By Eric Chisholm
Note from Jane: I met our guest blogger right in my own backyard. He was living in a unit above the garage of my building while I first started New Music Empire (BEGIN's predecessor) about 3 years ago. I asked him to write for us because I'm a huge fan of a series on his blog "The Best Jobs in the World". Enjoy.
Your blog has hit a dead spot and your brain is blocked. The best-proven advice is to write what you know. Most people are hesitant to take advice about inspiration and generating content from a guy who crunches numbers and coaches college basketball.
If you ever followed high school hoops in Ohio between 2004 and 2007, then you probably still didn’t hear about me. For the better part of a decade, I was only known as a basketball player. It was hard being a first generation Korean-American playing basketball in the Midwest.
After two lackluster seasons in college, I left the game I loved to pursue the world of film. This pursuit was very brief, but it satisfied my urge and gave me amazing experiences and insights.
After the film endeavor, I chased the dream of becoming a business executive. While this is my most recent trail, you might be wondering how this is all connected to writing and blogging.
Still with me?
There isn’t much need for a college basketball coach who appreciates Charlie Chaplain and has an MBA, but I pride myself in having a wealth of knowledge in all three areas. None of the concentrations really intertwine.
I view this as an advantage.
Whether you are operating a personal makeup blog or a blog for a company, it’s important to find your niche. Your niche has to be something you love and a subject in which you can demonstrate a wealth of expertise. I just happen to have three passions.
Alright, you have that niche down but you maybe you’ve run out of guru ideas. It’s okay to get personal. Ready for one of those lists?
1. Talk about past failures.
Everyone has failed, and we all want to find that support group that offers comfort when we feel alone.
2. Don’t be afraid to share a major success or achievement.
Your readers and audience want to know you’re doing well; if you’re not, they might not find value in your brand.
3. Remember to show your value to the world.
Sometimes you have to offer a free sample to get someone to buy the entire product.
4. Point people to others for the areas that you cannot help them.
While we would hate to have people leave our sites, this will build trust and become a future investment.
5. If you’re absolutely out of ideas or topics, then hire someone.
It’s not weakness. Sometimes it helps to have a full-time blog writer.
You can’t make everyone happy with your life and experiences. You’re definitely not going to appeal to everyone with your writing. If you offend a few people, you’re probably doing something right. It shouldn’t be your main goal to hurt feelings, but it happens to be a by-product when you’re honest with your audience and yourself.
I can’t play basketball anymore. My knees are shot and my reflexes have slowed. I am no longer in the film industry, and who knows how long I’ll stay on the business executive path.
But, I have accumulated tons of knowledge, skills, and experience to pass along to people who need it. Readers, customers, and audiences will know if you enjoy it and know your materials.
Eric Chisholm is a blogger, business manager, assistant college basketball coach and husband. You can read his detailing of "The Best Jobs in the World" and other posts on his website ericchisholm.com
Kyle Kennedy, one of our summer interns, came to LA for the first time to spend her summer in her office. On her last day, we asked her to share with our readers what it was like to come from Miami to LA in order to pursue a career in entertainment. She learned a lot about managing social media accounts, but she also learned a lot about our city!
Note: We're looking for Fall 2016 interns! See our post here.
Hollywood, CA, land of fabulocity and glamour- or so I thought. When I found out I would be living in Hollywood, I imagined somewhere completely phenomenally, unimaginably, mind blowing. When I came back to earth, I realized that the only reason we all think Hollywood is glamorous, is because it’s in movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love having had the opportunity to live in Hollywood, but it’s definitely not as attractive as I imagined. People don’t walk down the street dressed in Balenciaga and Louboutin like you might imagine, it’s far more casual, though you might see a pair of Yeezy’s every so often. My first experience in Hollywood was a crazy dude walking down the street yelling at the sky getting arrested. I mention all of this to say, movies are movies for a reason, and nothing is perfect but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it to experience and enjoy.
