Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Day In The Life Of SPANX Queen, Sara Blakely!!

Sara Blakely is the creator of SPANX, an asset enhancing undergarment company.
She launched SPANX in 2000, and it has been a "BFF" to women everywhere!
In 2012, Sara was featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine as one of the "Richest People On The Planet."
Below Sara gives me a peak at a day in her very busy life!!
My completed to-do list for a day in September:
1. Met with contractors about designing the new Spanx headquarters.
2. Interviewed with Glamour Magazine for an article about entrepreneurs and tips on how to make money.
3. Met with the Spanx international team and discussed getting SPANX on women around the world.
4. Test fit the new Spring 2009 products, loved the two new additions to the Bra-llelujah collection, and gave my feedback to our fit stylist.
5. Met with my CEO Laurie Ann Goldman to discuss details for Spanx off-site business planning.
6. Went to lunch with my husband, Jesse Itzler.
7. Went to a brainstorm meeting, where a few other employees and I got creative, laughed a bunch, and came up with some fun product names for our younger brand ASSETS.
8. Wrote a thank you note to a model from QVC who said I had truly changed her life. Her compliment made my entire week! I sent her a note and Spanx gift in appreciation.
9. Joined the entire Spanx team for a party to watch the CNBC Special "The Entrepreneurs," where Spanx was a main feature.
10. Went to dinner with some friends at Houston's. There is nothing that their spinach dip can't cure!
11. Watched E! to get the latest celebrity scoop on the Emmy's. It's always fun if I am watching and someone mentions Spanx on the red carpet!

XOXO Entrepreneur Girl

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hello Everyone,
It has been a pleasure working as an illustrator with finance guru, Lesley-Anne Scorgie, on her fun and informative new book, Well Heeled.
This book will be available April 27th 2014.

A little from Lesley-Anne Scorgie:
Ladies, if you’re looking to get ahead financially Well-Heeled is for you.
Well-Heeled is about empowering young women to take control of their finances and learn to make savvy monetary decisions. No, it doesn’t contain secrets to becoming the ultimate cheapskate. Rather, it provides practical advice on living frugally, planning for the future, balancing financial, career and personal priorities while showing young women simple ways to build their bottom line without sacrificing all of life’s little indulgences. 
Applying the simple concepts discussed in Well-Heeled will help young women create greater options for their future; which is what having money is all about – having the freedom to choose what a young woman wants to do with her life, her time and her money.
The inspiration for Well-Heeled came to me about two years ago while I was reviewing research on how young women make financial decisions and the impact those decisions have on their long term financial security.  Shocked by the dismal statistics showing far too many women being under prepared for retirement and having too much debt, I decided to create the concept for Well-Heeled.
As a young woman myself, I feel very connected with my readers. So I’ve worked hard to address the most pressing financial issues young women face today. I’m excited to be releasing Well-Heeled with publisher, Dundurn Press, and look forward to inspiring young women to reach for their dreams and be able to afford the price tag associated with those dreams.

Follow Lesley-Anne on Twitter: @LesleyScorgie
Follow Natalie Catania on Twitter: @nataliecatania

XOXO Entrepreneur Girl

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cassandra and Kristen of StyleSmoothie

Cassandra and Kristen of the wonderful blog StyleSmoothie, talked with our own Natalie Catania to talk about acting, singing, their passions, and of course, their blog.

Cassandra: I have wanted to be an actress since I was three years old. I would see other kids on TV and say, “I want to do that! I know I can do that.” I bugged my parents forever to get me into acting, and when I was eight they signed me up for dance lessons. I was so excited because finally I had this creative outlet, and I loved dancing and doing recitals. That turned into me auditioning for plays and musicals in my town. I grew up in Connecticut where we had a pretty good community site where I did plays and musicals up through middle school. I was fairly close to New York City so it was really east for me to have access to agencies and professional auditions and stuff like that. When I was 13 I started going for professional auditions like commercials and voiceover and TV pilots. I have been a professional actor since then. 
I knew early on what I wanted to do, though I never actually thought I was going to be an actor after I graduated college. I knew that it was a really hard industry to make it in and only 1% of people actually make a living. I thought I was going to be a magazine editor, I studied journalism and I wanted to do that, but after I graduated, the magazine industry wasn’t going that well and it was really hard to find those jobs. I started booking a lot of voice over work and it turned into my career once I saw that I could make a living doing that, and I was good at that.
I decided to focus all my energy on that and then do writing on the side, I still really do love writing, I love photography, and that’s why I love doing the blog because it gives me a creative outlet. Occasionally I do write for other places; I write for, I am the prom and formal dances editor there and sometimes I write for other publications, but voice over has been my main gig for a couple of years now.

