A Fresh Take On Cosmetics With Mented Cosmetics Co-founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson

A Fresh Take On Cosmetics With Mented Cosmetics Co-founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How Amanda and KJ turned their passion for beauty — and their frustration with a lack of diverse color palettes — into a brand-new business in a saturated market.
  • Why they were part of the product formulation process every step of the way.
  • How they established Mented as a trusted brand — even before launching products — by building relationships with YouTube and Instagram influencers.
  • Why talking with customers pushed Amanda and KJ to not only offer Mented cosmetics online, but in person, too.
  • How Mented grows organically today by celebrating and prioritizing women of color.

Today on Profit. Power. Pursuit., I chat with Amanda E. Johnson and KJ Miller of Mented Cosmetics, an everyday beauty brand for women of color. What started it all? Searching for the perfect shade of nude lipstick. Disappointed by palette options, KJ and Amanda took matters into their own hands — mixing and pouring — in their own kitchen.

While KJ and Amanda no longer hand pour Mented lipsticks, they’re still a part of product development every step of the way. Hear how their journey started when the two attended Harvard Business School, where they’re at now, and where Mented is heading in 2018.

We release new episodes of Profit. Power. Pursuit every week. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

On standing out in a saturated market

We’re creating an everyday beauty brand for women of color. That truly is unique. If you look at some of our peers, so many of those brands are trend focused — the glitter, the unicorn, the galaxy. What was missing in the market — and what we would argue is still missing — is a brand that’s focused on the everyday, foundational, basic beauty needs of women of color. And that’s where we think Mented will continue to win.

— KJ Miller

The marketplace is crowded — so how do you stand out? Amanda and KJ decided, early on, that focusing exclusively on everyday beauty for women of color was how they’d claim their space in a crowded market.

Their own frustrations and disappointment with trying to find beauty products that worked for them started it all. For years, Amanda searched for a nude lip color — and she just couldn’t find the right shade. Her search uncovered an untapped market — and the pair decided to solve their own problem.

On product development

Once we found a great manufacturer who was willing to work with us on a smaller scale, the process began of creating the stable formula. We probably spent 3 or 4 full days in the lab, not only working to shade match but working to create a formula that both of us loved.

— KJ Miller

A clear mission leads the way to a powerful product. Although KJ and Amanda tested different colors in their own kitchen, they knew they needed to work with a manufacturer to create a stable product that they — and their customers — would love.

On word-of-mouth marketing

We’ve said from the very beginning that Mented is about prioritizing and celebrating women of color — and because that’s been our message from the very beginning, it’s resonated and women have felt celebrated and prioritized. As a result of that, they’ve been excited to share with their friends and family.

— KJ Miller

Working with YouTube and Instagram influencers naturally drummed up talk about Mented — and now, word-of-mouth marketing is a large aspect of Mented’s marketing success. But you can’t pay for word-of-mouth marketing — so how do you get people to share your product or service with their networks and communities?

For KJ and Amanda, it ties back to their mission of celebrating — and prioritizing — women of color. No other beauty brand has done that — until now. And that commitment shines through everything they do — from the way they communicate their brand values to how they treat their customers.

Listen to the full episode with Mented founders Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller to hear more about how to use your own dissatisfaction to start your own company, how to break into a saturated industry, and how to celebrate (and listen to) your customers to give them a product they want to share with others.

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7 Top Small Business Owners Share The Surprising Things They’ve Learned About Their Businesses

What is one thing you thought you knew about your business but later found out you were wrong about?

One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is Make Me Smart. It’s from the folks who produce public radio’s Marketplace. Their goal is to demystify the news, trends, and idiosyncrasies around business, the economy, and the financial markets. As they do this, they get to interview fascinating entrepreneurs, thinkers, politicians, analysts, and economists. Each week they ask one of these folks their “make me smart” question:

What is one thing you thought you knew but later found out you were wrong about?

The answers vary from quite personal to philosophical to professional. Some are quite focused, others wide reaching. Each answer has its own nugget of wisdom and an opportunity to apply it personally.

As we start to look toward the end of 2017, I thought it would be fun to ask former Profit. Power. Pursuit. guests to reflect on our own version of the question:

What’s one thing you thought you knew about your business but later found out you were wrong about?

