Tag Archives: 9 to 5

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Amy, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Amy’s story. Her clients are the teeniest of tiniest and she helps parents regain the sanity that comes with a good night of sleep. She has a strong background in maternal and child wellness and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. Let’s check out her hustle!

“An Infant & Child Sleep Consultant, what in the heck is that?” Well, for starters, that’s me, Amy Douglas of Baby Sleep Central. I get that question a lot when I excitedly announce my career of choice. In a nutshell, I help sleep deprived parents of babies and toddlers take back their sleep. This involves helping little ones learn to love the act of sleeping, while also uncovering any potential issues that could be bothersome or disruptive to children. Boy, I know what you might be thinking… “Sleep is so boring!” To the contrary, I can talk sleep for days and my head starts spinning with wild ideas when I connect with new clients. I was once an exhausted parent myself. My first born was anti-sleep (or so I thought) and preferred to throw angry parties in his crib about 10 times each night. Flash forward to today – nothing brings me greater joy than helping families like mine restore their sleep. And not just in my wonderful city of Columbus, Ohio, but all around the world. So how do I accomplish this? Well, there are no two days alike, but let’s take a recent Friday as an example!

7:30 – 8:30 am – Wowzers! This day has me out the door early (so much for working from home and making my own perfect schedule – ha!). I find myself in a nearby suburb picking up some tasty gluten-free pastries for a local pediatrician’s office. They’ve recently been referring sleep deprived parents my way, and I’ve been wanting to thank them properly. Eh, doctors eat pastries, right? Too late, I’m here with the staff and they seem really excited. Phew!

9:00 am – In the last half hour I’ve rushed home to relieve my husband, so he can get to stepping! He mainly works out of our home, but he is very diligent with timing – that’s the key to success my friends! It’s a preschool/daycare day, and I’ve gotten the kiddos fed, dressed, and out the door in quite a jiffy. I won’t get to spend much time with them today, so I hug them long and hard at drop-off. Don’t worry, tomorrow I have a plan for us to bake and decorate sugar cookies. Geesh, what’s up with me and the sweets today?

9:30 am – Driving to Powell, Ohio while listening to my favorite Podcast: Momcast. I was a guest on their show last week discussing sleep hacks, and man – I wish I had one of their sultry radio voices. I sound like a chipmunk in comparison. Hey, at least I had a ball!

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – These 2 hours are spent doing something I especially LOVE to do. Once a month I visit my favorite local coffee shop and host complimentary mini-sessions with parents and professionals. This allows me to give back to the community and offer free tips and advice when I can. But more importantly, this time is for individuals to give me a glimpse into their world. I often hear personal accounts of how lack of sleep affects day to day activities, influences parenting decisions, and even impacts careers or relationships. Sleep deprivation has no boundaries, folks. The info shared is confidential, but it dances around in my brain as I determine if we’re a nice fit for each other for future consulting services.

12:00 pm – Commuting back home. Borrrrring.

12:30 pm – Nourishing my body with real food. Soup and salad, though it may be hard to believe me based on my documented love for sugar.

12:30 – 2:00 pm – Did I mention I am a part-time student? I spend this time submerged in my Abnormal Psychology textbook. I’m inching closer towards a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. It’s certainly a work in progress; taking 1-2 classes at a time will have me there in about 100 years. Never give up, folks!

2:00 pm – Yes, time for an appointment! I have a follow-up call with a family I’ve previously helped. Baby was sleeping through the night, but due to recent illness and holiday travel, they feel they’ve veered off course. It happens. And I advise them how to get back to a good place with sleep – for once and for all!

3:00 pm – Catching up on social media and e-mail responses. 12 messages have been ignored for hours, eek! After further review, it’s not bad – a couple new client inquires, and a few spam too (boo)!

4:00 pm – I’m back at it again! Driving 20 minutes north for an In-Home Sleep Consult session. Some people like driving; I’m not one of those people. I’m anxiously awaiting the invention of the flying hover-board and thought we would have that by 2017.  