Kristen: I know as I kid I always loved writing; I would just make up short stories all the time. I would even write and illustrate my own comics. When I was about 12, I started writing poetry and I really got into that, I just loved everything about poetry. I found myself singing what I was writing; I would just sit in my room and come up with melodies. I would sing these poems subconsciously turning them into songs. When I was 14 I asked my dad if he would teach me how to play guitar, I thought maybe it would be something I would do once in a while. Once he started teaching me how to play chords, he was really excited because it was something that he and I were doing together. I did it every day; before I’d go to school I would practice playing chords or write songs; in my notebook while I was in school, it was always something that I was thinking about and wanting to do. I loved performing in front of people too, I loved when people would listen to me play and sing. It was really cool because I was able to put music to the words I was writing. I got really involved in paying in the church band, I would go play in homeless shelters, I would play in children’s homes – anywhere that I could play. I really liked doing that because these people don’t have the best lives and being able to put a smile on their face, I loved that.
When I was a little older, I started asking people who could book me to play shows in coffee shops, music venues, anything, I just started booking my own work, just really fell in love with it and any opportunity that came my way I tried to conquer it. 

Kristen: I remember when we came up with the idea for the blog, it was in my old apartment and Cassandra and I were sitting in my room. We were talking about how we have fun taking photos together and Cassandra had a lot of photo projects and sometimes she would ask me to model for her. We had all these ideas of things we wanted to do. I think at the time we thought it would be something that we would do a few times a week for fun, and now it is something that keeps us really busy.

Cassandra: We were hanging out all the time, and it was a random idea one day. For the past couple of months we decided to put more and more energy into it. It is slowing growing and getting an audience. We did it because we are friends who like to hang out at the beach and take photos all the time. It’s kind of cool to see that people like it and are responding to it.
If someone wants to start a blog, I would say just do it. First of all it’s so easy to start up, you don’t even really need to be a computer programmer to start, it’s super easy. Just sign up for WordPress or Blogger, and then all of a sudden you have a blog. Then I would say just post stuff that you’re really interested in with your personality because that is what will make it very unique, and then promote it a lot, the more we promote it, the more followers we get – don’t be shy about getting your name out there!

Kristen: We try to go to a lot of events in LA to promote the blog, either fashion or beauty or any event that we think there will be people there that would be interested in our blog. We will go and hand out cards; we use Instagram a lot to promote the blog. 

Cassandra: We tweet and Facebook all of our posts, we got postcards made that are just StyleSmoothie postcards so we are going to start leaving those in cool place and giving them out to people. A lot of it is word-of-mouth; especially Kristen’s friends or one person will tell another person and another person and of her friends that didn’t know before would be like, “Oh you guys have a blog together.” It gets people talking, if you are really excited about it and you talk about it a lot, I think the enthusiasm will catch on. 

Kristen: A lot of girls do fashion-type blogs. Add your personality in there and do something different. Cassandra and I focus mostly on the whole southern beach culture, like surfing and skating, so we add in something different. 

Cassandra: In addition to outfits, we have recipes, and if we go to an event or an art gallery opening, we will write about that too. We do have a lot of style posts, but we try to mix it up with cultural posts too.

Kristen: Every day is very different from the previous one. I write every day even it if is something I’m not going to use, it could be something like a poem or a song or something for the blog, and I live super close to the beach and I think I go skate on the boardwalk every day; that’s my workout which is nice, I hang out with my friends. Cassandra and I are really close and we see each other a lot so whenever we hang out, I feel like we are always making smoothies or coming up with other recipes together, stuff like that. 

