Careers rarely go according to plan. In Job Hacks, we shake down experts for the insights they cultivated on the way to the top of their field. This week, we talked to Instagram career coach Stacia Pierce, a woman who created an unlikely opportunity using a new technology.
Name: Stacia Pierce
Job: Stacia Pierce is a career and lifestyle coach for women. Pierce has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including Elle, The Huffington Post, Glamour, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, CBS, NBC, and more.
How did you get started?
I started over 23 years ago. It came from speaking at a three day conference I did every year. It grew to over 3,500 ladies coming over a weekend. What happened was when they left, they would ask me if I could coach them. I had this epiphany. I said, “I need to turn this conference into a real coaching program.” So I developed my success coaching program and my academy for women and started training them.
Did you find there was a learning curve to figuring out what exactly the program would look like?
It has transitioned over the years so many times. When I first started, it was a little fuzzy. At first we would mail out tapes every month. Now it’s a full-fledged online store. One thing I did learn from the process is just to start. You don’t have to know everything and you’re going to miss it sometimes — but you fix it and keep moving on. We didn’t start out perfectly, but now we have one of the best coaching programs around. It happened because of trial and error and learning as you go. I wasn’t afraid to start without knowing everything.
What’s been the most challenging part?
Right now I have a lot of millennials that I coach. I brought my daughter in. The challenge was to make sure you stay relevant with all the new ways to run a business on and off line. I’m on snapchat, I’m on Periscope. So many people when they get past 40 are like, “I don’t need another social media platform, this is too much!” They don’t even want to know about it. But you have to keep your ears to the ground to be relevant.
Which platform do you find is the most useful?
Over the years I had a lot of traction on Facebook. But my new favorite is Instagram.
I grew that platform and I “hang out” there, so people see what I’m doing behind the scenes. It’s the first time I ever revealed so much about myself as a leader, as a coach, as an entrepreneur. It’s a fun place and it really is driving a lot of traffic. I flew into New York a few weeks ago on tour and asked how they heard about me. In a room of 300 people, we had 100 stand up and say “I’m here because I know you through Instagram.”
How do you determine how much information about yourself to reveal on Instagram?
I don’t have anything hiding in my life, but there are things that maybe I just don’t think are relevant to share. I do about four posts a day and I have a rhythmic way to it. I give them a quote, then I let them see what I’m wearing for the day, where I’m going, and then after that I share something about a meeting or something I’m doing. I think it helps people to show them what a day is like in an entrepreneur’s life. I think everybody should figure out what story you’re trying to tell on Instagram or Snapchat and that will let you know what to reveal based on that story.
When you were first conceptualizing, what made you focus on women?
For years I’ve always wanted to help women. I had this little group I started when I was a teenager called Girls Helping Girls. When I got older I started another group called Women Helping Women. I would get women entrepreneurs to bring their clothes and donate them and we would give them away to women who were trying to get back into the workforce or women who are in need or who are in shelters. When I have a seminar it’s funny because 60% women and 40% men. All these men are showing up, husbands are coming with their wives and a lot of guys are coming and saying, “this information is good for me too.”
In your line of work, if you’re ever having a bad day, you still have to put a good face on. Do you ever find it’s difficult to coach people when you’re not really mentally motivated?
Everybody has bad days. There have been times where something’s going on or we had a loss in the family. I just learned how to adjust. If it’s something major, then you take a break. But for the most part you just have to learn to say, “right now I have to perform, I have to be there for the people.” I try to not let problems or drama become an excuse to get the job done. I think it’s really important to show up for the people.
What are you most looking forward to in the immediate future?
I have a conference coming up in July — an international success conference. This year, for the first time ever, I turned it into a success weekend business retreat. I’ve done retreats before, but nothing like an entrepreneur retreat where there’s time of meditation and slowing down from the hustle and bustle and really bringing in some new people to talk to the audience and then having a time of learning. It’s a brand new conference.