4:30 – 6:30 pm – I’ve arrived safe and sound. Dearest toddler is in and out of his parent’s room all night long. He’s lost his blankets, he needs another drink, and he’s too tired to sleep. Yep – you read that right! I have a real soft spot for the toddler crowd. I go easy on him, and help his parents create a gentle plan they can self-implement. No question goes unturned before I head back home to see my family.

6:30 pm – Picking up fast food for the kids. Hey, I’m not perfect. Wendy’s it is! I get nuggets (that’s “chicky nuggies” according to my 2-year old) and I’ll round those out with steamed carrots and blackberries from home for a complete meal. Voila! Praying my husband already ate, because I forget I own a crock pot sometimes.

7:00 pm – And, he is amazing. He not only picked up the kids from daycare with his tight schedule, but he’s also prepared dinner for us both. We eat, talk about our day, and we laugh. Always.

7:30 – 8:30 pm – Connecting with my kids for a bit before my husband and I divide and conquer bedtime duties. The toddler wants rocked by Daddy, and the almost 4-year old is in full on diva mode wanting his mass-sausages (I don’t have the heart to correct him to say massage. Before long he’ll be saying it the right way. And I’ll be so sad!). They are great sleepers, and we won’t see them again until 7:30am.

8:30 pm – Circling back to social media and unfinished email business. (Follow Baby Sleep Central on Facebook & Instagram for free sleep tips and some laughs!) There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

9:00 – 11:00 pm – Sometimes this chunk of time is spent video conferencing with clients in other countries (Australia later this week!). That pesky time difference sometimes has them waking up to my going to sleep. Tonight, is NOT one of these nights! Instead, I get to relax with my husband. I make a very tough decision to “put my phone to bed” at 9pm, and not look at it until morning. We watch This is Us on Hulu (please tell me you all watch this) while I draft out a new blog post.

11:00 pm – Aww, shucks. It’s bedtime, but I was going to prep some cookie dough in advance. Nothing a little Pillsbury can’t fix in the morning. It’s off to Sleeper’s Town I go, and I rest my head on lavender sheets. Tomorrow is a new day –  a slower one for work, but much busier with the ones I love.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Amy! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work with parents or cater to teeny-tiny clients, too?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Megan, Book Coach

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Megan’s story. She’s a book coach and literary agent whose passion for the written word runs deep. With a baby on the way, Megan is not only juggling her expanding career but an expanding family as well.  Let’s check out her hustle!

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Hello!  My name is Megan Close Zavala and I am a literary agent and book coach. While I do still represent clients from time to time, I am currently focused on my coaching practice.  Just like a health coach helps their clients find ways to make their bodies the best that they can be, I do the same with authors and their writing.  I also provide editorial services, so I am often busy proofreading and copy editing various documents.  When I’m not reading for work, I’m reading for fun, and I love what I do!

7:30AM – Wake up and have breakfast.  Secretly wish I hadn’t given up caffeine when I got pregnant.  I usually try to give myself a few minutes before I start looking at emails, so I go on Facebook for a while.  I also like to read something more substantial than Facebook in the mornings, and it is usually a writing- or publishing- related magazine.  Today I’m reading Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.  In addition to helping me wake up and get into the right mindset, magazines always give me inspiration for services to offer, blogs to write, and ways to help my clients succeed!

9:00AM – Now it’s time to really get to work.  I look over my to-do list for the day, in case there is something urgent that needs to be attended to first thing.  Luckily, today there isn’t anything super pressing, so I begin to sift through emails.  I respond to a few client emails and a few requests to appear on folks’ podcasts or blogs.  I look over my calendar to make sure I know what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of the day!  Then I spend some time updating my social media, especially Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

9:30AM – Call two potential clients to give them quotes on services that they have requested.  Potential clients are able to schedule calls with me through my website.  I post my starting rates there, but very few projects are exactly the same.  Once I finish my calls, I invoice the clients for the agreed upon amount.

10:00AM – Draft two guest blogs.  One is on how publishing a book can help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business, and another is on keeping yourself on track when it comes to finishing your novel.  I really like doing these – I think they’re helpful for people who read them, and it’s fun to get to be the writer once in awhile!