Cassandra: I live in Hollywood and Kristen lives in Huntington Beach so I’ll drive there in the morning right after LA traffic, then we’ll go to a health bar which is our favourite place to eat in Huntington Beach, they have amazing soup and these sandwiches that are stacked really high with everything like chicken salad and avocado and sprouts. So we’ll get a huge salad and we’ll spit that then we usually go back to her place and get all our outfits together that we want to shoot for the blog, cause we’ll shoot a bunch of outfits at a time so we’ll have a lot of posts lined up. Then we will style our makeup and hair and all the clothes and we’ll wander around Huntington, Kristen’s apartment, the beach, and we’ll look for cool locations and start shooting. Usually we will come up with ideas while we are shooting, this one would be good on a long board, or this one maybe we should jump in the air.

Kristen: We will go surfing and skating and we will wear ourselves out.

Cassandra: Those are the best days; when we are done we’ll just go to the beach and skate around and skate downtown on our longboards. Sometimes we’ll ride our bikes too, sometimes we get dinner or ice cream and then we are exhausted and then we make up dances in Kristen’s studio and we film ourselves doing that. Then we post them on vine. I swear we are really fun! Then at the end of the day I’ll drive back to LA – that’s a typical Saturday. 
During the week, I am running around going to a million auditions. On the weekend I really try to unplug and enjoy southern California because there is so much to do. During the week it can get crazy because I am a freelancer so I’m either running to auditions or going to recording sessions. I was writing and taking photography classes for a while with a million things were going on. It’s really all abut time management and keeping a calendar. I have one that hooks up to my computer and to my phone and that is the most important tool I have. I used to schedule things on top of each other and only give myself a half hour to get from one place to the next, which is not the best idea. I’ve learned to take an hour lunch every day no matter what I’m doing, just to sit, eat, and relax before I dive into the next thing.

Kristen: Sometimes I’m in the studio and sometimes I’m doing writing, and I’ll do just modeling; I have started modeling more a lot recently, I book a lot during the week. Even yesterday I did a really fun retro shoot for skateboards, I find a lot of people book me for that California look so I’m always doing modeling with surfing or skating, but it’s really fun because it’s what I love to do. I feel like I do a lot of casting calls for modeling gigs and I try to have some time every day to practice on my guitar so I can keep learning and getting better at my art. 
My favourite thing to do is singing, more so performing for the people and also the blog too because we are doing it together, it’s not something I’m doing on my own. Because there are two of us, we come up with more ideas and I feel like we have gotten closer by doing the blog together. It’s really cool when you can start a project with one of your best friends.

Cassandra: My favourite thing about doing voice overs is seeing the finished project, I like being able to watch it on TV and be like, “Oh my god, that’s my voice!” That never gets old. I get really excited every single time. Also meeting fans of the shows, it’s really cool because recording voice overs you are alone inside a padded room. I am usually not even with the other actors and I kind of feel like who is watching this? It’s a strange experience. Meeting fans and getting feedback from them is always incredible and very humbling. My favourite thing about the blog is being able to be with Kristen and spending time together; that is the most fun part of it. We went to beauty con in LA and that was really fun to be able to talk to people who are really into discovering new blogs. 

XOXO Entrepreneur Girl

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Something Might Happen Children's Book By Natalie Catania

Hi Lovelies!
I am writing this blog post to let you know about a book I have been working on for the past year. It has been an entrepreneurial dream of mine to publish my own children's book.
Today it is available to everyone!!!

Something Might Happen; The making of a children's book in pics and videos:

video video

Thanks soo much!!!
XOXO Entrepreneur Girl

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tara McPherson; Rise to Success!

    As a girl, I was independent, proud of my femininity and of being a woman, you know, and not being scared to do things that girls would normally do.

   When I was younger, I always went to art magnet schools; in junior high I went to a performing arts magnet that did music, acting and graphic design. In high school, I went to a specifically visual arts magnet program, got really into photography, and I still did all the art classes.

    During college, I took one term off to intern with Matt Groening on Futurama. I enjoyed it very much, and it was a paid internship too, which was the most money I had ever made in my life!

   I assisted the character and prop designers, the directors, and the producers; I did scanning, faxing, organizing and looked for scenes, stuff like that. I absorbed tons, I learned a lot about colour pallet and colour theory.

