Per your suggested topics you’d like to hear more about, my work / The Everygirl seemed like a point of interest! Thank you! 🙂
I received a ton of great questions–things I guess I never realized people would be curious to hear but it makes sense that you are! And I’d really love to make this a series tackling 5 at a time since you all sent such great questions, but my answers get pretty lengthy (I’m one of the most long-winded humans I know). Basically this would be a novella if I tried to answer all of them in one post!
Here we go!
1. What does an average day / week look like at The Everygirl?
Great question! Like many jobs in 2018, most of my day is spent sitting at a computer. A combination of email and Slack, communicating with the team about content, sponsors, brainstorming, and then my cofounder Danielle and I often have administrative work that has to do with accounting and budgets, very rarely legal business, HR and staffing, and “big picture” type stuff like when we redesigned our site this year which took a lot of time meeting with the web programmers. Or when we were designing and launching our new furniture collaboration with The Inside!
And right now for example we have a very big project we’re working on–not sure project is the right word–and that’s taking up most of our time. You’ll be hearing about that soon! But again, 90% of the work to make it happen is done sitting at a computer.
Most of the time we are handling whatever is coming up that day: whether it’s pitching a sponsor, brainstorming content, producing a photo shoot, editing photos, writing, or any of those big picture ideas. Occasionally we travel for work like when we hosted wine tasting events in three different cities last year! That’s always fun! And sometimes we have evening work in the form of hosting or attending industry events either with partners or for networking purposes. Danielle and I also take on speaking engagements throughout the year, as well.
2. How many hours a week do you work on The Everygirl? How did you form a work schedule?
The Everygirl currently has 6 full-time, salaried employees including myself and Danielle. That means we’re all expected to work 40 hours a week. But honestly, we all work way more than that because the internet does not sleep.
As for a schedule, this was a bit trickier since there used to be so few of us and we’d kind of come and go as we please, working from home, checking on online and working all hours of the day.
However that all changed last year when we got our first office space and hired more full-time employees. Everyone needed clear expectations and structure since there were now multiple moving parts (ie people and schedules). So when we got the office, we quickly attempted to take on normal 9-5 office hours in said office. But we quickly realized that being sedentary anywhere from 9-5pm is A LONG TIME to sit in one place. And quite frankly not healthy or inspiring. Or even always productive!
So we actually worked with an HR consultant to come up with a happy medium for all our team. We have three set “in the office” days a week where staff is asked to be IN from 10-4 (but technically work from 8:30-5, we just allow the commute to happen off busy hours so no one is wasting their lovely life away sitting in traffic and so the office day doesn’t drag on as long) and the other two are work from home days.
But each week day we operate on “core office hours,” 8:30am-5pm meaning everyone on our full-time team is signed in to Slack (a software program we use for “inter-office” chatting) so we know everyone is online and reachable. I think it’s really helped bring balance and happiness to the whole team having the time together in office and flexibility to not commute and just work from home those other days! (But you’d have to ask them.) I know I love it.
A few of our staffers do other freelance work–and for example both Danielle and I have personal blogs. That is all happening before and after our core work week hours. So basically we all work around the clock and on weekends. Every day we’re hus-hustlin’.
3. What tips do you have for managing productivity? What’s your secret to staying focused at work?
For me productivity is just a matter of urgency. It’s much harder for me to focus on days when there isn’t a clear immediate project or an item that “needs to get done asap” on my to do list. Then my mind can wander more easily to brainstorming mode instead of the task I should probably be working on (even though there is no urgency to get it done).
Fortunately, I usually have 5+ requests coming at me at any given time from staff or things on my to do list that it’s more a matter of prioritizing and getting through EACH of them.
What usually happens is is I start working on one thing–say I’m editing stories sent over from our managing editor Allyson–when our partnership director Ally asks me to approve a pitch to a sponsor, then Danielle will ping me asking if I saw a certain email come in and what I thought/wants to discuss, then I realize I have a better photo for our social media manager Abigail to Instagram so I start searching for them on my computer to resize and send her way… oh and our associate editor Kelly has a video for me to review.
So before you know I am working on 5-10 things with 5 different people, and I never finished editing the stories I began with and our managing editor has to remind me she needs those stories looked at!
All of that being said, the main thing I rely on other than a written to do list that I keep next ot my laptop on REALLY busy days is the “Task” list in my gmail since gmail is the main page I have open in my browser (since we get at least a hundred emails coming in each day). Either way – a list. I try to list them in order of priority, as well. Not sure this answer helped! Hah
4. What is your biggest career regret?
My answer to this used to be not ever living in New York City – which of course was my dream to become a magazine editor there since I was 16. But a couple years into running The Everygirl I realized The Everygirl would have never been possible had I been living in New York. It was a circumstance of my job at the time, being able to AFFORD RENT and spend my evenings blogging and working unpaid as opposed to having a second job as a waitress just to afford an apartment in Brooklyn.
Plus we would have had a lot more competition had we been in New York or LA. Being in the third largest city six years ago as opposed to the biggest allowed us to stand out and rise up in what is still a major advertising market for companies. Now we are the largest women’s lifestyle site in Chicago (one of the top in the country). It would’ve been much harder to compete and stand out from the crowd in NY or LA. Plus I’m not sure the style of our content–at least at the time, very girl next door–would have been as well received there. Maybe it would have, but I feel like NY is more high fashion/trend and we definitely weren’t trendy in the beginning. (Our stylish younger editors have since changed this. 🙂 )
5. Where do you see The Everygirl in 10-15 years?
I love this question. But I can’t really answer with much detail. Honestly, I love where we’re at / can’t believe where we’re at… three years ago we hired our first full-time employee and now we have a team of seven full-time employees (including myself and Danielle). And we’re going to hire more this year. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! Haha
I’d love to see us continue to grow–higher traffic, more content, longer form reported content, more original photography content again, ie more staff, expanded divisions (would be amazing to have a video team, an advertising and sales team, an editorial team, an executive team, etc.) Would love to open more offices and have editors on the ground across the country and world – ironically in New York or LA! Hah Would love to be more of a known household name in women’s media. Would love to have a book. So many goals and dreams! But all good things happening and like I said – I can’t believe how far we’ve come even today! I guess that makes me think anything is possible.
Our method has basically always been slow and steady, organic growth. We’ve never taken on funding and been able to pivot year over year based on changes in the market or what we learned the previous year. For example, we had a shop and sold product for 1-2 years and that really helped us financially at the time. Now that’s no longer a part of our business model at all, but we’ve developed new avenues of revenue. So we shall see! It’s been an exciting learning process.
SHOP THE OFFICE:
Next week I’ll be answering 5 more from this list:
How did you know it was time to hire a full-time staff?
What would you do differently, if anything? (In regards to launching, growth, hiring… would you intentionally expand at the same rate if you had to start it all from scratch again?
What has starting and running The Everygirl fulfilled in you that perhaps another job couldn’t?
When freelancing or working for yourself, how do you know what to charge clients without sacrificing your worth but also not overcharging?
What are some of the less glamorous things and tasks you need to do daily, weekly, monthly to run The Everygirl?
How do you balance The Everygirl work with your own personal blogging? Do you try to keep them separate or are they always overlapping?
Please submit any other questions you have about work, your own career, career advice, start-up life, life at The Everygirl, blogging, making money as a blogger, styling, freelancing, social media tips, working in media in 2018, etc. Excited to help!