11:00AM – Phone call with monthly consulting client.  We discuss his latest pages and some steps he can take to improve them.  He needs to work on his dialogue – he is having difficulty giving each of his characters a distinct voice, and we brainstormed some ways that he can get through that.

12:00PM – Work on improving website.  My new website just launched, so I am constantly trying to improve the copy and fix little issues I find along the way.  There is always something to do!

12:30PM – Begin proofreading for client.  Proofreading is basically just looking for punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors, and is less involved that some of the more in depth editing services I offer.  

1:00PM – Take a quick lunch break and watch a couple episodes of Forensic Files on Netflix.  Contemplate taking a nap (I’m seven months pregnant), but decide I better keep going with my day!

2:00PM – Complete proofreading for client.  I will send her the final, clean version tomorrow once I take one last glance at everything.

2:45PM – Prepare for a podcast interview by re-reading the questions they sent over and doing some research on the podcast and my interviewer.  Put on a nice scarf and some perfume – I find that when I feel professional, I’m more likely to come off that way!

3:00PM – Podcast begins.  I’m grateful I gussied up a bit because the first section was done via webcam.  Give myself a pat on the back for changing out of pajamas!  I get to talk about my circuitous path to becoming a book coach, give some advice to writers, and make a great new contact.

3:35PM – Podcast is over.  I give myself a little break and then start going through emails that have built up throughout the day.  I receive an invitation to appear at a writers’ conference but have to turn it down because it is only a few days after my baby is due.

4:00PM – Read through material sent over for a 1-on-1 coaching session tomorrow and take notes.  Clients who do coaching sessions send me their book project (in whatever form it is currently in!) in advance, I review it, and then we discuss what is great and not so great when we talk on the phone.  These are really gratifying to do, and a lot of time these folks turn into monthly coaching clients as well!

5:30PM – Take a marketing webinar.  No matter how much I think I already know, there is always more to learn.  I always take advantage of free webinars or interesting newsletters that I get introduced to.  This webinar talks a lot about Facebook ads, which is definitely taking some time for me to master!

6:15PM – Wrap up my work day.  Respond to last emails, clean off my desk, and do some necessary filing.  I find it’s much easier to start the day with a smile on your face when your desk is not a total disaster zone.

6:30PM – Curl up with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, my pick for book club.  I am hosting on Sunday, so I want to make sure I finish reading in time!  Start brainstorming food ideas for our meeting.

7:30PM – Dinnertime (breakfast burritos!) and hang out with my husband.  Talk about baby stuff.  Learning how to balance my time has been a big hurdle to get over, and time management is always a struggle.  But I have gotten a lot better at it, and I think the time I spend on each area of my life is more meaningful than it used to me.  We watch a little TV and I check in on the Facebook groups I am part of.

10:30PM – I put together my to-do list for the following day.  This helps me feel organized when I go to bed, which has helped to prevent many sleepless nights of lying awake thinking, “Did I do that?” and “When is that due?”  Tomorrow I will be doing more coaching calls and work on the website, and I am going to pitch some article ideas to a few different periodicals.  I’m also hoping to get more of my webinar slides completed for an upcoming presentation!

10:45PM – Read more of The Nightingale – it’s really good!  It’s so nice to be able to actually give myself some time to read “for pleasure.”  Husband reads his book, too: my idea of marital bliss.

11:30PM – Finally fall asleep.  I look forward to starting another busy but enjoyable day helping authors!

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Megan! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in the literary world? Would you like to?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Latasha, Social Media Manager

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Latasha’s story. She’s a social media whiz-kid in the corporate world and produces a stellar YouTube channel. (Seriously, I binge watched her videos recently and they’re a magnificent mix of beauty, lifestyle, and smart lady opinions.) Let’s check out her hustle!

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Hello! My name is Latasha James and I am a social media community manager. Although my official job title is pretty standard and well-known nowadays, my life is anything but average. Because I work full-time doing corporate social media, freelance for clients across the globe, and manage my own personal branding efforts (which include a blog and YouTube channel), it goes without saying that I lead a pretty busy life. I wouldn’t want it any other way though — there’s never a dull moment and my life is always full of surprises. Come along with me for a recent Monday in my life!

