From small teams in my last post, to expansion and growth in this one … our growing pains are starting early.
We’ve yet to even hire new blood, but I am already fearful of the addition.
While we need some help to manage the increased load of vendor and bride interest around the product, I hesitate to mess with our little family, and the interviews we’ve had thus far aren’t helping to calm my anxieties.
I’ve hired before, but for startups and small teams the decision can be more challenging and what you’re looking for is a bit different. One person makes a greater impact on a team of five than on a large corporate environment of hundreds.
From our search for what should be a seemingly easy position to fill, I have come up with three tips for finding the perfect startup new hire. I’m not claiming to be THE expert. I’ve made my share of bad hiring decisions, but I’ve learned along the way.
Interviews at BrideRush are nothing like those I would have done in the past. They are not traditional in appearance, they are somewhat traditional in the qualities we are assessing.
Test this by asking a simple one word question, “Why?” This is your business, your baby, so trust that you will know a wining answer when you hear it.
Test this by creating change within the interview itself. Be creative. I change up some aspect of what the position entails to see if the candidate catches this and asks for clarification. I also mix up who they will be interviewing with, and the order of the interview. Basically, there is no set flow to the interview; it is every which way just like a typical day in our offices. Bottom line: Observe how the candidate handles the unexpected.
Test this by asking a silly question to see if the candidate can relax. Spoiler alert for any future BrideRush candidates: We always ask, “dog or cat?” There is no right answer, but it is interesting to see reactions. Plus, we are one of those startups where our dogs visit the office, but don’t worry we speak meow, too.
I spent my Saturday night catching up on Bethany Ever After episodes while the hubster was glued to some new ghost something, blow-people-up game on Xbox. Yes, I know, I just described nearly 70 percent of the games out there. I suppose that is a clear indicator of my interest level in this exact game, which he went to three Redbox locations to find!
Just as so many moments in the last few months, I ended up being right where I needed to be last night. Between all the uncomfortable moments of Bethany and Jason arguing on their Bravo reality show, there were moments that re-invigorated me and helped me see the power of our small BrideRush team.
In one particular scene, the four members of Skinny Girl “headquarters” are meeting. The banter between the married couple reminded me very much of our own BrideRush meetings. Just like them, we are three women and one man, the man being my husband.
They even did a team “break” at the end of the meeting, but wait, we do that! Do you think they stole that from us? Pretty likely.
What struck me most, however, is how much they truly have to work together to get it all done, and how much you become a family with these people.
Even though both our “employees” have defined work roles, they both go above and beyond and are called upon to do the most random things. And in the midst of it all, we laugh a lot.
We are building a brand, so there is no time for normal workplace politics. I am thrilled to say we have a team in which each member is motivated and inspired.
The key to making your small team work: Set goals as a group, establish clear communication and HAVE FUN.
Exactly six months in, and we are starting to roll.
That’s the best one-line summary I can give of our progress on BrideRush. And while we are still busy every waking minute of the day, some of my mental energy has finally been freed up. Now that our processes are in place (yes, like any smart business, we will always be refining), I have time to write again.
So much has happened, but it’s overwhelming to back track … so instead I’ll just go forward.
Will you move forward with me?
Dividing my time has become increasingly difficult. How ironic would it be then if I used it all up blogging? Quite. So, I will be short today.
I’ve come up with a time management solution dictated by social media. Mondays are #musicmonday on Twitter. Thus, I will work on Bad Lucy in my free hours on this day. FYI, Monday is also #meowmonday, but that is no help. It only infuriates Timmy and Marky.
Don’t worry boys, Wednesday offers justice. Yes, Wednesday is #woofwednesday. If you know the history of Bad Lucy, then you know it is only appropriate that I also dedicate this day to my band manager duties.
The remaining days will be split as follows:
Maybe now I’ll have more focus, fewer feelings of guilt when working on one side project over the other. Those few extra hours each day go quick. A dedicated day might just be the only way.
In line with this thinking, here are some things I am working on for the band on this Monday … just in case you want to help.
My Twitter feed just confirmed the reason my latest venture is needed, and shall I say, pretty awesome.
A seemingly common query was posed via a tweet. In an effort to get brides to sign up for organizing and planning services, the micro-blogger asked if readers were “starting the daunting task of planning a wedding.” It is this very language that tells me we are on the right track.
Daunting? Really? Why is the focus always on being frazzled, so much to do, impossible, bridezilla, out of control, etc? After my wedding, which I planned in 60 days start to finish, I realized that a short engagement has its perks and that you CAN do it all without losing your mind. Sure it might seem overwhelming at times (note: “overwhelming” has a more positive feel than “daunting”), but it is not as dramatic as the media makes it out to be. We are simply led to believe the worst, when in reality, the planning process can be the most fun you’ve ever had.