We got back seven great answers. My guess? Each of these smart entrepreneurs will give you something to chew on as they reveal some of the surprising things they’ve learned about their business over the year. Keep listening and you’ll hear from Arianne Foulks, founder of Aeolidia, Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga, Andrea Owen, author of How to Stop Feeling Like Shit, Parker Stevenson, co-founder of Evolved Finance, Joanna Penn, author of How to Make a Living With Your Writing, Rebecca Tracey, founder of The Uncaged Life, Sue B. Zimmerman, creator of Ready Set Gram, and Shawn Fink, founder of the Abundant Mama Project.

You’ll hear their surprising lessons on management, scaling a business, marketing and sales, product development, and more.

Once you’ve listened (or read the transcript below), I’d love to hear from you. What’s one thing you thought you knew about your business but later found out you were wrong about? Tag me on Twitter or Instagram. I’m @taragentile on both places and let me know. I’ll share my favorite answers on social media.

And now, the surprising things top entrepreneurs have learned about their businesses:

Andrea Owen

I am a life coach, mentor, and author. I help smart women who struggle in the areas of perfectionism and isolation and numbing out, and I help them create a life of courage and confidence instead.

The one thing that I thought I knew about my business but later realized wasn’t true…

The word that first came to me was childish. When I started my business, I was fresh out of life coaching school. I went to college for exercise physiology and I also at the time was a certified personal trainer, and I wanted to meld together the worlds of fitness and wellness and life coaching.

A couple of things that I thought that I knew. First, I thought it was going to be easy. You know when you’re fresh out of training and it was this thing that you’re passionate about, you can’t fathom why the rest of the world doesn’t think so. I didn’t think I would need to sell. I didn’t think I would need to convince and persuade people that what I had to offer was valuable. I was under the assumption of, “Build it and they will come.”

That came as a bit of a slap in the face. I really just did not understand why everybody was not on board with this. This was a business, and that was the part that I was kind of embarrassed of that I didn’t realize from the beginning. I can’t believe that I didn’t know I was going to have to learn to sell. I also can’t believe that I didn’t realize I was going to have to learn to run a business. I thought it was going to be easy. That’s what I thought. I thought it was going to be simple and uncomplicated, that people would just line up to be my clients and take my courses, and that was that.

I was sorely mistaken. It’s not that it’s been just terrible and so hard and challenging. It has had its bad days, but it’s also had its great days. But it has had its trials and tribulations, and it’s been a labor of love. That’s the thing that I thought I knew about my business but later realized wasn’t true, that it was going to just happen.

Anna Guest-Jelley

I am the founder of Curvy Yoga, which is body-affirming yoga for people of all shapes and sizes.

One thing that I thought I knew about my business but later realized wasn’t true was that I thought my business needed to be as big as it possibly could be.

So if an invitation or an opportunity came my way, I thought, “I have to jump on this.” I thought I should build as big of a team as I could. I thought I should earn as much money as I could. So I started doing those things. I built a team, I developed a bunch of products, I opened a brick and mortar studio, and on and on.

Of course, doing all of that took a ton of time and money, and I was constantly overwhelmed, very rarely present, which is kind of hilarious for a yoga teacher, too busy to see my friends, the list goes on. I actually had this one year where I did so much that people were constantly telling me how amazed they were and how they didn’t know how I did it all. And I didn’t really know either. And then one day I looked up and realized, oh. I know how. By building a life I don’t want. I got everything I thought I wanted in my business and I was miserable.

That big business model totally works for some people, but it’s not for me. Just as importantly, I built it using a bunch of innovation marketing techniques that weren’t me either. I never did anything, of course, that I thought was wrong or manipulative because I am so not about that, but I did do it by having a pretty constant presence on every social media platform, sending tons of emails, and that’s just not how I really wanna be communicating. Again, not a bad thing, but it’s not my thing.

Amy Puller has a great way of saying this. She says, “Good for them! Not for me.” And that has really been my biggest lesson in business, and it’s something that I think is an iterative process that evolves over time. What is good for me? What is good for my business? What is good for my community, students, customers? How do I take advice from others and weigh it against my own experience and knowing?

