Ever wondered what it is like to meet your favorite social media superstars or interview your favorite startup founders? What if you could meet almost anyone you wanted and spend hours learning about their ideas, business-building strategies, and life stories? We caught up with entrepreneur, TED speaker, and award-winning author Jared Kleinert last year as he was interviewing contributors for his new book 3 Billion Under 30 and asked him to document “a day in the life” in order to learn firsthand how he’s been able to become USA Today’s “Most Connected Millennial” and “The Most Connected ‘Kid’ You Don’t Know (But Probably Should)” according to Inc. We see our favorite personalities on YouTube or Instagram, or obsess over new startups and try to meet them for coffee, but to no avail. Sure, it would be cool to get a selfie with these people or include them in your snap story, but what if you could make friends and do business with them? Jared has, and by following him, we can learn to do the same ourselves.
[Enter Jared Kleinert]
At 10 a.m., I walk up to the Hyatt on 45th street and meet Jason Liebman, of the producers of my new web series, Stories From The 3 Billion Under 30 (whose co-producer is Roberto Blake, a well-known creative entrepreneur and social media influencer). We are here to interview Furious Pete, a YouTuber who has over 5 million subscribers as well as an entrepreneur, sponsored bodybuilder, competitive eater, world record holder in multiple categories, author, TV show host, and cancer survivor. We go up to the 20th floor and enter Pete’s hotel room, chatting with his fiance Melissa who is about to (bravely) take on Times Square in search of coffee while we record two interviews – one to include Pete in my next book and one to include him in the web show.
The day hasn’t even started yet and I’m already humbled. After this, we have interviews with a VC-backed startup founder, co-founder of a non-profit impacting over 50,000 high school students across seven cities, one of the most connected individuals in the business world who runs an event series that is harder to get into than Harvard, the head of a media company with millions of social media followers and tens of millions of monthly unique views on their website each year, and dinner with a good friend and well-known Instagram influencer making over $50,000 monthly from her “side hustle”.
Back to Furious Pete, we spend the next ninety minutes reflecting on his story – from overcoming anorexia when he was younger to his work, lifestyle, and even the German TV show he hosts despite only speaking English and coming from Polish descent. We laugh over my eggs-and-pancakes-themed socks and exchange a furious fist bump in between interviews. All it took to get access to this social media influencer was an introduction from a mutual friend and a ten minute phone call beforehand. Now, we were becoming friends in the moment and finding new ways to help one another. He even pulled out his camera as we walked out and caught footage for his vlogs, which as a stand-alone YouTube channel has over 500,000+ subscribers. I’m just happy I shaved this morning.
In the subway back to my office in the Financial District, I send a 30 second video message to happiness researcher and Snapchat influencer Virginia Salas Kastilio, who I’ve already interviewed for the web series and chronicled for 3 Billion Under 30. We met at SXSW while wearing banana costumes and leading the world-record-breaking attempt for most dancing fruit in one place (or something like that). It’s her birthday today, and I make it a point to call people or send a personal message of admiration as much as possible in a world where everyone else resorts to impersonal posts on Facebook. I record and send the video right as we enter the Q train heading downtown and before I lose wi-fi for the next twenty minutes.
Waiting on the 17th floor of Wework as we walk in is Layla Tabatabaie, lawyer-turned-startup founder who is working on three completely different projects right now. She has her investor-backed startup BarterSugar which helps companies trade professional services with one another, TaleMonster, which is still in beta and aims to assist content creators in sharing works of fiction with readers who can “choose their own adventure” and change what they read in real time based on different jump-off points in the story, and Drinking Press which is a podcast covering history and culture through different drinks of choice (so far, they’ve recorded episodes while drinking whiskey, picklebacks, and Soju, a Korean spirit which is currently one of the most popular drinks in the world).
We need to be finished with our interview at 1 p.m. in order to travel back uptown to interview Kanya Balakrishna, the co-founder of The Future Project who was introduced to me by a professor and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He, like global bestselling author Tony Wagner, Sir Ken Robinson, Cleveland Cavs owner and billionaire Dan Gilbert, Alicia Keys, Deepak Chopra, and others support this nonprofit, which works with over 50,000 students in schools nationwide to help them identify projects they can work on to help them see a brighter future, and so I’m really excited to interview her both for the book and for the web series we’ve been shooting all day (we record episodes in batches, typically each Thursday).
