’ll never have to revisit that same experience. It provides instant gratification and if you miss, another opportunity is just around the corner.
Farming, on the other hand, is a long game. You plant lots of seeds, probably over a period of time, and you make sure they get the right amount of sunlight, nutrients, and water. There’s a lot you can control and a lot of variables to consider, too. Will there be an early frost? A drought? Lots of rain and sunshine? Some seeds will never take root, while others will grow.
Let’s talk about some tools to be the best damn farmer you can be!
Find the right spot
Where are you likely to find people with whom you’d like to start a professional relationship? Be yourself and seek out organizations and events that fit your personality and communication preferences. Do you prefer a lot of structure? Try speed networking. Enjoy a cocktail party? Mixers are an easy fit. Prefer longer conversations? Some organizations, like Six Degrees Society (obvs!), create a curated networking experience, matching you with others who have similar backgrounds or interests. Your event is out there, I promise, you just need to put in a little effort to find it.
By the way, this doesn’t mean it has to be a structured networking event. Having a professional relationship with someone doesn’t mean you can’t have a personal one, too. It doesn’t even need to be an in-person meeting. You could find people with whom you want to have a professional relationship at the gym, a dinner party, or listening to a podcast. The key is keeping your eye out for connections and following up (which we’ll get to a bit later.)
Plant the seed
We’ve found the spot and are ready to plant seeds. Now what? How do you initiate the conversation or get people to notice you? Try these approaches:
In Person: At the beginning of a professional relationship, like any relationship, try to get to know the person you’re meeting. Ask lots of questions and be sure not to dominate the conversation with your needs. Don’t forget to exchange information and promptly send a ‘nice to meet you’ note.
Email: If you’ve identified someone you want to reach out to via email, first see if you know someone in common. A common connection who can make a warm introduction will increase the chances that the recipient will respond. Keep the email short and to the point. Mention how you know them, why you’d like to connect and days/times that might work. You are more likely to get a response from a simple request than a big ask.
LinkedIn: Don’t underestimate the impact of a personalized invitation. Many professionals will not accept a generic LinkedIn request from someone they don’t know and it’s no way to start a relationship. It’s like asking for someone’s phone number before you even introduce yourself. You only have 300 characters to personalize your invite, so a quick hello and a bit of information about why you want to connect to the person should suffice. Remember, this is just the beginning.
Leadership Roles: You can get a new group of people to notice you by taking on a leadership role in an organization. These roles will allow you to meet and get to know other professionals and show you as a person of authority. It gets your name out there in a new way with the backing of a trusted brand. This could be a professional organization, nonprofit or even a sports team.
Information Sharing: Consider forming a group, writing or speaking about your area of expertise. It will show you as an authority and your message will come across in a new medium. Rather than you speaking for yourself all of the time, your writing is there as a resource for others. These are also great resume builders to demonstrate your skills and knowledge.
Food and Water
This is the place where the difference between hunting and farming really comes into play. It’s time to nurture the relationship you began, so you stay top of mind and relevant to your new connection.
Send updates: If someone has made an introduction or offered advice, send them a follow-up note to let them know how things are going. I take around 2-3 informational interviews per month and oftentimes follow them up with an introduction or email resource. I’d estimate that only 10% of people reach out with a thank you or update on how the information I provided was put to use. That’s a wasted opportunity to ask me for help again down the line. If someone has demonstrated a propensity to help you or provide introductions, chances are to is not a one-time thing. Nurture the relationships that are fruitful from the beginning. It could be something as simple as going to a restaurant that the person recommended and saying what a great meal you had. A little acknowledgment goes a long way.
Provide value: If you don’t have an update to share, but want to remain on someone’s radar on a regular basis, consider sending an article that you think they’d find useful or a comment on a piece of industry news. Don’t overthink it, the note doesn’t have to be long or complex; it’s simply a thoughtful check-in that keeps you top-of-mind.
Make connections: Connect those who you think would benefit from knowing each other. With permission, send a quick note introducing the parties and sharing a bit about why you think they would be valuable resources for one another. If they hit it off, they have you to thank as their professional matchmaker. Help others grow and tune into their needs so you can connect them when you see opportunities. Hopefully, they’ll do the same.
