Ever since I saw the movie The Devil Wears Prada, it’s been my dream to have an assistant who would practically give her life to Lyremark, Inc.
Yes, I DO have high demands. No, I’m NOT nearly as mean as Meryl Streep (or maybe I am?).
So when I encountered a smart & saucy young woman who told me she wanted to be the Hathaway to my Streep, I was in heaven.
I started imagining her happily serving me my morning latte at 7:01 AM on the dot, color coordinating my Le Pen collection with my Tieks, and popping in at the end of the day to say that she had sent my mother her weekly bouquet of pink peonies.
My mother is getting pink peonies from me? Every Friday? Really? Yes please!
Soon after, we had coffee together. I loved her personality – and her clothes. She showed me her resume, and it was pretty good – not perfect for my needs, but not bad either. So I gave her a writing test. She passed – just not with flying colors. But maybe she would get better with some help and TLC from moi.
I was t-h-i-s close to offering her the job – but something stopped me.
It was just a gut feeling – and I’ve learned to put a lot of trust in my gut.
And my gut told me: ‘Erika – even though she told you everything you wanted to hear, you’re settling for something that’s just OK, but not great. Don’t settle. Your Hathaway is out there.’
The problem was that intuitively I knew that – after all, there are over 7 billion people on the planet. But logically I was getting hung up on the HOW?
HOW was I going to find this person who could …
: Write like a mofo,
: Market like a maven,
: Wrangle tech details like she used to work at the Mac store,
: Have great taste in flowers,
AND not want to build her OWN company?
Because up until now, all of the seriously talented people I’ve wanted to work for me, either already had their own company or wanted to eventually have their own company.
And just like Ms. Streep (in the movie), I wanted ALL of her attention.
So I decided to have an energy clearing session with Christina Ambubuyog from I Love Intuition because I really needed my brain to believe what my sleek abs knew for certain – that my Hathaway was out there … somewhere.
(I think of energy clearing as a way of cleaning out my internal house. For example, I’m not going to buy a brand new couch and place it on top of my old couch. Nope, I’m going to get rid of the old couch, wash and scrub the floor, and then bring in the new couch.)
After my session with Christina – which was amazing by the way – I actually wrote down what I wanted from my Hathaway and what she (and really he too, I was of course open to hiring a gent) could expect from me.
I give you the full ad a little bit later on in this post – and yes, you can swipe it and use it to write your own ad – but for now here are a few snippets.
: You are a SKILLED and experienced copywriter. You probably have your own blog and write poems – and taglines just for fun. You can’t help but want to re-write everything you read. (You might even want to re-write that last sentence – or maybe even the whole page!).
: You are OBSESSED with marketing. You love to test out your powers of influence and persuasion for the greater good.
: You are addicted to LEARNING and you always welcome feedback so that you can get better at what you do.
: You have your own computer and are a Mac user. And by ‘user’ we mean that you are ADDICTED to Mac products.
: You have NO problem whatsoever with clearing a huge portion of your schedule to work on someone else’s business.
: You are NOT interested in building your own business. Working for someone else suits you just fine, thank you very much.
: You do not mind reading this long list of qualities and you will read every last word. Including the next instructions.
: You are reading carefully enough to know that you need to reference “The Devil Wears Prada” in your cover letter (cover letters without this reference will be rejected).
You get the idea.
I was super specific about what I wanted.
It made my hiring decisions easier – plus whoever was reading could decide if they wanted to give their life to me.
(I almost wrote sell their soul to me, but that’s another story!)
This was a HUGE step for me which – for whatever reason – I had been resisting.
Around that time, I was returning a pair of boots to Zappo’s – stick with me here, my boots have EVERYTHING to do with the story. I wanted a refund rather than an exchange, and I got such a great response from Anna S. in customer service, that I actually wrote her back.
She was cheerful, offbeat, and made me feel good. So good, I actually suggested that she apply for the job.
She never did, but it made me I realize that there was a good chance that my Hathaway was working in a corporate type job – or had just left one – was bored out of her skull, and desperately seeking a new challenge in her life.
I had more hope than ever before.
At this time I was also ramping up for my newest offering – and was fully trusting the Universe to send me my Hathaway – when I got an email …
“Hi Team Lyremark –
While I am not on the fence at all about working with you, even though I’m just on the verge of setting up a business and still nailing down what I want to offer – I’m ambitious, hardworking, and smart. I just want to make sure that being an embryonic business owner is right for you and the other ladies – I don’t want to hold anyone back by being a bootstrap beginner!
