Gary Vee Cares

“The best marketing strategy ever? Care.” Gary Vaynerchuk

NOTE: This post was originally published February 28, 2013 as is still relevant AF.

Gary Vee is a business bad ass, author of Crush It and The Thank You Economy and now his newest piece of awesome Jab Jab Jab Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story In A Noisy Social World.

He started selling lemonade and baseball cards at the age of 8 to running his family liquor business to creating WineLibraryTV and now Vaynermedia, which works with personal and consumer brands to build unique and efficient online brand strategies. Gary is also one of the most passionate thought leaders in the new economy, or what I love to call, thanks to Gary, the “thank you” economy.

On February 28,2013 I had the honor of interviewing Gary as part of his #1aDayQandA. This was WAY before the awesome #AskGaryVee Show. An insane commitment he made to his fans to engage and bring value to his community. Why did he do it? He cares.

We talked why social, why caring matters more than ever for both big and small business, why storytelling is a gotta do, online and off, about passion, the power of Twitter, context, content and much more.

So grab your Starbucks and press play. You are in for quite a treat from one of the best, most passionate and caring biz leaders I know today. (and yes, I was freaking out which you will hear!)

Here are some of the highlights from my time with Gary…

  • Passion is the gas the drives the engine. True story.
  • All businesses began as a small business. Google at one point was just two dudes. Money is no excuse not to engage.
  • Business is about supply and demand. Caring is in short supply. But always in demand.
  • Business is all about storytelling and sharing those stories where our clients live. And that includes online.
  • We are all in the content business, well, only if we want to be a relevant, growing business.
  • Conversations about beauty are happening all day, every day on the web, especially Twitter, the clients are there, it’s your choice to join the conversation, or not.
  • How do you find time to engage on the social web? You make a decision. The End.

A big shout out of LOVE and GRATITUDE to Gary for being so generous with his time. And for being awesomeness squared.

What did you think of my interview with Gary? Share your thoughts in the comments below or directly with me. I’m listening.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Ash Fortis Passion Profile Passion Squared

Passion Profile: Ash Fortis

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Jean-Luc Godard

I first met Ash on Instagram, a place I have met so many incredibly passionate and beautiful humans that last few years. But my first face to face experience with her was during a summer vacation on the East Coast visiting family, and again at the Butterfly Circus in Los Angeles. I knew the second I saw Ash, she was something special. Just a few years out of school, Ash is an old soul who feels immensely, and in a business that is all about the feels, Ash is creating a business and life centered around passion and authenticity. I am honored to share a little slice of all that is Ash Fortis.

N: What does passion look & feel like to you?
A: Passion is something that drives you through the trenches. It’s unwavering, it feels like butterflies, fear, trust, and what I relate to as a hair high.

N: Why did you become a hairdresser or educator?
A: I have always been fascinated by hair. And not just one area of hair. I loved the idea of exploring hair and being on the cutting edge of hair trends. After completing the honors program in Cosmetology I went onto an intensive apprenticeship in one of the most amazing hair salons. I learned so much there about both personal and professional growth. I went onto a smaller salon due to several reasons. After 6 months I was let go of from the salon due to changing my hair color from a bold red into a bold blue to purple to pink color melt. I was looking to have more fun with my hair, attract more clients to my chair wanting those looks and it was before vivids had really taken off. I was angry about being let go over hair color and worse how they really felt about it. It crushed me how it was handled, she knew I supported my family on my income alone, I listened as she told me that she didn’t want that type of clientele and basically that the trends were not going to last, that she didn’t want to deal with the headaches of when a client would want them removed. I knew with out another word spoken I would have never agree to work for someone who felt that way because she just insulted me my passion, and my visions for what I wanted to create hair to be. I firmly believed in what I was doing and that I had to find away to have complete freedom.

I found a hair family at G Patton Salon provided me that and my business thrived as an independent hair stylist. More importantly it’s allowed me to balance my family, my health, education and other passions I want to absorb from life. I can’t imagine another way. I am excited to say I am starting a new journey as a business owner with my own suite salon XO Hair Studio in April.

