I’m the founder of a zero-waste toothpaste company that was featured on Shark Tank. Here’s what my day is like managing a team of 9 remote employees.

Bite founder and CEO Lindsay McCormick.
Bite founder and CEO Lindsay McCormick.

  • Lindsay McCormick is the founder and CEO of Bite, a sustainable toothpaste tablet company.
  • Since a video of her product went viral on Facebook, McCormick says her business has taken off.
  • Here’s what a day in her life looks like working from home and managing nine employees.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

No matter when I go to bed, I try to get up around 7:30 a.m. We have a lot of late nights (hello, startup life) but I feel like waking up around the same time helps me perform my best, even if it means a little less sleep.

Every morning, I scan my texts and emails in bed to make sure there are no emergencies before starting my morning routine. I spend a few minutes in bed cuddling with my rescue pup, Nemo, before I get up to brush my teeth.

My company, Bite, makes toothpaste tablets, so a lot of the time I’ll be trying out a new flavor we’re working on. I keep a notebook by the sink so I can jot down thoughts and changes I’d like to make while I brush.

I try to meditate for about 30 minutes and spend another 30 minutes either reading and drinking tea or going on a run and listening to an audiobook before digging into emails at 9 a.m.

My boyfriend Asher and I run the company out of our apartment in Marina del Rey, California, where we converted two of the bedrooms into office spaces and one room into a content studio.

Since we’re right on the ocean, I love being able to go for a walk on the beach when I take calls or need to clear my head.

Once the team logs in around 10 a.m., we’re fully locked in and it’s nonstop work until 7 p.m..

We have a small team of just nine employees, so there’s a lot to get done every single day.

Asher and I touch base around 8 p.m. to recap our work day and tackle whatever tasks we need to work on together. Around 9:30 p.m., I usually go on a run (I love running on the beach at night) or I’ll read or watch TV until going to bed around 11pm.

We have a tableting machine in the middle of our office, and I still use it to test out our seasonal flavors and new products. Our tablets are now made in an outside facility here in Los Angeles, but I created our toothpaste and mouthwash formulas (with the sign-off from some dentists and chemists that we work with) and still do our development in-house, so at any time there are various scents and oils wafting around the apartment.

I started Bite in 2017 in order to create a sustainable toothpaste product.

Bite toothpaste products.
Bite toothpaste products.

After learning about the harsh chemicals that are in a lot of commercial toothpaste and the millions of toothpaste tubes that end up in our landfills and oceans every year, I wanted to make a difference. I’ve always been passionate about conservation and the environment, so I started taking online chemistry classes and reaching out to every dentist and dental hygienist I knew to get their advice.

The idea was that the toothpaste tablets would come in a glass jar that could be kept and refilled – that way there would be no plastic toothpaste tubes and none of the harsh preservatives needed to keep bacteria growing in the wet paste.

While working full-time as a TV producer, I started making the toothpaste tablets on a hand-press tableting machine at night.

I labeled and filled the glass bottles in our living room, then I’d pack up every order and drop them off on my way to work in the morning.

That all changed overnight in 2018 when a video about our product went viral on Facebook, and our sales skyrocketed.

Both my boyfriend and I left our jobs to work on Bite full time. We launched new products like a bamboo toothbrush and mouthwash tablets, and quickly grew to an 8-figure business.

We’re bootstrapped, so instead of raising money through traditional investors, our business is powered by our customers and their support. I spend 30 minutes to an hour each day connecting with our community, often on social media through comments or DMs, and sometimes on the phone.

Being on Shark Tank in February 2020 was a wild experience.

The morning of our shoot, we had an issue pop up with our manufacturer and were literally on the phone up until it was time for us to walk on the stage – running a business never stops! We had spent a ton of time preparing beforehand but even still, I was floored by how well it went. I was so nervous, you can see my hands shaking during our pitch, but the Sharks were extremely kind and receptive to our business and growth which was amazing.

We received two offers, one from Mark Cuban and one from Kevin O’Leary, but we didn’t end up taking either. I think anyone who has their own business should run through the thought process of what they would say if they went on Shark Tank; it’s a great way to practice your elevator pitch and showcase your business strategy from the inside out.

We were fortunate to not feel the brunt of the pandemic as our team has always been small and operating from home.

Lindsay McCormick in the early days of developing Bite toothpaste. Early days   In Lab (1)
McCormick in the early days of developing Bite toothpaste.

We’re also made in the US, right up the street from “HQ” (our living room) so our supply chain wasn’t impacted. And because so many people were buying online and thinking about their health and the planet, we were exposed to new customers and were able to grow.

We also started new projects to keep our spirits up with the team, including making hand sanitizer to donate to organizations here in Los Angeles on Skidrow. We channeled our formulation background into tracking down the supplies and began manufacturing in-house, strictly to donate. It really helped us bond as a team and to focus outside of ourselves when the world felt upended. It’s been a wild ride, but every challenge has helped us grow and improve.

My advice for fellow entrepreneurs is to get used to the feeling of being on unsteady ground.

It never goes away, so you might as well embrace it from the start. What I’ve learned about business so far is to be successful, you need to look for the opportunities that others don’t see and that usually means you’re one of the only ones on that path. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and know we’re all figuring it out as we go along.

Lindsay McCormick is the founder and CEO of Bite, the all-natural, zero-waste, and cruelty-free toothpaste tablets and accessories on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable personal care company.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a 17-year-old Fortnite gamer who’s won over $646,000 in two years since going pro. I average about 10 hours of gaming daily.

Diego in front of monitor.JPG Diego Palma
Palma became eligible to play professionally at age 14 and says he practices playing Fortnite for 10 hours a day.

I was 4 years old when my papá first introduced me to my two loves, soccer and gaming.

When I wasn’t running around on the soccer field, I’d sit on his lap for hours at a time, playing World of Warcraft and completing quests together.

By the time I turned five, at bedtime, he’d read me horror fiction stories by H.P. Lovecraft that took place in a fictional Massachusetts town known as Arkham, which became the inspiration behind my screen name.

Baby Diego Palma on his dad's computer.
Baby Diego Palma on his dad’s computer.