Give me the thumbs up and I’m SO in – thumbs down and I understand.
Thanks for your time – Elle”
I loved the energy!
So I shot back an email to find out what kind of business she was trying to set up.
“I’ve been working (for others) as a writer and social media strategist, and while I enjoy those things, I’d really like to try and figure out how to utilize my super-weird-special skill of – what to call it? Information Mining? Findology? I’m a natural data warehouser, love information for information’s sake, and, whether people want to know what’s the best shoe store in Seattle, if there are artist residencies for making pagan objects, or whether Jane Austen was left handed, I’m the gal who knows, or can find out pretty quickly.
Most asked question? ‘What was that movie where the guy did the thing?’ Give me a third variable and I can figure it out 98.6% of the time!”
And then, I asked her how she found me.
Usually people say things like ‘I saw your website’ or ‘my friend so-and-so loves you’ or ‘I read your book and really wanted to work with you’ but the answer that came back was this:
“A couple months ago it became clear to me that having my own business was probably the way of the future, and finding someone much smarter, successful, and more knowledgeable than me to learn from was indispensable.
So I built a search string in which the results had to include all of the following: ‘best smartest funny kick ass awesome effective business coach’ and you were the #1 return. More than a dozen other people had all posted about you, using every single one of those words. So I surfed in on the wave of your avid fans, got on your list, and hoped an offering would come up that I could pounce on!”
Could this be the Hathaway to my Streep?
Could the Universe be clearer?
Would we one day have our likeness turned into glamorous dolls? That would be delightful!
And even though I felt really weird about doing it (and I’ve done some pretty weird things, as you know) – I mean she had already paid for the program to discover what she wanted to do in HER business, and here I was assuming that working for ME was going to be her business dream.
But I had to take the risk.
I put on my big-girl panties, summoned up some courage and asked if she might be interested in working with me. And I believe her response was:
“Holy Mother of Mozart, are you trying to make me faint?”
OMG! So I sent her over to my advertisement for my Executive Producer – which I hadn’t even posted yet, and she came back with a cover letter, a resume, and not one, but TWO references to The Devil Wears Prada.
I think you know by now that I hired this Fancy Lady.
I held out for just the right person, and I knew it when she turned up in my inbox.
But there’s just one more crazy twist in this adventure.
She’s NOT Hathaway to my Streep: now don’t cry for me. Keep reading.
We have WAAAAAY too much fun!
It’s more like she’s the Chuy to my Chelsea Handler – and while she says she’s SLIGHTLY better looking than Chuy, she also says that relationship works for her.
P.S. Keep reading. I’ve included the whole want ad I wrote to find my Chuy – and broken it down with super easy prompts that you can follow to craft your own want ad.
Executive Producer Needed by Successful Business Coach/Author – Must Love Copywriting, Marketing, Customer Service and Organizing Other People’s Lives to the Point of Obsession.
Your Turn: Write a Headline that Covers EXACTLY what you want.
Team Lyremark is looking for an Executive Producer for a dynamic, fun, totally amazing business coach & published author who runs a wildly successful (and rapidly growing) business.
Your Turn: Tell them who you are and what you do.
This is a subcontractor position at the moment. However, I’m only interested in talking with candidates who are open to becoming a full-time employee (potentially within the next 3-4 months).
Your Turn: Are you putting them on the payroll or setting them up as a contractor?
You will handle all my customer service, social media, co-write all my website content / blogs / course material, do all my PR, and manage my online profiles. You will also be in charge of my affiliate program. (And there will be more … yet to be determined.)
Your Turn: Be CLEAR about what you want them to do.
YOU MUST POSSESS THE FOLLOWING QUALITIES
1. You are a SKILLED and experienced copywriter. You probably have your own blog and write poems – and taglines just for fun. You can’t help but want to re-write everything you read. (You might even want to re-write that last sentence – or maybe even the whole page!).
2. You are OBSESSED with marketing. You love to test out your powers of influence and persuasion for the greater good.
3. You are addicted to LEARNING and you always welcome feedback so that you can get better at what you do.
4. You LOVE and are incredibly good at :
: Social media
: Reading anything you can get your hands on
: PR & pitching
: Organizing someone else’s ideas into concrete plans
: Handling customers with professionalism and stellar communication skills
5. You are hyper-organized to the point that a trip to The Container Store is more exciting to you than a day spent shoe shopping. (You may also be obsessed with gorgeous shoes, though!)