   I loved school. I could have been in school forever, working really well with deadlines within a structured environment, which translates really well to being a freelance artist. You have to work within the parameters art directors and galleries give you. There are many artists who don't like that environment who do wonderfully well on their own. Gary Basemen never went to college, I know that, but he has this crazy obsessive drive in his personality, so it works. There are lots of people that have talent, tons and tons, but it takes that extra something to have the drive and the ambition to really go far. It’s hard to work so much, you have to say no to a lot of things. Basically, you have to give up your life, you know, these things aren’t going to paint themselves.

  I graduated in 2001.  While I was in school, I was already doing art shows and freelance work. My schedule for the past 15 years has been working 15 hour days and not having a life-you have to say no to those fun parties, dinners, and movie nights that all your friends are going to.

   It was definitely hard sacrificing my social life for my career but you get a payoff in a different way.  I get invited to go to Europe or I can do a book tour for six weeks, travel around, and that's work, too!  I am really social so that was hard for me, but moving to New York. This city works for me because I can work 15 hours until three in the morning and I can still go out and meet my friends for another hour or so and have a few drinks and unwind before I went to bed. I’d talk to my friends, so I felt like I had a fuller life. Usually after a solo show I will take a month or two off, because those solo shows are really intense to work on and I will travel or I will set aside time between deadlines to go travel if I am doing an event or a small art show somewhere.

  In the beginning-to sell my work and myself I started calling around to galleries. I didn't mail them anything. I didn't do postcard mailings to art directors or anything like that, because I never really did editorial illustration.  It doesn't pay that well and the turn around time is so fast, I never really ended up enjoying it. I started taking out adds in Juxtapose magazine, for selling my prints and little merchandise I was making.  That really helped because even though I wasn't in the magazine, you know, featured, people didn't even pay attention to that, they would just say oh I saw your Juxtapose, meanwhile I was paying to be in there, but it worked. It helped with recognisability. I also started working in comics, I would go to comic conventions and have a little table and meet people and have my prints. I did that for years and years and years. Then I got an email from an editor at Vertigo DC Comics about doing comic book covers and that was a big factor in helping me gain some popularity and helped my fine art career blossom.  Then I started doing rock posters, and that was a really great and unexpected surprise!

A Day in the Life:

Emails were already checked; I'm going to head over to The Cotton Candy Machine, an art boutique my boyfriend and I just opened. We show all my stuff and other artists’ merchandise that’s affordable. We don't consider ourselves a gallery; we’re not into selling thousand dollar paintings, the market is affordability-we want everyone to be able to buy prints, small pieces of artwork, t-shirts, and art books. We have monthly art shows with really fun, really cool artists that we want to work with.
 I am actually co-curating an art show in Rome at the Dorothy Circus Gallery. It is a charity sale, so half the profits are going to get donated to Green Peace and Oceana. I have some of the paintings that got shipped to the store, so what I have to do is, run over to the store and grab those, and then I have to bring them over to my art studio, scan them, scan my piece, and then bring them back to the store to get them shipped out.  Then I am going to come back home.  Maybe I'm going to meet my friend for tea, we'll see if there is time for that, and then I am going to come back home and work on the drawing for paintings I have to finish in a couple weeks, so I will be drawing and working out those ideas and figuring out what I can do, how I can make it look as badass as possible within the time frame. I have to answer a small interview for a magazine, and I have to make a little postcard for our next show at the Cotton Candy Machine.  We need to make the flyer for that and get that to the printer by five p.m. and I think that might be it for today, we'll see.

Tara’s Advice:

   Email’s are an extremely important thing that you have to stay on top of, and it's hard because they keep coming in and they take forever to answer, you know. I mean, I begin my day checking my emails, and sometimes it takes me four to six hours to get through all my emails, from answering interviews or organizing things, getting back to people figuring out organizing which I am really good at and I enjoy doing, so that benefits my career and I like to do that. It’s a good way to procrastinate when I don't feel like drawing just yet, I think I’ll go through these emails and find good ways to positively procrastinate.
It’s really important to pay attention to the business side of things because that is a huge part. You can live in a fantasy world and just paint in your studio forever and just disregard the rest of it.  No one is going to see your work and no one is going to find you because no one is going to be communicating with you.

