How Do I Get Your Job?

One of the questions I’m asked A LOT is “How Do I Get Your Job?” It’s no secret I LOVE what I do for a living. In my short career as a writer and photographer I’ve gotten to do some pretty amazing things. Meet celebrities, have wild experiences such as jet skiing and parasailing, enjoy the best (and worst) meals of my life and have enjoyed every single minute of being a freelancer! So, I’ve decided to finally answer the question, “How Do I Get Your Job?” by telling you what I did. If you think it will work for you too, feel free to follow my steps. I feel like my tips can be adapted by anyone, no matter what industry they’re wanting to get into. For example, my friend that proof-read this article before I posted it was trying to learn how to get gigs in comedy and she said she had taken a lot of the points on board! However, not everyone is going to agree with me. If not, how do you think I could have done it better?

Step one- decide you actually want what you are after. I had to make the conscious decision that I want to be a freelance writer and photographer for the rest of my life.

Step two- decide who you want to work for and then immediately contact them to find out how to do just that

Step three- annoy the hell out of them until they let you work for them. Okay, this might sound crazy but my persistence is what got me some of my first paid writing gigs. I actually had one client tell me they would give me a story if I would just quit calling and emailing them.

Step four- be on time with every deadline. I have heard from so many of my clients how they have to cease working with writers simply because they don’t turn stuff in on time- some of them don’t even give a reason and worse some of them don’t turn their stuff in at all!

Step five- keep coming up with ideas constantly. One of my gigs dried up because I quit submitting fresh ideas. I fully plan to sit down and brainstorm a big list and try to get this gig back ASAP but I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now and I’m trying to figure out my next move.

Step six- have a back up plan when the chips are down. I started several of my own websites including this one as well as Tampa Bay Freebies, Living the Secret, and We Are Full of Bull simply to keep having a place to write daily. A lot of companies have stopped hiring me because they are short on funds and having my own sites allows me to keep writing and hopefully soon make more money. I’ve signed up for several affiliate programs and adsense in hopes of having my websites make me cash even while I sleep.

That’s really it. I still just knock on doors and make phone calls and send emails when there is some gig I want, I’m persistent and I follow through. I have a back up plan that may ultimately become my plan A if all works out.

As I mentioned recently, my goals are far from complete. My next massive goal for my career is to become a 6-figure earner annually. I will spill the beans in an upcoming post on how I plan to make that goal a reality.

What are your tips for success?

The Way to Make Your Wishes Come True

I’ve been saying to my husband for years that I want to make 6 figures a year. When I say things like this he generally replies with a snarky comment like “I want a Mustang convertible” or “I want to fly to the moon.” I usually reply back with a snarky comment of my own and that’s the end of the conversation.

Last night, however, I had had enough. We ride together because we work in the same building right now and on our way home from work we were chatting together about life and our goals and I once again said “I want to make 6 figures a year by the end of this year.”

Just like always the snarky comments began. I got so mad I just about lost my cool but I forced myself to stay calm and I asked him why when I tell him my goal is to earn 6 figures a year he acts sarcastic like that instead of giving me words of encouragement. What he said back hit me so hard I nearly had to pull the car over (I was driving) because I realized just how right he was.

He said, “You say all these goals and wishes and dreams all the time but you never say HOW you are going to accomplish any of them.”

Whoa! He’s right. I say things like “I wish I was thinner, I wish I was richer, I wish I worked out more often, I wish I cooked more at home, I wish we were debt free, I wish…” but it’s only when I put together a plan for anything that I ever FOLLOW THROUGH.

A goal is just a wish/pipe dream until you have a plan to make it happen. So, today I’m going to sit down and begin brainstorming about HOW I will make 6 figures a year and PLAN it out on paper to make it happen. I’ll break it down into tasks I can accomplish to make my fantasy my reality.

What’s your wish? Make a plan to make it come true!

Warning: This Post is Really Cheesy – Grilled Cheese Month

grilled cheese

Did you know that April is Grilled Cheese Month? Well, according to Woman’s Day, April is “Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month (via Wikipedia). In honor of that I decided to hunt for some grilled cheese recipes.

First I will share how I do grilled cheese 🙂 My absolute favorite way to eat a grilled cheese is with Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup.
I take two ordinary slices of white bread and dollop butter (5 dollops
so it looks like a flower) onto it and broil it in the oven until the
butter melts and the bread is toast then I flip it over and add the
cheese until it melts and then add two more slices of white bread to the
dollop with some more butter onto the top and broil it until the butter
melts and the bread is toasted creating a gooey inside and only semi
crusted outside. I generally dip the sandwiches into the Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup. Nom nom nom!!!

