“Choose One Thing To Get Started. Get Good At That One Thing”
5 Social Media Strategies With Stefanie Michaels, CEO Of Adventure Girl Company
I had the pleasure of interviewing Stefanie Michaels, CEO of Adventure Girl Company. She was one of the first people on Twitter to reach over a million followers. Her story and brand has been seen in Time Magazine, People, and Forbes to name a few. She has appeared as a travel personality on shows for E Television, NBC’s Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live and has worked alongside Fortune 500 brands such as Starbucks, American Express and Lufthansa Airlines.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My parents were both in the entertainment business. At three, one of their friends noticed how hyper I was after dancing on a coffee table to entertain everyone, she shot my headshots, took me to her agent, and within a few months I had booked my first commercial.
As I got older, my curiosities lead me behind the camera, learning about production, and really what peaked my interest was editing and working with a computer.
People don’t realize that I am a wannabe closet developer, although creating code is my enemy. I’m simply horrible at it. So, it made sense to get back in front of the camera.
Coming up with my brand, Adventure Girl, did not happen overnight. It’s been years of dodging pitfalls and pivoting my brand.
What truly helped was being able to listen to my fans and what they were looking for from me. Twitter changed my life.
Can you share the funniest of most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
There are so many great “moments” that have made what I do every day special. The time I flew in zero gravity with Buzz Aldrin and we tossed water balloons at each other, or when I got to interview Deepak Chopra about his new book, or the time I sat on the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia and saw a real-life hippo raise its head above the water and yawn.
But, I’ll never forget the time I got to meet Oprah and Gail in the middle of the night in their pajamas. There was Oprah in her jammies sporting 5 carat diamond posts in her ears. We got to chatting in this hotel lounge and found out we would be doing the same event the next day. It was one of those hilarious kismet experiences I’ll never forget.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Right now, I’m clearing out my closet and placing items on the RealReal.com. 10% of all my sales goes to St. Jude Cancer Research Center for Children. At the end of last year, I created a Gofundme, which raised over $17,000 to help a woman in final stages of kidney failure get to her treatments, which are helping her live out the remainder of time she has, which isn’t much. After the Houston floods, I hopped a plane and worked alongside their local Humane Society taking food to decimated areas, and worked with Best Friends there as well.
I wrote a story recently, about my Alexis Meyers, a young teen I had read about from Iowa, who is going deaf and blind. Her request was to see the world. So, I got in touch with the family, and got her to Iceland for an adventure.
There is just so much need out there to do good, and in this very negative polarizing time in life, I just try and focus on how to help the next person. I’ve made a point that this mindset parallels with my brand.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
Be prepared to zig then zag, because life doesn’t always happen the way you might plan it should be.
Being flexible and learning the right times to say yes, and the other times to say NO. It’s been a hard lesson, that “no” thing, but once I mastered it, things got simpler.
Surround yourself around positive influences, who want to see you soar in life. Don’t let anyone use you.
Educate yourself, if you can’t afford to get educated. Read, read, read on a topic that interests you.
Choose one thing to get started. Get good at that one thing, then branch out to the next thing. Don’t try and take on so much.
Patience. Success doesn’t happen overnight. There are lots of hard knocks, but if you stand back up and brush off your knees, you’ve just learned something. Move on.
So, what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m writing a book about my adventures. More like a memoir, and as always, I have many irons in the fire for things like my own bridal line for destination brides, and some other products in development.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
There are so many more things than 5! Haha!
First. Make sure to get everything signed on the dotted line, before counting on anything. Contracts. Contracts. Contracts. So many times, I didn’t get one, and got taken for a ride.
Who knew, that If I had a dollar for every person who asked for me to work for free, I’d have bought the state of California by now. Remember, the person who asks you to work for free, has A JOB! I was under the impression that you had to pay your dues, but there are paid internships for that.
Bootstrapping a company is tough. All the TV shows make it seem so simple. It’s not. It’s often times long hours, with no props from others, and forging a lane where there might not have been one before. Keep at it. You’ll get there.
Just because you have a great “idea”, doesn’t mean it transfers to an executional business. If you’re not making money at it, then it’s just a hobby. (Which is totally ok, just be clear about your goals).
Always innovate. Expand your ideas by constantly learning and listening to what others are doing. Don’t just square peg the round hole so to speak. If something’s not working, abandon it and move on. Don’t waste too much time on something that is going nowhere. Evolve.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. :-)
If you are asking me on a purely business level, it would be Steve Wozniak. I am so jealous of Woz’s tech mind. (Remember, I’m a wannabe closet programmer). I’d also like to sit with Bill Gates and Richard Branson, like together, to compare what they would have to say about business.
On a personal front, Chobani Yogurt’s founder, Hamdi Ulukaya. Not only is he an incredible business person, but his story is remarkable, and his heart is so big when giving back.
Just for fun, I’d love to meet Princess Kate. LOVE her style!