Make time to explore LA! If you’ve never been here, it’s one of the most amazing places to be and there are tons of things to do all around LA. Staying true to tourist tendencies, I took a Hollywood tour and got to see the homes of JLo, Johnny Depp, the home used in Iron Man and The Godfather, Dr. Seuss’ house, and many more. It seems corny, but it is a highlight of Hollywood, and I would definitely do it again.
Another thing that shouldn’t be missed is the hike to the Hollywood sign. Now I have to be honest, I should have checked how long the actual hike is because it’s definitely not a walk through the park. I went through a HUGE range of emotions on this hike.
While at the bottom of the hill, all I could think was…
And then when I was about halfway there…
And then there was the top of the hill, when I finally made it to the top…
I was so proud of myself when I reached the top! It’s one of the most beautiful views of the city, but I would recommend going with someone who is from LA so you know what parts of LA you’re looking at.
Food is a necessity for anyone, and Los Angeles is one of the hubs of incredible restaurants. I can honestly say that everywhere I’ve eaten out was a heaven on earth experience. Let us start with In n Out. You know how you roll your eyes at your friends when they say it’s the best fast food, well, they’re right. The food at In n Out is fresh, tasty, and cheap! The bang is definitely worth your buck. Being that LA is inundated with many cultures, there are is array of different styles of food to try. Another one of my places is this place, Republique, a quaint French bakery and eatery located at La Brea and 6th. I’m not a huge bread person, but the pastries and bread are made fresh daily, and the quality of food is incredible. Definitely deserves five stars.
If you love to shop, like I do, you should definitely NOT go to Rodeo Dr. unless you’ve got money to blow. But if you’re ballin’ on a budget like most recent college grads, you should definitely make your way to the fashion district. It’s located downtown and is super easy to get to. A great part of the fashion district is called Santee Alley. They have everything from makeup to clothes, to phone accessories, to jewelry and sunglasses. Literally you can get EVERYTHING there. Trying to ditch your boyfriend and check out the latest styles? Check. Trying to ditch your girlfriend and find some fun gadgets? Check. Everything you want is located in the area. They even have food! You have to stop at one of the stands and get a hotdog wrapped in bacon—sorry vegetarians—but it is a chicken hotdog for anyone with dietary restrictions. So delicious and well deserved after hours of shardio (shopping+cardio).
If you aren’t a lover of dogs, LA may not be the place for you. Anywhere. Everywhere. Dogs. Need to buy a new pair of shoes? You’ll probably run into a Chihuahua. Need to buy a cute top or dress? You’ll probably see a pug. Trying to catch a quick ride on the bus? So is Fido the black lab. I’m sure you’d say surely there are no dogs in a grocery store? HA. There are no limits for where our four legged friends can go in LA. Look out for cute pooches at bars with their owners too.
Before you leave LA, you have to visit West Hollywood, or WeHo, as all LA natives call it. Santa Monica Blvd every night of the week is poppin and they ain’t stoppin. From food to boutiques to clubs, there are so many options for a great time.
All this to say, while enjoying life in LA, make sure you get work done for your internship because more than likely, you will learn more than you could imagine. So be ready to absorb! But, don’t forget…
Kyle Kennedy is a senior Music Business/Theatre major at University of Miami. She spent her summer interning for BEGIN. She hopes to pursue a career as a stylist or costumer in the entertainment industry while continuing to develop her marketing skills.
By Sarah Virk
If you knew me in college, you’d probably recall me walking around campus carrying around just about any book I can get my hands on by Malcolm Gladwell. I wrote notes on every page and had post-its sticking out of the side in every color imaginable. I even spent the majority of winter break sitting on the dock by the Ferry Building in San Francisco reading “The Tipping Point” with my posse of pigeons while drinking my Blue Bottle Coffee.
