External Clues with Megan Collins
And I'm very excited because megan collins is here with hopefully um main collins came to me back in twenty ten I'm megan oh my god, there she is we're doing it so excited making came to me I'm doing your little angstrom again she came to me a disgruntled office worker kiki remember this that seems like a lifetime ago, right? I wish it was a lifetime ago I wish it never happened but it got you where you are I've been tying them that you can't you know telling okay uh she came to me this disgruntled office worker who knew that she wanted to write but you didn't know what that looked like for you and so we kind of just followed that urge to write and what it led to a za friend asking you to write an article where you were giving a woman's perspective on men's fashion and that turns into a syndicated column and that turned into style girlfriend dot com, which is now a business and you have corporate sponsors and you do red carpet interviews and commentary which I think is the coolest thin...
g ever that I know someone that does that oh my gosh it's unbelievable yeah, I mean, I think you're giving me too much credit I mean you're leaving a couple things out, I believe when I first came to you I didn't I think it took at least two or three sessions before I even said that I want to, right? I think I just said that I was unhappy with work, I felt unfulfilled, I want to be creative, I didn't know how when in, you know, my heart of hearts, I did know that I want to write, but I felt like such a no, I was experiencing such imposter syndrome about the idea that I could even that I could want to be a writer, not even that I could be a writer, but that I could, you know, allow myself to say that that's what I wanted, which is crazy on dh so sad that it took that, you know, for that long for you to kind of draw that out of me and then beyond that once we did start talking about, uh, wanting to write and what that looked like and howto, um, actually turned that into a career, it took me having enough confidence to say to that friend that you mentioned hey, I'm looking for writing work, I'm looking for freelance work, do you know of anything? S o you know, those two, uh, bits I think are so important, we can't leave those out, uh, and that's so much about us working together and working through some you know, not just logistical issues about what that career actually looks like but also just some emotional issues like I said do I get to want that uh thank you for bringing that up and showing us like the harder stuff about this process right? So on the outside now for it's years later it could look like all sunshine and rainbows and happiness and we could recap it in that way but you bringing up like you couldn't even let yourself in met what that is because it's so scary because so personal because it's so vulnerable because it's such a big important dream and then once you clarify it and we've already kind of touched on this telling other people and getting it out there potentially the scariest thing of all but people gonna rally to help you especially when they know that you're going to be good at that thing and you're gonna be great to work with and they're rallying around that absolutely I mean I think coming out of mean someone of your clients came out of really traditional careers s o to be able to turn around and say but I'm this creative renaissance person that has all these other skills and talents yeah that's really scary it you know what you pride yourself on when you're working in the corporate uh sphere is not necessarily your creativity so too then suddenly based here worth off of that and not that you're really well organized or that you can put together a hell of a you know, presentation deck it's scary it's scary to say that that's what you want it's scary toe go after that without necessarily a background in it I mean, I think a lot of your clients probably you know, they did something as a hobby and then just suddenly turn around to make it a career there's so much in between those two things absolutely we're gonna talk about discovery in truth and I'm really someone who believes that you know, we don't have to have the piece of paper that is, you know, uh, certificate or a degree or anything more than just this is what I'm personally passionate about are interested in or I do well and I know that I could offer and charge for and be happy with which best fantastic so you're in the segment called external clues to your dream career, and obviously I thought of you because, you know, your whole business came from someone asking you, teo, do something specific. So could you talk a little bit about how that kind of catapulted and because you weren't necessarily at the helm and like you don't make the decision to say, I'm starting a site with a woman's perspective on men's fashion, it kind of came to you what that was like yeah, absolutely I when people ask how style girlfriend got started I always say I wish I could tell you that I did this sweeping competitive analysis of the landscape and found a female voice was missing for menswear but really I just fell ass backwards into it uh at that point had left advertising you know, my my former career and I was doing freelance writing for anyone and everyone who would have me on a friend of mine who was starting up a custom suiting business came to me is that I know you're looking to write more I have this new website any content for it? Do you want to write a weekly column on men style? And I said sure I don't know anything about me but you were saying yes to everything it seemed like any writing gig that came your way you were saying yes, absolutely and I mean, yeah, it would be stupid not to mean I was just excited that someone wanted me to you know right for them so and now that I mean that continues today I still get excited with brands want to work with me I'm like really e I e I say yes, you totally you yes, exactly so I said yes, I don't know much about men style and he said, you know what just write about why don't you write about what women like to see guys wearing now is this huge light ball moment of oh, I can do that I mean, I think if you'd asked most women in the room right now they would have an opinion about what every man and woman is wearing and it's not necessarily the most informed but it is something that whether we think about it consciously or not, you know, we are forming opinions on others appearance and so to sort of be the way that I intentionally sat down and started writing about it and when I first started thinking about sal girlfriend and what it could be I said I'm never gonna be