6:30 am – I try to wake up a couple of hours before I have to leave the house so I have time to pull together a nice outfit, sip some coffee, and get a little bit of freelance work done. This morning I spent my free time checking emails and jotting down notes for a conference call with a client in Paris tomorrow.

8 am – I hop into my car and prepare for my sometimes treacherous commute… which usually involves a podcast. The Ask Gary Vee Show, Online Marketing Made Easy With Amy Porterfield, and Social Media Social Hour are my favorites. If I’m feeling like I need some extra self-care, I’ll turn on Nahko and Medicine for the People and belt it out on the highway instead… which is exactly what I did today.

9 am – I arrive at the office, sip more coffee 😉, check emails, and start a to-do list for the day.  I also use the beginning of my day to check the social media inbox for any urgent questions or inquiries.

10 am – After the immediate maintenance is taken care of, I start to schedule social posts for the day — this can take some time since I manage quite a few accounts.

11:30 am – Time for some personal branding! My company uses an employee advocacy tool that encourages us to share posts about the company and other relevant content with our networks, so I add a couple of articles to my Twitter queue. I also make sure to share some of my own personal posts and general social media industry content.

12 pm – Lunch time! I almost always work through lunch. Today I grabbed a quick salad from my company’s cafe, turned on a Podcast, and worked on the engagement piece of social media management aka ‘liking’ our social mentions, retweeting relevant accounts, and responding to comments that weren’t considered ‘urgent’ from this morning. This is the fun part of social media management — it involves lots of thank you’s and smiley faces. 😃

1 pm – I like to use my post-lunch energy to tackle a bigger project like implementing a large social plan, creating a video, or publishing something on the website. My company has quite a few events coming up, so today I worked on social support for those.

3:30 pm – This is the point in the day where I get started on scheduling social posts for the following day, close the loop on any customer service issues, and make a to-do list for the next day.

5 pm – Waste no commute time! I usually take a call with a client or listen to another Podcast, and today I choose to have a check-in with a local client.

5:30 pm – Immediately after getting home, I take some time to rest and unwind. Today I make a light meal, catch up on The View (I can’t help it, I’m addicted), and touch base with my partner, Norris.

6:30 pm – I send out a newsletter for a freelance client every Monday, which takes up quite a bit of my evening. I like to get started on that sooner than later.

8 pm – For another client, I am in charge of team organization and weekly social analytics. Once the newsletter is complete, I work on sending out an internal update email to my team and updating a spreadsheet full of metrics from the week before.

8:30 pm – More social media scheduling… 😃 This time as a freelancer. Since I only manage two accounts for this client, versus several at my company, this is pretty quick. I use Buffer, which is super user-friendly, very inexpensive for small businesses and freelancers, and makes it easy to recycle posts.

9:30 pm – More relaxation… with a twist. My boyfriend and I throw a silly TV show on in the background while we work on other things. Today I’m working on getting a YouTube video published, so I update the metadata, create a thumbnail with Picmonkey, and post it to my social networks while vegging out in my onesie.

10:30 pm – Winding down is important to me, and so is communication. Norris and I usually have a cup of tea, turn off the TV, and just talk for a little while before bed. Tonight the topics range from politics to goofy memes. It’s such a nice way to end the day. I’m a night owl and rarely fall asleep before midnight, but I like to start winding down well before then.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Latasha! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you spend your weekend and evening free-time working on personal branding efforts?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Kelsey, Concierge Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Kelsey’s story (whose hustle changes so drastically from day to day that we just had to include two!). Kelsey has been a licensed cosmetologist in Texas for many years and she also has a social media management and virtual assistant business. Let’s check out her hustle!