6. You have your own computer and are a Mac user. And by ‘user’ we mean that you are addicted to Mac products.
Your Turn: Let them know EXACTLY what skills they need to bring to the job.
7. You have NO problem whatsoever with clearing a huge portion of your schedule to work on someone else’s business.
8. You are NOT interested in building your own business. Working for someone else suits you just fine, thank you very much.
9. You do not mind reading this long list of qualities and you will read every last word. Including the next instructions.
10. You are reading carefully enough to know that you need to reference “The Devil Wears Prada” in your cover letter (cover letters without this reference will be rejected).
Your Turn: Make sure they are reading carefully and can follow instructions. Give them a mini pop quiz!
11. You are Internet and tech savvy and there is no computer challenge you will not solve or track to resolution.
12. It’d be amazing if you also love documentaries, pop-culture and infomercials.
13. One of your deepest desires is to be a part of something great and work with people on the rise. (Think Oprah’s producer Sheri Salata. She would have cleaned Oprah’s floors – not that you’ll be cleaning my floors. I promise!)
Your Turn: Try adding some references that are important to you – if they don’t know who Oprah is (or whoever is your hero) they might not get where you’re coming from.
14. You want a career where you can grow. You want to make more & more money. (Bonuses? YES please!)
Your Turn: Let them know there will be rewards for a job well done.
To Be Determined
Your Turn: If you know what you are going to pay say it. If not, then write “To Be Determined.”
: Free access to all my courses. PRICELESS!
: Free mentorship from a successful entrepreneur & published author. PRICELESS!
: The most fun you have EVER had at work (and did I mention you can work in your pajamas in your own home?).
Your Turn: Are there any other perks besides getting a paycheck?
Can be located anywhere, but candidates in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area will be given huge preference (I’d love to sip green juice with you while we go over this month’s project schedule and this week’s tasks).
Your Turn: Let them know where you are located and if they can work in their pajamas.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR NEW BOSS
: I change my mind on a dime. What was the A-plan yesterday may be the shit-plan today. Until I know something makes me money I keep the strategy flowing.
: I’m collaborative. So you may send me something and then I may send it to other peeps for feedback and to change it up. So if you’re attached to it being your way, we won’t work out.
: I pay my bills. On time. Always.
: I’m not cheap. But I spend my money wisely.
: I like frank feedback. I dish it out. And I can take it too.
: I need fast communication turnaround time (preferably within 4 hours).
: I work on the weekends and evenings. And appreciate if you are available for questions or if I have an emergency.
Your Turn: WARN them about you. If you’re bossy. Let them know. If you’re uptight. Let them know. Some people LOVE bossy uptight people. Really!
HOW TO APPLY
1. Write a cover letter that starts with, “I always have my greatest epiphanies when I am….” (all standard, boring cover letters will be rejected).
2. Tell me why you geek out about marketing, taglines, soundbites, infomercials, etc.
3. Tell me what blogs you read religiously and why.
4. Attach, or include in the body of the email, your resume, a link to your blog sample writings, or portfolio.
Your Turn: Ask them specific questions about themselves and you’ll find out if you have anything – or nothing – in common.
5. Tell me why this position interests you and why/how you are available for both contract work and potential full-time work in 3-4 months.
6. Tell me why – very specifically – you want to work for me. What do you think I can offer you (besides a paycheck)?
Your Turn: Here you can find out what their plans are, plus you find out if they know anything about you and what you do. Are they just throwing their resume at anyone, or have they done their homework?
If helping me dominate the planet – for the greater good – sounds like your dream, email me your cover letter & resume (put Executive Producer in the subject line).
I can’t wait to hear from you!
Oh, a few more thing more things before we part ways:
#1 Take action.
Even though this ad never went public, it was on my website on a secret password protected page – which was one of my action steps. And in this case I got off easy.
#2 Make sure you understand ALL the legalities to hiring – and firing, and have an independent contractor/new hire agreement before you get started.
#3 I’d love to hear how it goes for you – and if you’ve done a great job writing your own ad, I’ll retweet it for you! Hit me up on Twitter @DailyWhip