Other people do not know me or my business better than I do, and that was true even when I was starting out. The first several years of my business I spent a ton of money and time on courses, coaches, and loads more, and of course, some of that was extremely helpful. I didn’t have any experience running a business before starting my own, so I definitely had a lot to learn. But I later realized there was a pretty substantial difference between learning new information that you need and secretly, or not-so-secretly in my case, hoping someone else can sweep in and tell you the exact formula for success. When I look back on those really hectic years now, when more money was going out the door than in, I don’t regret any of them.

One of the things that I love about yoga is that it teaches us what it means to practice. Each day on the yoga mat is a new experience because the me that steps onto the mat this morning isn’t the same as yesterday, much less last year or the last decade. I believe that the same thing is true about business. It’s really a practice. The me back then couldn’t have known what the me now does, and I hope the same is true of the me of the future.

Joanna Penn

I’m a USA Today bestselling thriller author, and I also help authors sell more books and make a living from their writing.

What’s one thing you thought you knew about your business but later realized wasn’t true? It’s a classic mistake, but I thought I could scale my income by doing everything myself. You can pretty much brute force your way to low multi six figures by working really hard, but if you want to up your game creatively, financially, and reach more people, you need to think differently. If you feel like you’re working too hard for your money, then you’re also at this stage of the game.

It was actually Tara’s advice on Profit Power Pursuit that helped me realize that the design of a six-figure business was not the same as a multi six-figure or seven-figure business, so I needed to change my mindset and think more about leverage. My core business principle is to be location independent and have no employees, but I shifted my thinking around processes and outsourcing. Now I have a team of freelancers, virtual assistants, and co-writers who help me with various tasks so I can focus on what I do best, writing thrillers and dark fantasy as well as helping authors sell more books and make a living writing. I’ve now broken through that previous income barrier and continue to redesign parts of the business to make them more scalable and sustainable.

Parker Stevenson

I am a co-owner and partner at a business called Evolved Finance. Evolved Finance is a bookkeeping service and also business education company. So my business partners, Cory and Anna Whitaker, help me to run the service side of the business. We all have clients that we manage. We have a phenomenal bookkeeping team that does a lot of the bookkeeping work, and then Cory, myself, and Anna are on calls every month with each one of our clients to review their books, go over what’s going on with their businesses financially, and just offer any guidance or advice that we can provide based on our experience looking at the numbers. The other side of our business, we also do business education, we sell some courses and online products to help smaller online businesses take control of their money.

The one thing that I thought I knew about our business but later realized wasn’t true was that I thought I could do everything myself.

As I mentioned, Cory and I are both on calls every month, but we also have other duties that we manage. Cory manages really the CFO, COO side of the business, where he’s managing the operations. He is also managing all the financial aspects of our business while I’m managing more of our marketing and business development as well as most of our sales. So I felt like, you know what? I’m lucky to have a business partner. I’m lucky that Cory gets to manage part of the business that although I’m involved in, I’m not heavily involved in, just like he’s still involved in the marketing and business development, just not in a very deep level. But I thought, hey, I have a business partner, which is better than most. I should be able to do all this stuff.

The beginning of the month is pretty easy, but as we get into the second, third, and fourth weeks of every month, my schedule is really busy. So we developed these three really great products that we’re currently selling, these digital courses. They come with financial tools.

I was so excited to get these out to an audience, but what I realized that between having to develop content, having to send out weekly emails, having to actually develop the products ourselves, which luckily are done now, but that took a long time, trying to create our sales funnels and our marketing automation in order to support our new products, I quickly realized that I would not have enough time to learn everything I need to learn to do all this stuff quickly and effectively, and that’s a big piece of it. I think for me, we work with so many amazing online businesses. A lot of the clients that we have are people who are doing amazing things selling their digital products. Not all of them, but we do work with quite a few businesses that sell digital products.

So I think for me, I thought, hey, look at them. They’re doing it. I know what they’re doing. I understand the systems and the models from a general standpoint so I can put this into action in our own business. And what I realized is that unless I was willing to just drop all my clients, which just wasn’t an option, I was gonna have to get help.

We were gonna have to find somebody or some people to help us get the course part of our business, the digital product part of our business, up and running. I thought I was gonna do it and after all our products were finished and I started jumping in, I quickly realized there’s not enough hours in the day for me to do this and get it up and running quickly, cause that’s the other thing. I could technically do all the work if I wanted to, but it might take me two years before we really start making good money from all the work that I’ve put into creating these products.