While sitting writing this post someone who works with my husband
inquired as to what I was doing. Excited by the grilled cheese idea he
immediately informed me of his favorite grilled cheese recipe… He gets
two slices Rye bread and adds a little butter to both slices. To that
he adds Muenster Cheese and throws it on a griddle grilling both sides
until the insides are gooey and the outsides are crusty. Thanks Josh for
the recipe!

On Pinterest I
found a recipe for a grilled cheese that became my dinner one night.
Mozzarella and pepperoni on white bread grilled to perfection and then
served with a marinara sauce for dipping. It’s like a mini calzone. So
good!!!

Other recipes include:

Grilled Ham and Cheese

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Deluxe

Check out dozens of grown-up grilled cheese recipes via the Grilled Cheese Academy

What’s your favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipe?

Have a drink you want me to try or a product you want me to review? 

Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly ?

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

 

Change Your Name- Get Famous!

 

Change your name and get famous! Okay, it may not happen THAT fast, but it sure does seem like that is the fastest and easiest way to start your path to fame. It’s funny, I started calling myself Famous Ashley Grant because someone dubbed me that and doing this led me to finally getting full time work in my dream job of writing, blogging and taking photos. Hmm, perhaps there is something to this change name and get fame game…

Here are just a few artists that are crazy famous and using names that are not on their birth certificates….

– Curtis James Jackson III (a.k.a. 50 Cent)

– Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G.)

– DeAndre Cortez Way (a.k.a. Soulja Boy)

– Eilleen Regina Edwards (a.k.a. Shania Twain)

– Sean John Combs (a.k.a. Diddy)

– Peter Gene Hernandez (a.k.a. Bruno Mars)

See more stars and their REAL names HERE!

Get your own Hollywood Walk of Fame star HERE for FREE!!!

Celebrities I Share My Birthday With

I was wondering what celebrities I share my birthday with so I looked it up! The one I’m most excited about that I share my birthday with has become my favorite actress lately! Mila Kunis!
Happy Birthday to all you awesome Leos!!!
John Henry “Doc” Holliday (1851)
David Crosby (1941)
Steve Martin (1945)
Danielle Steel (1947)
Stanley McChrystal (1954)
Magic Johnson (1959)
Halle Berry (1966)
Mila Kunis (1983)

….Also found out I share a birthday with Spencer Pratt from The Hills…but he is an alien not a celebrity…so that doesn’t count!

Have a drink you want me to try or a product you want me to review? 

Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly ?

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


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There is ALWAYS Something to be Thankful For

Today, I’m feeling so very grateful and thankful for my career. In the past five years I’ve gotten to do things and see things I don’t think I ever would have if I had stayed on the path I was on before deciding to become a writer and photographer. In 2005 I was still an education major and believed that my path was to become a high school social studies teacher. I knew I could find a way to be content with it but something always felt off.

Luckily, one of my professors, my art professor in fact, told me she saw me in a different career. She visualized me as a member of the media and suggested I take a mass communications class as an elective. Figuring I had nothing to lose I took Professor Rick Wilber’s Introduction to Mass Communications and fell in love with ALL things media! After that I was done with education and changed my major to Mass Communications with emphasis in Magazine Journalism.

 In February 2007 my very first article was published in the USF Oracle. Since then I have loved every minute of being a writer and photographer. There have been ups and downs but at the end of the day this is everything I could have ever dreamed of and more. I love my job and I look forward to every story I write and every photograph I take! I also look forward to actually becoming The Famous Ashley Grant!

Sure, I’m not 100% where I want to be in my career yet, but I know that if I continue on my current path I will have everything I want and get to keep doing the things I love to do. I do still want to teach, but I think my path will bring me to grad school to teach at the college level and instead of teaching social studies I’ll teach journalism, but that is several years off. I have so much more I want to do before becoming a teacher.

 I will write books, I will write more articles, I will take a crap ton more photos and I will BE the Famous Ashley Grant. I am so thankful I get to do this as my career and I am so grateful that my husband has supported me in my dreams since I decided this would be what I would do for a living!

3 Yard Sale Lessons Learned in Kentucky

On the Kentucky trip I’m learning a whole bunch of stuff about yard sales and here are three tips I’ve picked up:

1. Gather a bunch of stuff you want and offer one price to the seller. Start at half the tagged price and go from there.

2. Don’t commit too much to an item where the seller can see your excitement. If they know you really want it they will try to sell it for the full tag price.