We wrap up, share big hugs with Layla, and grab protein bars from the market downstairs. Considering my newest marketing consulting client is Ample, a 500 Startups company that raised $70,000 on Indiegogo in its first two day and went on to raise over $367,000 in one month for its “meal-in-a-bottle” solution to help people gain optimal nutrition in a rush, I’m already feeling guilty, but alas, the show must go on and we are otherwise going to be late for yet another subway ride.
About a half hour later, we walk into The Future Project offices. Apparently, yesterday was Kanya’s birthday, and so there are signs and pictures of her all over the office with words of admiration from her team and program alum. We’re a few minutes late, and squeezed in a 3:30 p.m. meeting after this, so we only have about forty-five minutes to do two interviews and learn how The Future Project has corralled so much support in such little time.
As we head down the elevator, I check my email to see that New York Times bestselling author Dave Kerpen has just published an article about me saying that I’m “The Most Connected Kid You Don’t Know Yet (But Probably Should)” and sharing my “5 Strategies For Quickly Building An Influential Network”, which are the reasons to why I’ve been running around the city meeting all these incredible people today.
I quickly post the article to Facebook, shout out all the mentors and friends I mentioned in the interview, and retweet some of the comments readers have already shared online. Apparently, my next interviewee Jayson Gaignard has already seen the post and commented on my Facebook status, so the pressure is on!
We enter another hotel near where we had our first interview this morning (why is everyone staying near Times Square?) and see Jayson in the fourth floor lobby. Jayson Gaignard is the founder of Mastermind Talks, one of the most exclusive events each year that hosts thought leaders like Tim Ferriss, Dave Asprey, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Marie Forleo, and is harder to get into than Harvard with a less than 1% acceptance rate for the thousands of entrepreneurs attempting to get into Jayson’s events.
Much to my surprise, I learn that Jayson is still only 30 (turning 31 next week) and so I offer to include him in my next book, prompting us to dive into two interviews and spend the next hour-plus chatting about how to build super-powered networks. I’m geeking out and am again humbled – Jayson is where I want to be in a decade, running a seven-figure business with a network that influences millions in industries ranging from tech to internet marketing and publishing. This article may as well be a day in his life, but I digress.
We are running over our hour time allotment because we are having fun and sharing so much practical advice with our eventual audiences, and he has a meeting with none other than investor and author James Altucher right after we wrap up.
Ten minutes later, I’m meeting James for the first time (I’ve been a big fan of his work for over a year, and even gave his book Choose Yourself to my mom) and giving my goodbyes to Jayson, a new friend, book contributor, and web show interviewee all wrapped into one.
5:30 pm is when I finally stumble into my office again. The crowd has cleared on this Thursday night and I’m left relatively alone to choose a conference room in which to set up for my next interview, which isn’t until 8:00 pm and is over Skype.
In the meantime I reach out to potential contributors for 3 Billion Under 30, the follow-up to my first book 2 Billion Under 20 which was voted the #1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015. So far, everyone from entrepreneurs running 7, 8, and 9 figure businesses to pro athletes, Guinness World Record holders, venture capitalists, industry-leading designers, corporate intrapreneurs, and others have sent me their stories so I can share them with the world and encourage our generation to act on their passions in life and unite in solving the world’s most pressing problems. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh called my last book, “a challenge to young people across the globe,” and I’m increasingly getting more excited about 3 Billion Under 30 because it is shaping up to be the blueprint to accepting such a challenge.
Soon 8:00 p.m. rolls around and Joel Brown from Addicted2Success.com hops on the line. In a few short years, Joel has grown his media company to social media accounts that collectively have millions of followers and an annual unique visitor count of over 50 million. I used to write for his outlet, and now get to hear his most recent story to be shared in my book about struggling with TSA to re-enter the country after temporarily leaving the U.S. to head to Mexico for a friend’s bachelor party (he’s here on a six month visa from Australia). I’m glued to the screen as he shares the experience and how we was kept in a deportation chamber for twelve hours because the officers didn’t understand how he makes money online.