That’s where I realized in order for Evolved Finance to be as successful as I think we know we can be, that we needed to invest in advertising and we needed to invest in people. And luckily because our service based business has done so well and we had some profit left over to invest back into the business, that’s been something we’ve been able to actually make happen and something I’ve been very excited about.

Rebecca Tracey

 I work with coaches and new servers based businesses who want to be able to work online, and I help them understand how to talk about their business and market it in a way that helps them have clients come to them instead of them having to go out and hunt for clients all the time.

What is the one thing that I thought I knew about my business but later realized wasn’t true? When I started my business in the early days, I really thought that I knew my audience. I thought I knew what they needed, I thought I knew what they wanted, and I created a whole wagon load of stuff for them. I wrote blog posts, I wrote free opt-ins, I wrote paid online courses, and it didn’t really work.

What I later realized and what I now know is that there’s a big gap between what I thought my people needed and what I was actually selling them. It doesn’t mean that the things I created weren’t right for them, but the way I was talking to them, the way that I was marketing them was filled with all kinds of my industry jargon, and there was a gap between what I was selling and what they were wanting to actually buy and pay for.

When I realized that and I was able to close that gap by going up and talking to customers, talking to clients, asking people questions and really listening to what they needed, I was able to really shift the language of what I was offering so it was more in line with what they thought they needed. So I ended up with more sales, more clients, more money in my pocket, which obviously is a good thing for business. Now that’s something that I do all the time that I know is working in my business and that I’m always listening to my clients after I work with them and before I work with them and really paying attention to what they need so I can be sure that the programs and the free opt-ins and the blog posts that I’m creating are exactly what they need and not just my interpretation or assumption of what I think that they need. And that’s the biggest change that I’ve made in my business that’s really helped me grow.

Sue B. Zimmerman

I teach business owners all over the world how to get more visibility online from telling their visual story, specifically using the power of Instagram.

The number one thing I thought I knew about my business, specifically this online business, but realized it just wasn’t true, was that I thought there was a formula to doing an online business, so that’s what I was taught when I first entered into this online education space. And I paid for those formulas. I paid to attend conferences, to listen to those formulas. I paid for someone to write an email sequence, follow-up sequence to a course I created, and I even invested in learning about speaking on stage as if there was a specific formula to go through once I was on stage.

And what I realized was that if I just showed up as my authentic self and embraced all the experiences that I had in my entrepreneurial life, which spans over 25 years, and I focused on my stories and my wisdom that I’ve had through the years of having so many business, and just rocked my personality and my character, that my business would grow and attract those people that I’m meant to be serving.

Because I really believe that it is your character, your experiences, and your stories that sell. When I say sell, I don’t mean that necessarily in an exchange from money, but they sell who you are and how you show up as long as you do it authentically. That’s the biggest lesson that I’ve learned since entering into this online space five years ago, and it’s pretty wild that you can literally be talking to anybody all over the world in seconds from using tools like Instagram stories and Facebook and Twitter and all the social platforms that are out there to help you really amplify your message and broadcast your gift, but ultimately your goal is to attract those people into an offer that helps them solve a problem so that you can nurture those relationships.

And so my biggest lesson in all this online space has been the power of nurturing true relationships and growing an authentic community who ultimately cares about each other more than themselves and growing and making this world just a happier, better place, and that’s pretty cool, and I feel really proud to be a part of that.

Shawn Fink

I’m a family wellness coach for busy moms around the world.

I would say is very much, very clearly for me, that I thought that my business needed to be like everybody else’s business and that I needed to do what everybody else was doing, and while I didn’t always just follow the crowd, I certainly always felt a sense of I’m not doing as well because. And what I realized was that all along I was really listening to my true self, my authentic self, which set me apart, but I didn’t know that in the beginning, so I spent a lot of time researching how to make my business like everybody else’s business, but really it was never supposed to be that way. I only later realized that I could have all along just been doing my own thing, and that would have been so refreshing and such a relief.

