From Frenzy to Focus: Amy Gorin Of Master the Media and Plant Based with Amy On How We Can Cancel Hustle Culture And Create A New Sustainable Work Paradigm
An Interview With Drew Gerber
Learn to do most business tasks yourself. I always suggest this, and then you can decide what you do and don’t like doing yourself — and what’s worth your time or not. Then because you know the ins and outs of these tasks, say SEO keyword research, you will know whether the person handling them is doing a good job or not when you delegate these tasks.
“Hustle Culture” is an ethos often propounded by young self-proclaimed internet gurus that centers around the idea that working long hours and sacrificing self-care are required to succeed. This mentality may have gained popularity in the mid-2010s, but it has peaked, and now it has been sardonically renamed “Burnout Culture.” So why exactly is Hustle Culture the wrong path to take? What damage can it cause? What is a viable, sustainable alternative to hustle culture? How can we move from Frenzy To Focus? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, mental health leaders, marketing experts, business coaches, authors, and thought leaders who can share stories and insights about “How We Can Cancel Hustle Culture And Create A New Sustainable Work Paradigm.” As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Amy Gorin, MS, RDN.
Amy was a magazine and web editor for many years before becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). While on staff at publications including Health, Prevention, Parents, and Weight Watchers Magazine, she learned all the secrets to becoming sought after by the media — and now shares this media wisdom through the Master the Media Coaching Program.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!
Thank you for interviewing me!
Before I became a dietitian, I was a magazine editor at Prevention, Health, Parents, American Baby, and Weight Watchers Magazine. During this time that I worked as an editor, I got inspired to go back to school to become an RDN. I wanted to be able to understand complicated nutritional topics in minutes, instead of hours!
When I became a dietitian, I combined my two loves: media and plant-based nutrition. So I began pitching myself to reporters that I had met through my magazine career — and started being featured in outlets including U.S. News, The Washington Post, Women’s Health, and Men’s Health.
Then I connected with editors I had met over the years and soon began writing for publications like Food Network and Reader’s Digest. From there, word of mouth ran wild, and I had TV producers reaching out to me for segments! I was featured on CBS, NBC, the Associated Press, and beyond.
And then, brands began reaching out to me to represent them as their nutrition spokesperson. I started working with brands to host media events, create recipes for them, and help make their products healthier. I began a plant-based nutrition blog, Plant Based with Amy. My nutrition blog has been featured in several lists of the top plant-based blogs.
The more and more I worked with the media, the more I thought that I’d love to help other health professionals understand how to get their names in the news and how to monetize that media exposure.
So I started Master the Media! This program offers a free masterclass, as well as the Master the Media Coaching Program, which walks health professionals through every step of getting their names in the news and how to monetize that media attention to earn a six-figure income.
The program was featured by Thinkific as one of the 10 best marketing courses!
Students have secured placements in Food Network, Healthline, Forbes, Fast Company, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, U.S. News, MSN, Yahoo–and have landed lucrative brand partnerships, speaking engagements, and book deals.
Tell us about your typical day!
Oh gosh, there is no typical day! This is what I love most about my job. I get bored easily, and I love the fun and spontaneity that comes with my job. So I’ll give you an example of what today has looked like.
Today, my day is going like this: I started off with strategic planning for the Master the Media Coaching Program. Now, I’m completing this media interview, as well as additional interviews for Well + Good and Real Simple.
This afternoon, I have a discovery call with a brand that is interested in hiring me for nutrition spokesperson work. I do a good amount of spokesperson work — which involves everything from media interviews to being the talent at media events to creating recipes — through my plant-based nutrition business, Plant Based with Amy.
Then, I’m creating social media and e-newsletter content. Between my two brands, I run 11 social media accounts! I have a team to help with engagement and cross posting, though. Then I’m taking a break for some self care, which is my bi-monthly acupuncture session, and then I will edit some content for my plant-based nutrition blog.