40 minutes we wrap up, wave goodbye via video chat, and I walk out to the shared area in our office to see Alex Wolf, a good friend, Instagram influencer, and entrepreneur who is here to grab dinner with me on Stone Street, the famous restaurant strip near Wall Street that fortunately happens to be right behind the building. Alex has grown various Instagram accounts totalling over 260,000 followers and has a business generating over $30,000 monthly that she doesn’t even run anymore (she has since hired a CEO to run the brand BossBabe she became famous for in order to grow a stronger personal brand). Earlier this week she was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” in business, and so just as I have been all day, I’m just happy to be here. We wrap up at around 10:30 pm and I head back to my office to send out my free daily “Millennial To Watch” newsletter (where I cover impressive peers of mine from all different backgrounds and industries) before heading back to Brooklyn and calling it a night.
Not every day of mine ends up like this, but I’ve set up projects like 2 Billion Under 20 and 3 Billion Under 30 that force me to meet interesting, exceptional talents given that all my work revolves around identifying, befriending, and connecting top-performing Millennials so I can help educate companies about how to best engage our generations and educate the public about why young people hold more power today than ever before.
I share this not to impress you, but to impress upon you that you too can create these connections and build a network that wants you to be successful and values your unique input. If I can build a 100% self-made network like this in less than five years, imagine what you can do if you take the time to develop a career around providing others with as much exposure, support, and rewards for their work as possible.
Help others by bringing awareness to their work and the stories they have to share, and they will certainly help you in return.
‘Or Die Trying’ Webseries Empowering Millennials
Inspiring millennials across the nation, Or Die Trying is sharing a story about four women living in Hollywood pursuing their dreams in the entertainment industry. In this exclusive interview, they reveal the truth about LA, crowdfunding, and feminism. The passion behind the webseries stem from the lives of the creator Myah Hollis and producer Sarah Hawkins. They are the masterminds behind Or Die Trying, and this is how they’re doing it.
What is Or Die Trying about?
MH: Or Die Trying is about four millennial women living and working in Hollywood. When it comes to their careers in the entertainment industry, they know what they want and they have an idea of what it will take to get there, but they struggle with making all of the pieces of their lives mesh seamlessly. While they’re strong in one area, they’re lacking in another. It’s a story about their journeys as they develop as women and try to come to some type of equilibrium, while not compromising who they are in the process.
Tell me about the characters.
MH: Amelia Tinsley is a journalist, struggling with her identity and her sense of purpose, and trying to get herself back on track. Bailey Rosenberg is a comedian who is totally in tune with who she is and what she wants, but is having opposing expectations forced on her by her mother who wants her to live more traditionally. Ellie Hansen is an indie actress who is disinterested in the idea of fame at the expense of art, even though she’s constantly being pressured to “sell out.” Raegan Thomas is the creator and co-showrunner of a TV show who, although she’s doing very well professionally, is dealing with things in her personal life, and she doesn’t really have the ability to compartmentalize the two. Each character is trying to achieve a sense of balance between two dueling aspects of their lives.
How did you ladies meet?
SH: Myah and I met a few years ago in Philly where we both lived and worked. We both made the leap to LA within months of each other in 2013, Myah moving here for writing, and I sought to pursue acting. Being friends and fellow film industry ladies, we wanted to create something together that we could call our own, as if you wait for the perfect role or opportunity to come to you, you’re never going to find it. We’ve been work wives ever since!
SH: Los Angeles is like Mecca for artists and those striving to put one’s dreams into fruition. Most everyone is here with purpose, and that alone can be incredibly infectious. Who wouldn’t want to feed off that type of energy every day?
MH: If you’re seriously pursuing a career in TV or film, this is the heart of the industry. It’s where you need to be. It also helps that it’s sunny all year and there’s a ton of sushi.
What is your day to day like?
