We never get tired of hearing an entrepreneurial success story here at FW: Chicago. Our goal is to tell the stories of women who live, work, and play in the Windy City, so perpetual inspiration is a part of our M.O. Case in point, when we crossed paths with the "She Did It Her Way" Podcast and founders Amanda Boleyn, Molly Rose Daly, and Tess Wicks, we just knew we had to share their interviews with the hope that you get inspired to turn your hobby/talent/mad skill-set into the ultimate dream job. As the team puts it, it's "the raw advice you need to know."
This week, we're featuring the team's podcast with Nicole Regan, editor and creative director of Cedar & Rush. Highlights from the podcast are below, but you can listen to it in its entirety here. Be sure to sign up for the "She Did It Her Way" Podcast on iTunes so you can hear all of the audible "inspo" on the regular.
As a social media and PR consultant, creative director behind the Chicago lifestyle blog Cedar & Rush, and founder of the Garnish & Glam women’s network, Nicole Regan is one busy woman. After earning her degree in Business Finance, Regan began her seven-year career in corporate America, where she gradually climbed the ladder and expanded her network. But there was something missing: happiness. “I think my soul hurt,” said Regan.
To fill the void, Regan began her blog on the side as a passion project—a creative outlet for something she undoubtedly kept suppressed during the workday. Enter Cedar & Rush, formerly known as “Great Dates in the City.” Through her blog and networking, Nicole became aware of the need for a social media consultant. She started building up experience by collaborating with other companies to get her name out there. While leveraging her job to pay the bills, she quickly grew more social-media savvy and began receiving great recognition from larger brands that hired her for social media services.
While this may sound relatively easy and seamless, there were definitely some peaks and valleys along the way. Ahead, Nicole’s quick tips and words of wisdom.
On social media strategy: “Set the expectation up front, understand the brand and the direction the business is looking to go, then execute.”
On her biggest challenge: “Sales! It’s all part of falling on your face first, but getting back in the hopper. Eventually you feel good about yourself and you have your pitch down.”
On networking: “Utilize your network to expand your client base. By letting people know that you’re looking for business, you immediately come to mind when something does come up for them.”
On getting clients: “What is the client looking for? What does it look like? What kind of story do they want to tell? Understanding what the client wants up front can help you customize your pitch to their needs.”
On planning: “Every night before bed I look at everything I have outstanding at the end of the day and prioritize needs to get done for the next day. Using The Simplified Planner helps! Work smarter, not harder!”
On the past year: “I’ve realized so much changes in a year, it’s mind-boggling…I want to feel confident about where I am. It’s about massaging your ideas, getting out there, and getting comfortable with change.”
The OSM “Oh, Sh*t Moment”: “Low on work over the holidays, people don’t have the budget and aren’t looking to put on new gigs, a dry spell from the referrals and word-of-mouth marketing... that’s when it’s time to step it up, get creative, and reach out to my network. You just push through those low times like everything else.”
Quick advice: “There’s going to be a point in time where your life just stinks, and you feel like everyone else has got it figured out except for you. Just keep pushing through it, and I promise it’s right after those low points that all the good stuff happens.”