Email those you’re thinking about: This sounds simple, but it really is meaningful to reach out to those you are thinking about. It could be as simple as ‘Hi Tina, I went to a Six Degrees Society event last night and thought of you. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since we met at their Los Angeles launch. I hope you’re doing well. Best regards, Maria’
Like/Comment/Share: A great way to stay top-of-mind with your professional contacts is to keep up with them on social media. Like, comment or share their content. They will be reminded of your name and grateful for the acknowledgment and boost to their profile. If you comment on a very popular post, it could prompt another set of people to look at your profile, too – back to planting those seeds, right?
Watch it grow
As I mentioned earlier, farming is the long game and you can’t measure progress in job interviews. The benefits you get from relationship building and long-term networking will come in the form of information, connections, and resources. You might not see results immediately, but keeping in touch with your professional contacts in a thoughtful way will surely expand your reach, expertise, and chances of being one of those ‘lucky’ people who are approached about job opportunities, rather than conducting a traditional search.
Alyson is passionate about helping people advance their careers and find jobs they will enjoy. As a career coach, she partners with her clients to identify their strengths and create a path toward a more fulfilling career. Alyson also provides support for interview preparation, salary negotiations and performance reviews, ensuring her clients present themselves and their goals in the best possible light. Learn more at www.alysongarrido.com.
An estimated 3 million of the 22 million U.S. small businesses in 2000 were couple-owned. More couples are going into business together than ever before.
It’s not just power couples with big bank accounts. I’m witnessing the rising trend in my own under-30 friend group. Close friends, power couples, two people who are crazy about each other who share passions and life goals come up with an innovative idea and BAM! Before they can even think of making human babies, they’re coparenting a business baby.
But the #marriedpreneur lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Below I share 7 Fundamental Laws to Live By to Have a Successful Business AND a Happy Marriage. Discover if it’s for you, how to make it work, and how to recognize if the time comes to call it quits.
7 Fundamental Laws to Live By and How to Have a Successful Business AND a Happy Marriage
DISCLAIMER: If you and your partner already have near break up fights over cooperating on small projects, like divvying up household chores or deciding where you’ll spend your 2-week vacation, entering a serious business venture may not be the best idea. Which leads us to Fundamental Law to Live By numero uno…
1. Know yourself.
Before we got married, my then fiancé and now hubby, Jorge and I decided to put our relationship through the ultimate test: cohabitation. Living together, we quickly discovered we were compatible partners – in life and shortly after, in business.
We began our professional collaboration with freelance projects. He developed and designed websites, I wrote the copy for them.
It was my senior year of college. I had returned home from studying abroad in Madrid with a Spaniard on my arm. Taking a full course load, working two jobs and planning a spontaneous wedding with one month’s notice, I quickly learned we were an excellent match. Working so well together in the physical and digital realms made the transition from couple to couple and business partners a natural one for us.
2. Divide and conquer.
Figure out each other’s strong suites.
Jorge and I compliment each other nicely. We always have. He loves to cook, I can’t even stir the sauce because of a fear of the volcanic-like juices popping up and burning me. Jorge despises washing, hanging and folding laundry, while I don’t mind the methodic process. He cleans the bathroom, I clean the kitchen.
He’s the night owl, the crazy coder working his magic behind the scenes. I’m more of the face and voice of the company, crafting our content, networking, and selling. He does the tech, I translate it into human speak for our clients.
We’re two key forces that drive our business. We have a small team but we are the engine and software that keep the gears turning and our virtual business doors open.
We acknowledge what we’re each good at and delegate accordingly.
3. Do “you” – create a space and routine that works for you.
Write. Meditate. Do yoga. Take a break to go out to the yard and shoot a few hoops.
Pick a few hours during the day to do something exclusively for you. Jorge has his uninterrupted time to code the latest app he’s working on for fun from 12-3am (I’m in bed). I’m a morning person, albeit trying to be, and can be found filling the quiet hours of 8-11am with the sound of my fingers furiously clicking away on the keyboard.