As I grew up, I kept playing soccer, eventually reaching the varsity level. During my sophomore year of high school in 2017, I tore my meniscus while playing and had to have surgery. The doctors said I couldn’t play for at least a year.

While recovering from my injury, I started getting into gaming.

I wanted a PC like the gamers so I wound up taking a part-time job as a soccer referee at little kids’ matches on weekends. When I saved up enough money, I bought computer parts and built my own PC with the help of my stepfather, Chris.

Diego Palma before his knee surgery
Palma heading into knee surgery after his injury.

That summer, Fortnite was released and I started playing it a lot. My goal initially was to just play better than all of my friends – until I heard about the 2018 Fortnite Royale tournament at the Oakland Esports Arena.

I told my parents I didn’t only want to compete, but I planned to win.

At first, my papá was hesitant, but eventually he agreed to take me. According to him, he figured he’d shell out the $10 entry fee and I’d get eliminated quickly and we could leave.

Instead, I ended up coming in second place for North America in the open competition. But since I was only 13 and at the time, you needed to be 14 years old to qualify, I couldn’t progress any further. I ended up taking home $500 worth of prizes – but more importantly, one of the organizers told my father I was playing at such a high level I could probably go pro.

That year I started playing in a league where thousands of other players all competed through playing scrims, where it took months trying my best to work my way up the ranks to eventually make it into the pro discord.

In 2019, at the age of 14 when I became eligible to play professionally, I signed with 100 Thieves, a California-based pro-gaming organization which is still kind of surreal to me. Being part of the 100 Thieves team means representing the organization in any branding events they have, like a photoshoot or promotional video. I also have to stream a certain number of hours every month.

Diego Palma and Dr. Disrespect (1).JPG
Palma meeting popular video game streamer Dr. Disrespect.

Shortly after going pro, I had my first big career win when I took home fifth place in the Fortnite World Cup, July 17, 2019. It was an amazing experience because we played inside a huge stadium with a massive crowd. My partner at the time, Brendan Falconer, and I won a combined $900,000.

Since going pro two years ago, I’ve won over $646,000 competing.

I’ve also earned additional money through my corporate sponsorships. People often ask what I do with all my winnings but besides upgrading my PC from time to time, I don’t really spend any of it. I’m not flashy and I don’t need much. I want to ensure I plan for my future. My papá created a custodial brokerage account to invest my money in the market and I also have a financial planner for a retirement plan.

Diego and Falconer going to Sweden (1)
Fellow gamer Brendan Falconer and Palma traveling to a competition in 2019.

Before winning the World Cup my identity was largely hidden since school was already out for the summer when I signed with 100 Thieves. Things were different when I started a new school in the fall. Suddenly because of my World Cup win, everyone knew who I was and the attention was overwhelming. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without a bunch of kids following me in to ask me questions. I was stressed and miserable.

I told my parents I wanted to transition to an online school, I even said I’d pay for it with my earnings. My papá and my stepmom along with my three siblings understood how badly I wanted to go remote because they saw firsthand how unhappy I was.

At first, my mamita resisted the idea because she was concerned about how it might affect my future chances in college and higher education. It was a difficult time for my family because I had to take a stand and advocate for myself. Finally, after many discussions, it all worked out, and together we decided online school would be the best alternative for me and it has been. I’m glad because my family is the most important thing in the world to me.

Attending online school has given me a lot more flexibility in terms of my assignments and my schedule so I can continue to pursue gaming and still graduate high school this year.

Being an esports gamer is like playing any other sport in that a lot of discipline is required.

I take practice very seriously and average about 10 hours playing Fortnite daily.

The game saves everything, so it’s similar to when pro athletes watch the tape to see their performance and review their mistakes. A lot of what we do doesn’t come naturally. We have to prepare, train, analyze, and develop strategies and when you play on a team like I do, you have to collaborate.

I play in a trio for 100 Thieves along with fellow players Rehx and Epik Whale. I’m the captain of the team. No one ever officially made me the captain, it just sort of happened because I’m a very strategic thinker and a planner so I often guide the team into the best spot. I’m pretty calm, which is important when you are directing people and strategizing together.

The pandemic has stopped all live events, which I do miss. I got to fly to places like New York City and Sweden to compete and that was a lot of fun.

Diego Palma, father, stepmom and siblings (1).JPG
A younger Palma pictured with his father, stepmom, and siblings.

When I’m not doing homework or practicing for a competition, I relax by watching horror movies, kicking around the soccer ball, and playing other video games like Escape from Tarkoff, because at the end of the day, I’m still a teenager.

My advice to anyone looking to get into pro-gaming is to start with the basics.

Practice aiming and perfecting mechanics. Also, take the time to watch videos of pros playing for strategies. My brother Pablo is 16 and wants to go pro like me. The biggest tip I give him is to always make sure to review his old games so he can learn from his mistakes. That’s the most important thing you can do if you want to improve.

As for future plans, my parents want me to continue my education at some point after I graduate high school but for right now, my focus is on being the best player I can be and winning more tournaments.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Inside the athlete ‘bubbles’ happening at hotels to make sure college and pro sports can happen safely in a pandemic

The JW Marriott Indianapolis decorated for 2021 March Madness.
The JW Marriott Indianapolis decorated for 2021 March Madness.

  • Hotels like the JW Marriott Indianapolis have formed bubbles to host teams for 2021’s March Madness tournament.
  • Some pro teams, like the Toronto Raptors, moved from Canada to Florida to avoid pandemic restrictions.
  • Having the players on site has brought a new energy to the hotel, one hotel manager said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

From living long-term in a hotel abroad to turning hotel ballrooms into practice facilities, athletes and the people around them have been getting especially creative to stay safe during the age of COVID-19.

This is the first time in history where an entire NCAA March Madness tournament will be held in one city- Indianapolis – and there are plenty of protocols in place for both the hotels and the athletes to ensure it’s a safe and successful experience.

Phil Ray is the general manager of the JW Marriott Indianapolis, one of a handful of hotels in a ‘bubble’ which will be hosting teams and athletes for March Madness.