Other days, I may be writing articles for Food Network, conducting coaching calls with my media students, or hosting a webinar on behalf of one of my spokesperson clients.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
I don’t think I’d change a lot, honestly. I believe that all the bumps and turns that led me to where I currently am were necessary for me to realize that being a media dietitian and running my own businesses — and helping others do the same — is exactly what I want to be doing.
But if I could give my younger self a piece of advice, I’d tell her not to worry so much about spending the extra money on the latte vs. the cup of coffee!
Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s start with a basic definition to make sure that all of us are on the same page. How do you define Hustle Culture?
I take Hustle Culture to mean that you’re working hard and long hours but you’re not necessarily working efficiently or smartly. This usually leads to burnout.
Now let’s discuss an alternative to Hustle Culture. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the problems that come with Hustle Culture?
A lot of people assume that to succeed, you need to work hard. And the work needs to feel hard. But actually, the opposite is true. When you get your business to a state where everything is flowing and at least somewhat automated, then you actually get to work less but more smartly.
You are often able to take more time off, which increases mental health and leads to better business outcomes!
The specific term “Hustle Culture” may have been popularized in the 2010s, but the concept behind it and the behaviors that come with it can be traced back hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years. From your vantage point, experience, or research, what were the main drivers of Hustle Culture?
The American culture embraces the theory that if you work hard, you’ll see success. This is often what comes to mind when we talk about the American dream.
I worked 70 hours a week in my first publishing job, I was extremely, extremely unhappy. Did I succeed? Yes. That job led me to my future publishing jobs, but I sought ones with more work-life balance where I had to hustle less.
In my opinion, there’s so much more to the American dream! What about happiness and time with loved ones? You can still see success and the outcomes you desire when you work smart, not hard. If you can power out an amazing article in two hours, for example, why spend 20 hours on it?
And from here, we can reward people who are talented, experienced, and efficient. Perhaps someone gets paid $200 an hour to do a task that she has decades of experience in, versus $50 an hour if the work is done less efficiently.
I work in the marketing industry, and so I’m very cognizant of this question. What role do you see that marketing and advertising has played in creating the frenzy caused by Hustle Culture that many of us feel?
For one, advertising is everywhere these days — and it is incredibly distracting! And so if you get sucked into the rabbit hole of say shopping on Facebook via the ads that are targeted directly to you, you may get distracted and postpone doing your work — which may lead to a feeling of frenzy.
Sometimes, silencing your phone or even walking away from devices is what’s needed to be more productive and not feel frenzied.
Can you help articulate the downsides of Hustle Culture? Why is this an unsustainable work paradigm?
Hustling will inevitably lead to burnout. It’s just a matter of when. Many people are proud of the fact that they are hustling. But I don’t think the people who say they’re proud of being hustlers have stopped to think about what hustling means. Hustling means working hard and for long hours to hopefully accomplish your goals.
On the other hand, if you work in a focused, strategic way, you may work for a fraction of the hours and be even more productive versus if you are hustling.
Let’s now discuss Focus, the opposite of Frenzy. Can you please share one area of your personal or business life where you simplified things and then felt less frenzied and more fulfilled? Can you please explain?
Being organized and having systems in place is an incredible help to feeling focused and not frenzied.
I have a gigantic list — it’s 600 items long and I’m still adding to it — of all the tasks that my business requires to run. I’ve assigned a person — either me (the CEO), my virtual assistant, or another contractor — to each task. I even have a second-in-command for each task, in case someone is on vacation or there’s an emergency.
Maintaining this list accomplishes multiple things. It allows me to see what tasks are currently on my plate that shouldn’t be — either they don’t make sense for me to spend my time doing or they make me unhappy — and it allows everyone who works for me to have a clear outline of what their jobs entail.
This takes all the guesswork out of “did this get done?” or “did that get done?” and also decreases stress and allows everyone on my team to focus better.
What life experiences have you adopted in your business or personal life that have left you more satisfied? Can you please explain?
I’m a big believer in making time for self care. I do bi-monthly acupuncture, reiki, and chiropractic sessions and I try to get outside every day. In the summer, when our pool is open, I aim to set aside a couple of hours each day to enjoy the water.
