A decade ago, Lisa Sugar looked as if she was settling into a long career in advertising. She then surprised everyone by doing a complete 180 when she realized her interests lay elsewhere.
“The most important thing I did was that I started small,” Sugar says of her then blog. “I really wanted to get into the habit of writing every day, so I started a blog, but I still had money coming in from my other job.”
After six months of writing at night and working during the day, Sugar left her day job to devote herself to her site, which we now know as the celebrity and lifestyle site PopSugar. She reveals the secrets to her success in her new book “Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice, and Build Your Dream Life.”
We asked Sugar for her advice for anyone who wants to pursue their dream careers.
Don’t do anything drastic
Changing careers — particularly if you are about to work for yourself after having a staff position — is a big step. “I always tell people to slowly start integrating their new job into their lives and not to do anything irresponsible,” says Sugar. Can you continue working at your new position for a bit while you build your clientele? Having a steady income during this time makes a big difference.
Surround yourself with hard working people
Unlike many startups, many of PopSugar’s senior employees have been with the company since the beginning. Sugar says a good team is essential to a startup’s success. “When someone comes in for an interview, I really want to see how passionate you are,” Sugar says. “I want to know what interests you.”
Sugar also stresses that interviewees should be able to explain how they would tackle the job. “If you are applying to be a fitness editor, I want to know what you love about fitness. What workout are you excited about? What recipes are you going to try out next?”
Promote from within
Part of the reason so many PopSugar employees have stayed with the company so long is because their job responsibilities have grown with them over the years. “We tell people who have been with us and want to grow, ‘write the job description for the job you want,’” Sugar explains. “People totally switched part of their jobs as the years went by. For example, someone was a fashion editor and then came back from maternity leave and said they wanted to be the Moms editor because they had a passion for that now.”
Keep up on technology
“I always tell people that I think that you have to keep your focus on your brand and that you have to be adaptable,” says Sugar. “There was no social media when we started PopSugar, but it definitely made us think differently about the company.” It’s important to note that what works for you now is unlikely to still work a decade in.