“We’re focused on taking care of the guests, and taking care of each other,” said Ray. “What we always say is it’s like they’re on a business trip, and our purpose is to take care of them so that everything goes well.”

During the weekends in summer 2020, the JW started to host sports tournaments as part of a bubble alongside a group of local hotels that could offer over 2,000 rooms with shared parking garages and a direct connection to the convention center. There, athletes were fed, housed, and quarantined for their games.

After this experience, Ray says the city is well-prepared to host March Madness. “We’re continuing to work through all the obstacles we’ll face to host the entire tournament. The cleanliness and the process of cleaning for the most part is consistent with what we’re always doing, just higher profile.”

Staff in the kitchen of the JW Marriott Indianapolis prepping meals for March Madness.
Staff in the kitchen of the JW Marriott Indianapolis prepping meals for March Madness.

The teams that make the final four can stay for up to three weeks in Indianapolis.

“We want to make sure they’re comfortable, and that the food doesn’t become tiresome, and that they’re going to be excited about being here,” said Ray. The manager added he’s confident that the tournament will run smoothly and safely.

A season abroad

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson spent the 2020 MLB season living out of the The Marriott at Lecom Harbor Center in Buffalo, New York, since the Blue Jays couldn’t play in their home city in Toronto, Canada.

“I tried to make my hotel space feel more like home by unpacking my suitcase and putting my things into the drawers,” he said. “I unpacked and made sure my clothes were away, hung up my shirts, and put my suitcase somewhere that I couldn’t see it, so it didn’t feel like I was living somewhere temporarily.”

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson.

Pearson says the hardest part of living in the hotel from July to October was the isolation and being away from family. Although he spent time with his teammates training and playing, Pearson says they didn’t hang out off the field due to safety rules.

“We didn’t get to go out or hang out in each other’s rooms. I really like getting to spend time with my teammates, and not getting to do that outside of the field was hard. But we made the most of it.”

For fellow athletes living at a hotel or resort property long-term during COVID, Pearson says to bring “whatever your ‘thing’ is with you.”

“Whether it’s video games, reading, or watching TV – make sure you have the access to that,” he said. “And buckle up – it’s much more of a mental grind than a physical grind. Don’t be afraid to call people when you need to talk to someone. If you need to step outside and go for a walk by yourself, do it. Being outside definitely helps you mentally.”

Hosting a 39-person NBA entourage

Non-athletes similarly adjusted their work lives to accommodate sports during the pandemic. Beth Allen, director of sales and marketing at The Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina, was in charge of hosting the Charlotte Hornets in a bubble to prepare for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The Hornets ‘bubbled’ in two freestanding buildings adjacent to the main hotel. The Lodge features 35 spacious rooms, and The Cottage has four king bedrooms with private bathrooms, as well as a dedicated kitchen, dining, living room, and laundry space.

The Lodge at Ballantyne.JPG
The Lodge at The Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In preparation, Allen says property was deep-cleaned and fully sanitized from top to bottom, and a washer and dryer and additional golf carts were brought in for the players to get around.

The players enjoyed their own private parking, tennis courts to practice on, and a golf course for outdoor space to exercise. Allen says the 39-person group of players, coaches, administrative staff, and physical therapists was on-site for two weeks total, from the end of September through early October of 2020.

She says the players were gracious, friendly, and quiet – even if they ordered room service much more than the average guest.

“There were certain times of day we knew room service was going to get an onslaught of calls – so we started to adjust our staffing to accommodate. The team was also really good about being flexible and changing with us as the days went by – because every day is different.”

As a hotel director, Allen says the experience gave her valuable insights on hosting sports teams during the pandemic.

“Hotels are having to get creative, be flexible, and think outside of the box. It was a team effort and a bonding experience behind the scenes,” she said.

Turning a ballroom into a practice court

The Toronto Raptors basketball team also moved out of Canada during the pandemic to Tampa, Florida to play their 2020-21 season. They built a makeshift practice facility at the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street.

The property was still under construction last year, says general manager Ron McAnaugh, when they made a deal with the NBA team to offer the unfinished ballroom as a space for shooting hoops in isolation.

The team has been on-site using the hotel as a practice facility since the beginning of December and is committed to the space through March.

McAnaugh says the Raptors brought everything with them to set up shop in the Marriott, including hard floors and baskets, while Marriott staff built a full gym, an office for the head coach, and two locker rooms for the team. McAnaugh says they also turned one of the kitchen areas into a space where players can “go and take their recovery ice baths.”

People might spy the athletes outside working out, but on-site security is tight. There’s even a special, exclusive elevator to take the team to their practice facility.

“Security hasn’t been a problem, the most we’ve had is kids come in and ask ‘can we go watch them practice?’ and we say ‘sorry, you can’t,'” said McAnaugh. Still, he says having the players on site has brought a new energy to the hotel.

“It’s just incredible to see the life it brings to the building having them here,” said McAnaugh. “You can sense on game nights there’s an elevated vibe in the building.”

The hotel’s employees are used to interesting requests for the basketball stars, such as the need for a certain brand of protein powder for meals.

“After a while all the requests almost become natural, and you just learn to pivot,” he said. “It just goes to show you, if there’s a unique need for a customer or a group – we’ll figure out how to do it.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

I made nearly $10,000 last month doing freelance voice-over work. I get 90% of my work through Fiverr and work just five hours a day – here’s how I do it.

Alice Everdeen
Alice Everdeen is a freelancer based in Texas.

  • Alice Everdeen is a 29-year-old voice-over artist based in Austin, Texas.
  • After years working in radio and TV, Everdeen quit her full-time job and now can make thousands a week as a freelancer.
  • This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Rose Maura Lorre.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

I launched my full-time voice-over career just last year, but even as a kid, I was always doing voice work in some way. I would constantly mimic the people I heard in commercials and on the radio and I made tons of prank phone calls, but I never really thought about it as something I could do as a career.

I went to Rutgers University to study journalism and visual arts. After working at MSNBC and a local news station for several years, I moved to Texas in 2016. There, I eventually switched over to a production company where I wrote and produced TV and radio ads.

