Cheers To The Side Hustle!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, Career, Happiness, Stephanie, Success, Uncategorized

~ by Stephanie Harbison ~

I can’t believe it’s already mid-February, and more so that it is 2017! I had a nice reminder that my 15-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, which makes me think back to the days when I was singing along to N’Sync as I cruised around town in my little red Nissan Maxima. Those were the days!

Actually, it really makes me think of how different my life is than it was 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago! And that’s not a bad thing. I actually get really excited for the New Year to roll in so I can have that feeling of a fresh start and start drafting an ideal plan of what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months.

This year I decided to start on a new adventure in a side business, aka “side hustle” with Stella & Dot. If you’ve never heard of it, just think super cute, trendy, versatile jewelry and accessories. I never saw myself entering the world of direct sales, but then again, I have to eat my words pretty frequently.

But really, I realized I could make it about so much more than selling something or even about jewelry. I could use this as an opportunity to connect with other women and offer them something that makes us all feel beautiful! I was a little nervous as I started because it was a new industry for me, and I didn’t know how my professional skills would translate into this kind of business.

However, there are several main skills that have crossed over perfectly from the work I have done as a financial rep and as a recruiter! And I believe they transfer from any industry really.

The first one is prospecting. Any time you have a product to sell or a service to offer, prospecting for potential customers is going to be one of the most important things you do. Just as I work to identify my ideal candidate to recruit in my role at Northwestern Mutual, in my work with Stella & Dot I identify my ideal customer, then aim to locate as many of them as possible. This might be through personal connections I already have, friends of friends, or people in the community I want to meet.

Prospecting, a key transferable skill …

A great way to start prospecting is to list all the different networks you have (work, school, church, sports teams, family, your volunteer network, etc.) then start writing down as many names as possible. You will be surprised you know many more people than you thought!

Networking: fun and crucial to success

So how do you get introduced to people who you want to meet, or potential customers you don’t know yet? That is where networking comes in. The Business Dictionary defines networking as “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question ‘How can I help?’ and not with ‘What can I get?’”

In other words, this is something that takes time and is going to be based upon building mutually beneficial relationships. However, it also can be as simple as being willing to introduce one of your personal connections to someone who is able to do the same for you.

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s all about who you know,” right? Well the more people you know, the more resources you have to help you, especially when you are willing to do the same.

The next part of building a direct sales business, that I have learned so far, is to make contact with all of the people on that big list you developed. That really can be the hardest part. We all start thinking of the objections we are going to hear, so we might make excuses for why we shouldn’t reach out. I am so guilty of this!

The fact is, you are going to hear “NO” in sales … A LOT. But for every “no” you hear, you are one call (or text, or email, etc.) closer to a “yes.” It is the same way working in the financial industry, recruiting or trying to schedule a jewelry party. Objections are a part of selling a product or service, but you’ll never hear “yes” unless you muster up the courage to make that call!

For anyone who ever has thought about entering the world of direct sales, you may be surprised to find out you are joining 20 million other Americans as well. You can see why! It allows people to work from home, on their own schedules, and experience a virtually unlimited income.


However, it also doesn’t come without its challenges. While it’s been a great way for me to transfer my skills from other industries and experiences, it’s also hard work. But I’m super excited for the challenge, I love meeting and connecting with new people. Plus, I have so much fun every time I get to share Stella & Dot’s amazing style with someone new. Cheers to the side hustle!

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin

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Halliwell in Hollywood: Bylines + Beach Volleyball = Bliss

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Entertainment, Internship, Kate

When I wrote this, it was July 4th weekend, which meant I have only three weeks left in my internship at IndieWire. And now only two!!

How is that possible?

Time here has flown by, mostly in part to really loving my work and the people I work with. I started my second month here with a slight change in routine, as IndieWire hired a new TV editor and therefore ran out of room for us on the sixth floor of the PMC building. We started last week on the eighth floor, which is the primary one for Variety Magazine.

Another example of Variety’s office décor.
Another example of Variety’s office décor.

I was a little nervous about getting to know a whole new group of people, but it helped that I had already made some Variety friends at a networking event the weekend before.

And by networking event, I mean the company beach volleyball team. I’ve been looking for reasons to get outside and be active, and when I heard PMC had organized a weekly beach volleyball team for all interested employees, I signed right up! I played volleyball in high school and still play recreationally at IU, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get to know people.

After a decisive victory on Sunday at Santa Monica beach, I had no trouble getting settled on the Variety floor last week. I’m also working closely with one of my beach volleyball teammates on a project concerning the recent additions to the Academy voters index.

I’m not one for formal networking events, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet people in a beach volleyball league!
I’m not one for formal networking events, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet people in a beach volleyball league!