Be yourself, be on time, be nice, be courteous, put 110 % into your work and you will have a good relationship with your clients. It never hurts to be able to hang out with them in person, you know, that’s the thing about living in New York or L.A.  I have gotten so many jobs and art shows, and fun things from going to a party and meeting someone, it really happens.  That’s that luck factor I was talking about, it’s being at the right place at the right time. If you want to be in art shows, go to art shows constantly, if you want to work in music, go see bands, meet managers, and immerse yourself in the environment that you want to be in. What really helps, is meeting in person. In line for the toilet making small talk, oh, where do you work? It happens.

xoxo Entrepreneur Girl

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Forbes Women Journalist, Jenna Goudreau! (Fictional story based on Jenna's life)

 Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty drifted from the speakers behind a slightly staggered row of frail ladies with white, neatly quaffed heads. They watched as a group of young girls adorned with bright pink boas performed a ballet, flailing multicolored streamers around the green grass of the backyard. The music ended and one of the ballerinas, Jenna, approached her great-grandmother sitting amongst her best friends. The ladies clapped and handed Jenna and the neighbourhood girls dollar bills while cheering for more.


  Her mother stood over her as Jenna startled awake, a book falling from her chest and bouncing on the floor with a clunk. She must have fallen asleep reading again.  She devoured books from a really young age.

 "Yes?" Jenna answered her mom, as she groggily rubbed the sleep from her eyes and reached down to retrieve her book.

 "There is mail for you," she said, waving a white envelope in front of her.

 "You're kidding!" Jenna said excitedly and snapped awake.

  Jenna had been waiting for weeks to hear if she had gotten into the performing arts high school for which she had auditioned. Jenna gingerly ripped open the envelope, careful not to tear the letter neatly concealed inside. She carefully pulled it out and unfolded it, feeling the smooth paper under her fingertips, really official. A look of dismay swept across Jenna's face.

  "Well, what does it say?" Her mother urged, looking concerned.
Jenna read aloud: Dear Miss Jenna Goudreau, it is our great pleasure to congratulate you and welcome you into the program of Performance Theatre, at the High school for the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida.

  "Weeeee!" Her mother squealed and hugged her daughter tightly. "We have to tell Gigi!" With that, she flitted out the door and down the stairs to the phone.
Gigi was Jenna's great grandmother, whom she had just been dreaming about. Her mother was single and worked long hours trying to make ends meet ever since Jenna was born. She had no other siblings, so she either went to daycare or spent her time with her great grandmother.

"Jenna, Gigi's on the phone! Come down and tell her your news," her mother exclaimed up the stairs.

"Coming!" Jenna bounded out of her room, tightly clutching the letter.

  Jenna was convinced she wanted to be an actor all through grade school and now that she had gotten into a performing arts high school, she was even more convinced.
   As she progressed through her classes having to write and perform her own scripts, Jenna found she had a talent for writing. She almost took it for granted as just something that was really easy for her, but her writing was what she received the most compliments on.
  In her senior year, she realized just how much college was going to cost her, and she started thinking twice about whether it was smart to get an acting degree. Jenna did her research and picked a school that was close to New York, her favorite place in the world. She didn't declare a major right away because she intended to continue her acting on the side.  Jenna then started taking journalism classes thinking, I can write, I'm good at talking to people. Maybe this is a skill I should develop.  She went full force studying Journalism and Sociology at NYU. After a while, she didn't even care about acting anymore. She just left it behind because she started to really love journalism.

 Jenna decided that there were steps that she would have to take if she was going to be in the incredibly competitive world of Journalism. She also felt that having her Journalism degree from NYU was particularly helpful because their program was very well known and the media industry was in NYC. Jenna figured out the steps she needed to take in order to get where she wanted to go and she tackled those goals to the best of her ability.
    Firstly, it was very important for her to acquire internships to get real world experience. She applied to twenty different magazines for the summer between her junior and senior year. One of the publications that accepted her was Business Week.  She took it, not having any interest, really, in business journalism, but because it was a quality publication, she would be paid and it was a full-time gig for three months.
    It was a quick education for Jenna and she got a few written pieces in the magazine.  She also learned a lot about business, the journalism industry and what it's like working day to day in a magazine.
   Next was Ladies Home Journal. This was a completely different experience from Business Week because she was working mostly with women, it was women's content and it was fun!  A lot of fun!
  Jenna's Ladies Home Journal internship ended right as her senior year ended, and she was going on many interviews all over town to see if she could secure a full time job. One of those interviews was for Forbes Women: the magazine.
  The day of the interview finally arrived, Jenna stepped out of her cab in front of a colossal grey building. The words Forbes Magazine was engraved above four pillars that framed the entrance. Her heart skipped a beat as she entered the large front doors and crossed her fingers for luck.
 "And I got it," Jenna declared, holding her cellphone to her ear as she spoke to her mom about the Forbes position.
 "I got an editorial assistant position there, how crazy is that?!"
 "It's the day after you graduated, too," her mother reminded her. Pride oozed from her lips.
 "Yes, and I start next week. So now I have a full time job!" Jenna's voice was full of anticipation and excitement.