One day, I was going over a client’s script with my colleagues. Just as a joke, I read the script out loud in the most over-the-top radio voice I could think of. They stopped and stared at me; then they said, “Wow, that was really good!”

I started doing voice-overs for the company and realized it was really fun.

I also think it also helped that I’m a very animated person and I enunciate well.

Then around January 2020, right before the pandemic, I was going through a divorce and felt unhappy going to work for nine hours a day. I told myself, “I’m going to quit my job, start freelancing, buy a school bus, and I’m going to travel.”

I made my own voice-over demo reel and made a profile on Fiverr and things surprisingly took off.

One of the first clients I got was Fiverr itself. I know they will hire new members to give them some credibility, so I think they just saw that I was new and they liked my demo. Now I book probably 90% of my work through Fiverr, where other companies will find me for their clients. I’ve done VOs for companies like, Valvoline, Community Coffee, Verizon, Accenture, and Amazon.

I always ask potential clients a few questions before accepting the job.

Alice Everdeen
Everdeen says she practices each script several times before recording.

I ask how long the script is, what’s the audience and tone they’re going for, and whether or not the recording has to meet certain time requirements. My voice-overs typically run anywhere from 15 seconds to three minutes, but I’ve done some audio (usually for e-learning projects) that was as long as 20 minutes.

Generally, I practice a script a couple times and record it as many as four times, depending on how comfortable I am with the style and subject. Medical or technical copy can take me way longer. Then comes editing, which takes forever. I usually spend four times as long on editing as I do on recording, because I have to remove breaths, gaps, mess-ups, etc. I spend about 10% of my time practicing scripts, 30% recording them, and 60% editing the recording.

I’ve spent over $1,000 on equipment to produce the best quality voice-overs.

I work with a Rode NT USB mic, which costs about $170, and then I have a dinky HP laptop that I bought about a year ago. I definitely should have bought a more powerful one, but for now it gets the job done.

I also bought myself an Isovox, which is a soundproofed, square-shaped box you shove your head into. It’s super claustrophobic, but it makes my audio sound pretty great. I use a program called Audacity to edit my work.

Due to COVID-19, there are tons of phone recording jobs these days.

Alice Everdeen Isovox
Everdeen recording inside her Isovox.

About 20% of my orders nowadays talk about safety precautions or mention COVID directly. Pretty much every company needs a new outgoing message saying, “Thank you for calling blah-blah. Here are the precautions we’re taking,” or, “We offer pick-ups and deliveries, etc.”

These are probably the most boring jobs, because they’re just so straightforward. Personally, my favorite assignments are when I get to feel like I’m acting and I can really get into a character.

Taking care of my voice is something I try not to be a diva about. Mainly, I just stay hydrated. I try not to record in the morning, when I sound congested and nasally. I also avoid recording when I’m tired or angry, because that’ll come through in my vocal quality.

I sometimes get weird and even creepy requests.

I’ve occasionally received requests from people (almost all of them men) for fetish-related “audio porn” although since I’ve raised my prices it’s gotten better. People will ask for burping recordings, or that I record the sound of myself being tickled. Somebody else asked me if I could simulate the sound of getting a wedgie while also talking about how the wedgie feels and how much I hate getting wedgies. I respond to those requests with, “I’m not interested, but good luck.”

As a freelancer, I’ve already surpassed my old full-time income. In January, I had my best week ever when I made about $3,300. February was my best month to date – I made just under $10,000 total. And even on my busiest days, I’m still only working from about 12 to 5 p.m. The amount of free time this career allows has been the biggest blessing, as it’s given me and my partner time to work on refurbishing our school bus.

Alice Everdeen
Everdeen and her partner are currently refurbishing an old school bus to make it road trip-ready.

If you want to get into this line of work, my advice is to work on your acting.

Even if you have a nice voice, doing voice-overs is really about being an actor more than anything. You have to be able to sound compelling and convincing.

There are websites specifically for finding voice-over work, like Voices.com, Voices123, and VoiceBunny. I went the Fiverr route because I’d used it in my previous lines of work. You can definitely land bigger jobs on the voice-over websites, whereas a lot of the Fiverr and Upwork roles are more for mom-and-pop places. I’ve had my share of big clients, but most of my work is for smaller companies.

You’re going to get a lot of rejections at the start, especially if you go the more traditional route of auditioning for roles. While I don’t audition for the work I get via Fiverr, I’m also on Upwork, where I audition for roles and lose a lot of them. You can do something you think is perfect and other people hate it. It’s hard sometimes, but I’ve learned to just power through and continually improve.

Read the original article on Business Insider

5 email tips to stop your messages from being ignored, according to experts who work with Facebook and Nestle

Lee Lazarus and Janine Kurnoff are founders of The Presentation Company.
Lee Lazarus and Janine Kurnoff are founders of The Presentation Company.

  • Janine Kurnoff and Lee Lazarus are founders of The Presentation Company which teaches business storytelling to big brands.
  • The sister duo says storytelling is key to sending great emails and ensuring you get a favorable response.
  • They say to use the email subject line as your story’s headline, and to offer context before making a request.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Inboxes are overwhelming, particularly for busy managers, key stakeholders, and VIP executives that everyone wants a response from. Most of us are bombarded with dozens of emails each day, if not more, and can’t afford more than a few seconds to glance over each one before moving on. So if you want to cut through the noise to reach decision-makers and move business forward, focus on structuring every email (and we mean every email) with a story strategy.

Adopting good email strategy – the kind that gets a response – is often the result of years of experience. To save you some time, we’re sharing our five top email strategies, purely based on classic story structure. 

1. Find the right balance between brief and meaningful

Before diving into your email storytelling strategy, we want to dispel a very common myth – that emails must be super-short to get answered. This isn’t true. When emails are too brief – perhaps just requesting some immediate action – they will often be ignored because they actually “get to the point” too quickly. They lack the context that gives recipients a deeper understanding of why you’re reaching out and what you need from them.

Additional information can actually enable the reader to make a decision more quickly. If they’re confused, or your ask seems complicated, they’re more likely to put off the answer you’re looking for. Still, being overly wordy is also a sure way to get your email ignored.