With BrideRush.com, which is slated to launch sometime in August, we hope to show brides that what’s most important is the marriage. So why stress? Just focus on what makes you happy and on having fun. Add to that, why wait? Short engagements have some real upsides in maintaining your sanity, and as we plan to reveal, they can also afford you some smokin’ deals.
I’ve been silly giggly about BrideRush for a few months now. Not because I am obsessed with weddings, but because as an entrepreneur I think I’ve come up with my best idea yet. One that not only has that all-important profit potential, but it also fills a real need. This time, I’ve done more research. While East West filled a need, one that sadly still exists, there wasn’t a clear plan for sustainability. It was simply too novel, too new for the time. BrideRush is also on the cutting edge, with its unmatched focus on the trend of short engagements, but the timing is right.
And of course, this time I’m not relying 100 percent on a traditional publishing model.
Want to know more about this new venture? Stay tuned or drop me an email.
P.S. I am slowly de-East Westing this blog. Bear with me. Not sure what to do with the top banner, but for now I’ll make sure to update all the links and contact information. It will still be Glossy, but if you have design ideas…do share.
I finally figured out why it has taken me so long to return to writing here despite my constant longing to do so. With all the new projects and happenings buzzing around my head, I’ve needed a good brain dump for awhile. Still, I haven’t exactly known what to write about.
Not a traditional case of writer’s block, this is more an internal debate about my rules when it comes to publishing. Despite what you think, even a blog is “publishing.” It is out there. And my number one tip for publishing success: find your niche.
But how do you compartmentalize the life of a multi-tasker?
How do I transform a blog about ethnic media and the editor’s life to now encompass a new bridal site, my band management trials, my nesting tribulations and the apples of my eye, the infamous Timmy and Marky? Oh right, and my day job.
I’m not sure it is possible, but instead of stalling and waiting for some alternate universe where I only wear one hat, I’ve found a common thread.
Life is flying by fast. I’ve missed the conversation here, and I am finally ready to put the past in the past, to move forward with the opportunities that East West magazine afforded me. Rather than just lamenting the challenges and the loss, I’ve come to appreciate every moment of those seven years, the incredible connections and the lessons in “making it.”
P.S. Just an fyi, the East West website is now officially offline. We left it up for a good year after the doors closed, but it was time to let it go. I guess Glossy is all that remains, and of course your well-preserved back issues!
I’ve been fooling myself all this time. I’ve been trying so hard to distract myself with little projects and silly antics rather than venturing into a “real” new project again. Why? Out of fear. I dove into publishing the first time without fear or consequence, but now, I know more. I am definitely hesitant and questioning.
Fortunately, through this period, I’ve come to realize that finally I am ready. I have firmly set my focus on three “real” projects. One is taking care of my family. Two, managing my singer-songwriter husband’s career. These two you’ve heard before and they remain important. But, three, is completely new – a new online publishing startup.
I know you’re simply dying to know about #3. And trust me, you will. I will take you through my startup journey here. Step one, commit to it. My husband and I have finally mentally done that. He is working on logo ideas as we speak. Step two, buy the domain. Maybe that should be step 1, but I’ve just been so hesitant….more to come…
For now, the big news is related to the #2 project on my list. My husband’s music career. Yesterday, he released a new single on iTunes. The soulful “Hallelujah I’m Free” is a beautiful song and his vocals soar. I’m extremely proud. We believe so strongly in this song that we are making a huge push to possibly make it an iTunes chart climber. An extremely ambitious goal, but entrepreneurs know no other way!
I hope you’ll check it out. If you enjoy the song, download it and tell others. Help us take this project further (i.e. a new album release and a tour…)
For the last couple of months, many have mocked and many have simply stared in awe, in total amazement of my retro flip phone and my pathetic attempts to text like a grown up.
As the rest of the world moves forward, I took a step back in my cell phone technology to test a “less connected, more at peace” theory. Nearly three months later, I know one thing for sure…I want my Droid back. Thankfully, we didn’t sell it. I haven’t reactivated it yet, but I am getting closer. I’m even coveting an iPad (gift season hint), but I want the new one…so I’ll wait. Suddenly, I’m a technology/gadget snob again. Blame this on a business advisor/friend of mine. He brought his iPad to a recent meeting, and I was hooked. But, I ramble, back to the smartphone…
My theory that I would actually “talk” to people more did come true. But what’s more true is that I don’t like talking on the phone all that much. It isn’t very peace inducing to me, especially when I often don’t particularly like the person I’m talking too. Ouch.
The droid lets me hide more effectively, it fills minutes of boredom and waiting throughout my day and it keeps me flexible and mobile. Truthfully, I miss being connected, especially now as I plan my next venture.