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Hey ya’ll!  My name is Kelsey and what I do changes from day-to-day and seasonally.  The one consistent in my life is lots and lots of coffee: black with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a coconut milk latte with light foam.  Monday thru Thursday I am a Social Media Strategist and Marketing Manager.  I create content for other businesses including: blog posts, brochures, email campaigns and press releases.  I also create “less fun” content including Annual Reports, Investor Relations presentations, and Proxy Statements.  Like many I sit in front of my computer for hours answering emails and typing until my nails are blue.  Friday, Saturday, and some Sundays I am a stylist.  I have eleven years as a licensed cosmetologist in Texas and absolutely love working with brides.  I book wedding parties across the state as well as across the country and internationally.  I love that every day with a new client brings new challenges!

A recent Thursday working as the Marketing Guru at Styled Startup:

5:30 am – Wake-up and immediately check today’s calendar. Looks like it is going to be a busy one!

6:00 am – Drink my first cup of coffee and check emails. I have eight (!) email accounts so this can take a while.  I delete the spam, try not to get distracted by shopping deals, and favorite the emails I need to respond to.

7:00 am – Reach out to Virtual Assistants to discuss the daily to-do list.

7:30 am – Get more coffee.  Fix my hair and put on makeup.  Usually I only straighten my bangs and throw the rest of my hair into a messy bun. I contour, put on eyeshadow, eyeliner, two coats of mascara, bronzer, and a burgundy lip color.

9:00 am – Skype with a client to discuss new materials and social media strategy for the next month.  We are amping up her email campaigns to make them look more exciting.   I take notes outlining upcoming events and promotions.

9:30 am – Time for morning Instagram posts. I schedule my Instagram posts for a curated feed and to track hashtags across my accounts and client accounts.

9:45 am – Respond to 165 emails.  Trade secret: I have auto-responses set for most occasions but there are some responses that require a non-template response.

10:30 am – I head out for brunch with a local photographer. We enjoy crepes and lattes.  I like savory crepes with lots of veggies and feta but she opted for sweet. This sort of networking is a huge part of all of my businesses!  I use photographers to style and shoot flat-lays for my websites. Plus, photographer referrals are my favorite way to book brides.  

noon – More emails!

1:00 pm – I work on marketing materials for a client.  I create brochures and update their website.  Of course I have to link all these new materials to social media, too.

4:00 pm – Touch base with Virtual Assistants to make sure all their work was completed.  If any tasks are remaining by this time of day, we discuss options for finishing in the evening or the next day.

4:45 pm – Afternoon/Evening Instagram posts.

5:30 pm – I hit up Happy Hour with a bride I’ll soon by styling.  Since it is winter I opt for red wine but during the hot, Texas summer you can find me with a French 75 or margarita on the rocks!  I meet all of my brides for coffee or drinks prior to booking their wedding.  This has helped me significantly reduce “bridezillas” and make sure that I’m compatible with all my brides.  A bride should feel comfortable on her wedding day! Since she and her bridesmaids will spend a significant amount of time with me, it’s important that I’m someone she wants to hang out with on her big day! She also needs to make sure my portfolio is able to accommodate the hair and makeup aesthetic she’s looking to achieve.

7:00 pm – Another round of emails.

8:00 pm –  I have a good friend who is a small business owner in another state who acts as my accountability partner.  We have a nightly call or FaceTime to discuss our daily wins and losses.  I call her now to discuss our daily activities.

8:45 pm – Final Instagram posts go up.  I scroll through the feeds and correspond with like minded creatives.  Did you know for a comment to gain traction with Instagram’s new algorithm it has to be at least three words?  I try to be genuine and only comment on pictures I can directly relate to or that tug at my heartstrings.

9:00 pm – I fire off a Facebook chat to my photographer friend. The convo started out personal but quickly turns into a business discussion.  This leads to me scrolling through the friend’s Instagram account to perform a quick audit.  We discuss where disconnect with potential clients may be.

9:30 pm – Now I am performing hashtag searches to determine which hashtags will drive the most traffic to her Instagram.  I create a list of twenty hashtags to use in every Instagram post and send it over to her.  

11:00 pm – Scrolling through Instagram, I find a few more accounts to interact with before checking my email one last time and then heading to bed.

A recent Friday working as a Concierge Hairstylist and Makeup Artist:

5:30 am – Wake-up, check the calendar, drink coffee, and attend to emails.

