In Conversation with Melisa Meral of Make SHT Happen LLC
Describe your business in a few words?
Let’s Get You Hired is for those transitioning in their careers and businesses- it’s for burnt out entrepreneurs ready to get a 9-5!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
It was a dreary Monday morning. I spent the whole evening before, feeling the “Sunday Scaries.” You know those moments — that bittersweet feeling that the weekend is ending, and the workweek is looming. I arrived early at my cubicle before my boss (Human Resources’ version of Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada) arrived to make my life a living hell. Cutthroat. A beast in business. But also, a total b*tch. I consider myself thick-skinned and not one to easily back down from a confrontation but working with this woman was a whole new ball game. She had this passive-aggressive way of belittling everyone she came into contact with, except of course those above her in role and position. The ultimate oozing of insecurity — in the most impolite way. I was making six figures — as a 28-year-old — and every bone in my body hated it.
Over those years I truly learned what “money doesn’t buy you happiness” means. So, what did I do about it? Well, after miscarrying the child I was bearing with my fiancé, I decided to call it quits. But not just a mental health break on disability. Or a resignation notice with plenty of time to find a new role. No — I did it the Melisa way and resigned the very next day. Because if you’re going to go out, go out with a bang.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Three years ago, I was a burnt-out corporate rat racer that desired one thing: freedom. On my journey to figure out what freedom meant for me, I realized I did not have to stay in that crazy world of climbing the corporate ladder. I started thinking about how I could LEAVE my six-figure position at a Fortune 500, where I’d been consulting for over 10 years at companies including Roche, Abbott, and General Electric!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship really fell into my lap. I come from a long line of teachers — my mom was a teacher, my grandma was a teacher, my dad was a college professor, my grandpa’s mom was a teacher, and several of my aunts and uncles also work in education. As a kid, I was the sassy little girl bossing all of her friends around, standing at the front of the “classroom” (aka my bedroom), and creating little homework packets for them at night, writing “lesson plans” on my easel in our family’s garage until my dad made me go to bed. And now (after about 30 years of running in circles), I am a keynote speaker and interactive workshop leader. That was my vision, and it always has been!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
After leaving my corporate job, my first question to myself was “What am I really good at, and what can I get paid to do?” Cue the start of Let’s Get You Organized. In that first year, I hired 4 professional organizers and together we served over two hundred and fifty clients in creating lifestyle changes to help local San Diegan families live more efficient lives. In 2019, I burnt out — hard. The constant churn and burn of clients and 5-6 in-home sessions per week really wore me down. I had to figure out how to pivot quickly into something that was more fulfilling and gave me a higher return on investment! When the physical decluttering thing didn’t do it for me anymore, I pivoted to Online Business Management, working as a Virtual Assistant for over twenty small businesses.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
For me, it’s press & publicity. I have a best-selling book on Amazon called Pivoting with Purpose that was such a joy to write (and even more of a joy to get the Best Seller badge)! Over the years I’ve been interviewed on over 25 podcasts, including 5 shows that are currently ranked in Apple iTunes Top 50 rankings in the US and Canada. I’ve also contributed to several nationally published articles including features in MarketWatch, Keap by InfusionSoft, and Amex Business. I’ve been fortunate enough to speak on several stages and further make an impact in the lives of others!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
I pivoted from Let’s Get You Organized and started a new “Doing Business As” under my parent LLC called Let’s Get You Hired! I noticed a trend in my client base (busy entrepreneurs who need an Online Business Manager/Virtual Assistant). Many were struggling and drowning during the pandemic and several were wanting to re-enter the workforce and get a 9-5 job to be able to pay the bills. From personal trainers to hair stylists, from aestheticians to travel startups, I saw COVID wipe out many of my favorite clients’ businesses. By offering free strategy calls and designing a few resumes, I realized there is definitely a need for a service like Let’s Get You Hired in this current economy! I quickly created a new website and social media channels and decided to put my HR knowledge to good use.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
With my recent book launch and updated business model, I hope to dive further into the world of career consulting and utilize all that formal training I gained at Fortune 500 companies! I may start a podcast of my own, but in the meantime I love speaking on stages (or virtual stages for now!), getting interviewed on my fave podcasts (like Entreprenista!), and contributing to articles where my expertise is needed.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Make Your Goals SMART[ER] – You have probably heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals by now- the idea of avoiding non-specific goals by breaking them up into bite-sized chunks that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, and Timely. But have you been to the ER lately? Evaluate and Re-adjust. Many times, we don’t hit the ambitious goals that we set out to achieve. That is precisely the right time to take a look back at your progress, figure out what worked and what didn’t, and then go back to the drawing board. If I go to lunch with a friend and tell her “I want to lose weight.” Is that a S.M.A.R.T. goal? No. If I tell my friend “I want to lose thirty pounds within ninety days and I am going to hire a personal trainer, weigh myself once per week, and outsource my nutrition to an awesome local organic meal prep company,” that sounds a lot more S.M.A.R.T. right? But what happens when I hit day sixty and I realize I have only lost ten pounds? The reality is I am probably not going to lose twenty more pounds in that final month (unless I develop a drug habit or get sick… no thanks). That is the best time to make the goal even smarter, by evaluating and readjusting.
Know Your 80/20 – A quick way to discover your sweet spot of the 20% needle movers is to take out a piece of paper and a pen, draw a cross down the middle, place your recent “Wins” on the left side, and your recent “Tasks” on the right side. Once you’ve listed out several in each category, draw a line from your Win to the Task that helped you achieve it. Starting to see a pattern? You may notice that there are multiple wins tied to only a few tasks. That is where you can double down. Those tasks are the game changers for you!
Call in the SWOT Team – Maybe the 80/20 rule is not for you, and if it isn’t then let’s try a SWOT analysis. Turn that piece of paper over and draw another cross on the back. Then place one of these words in each quadrant: Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats. Write out three to five items in each quadrant and let that be your guide to start going about your job search strategically. Stop throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping something will stick! It’s time to get strategic. Strengths: Remember to focus on your strengths, gifts, talents, purpose, and natural abilities. What are you really freaking good at? What are you known for amongst your friends and family? Weaknesses: On the flipside, what do you know that you’re probably never going to be good at? Opportunities: What has been coming into your pipeline lately? Threats: What could hold you back from tapping into those new opportunities?
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means thinking outside-of-the-box, getting creative, and PIVOTING when entrepreneurship gets hard!