Make sure you find the right balance between brevity and key details in your emails. The reader should always be left with a clear idea of what they need to know and do with your information – and why. 

Data suggests the ideal length of an email is between 50 and 125 words. Emails this length had a response rate above 50%. 

2. Always have a headline and put it in your subject line 

Good emails should tell a story. Good stories have a headline. Ergo, your email needs a headline! And where should said headline reside? Right up top of course, in the subject line. 

Unfortunately, it’s very common for people to squander this opportunity for an attention-grabbing headline and instead use boring subject lines such as “Meeting follow up” or “Project update.” These generic tags tell your recipient very little and probably won’t grab their attention. 

Maximize the prime real estate of your subject line instead and introduce the big idea of your email story. Your big idea is the key information – the ‘what’ of your story – that you want your recipients to remember the most. So, instead of “meeting follow up,” you could say “Reconnecting on next steps for sales kickoff next month.” Instead of “Project update,” you could say, “Project X is on target but needs additional design resources.”

Focus on your single biggest, most consequential, or most insightful piece of information. Put this headline in the subject line to give your email the best chance of being opened.

3. Your email opener must provide context

As we mentioned above, jumping too soon into your ask without providing context will leave your reader confused. Context is key so they can process your information (or request).

In storytelling terms, context is the combination of setting, characters, and conflict that build the arc of a story. For example, if the email is a follow up to a budget meeting from last week, the setting must take the reader back to the “scene” of last week’s financial discussion, the important “characters” affected by budget decisions, and the chief conflicts affecting those characters. 

This look back is critical to remind them who and what’s at stake, and what decisions must be made. 

4. Repeat your big idea

Being overly repetitive is the death knell for any email, however, restating your single big idea is the power move of any great storyteller. When you remind readers of your key takeaway – the ‘what’ of your email story – you cement it in their brains. 

The best way to get in that one-two punch is to establish your big idea first in your headline (i.e. your subject line), then repeat it after you’ve established your context.

5. Always unveil your resolution last

One of the hallmarks of a poorly structured email is when it begins with your recommendations or your call to action without any context. As we mentioned above, many people believe that keeping an email as short as possible is best. So, they just state upfront what they need from the recipient: “Please approve this budget,” or “Can I get your feedback?” or “Need approval for a new hire.”

These requests are all part of their resolution, the answer to a certain conflict. If the resolution comes before the conflict, the recipient is less likely to buy into why they should complete your request. So instead, have this element last in your email.

Janine Kurnoff and Lee Lazarus are authors of the new book “Everyday Business Storytelling: Create, Simplify, and Adapt a Visual Narrative for Any Audience.” These Silicon Valley-bred sisters founded The Presentation Company in 2001 and work with brands like Facebook, Nestle, and Medtronic. Follow them on Twitter. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 Black queer journalists share their advice for breaking into the journalism industry and what publications should do better to recruit minority employees

Daric L Cottingham interview
(L-R) Tre’vell Anderson, Cerise Castle, Femi Redwood.

  • Regardless of any sudden DEI efforts made in 2020, journalist Daric L. Cottingham says the media industry has a long way to go to promote diversity. 
  • Cottingham interviewed three Black LGBTQ journalists on lessons they’ve learned breaking into the media industry.
  • The group also shared their thoughts on how publications can better recruit and retain Black queer journalists.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As the spike of police brutality targeted at Black people became a constant headline in 2020, the world began to listen to concerns of structural racism and bias, especially in professional settings. 

Daric Cottingham Headshot 2021
Daric L. Cottingham.

Many industries started to examine their racist pasts. Journalism in particular began to reckon with the lack of diversity in newsrooms, and the racist rhetoric it used in coverage of diverse communities.

These “reckonings” felt like an empty PR attempt, since the same behaviors are still present at many publications in 2021 

Despite these “attempts,” we’re left with a lingering question of how can journalism actively change to be as diverse as the communities it reports on. One way is to hire diverse candidates with intersecting identities, such as Black queer journalists who navigate the industry with the added stress of implicit bias rooted in racism and queerphobia.  

I spoke with three Black queer journalists about the lessons they’ve learned navigating the journalism job market.

Cerise Castle .JPG
Cerise Castle.

Cerise Castle (she/her) is a Black lesbian multimedia journalist who’s produced and hosted segments for VICE News Tonight, Los Angeles NPR affiliate KCRW, and Wondery. 

Tre'vell Anderson headshot 2021.JPG
Tre’vell Anderson.

Tre’vell Anderson (they/them) is a Black queer, non-binary person of trans experience, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles, co-chair of NABJ’s LGBTQ Task Force, and editor-at-large at Xtra Magazine.

Femi Redwood headsshot 2021
Femi Redwood.

Femi Redwood (she/her) is a Black lesbian TV news anchor who most recently reported for VICE News on intersectional issues including race, gender, and LGBTQ identities. She’s a board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and a co-chair NABJ’s LGBTQ Task Force.

Here’s what they had to say, including advice they have for young Black queer journalists trying to break into the industry and advice for publications to better recruit and retain these diverse journalists. 

What was one lesson you learned as a Black, queer journalist? 

Cerise Castle: The hardest lesson I think is the fastest one you learn: that your voice and ideas will probably always be counted last. I think that’s a valuable lesson because I think it’s helpful to go in knowing the reality of most newsrooms and how most outlets work. Unfortunately, I think it’s a reality that you have to accept most of the time.

Tre’vell Anderson: A lesson that I’ve learned as a Black, queer journalist is that, just because my editor doesn’t understand the importance of a particular story, doesn’t mean that story shouldn’t be told. As Black, queer, trans folks, as folks from a marginalized, less represented community in newsrooms, often the stories that we want to tell about our communities don’t hold that same weight. Or don’t seem as necessary or worthy to our editors, who are white folk more often than not.

Femi Redwood: Pay attention to the media group because it may have more control in how the station or the publication handles things than the individual entity you will work for. If it’s a problematic station group, you don’t want to work there.

What advice do you have for young Black, queer journalists trying to break into the industry?

