NI
Nadia Imafidon
1 day ago

See the World and Give Back to It—Be a Purposeful Nomad

At a time when you can choose where to spend your money based on how a business gives back to the community, there’s not much left out there that doesn’t come with purpose. And that includes travel.

To me, the best part of exploring a new area is that you can make the trip about so many things: philanthropy, self-care, adventure, relaxation, get...
At a time when you can choose where to spend your money based on how a business gives back to the community, there’s not much left out there that doesn’t come with purpose. And that includes travel.

To me, the best part of exploring a new area is that you can make the trip about so many things: philanthropy, self-care, adventure, relaxation, getting off the beaten path, eating way too much of the local delicacies…it’s about getting a full experience!

Enter: Purposeful Nomad, a company that creates trip itineraries to bring women together for socially responsible adventures that go beyond the destination’s surface.

Here’s why it’s perfect for us, Nav.igators.

At the heart of Purposeful Nomad is community engagement.
They believe that if women are given the opportunity to travel safely and securely, they can change the world just by experiencing new things, exchanging ideas, and giving back to the community. (Sound familiar?)
 
The trips—just like women—are not one size fits all.
The itineraries, while a thoughtful, out-of-the-box mix of adventure, relaxation, and community engagement, are not scoped for every moment of everyday. You’ll have time to bring your own personality to your trip and customize it. Follow your own bliss.

Hang out in “secret corners of the world” with the locals.
Purposeful Nomad meets with local community members—often those who do not work in the tourism industry—to establish relationships, then designs in-depth itineraries that take travelers deep into the rich history and local culture. No cookie-cutter tourist traps here.

It’s all-inclusive and all original.
Enough with the Bahamas and Cancun already. These are all-inclusive trips to unique locations that aren’t your typical tour packages. In January 2019, Purposeful Nomad heads to Rajasthan, India for 15 days and enjoys an intimate side of India with a focus on the complex daily lives of women in this part of the world.

Travelers will learn to sew while listening to stories from the women of the non-profit Sambhali Trust; enjoy self-care spa treatments in boutique heritage hotels where they’ll stay; and of course, eat all the yummy food. Sign us up immediately.

Itineraries are tried and true (like ours!).
The activities planned for each trip are researched in advance and tried before going on the itinerary. The ladies behind Purposeful Nomad act as your guinea pigs, so you don’t waste any time on your vacation.

Every part of every trip is intentional, and built with integrity.
While creating a new trip, the founders meet with the communities and/or non-profits that they plan to partner with.

They find out where these organizations get their funding; who benefits from the work they do in these areas; if there are any skills they can share with the travelers; and what the needs are of each community, so they can learn how Purposeful Nomad can be of service.

If they don’t like what they hear during these meetings, they don’t make the partnership. Simple as that.

  • Sample Trip: Discover the Jewels of Rajasthan
  • DATE: January 11th-25th, 2019 (Psst! Can’t go this year? It’ll come back around in 2020, or you can check out Purposeful Nomads other trips.)
  • PRICE: $3950 per person based on double occupancy. (Plus $1500 for a single room.)
  • HIGHLIGHTS: 
    • Engage the community: Experience a village homestay in the Thar desert. Ride a camel, learn to cook by the fire, and dance with the gypsies. 
    • Practice self-care: Get pampered at a spa in a beautiful heritage hotel. 
    • Learn new skills: Learn to sew or block print while engaging with the women of Sambhali Trust. Find inspiration in their soulful stories.
AP
Amanda Page
10 days ago

Meet The Digital Nomad Who Doesn’t Believe in the Word “Should”

Nav.it Takeaway: Wanderist Life founder Libyria Jones believes working remotely can empower you to work in ways—and places—that boost your productivity and create a healthier work-life relationship. So she created a travel abroad program that enables adventure-seekers and their families to experience that freedom for themselves.

The end...
Nav.it Takeaway: Wanderist Life founder Libyria Jones believes working remotely can empower you to work in ways—and places—that boost your productivity and create a healthier work-life relationship. So she created a travel abroad program that enables adventure-seekers and their families to experience that freedom for themselves.

The end of vacation often brings a sense of despair as we realize it’s time to return to reality. But what if your vacation setting was your reality? Telecommutes are becoming more and more common as employers realize they can save money—and improve their employees’ quality of life—by not tethering staff to their desks. With the freedom to work from anywhere, the possibilities are suddenly endless (and, albeit, a little overwhelming).
 
For Libyria Jones, the ability to work and roam simultaneously isn’t a plus, it’s a must. Growing up, she was determined to see the world—and she got her first chance while she was in business school at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. A professor hand-selected Jones for a finance internship in China, but she was ultimately told she couldn’t attend because she planned to bring her young daughter along. That rejection would ultimately become the butt of a joke that would alter the course of her life—both professionally and personally.
 
Making Dreams a Reality
Wanderist Life was born when Jones recommended an adult travel abroad program to a friend. Although she was able travel frequently for work, she joked that opportunities like the program didn’t exist for professionals with children. “’Maybe I should just start my own [program], and let people who have kids go on it,’” Jones recalls saying.
 
She couldn’t shake the idea, so she decided to make it a reality. She took a role that enabled her to work remotely, and used her free mornings and evenings to develop a business plan. After just a few months, she launched a website, and in September of 2015, she made her business “Facebook official.” Three months later, she began accepting applications. On July 31, 2016, the first Wander Year group boarded a plane to Prague.
 