4. Create an agreement.
Don’t avoid the hard questions and conversations.
What happens if you and your partner disagree on an important business decision? What happens if one of you wants out of the business, or marriage, one day?
The hubby and I are two equal members in our LLC partnership. When you create your business entity, invest in an operating agreement to detail the worst case scenario. In our agreement, if we find ourselves unable to agree on an important issue, we have a clause that reflects a coin flip. This is a real, legally-binding part of our agreement that our lawyer informed us exists. We have a special clause that states tech-based decisions are his realm and big decisions regarding marketing and content default to me.
5. Separate work from play.
Don’t let business override your relationship.
Schedule date nights and make these nights SACRED. Don’t let client calls, drafting proposals, project work, laundry or family and friends keep you from going out. It’s easy get caught up in work, end up staying in, ordering a pizza and scarfing it down in front of your respective computer screens without so much as a “hey love, how was your day?” That doesn’t count as quality time.
You work hard all week to keep the business running. Your relationship requires that same dedication.
Schedule a date night at your favorite Thai restaurant. Add it to your Google calendar and treat it like a super important client meeting that cannot be rescheduled or interrupted.
Your relationship will thank you.
6. Above all else, never lose respect.
One afternoon in Madrid, just before moving back to NYC to start our business adventures, Jorge and I grabbed afternoon drinks with his mother, Elena. She wisely advised, nunca os faltéis al respeto. Never lack respect for one another. Even if the love fades, if there is respect, you will be okay.
Respect each other, and yourself, enough to recognize when the relationship, marriage or business, isn’t working anymore. It’s ok to say, I’m sorry I don’t love you anymore. To the business or your husband.
When a life-business partnership works, it’s a beautiful thing. When it doesn’t, it’s ok to call it quits, exit safely and move on to the next adventure.
A final note…
There’s one fundamental question I ask myself before collaborating with a client, partner, associate or friend.
Would I grab a beer with them?
If the answer is no, then I most likely wouldn’t enjoy working with them.
Jorge isn’t just my husband. He is my boyfriend, lover, business partner, advisor, mentor, language teacher and student, travel buddy and best friend.
If there’s something I couldn’t accomplish with him, I couldn’t imagine accomplishing it with anyone else.
Originally from Queens, New York, Jamie Caroccio is a poet, sheep-lover, world traveler and business owner. She studied Creative Writing and Spanish at St. Lawrence University where she participated in the study abroad program in Madrid, Spain for a year. While studying abroad, she met the Madrid-born man that is now her husband. After moving back to Madrid for a year to teach English, she returned to NYC to co-found a bilingual digital agency, HiSpire with her husband. When she’s not working on building her business and writing content, she can be found traveling, drinking wine and writing poetry.
In 2011, like many recent grads, I embarked on my career journey without a clear picture of what I really wanted to do with my life. Today, I work in public relations and public affairs for Cox Enterprises, a $20 billion media, telecommunications and automotive company, with over 60,000 fellow employees worldwide. As I work on establishing my personal brand, becoming connected to the industry locally, other women often approach me to inquire about my career journey, searching for tips and tricks to “make it” in the PR industry. Looking back, I realize that while I was trying to get my foot in the door, most of the advice that I received was watered down and slightly unhelpful. Therefore, I don’t believe in most of the traditional advice on how to break into this industry. Although it is important to acquire the fundamental skills of the job, you won’t land your dream PR role by simply being a good writer or by knowing how to navigate social media platforms. Here are the top three things I learned while trying to break into public relations:
Don’t sit around and wait. Always do something.