MH: Every day is hectic in its own way, but not extremely exciting to be honest. It’s just a marathon of checking things off of checklists, chugging gallons of caffeine and trying not to sink into the warm comfort of an unproductive Netflix binge.
SH: I’m not sure I can really echo Myah’s sentiments enough on the coffee bit. Coffee in an IV and an obscene mountain of emails.
What inspires you?
SH: My fellow women in film. I feel like there is such community within our little network that is just pure of heart and down to earth, so much that at times it can kick your own ego-butt every now and then. This industry can be just absolutely brutal, but when I see like-minded, passionate, badass women who just want to help level each other up, I get incredibly motivated to do the same and progress the conversation further.
MH: I think I’m most inspired by the statistical improbability that I should be successful as a writer in this industry. When I first decided that I would pursue this instead of going down one of the many roads that would lead me to a stable job, I was very aware of the fact this is something that I should fail at. More people fail than succeed, that’s just a fact. You know this going in but you do it anyway. The idea of being successful despite those odds is what drives me.
Why a story about women?
MH: There aren’t enough stories about women told by women. There’s a unique perspective that’s missing in Hollywood because women are not telling our own stories, therefore the stories that are being told are not representing us properly. It’s a systemic problem that will only change if we make it our responsibility to create more complex, realistic female characters.
Who are some of your role models? Why?
MH: Shonda Rhimes is my main professional role model, for reasons that feel really obvious to me but I’ll just go ahead and lay them out. She has knocked down so many barriers and has become the epitome of a woman building her own empire and playing by her own rules. She has beat the odds in every way, and that’s really inspiring. My role models in my personal life are my parents and my family and close friends. I’m just surrounded by so many strong, resilient and talented people, it’s insane.
SH: Amy Sherman-Palladino for the creation of Gilmore Girls, which is probably some of the best feminist writing on TV and on a personal level, my dad. He has been a huge influence on my career as an actor and as a producer, and is a constant source of inspiration.
What advice can you give to people chasing their dreams in LA?
SH: Find your “person(s)”. LA can be extremely lonely and competitive if you let it. Surround yourself with people who push you to be better, to think outside of yourself, to keep the end goals in perspective when the day-to-day gets muddled and messy. That’s what I love most about Myah’s & I’s relationship. She keeps me in check and we push on together.
MH: Don’t listen to people, listen to your instincts. Listen to your gut. Succeeding in this city takes stamina. Only you know when you’ve had enough. Don’t stop going after what you want until you’re sure you don’t want it anymore.
How did crowdfunding through Seed & Spark help you?
SH: Seed&Spark was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. Crowdfunding is never easy, but the folks at Seed&Spark vet you and prepare you on a level that is incredibly empowering. Really cool filmmakers came out of the woodwork to support us, not only financially but with loans of goods, services, promotions, etc. Our project became a community through Seed&Spark, and we’re excited to continue to build that village through production this October.
How are you trying to make your audience feel?
MH: I don’t ever want to tell people what they should feel. I’m kind of a psych nerd, so I can get a little hippie-dippie at times, but I really think that everyone is at a different point in their lives and different things resonate with you depending on what you’re experiencing at the time. I just want people to be able to empathize on some level, but whatever feelings our show ignites is fine with me as long as they’re engaged.
What is your message to your audience?
MH: You have to trust your instincts, regardless of the backlash that may cause. You also have to be willing to put in the work to become whoever it is you want to be, both professionally and personally. Those are the main things that I want people to walk away with. Other than that, I just hope people take what they need from it and that they’re both inspired and entertained.
What sort of person is going to love the show?
SH: We sought to really hone in on our fellow millennial women in film, because they are our community, our niche; the ambitious, driven women who know what they want and are actively doing everything they can to make it happen. I know ODT echoes universal truths far beyond that demographic, that dreams are worth fighting for, and given by the reaction to our trailer, our Seed&Spark Campaign, and other press, I can’t wait to see who latches on to it, as both men and women alike have been extremely anxious and excited for us to get it out there.
What was the happiest moment?
MH: Finishing the scripts was a huge relief. I tend to pick at them compulsively until they’re exactly the way I see it in my head, so when they were officially locked in and ready to go I felt like I could finally breathe.