So for all of you that mocked my smartphone-less life, go ahead and let out a rousing cheer. I am soon to return to more modern ways. But don’t even dare say, “I told you so.” What I did took guts. Real guts, I tell ya. Besides, my smartphone-less retreat into my soul reminded me of one of my key business, and now I realize life, principals. I always told staff and interns that the numero uno rule when giving out contact information is: “Anita doesn’t like the phone, DO NOT call her. Send your request or information in an email. Simply put, she doesn’t want to talk to you.” It seems that not much has changed, just the technology. Text me baby.
Considering my last post was all about a vacuum, it does seem plausible, that for the last month I’ve been lost in a cleaning frenzy. The dusty curios around my dwelling prove it isn’t so. But I have been sucked up by a new pull and a realization that the more I talk East West, the less I am able to move away from it.
I’m not done with publishing. In fact, in the last couple of weeks two new publishers have sent inquires for help and advice. Both reinforce that publishing is my home, or at least one of them. Here are some snippets:
1. “I just wanted to drop you a note to say “thank you” for being such an inspiration. A little while ago, I stumbled across your recent column in Folio:. My interest was piqued, I looked up East West magazine and found your blog as well. I’m so glad that I did!
I started my own online publication, Fashionably Cleveland (www.fashionablycleveland.com), a little over a year ago, and we’re partnering with a local publishing company to go into print this fall…Starting a print publication can be done, and even though East West is no more, your story has helped me retain my sanity over the past few months. I can’t thank you enough for helping me in my own publishing career.”
2. “I have been such a fan of East West magazine and your work and wanted to reach out to you about possibly becoming my mentor. Combining the east and west cultures has always been my passion and so has publishing so I have always been drawn to the sophistication and uniqueness of East West magazine. I recently launched my own print magazine…
I am brand new the publishing world and actually don’t know anything about it including advertising, distribution, standard ways of running a magazine. I know you have been successful with your magazine and have vast knowledge of the industry and it would be such an honor to have you as a mentor.”
Such notes are certainly encouraging and they also reminded me that when one door closes, take everything you learned and embrace all you did, — the good, the bad and the mistakes. Only then will you grow and move into the next window. Don’t just walk away without thoroughly packing up your belongings. You have built something, something that will help you in the next phase.
I will get back to both new publishers and offer advice where I can. But most of all, I wish them luck. Trust me, it takes guts.
So, no more East West talks here, period. But, I’m also not ready to spill the beans on my next door either. In the meantime, I’m going to do some experiments in living while I continue to consult for various IT clients – my other home. The first, which I’ll talk about more early next week, is related to food and my passion for eating out. I hope you’ll continue to visit and read as the building of my next glossy phase will start soon.
In the meantime, please help me de-East West my life. First, the logo at the top of this blog… should I remove the cover icons? Second, my home office walls’ still tease me with the past. In my husband’s latest Youtube video, part of his occasional acoustic cover song series, you can even see a framed East West cover behind him. Not good.
I will always treasure them, but East West covers need to be retired. Art, décor suggestions?
It is the small, sometimes odd, things that change perception the most.
A smile from across the coffee shop can alter your lifelong view of relationships or perhaps the power of a cheap vacuum can shake you out of passively accepting things as they are. Yes, a vacuum. It is true, my mental clarity now comes from cleaning.
I’ve suffered from cheap vacuum-itis for quite some time. Often, I would contemplate a new purchase but would quickly squash the urge by convincing myself that what I had worked well enough. A new vacuum wasn’t necessary for cleaning happiness, it was just another excuse. Just like a new career path or a new venture isn’t necessary for my personal fulfillment, right? I have a great life so why don’t I just be happy with the status quo? Plus, I figured I needed big bucks for a big reward: greater cleaning power. And spending on a vacuum, of all things, has little appeal.
Two nights ago, I discovered I have been oh so wrong.
Convinced by my husband to buy a new vacuum, one highly touted by a neighbor, I pushed around my new red gadget in amazement. How could one simple change make such a drastic difference? Not only are things cleaner, but it was easier, less like a chore. I felt at home. This vacuum is the right fit. A bit too dramatic for you? Watch out, the lesson deepens.
This vacuum wasn’t expensive. On sale at Target for just $39.99!
The little things really do make a difference. You just have to keep wanting better and play with caution and within budget. Drastic life changes aren’t always necessary to get where you want, the gradual path works too. I don’t have to be East West or nothing in publishing at all. I don’t have to stick with IT consulting and have no creative outlet at all. I can take gradual steps, and with each I will feel the progression. I just have to do it. And so, now I am. My shift is coming soon.
Wow, that was deep. (and a deep clean). Maybe this post should have been named When Life Sucks…ah, I make myself giggle.
**Want the vacuum? Be prepared, it might just change your life. Dirt Devil Featherlite.