mean, this is not about tearing down someone's outfit it's not about saying guys women hate it when you do this and that is hey guys, women love it when you do you know, x y and z and so it's a really position it from this place of being friendly and supportive and sort of that cheerleader that guy might need in his life to get maur invested in his personal style. That was the way that I felt I could approach it without feeling like a fraud so I really came in the column when it first started is I'm a fan of guys dressing well I'm not an expert and that was really important even if it was just in my own mind, huh? Tio being able to feel like I got to do this my way right I mean the fact that you embrace that piece of you and spun it in a positive way it wasn't you rejecting the assignment and saying no no no I can't do that I don't have a degree in fashion I don't have any experience and fashion wasn't something you were like super passionate about her and followed forever he just went oh, I know my own opinion about men style I could write that column sure and I love what you do spoke about in terms of being friendly and being positive and making it into that sort of a space because what the exercise we just came off of friends and family findings is we're getting from an outside perspective how people see us and so sometimes you know, being friendly and positive doesn't necessarily translate to a c certain career but it could become part of who you are and what you do and how you do at s o it really seems like it was a compass for you absolutely and something that did make sense we mean what we were just saying fashion wasn't where I thought I would necessarily end up but the reason that I became a writer is because I wanted to communicate I wanted teo make connections with other people and engage with them on a really you know at a meaningful level and of all the things that I was doing when I was first starting to freelance style girlfriend was the one where I got the most engagement I got the most feedback I got the most people saying hey, this is really helping me and you know what else I think this and hey, could you write about that and so what I found was that men talking about men style was simply an entree in tow having meaningful vacation and meaningful conversation so I actually got exactly what I wanted but it was just in this totally unexpected out of the blue way but it's I mean it's it's literally perfect I mean I have thousands of readers now every day that I get to have a conversation with that we get to help each other be better people because you know, I'm learning just as much from sal girlfriend is my readers are you know, every day it's not you know I'm not this fashion blogger that's you know, instrument pictures of the scones she got up in baked in five minutes is that she picked up a farmer's market like we're having this conversation together we're on this journey together it's like I can't find jeans that fit either that sucks right? Cool well here's some tips that will help your next you know, jean shopping experience less painful so it's very much it feels true to who I am without you yeah, having to fake it and say, oh, I will always love lynn's fashion well and I think to you don't have to fake knowing all the things so like you're not coming off saying, oh, I'm an expert on how to buy junes and who's out about genes just like no you know what I want jean shopping it's sucked here's why here's how it could be better next time and I'll try these tips two and then share them with you and I think that's because I think that's why blogging has become so popular because it's people kind of learning things for themselves and then sharing it in really time and I think to a cz long as you're like a few steps of head of the person that you want oh charge teo work with you on that thing and talk about that thing then you have a business like that's it that's all it takes right? I agree with that. I think I mean the reason that readers come to style girlfriend is because because they could certainly find the inflation in plenty of other places they come to me because they like the way I write they like my point of view but yeah, absolutely the stuff I'm sharing it's not necessarily, you know, earth shattering, but it lets them skip the our research that they would put into it themselves absolutely, since you're a little bit of a unicorn, megan, you're a person who made a balog profitable and a career which I think you know we hear about, but we don't actually see a lot of could you talk a little bit about how you monetized your sight and your block and how you made it lucrative enough that, like, now, it's your career? Now you have these corporate sponsors and also how you decide day to day or month to month recorded a quarter what it is you want to say yes to and what you want to work on? Absolutely the first way that my sight was monetize was through display advertising I, uh, was approached by a publishing network who said, we'll take that off your hands, you don't have to sell you any advertising yourself, we'll do it for you on dh that was the very first way, and it was not enough to get by it all. I mean, when I first started doing sal girlfriend, it was not it was still another to what, two years before it became even a solid source of income and it's only since last april that I went full time on it eso it wasn't thank you for that disclosure? Sure, yeah, I'm no overnight sensation I don't think anyone is, but I I'm the first raise my hand like no, this has taken away right? Because this specially fashioned lugging sometimes it does drive me nuts that it seems like it came easy for people and maybe it does for some people but I'm very, very open that it it hasn't for me not that it was you know, a slog but um you know, it took sometimes so display advertising and then that turned into branded content opportunities either I was pitching brands with ideas about content that we could collaborate on and thankfully at some point you know, the kind of tipped and now generally it's brands approaching me to work together and that's anything from a sponsored post teo video to something that lives on their site uh, you know, some some sort of feature siri is a man and yeah, it's those bigger partnerships that now I'm I'm after so it's not so much about a one off hey, I tried, you know, check out this shirt this tie in to buy yeah, um it's more about doing those bigger things which again waits interrupt you for a second. I have to point out the fact that it's directly related to what you said earlier about relationships and having conversations and really getting engagement