One month later:
 Jenna sat on the couch of her apartment in NYC, papers surrounding her.  There was no air-conditioning so she cracked open a window.
 "Jenna!" a  brunette girl yelled. Jenna looked at her phone,
 "You are an hour early."
  "Sorry, the subway was a lot faster than I expected.  Are you going to let me up?"
  "Yeah, just a sec, I’ll buzz you up."
  Jenna pressed a button and waited. Beth had been one of Jenna's neighbours growing up. Jenna was having a reunion party for all the girls with whom she used to perform ballets for her great-grandma.
 A few seconds later her friend Beth showed up at her front door.
 "It is so nice to see you!" They both embraced excitedly.
 Beth paused and peered around the apartment.
  "What's with all the papers?" She was always a little outspoken.
 "I'm working on a story."
 "Oh, right, how is your job at Forbes going?" Beth asked, seating herself at Jenna's kitchen table.
 "I love it!"
 "Elaborate, we do have an hour.  It's four o'clock- just putting it out there."
  Jenna laughed.
  "Ok, so on a day to day basis, I write online pieces, some are feature-driven from idea meetings that my team and I have."
  Jenna started to pick up her notes and put them away in her writing folder.
  "I also work on larger magazine projects, and the annual World's 100 most powerful women list."
 "So exciting." Beth gushed.
 "Which is a lot of fun!  So we work on that, start to finish, the Forbes' Women Team, and we figure out who we're going to consider."
 She pulled out some chips and veggie appetizers, and placed them on the table beside Beth.
  "It's usually a couple of hundred women, then we nail down numbers behind their power, we rank them, we interview them, and we do a whole magazine and online package every year.”
 "So I will assume this is what you are working on now," said Beth, as she picked up a piece of celery, swizzled it in dip and then ate it with a crunch.
 "Yes, and it is my first time so I am really excited!"
  Jenna straightened out her couch and refolded the grey wool throw.
  "I also work on some lists for the magazine like the World's Billionaires, the Richest People in America, and the Celebrity 100," Jenna said energetically.
 "So what is the article you are working on now?" Beth asked curiously.
 "I am in charge of helping with the J-Lo piece this issue."
 Jenna finally sat down beside Beth. "Every day is a little bit different.  Sometimes I will be interviewing someone on camera, sometimes I'll be writing something quickly for the web. Sometimes it's a longer magazine package."
  Jenna put a chip in her mouth.
  "Sometimes I'll be going on TV and talking about some of this stuff.  So it's fun, there's a variety of things to do.  It can be stressful because it's a lot of work, but it's cool."
They were interrupted by Jenna's phone ringing. She answered.
  "Lindsay, hey, yeah, just come on up."
 Jenna hung up the phone, and looked up at Beth with an ear-to-ear grin.
 "Let the party begin."

A Day in the Life:

  I watch The Today Show every morning, so that's a good start.  I read the New York Times every day. I enjoy the New Yorker, I read that.  I've a host of websites that I read. We have the news meeting from 9:30 to 9:45 usually.  That's when all the reporters and editors who are available come in and gather in the centre of the newsroom floor and talk about the headlines and angles on certain stories.
  I might work on an online story, then, tomorrow, in fact, I'm going to have lunch with a celebrity business manager to talk about a possible feature.  In the afternoon, I'll come back, and either finish the web story that I started and post it online, in which case - I do everything.  I put in all the links, I write the headline, I find the photo, then publish it and I promote it on all my social networks.  Then maybe I'll work on a magazine feature for the end of the day, which is the longer term process. I have a group of girlfriends who I solicit for information constantly, you know, "What did your boss do recently that annoyed you?" "How is he dealing with this new colleague?" A lot of that will turn into stories.  "What is it that you're concerned about?"  So their lives become my ideas.
 So that's kind of how it's broken up.

Jenna's Advice:
  Definitely getting a degree in journalism is going to help, because you'll need context, and you'll get a feel for what the work really requires.  It's one of the only degrees that's very hands-on.  Most of my schooling, was spent writing stories all the time. You know, not sitting around and thinking philosophically.  You're going out and interviewing people.
  But it's one of those industries where you don't necessarily need the degree, so if you've already started a career and you're having second thoughts and want to try something else, start a blog.  Bug editors and say, this is my story, do you take freelance assignments, because people like me who accept submissions or editors who are always looking for good content might not take your idea the first few tries; but if you have a really good idea and if you establish relationships, what they're looking for is great writing, great ideas, people who are good at interviewing people, people with access, and so really, you just have to attack things. I mean, this is a ‘doing’ profession, so if you're able to ‘do’, stick with it, and get good stories, and get people on your side.  Then you'll do fine.

xoxo Entrepreneur Girl

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gaby Dalkin, Private chef, Recipe developer, Food stylist/Photographer and Food writer!

Gaby stormed through the hall, frustrated and angry.  She was in her third year of college pre-med and on her way to becoming a doctor, just like everyone else in her family, so that made sense until now. This was the last straw!  She had just finished her organic chemistry class for the day and decided that she hated chemistry so much that that would be her last class.
  “What is it that you want to do?” Her mother sat on the couch across from her. Gaby loved her mother and she would talk to her about everything.

  “Well, I really like the idea of being a part of the fashion world, you know, styling and that end of things.”

  “Whatever makes you happy, Gaby, makes me happy.” Her mother could see that she was stressed and gave her a hug.

   Gaby decided to switch to a business and marketing major and loved it. When she finally graduated college, she moved to LA and quickly got a job in the fashion world.
The job was short-lived because she really was not happy with the company, she loved fashion but the company itself was not a healthy environment.

  “So what are you going to do now, Gaby?” a brunette girl asked while shoveling another mountain of home made avocado dip on her chip.

   “I don’t know-”

  “This dip is delicious, by the way,” a girl wearing a pair of jean shorts and a loose t-shirt said, her mouth half full. “Sorry to cut you off- continue,” she said, wiping her face with a green napkin.

   Gaby stopped for a second, her eyes sparkling as a flash of an idea came to her.

   “I am going to go to culinary school.”

  “Oh my goodness, Gaby, yes, that is perfect!” another girl with short black hair gushed.

  “I’ve always loved cooking for you girls and this would be my opportunity to do something fun,” Gaby said while mixing a beet, corn and quinoa salad. “I’ll do it for the next year and then I can figure out what kind of job I want to have after culinary school.”

  A girl with a blonde ponytail held up her glass. “This deserves a toast. To Gaby!”

“To Gaby,” everyone agreed.

  Gaby fell in love with cooking and got a job as a chef her second year of culinary and pastry school and never looked back.

  As Gaby made herself a quick breakfast, she looked up at her vision board, a place where she put all her goals that she wanted to achieve that year and in five years. It was filled with photos, magazine cutouts and hand-scribbled ideas. She took it all in and heaved a deep breath. Today was the day that she would secure one of her most important potential clients.
As she drove, Gaby went over why she should get the job, a bit of a pep talk to get her into the right headspace.

 “I am an extremely hard worker and I don’t take no for an answer. When I put my mind to something, I am gonna do it and I might not get there immediately.  I might hit a few road blocks but I am going to figure out a way to make it work and to get to where I want to be.”
Gaby’s Biz:
  What’s Gaby Cooking  has three faces: there’s the website,  which is the blog recipe development;  photography food styling, you know, that section of the business, and then there’s the personal chef side of the business.  And then, there are all my clients, you know, I work with clients, for recipe development.  I do photography for them, as well as for the What’s Gaby Cooking website, and I really enjoy that.  I do a lot of travel writing for other people. I like being able to wake up every morning and do something different.

    I just got back from a press trip to Louisiana on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning I was back cooking for a client. On Friday, I was in the studio shooting my cookbook, so I really like being able to do a multitude of things on a daily basis.  It makes me have to stay very organized, which is integral in creating a business.

A day in the life:
(All images courtesy of Gaby Dalkin, What's Gaby Cooking)

Typically, I wake up around five in the morning and go to the gym. I’m home by 7:30 or 8 and I spend, usually, the next two hours going through all my emails, responding to any readers’ questions on my website.  I am an obsessive list-maker.  My calendar is my favorite material possession, I just love it.  I have a list of things I need to get done every day. I cross things off, I move things around and I add things and I delete things.  It’s all over the board! I try to stay focused on this list because that’s how I get the most work done. 
I’ll spend some time in that two hours developing new recipes, testing my kitchen.  Then, I will typically go to the market and do grocery shopping for my client.  I’ll go over to their homes and I’ll cook lunch and prepare dinner and put it in the fridge. 
Right now, I am cooking for Jessica Simpson, I absolutely love her! I have actually been extremely lucky in that it is mostly word of mouth and people hear about me and call me.  I’ll go in for a test day, where I just go in and cook for people and if they like me and they like my food, then, you know, we usually work together.

And then I am usually home by four and I’ll spend some more time recipe-developing, using photos for my website, and then when it gets dark out I do more business side stuff because I can only shoot my photography in natural light.  As the light goes down I am back in front of the computer, answering emails, working on business deals.  It’s really interesting.

  Since I work for myself, I don’t have a normal day- I’m never not working, you know,  a random email from someone comes in a nine o’clock at night and I am, you know, just finishing up dinner, I’ll respond to it. I am a rapid responder. I like to get back to people immediately, because I feel like people’s time is valuable and I appreciate when people get back to me in a timely manner. So, you know there is no end of the work day for me. I’ll work until I need to be done.


Success Advice:
  I would find a mentor, I am really fortunate that I’ve had some amazing mentors, and I still do and I think I always will.  It’s really about building your relationship with people and when you’re comfortable enough with this relationship, asking someone, can you help me, I have these great ideas.  Will you take a few hours every month and kind of guide me? I just want to learn from you. I had a lot of mentors and it was a two-way relationship.  I would do stuff for them also, so it wasn’t just them giving me knowledge and that was really helpful. I’ve made some amazing friends, doing that and people that have helped me, you know, far beyond my wildest expectations just because we have this mutual relationship and they knew that I really valued their opinion.

   I found all my mentors are basically in the food world and I would meet them at different conferences and really develop a relationship with them.  We’d have dinner every once in a while or we’d go get cocktails or I would help them on a photo shoot or I would work with them on a catering job- whatever it was that they were doing.  If they needed my help, I would offer my help.  When I was comfortable enough with them, I would say, hey, and I would just ask people point blank, I would love if you would be my mentor and people have intern started asking me these things and it is so flattering I don’t think people want to say no to that it’s really kind of a great pat on the back. You just feel great when someone asks you to be their mentor. It’s just so nice.

You are going to have to start at the bottom and work your way up, but, you just kind of have to get your feet wet, and grow from there and work hard.  You have to put in your time.  You work super hard and just be pleasant at all times, everyone has to love you and you’ll grow and move up from there.

   Right now, I am working on cookbook all about avocados, I am an avocado fanatic, I just wrapped all the recipe development and the photography for it and it will be out April 2013. My best friend his name is Matt he's an amazing food photographer, he was a huge mentor of mine and we have just become best friends over the years, he and his partner, Adam, who is a food stylist, and the person who gave me my break into food styling, they did the cookbook and I assisted on it. It was a wonderful experience.

In the future:

 I really want to do T.V.  I would love to have my own show. I don’t think it would be a regular cooking show, I want there to be more to it. I would love to write another cook book to expand my platform and get into some online webisodes featured on my website. I would like to start working with more clients on recipe development and really supporting products that I love and produce farmers here in California, who I think need the help and the exposure.
Nobody believes that I’m 25, but I think I have a really good work ethic. I also really like proving people wrong, so if someone says, oh, you can’t do that, I’m like, ok, watch me!

xoxo Entrepreneur Girl