Castle: I would say not to change yourself for the industry. I had a college professor who told me that to be on camera, I had to have shoulder-length hair and couldn’t wear it naturally. I couldn’t have piercings or do my makeup a certain way. And all of that, just … It isn’t true. 

Granted, there will be some news directors that will force you into that box, but you can always be yourself. The first on-camera job that I got picked me because they liked my curly hair and liked that I bleached it. They liked that I had facial piercings. They liked that I didn’t look just like every other reporter from central casting. Playing into your identity can help you out in many situations, to get that job, and to get the story too.

Anderson: My advice to Black queer journalists, emerging and coming into the industry and those that are fairly established, is to remain undaunted as we navigate these spaces. Follow your heart, follow your gut, follow your intense desire to tell your community’s stories, even when the broader media ecosystem, or your editor, or whomever tells you that those stories don’t have any worth. 

It’s important to build an identity outside of the news organizations that we might work for and beyond the work we do because being a journalist is a thankless job in many ways. Still, it’s a very necessary job at the same time.

Redwood: My one piece of advice to queer Black journalists is to go into every situation as if you were a straight white man. It’s been my recent guiding principle. 

Often we are told we need to accept anything, accept any pay, and accept any position. We are told that unless we check off certain boxes – years of experience, education, awards, etc. – we don’t deserve more. Nah. 

Be like straight white men. They are socialized to expect what they believe they deserve. Young queer Black journos need to do that as well. We often see straight white men “fail up” while we tell ourselves, ‘we aren’t ready for a new position, we don’t deserve a raise, or haven’t earned a promotion.’ 

You deserve that job even if you only worked on your college paper; you deserve that pay even if you didn’t go to what’s considered a top j-school, you deserve that promotion even if you haven’t earned any awards, because why not you.

What can publications do to better recruit and retain Black, queer journalists?

Castle: Pay them. That’s all, that’s my answer. Pay them what they’re worth, more than they’re worth.

Anderson: What these people need to do to recruit more Black queer journalists is the same thing they need to do to recruit more Black journalists, right? They have to get out of their own way and get out of our way. 

Many folks hiring and recruiting reporters aren’t doing intentional outreach to groups of color, to 1) Let us know the available opportunities, and 2) Give us the same kind of level playing field that our white counterparts have. 

It also requires you to not only augment and change your recruiting habits, but you also need to change your retention practices because once you hire a Black person, you need to make sure that the work environment is one they will want to stay at your company. 

That might mean that some people on the team need to leave because they’re toxic, or they’re white supremacists, or they’re racist, or they’re homophobic, or transphobic.

Redwood: It’s all a big circle. And all of these things work hand in hand. To recruit Black queer journalists, you have to create a place they want to work. Because if the environment is homophobic or full of racist microaggressions, then Black folks aren’t going to want to work there. 

The next thing is to create paid internships. Expecting journalists to work for free, it’s a form of gatekeeping that unfortunately prevents many Black and brown and queer journalists from getting in. Because statistically speaking, we don’t have the same wealth as white counterparts.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a butler for wealthy NYC families who earns a six-figure salary and has lots of time to see my kids. From checking for dust with a flashlight to taking wine cellar inventory, this is what my job is like.

Stanley (not his real name) has been a professional butler and house manager for 12 years.
Stanley (not his real name) has been a professional butler and house manager for 12 years.

  • Stanley (not his real name) is a house manager and butler for wealthy families in New York City.
  • His job involves everything from organizing bills and tracking charitable donations to taking wine cellar inventory and making sure everything inch of his employer’s home is spotless and dust-free.
  • Over the years, he’s had both good and bad employers, including one who would constantly fire and rehire him and another who would yell across the house and snap his fingers to get Stanley’s attention.
  • Despite the long hours and repetitive tasks, Stanley says he enjoys his work and has learned to set healthy boundaries with his employers.
  • Here’s what his job is like, as told to freelance writer Rose Maura Lorre.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Like many people who work in hospitality or the private services industry, I started out as an actor. And like many actors, I made a choice to stop acting because it was driving me nuts.

My wife was reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants at the time and in the book, Tina Fey talks about “fake it ’til you make it.” That’s what I did: I acted the part of a house manager until I figured out how to be one. It just takes a little bit of observational skills and people skills and a good memory.

After I left acting, I first went into events and catering and worked my way up. While managing a big charity event in 2009, I met a project manager who introduced me to an ultra-high net worth (UHNW) family. The husband was in finance, the wife was an ex-bartender, and they had twin 4-year-olds, a dog, a pot belly pig, and a 20,000-square-foot townhouse. They hired me as a house manager and personal assistant, my first job in the industry. Those clients were a wild ride, real tabloid-gossip stuff. 

When the wife had an issue with how I handled something, she would just fire me. 

Then as I was walking to the subway or during my cab ride home, she would call me, apologize, and say she’d see me tomorrow. That happened four times in less than six months. 

The last time she fired me, I made sure everything was in order, put her folder with her schedule for the following day on her desk as usual, quietly grabbed my coat, and left. Like she’d done in the past, I quickly got the apology call. When she said, “See you on Monday,” I said, “Why don’t we let this one stick?” That Monday, I still got a few calls and texts from her, but I didn’t pick up.

I’ve worked for six different families over 10 years. 

Two of them, including that first family I worked for, were roller coaster rides – and short contracts because of that. Two were trial periods, after which I passed on their employment offers, and two have been better, long-term experiences.

The other “roller coaster” employer I worked for was similarly demanding, with an extremely busy and packed schedule. He was also a yeller; he would always holler my name. When he’d snap his fingers or yell, it was like somebody had shot a gun off in the house, and everyone would jump to attention. 

Once, I walked into his coat closet after he’d pulled all of his coats off the racks. He’d made separate piles of coats, and I assumed he  wanted me to do a seasonal switch-out for him. I dashed into the room with a smile on my face and said, “How can I help, Mr. So-and-So?” He looked at me and said, “What the f–k are you smiling at?” 

But besides those particular clients, many of my employers have been great to work with. I’ve also kept in touch with former fellow staff members, and some of them have interviewed me for other jobs.

Read more: I’m a mom influencer who earns up to $12,000 a month through paid sponsorships. Here’s how I grew my income and following while caring for my son.