3. Beware the sales that have multiple sellers that are not present at the sale. You are less likely to haggle a price if the sellers aren’t at the sale because people aren’t willing to speak on behalf of others.

Spark & Hustle Speaker Takeaways 2012

These were the AWESOME speakers of Spark & Hustle Tampa (Descriptions pulled from the Spark & Hustle Tampa website. See all about Spark & Hustle HERE)

BRANDING

 
Danny Nardo, co-founder of Nardo’s Natural

The story begins a few years ago when the four Nardo’s brothers
discovered the health benefits of coconut oil for the skin. The brothers
were inspired to formulate a responsible skin care line with
ingredients derived from nature. A few months later, Nardo’s Natural
developed their first moisturizer in their kitchen. The family business
has since introduced a variety of organic products and continues to
grow everyday.

  • Almost threw in the towel when…: “I was offered a job with a
    marketing firm. It was the early stages of our skin care line and I
    juggled the concept between a secured paycheck and a gamble on our
    business start-up.”
  • Daring decision:  “Swim with 15-foot Great White Sharks. Ironic that
    I swam with ‘Sharks’ on ABC’s Shark Tank, but yes, I also swam with
    Great White’s during my travels in South Africa. “

@nardosnatural

ENGAGEMENT MARKETING

Pamela Starr, Reg. Dev. Dir. Constant Contact

Pamela is a business expert with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and new business development.  Prior to joining Constant Contact,
she owned a marketing service that helped professionals secure more
clients and build their repeat and referral business.  Today, she uses
her marketing and business development acumen to help small businesses
in Central Florida maximize the power of relationship marketing.

  • “When the going gets tough, I double down.”
  • Daring decision: “Quitting a corporate job and starting my own business.”
  • Little known fact: “I used to be a ballet dancer.”

@constantcontact

MUSCLE MARKETING

 
Joy Gendusa, founder of PostcardMania

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania.
Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a
computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. Joy originally
started PostcardMania as a full-service postcard marketing company
helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design,
printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then,
PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including
website and landing page design and development, email marketing and
full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients
with free marketing advice.

  • Ever threw in the towel?: “I have ridiculous junk yard dog skills.
    Once I get my teeth into something that’s it. Have I been discouraged?
    Of course, but I really know the value of persistence.
”
  • Little known fact: “I’m a grandma and love it.”

@postcardmania

 
Mollee Bauer, founder of Pregnancy.org
*This speaker was selected by LifetimeMoms.com
  • Ever throw in the towel?: “While I might have come close to throwing
    in the towel on an occasion or two, my mission and passion for what I
    do always brought me back into focus. Like most women, I’ve faced lots
    of interesting challenges. One challenge that was draining emotionally
    was when the online advertising display revenues started to decline in
    2008. The drop in monthly revenue left the business hurting and resulted
    in my having to lay off my staff. However, with perseverance, some
    elbow grease and a positive attitude, I was determined to fix the
    situation. With the help of key friends and business colleagues,
    Pregnancy.org is here today and my staff is back in place.”

@pregnancyorg

HOW TO BE A LOCAL HERO

 
Laurie Baggett, founder of LB&Smith

Laurie is the founder and owner of LB&Smith, a small
business/practice development firm. She first received national
attention for her “It” Factor Job Club as part of the Good Morning
America Job Club Initiative. Forever a Texan at Heart, Laurie channels
her passion and energy into being a catalyst for both businesses and
individuals looking to reach their potential, and beyond. “It’s not
bragging, if it’s true,” is the Lone Star State axiom Laurie proudly
applies to the personal, highly specific work she does both discovering
and promoting the best talent around.
@LaurieBaggett

SALES AND SCALE

 
Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton, founders of Go for No!

Founded by professional trainers Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz, Courage Crafters
is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations overcome
self-imposed limitations and achieve breakthrough performance. They are
the creators of the highly sought after book and program, Go for No!®

  • “When the going gets tough, we…: “Pout and then dig in our heels and get really focused on the mission.”
  • Daring decision:  “Quit our corporate jobs with basically no safety net or concrete plan.”

@GoforNo

 
Wendy Krepak, creator of the Card Cubby

Tired of losing cards and money, Wendy Krepak created the Card Cubby
out of her need to organize all her gift, loyalty and frequent
buyer cards. Card Cubby was introduced at the Atlanta Gift Show in 2009
and went on to be highlighted by People Magazine, The Today Show and Good Morning America
to name a few. In 2011 sales topped $1 million and the company
continues to grow with new additions to its line of “Save in Style”
products. Card Cubby is currently sold in approximately 1,400 stores in
the U.S and Canada, online and on QVC.