Living Like a Local
The Wander Year enables participants, or “Wanderists,” and their families to live and work remotely in four cities around the world for three months at a time. Each destination is carefully vetted by Jones and her team, down to its WiFi connectivity—and before the trip even begins, the Wanderists partake in a 12-week training course to help prepare them for the experience.
 
In addition to scheduling all flights, the Wanderist Life team navigates each country’s entry requirements, and secures apartments in neighborhoods that are equal parts fun, convenient, and safe. Each participant has their own bedroom and workspace, as well as basic necessities like a kitchen, linens, and laundry. The team also organizes social or volunteer opportunities, and hosts networking and “mastermind” sessions so that the Wanderists can make moves, polish business plans, and stay motivated.
 
Having a job isn’t a requirement for the program, but according to Jones, it’s kind of inevitable: by the end of the first Wander Year, three unemployed participants had decided to launch their own businesses. The idea of embarking on a year-long journey abroad, regardless of career status, sounds like an opportunity only afforded to the successful or wealthy. But with Wanderist Life, the experience is within reach.
 
The monthly fee, which covers all program-initiated travel, lodging, and activities, comes in at $2,200. That’s less than the average cost of rent in N.Y.C. and San Francisco, and slightly more than the averages of L.A. and Chicago. In all, the price of a year-long, life-altering experience for one person is $31,400—with a $2,000 refundable deposit.

Embracing Imbalance
For Jones, the best part of being a digital nomad isn’t the ability to roam freely. It’s having the chance to work where she feels most comfortable—and having more time to spend with her family. “People need to have enough space to live their lives,” she says. 
 
Still, finding equilibrium between work, travel, and family is a never-ending quest. And as a business owner, the pressure is doubled. “There’s no such thing as balance, so you’ve got to be able to forgive yourself for not doing everything,” says Jones. “I’ve eliminated ‘should’ from my vocabulary—it’s either ‘I will’ or ‘I won’t’.”
 
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Her daughter joining her on the premier Wander Year made it easier for Jones to wear multiple hats—and stay in check. The experience also made her realize the positive impact mobility can have on education. After her daughter immersed herself in “The Diary of Anne Frank” for a school assignment, Jones decided to bring her along on a quick business trip to Amsterdam. There, she was able to visit the apartment that Frank hid away in, walk through the annex, and see the diary in person. “Having that opportunity truly amplified her learning, in a way that a traditional classroom never could have,” says Jones.
 
Although the Wander Year doesn’t offer a formal education component, Jones and the other two mothers in the program worked together to create plans, hire teachers, and fill any gaps. She was also impressed by the quality and efficiency of the virtual program she enrolled her daughter in, which featured oral exams, weekly phone calls, and live classes. Although she recognizes that not every student would thrive in a virtual environment, the educational benefit is undeniable.
 
“Being tied to a desk is archaic. We live in a time where it’s just not required,” says Jones. 

AP
Amanda Page
10 days ago

Change Your Glasses Game at DC's Warby Parker Georgetown

image credit: instagram @warbyparker) 

I’ll admit, I’ve resisted Warby Parker for some time. I’ve seen this brand all over social media for years with friends and bloggers singing the praises of these fashionable, yet reasonably priced frames. I remained a skeptic.

Warby Parker sounded sensible and safe lik...
image credit: instagram @warbyparker) 

I’ll admit, I’ve resisted Warby Parker for some time. I’ve seen this brand all over social media for years with friends and bloggers singing the praises of these fashionable, yet reasonably priced frames. I remained a skeptic.

Warby Parker sounded sensible and safe like a pair of comfortable walking shoes or nude undergarments. That’s just not me. I want the glasses that complement my cool French boho looks as easily as my nerd-chic office vibes.

Call me an elitist, but I need high-quality frames that make a statement. But then I started to wonder, how can designer frames be so much better than the generic brands, if they’re all made out of the same material? Here is where Warby Parker excels.

The price is right.

My new glasses cost $275–a far cry from the $700 designer frames (pre-lenses) I typically fall in love with. And this was on the top end of their frame and lens options. I got the super thin, no glare, x-ray vision upgrades (x-ray vision not really included). A real steal, if you ask me.

The only downer is the insurance they accept is limited.

You buy one, they give one.

Warby Parker really shines when it comes to socially conscious business practices. For every pair of glasses sold, they give a pair to someone in need. They do this in two ways: one is through empowering men and women with training opportunities to give basic eye exams and sell affordable glasses; and the second is simply giving vision care and glasses to school-aged children in need.

I don’t think Chanel is as generous about eye care and outfitting those in need, but I could be wrong.

The glasses look expensive.

What struck me about the store is that it feels designer. The atmosphere is modern, clean and inviting, and has an impressive collection of high-art magazines and books. The second I caught a glimpse of the David Bowie biography, I was sold.

Take all my money. Give it to children so they can buy glasses. What extra sold me were the employees.

I made new best friends.

My favorite part? The sales team. Literally the best customer service of my life.

They were incredibly helpful, and genuinely fun and friendly, making this typically boring task a social outing. I almost invited them over for a wine and cheese party, but then I remembered that I prefer my parties to have a guest list of one (or two, hi husband).