Arianne Foulks

I run Aeolidia, a web and graphic design studio that has been serving creative and design oriented shops since 2004. We work with a ton of awesome clients and I’ve learned a lot of amazing stuff from their projects and the work that we’ve done with them and just seeing how they’ve grown their businesses, and we are currently expanding our business into a second venture which is called the Ship Shape Collective, which is an online community and educational project for people who are working to grow their businesses up and get them to the next level. So you can learn what we’re doing there and check out our web design work as well at aeolidia.com. I hope you’ll join us.

I try to be really open-minded about my business, but there is definitely one time where I was dead wrong about what the right thing to do was. I started out Aeolidia as a freelance designer and developer, and I did every part of the business myself, of course. I managed the business, I marketed it, I designed websites, I developed websites, I did the customer service and the product management and kept up with the schedule and all that stuff.

As my business grew and I got more clients and got busier and I started hiring other designers, I could see that there was a potential that I would get too busy managing everybody else’s projects and not be able to do my own projects anymore, and that is something I really resisted. I told myself that I did not want to end up just being the boss because I had no desire to boss anybody around, for one, and second, I loved the work that I did and I loved being able to be creative and I didn’t want to lose that.

So of course, life got in the way and things changed, and not only did I have more designers and more clients and more projects and many projects to manage, but I started raising a family and I had two babies to take care of and I just did not have time to also be designing websites and working with my own clients.

So I temporarily shifted from the role of being the boss, but of course, we ended up with me just totally being the boss and me not doing web design projects anymore, and I have to say I’m really glad I don’t have to open up that blank white Photoshop screen and stare it down every day anymore.

But aside from that, I really love being the boss. Not to boss people around, but I love being able to come up with ideas but instead of them just staying on a to-do list somewhere, they actually go into production and turn into actual things, which is thrilling. And I love working with my team; they’re super talented. Every person that I hired to replace me in any of my roles is way better than I ever was at the job and it is a delight to watch them work.

And you know, it’s just fun having a group of people. When you’re just by yourself you can talk to your friends and family about what’s going on at work, but they don’t really care as much as you do. When you have a whole team that’s working together with you to achieve something that you all want to happen and you’re all interested in, it’s really fun to have a whole group to work with.

I’m 100% happy that I went ahead and ditched all my other jobs and went for the managing a business job. It’s really rewarding and it’s fun for me to do all the visionary stuff.


If you loved this episode, be sure to check out our interviews with each of today’s contributors: Arianne Foulks, Anna Guest-Jelley, Andrea Owen, Parker Stevenson, Joanna Penn, Rebecca Tracey, Sue B. Zimmerman, and Shawn Fink. You’ll find them in the archives along with over 100 other episodes of the nitty-gritty details of growing a small business in the new economy.

Next week we hear from former guests on another important subject: what’s working right now? 

Let’s face it, the market and the marketplace change on an almost daily basis. New technology, new questions, and new opportunities make themselves known every day. Our business has changed and evolved to rise to the occasion or they don’t, and they end up sputtering out. I asked former Profit Power Pursuit guests what’s working for them right now to grow their businesses. Check out their answers on next week’s episode.

In the meantime, don’t forget to tell me your answer to this week’s question. What’s one thing you thought you knew about your business but later found out you were wrong about? Tag me on Twitter or Instagram — @ taragentile — and let me know. Or, leave a response with your answer to the question on this post. I’ll share my favorite answers on social media.

What’s 1 thing you thought you knew about your business but later realized wasn’t true?


Small business owner: it’s time for some year-end reflection and planning! We’re hosting a virtual conference on December 13, 2017 to do exactly that.

Join CoCommercial today and enjoy exclusive access to this conference during your 30-day free trial. Plus, for each new member that joins, we’ll donate $10 to the Special Olympics, now through December 13.

Click here to start your free trial of CoCommercial, the fluff-free social network for small business owners!

Taking Your Message to A Bigger Stage with Tanya Geisler

Taking Your Message to A Bigger Stage with Tanya Geisler

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Why speaking could become an integral part to your business
  • Where to pitch your speaking services and get speaking gigs
  • Why the Imposter Complex is a good sign

My guest this week on the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast is Tanya Geisler who is a leadership coach, TEDxWomen speaker and writer that teaches women how to step into their starring roles, own their authority and overcome the Imposter Complex in their lives and in their work.

