Current location: Buffalo, NY
Current status: Employed and always wanting more
Briefly describe your current situation: I always wanted to be a writer, but when I was in early college, I talked myself out of my English major because I wanted to pursue a lavish lifestyle. I chose Finance, and stuck with that throughout undergraduate school because I was able to breeze through my classes. Upon graduation, I was scooped up by a regional bank and placed into their Management Development Program – an intensive one-year crash course. I excelled and was promoted to asset/liability management, where I work on a team to forecast and hedge the bank’s balance sheet. My job is challenging, but it involves sitting in a chair and manipulating Excel all day. I never pictured myself here, and I started to feel stifled. I decided to pursue my MBA in the evenings with a concentration in marketing because I know that my personality and skillset would be an asset to a marketing, public relations, or advertising department.
In January 2011, I started a blog centered on my two favorite topics: food and my hometown. At NatalieEatsBuffalo.com, I aim to be Buffalo’s reliable and non-biased source on our cities best restaurants. My blog was recognized about 2 months after it’s inception by local media, and that early blast of recognition got me addicted to blogging. Blogging gave me a structured creative outlet, something that I was severely lacking in my day job. In fact, it increased my personal self-confidence so much that I wanted to do even more on my own. That is when I started researching home-based sales careers and got involved with Stella & Dot. I have always loved fashion and jewelry and Stella & Dot offered me a flexible entrepreneurial career where I could begin to hone in on my sales and marketing skills and build up my own business. I have had great success in only two months of being in business, and there is unlimited potential. I started up a second blog, NatalieStylesBuffalo.com, in order to promote my jewelry business. Starting up with Stella & Dot is one of the best things I have ever done because it made me see that there IS an alternative to the typical 9 to 5 desk job and it also gave me major sales training, which is increasingly important for a young entrepreneurial-minded person.
What is one of the best things that has come out of having your blogs? Blogging has been the creative outlet I needed in a life that revolves around numbers and spreadsheets. I’m a happier person, I have more confidence, and the support I have received has encouraged me to continue to chase my dreams no matter how far-fetched they may seem. Also, I have met so many amazing people from the blogging community that inspire me every day to dream bigger.
How DO you do it all? Do you allow yourself down time? Well, I don’t sleep as much as I should, and I don’t have the most robust social life in the world. I wake up early in the morning and workout before the sun is up, because I won’t do it if I don’t do it early. I am usually writing my blogs late into the night and get to bed around midnight or so. I do allow myself down time on the weekends. I push HARD during the week so I have Saturday and Sunday to do as I please – however, I love my blogs and jewelry business so much that I often find myself working on them for a few hours anyway.
Do you find Buffalo to be conducive to entrepreneurialism? Yes, mainly because the cost of living is so low and the market is not saturated.
Any words of advice for other 20somethings looking for ways to make their 9-5 life a little more complete? Read! Some books that have made a huge difference for me are Linchpin by Seth Godin, Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, and my old time favorite: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Start a blog – it is very easy to start one these days, and if you write consistently and from the heart, I assure you that you will develop a following. Network! Get involved in organizations and groups. In this day and age, it is ALL about who you know. Females-only: join my Stella & Dot team – if you are interested in starting a career in fashion, we have an amazing program that you can do full-time or part-time. You can contact me for more information. It’s been life-altering for me!
I get the feeling you always have an idea in your head. Any potential future adventures/projects? I’d really like to start my own business. I have some ideas and have put them on paper, but that is as far as they have gone, for now. I think I have what it takes to run a business, so now it’s doing some thorough research and putting together a financial plan to make it happen. *