Style-wise, I was surprised and impressed. Lots of current, high-fashion trends to choose from. I ultimately decided on an incredible pair of gold, slightly cat-eye wire frames. Shh, I never said my taste was for everyone.
AP
Amanda Page
10 days ago

Lauren Washington: Helping Fellow Black Female Entrepreneurs Launch Billion-Dollar Businesses

Happy Monday Nav.igators! We thought we'd kick off the week with a little Savvy Insider #inspo.  Meet Lauren Washington. She knew from a young age that she was going to own her own business. But while on the path to launching her first company, she encountered obstacles rooted in race and gender discrimination. Inspired to help current and future black female e...
Happy Monday Nav.igators! We thought we'd kick off the week with a little Savvy Insider #inspo.  Meet Lauren Washington. She knew from a young age that she was going to own her own business. But while on the path to launching her first company, she encountered obstacles rooted in race and gender discrimination. Inspired to help current and future black female entrepreneurs find the support and resources they need, she co-founded Black Women Talk Tech, an organization devoted to helping black women create billion-dollar businesses.
 
For many of us growing up, the question of what we wanted to be as an adult elicited responses that ranged from fanciful to downright preposterous. I personally envisioned myself becoming a tornado chaser, à la “Twister,” or a writer. (It turns out that chasing weather patterns isn’t conducive to a homebody’s lifestyle, thus my falling back on my alternate occupation of choice.) For others, the query was simple to answer and instinctual to follow through with because they’ve always known what they were born to be.
 
Lauren Washington doesn’t just fall into the latter category; she basically owns it. As a child, she babysat, sold tomatoes from a neighbor’s garden, and worked at a local candy store. She was driven by the idea of ownership, of creating something from scratch. “No matter where my winding career path took me, I knew I would eventually end up a business owner,” Washington explains.
 
Flash-forward to 2018, and Washington has two businesses to her name—the second of which was inadvertently born from the first.
 
Diving in
Washington was thoughtful and intentional in her launch preparations for KeepUp, an app that aggregates social networks into one seamless feed. She saved enough income to sustain her for a full year, and kept the business as a side-hustle for six months. But when she left her full-time role sooner than anticipated, she was faced with a dilemma: Should she work for someone else, or take a leap with KeepUp?
 
“I had to choose myself,” says Washington. “After I was able to devote 100 percent of my time to the business, things moved much faster; we ended up winning $250,000 in the 43North competition, which let us build a team, and test product and market fit.”
 
Started in 2014, KeepUp simplifies social media for business owners, allowing them to connect with consumers in more meaningful ways. A powerful algorithm is translated into easy-to-use tools that not only empower individuals to manage, engage, and grow their following, but also enables them to reach customers at their point of purchase. It’s a business concept that would have all three investors on “Shark Tank” jumping out of their seats, but when Washington started to pursue traditional funding routes, she was surprised at how difficult the process was.
 
“I couldn’t understand why I followed and exceeded the conventional advice on how to raise money, and still wasn’t making the same progress as others I knew,” says Washington. “I knew women in general were at a disadvantage, but I didn’t realize how dire it was at the intersection of gender and race.”
 
Changing the .2%
In 2016, digitalundivided released Project Diane, a report that detailed the disparities in funding for black women. The report discovered that between 2012 and 2014, the average amount raised for a startup headed by a black woman was $36,000; the average raised by a white male for a startup that ultimately failed was $1.3 million.
 
“That report confirmed my experience and that of many other black women,” says Washington. The data compiled by Project Diane revealed that only 11 startups led by black women had raised more than $1 million in outside funding. Additionally, those contributions were almost all funded by the same three investors.
 
As a black female founder in an industry dominated by white men, Washington noticed a pattern at the tech conferences she attended in 2015: she was one of only three black women in the room. Quickly, she, TresseNoire founder Regina Gwynn, and Co-Sign founder Esosa Ighodaro realized they were having the same experiences—and it wasn’t just a coincidence. “We realized then that if we were [having these conversations], others must be as well. Why not get together and share stories, resources, and support?” says Washington.
 
So the women did. They formed Black Women Talk Tech with the intention of creating a space where founders could come together to glean insights and build networks. But after their first official event at Google, they saw how impactful and cathartic the experience was for attendees. Says Washington, “It was a no-brainer to keep going. We went from just 10 founders at a retreat to almost 500 people at our most recent conference in February.”
 
Progress & the Power of Pressing ‘Pause’
Today, Washington, Gwynn, and Ighodaro are actively finding ways to serve women both in-person and remotely. They’re growing their events and developing an online platform called The Collective, which will give their 500-plus members the chance to engage each other through webinars and virtual programs.
 
“While we haven’t really reached the level of progress that we need to, we’re starting to move in the right direction,” Washington says of the tech industry’s current climate. “There is, at the very least, a growing awareness of the disparities between the funding, resources, and access that minorities and women are getting.”
 
She has expansion in mind for KeepUp, too. They’re building out the platform’s SaaS (software as a service) product, which will enable smaller businesses to get the same return on investment from their social media as larger corporations. Between her two businesses, it seems like Washington is in hustle mode 24/7, 365 days a year. But the entrepreneur has important advice for her fellow movers and shakers. 
 
