It's no secret that the way we view work is changing. In particular, how we work is evolving with each new generation that joins the workforce.
An article in The Balance Careers says, “Gen Xers (born 1965-1979) and Millennials (born after 1980) are operating in this world with a completely different perspective. Their definitions of loyalty, time, and success are often quite different from yours. Rest assured they do recognize all of these concepts and value them in very important ways.”
We're Changing How We Work
Working hard and controlling your destiny without being locked into a 9 to 5 corporate career is slowly becoming the norm. With this, many professionals — women and men — are setting out on their own and starting small businesses.
Self-starters are creating consulting businesses, launching products, and inventing new ways to work. Most importantly, they are setting their schedule, on their terms, and gaining flexibility in life and their work.
Meet Stacie Sussman, founder of SSR Digital Group
Stacie struggled with balancing her career and motherhood after having her daughter. This challenge propelled Stacie to make a change and achieve success on her terms.
Alexis Damen: Tell me about yourself and your background, what were you doing before you started SSR Digital Group? What inspired you to start your company and make a career pivot?
Stacie Sussman: When I had my daughter in 2015, it was as though my whole world changed and my career was at a standstill. Maybe I was branded the newly working mom trying to figure it out or maybe the time away gave me the perspective to see the bigger picture more clearly. I struggled with the idea of leaving my newborn at home and spending time in an office doing something I just liked to do. I grappled with this balance for two years and set on a path to figure it out.
“There’s a monumental change happening and it’s just bubbling to the surface. Future generations of working women (and men) will have balance as the idea of a 9 to 5 was made under different societal norms.”
After working in the field of branded content and advertising sales for over fifteen years. I decided to leave corporate America and plant roots starting my company, SSR Digital Group.
Throughout my corporate career, I worked at notable companies such as Conde Nast, Meredith, New York Magazine, IAC, Daily Mail, and Elite Daily. The experiences and mentorship I gained along the way have been incredible. I’ve sat in meetings with thought leaders, CEOs, CMOs, and some of the most inspiring colleagues.
Like any sales person would do, before starting SSR Digital Group, I strategically had conversations with professional friends to gain their advice and hear about their experiences. I realized through my countless discussions, there were patterns of being stagnant. I’m not the type of person that stays put just because you're told to go to work, take care of your family, and live on repeat. I had bigger hopes, dreams, and aspirations for myself. And decided I need to make a change for myself and my family. I was excited by the notion of having a robust career but had a desire to find purpose-driven work.
My company does just that we add value to your vision through sales and marketing efforts. I want my peers and colleagues to know that it's possible and we can change our path, even a decade after graduating from college. It’s okay to feel stuck or be afraid, but you can’t just sit there and let life pass by you. Your days, years, and efforts are too precious.
Further Reading: Making Every Moment Matter. Why I Decided to Make a Career Pivot
AD: You have over fifteen years of sales and marketing experience working for leading digital publishing companies and globally recognized brands, how has the transition been from corporate America to doing your own thing?
SS: In sales, I've always felt like I'm running my own business inside a much larger organization. At the start of my career, I was afforded incredible training from colleagues and bosses. As my role grew so did my skill set and experience tending to my clients, putting out fires, negotiating tough deals, and being successful as part of a larger team. This type of work is for me, and the sales job gave me the confidence to transition seamlessly. You need the fundamental principles of being a self-starter — motivation, dedication to your craft, and the ability to tackle each day with purpose mentally.
AD: What advice do you have for women who are considering a career pivot or starting their own company?
“Don’t let fear override your dreams.”
SS: So many peers and friends feel stuck because the flexibility works, their paycheck is good enough, they carry the health insurance for their household or millions of other reasons to NOT make a change. Yes, these are all valid points to stay the course, but there’s a wave of excitement in the unknown that far outweighs standing still.
I suggest mapping out a plan, so the fear of jumping in doesn’t feel completely overwhelming. Think of what your day can look like in three months, six months, and one year. If you can describe what you want to accomplish, set small benchmarks, and celebrate small wins, it will all ladder up to success.
AD: Your expertise lies in sales and marketing, what key strategies do you use to help businesses increase revenue and strengthen their message?
SS: First, I love to come in and assess the company including there current sales strategy, materials, and talent (if a team is in place). It’s clear to me once I dig into the organization where the holes are. It's important to make sure there’s a solid sales foundation, and the correct processes are in place to scale your business. Once these bricks get laid, you can start to build the company. I’ve too often seen companies rush, they don’t thoughtfully map out a strategy, or they cut corners. The foundation will eventually crumble, and then you’ll be asking for help.
AD: How do you create a work routine when you work for yourself?
SS: Creating a routine is easier said than done but as a seller, I’ve been conditioned to have many balls in the air to continue to move the business forward. It’s also important to allow myself 15 minutes each morning to set my intentions for the day and start with a positive mindset.
I like to bucket my time into two-day increments:
- Two days per week are reserved for working hours where I can check off the to-do’s and get projects done.
- Two days per week are designated for professional networking or business meetings.
I recommend the app InsightTimer as it makes morning commutes way more meaningful and calm.
Further Reading: Time Management Tips: 7 Ways To Get More Accomplished Faster
AD: How do you measure success?
SS: I like to set goals with each of my clients. What are we trying to accomplish and what are your pain points in getting there? Most clients have a sense of where they want to go but the road ahead looks murky, and that’s OK. My goal is to be the glue that bridges the gap between the company vision and the end consumer. Companies, sales teams, and management teams have their own success stories and struggles. I work as part of the team to help them stay the course, be more efficient, and see result-driven success.
AD: Anything else you'd like to share?
SS: I'm still learning, growing, and experiencing new opportunities in my career and that’s exciting! Starting my company is a labor of love. There has been much planning, tons of focus on creating the right mind space, confidence to move forward each day, and a little bit of luck.
I enjoy mentoring folks in the industry, offering advice, and connecting with other people that are doing it on their terms. It’s okay to try something new because, why not? Hopefully, it’ll be rewarding beyond your wildest dreams and if not at least you learned something new.
Say hello to Stacie on LinkedIn
Have you changed how you work?
Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Hi, I'm Alexis. An entrepreneur at heart, I launched my activewear line in 2015 and was forced to be resourceful, scrappy, and manage all aspects of growing a business from the ground up. I scaled my brand from zero to 150K in 16 months as a one woman team. Starting my business was amazing, life-changing, and one of the most rewarding and educational professional decisions I've made.
Today, I partner with founders of emerging and independent consumer brands to help them scale their business through strategic marketing, sales, and partnerships. I also write and take beautiful photos (in case you need that, too). Feel free to say hello via my social channels below.