We talk about how Tanya has actively grown the speaking segment of her business, how she and her team pitches her speaking services and why experiencing the Imposter Complex is a good sign.  

Reach a Larger Audience Through Speaking

Speaking and sharing her message to a larger audience was a natural fit for Tanya. It was something she knew needed to have as an element of her business because she always loved the stage even from a young age. It was always her favorite responsibility even in jobs she didn’t like. Today, Tanya mostly does keynotes that are 45 minutes long with a 15-minute Q&A. Since the Imposter Complex is her body of work, she primarily speaks on that subject but collaborates with the event host to co-create the talk based on their learning objectives. It takes time to experiment and refine the message you want to deliver, even if you are gifted at speaking.

How to Pitch your Speaking Services

I can trace back every last speaking gig that I’ve had to a podcast interview that I’ve done.

–Tanya Geisler

Tanya and her team actively pitch associations and conferences as well as certain companies if she has a contact there. She rarely cold calls an organization. Being a guest on podcasts is a very effective way that Tanya gets speaking engagements; in fact, she can trace every speaking gig that she has had to a podcast interview she has done. Since Tanya is a coach she is able to find a moment in each interview where she can “coach” the interviewee, and that’s a really important moment of resonance. Ultimately, when that happens people lean in and listen more closely, and it’s in those moments that they realize they might want to book Tanya to speak to their organization.

The Imposter Complex: It’s a Good Sign

Nobody is ever fully ready for anything, but you’re ready enough.

–Tanya Geisler

There are 12 lies the Imposter Complex really wants us to believe. If you aren’t feeling the Imposter Complex you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. When something really, really matters to you, that’s when the Imposter Complex is going to show up and you don’t really want it to go away. When you don’t want to feel like an imposter you go to one of six coping mechanisms. You must always remember if you know more than the audience you are speaking to, it makes you expert.

Learn more about why the “pencil can never be sharp enough,” the process Tanya has developed to determine the goals of the audience she’s speaking to, Tanya’s Starring Role Academy and ways to overcome the Imposter Complex when you listen to the full episode.

I invite you to subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast on iTunes so that you can tune in each week to learn from today’s savviest entrepreneurs.

Want to know the 3 things every woman with unshakeable confidence has in common? Join Tanya for her Unshakable Confidence Masterclass on November 30th. Click here for more information.

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Hiring Best Practices with Patrice Perkins

Hiring Best Practices with Patrice Perkins

The Nitty Gritty:

  • When a team member should be a contractor and when they should be an employee (and why you’re likely not following the letter of the law on this one)
  • What “at will” employment means and why you’re not nearly as committed as you might think you are when you hire someone
  • The kinds of questions you need to avoid in an employment interview
  • How to protect your intellectual property when bringing on a new team member
  • What to avoid when you make an employment offer

During last week’s class, Create a Hiring Plan & Grow Your Standout Business, I was lucky enough to be joined by Patrice Perkins, the founder of Creative Genius Law.

I was able to ask her your most pressing legal questions on the topic of hiring… and probably a few you didn’t know you should be worried about!

CreativeLive was gracious enough to release this interview as this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. episode.

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Navigating the Growing Gig Economy with Marion McGovern

Navigating the Growing Gig Economy with Marion McGovern

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Who falls into the gig economy
  • Why “job” is a pretty modern concept
  • How entrepreneurs are creating personal safety nets as the gig economy evolves

On this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., I speak with Marion McGovern, founder of M Squared Consulting, one of the first gig economy companies before the term was even coined, and author of Thriving in the Gig Economy and A New Brand of Expertise.

Since I’m so passionate about the emerging new economy, I was eager to pick Marion’s brain on the subject. We discuss who falls into the gig economy, how “job” is actually a pretty modern concept, the challenges of navigating your personal safety net as an independent worker and more.

Who falls into the gig economy?

A gig is work that is of uncertain duration and done not tethered to a particular client or single employer.

– Marion McGovern

Since the government stopped tracking numbers for independent workers, it’s hard to figure out exactly who and how many professionals work in the gig economy, but it’s truly not all Uber drivers. Those who work in the gig economy are people who are not tethered to a particular client or single employer and who take on work that is uncertain in duration. Even though the gig economy has gotten a lot of press lately due to digital platforms, gigs have been around since jazz musicians in the 1920s committed to playing gigs and moved around from club to club.