“I used to beat myself up when I wasn’t as productive as I intended to be, but I’ve learned that it’s my body’s way of saying I need to take some down time,” she says. “You can’t force motivation and inspiration. You can’t just grind all the time. Give your mind the space it needs to be inspired.”

BS
Bekah Stallworth
15 days ago

Life Coach and Wellness Advisor Nicole Negron Says Lean into Your Personal Biochemistry to Get Sh*t Done

Nav.it Takeaway: The stress and pressure from our everyday lives is detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing. But we can change that—and the way we live—by understanding the correlation between our cycles and our brains, and how it affects our productivity each month.
 
Being a woman in 2018 is both empowering and exhau...
Nav.it Takeaway: The stress and pressure from our everyday lives is detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing. But we can change that—and the way we live—by understanding the correlation between our cycles and our brains, and how it affects our productivity each month.
 
Being a woman in 2018 is both empowering and exhausting. Every day, we’re affecting changes that we hope will strengthen and afford more opportunities to future generations of women. But every day is also a new fight against the rampant sexism that’s ingrained in our culture.
 
On top of the many external stressors are internal struggles. We know we’re undervalued and underpaid, yet we wonder if there’s more we could do to demonstrate our worth. We’re exhausted, yet we worry we aren’t showing up early enough or staying late enough at work. We’re giving everyone else 100 percent, yet we feel it’s too demanding to ask for that in return. That pressure takes a toll, manifesting in physical and mental health issues that become nearly impossible to pinpoint.
 
Perhaps the worst part is that we’re resigned to deal with all of this in silence. Why? Because the exhaustion and stress has become normalized. Almost every woman is overextended, and the prospect of fighting to feel any other way requires time and energy we just don’t have. Complaining, feeling tired, or being emotional isn’t an option, because it’s attributed to an “inherent” weakness: being female.
 
Nicole Negron, a holistic wellness advisor and life coach, doesn’t believe that women have to submit to patriarchal standards of success to be successful themselves. In fact, she wants us to tap into our feminine superpowers, embrace our sensitivity and intuition, and use them to our own benefit. Here’s how.
 
Sync Your Brain and Cycle
After years of being misdiagnosed and debilitated by PMDD and dysmenorrhea, Negron decided to take her health into her own hands. She studied functional nutrition and earned certifications from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the Integrative Pelvic Health Institute. Using her knowledge of female endocrinology, she tuned into the phases of her monthly cycle, and how they affected her productivity levels. Through extensive research, she developed an approach to women’s health that was based on listening to the female body instead of trying to alter its chemistry.
 
Today, Negron’s life mission is to help other women make sense of—and lean into—their personal biochemistry. She unleashes her clients’ potential by teaching them to understand the correlation between their brain and their monthly cycles. Once their brain and cycle are in sync, productivity isn’t as draining, and mental and physical health comes more naturally. Negron calls it the “Art of the Female Body.”
 
Understand the Art of the Female Body
Rather than simply coaching you on being more efficient, Negron helps strategically prioritize your workload (and life) based on the cyclical shifts in your brain. During the first week of your cycle—the follicular phase—the prefrontal cortex is more active, which means things like planning and decision-making come easier. The following week, which is the ovulation phase, sees heightened activity in the left hemisphere (which controls language, logic, and critical thinking) but diminished activity in the right (which is responsible for creativity, intuition, and emotion). In the third phase, activity in the hemispheres switches; finally, during the fourth phase—menstruation—communication between the right and left brain is at its peak.
 
Strike the Perfect Balance
Synchronizing your brain and monthly cycle isn’t as simple as understanding it. Chemical imbalances have to be righted to maximize both mental and physical output. By studying your cycle and its effect on you, Negron can identify hormonal deficiencies that are potentially throwing your entire system out of whack. Suffering from short-term memory loss or brain fog? You could be lacking in estrogen. Is your sex drive low? Your progesterone levels might be, too. Are you struggling to lose weight? You may have too much (or too little) testosterone.
 
To help set the foundation for full body harmony, Negron also determines your metabolic type and establishes a diet that’s most beneficial to your unique body. Through careful experimentation and fine-tuning, she finds the protein and carbohydrate ratio that’s optimal for your needs, whether it’s losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight.
 
Forget What You Know
To sustain the healthy relationship between body and cycle, there has to be a change in mentality, too. And that’s where Negron’s Principles of the Feminine come into play. Through support and practical advice, she helps reframe the deep-rooted gender norms and expectations that have forced us women to sacrifice our mental and physical health since…well, forever.
 
By embracing your femininity and the emotions you once believed were a hindrance, you can begin to energize. Instead of nurturing others out of obligation or guilt, you learn to set boundaries so that it’s mutually beneficial. Self-care comes without guilt, and expressing yourself comes without fear of retribution. Overall, Negron helps you become the woman you were destined to be: strong, successful, and satisfied.

BS
Bekah Stallworth
about 1 month ago

9 Podcasts That’ll Make You Think, Laugh, or Feel Inspired This Weekend

The weekend is here! Need something new to listen to? We have podcast picks for true crime fans, beauty nerds, movie buffs, and everyone in between.
 
Discovering a podcast is like falling in love with a new TV show—except you can ostensibly binge on one while you’re sitting at your office desk. (We would never!) The most menia...
The weekend is here! Need something new to listen to? We have podcast picks for true crime fans, beauty nerds, movie buffs, and everyone in between.
 
Discovering a podcast is like falling in love with a new TV show—except you can ostensibly binge on one while you’re sitting at your office desk. (We would never!) The most menial tasks are made bearable by a good podcast, but, similar to your favorite show, the last episode means a sudden end to the dopamine rush. If you’ve been craving audio stimulation or some mindless entertainment, we have a few recommendations that are sure to leave you satisfied. (Just make sure your boss doesn’t catch on.)
 
Late Night Whenever
If you love “2 Dope Queens”—and you should, because Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are, well, queens—then tune into comedian Michelle Buteau’s “Late Night Whenever.” The honorary Dope Queen's live show is funny and relatable. (“A round of applause for yourselves for coming out on a mother f*****g Tuesday night!” she says to the audience during the first episode’s intro.) Sadly, there’s only a handful of episodes since it launched at the beginning of April, but now you have something to look forward to on Tuesday morning. You’re welcome.
 
In the Dark
If you were obsessed with the first season of “Serial,” “In the Dark” could be your next audio addiction. Focused on the almost 30-year-old case of Jacob Wetterling, the series explores how a small Minnesota town’s local law enforcement failed to solve the mystery of young Wetterling’s kidnapping, and the crime’s national impact. Reported by Madeleine Baran, the conclusion of the podcast won’t leave you scouring the internet for theories; as Baran was investigating, the culprit confessed to the secret he’d been harboring for 27 years.
 
P.S. The next season of “In the Dark” comes out May 1.
 
My Dad Wrote a Porno
Yes, this podcast is based on actual events, and yes, it’s horrifying. But it’s also hilarious. Rocky, the author of the aforementioned erotica, has no idea what is actually sexy or arousing, leading to side-splitting commentary from his son and his two friends. Typically, the trio only makes it through one chapter per episode because it takes so long to a.) stop laughing and b.) figure out what Rocky was actually trying to convey. 
 
P.S. The British accents make it slightly easier to stomach phrases that would otherwise make you visibly cringe.

Dirty John
Disclaimer: “Dirty John” is only six episodes long. But there’s good news: Bravo has decided to create its own anthology series, similar to “American Crime Story,” and the first season will cover the premise of this very podcast. Just do yourself a favor: avoid spoilers and listen to it immediately. Like, right now. I won’t even mention why, but once again: you’re welcome.
 
Superficial Magic
Equal parts entertaining and insightful, “Superficial Magic” explores subjects like astrology, spiritual psychology, and reiki through the filter of self-care. It may sound a little lofty, but host Meagan Grainger is so relatable and candid that you feel like you’re listening to a discussion with one of your closest friends. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to meditate or manifest positivity, give the podcast a listen—Grainger speaks to both in the most approachable way possible.
 
Fat Mascara
You don’t have to be a beauty nerd to love “Fat Mascara,” but it does help. Hosted by beauty editors Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein, the podcast takes a high-low approach to the industry: one episode, Matlin and Goldstein will chat about their favorite products, and the next they’ll discuss fragrances as though they’re talking about art. After their interview with stylist Lorraine Massey, I’m inspired to let my silver hairs reign.
 
ID10T with Chris Hardwick
Speaking of nerds…earlier this year, Chris Hardwick rebranded his "Nerdist" show as "ID10T with Chris Hardwick," but little else has changed. The name is proof: ID-Ten-T is tech-speak for a user-generated error; its abbreviation, “ID10T,” resembles the word “idiot.” Hardwick is still “adorkable,” and his conversations with celebrities like Laraine Newman, Joe Manganiello, and Natalie Portman are as endearing (and entertaining) as ever.
 
How Did This Get Made?
Do you love terrible movies? Do you ever wonder how they came to be? Host Paul Scheer doesn’t have the answer, but he attempts to understand how films like “Congo” and “Deep Blue Sea” were made by eviscerating them, scene-by-scene. You may not know Sheer by name, but you’re sure to recognize his voice and humor. Plus, the hilarious commentary provided by co-hosts June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas will probably make you laugh to the point of crying. (Probably best to test this at home before rolling on the floor at work a couple desks away from your boss.)
 
Gen Why
“Gen Why” is a true crime fanatic’s dream. Every single episode explores a different crime or unsolved mystery, from the disappearance of Natalee Holloway to the murder investigation into Casey Anthony to the crash of TWA Flight 800. With hundreds of episodes covering everything from highly publicized cases to urban legends, the show is sure to satisfy your morbid curiosity for the foreseeable future.
EP
Erin Papworth
about 2 months ago

Vote, but maybe donating is the key


I have a problem. My vote doesn’t count.

Now, of course, that’s not really true. There are essential —and I’d argue even more impactful to my daily life — local and state races (and initiatives) that are dramatically altered by the way I vote. However, if I stick with watching the federal dramas of our day unfold, it is very easy to forgive someone lik...

I have a problem. My vote doesn’t count.

Now, of course, that’s not really true. There are essential —and I’d argue even more impactful to my daily life — local and state races (and initiatives) that are dramatically altered by the way I vote. However, if I stick with watching the federal dramas of our day unfold, it is very easy to forgive someone like me for feeling like my vote doesn’t count.

See I live in an urban environment where the majority of people in my vicinity vote like me or hold relatively similar political leanings. The pleasure of this experience is that my elected officials more often than not vote or propose bills in the United States Congress that represent my beliefs, ethos and personal outlook on life. Awesome. (It also means dinner parties are quite pleasant, even when you bring up politics because we can all feed off our ideas in an echo chamber of goodwill and similarity. Real life Facebook.)

The downside is that when the said Congress above has a majority that skews for the beliefs, ethos, and ideology that contradict mine, I have little to no control, voice or influence on what happens next. Or, maybe I do….

Let me explain. I interned for two U.S. Senators in my blissful days of youth when I wanted to understand how our system works. (It didn’t take long for me to conclude I wanted nothing to do with politics in all its glory, but I digress.) At 22, as many patriotic, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young college grads do, I trooped off to D.C. to basically answer a hellva lot of phone calls.

If you’ve ever called a U.S. Congressperson or Senator’s office you’ll know the script: “Senator ___’s office, how may I help you?” Then they wait for you to talk. The next question that comes feels standard but is the absolute key: “Thank you for your opinion, I’ll be sure to relay your message. May I have your zip code, please?”

Zip code. They want to know if you’re in their constituency and if you have any influence on their next re-election bid. The phone-answering intern even enters your zip code into a nice, organized database. Non-relevant zip codes: on the de-prioritized list. I know it feels good to rant sometimes and that expression is happily protected by our wonderful freedom of speech laws, but FYI, you can rant all day and it doesn’t matter one iota if you’re not in their constituency and they don’t have to campaign to you when they’re up for re-election.

Okay, that’s the bad news. The good/absolutely absurd news is this. More often than not, money wins elections. See, John McCain and others over the years tried to get Congress to cap the amount a candidate could spend in any electoral race to no avail. He wasn’t crazy, a lot of other countries have civilized (reasonable, ethical, morally-correct) laws like this. In England, there are strict laws that allow candidates to spend no more than 7 million British Pounds in a race. They’re feisty on how you raise all that dough, too. In France, the cap is 16.5 million Euros and businesses are not allowed to donate to political campaigns. Out of the big 5 western democracies, only America has made a national business /sport out of federal elections. In the 2016 Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent a total of 2.4 billion U.S. dollars. I repeat, 2.4 billion. That’s more than the GDP of at least 25 countries in the world.

Aside from being an absurd amount of money, it also displays the insane amount of fundraising candidates have to do to run. Do we really think there aren’t favors traded for raising 1 billion dollars from wealthy individuals and super PACs? And we call other countries corrupt. But again, I digress. Statistically, it also means the person who raises the most mula has a higher likelihood to (buy the most ads, go to the most places, hire the most people, fund adjacent influential races, and grassroots-campaign the best) win.

So back to my problem. Yes, my vote isn’t going to change the outcome of a hotly contested seat in Georgia that would swing the Senate majority. My vote only ensures the Georgia vote is a s*it show that determines the fate of our democracy because my shoe-in candidate still has a job.

However, because money is so important in this whole scenario, there is at least a minor, minor (but real nonetheless) chance that my money *might* influence that Georgia election. That $10 (tax-deductible) donation (combined with all other like-minded donors’ $10s) could be the tipping point that helps a candidate with my ethics run one more ad, or support one more volunteer to canvas for them.

When I was a girl, I was told stories from the 1800s about exciting elections won by one vote that reinforced my civic duty as an American. In this day and age, without campaign reform, I think it’s time for us to consider that our vote, but really our money, is the representation of our voice in the American sport we call elections.

People don’t say money is power for no reason.
EP
Erin Papworth
about 2 months ago

This is how this has to go


Look, women have their own money. Forty percent of heads of households in the United States are women today. It’s just a fact. Don’t worry, the pie hasn’t shrunk — it’s gotten bigger, which is a win for everyone. In reality, it’s all very invigorating for  women, somewhat confusing for society, and definitely changing the normalcy of our daily lives.
...

Look, women have their own money. Forty percent of heads of households in the United States are women today. It’s just a fact. Don’t worry, the pie hasn’t shrunk — it’s gotten bigger, which is a win for everyone. In reality, it’s all very invigorating for  women, somewhat confusing for society, and definitely changing the normalcy of our daily lives.

So while the social construct decides how to digest these changes, what happens next to all that wealth? What do we do with it? I vote: We learn to grow it. If societal change takes power and power is money, it’s our time to re-define our truth with the money we have.

Do women need women-specific wealth management firms? Not particularly. In the end, financial products are gender-neutral. Do wealth management firms and products need to get on the bandwagon and acknowledge the different life experiences women have over the phases of life? Check yes to question #2. At least, if they want to stay relevant — cause this train isn’t going backward anytime soon. (And frankly, they should also want to stay relevant for the up and coming male population that might want something like balance, a family life, and travel in their near future, too, but that’s another conversation).

There are just facts. Women outlive their partners. Women make less when they do the same job. Women are historically more risk-averse than men when investing, but when they do invest they have better returns because they tend to set it, diversify it, and then let it grow for decades. Yes, there is a possibility women are out of the workforce for short periods of time. There is also high evidence they return to the workforce or want to return, but real re-entry barriers exist after their children get to school age. Also, btw, women make or heavily influence 85% of consumer purchases in this country. That’s a lot of green in circulation, y’all. Check yes to women being the practical, I’m-choosing-all-the-stuff-we-need-to-survive spender.

Good financial planners will tell you there is no one-stop-shop solution for any customer. Welcome to 2018, it’s innovative (financial) technology’s turn to finally do what women really need: recognize their reality and meet them where they are. Don’t force them to be alike or be something they’re not. Give them tools and solutions that make their lives easier.

Other industries have figured this out. Glossier is revolutionizing how beauty products are accessed and marketed to a social media-savvy population - intensely focusing on price point. Rent-the-runway, Stichfix, and Armoire are re-inventing how technology allows women to engage with personal stylists and brand names in time-efficient ways (thank you UPS) and, again, price point is a key factor. And do we dare talk about food? I *might* have cried the first time a healthy pre-prepared (delicious) meal showed up on my doorstep from Splendid Spoon (though Blue Apron and HelloFresh are market leaders here).

Technology and innovation across industries are creating solutions that meet the customer where they are.  Businesses first identify the consumers interests and priorities, then they reveal the pain points, and focus on providing simple solutions with the lowest cost to the consumer.  If it’s a race, we have consumer-facing industries leading the pack (cough, Amazon, et al, cough) and the financial industry beginning to move it’s behemoth legs — in fact, it’s just barely realizing it better start running. 2019 and female-forward, customer-centered financial technology, here we come.
ET
English Taylor
about 2 months ago

Fellow Contractors: Why I Decided to Hire an Accountant

Hiring an accountant taught this freelance writer, (who prides herself on building a business with her own two hands) that asking for help can be just as powerful as doing it all by herself. Plus I picked up some handy tax information along the way.  

During my first year of entrepreneurship, I grew my freelance writing business to...
Hiring an accountant taught this freelance writer, (who prides herself on building a business with her own two hands) that asking for help can be just as powerful as doing it all by herself. Plus I picked up some handy tax information along the way.  

During my first year of entrepreneurship, I grew my freelance writing business to 30 clients in the first six months. I felt like I could accomplish anything. Despite this, every single one of my self-employed friends slid their accountant’s business card across the table to me. But I was too busy relishing in my own success and (over)confidence to listen. I mean, I had 30 clients! I was making more money than I had climbing the corporate ladder. How tough could taxes be?

When tax season rolled around, I learned that 30 clients meant tracking down 30 1099 forms. Some of my clients were startups that never asked me to fill out paperwork and paid me via PayPal. How was I supposed to report this income? (And...like, is this even legal?) 

When I encountered write-offs and deductions, my mind started spinning. I had easily spent $500 on client lunches and coffee meetings. So, $500 sounds about right...right? I hadn’t saved a single receipt or tracked these expenses. I spent four days straight trying to connect the dots between transactions from the past 12 months and my Google calendar. When I turned to the Internet for advice, I encountered more horror stories than helpful tips. One freelance writer owed $12,000! Um, this would wipe out my entire savings… 

Needless to say, the shiny crown I placed on top of my head tumbled down and broke into a million little pieces amidst the 100+ bank statements scattered on my apartment floor. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I needed help. I may be a writer. I may even be a salesperson, project manager, and marketer. But I’m not an accountant. 

I pulled out one of the business cards and proceeded to hire an accountant. In addition to teaching me important lessons about humility, vulnerability, and asking for help, here are three of the many reasons this was a smart decision for me and my business. 

It helped me focus on what I do best. 

I spent an entire week trying to file my taxes before reaching out for professional support. When 6 p.m. rolled around, and I hadn’t written a single article, I proceeded to write until 3 a.m. I turned in work I wasn’t proud of because I was exhausted and stressed. I missed deadlines, rescheduled networking opportunities, left important emails unanswered, and lost some credibility with a few clients. 

Yes, running your own business means getting to wear multiple hats. But the biggest hat in my closet (the floppy church hat, if you will) is writing. Taxes, while necessary and critical, should not take too much time away from how I generate money. My accountant, Eli Shales, specializes in helping self-employed individuals file taxes. He’s not great with words, but he’s a whiz when it comes to write-offs. In other words, we’re a match made in small-business heaven. Letting him focus on what he does best frees me up to focus on what I do best. 

It allowed me to keep more money. 

When I first sat down with Eli, he walked me through the many types of deductions I could claim as a contractor. I had no idea, for example, that I could write off a portion of my rent because my home office takes up a certain percentage of my apartment’s square footage. He told me that since I pay for my own healthcare, I can deduct my monthly premium payments. When he asked me about office supplies, I mentioned the only thing I relied on was my laptop. And that’s when I remembered that I had spent $2,000 on a new laptop when I first launched. 

If I had not hired an expert, I would have failed to claim thousands of dollars (about $10,500, to be exact). The $500 I paid him for his services was well worth it, to say the least. 

It taught me how to better manage my money and business. 

Even after I hired Eli, I spent a lot of time and multiple phone calls tracking down receipts, forms, and invoices from my first year of business. After filing my taxes, Eli told me that it will make his job and my job easier if I implement a few simple systems. 

He sent me a digital template for tracking expenses, as well as a handy poster outlining what I could deduct. The poster has a permanent place on my bulletin board, and I’ve handed out at least 10 copies to self-employed friends (along with Eli’s business card, ironically). He also suggested I do bookkeeping on a weekly basis. Each Friday, a calendar notification reminds me to spend 30 minutes looking back on the week and recording any expenses that qualify as a deduction in the template. I take screenshots of each transaction and file them in a folder on my desktop, which is organized by month. It takes me about 20 minutes each week, but will save both of us hours come tax season. 

Initially, I beat myself up for having to hire an accountant. It highlighted the fact that I couldn’t do it all myself, despite what my unflatteringly large ego believed. But oddly enough, my business (and mental health) have become stronger since bringing Eli onboard. While asking for help may make you think  you’re not an expert and that you need support, it also suggests that, ultimately, you want to do the absolute best thing for you and your business. This, I’ve learned, is just as powerful and strong as being able to accomplish something on your own. 


ET
English Taylor
about 2 months ago

The Art of the Cold Email


We understand that landing that flexible job is a big step in achieving the lifestyle you want. And writing that cold e-mail is the hardest part of getting a job. Here is some tried and tested advice as well as a trusted template to help you conquer that cold e-mail writer's block and nav. that job so you can 


I ’ll nev...

We understand that landing that flexible job is a big step in achieving the lifestyle you want. And writing that cold e-mail is the hardest part of getting a job. Here is some tried and tested advice as well as a trusted template to help you conquer that cold e-mail writer's block and nav. that job so you can 


I ’ll never forget the first time I saw my byline. 
I had been working in sales at a publishing company in Washington, D.C. It was my first job out of college and I was eager to learn and grow (AKA make a ton of mistakes). One day after a rough cold call, I befriended a fellow employee in the shared company kitchen. After bonding over our love for the television series “Shameless,” she suggested I pitch her a story about the show. Moments later, I learned my new friend was The Atlantic’s entertainment editor. 

I had never considered writing as a career or even a hobby, but I always knew I had a knack for it. Perhaps I overcompensated because of my first name, but my high school and college English classes were my favorite and where I earned my highest grades. At work, I wrote conversational, well-structured, and typo-free cold emails with ease. 

Rather than creating prospect lists, I daydreamed about working for Anna Wintour or winning a Pulitzer for the rest of the day. Later that evening, I nervously contemplated whether or not to send the editor my ideas. Finally, I realized that if I was capable of cold emailing someone, there was no reason I couldn’t email a woman with a mutual interest. After all, I was used to rejection, whether it be an unanswered email or hang up. Nothing worse could happen. 

After pressing “send,” she replied a few hours later with her thoughts, a two-week deadline, and advice on how to actually pitch an editor. But the day my article was due, I emailed her asking for another two weeks. (What was my 22-year-old self thinking?) Finally, after five rounds of revisions, my first article was published in February 2012. 

Fast forward seven years later
I’m now a full-time freelance writer. Though I’m now better at managing deadlines, some things haven’t changed. As a small business owner, I spend a large amount of my time prospecting and selling clients. I firmly believe the two years I spent boldly drafting emails to individuals I had never met (but relentlessly Internet-stalked to procure their contact information) is now my edge as a freelance writer and entrepreneur. It’s allowed me to successfully grow my business and make a living doing what I love. 

I spend at least two mornings per week prospecting and sending cold emails to publications in hopes of writing for them. During the week, I add names of brands I hear about or admire to a “Prospecting” Excel spreadsheet. On “Prospecting Mornings,” as I like to call them, I track down and add the name and contact information for the publication’s editor or content manager on LinkedIn. Alternatively, I’ll find a general information, careers, or pitches email address on the company’s website. 

Try this template out for yourself 
Once I have this necessary information, I plug it into the following cold email template: 

Hi [ Editor Name or there ], 

I hope this finds you well! My name is [ Name ] and I’m a freelance writer living in [ City ]. I’m a huge fan of the content on [ Publication Name ]. I especially enjoyed the recently published articles on [ Topic Name ] and [ Topic Name ]. 

I’ve been a contributor at [ Client Name ], [ Client Name ], [ Client Name ], and other publications for the past [ Length of Experience ]. I’d love to discuss writing opportunities at [ Publication Name ] with you. Below you’ll find a few published writing samples as well as a pitch for [ Publication Name ]. 

Published Work: 

[ Hyperlinked Article Title ], [ Publication Name ] 

[ Hyperlinked Article Title ], [ Publication Name ] 

[ Hyperlinked Article Title ], [ Publication Name ] 

Thank you for taking the time to read! I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to remaining a loyal reader of [ Publication Name ]. 

Warmly, 

[ Name ] 

Over the course of a morning, I send about 30 of these cold emails. I’ll often change the client names and links to my published work to showcase that I have experience within a certain industry or vertical, like health or nutrition. I reuse this template over and over again for every cold email, carefully making sure I remove and replace names and publications for accuracy. (Once I accidentally sent an email to a publication but pressed “send” before proofreading. I used another publication’s name in the email. Needless to say, I didn’t hear anything back.) 

The best part? It actually works 
The past two weeks, I’ve tracked my success with this template. I’ve sent out approximately 70 emails. I received a response from 21 and already have assignments from six. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I get responses and assignments from others over the course of the next week. 

It’s funny when things in life come full circle. I couldn’t imagine still working in sales. In some ways, a career as a salesperson and writer are completely different. But after all, my 22-year-old self and 29-year-old self are also completely different. Despite this, I rely on many of the techniques I learned as a salesperson, like prospecting and cold emailing, to be a successful freelance writer. 

Of course, a chance encounter and serendipitous shared love of “Shameless” helped a bit, too.