My job search started when I completed my undergraduate degree in 2011; however, after college, I decided to go straight for my master’s degree. This meant that I wasn’t technically under pressure to find a full-time job immediately. The reality of job hunting didn’t hit me until I completed my masters in 2013 and I couldn’t find a job in my field. Speaking of ‘my field,’ after some soul searching and downright confusion, I finally figured out that I wanted to work in Public Relations but I had no idea where to start. Quite frankly, I went to school for something slightly unrelated to PR – international affairs. I met so many dead ends and closed doors while job hunting but my personality and drive didn’t allow me to sit around and do nothing. In 2013, I went back to the drawing board and interned my butt off. This gave me the opportunity to test the waters with several areas of public relations, learning what aligned with my skills and interests. At that time, the variety of experience on my resume made me uncomfortable because I assumed employers would be turned off, thinking I was confused and inconsistent. Instead, I soon learned that employers were impressed with the scope of knowledge that I would be able to bring to the table. Little did I know, by staying busy and diversifying my resume, I made myself more marketable as an ‘employee of choice. ‘In her book, The Power Playbook, LaLa Anthony discusses the power of persistence. She writes`, “You do seem way more attractive to people when you’re not standing still waiting…No one wants to get on a train that’s not moving.” Based on my personal experience, this is my favorite piece of advice to offer. No matter how stuck or confused you ever feel in your career, never allow yourself to be idle.Do something. During my time in limbo, I worked in retail management, did some style blogging on the side and interned for several PR firms. Retail taught me how to build relationships, blogging taught me how to create and manage content, and my internships gave me the industry knowledge that I needed. You never know where that something will be beneficial to you in your future.
Establish your personal brand
It is important that you identify those gems that make you stand out from the hundreds – maybe thousands – of other equally qualified candidates/professionals in your field. This advice stands even after you’ve hit the jackpot and landed your dream role. If you want to continue to grow and thrive, you must establish your personal brand. Ask yourself these questions:
1) What three words would my friends use to describe me?
2) What knowledge do I have to offer?
3) What are my top three values and do I exude them to people around me?
Recently, a top female executive at Cox shared some insight on her phenomenal 35-year career with the company. She discussed a difficult boss that she reported to when she started her career with the company. She explained that she had to establish her personal brand and leverage that identity to help her overcome the situation with that boss. By demonstrating her values and her worth within the company and staying true to her authentic self, she could establish and maintain meaningful relationships. If you wear your brand as your armor, you are bullet proof to negativity. It doesn’t matter where I work and what the functions of my job are, people will always know that I am fashionable, always willing to help where I can, I am obsessed with social media and I love to eat! A big mistake professionals make is pretending to be something they are not at work. In no way does this mean one should throw professionalism out of the door, this means allowing yourself to bring your authenticity to the table. You never know where those quirks that you are hiding can be helpful to you in your career.
Revisit your idea of mentorship
When most of us are asked to seek mentorship, we envision a formal relationship, in which we schedule weekly check-in meetings, accompanied by very defined agendas. Although this cadence is extremely beneficial, for most, it can be daunting. It often feels like a weekly job interview or performance review. Personally, I’ve had several mentors throughout my career – some who probably didn’t realize that I recognized them as a mentor. I have mentors for different aspects of my life – none of which I have a formal mentor/mentee relationship with. I’ve accomplished what I have so far by observing and soaking in knowledge from women – and men – that I’ve been blessed to work with and for. I believe there is value in the traditional mentor/mentee relationship, but the truth is, most professionals are busy and lack the time for those frequent one-on-ones. Get creative! Follow your mentor on social media and take notes. How is he/she managing their personal brand, what type of events are they attending, what brands are they following, which blogs are they reading and what news are they following. While I don’t think we should debase the importance of building and maintaining personal relationships, I strongly believe that there is also significant power in simply observing and taking notes.
The secret sauce to a successful career in PR is to always remain a doer. The very nature of the job requires that one is constantly in the know and on the go. Seek new opportunities, manage your personal brand and learn as much as you can from peers and leaders around you.
Joanna Coker, M.A. is a communications professional who has worked across various industries, developing compelling content and creating communications strategies that connect a brand to its target audience. A Hoosier girl turned Georgia peach, Joanna enjoys exploring the City of Atlanta’s many great resources and amenities, including its parks, shopping centers and constantly evolving restaurant scene. As a textbook Millennial, Joanna enjoys taking selfies, engaging in gif conversations, and rooftop dining with friends. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.