Job versus work

It’s all about the work they are doing as opposed to the JOB they are doing.

– Marion McGovern

“What do you do,” is a common question at any cocktail hour and illustrates our current focus on the jobs we do rather than the work that we do. Interestingly, our current concept of a job—a regular remunerative position—came to be in the 1920s and 1930s when it became associated with regular employment at a singular employer. As Marion explains on the podcast, she would like us to get away from defining ourselves by the job title and get back to the work we do and why we do it.

Safety nets

Professionals in the gig economy are starting to deal with being cut off from the benefits and safety networks that they were accustomed to in a traditional economy. Entrepreneurs are building businesses to address their specific needs and businesses that rely on independent labor are working to help solve the issue. Handy has worked with the New York legislature to create a portable benefits structure—a structure where benefits would associate with the worker rather than the employer—since its business is a network of household service providers. ShiftPixy is another company that is responding to the needs of a gig economy by consolidating opportunities for shift work in one place so that workers can build full-time consistent employment. Another example is Bunker Insurance who makes it possible for freelancers and independent contractors to get the liability insurance they need for some jobs under flexible terms and in an affordable way. They are totally disrupting the insurance market to provide gig economy professionals what they need to succeed.

To get all the nitty-gritty details of the gig economy, tune in to the full episode and hear our entire conversation.

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Building a Business on The Side of a Job You Love with Laptop Lifestyle Creator Alexis Teichmiller

Building a Business on The Side of a Job You Love with Laptop Lifestyle Creator Alexis Teichmiller

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How to balance time between a full-time job and a thriving side hustle
  • What unique offer she makes that allows her to love her extra time working
  • How to define success for your side business

We’re doing something a bit unconventional on this week’s podcast. Alexis Teichmiller is my guest and we talk all about how she makes her side hustle work right alongside a full-time gig that she loves as an Affiliate Manager at ConvertKit. Alexis is host of The Laptop Lifestyle podcast and a content creator for hospitality brands.

On the podcast, we talk about how Alexis manages her schedule, the special offer she developed for a side hustle that enhances her life even though it adds work and how she defines success for her side hustle.

Schedule Management

I don’t know who started it, but I’m glad they did.

– Alexis Teichmiller

Since ConvertKit employees are 100% remote, Alexis can do her full-time job, that she absolutely loves, from anywhere. She started The Laptop Lifestyle podcast three years ago when she was inspired by all the people creating communities and businesses from their laptop and creating a lifestyle where they could travel and work at the same time. On her podcast, Alexis interviews successful online entrepreneurs and people who are building communities online about how they are doing it and making money.

She spends about 8-15 hours a week on her side hustle depending on the projects she is working on. When she is traveling for the side hustle, she will clock in to do her work for ConvertKit from 6am-1pm and then clock out to spend time exploring the city and working her side hustle from about 1-9pm to come back and finish her workday for ConvertKit from 9-11pm. The time segments vary depending on what projects she is working on.

Unique and Appealing Offer

Both Alexis and her business partner are excellent content creators. They noticed that many boutique brands don’t have lifestyle photography they can use on their social channels or websites. So, they decided they should pitch their services to create lifestyle photos for brands in exchange for accommodations and a small fee. This concept allows them to travel to exciting destinations while providing incredible value to boutique hotels that need good lifestyle photography. Alexis art directs, negotiates the deals and markets their service and her business partner is the photography/videographer.

How to Define Success

If I’m going to do something on the side, I want it to be life giving and not life draining.

– Alexis Teichmiller

Success will be defined differently for each person, so Alexis encourages entrepreneurs to be intentional about the goals they have for their side hustle so they have a way to define their success. In this season of her life, she is not trying to work her side hustle into her full-time gig, so it’s really important that her side hustle is fun. This is something that Chris Guillebeau talks about in his podcast and book, Side Hustle. For Alexis getting to $2000/month in recurring revenue from her side hustle would mean success.

Join me to listen to the full episode to hear more about how her pitch to clients has evolved, about the new course she is creating about online vulnerability and where her next trip will be.

Each week I talk the nitty-gritty details with entrepreneurs just like Alexis. Never miss an episode when you subscribe to the podcast.

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