6:45 am – Check that hair and makeup bags were properly packed and make sure we have enough applicators and lashes for the bride and all her bridesmaids.

7:00 am – Drink more coffee while fixing my hair and doing my makeup.

8:30 am – Fill up my 30 ounce Yeti with (more) coffee, grab the bags, and head out the door.

9:00 am – Arrive at the venue, meet with my team, and unpack hair and makeup bags.  It is crucial to get everything organized right away to stay on schedule throughout the day.

9:15 am – Airbrush Makeup for Bridesmaid #1.

10:00 am – Hairstyle for Bridesmaid #1.

10:45 am – Airbrush Makeup for Bridesmaid #2.

11:30 am – Hairstyle for Bridesmaid #2.

12:15 pm – Airbrush Makeup for the Bride.

1:00 pm – Hairstyle for the Bride.

1:45 pm – Hair and Makeup for the Flower Girl. This doesn’t take long as flower girls usually just get a little shimmer eye shadow, blush, and some lip gloss. Just enough to feel like a princess!

2:30 pm – I collect any outstanding payments, Square has made this a huge time saver.  Before, I had issues with checks bouncing or bridesmaids forgetting to bring cash.  Luckily everyone always has a card on them and Square has my back with transaction protection.

2:45 pm – Pack-up hair and makeup-bags.  The team leaves together and heads their separate ways.

3:15 pm – Arrive home and unpack the bags. I inventory all the items and make lists of those we are running low or out of.

4:30 pm – Payroll for the day in Square dashboard.

5:00 pm – I deep clean and sanitize all the makeup brushes.

5:15 pm – I fire off a response to an email from my dream venue for Wedded Weekend 2018 and book a follow-up call with the owner.  Proceed to do a happy dance around the townhouse!!!

5:30 pm – I work on the budget spreadsheet for Wedded Weekend 2018. I created Wedded Weekend, a three day creatives retreat and styled shoot workshop for wedding vendors, in 2016. The weekends are filled with collaboration, learning, and lots of fun. But the prep is a LOT of work. I try to carve out a few hours on weekend evenings to check a few items off my Wedded Weekend to-do list.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Kelsey! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you completely switch professional gears between weekdays and weekends?  

(Photo by Nicki Evans Photography.)

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Katie, Reservation Specialist

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I’m starting close to home and bringing you my sister Katie’s story. Her official job title is “Reservation Specialist” but you’ll soon learn that her talents and passions lead her to wear many more hats, even in a single day.

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Hi there!  My name is Katie and if you asked me what I do for a living, I would probably answer “I’m a professional actress and playwright” without blinking an eye.  If we are being completely honest with each other though, that’s not always how I make my living. I also work full time at an Italian restaurant in Downtown St. Petersburg.  My official title is Reservation Specialist (I even have a business card!  Fancy!). Since taking on this position I’ve had to learn how to balance my artistic endeavors while pulling a paycheck in a completely different industry.  It’s a lot, but I thrive on stress.  What follows is an account of a recent Monday where I had to juggle several facets of my career.  Come along with me and make sure you have had a LOT of coffee. 

9:00am – Up and fed and caffeinated.  I don’t have to be at the restaurant until 10am so I usually use this time to look at upcoming auditions, make my to do list, or write.  For whatever reason, I tend to write my best stuff after I just wake up. Today, I also update my acting resume for my auditions this evening.

10:00am – We open at 11:30am so I clock in, fill up my water bottle, put my stuff in the back room, and say hi to the day bartender, Jessica.  I start flipping chairs off  the bar and high tops.  The openers arrive and start cutting lemons and setting up the outside dining area while I check my emails.  I get through as many emails as I can before we open, while Jessica and I watch the morning news on the TV at the bar.  

11:15am – The manager on duty gives me the floor plan for the day and I make a copy of it.  I check in with the servers to make sure they’re ready to go.

11:30am – I unlock the front doors and seat the first few tables.  It’s a slow start today because it’s cloudy and gloomy.  It’s amazing how much the weather affects our business, but it truly does.