  • Little known fact: “I am not a college graduate.”

@cardcubby

OVERCOMING FEARS AND BUILDING CONFIDENCE

 
Jenn Lee, www.coachjennlee.com

National speaker, small business advisor, media correspondent and life coach, Jenn Lee
isn’t letting anyone or anything stop her from helping Americans shift
their thinking, boldly move forward and bring sanity back into their
everyday lives! Right to the point with a good dose of humor, Jenn’s
authentically honest approach and down to earth tips quickly landed her a
regular spot on Orlando’s FOX Morning show, BLOG talk radio shows and
as an on-line contributor for Working Mother Media.

  • Ever almost throw in the towel?: “Four months after I launched my
    business, my dream job presented itself and was there for the taking. I
    had a difficult choice to make: my business was brand new and I wasn’t
    making a lot of money. I had a choice—to take the easy road and big
    paycheck, or reconfirm my commitment to myself and continue on with my
    business and my dream. I turned down the job offer and have never looked
    back or thought about throwing in the towel since.”
  • Little known fact: “I escaped a two-year physically abusive
    relationship and went into hiding for several months for my safety. I
    credit this part of my life as the ultimate training ground for helping
    others to see the value of their lives and to stop allowing their past
    to dictate their future. “

@coachjennlee

MIND FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS

 
Lindsay Phillips, founder of Lindsay Phillips LLC

Lindsay Phillips is the energetic inspiration and founding force behind SwitchFlops.
Her footwear concept evolved from a high school art project—amazed by
the response, Lindsay began designing functional flops with colorful
straps, each adorned by a unique button. Her idea evolved when she
realized that by using hook-and-loop fasteners she could create one shoe
with many straps–unlimited choices with minimal effort. This simple,
yet brilliant innovation was the birth of SwitchFlops.

  • Almost threw in the towel when…: “We got our first shipment of
    straps for the shoes and all of the buttons were loose. My mom and I had
    to individually re-sew all the adornments on to make them saleable. As
    an entrepreneur you have to learn from your mistakes, laugh, and move
    forward with a smile.”

@switchflops

Words Are Amazing Things

I was reading the Road to Domestication blog that a former editor of mine writes and one of her posts struck me in a way that can only be described as completely overwhelming. I became a blubbering mess within seconds of reading something she wrote because it hit home so hard I couldn’t breathe.

The funny thing is, and I told the author this, that I know in the back of my mind her blog exists but I often forget it’s there but somehow seem to stumble upon it when I need it the most and her words are so full of emotion and passion, but they are just words.

Words are amazing things. They can incite laughter, they can cause anger and they can cause a fully functional person to go into a complete fit of emotion.

Words can take a sane person and make them so angry they can become physically ill and have a stroke. This happened to someone very close to me. After a hurricane scare in Tampa her boss said some very mean words to her causing her to physically react and have a stroke on the office floor and end up in the emergency room and have a subsequent hospital stay for a few days.

Words can take a sad person and make them laugh so hard they can’t see through the tears. My husband knows exactly how to do this to me. I can be depressed as hell and he will say something to me that might not even be funny to anyone else and get me laughing to the point of being unable to breathe and have my face turn redder than a tomato.

Words can take a happy person who is having the best day ever and hurt them so badly to the core that they don’t know if they will ever recover.

The words, “She’s dying,” “He doesn’t love you anymore,” “I want a divorce,” “She’s cheating on him,” “I broke the vase your mother bought you,” “Will you marry me?”, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”, “A funny thing happened,” and on and on we go…they are all just words. Jumble them in different ways and the effect they have on people changes drastically. Sometimes two people can hear the exact same words and both react completely opposite from each other.

One of my English teachers in high school always said, “When the heart kicks in, the head shuts down.” Its amazing how often words can make our heads shut down.

Words are amazing things. They should be chosen carefully and used wisely.

Writing and my A.D.D.

Reposting from The Crooked Table

I wrote this a loooooooong time ago…but it still applies.

I’ve been stuck in a rut of A.D.D. with my writing lately. Nothing I have been meaning to do has actually been done. I’ll sit down to write and next thing I know I’m checking my email or watching Law & Order. Sure, I’m being entertained, but I’m accomplishing NOTHING.

Ugh, how can I get done what I need to do?

I found this link on procrastination and I thought you all would appreciate it:

http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/procrastination.html

The piece on procrastination is really long and it’s more based on writing assignments than on personal writing goals, but I think it has a lot of helpful information.

The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.—Mary Heaton Vorse