I am so excited to bring the #JAKWellness12 challenge back this month with a focus on Career. Instead of coming up with weekly challenges, this month I’ve lined up interviews with several business owners in different industries. Each week I’ll share their answers and advice on everything from starting your own business to what they look for in a potential employee. Whether you’re looking to move up in your job, make a change in your career path or curious about what it’s like to start your own business, this month will have a ton of great information from people that are crushing it in their industries. My first interview is with my manager Lindsay, founder of Parker Management. Lindsay is the only interview this month that focuses on the blogging/influencer industry and given our podcast episode yesterday it felt like great timing.
After spending four years on my own I decided to work with Lindsay last summer. I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and a bit stuck. I didn’t have enough time in the day (or the energy), to effectively negotiate on my own behalf and respond to the number of inquiries I was getting on a daily basis. It was hard for me to let go of some of that control and hand over a major part of my business to someone else, but the moment I got on the phone with Lindsay I connected with her. She had a calm and confident poise that immediately made me feel at ease. And the rest as they say, is history.
Interview with: Lindsay Nead, Parker Management
J: Did you always know you wanted to own your own business?
L: I’ve always wanted to own my own business, no question! I actually owned a few prior to Parker Management. I had a little home decor store once in San Diego (I was 18!), I did networking marketing at one point, and I had a wellness/nutrition coaching business. It was all fun, but I never felt like I found “my business,” however it never killed my entrepreneurial spirit.
J: What prompted you to start Parker Management?
L: It wasn’t until I landed a job at a modeling agency (so randomly, because we all know that’s how life works sometimes) and found myself there for 4 years. I loved it, and it encompassed everything I knew I was good at, which is why I think I was so successful there. But during that time, I always felt like I could do it on my own and do something a little different. I was also dying to get out of 9-5 office life. I saw a shift in the modeling world where influencers were now also being requested on shoots, and I couldn’t really find agencies out there that were doing exactly what I had envisioned. So, I hopped on the opportunity right away to marry both model + influencer world together, and that is how Parker Management was born. And mind you, it took me MONTHS to pull the trigger (gotta love that good ole self-doubt).
J: How do you find balance and create “me time” as a business owner (without feeling guilty)?
L: This is so tough, truly. I used to roll out of bed and start working and then close my laptop in bed at night after working some more. When I started to realize that I basically never stopped working (and started gaining weight from all the stress), the old wellness coach in me was like… wait a minute – this is NOT sustainable. I’m still learning and trying to practice this, but I make sure to treat my days like a normal workday. If I’m up a 6am and start work that early, then I try and sign off by 3pm and enjoy the afternoon. You realize that SO many things can wait and we definitely don’t need to try and do everything. When you own a business, there is always something you could be doing and a to-do list that never ends, so letting that go and understanding that your well being comes first, is so important. I really believe that we’ve been more successful since I set more boundaries, learned when to shut off social media, forced myself to get up for a walk outside when I was overwhelmed, and hired more employees to alleviate my workload. I also take more days off now more than ever- it keeps me healthy and in the game! We know what’s best for us better than anyone.
“Without question, I think the biggest mistake is accepting partnerships with brands you are unsure about. “
J: What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes influencers make when it comes to brand partnerships?
L: Without question, I think the biggest mistake is accepting partnerships with brands you are unsure about. Partnerships have got to feel good to you and if they don’t but you still proceed, you can usually see the negative results after everything goes live. I can’t even tell you how many time influencers I work with get halfway through negotiating a partnership with a brand and then end up backing out because it didn’t feel right. And it’s my job as a manager to 100% back that decision up. Being careful with those decisions and understanding your values as an individual, but also your responsibility to your audience that is trusting what you say and literally buying things because you suggest them. Taking that seriously is really important. And I promise money will come in elsewhere to make up for it!
J: What do you look for in an influencer when building your pool of talent?
L: Business wise, we have criteria like: Instagram following (although you could have 25,000 followers and great engagement and we’d be interested), engagement, quality imagery and a well-rounded feed. We also make sure someone has a supporting platform like a website or YouTube that has a strong audience. I get nervous when someone is only strong on their Instagram, because we all know one day another platform could come out and takeover.
“If you are a blogger, you most likely have someone that works at an agency or PR company following you and watching what you create. If they see the great job you do with other sponsored posts, you can believe you will be at the top of their mind when the next campaign rolls out.”
J: What makes someone stand out to you?
L: I think it’s a bit more challenging these days because so many people do a great job, but I think finding your personal aesthetic and overall theme is key. Like with you, Jess, I could see one of your photos and without having to look at your name, know it was yours. Finding your own unique aesthetic and being consistent with that is important. Pair that with an honest and real person that has found their voice and can connect with their audience, to me, is how you do social media.
J: What do brands look at most when picking talent for a campaign?
L: Quality of content, an authentic voice and thinking outside of the box. Anyone can walk out their door and snap a photo of themselves in a cute outfit, but go the extra mile with your content. I always tell people that this company is hiring you to do a mini advertisement, so put a lot of love into your post for them. If you are a blogger, you most likely have someone that works at an agency or PR company following you and watching what you create. If they see the great job you do with other sponsored posts, you can believe you will be at the top of their mind when the next campaign rolls out. Again, I might be a little bias here but I think you do an incredible job at this, Jess. You never half-ass anything and it shows.