I currently work for an older couple, and it’s the best version of this job I’ve ever had.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Checking for moisture and leaks in the basement.

I joined their household in January 2020. I work Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Before the pandemic, my hours were longer if my employers were entertaining guests. I wear business casual, and add a sport coat or blazer over my outfit for guests. 

Since March, my employers have been in the Hamptons while I continue to care for their Manhattan townhouse and ship over any packages they receive there. When they’re out of town, I usually just wear jeans and a sweater or collared shirt.

Currently, the staff at my employers’ Manhattan townhouse consists of me, three housekeepers, and a driver. I contract outside vendors for IT, audio, gardening, and a wide array of specific maintenance for furnishings and antiques in the house. We also have a maintenance contract with a company who takes care of the house, but I troubleshoot little things like loose door handles, dead lightbulbs, and updating iPads and printer firmware.

My position has been called everything from house manager to property manager to butler. 

When I described myself as a property manager, I’d hear, “Oh, you cut lawns?” If instead I say “butler,” people tend to romanticize what I do, like it’s “Downton Abbey” or “Remains of the Day.” I did once work in a household where I was their formal butler, and received guests in a black dinner jacket or a tuxedo. But I’ve also cleaned toilets, which is not romantic at all. 

For the most part in this industry, people refer to their employers as “principals.” Meaning, that person is your principal focus. There may be other people you cater to as well, like guests who stay at the house, but the principal is your main focus. 

One family I worked for had a house staff of 38 people. In my job as personal butler, I worked most closely with the head of house, the principal client, assisting with wardrobe, packing, communications, setting up and serving meals, and running in-house events. 

In my current job as a house manager, it’s my responsibility to manage my employers’ expectations about what goes on in their home. 

My job is to think proactively about what they’ll need and to avoid leaving anything open to complaints. If they’re talking to me – other than, for example, to tell me what they want for dinner – then I’m not doing my job. If their iPad isn’t connecting to the WiFi or the TV isn’t working in the gym, I haven’t done my job.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Checking that the TV in the house gym is in working order.

I do a lot of walk-throughs to make sure everything is in working condition. I turn TVs on and off at least once and sometimes twice a day. I also check all the lights, music, technology, and appliances. I sit down on the couch and look around, and think: Does everything look the way it’s supposed to look? Does it feel the way it’s supposed to feel? Is this TV working the way it’s supposed to work? Are there fingerprints on the table? Has the housekeeping staff dusted and moved the remote too far from the couch? 

I’m not getting into my boss’ bed or trying out the sheets, but I do try to put myself in my employers’ experience. It’s the same thing I did in catering; I put myself in the guests’ shoes. 

The gentleman I currently work for loves wine and keeps a modest stash at the house (about 300 bottles) with more in a wine storage warehouse, so I track arrivals and consumption and inventory what goes between their Manhattan and Hamptons homes. 

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Taking inventory in the wine cellar.

I use spreadsheets to pay bills, file invoices and documents, and track everything from orders and shipments to various house inventories to gifts given and received, which can get quite complicated during the holidays with gifts and charitable donations.

I go over the house with a fine-toothed comb on an almost daily basis.   

I check all areas for wear and tear, potential repairs, and moisture and leaks to catch any issues before they grow serious. 

For cleanliness checks, I do walk-throughs in the dark with a flashlight to pick up on hidden moisture and dust. I also have an LED light that also picks up on dust you can’t see with the naked eye, like fingerprints or dog hair on the landing.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Conducting a house walk through with a flashlight to check for dust.

I take pictures of what I find to send to the housekeeper. I’ve also given them LED flashlights, so I can write “hello” in the dust I find and text them, “Go look for my ‘hello’ on the table.” The housekeepers I work with are great. If I show them a picture of something, they know exactly where it is to clean it.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Taking a photo to send to the housekeepers of smudges on the mirror in the backyard.

The woman I work for also has an entirely separate townhouse around the corner that serves as her office. I go there to pick up things for her, check on the building, and sometimes assist with art hanging or putting together furniture. I also pick up flowers for the house, run to stationery stores and to the bank for house petty cash, and trek to FedEx and UPS on the regular to ship and pick up packages.

This all may sound intense, but it’s not my employers; I’m the over-the-top one. I’ve relaxed over the years in my own home, especially after having two children of my own. Still, I would follow my kids around with a Dustbuster if I could – that’s just how I am.

I typically make six figures annually with a bonus and benefits.

Since my first position in 2009, my salary hasn’t increased that much over the years, but the hours have decreased. I started at 60 to 70 hours per week on average, I’m doing more like 45 to 50 now, which is a huge positive difference to my quality of life. 

When I first started at $100,000 in 2009, my hourly rate was sometimes $9, especially during the holidays. Back then, I only saw my wife at night. Now, I spend more time with my kids than ever before.

I learned early on that in this line of work, you have to be good at setting boundaries.

My current employers are very friendly and very considerate of the staff, but still, I maintain a professional boundary. I don’t want to be too involved in my employers’ lives. There are some situations where I have to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t get that involved.” 

Certain things I’m very willing to do and other things I’m not. For example, I’ve never stayed the night at an employer’s house. I was asked to do it once, a couple of households ago. Their live-in housekeeper was going away on vacation and I think just for security and peace of mind, my employers wanted me there in her place. I said, “I don’t think my wife would really appreciate that.”

Read more: I’m 23 and launched a luxury picnic service in the middle of the pandemic – and while working full-time. Here’s how we make up to $12,000 a month throwing personalized events.

At my job, sometimes the most satisfying day can also be the most aggravating. 

This job presents daily challenges, such as one time when a bird swooped into my employer’s glass atrium as we were setting it up for a business lunch, and it took us five attempts with ladders to catch down and release it. Those experiences are all in a day’s work.

The way I think about my job is, it’s like any other job, only I’m standing in my boss’ private living room while I’m doing it. Or I’m literally standing in their kitchen watching them eat. Most of these people are used to having someone stand there, though, so it’s not weird for them, and by now, it’s also not weird for me. 

Managing wealthy homes is a great job, but it isn’t for everyone.