Even though I’m enjoying getting to know people at Variety, I do miss my IndieWire friends, and I’ve tried to use any opportunity to go back down to the sixth floor and visit.

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Free food truck day at PMC!

PMC has provided various opportunities in the past week to get employees together, from free food truck days to the last round of Emmy campaigns, so it’s been fairly easy to hang out with IndieWire people at work despite the change in location.

As the last few weeks of my internship approach, I’m doing my best to learn about the ins and outs of interviewing celebrities and covering events. My boss is working on setting up an interview for me with Walton Goggins of HBO’s “Vice Principals” (you probably know him from basically every Tarantino movie ever or “Justified” on FX), so hopefully that will happen in the next week or so.

Hanging with coworkers in the Amazon FYC trailer.
Hanging with coworkers in the Amazon FYC trailer.

For the project on Academy members that I mentioned above, I also have been given access to contact information for all AMPAS members, and we have to add contact information for all the new additions. It’s the weirdest thing — I now have a spreadsheet of contact information for everyone from Brad Pitt to Cate Blanchett.

Granted, about 75% of the numbers and emails are just for their publicists, but about a quarter of the AMPAS members on the list have their home or cell numbers listed, along with personal email addresses. And it’s not just the B-list celebs that have their home numbers on there: people like Ben Affleck and Will Smith have their personal cell phone numbers listed!

So yeah, that was a weird day at work.

I currently have 45 bylines for IndieWire in the 5 weeks I’ve worked for them, which is way more than I expected. I’m looking forward to adding to that list and starting some new projects in the time I have left here.

Ava Duvernay messaged me directly on Twitter to thank me for this article. She’s one of my favorite directors working today, so that was pretty exciting. What a lady!
Ava Duvernay messaged me directly on Twitter to thank me for this article. She’s one of my favorite directors working today, so that was pretty exciting. What a lady!

I’ll keep you all posted on all the new, hopefully exciting things that happen at work before I head back home to Indiana.

by Kate Halliwell | email | twitter

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It’s A Numbers Game

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Hannah, Internship, Public Relations, Success

I have heard my father say the phrase, “It’s a numbers game” to me countless times throughout my life in reference to everything and anything. Applying to college was a numbers game in that the more schools you applied to, the more acceptance letters you were likely to get. This helps to explain why I applied to 10 schools (with a special shout-out to Indiana University for winning me over).

It was this same numbers game mentality that came into major effect when I was applying for internships for the summer after my junior year. Having growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then attending school in Bloomington, Indiana, I had become a well-seasoned (no pun intended) Midwesterner, prompting me to want to see what else was out there. Aside from my desire to go somewhere new, the delicious tacos and having an older sister living there drew me to Austin, Texas.

During the early spring of my junior year, I was open to anything communications oriented including public relations, advertising, marketing, branding, etc. Although Austin may seem very specific in and of itself, I wound up reaching out to more than 100 companies in search of an internship. Some of the companies said they wanted an intern and had an official application; others I contacted by sending an email to their “info@” or “hello@” addresses saying who I was and what I wanted to do.

After the first batch of applications and emails, I heard back with a yes or no from only about 20% of companies. This was not the most encouraging statistic I have ever achieved, but being the youngest of three daughters, I was not to be ignored. I reached back out and followed up with all of the companies I hadn’t heard back from originally in hopes of getting more replies. I kept track of all of this by creating a document with the name of the company, information about them, the date I contacted them, date of follow up, etc.

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I sent yet another email in the form of a reply so that the original email with my resume attached was convenient for the recipient. This email was just a follow up in which I also mentioned that I would be making a trip to Austin in the near future and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with them, even if it was just for the sake of making a connection. To my satisfaction, this sparked more interest and promoted more responses. I guess the fact that I went to school in Indiana also confused some people as I also received several emails making sure I knew their company was based in Austin.

I did wind up making a trip to Austin at the beginning of April and managed to line up 10 meetings throughout the Friday and Monday I was in town. Of those 10, seven were for internship interviews and the other three were simply about networking. By the end of that week, I had four offers of which I wound up choosing two. Neither internship was going to pay me so I figured I might as well get twice the experience and make twice the connections.

I was a public relations intern for Giant Noise, a lifestyle PR agency, every morning of the summer and an intern at Do512, a media promotions company, every afternoon.
I was a public relations intern for Giant Noise, a lifestyle PR agency, every morning of the summer and an intern at Do512, a media promotions company, every afternoon.

As you can see it really is a numbers game. I started off contacting 100+ companies, ultimately received responses, both positive and negative, from about 40, met with 10, got four offers and ended up having two internships in one summer. If you limit the number of people you reach out to, companies you contact, etc., then you in turn are limiting yourself of potential opportunities to thrive!

 

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram

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