that for you, your building that now with your corporate sponsors yes, absolutely and there's certainly other influencers or bloggers that will work with company a and then turn around work with company be there direct competitors a week later and I don't think that those people see much repeat business s so for me it's been a real lesson in building relationships with the brands that I want to work with and I don't think that anyone should ever be afraid to say I wantto yeah, I want to work with this you know, this soda brand or this you know, food brand or this clothing brand I think it's a it's not only ok to make goals in terms of saying this is this is who's on brand for my sight or for my for my brand but really stick to that because I think that that that sort of loyalty will reward you later on, eh? So as much as you can to be, uh, act with discretion when it comes to opportunities, it might feel totally awful to turn down some you know, quick cem cem quick cash in terms of a project, but if it doesn't feel right for you in the long run it it's generally best toe sort of listen to your gut on that and say no because I'm really waiting for you know, this is great, but I want this uh thank you I love that I'll pay you later it's perfect wrap up the interview I'd love to know what your twenty fourteen self would tell your two thousand nine self well piece of advice would you have for two thousand nine megan don't go blond terrible e you so funny uh yeah I mean I think just teo stay positive I think for so long it was something where I literally felt like if I stop doing it tomorrow no one would care and it's really gratifying I get e mails from readers literally every day saying you know, I started reading your sight six months ago and since then I you know gotten the confidence through from my wardrobe teo get a new job teo asked this girl out that I always wanted teo you know, strengthen this relationship or strengthen that friendship to go to the gym I'm going to run a marathon and having those sort of winds come back to me is always really fortifying honestly as gratifying as getting a really big project with a brand so um you know, I would tell myself like don't discount that what you're doing you know it's important and it's matter it matters to people and even if it takes them two years to say hey if under certain this help me or you know send me a note and say say thank yu like those readers are out there and they're really appreciating it so even if you're not getting that daily feedback to just keep keep going I mean that's such a that's almost like more depressing to be like just keep working it'll that really is it because I mean something I said on your uh the ascension the recession's long that success looks a lot like failure right up until the very end so you know the idea that you could give up tomorrow but if you don't then maybe in two days something really amazing it's gonna happen so you kind of have to just keep pushing and like waiting for the amazing stuff to happen because it will I love you were ending their go tweet yes oh please wait don't go anywhere coming from one of our viewers online they're saying how do I make the contact contacts I need to build the network I need to advance my writing career because I don't live in new york or l a oh that's a great question you know what? Unfortunately it's it will be harder for me you know my family everyone is in wisconsin and every time I go to visit there like you would be really great if you were here. Since you're a writer you can work from anywhere but the amount of contacts I make from going to an event going to a conference going teo you know, having lunch with a pr person who then introduced me to this person and that interest me to that person it's invaluable I mean, obviously I can I can write from anywhere, but making those contacts has made all the difference in taking my business to the next level. So if you're a writer who who literally wants to write and just write all day long and and that's what you want to do, then you can make those contacts in other ways, but if you want to run a business like I do, it is important to get out. I mean, you know, if you can make a trip every two months and just line up a ton of meetings while you're here getting airbnb for, you know, cheaper than it would be a hotel and just make those relationships and make those contacts, and when I say relationships, I mean, really relationships like you're wishing this person happy birthday, you know, you are emailing them because you read an article that you thought they'd like your not just getting in touch of them when you need something or when you want to pitch them something. I love that I think that what I would take away from that, too is like, you have to be proactive, and I think that doesn't matter whether you live in new york city live in l a obviously if you go to where your industry you know is really hot, it might be easier for you there, but you also might be a smaller fish in a bigger pond. So just knowing like, oh, all of my people go to this conference, all of my people are at the world domination summit. All of my people are at craft cation, like go there with the intention suggests meet people, see who you click with exchange business cards, follow up and know that, like, there needs to be proactive space with us. I built my business entirely online, even though I lived in the middle of new york city because I worked in my stupid cubicle for fifty hours a week, and so everything was built online, so I had kind of the opposite thing were like I was in new york with all the actors and all the creative people, and yet all of my business came from being online, so you just have to get out there and and connect yes, thank you for saying that cause I felt like my hands, it was like, yeah, you should probably, but it can't be helped. I feel like I don't think we need to hide that, right? So if you're someone who's in fashion and you know that new york and l a or maybe a big city, maybe you live in the middle of idaho and like maybe you want to go I don't know some chicago or whatever, you know that. If that could be a goal for you and that's, something feasible and that's what you want to do, then that's a great goal. So make those connections, but don't use it as an excuse to not make the connections. Yeah, like make those things worth it. Absolutely. Is there anything else for making before we rap about megan? I love you, thank you, the mostest go to style, girlfriend dot com tweet making its style. Gf, right, that's, right, um, and she's, just fantastic, as you could see. Thank you, thank you, thank you.