12:00pm – 2:00pm – It’s a pretty slow lunch rush today so I have plenty of time to take phone calls and answer emails as they come in.  We are closing in on the holiday season so there are lots of big party reservations coming up!  There are already days that are completely booked, and I have started having to tell people we don’t have room for their parties.  

4:00pm – I go upstairs to the office but instead of printing menus, I have to print my acting resume because I have THREE auditions this evening.

4:30pm – I go back downstairs to gather my things and say bye to my coworkers.  I get plenty of “break a legs!” from all my friends.  I love these people.

5:00pm – I run to Staples to print my new head-shots!  I just got them done (thanks Beth!).  I go home and trim them and my resumes down to 8×10 inches, and staple them back to back.  I have done this so many times that it only takes me a few minutes to do 10 of them. 

6:00 pm – I drive to Tampa, where my first audition of the night is.  

7:00pm – I audition for A Skull in Connemara, a play by Irish playwright (and one of my favorites) Martin McDonagh.  It goes pretty dang well.

7:15pm – I say a hurried goodbye to my friends who are also going in for the same role and drive back to St. Pete for my other auditions.  

8:00pm – I arrive at USF – St. Pete’s campus and check in for my St. Pete Shakespeare Festival auditions.  I’m auditioning for Ophelia in Hamlet and Viola in Twelfth Night.  Two different shows.  Two different directors.  Lots of words.  I read a lot of scenes with some of my favorite people and I’m the last person of the night to be released.  

9:30pm – I arrive back home, feeling great about my reads.  I say hi to my two roommates and get out my music binder.  I’m playing in the pit for Blake High School’s production of Full the Musical and I need to make my script and music a little neater and easier to read for rehearsal tomorrow.  (Oh yeah, and I wrote Full.)  I’m pretty hyped up from all the audition adrenaline, so I work on music until my eyes start to slam shut.  

12:00am – I set my alarm for the following day, which includes work at Bella, Full tech rehearsal at the high school, and helping my friend plan her wedding. Because why not.

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Katie! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you balance creative endeavors alongside a 9-to-5?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

5 reasons I can’t get enough Dolly.

dollyparton

This big-hair, big-boobs, big-voice country music icon is my everything! Her songs are catchy as all get out and I could watch “9 to 5” any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I also love that when she got rich and famous, she invested her earnings into business opportunities in East Tennessee. Creating jobs and helping the economy of a struggling part of the country. Even if Pigeon Forge is tacky as all hell, just like her, it is my Mecca and she is my Queen. I can not get enough Dolly Parton. Here’s why…

1. This hauntingly beautiful song which might not be about what everyone thinks — 

Dolly has said in many interviews over the years that “Jolene” was inspired by a young girl who came up to her after one of her shows. Red hair, green eyes, fair skin; Dolly thought Jolene was the prettiest name she’d ever heard and promised to write a song about the child. Dolly and her husband couldn’t have children. Which makes the song take on a whole new context. Perhaps Dolly was afraid to lose her love to someone who could give him a child? Is that what he was talking about in his sleep?

2. These quotes are speaking to my soul — 

“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”

“You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”

“If anyone tells you your hair is too big, get rid of them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.”

3. Dolly doesn’t have time for judgmental bullshit —

She speaks out about her love for ALL people and believes judgement is the greatest sin of all.

4. Leaving a little something to mystery —

Is her body covered in secret tattoos? Still leaving the world guessing at 69 years young.

5. Just in case it was unclear —

dalai dolly

This photo I posted to my Facebook profile, circa 2006, spells it out for you. Basically these two are the samesies. So samesies that I labelled them. In short, I’ve never encountered a Dolly/Dalai I didn’t like.

Do you love Dolly, too? Ever been to Dollywood? What’s your favorite thing about this bombshell? Let’s all load up the van and head down to Pigeon Forge! 

Check out 5 reasons I can’t get enough RuPaul.

P.S. Here’s a picture of Katie and I straight KILLING IT at Dollywood about a decade ago.

dollywood

P.P.S. If anyone wants to get me THIS for my birthday, I would obviously be really into that. Not that I worship false idols or anything…I worship ACTUAL idols. Different.