GSD // ERIN SOUSA OF SPARKLE MEDIA

erin sousa of sparkle media

ERIN SOUSA // SPARKLE MEDIA

Not only is Erin the blogger behind The Sparkle, she also founded Sparkle Media, and is a beauty editor at Glitter Guide.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I would love to say that there is a typical day, but there really isn’t! Most often I wake up around 7am, skip the gym sesh I planned on, grab my phone to check emails (and Instagram) feverishly in case there is anything urgent from clients I need to fire off right away. Then if I don’t have any morning meetings, I’ll grab coffee and head to my desk in my PJ’s which never gets old when you work from a home office — I love not having to rush through a morning beauty routine every morning!
Once at my desk, I respond to emails, and start working on my client tasks for the day which I set in Todoist — this can include social media, marketing plans, blog posts, research for styled shoots, website design, among other things. There’s always plenty of writing during my day (press releases, blog posts, content) which I prefer to break up throughout the day so my creativity stays fresh. I’ll also go visit my clients to grab photos, talk strategy and meet with peers for lunch or coffee. I try to walk Ava (my pup) every day and eat a proper breakfast, but that can oftentimes get overlooked!
What parts of your work do you love?
I enjoy the creative elements like prepping for and styling shoots and throwing client events. I LOVE to throw a good party that pays off for a client while giving the guests an experience — so rewarding. That said, working with entrepreneurs to grow their business is the reason I started my company. It’s so rewarding to make a difference to a business owners bottom line or help them define their path.
white and gold desk
What parts of your work/business do you dislike?
Invoicing, bank visits, and creating high level media plans just because they can be overwhelming to dig into, but a lot of fun once you actually get into the meat of them. News releases aren’t the fun part of the job either!

What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into The Sparkle and being a Beauty Editor at Glitter Guide?

How important consistency is — that means you have to write and do the job even when you really don’t want to. Yes, I’m writing about my passions on my blog and for Glitter Guide, but you’re not always feeling inspired to share inspiration for others, which is ultimately what content creation is all about.
erin sousa of sparkle media
What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of your work?

That I love to work on the couch in my PJ’s whenever I can. When people say they get so much more done when they dress the part, fair enough, but I’m most productive when I’m comfy.

Also, probably the number of times I check Instagram — it’s embarrassing but essential; when you’re running various clients accounts, you’re always in and out of that app!

What type of calendar do you keep?

It’s a bit multidimensional and it’s been a challenge to come up with the perfect system. For my company, we use a master Google calendar that includes stat holidays, fashion weeks, local happenings, and upcoming client events which my coordinator manages. Personally, I use a daytimer style written calendar that I keep on my desk. I detest the iPhone calendar apps (no. more. typing.) and prefer the old-fashioned pen and paper method to keep my calendar.
white office

How do you plan out your calendar?

I would love to say I am always 100% on top of blocking off time for each task, but that’s not true. I have gotten really good at looking at my tasks for the day and understanding how much time each will take and what’s realistic. As for appointments and business events, I keep them in my paper calendar which I update when I get home everyday as needed, and note them in my iPhone notes app when I’m on the go to move to paper later. I try to leave Monday as an in-office day allowing me to prep my week, Tuesday is the day my coordinator works with me, and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I take meetings and do business/client/blog related errands or shoots.
How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?
Todoist! It’s a web program and app that has changed how I work! It is super intuitive and allows me to break down my lists by client, personal, etc. and keeps you honest with an email each morning reminding you of what’s coming up for the day! It’s also a great collaborative tool as it allows me to assign tasks to team members and the app notifies you when they’ve checked things off their lists. It’s the only tool I use for my lists and sure beats the random pieces of paper I had floating around … except for the grocery list, of course. On the go, I use Notes on my iPhone and move them into their final destination when I’m back at my desk.

How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?

First off, shout out to Gmail! I always reply to easy emails right away as I hate to keep people waiting and it feels like you’re accomplishing something with each reply, doesn’t it? Such an easy way to feel productive. For those that need more attention, I’ll flag them and dig into them throughout the day when I need a break from larger tasks, or tackle them during my morning email ritual.
What is your process and/or work strategy?
When I have a new client inquiry, I set a coffee date right away as I always prefer to meet face to face to gauge if we have synergy. Great clients can make or break your passion for the business, so I take that seriously! When it comes to writing and content creation (for my blog, clients, or Glitter Guide), I’ll simply write with abandon, and then let it marinate for a bit, reviewing and editing with a sharper and more rested critical eye after a break. I’ve found that allows me to push past the block that sometimes happens.
Do you have any rituals or routines you do?
Monday is my office day. I don’t take meetings, book appointments or schedule coffee/lunch dates. It helps me feel so much more centered to kick off the week with this dedicated GSD day. I’m most productive before 1pm, so I front-load my days as much as I can! My day doesn’t end until I decide it does (which is less freeing than it sounds), and I indulge in reality TV for an hour (or more!) each night to de-stress.
white office

How do you GSD at home?

I always like to make sure that my husband comes home to a somewhat tidy home just to be considerate to his day (minus the endless clothing in our bedroom), so I’ll take a mini break during the day to do the dishes or run to the grocery store for dinner. My husband is amazing when it comes to splitting duties, so that takes a major load off of me (he does the laundry and cleaning while I do the groceries, errands, and cooking), and when neither of us have time for the cleaning, we hire a housekeeper, but try to keep that minimal to assist the monthly budget.
In terms of social events, I say yes as much as I can, and always make time to shoot friends a text to check in when I can’t meet up. I am definitely a procrastinator, but leave Saturday for errands and friend dates and Sunday for family time including a sleep in and pancakes.
Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?
Don’t compare your success to others. It’s easy to get distracted watching everyone go get theirs, but focus on your own and you will go far! Also, you’re never to busy to help someone out.

Any other information about how you GSD, please share?

I always get eight hours of sleep which makes a huge difference to my productivity. There has to be time for a manicure, so if I’m in need, I do them myself, painting my nails before I start work, allowing them to dry as I work — multitasking at its best! I always try to book any meetings no earlier than 10am so I can get some desk work done on any given morning, or I feel behind all day long. My work station is set up really well; I use an elevated stand for my laptop, and an external keyboard and mouse to up efficiency, speed and comfort. I stay inspired by taking a few hours a week to read industry websites and magazines and to browse Pinterest — you may learn something new, after all. Music is essential to my work day and can get me into the groove of settling in to my desk — hello, Songza! I also delegate when I can which helps me do the things I’m best at.
white office

 

ERIN’S APPS, WEBSITES, PROGRAMS & GADGETS

Google Drive — for files and it allows me to work collaboratively and doesn’t jam up my hard drive
Todoist —  for to-do lists and as a collaborative task manager
Freshbooks — for invoicing (love the reoccurring feature which sends invoices automatically each month and provides awesome bookkeeping features and expense opportunities)
Dropbox is great but I’m also into Box which gives you 10GB free vs. Dropbox’s 2GB
Snapseed
Afterlight — for finishing photos prior to posting on social media
Gmail — I highly suggest enabling ‘Undo Send’ in the Labs tab. This stops messages/retrieves them from being sent after you hit the send button
Sprout Social — which allows me to schedule social media for clients and the reporting features blow Hootsuite out of the water!
Pinterest — secret Pinterest boards are a godsend for collaborative creative shoots
Adobe Elements — most of the features of the uber pricey Photoshop for a fraction of the cost
Google Chrome — it syncs across all of my devices and integrates with Gmail and Google Docs seamlessly
iPhone 5S
iPad
Macbook Pro

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GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSD and @megbiram.