SH: For me, it’s the seeing the community we are beginning to build with Or Die Trying. A distinct moment was at our ODT Networking Party, and looking out into the crowd to see all the amazing people who not only came out to support our series, but came out to connect with fellow filmmakers and level each other up by networking with one another. It was so cool to witness!
How has pursuing Or Die Trying affected your lives?
MH: It’s completely dominated the past year and a half of my life. Everything has revolved around this project for so long, that I don’t really remember what I was doing with my days before. It’s also made me really confident in my abilities as a writer and producer, and very thankful to be surrounded by such talented and creative people every day.
SH: Same! ODT on the brain 24/7.
What struggles are women facing today?
SH: I’m going to chunk this down to women in film because there are some pretty wild problems outside of this industry women have been and are currently fighting against. To put it plainly, there is unequal opportunity for women behind and infront of the camera, unequal pay above and below the line, and very little movement to illuminate the female perspective onscreen.
Would you consider yourselves feminists?
SH: Yes. Men and women are equals, it’s time our society reflects it. Feminism shouldn’t be a dirty word.
MH: I honestly don’t understand how you can not be a feminist. There are negative implications about what feminism is, but it’s very simply the belief that women are equal to men in every capacity. I can’t believe that’s something that we’re still debating as a society.
How do you feel about the film industry today?
SH: I think we are in a unique time where collaboration and creation is becoming increasingly more welcome than competition. So much of this industry is cut-throat, but when it comes down to actually bringing a project into fruition on the indie level, I believe most people are in it for the right reasons. Maybe that’s naive of me to say, but at the very least, that’s been our experience with ODT. Everyone just wants to be apart of something bigger than themselves, and I believe our series speaks to that.
What obstacles have you faced?
SH: The proverbial “no,” and learning that it has no real merit on you or what you’re capable of achieving.
MH: The great thing about building your own projects and creating your own opportunities is that you don’t face many obstacles that you can’t overcome. There are always logistics that need to be figured out, but the fact that you’re not waiting for someone to tell you what you can or can’t do eliminates a lot of that hesitation and stress that can hinder you in this industry.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
SH: Jill Soloway.
Is there anything you want to highlight?
Design Hack Your Office For Maximum Productivity
Did you know that how your workplace design can impact the productivity of your employees? Aside from this, office design also affects employee safety and health. A study by international architectural firm Gensler in the US states that even small workplace designs such as lighting and spatial layout affect employee productivity. So how does the environment impact the health, safety, and productivity of employees?
Design To Encourage Movements
Our work has a big impact on your health. Most of the time employees spend a lot of time on their desks, so they are becoming sedentary. As we all know, sitting down for long periods of time has adverse effects on our health. It makes us gain weight, which in turn can lead to more problems like heart disease and obesity. Getting sick could lead to more days away from work or hospital stays, which could inhibit the productivity of the employee.
Designing office spaces that encourage movement or walking can help curb these problems for employees and employers alike. There are workstations that are designed to be used in either sitting or standing positions. An open space design also encourages employees to walk from one section of the office to another. Sometimes something as basic as an ergonomically correct chair can help prevent ailments like backaches.
Natural Lighting > Fluorescent
Good lighting can help people see details clearly and increased visibility can help increase productivity. But, this does not mean to say that you can skimp on lighting in the office because a recent study from Cornell University shows that poor lighting is connected to low production levels and social satisfaction among employees. Many offices are composed of cubicles to give employees privacy to do their work. However, the cubicle arrangement also blocks natural light, which means that some employees are not exposed to natural lighting during an entire work cycle.
Humans are wired to seek natural lighting. In fact, all office workers in Europe must have exposure to natural light. Employees who had the best views were the most productive and were most likely to describe themselves as healthy.
Dedicated Noise-Isolation Areas
Acoustics is another key contributing factor to productivity. To achieve acoustic comfort, the office must have appropriate acoustic support that is conducive to interaction, confidentiality, and concentrative work. If it is too noisy, workers will not be able to communicate with each other let alone concentrate.