My advice for anyone thinking about getting into this line of work is to hop on LinkedIn and see if you can talk to house managers. Ask questions about the schedule they keep, pros and cons about the job, and find out if this lifestyle is for you.

There hotel and butler schools for training and certification programs, and estatejobs.com is also a good place to start. Still, be careful of programs that only feed into a pool for a domestic agency that charges steep commissions for job placement fees; some can be 40% of your annual salary. 

For this line of work, you need the ability to manage expectations and communicate well and sometimes delicately with your employers, staff, and anyone else working inside the house. It’s a great career, just know that once you’re hired, you’re somewhat tethered to your employer like no other industry, since you become part of their private life. Know the stakes, and be empowered to create the boundaries that you need. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

I felt totally fine after my first COVID-19 shot, but the second dose was rough. Here’s a timeline of my side effects and why I still think you should get the shot.

Joy Henningsen
Joy Henningsen receiving the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on January 7.

  • Dr. Joy Henningsen is a diagnostic radiologist at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 
  • She received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 17 and the second dose on January 7 at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. 
  • Although she experienced no side effects following the first shot, about six hours after the second dose Henningsen says she began to feel muscle aches and injection site soreness.
  • She woke up during the night at the 12-hour mark with a fever and chills, and in the morning had a dull headache that persisted throughout the day. By 48 hours after the shot, however, Henningsen says she “felt essentially back to normal.”
  • Henningsen says although these temporary side effects are uncomfortable, they won’t happen to everyone and shouldn’t be a deterrent to receiving the vaccine.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

I was extremely fortunate to receive the initial dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 17, the first week it was offered in the United States outside of a clinical trial. My hospital received doses in the first national shipment and every healthcare worker at my hospital who expressed interest via survey received the vaccine, including me. 

I barely felt the first shot, aside from very subtle arm soreness a day or so later. 

I also signed up to log my symptoms on the CDC’s V-Safe online symptom tracker tool. My reporting was wholly uneventful; thankfully, as expected, I had no symptoms that impacted my life or activities in any way. 

I wondered if I’d be as lucky after the second dose, when more people have reported uncomfortable side effects.

Read more: 16 states recorded their highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations last week as new cases reach an all-time high

Before I knew how my body would react to the second dose, I prepared myself for the possibility of feeling lousy for a day or two afterward.

Joy Henningsen
Henningsen prepared washcloths, a thermometer, and over the counter pain medications for after the shot.

If it were an option, I would have scheduled the day off work after the second vaccination to be safe. For me that wasn’t possible, so I scheduled a grocery delivery before my shot and purchased the same items I’d buy if I had a cold or the flu (water, soup, crackers, etc.) I also made sure my pets were stocked up with plenty of food and water. 

In addition to comfort food and hydrating liquids, I cobbled together a “vaccine valise” of other supplies to have on hand.

This included an under-tongue thermometer to monitor my temperature and over-the-counter fever reducers. For the whiplash back and forth between fever and chills that some people have reported, I set out washcloths to be used as cold compresses. I also put a weighted blanket and a down comforter near my bed.

I received my vaccine in the afternoon on January 7. Here’s my hour by hour reaction.

The second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that Henningsen received.
The second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that Henningsen received.

3 p.m. (Hour zero): Received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, no immediate reaction.

9 p.m. (6-hour mark): I felt fine until the six-hour mark, when I began to feel a sense of malaise (the medical word for that vague feeling when you know something isn’t quite right at the beginning of feeling sick). Mild muscle aches soon followed, as well as injection site soreness that felt similar to how a tetanus shot feels – that is, a little worse than a flu shot.

January 8 – day one after the shot

3 a.m. (12-hour mark): I woke up with a 102-degree fever and chills, general insomnia. 

5 a.m. (14-hour mark): There was some improvement to the fever and chills, but when I woke up the muscle aches persisted, and I had a dull headache similar to what I’d feel if I skipped my daily coffee. 

11 a.m. (20-hour mark): I still had a dull headache, and my fever and chills returned and persisted throughout the day, along with exhaustion and an overall “blah” feeling.

11 p.m. (32-hour mark): I was still experiencing a headache, fever, and chills when I went to bed at 11 p.m.

January 9 – day two after the shot

I woke up sweaty, likely from chills and minor night sweats. I got on the scale and saw I’d lost four pounds since I weighed myself the morning of the shot on January 7. Some of that was from being dehydrated; the rest may have been secondary to my body battling what it thought was COVID-19.

3 p.m. (48-hour mark): I felt essentially back to normal.

January 10 – day three after the shot

I felt so much better (almost normal) all day yesterday. I worked out in the morning, and most of the weight came right back when I upped my water intake.

Overall, of my symptoms were mild and a very small price to pay for protection against COVID-19. I believe temporary discomfort should not be a deterrent to receiving the vaccine, and I know these symptoms are a sign of a robust immune system and that my body is priming itself to fight COVID-19 – exactly what it is supposed to do.

Read more: A group backed by huge employers like Walmart, Lowe’s, and Microsoft is working on a new initiative to lower healthcare costs

It’s important we’re prepared for the possibility of these side effects. 

Joy Henningsen
Henningsen with her vaccine form.

The Pfizer vaccine was vetted by the US Food and Drug Administration which determined that it was safe to be given to people over 16. Millions of Americans need to be prepared for the authorized COVID-19 vaccines’ potential side effects such as fatigue, headache, muscle pains, fever, and chills that are more common with the second dose. For the majority of recipients, these potential effects may be an uncomfortable, but not threatening, part of this vaccine. 

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s latest projections, we need approximately 90% of Americans to be immunized to achieve herd immunity in order to resume normal life. I believe it’s our civic responsibility to be vaccinated according to the recommended dose regimen to end the pandemic. We all benefit.  

It’s smart to prepare yourself for the possibility that dose two of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines may be slightly more challenging. Still, having seen the destruction SARS-CoV-2 can wreak upon the body, I can tell you I’d rather have a night of feeling lousy on the couch watching Netflix any day over serious COVID-19. 

An earlier version of this article was published on Business Insider January 8, 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider