Life is about moments. The moment you find your passion, the moment you decide to follow it and the moment you realize you can actually make money doing it. On this interview with Wendi McGowan Elise, CEO & Founder of Wendistry (think if Picasso met Anna Wintour and they had a tryst with Tory Burch), we dive into how she launched a successful fashion company, an online lifestyle magazine, all the while having one of those marriages that people write novels about. Her unconventional ideas on brainstorming over tacos on cocktail napkins each Tuesday with her dude, to creating a minimally viable product, to how to scale on the cheap, and never paying for advertising, are something any aspiring Karl Lagerfeld should take a listen to.
We talk about how to build your ideal client and define him or her, why even creatives need a process for their day and Sunday night planning sessions with your significant other.
Since I collect words like a collector accumulates china, my favorite quotes from our interview by Wendi were tough to limit...
“Once you hit your forties you figure out who you are supposed to be when you grow up.”
“You have to listen to your inner voice, if you know you have something in you, start feeding what is inside you on the nights and weekends. You have to.”
“You cannot allow the thing into your life that needs to be there, if you are holding on to the other thing that you really hate.”
(On cutting out the things that don’t motivate you.) “You may hate it but it’s the devil you are familiar with and the scariest thing in the world is to let that thing go.”
How Wendi Gets Creative: Made to Measure Channel – Karl Lagerfeld Sketches His Life
The books that built her business:
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Most people go after opportunities the traditional way. They want to get paid, get rich and get noticed but they do it wildly inefficiently. If you want to be in a certain industry you go interview at companies that are related, you major in it in college, you talk to people about how to get into the industry or you go get specialized degrees that cost you thousands (aka our giant college debt problem in the US). Let me show you why you are working much harder than you need to. Instead of going after jobs, let the jobs/opportunities come to you. How do you do that? You become an expert in your space. You get paid to be an influencer. This is not a get rich quick idea, this is you leveraging your unique skill and passion to a profitable and sustainable end. Think you don't have what it takes? In this episode with Girl Power Hour Radio, I talk about the five steps you can take right now to know more, in one week, than 99.9% of the population knows on your subject matter.
I hope you enjoy it!
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments. Also I'd love to hear your stories on how you get paid to be an expert now!
Four Steps To Never Having to Interview Again
Can you imagine, never interviewing again? Never job hunting or checking in on employers. Sound like a too good to be true late night tv ad? It’s not. It’s simply bringing opportunities to you, instead of searching for opportunities. How? You become an expert. You build your personal brand, define your space, and create niche. There is extreme power in this. It allows opportunities to flow to you instead of you chasing them. No more interviews instead, people who want you will have to prove to you that they are someone YOU want to work with. Imagine interviewing companies instead of the other way around. That is what it means to be an expert.
Now you might say, that sounds amazing but how? Isn’t becoming an expert difficult?
This is when the little voice in our head creeps in telling us, but wait a second, I’m not an expert? Who am I to share my ideas? I’m too young, too inexperienced, I don’t know enough? What if I fail?
Stop it. As one of my influencers said to me, “Next time the devil tries to feed you nerves – you tell him you didn’t ask his opinion. You close your eyes and listen to your heart beat. Remember you’re supposed to be where you are and feel doubt wash away.” So start with quieting that internal hater.
This step is critical, because often fear is what stops us from taking the one step that will change it all. Click here to listen to real life examples of people doing just that! Now that we have kicked fear to the curb, the honest truth is that becoming an expert is nowhere near as difficult as we are told. Don’t even think about going back to school, put down the self help book, forget spending years toiling as an intern. This is something you can do on the side while still cashing your pay check. I’m going to break down exactly how to do it.
But first who am I to tell you any of this? I don’t proclaim to have it all figured out or be Sheryl Sandberg Jr, far from it, I love four letter words and crop tops WAY too much. I’m a millennial with all the typical trappings, but what I will admit is that I keep jumping over hurdles that others tell me are impossible, enjoying life with experiences that most people wait for retirement to do, and getting access and income far exceeding the norm. I’ve been a Latina journalist covering human trafficking in Mexico, a finance exec consulting with global pensions, a speaker talking about marketing to hundreds, a podcast host on The Struggle Isn’t Real, a startup CEO of ThreadsRefined on the Today Show, and a leader managing a global team in two businesses before the age of 30.
Now I think all of us struggle with sharing our inner badass, especially at Latino’s it just feels lack a like of humility. It’s funnier to talk down about our selves, isn’t it? So I share all of this not to tout how incredible I think I am, in fact I’m ridiculously normal, but to say that everything I have achieved is deliciously feasible. I’m convinced we can do infinitely more than we think we are capable. So if you are stuffed in a cubicle, trying to find what your “purpose” is, or just interested in how to have your cake and eat it too, you are in the right place.
So let’s get you started:
Step One: So you’re going to become an expert. What in? Don’t let this daunt you, whatever you choose does not need to be engraved on your tombstone.
Here’s how to find yours. What can you do for hours and get lost in? Have you had that feeling before where you are so engaged that time fades? When my fingers stroke a keyboard, there is a silence that takes over. So ask yourself, what is yours? Write down the last time you felt like that? Don’t panic if you can’t remember, allow yourself some time to ruminate. Most critically, be honest. It most likely wasn’t the last time you were building houses for the homeless, this is about you not your ego. Flush it out until you get 3-5 times that felt so delectably right.
Step Two: Paint the landscape
Who are the players in your new world? That means open excel right now, create a spreadsheet with 5 tabs 1) Experts 2) Conferences 3) Groups 4) Blogs 5) Books. Each one of these tabs you will fill up with 5 of the top centers of influence in your area to contact them, join them, and read them. Once you’re done you are legitimately more educated on your subject than 99% of the population. Congratulations.
Step 3: Create a Pitch
Don’t agonize. For everything that we have discussed done is better than perfect. You can do everything I just talked about in a coffee fueled weekend. Now get together a little pitch and a media kit. What does that mean? This means you need an email template to send to your top experts. Your goal? You want to help them, guest blog post, speak at conferences, be on podcasts, join the board, volunteer. Whatever it takes to get your name out. If you want mine tweet me at @codie_sanchez.
Step 4: Pound the proverbial pavement. Finally, pitching time.
This is a numbers game so try to collect no’s like people collect medals, every no gets you closer to someone who will say yes. I like using google drive so that I can share my list with my assistants for them update real time. So I create another tab, this one is just to track all my calls, emails and run in’s. I count the number of no’s like the stereotypical man counts the notches in his bed post, with pride.
That is it, four steps to expertise. Sometimes the simplest process is the best one.