I was sitting in our mid-Wilshire office a couple weeks ago trying to find come up with some new marketing techniques. I decided to stalk Gladwell to see if he was writing anything new for The New Yorker. Sadly, there was nothing new as of December of last year, but something else caught my eye:
“Welcome to Revisionist History, a new podcast from Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media”
I immediately subscribed, and I only recently resurfaced. Needless to say, it’s been an addiction… a healthy one to say the least.
In “Hallelujah”, the 7th Episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell starts off by introducing his love for music by talking about the likes of Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen, and Jeff Buckley. Costello transformed the song “The Deportees Club” from what is considered his worst record to one of his most memorable achievements by re-recording and re-releasing the same song 9 years later as “Deportees”.
Leonard Cohen took years to write 80 verses for the song “Hallelujah” before Jeff Buckley stumbled upon on the song by chance 10 years later. Buckley quickly narrowed down his favorite verses and sang a cover spontaneously at an open mic one night which took the song from obscurity to one of the most notable songs in pop culture history.
Gladwell shines some light on this genius phenomena “...when mediocre hasn’t become genius yet…”.
Which left me thinking...
How and why do people find a sense of accomplishment at different points in their lives?
Why do some creators feel the need to reiterate their work more than others?
Gladwell introduces us to a man named David W. Glenson who is an outstanding economist with a great interest in human creativity. Glenson’s study (“Understanding Creativity) produces the idea that innovators are likely to take one of two trajectories which are broken down like so:
One one side you have The Conceptual Innovator.
A Conceptual Innovator is one who uses art to express their ideas or emotions. Glenson describes their work as “conspicuous, transgressive, and often irreverent” Their goals are defined thus they are able to precisely plan their work and execute accordingly. In Glenson’s study he mentions, “These innovations appear suddenly, as a new idea produces a result different not only from other artists’ work, but also from the artist’s own previous work.”
Glenson’s example: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), one of the most influential artists of the 20th century also credited for co-founding the avant-garde Cubism movement. The majority of his work was characterized by a single dominant approach, and he found most of his success in his 20’s onward. There’s significant transparency in Picasso’s work that distinguishes him as a Conceptual Innovator.
On the other side you have The Experimental Innovator
Experimental Innovator typically seeks record their perceptions. Working tentatively through trial and error, they often wish to make new discoveries in the course of working, thus making the process of making art more of a search process. Glenson notes, “...the imprecision of their goals rarely allows them to feel they have succeeded, so they often have trouble finishing individual works, and generally spend their careers pursuing a single objective....”
Glenson’s example: Paul Cézanne (1889-1906) who paved way for modern artists by pioneering the Post-Impressionist style. His work is known for his repetitive and exploratory brushstrokes that form complex dimensions in his paintings. Cézanne had most of his success in his late 60’s and 70’s.
Each innovator has a genius concept cooking. For some it may take less time to execute while for others it may take longer. Despite the different trajectories each innovator takes, without implementing passion, self-discipline, and perseverance there’s a chance that greatness and things we now have become accustomed to may not have come to existence.
Had Costello not visited and rewritten his work 10 years later, the song “Deportees” would not exist. The collaboration between Leonard Cohen as an Experimental Innovator and Jeff Buckley as a Conceptual Innovator is what ultimately made the song “Hallelujah” what it is today. The phenomena of genius is constantly encountered by chance. There’s always a significant chance of greatness occurring or not occurring based on what trajectories are taken by the innovator based on who he/she is as a person.
Regardless of if you’re a “Picasso” or a “Cézanne” invest in your craft and remember that not all innovators grow and succeed in the same way. Do you.
Glenson, D.W. (2009). Understanding Creativity (Working Paper No. 16024). Retrieved from
National Bureau of Economic Research website: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16024
Sarah Virk is the co-founder and Director of Business Development for BEGIN. A lover of learning with a thirst for knowledge, she enjoys sharing personal stories to inspire creatives and entrepreneurs to discover and grow.
Tweet her @sarahvirk
The BEGIN Blog features posts about branding, social media, entrepreneurship, and other topics relevant to young professionals.