I also think it’s important to take breaks throughout the day. So I’ll stop working every now and then to refill my coffee cup or play with my cats. And if I’m feeling stuck, I don’t force myself through it. I take a break to take a walk, do a chore, or run an errand — or even take a nap — and then come back to work when I’m ready.
I also have a mastermind group of like-minded entrepreneurs, who I talk to often. Because this world can be very lonely if you let it, I never let that happen. I work alone at home but talk to colleagues daily via e-mail, phone, and Zoom chats — and schedule in-person meet-ups.
Okay, fantastic. Here is the main part of our interview. In your opinion, how can we break the addiction to being busy or trying to find the next big thing? How can people truly focus on tasks that make THE difference to their business and lives giving them satisfaction or life purpose alignment? Based on your experience and your area of expertise, can you please share “Five Ways To Move From Frenzy to Focused”?
Absolutely, here are my five tips!
1. Focus on the big picture first. It’s so easy to get caught up in the little tasks. You might think, “I can’t create my presentation until I answer all of today’s e-mails first.” Or “I must do all the things.” But in reality, you can’t and shouldn’t do all the things. Running a successful business — and not hustling — is all about making strategic decisions. So that might mean saying no to something that sounds enticing because it isn’t in alignment with your current goals. Or it might mean postponing replying to unimportant e-mails so you can focus on the things that are important and need to get done right now.
2. Delegate. Early on, I thought that I should be doing everything myself in my business. But if someone can do it better than you or it’s more efficient to spend your time elsewhere, hire people to help you. For instance, I have virtual assistants who help me with the back-end of social media, and I have an SEO expert do keyword research for my blog.
3. Learn to do most business tasks yourself. I always suggest this, and then you can decide what you do and don’t like doing yourself — and what’s worth your time or not. Then because you know the ins and outs of these tasks, say SEO keyword research, you will know whether the person handling them is doing a good job or not when you delegate these tasks.
4. Work on mindset. I believe that we can all benefit from being coached. I am a business and media coach, and I also get coached. A lot of what I work on with my coach is mindset — expanding my capacity for growth and planning ahead strategically so that that growth happens as seamlessly as possible. Also, coaching helps you get and stay in a high-value cycle. When this happens, your ideal customer will be attracted to you. Trying to sell in a low-value cycle does absolutely no good.
5. Take time for mental health. You can and should take time for mental health. I block things like acupuncture and exercise into my calendar, and I always have gatherings with family and friends on my calendar. If you are working all the time, you will burn out.
How would you describe a work paradigm that is a viable alternative to Hustle Culture? What would it look like, and what would you call it?
I would call it the “Work Smartly” method. As a culture, we would prioritize working smartly and efficiently, versus working long and hard. If you are able to finish all of your work and brilliantly execute it in 20 hours, why work 60 hours in a less strategic and organized fashion?
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you about working differently?
I read a book by Sheryl O’Loughlin called Killing It! early on in my entrepreneurship. It’s all about embracing being an entrepreneur without losing your heart. It contains a quote to the effect of don’t ride the highs too high and don’t ride the lows too low.
This has really stuck with me — because when good or bad things happen, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the emotions that come with them. And that constant state of up and down does no favors to a business owner!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can inspire.
It would be financial literacy. This is such an important concept, yet we barely touch on it in a typical education. If everyone understood the ins and outs of credit, investing, taxes, etc. it would be so incredibly helpful!
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
Thank you so much! It was a pleasure talking with you and about this important topic.
About The Interviewer: For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. Drew is the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., a full-service PR agency lauded by PR Week and Good Morning America. Wasabi Publicity, Inc. is a global marketing company that supports industry leaders, change agents, unconventional thinkers, companies and organizations that strive to make a difference. Whether it’s branding, traditional PR or social media marketing, every campaign is instilled with passion, creativity and brilliance to powerfully tell their clients’ story and amplify their intentions in the world. Schedule a free consultation at WasabiPublicity.com/Choosing-Publicity.