Design your office to have multiple quiet areas where employees can migrate to in order to make calls, have private meetings, or to focus on their work.
Designed With Health In Mind
Aside from these factors, employers should also provide workers with suitable ventilation, access to greenery and the gym to help encourage a healthy lifestyle. Even something as basic as giving them access to increase or reduce the temperature in the office can impact their productivity. Employers should also encourage employees to personalize their workstations so that employees are happier. Workspace design should allow employees to socialize with each other easily while at the same time giving them access to views and privacy so that they can work properly and productively.
Good lighting, comfortable furniture, pleasant color schemes, and access to views or natural lighting can help generate positive energy in the office and employee mood. 79% of UK based employees report that a good working environment is important to their sense of job satisfaction.
Kemetria Lilly Founder of Lilly’s Kloset: 5 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Every girl, including myself, wants to look beautiful and radiant, but to feel confident is another plus. Then there’s Lilly’s Kloset, the online women’s boutique with offers in everything a woman needs in her closet. Founded by Kemetria Lilly, Lilly’s Kloset has everything from sunglasses to shoes. There is a unique offer on looks from head to toe.
The brand started off as an accessory boutique, but just by listening to their customer’s wants, they added other categories to the site, with shoes being their main revenue. Just by that, the brand gave more access and opportunities to customers to be apart of the brand, with the responsibility to make decisions on what Lilly’s Kloset carry and restock.
Fashion is the most effective way to communicate women-empowerment, in influencing young girls to the recognition of their true potential. In the process, to reflect their internal beauty into physical shape is something that Lilly’s Kloset carries out respectfully. This brand screams women-empowerment. Initially, Kemetria Lilly aimed to work in the fashion industry.
After getting rejected though, she still committed to her passion for styling and putting beautiful things together. As she builds herself a career that allows her to create, she also intended to use her brand to make women feel good through fashion. The outfits are for women from ages 18-24, or as Kemetria Lilly calls it, “The Lilly’s Kloset girl is a college student that has a party to go to, the working mom that has brunch with her friends on Sunday, or the bride that needs shoes for her whole wedding party.”
To further advance her company, Kemetria Lilly plans to improve the overall customer experience, even stepping in to interact with her customers more. The benefits of doing this will loosen the gap between their ongoing challenge in figuring out what their consumers want. Fashion trends are constantly changing, so from observing their general customers, the brand is able to produce products that can fit into their lifestyle.
For each piece of apparel, Kemetria Lilly already thought of a layout of how the outfit could be implemented. With this success, the company plans on improving with a movement towards adding product lines, larger size selection, and more exclusive collections. Leaving their only competition being last year’s sale to beat, they conclude how this is not just a brand for fashion, but also a voice for women.
As an entrepreneur herself, Kemetria Lilly started her business from the ground up. She continues to share her knowledge by giving 5 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
1.) Be Unique
You will never stand out by following the crowd. To get people’s attention to what you’re doing, you have to give them something to remember. Generate ideas that will meet up to your standards, that way, you have a project to be proud of.
2.) Stay Consistent
This goes for everything you do. Stick to the things that you are familiar with, you’ll polish your skills to become an expert. Also, you will have a motive. This is the guideline for Lilly’s Kloset,
“We stick to the same fonts and colors, our voice is also the same through our marketing material”.
3.) Be Transparent
People like to connect with people, not brands. Therefore, showing who the owner is or what it’s like behind the scenes in building your brand allows you to be relatable. To keep your customers, you have to create a sense of the relationship between them and the brand. Something to look forward to.
4.) Be Patient
When it feels like everyone else is thriving in their career but you aren’t, it will make it easy to think things won’t work out. Due to that, it’ll seem like the easiest thing to do is to give up, but that is not the case. It’s important to know that social media is only the highlight reel of our lives and hard times will not be shown.
5.) Never Stop Learning
It’s so important to educate yourself as an entrepreneur and to always be aware of what’s going on in your industry. To keep yourself up to the task, be prepared to continue your education. With every situation, whether it’s a failure or win, there is always a lesson lurking behind that can help you improve your task.