Welcome to the third Transition Tuesday feature! Lisa Pisano and I have spent a lot of time together the past fifteen years: we worked in corporate marketing and PR at Liz Claiborne, Inc.; we went to graduate school together at New York University where we both received Master’s in Integrated Marketing; we worked as marketing and PR consultants where we partnered on a few clients together; oh, and we are also bloggers. Make sure to follow my other #ttmTransitionTuesday stories!
As you’ll see from Lisa’s transition, she stayed within the same industry, but she made it her own. Read on about her Transition Tuesday.
Transition Tuesday: From Corporate Marketing Manager to President of Her Own Marketing Consultancy and Blogger
What was your previous career / title? Senior Manager, Corporate & Internal Communications / Content Director, Liz Claiborne Inc.
What did your day-to-day look like in your previous career? It was a corporate “9-6pm” job in NYC. I was commuting from NJ both before having kids and for a short time once I had my son. Most of my time was spent in the city and there were pretty clear boundaries between work, play and home life.
What is your career / title now? Now, I run my own boutique consulting business. I’m President of Groupe a la Mode, LLC. It is an umbrella company for my PR/Marketing consulting practice as well as my blog, mom a la mode, of which I’m the Creator and Editorial Director.
What does your day-to-day look like now? It’s crazy! There are no boundaries, which is very hard. And something I’m struggling to fix as I type this. I work from my home office and now have 2 kids – one of which is a newborn. Thankfully I have help a few times a week and I try to stack my busy work during the times that I have childcare. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take the occasional conference call in the comfort of my laundry room or closet ???? Of course the beautiful part is that my children are just a room away when I step away from my desk and take a little lunch break. And working remotely also means being able to do the occasional social media post for a client while waiting on line at the bank. Or Target
Of course the beautiful part is that my children are just a room away when I step away from my desk and take a little lunch break.
Why did you want to make the change? The change was essentially made for me 5 years ago. Liz Claiborne Inc. was in process of dissolving and I was part of a corporate layoff. However, it was definitely for the best. If I didn’t have the “push” I’m not sure I would have gone off on my own. I enjoy the freedom and creativity that comes with being self-employed and running my own shop.
What were the steps you took to make this change? I first took two months off to just “chill” and really think about what I wanted to do next. I was inspired by Triple Threat Mommy, who started her blog after working in corporate at LCI along with me. She made time to talk to me about her experience; she gave me the push and the know-how and was also very generous with connecting me to networks, people and opportunities that helped my blog flourish. [Editors note: I did not pay her to say all these nice things. :)] From there, I actually took an internship — yes, an internship — as a social media coordinator, where I tried my hand at handling social media content for a small online gourmet food company. It was a great experience and allowed me to get my feet wet in managing someone else’s social and learn the ropes a bit.
From there, I actually took an internship — yes, an internship — as a social media coordinator. . . it allowed me to get my feet wet. . . and learn the ropes. . .
From there, I started to get more small business clients for social media and PR/marketing work. I continued to network and also grow my blog a bit. The networking and refining of my business services is what lead me to where I am today, which is handling PR and social media needs of large scale clients.
How much did it cost you to make this change? Not just the dollar cost but the time cost? You don’t have to give exact numbers but just a rough estimation. I definitely did not make a profit my first year of business. I spent quite a bit on conference fees, start-up costs for getting my website up and marketing collateral designed. I think it’s safe to say I spent about $2K or so – maybe more.
How did you afford the time and monetary cost? I used childcare that was free or otherwise covered by school, and I worked during those times. I also bartered services where I could.
What was the impact on, support of, pushback from family and friends? Describe your experiences. And if you had pushback, how did you overcome that? My husband was and is 100% supportive of what I did and what I do. He knew when we got married that I did not want to stay home and play with legos all day once we had children – that I wanted to work in one capacity or another. Once I had my first child, corporate didn’t seem like the right fit for me — even when my job was eliminated, I didn’t seek out another corporate position. It helps that he’s a CPA and I’ve made him the CFO of my business — he really helps to keep me organized financially and points out ways for me to be smarter with my business spending, managing my client base, etc.
I did not want to stay home and play with legos all day once we had children – that I wanted to work in one capacity or another.
As far as friends and family are concerned – some of them just don’t “get” what I do. But, it becomes more clear when they can be part of the job with me. For example: my in-laws thought I was just playing on my computer when they would be watching my son. Then, I was able to take them to Disney World as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. Seeing me do my job live and in person allowed for them to understand what I do a bit better. I’ll still get the occasional friend that wants to drop by while I’m at home working, but I’ll have to say, “I’m sorry I have conference calls until 1pm. Can we meet up on Friday instead?”
Any highlights and/or regrets to share? Just that I’m really fortunate and grateful to have a job in an industry that affords me the chance to be flexible, creative and do great work while still being close to my home and family.
Read more Transition Tuesday Stories:
Read all about Laura who went from fashion product development to a health coach and how I am making my transition from marketing to occupational therapy.