I pursued being an educator about 2 years into my career but until about 4 years ago but almost no doors were open. I get it what could I have to offer with a short resume? They never took the chance to see the potential in me. And the ones that were were not companies I wanted to be apart of. Over the next several years I engulfed myself with researching things I could do and practicing by going back to my hair school to educate or salons in my area that were interested in my techniques and it has grown. My first workshop was $50 and 45 people came and it grows little by little each time I educated. I am still navigating it but my passion fuels each path I take and I trust the journey I am on.

N: What is the biggest challenge you have had and how did you overcome it?
A: I have had a hard time with personal insecurities and wanting to please everyone. I am a very passionate person and I don’t want to dilute or change that which I hold myself responsible to, and what I ultimately look for in others I surround myself with. I look more and more every day to find that circle of people who share in empowering each other.

N: What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
A: That if you change your perspective you can change your life. Things are not always as they seem. Changing my perspective gave me the ability to take control and accountability over my thoughts. It has made me a better person, a forgiving person, it’s humbled me. And I have a lot more free time when I don’t spend my energy where it ought not be spent.

N: What is one skill you believe all successful educators need to have?
A: Engagement. I think anyone considering being an educator need to understand the importance of being a good educator. And honestly there is no road map on how to be one, how to get there or how fast you do it. Be passionate about being an educator and do it with purpose everything else will follow in suit.

N: Why that one?
A: Because to me engagement means education, motivation and inspiration. If you can engage that means you hold the attention of those you educate in front of. And as we know hairstylist especially learn differently and when I educate I want to make sure that not only did I make a difference but that they were able to absorb as much knowledge as possible and I continue to have attendees coming back to my workshops that lets me know that what I am doing is working and making a difference.

N: Why are you so passionate about authenticity and sharing behind the scenes work in the salon with other professionals?
A: I think it’s so important in a world full of unrealistic standards and expectations to be both authentic and raw. Thanks to Pinterest and social platforms a standard of hair has been set for our industry and there were little to no real conversations happening about all the grey areas. I don’t want to set my fellow hairdressers up for failure or myself. So I love sharing how many hours it took, what types of processes, how many sessions, how I share the same struggles that they do as a stylist behind the chair. I have taken off over the last year but there were several things that went into my success and has been a course of actions over the last 5 years. Having had life changing mentors in my life makes me want to pay it forward to those who don’t have anyone to uplift them, to empower them, and to hopefully share my challenges so that can foresee some of those same challenges before they happen.

N: Favorite quote?
A: “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Jim Jarmusch 

N: Coffee Bean or Starbucks?
R: Starbucks

A big shout out to Ash for sharing an intimate look into her journey and for being so generous with her art. Love you to the moon and back boo!

You can find Ash on Instagram @xostylistxo on Facebook and be sure to check out her upcoming color workshops.

Love + Awesomeness-

Ruby 3

Passion Profile: Ruby Devine

Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will die” Dave Mathews band

I’m not even really sure where and when I first came across this ball of passion named Ruby Devine. Maybe it was her name, which is beyond fab, her generosity on social platforms, her commitment to showing up, her courage for sharing her art, but none of that matters now really. When you meet Ruby, you just know you have stumbled into one of the most beautiful energies you will find in a human. Ruby has a gift, and I am so grateful that she agreed to share some insights into what fuels her heart and her art. Meet Ruby Devine…
N: What does passion look & feel like to you?
R: Passion feels very close to obsession. Passion feels like a deep guttural, churning feeling of “I MUST do this”. And with that I would say passion looks like a tireless person working feverishly to be with a person or complete a project all because “I MUST do this”.

N: Why did you become a hairdresser or educator?
R: I became a hairdresser as a means to an end. I have always had difficulty with retention and attention so let’s just say, I wasn’t the highest marking student especially in high school. I wanted very badly to go to a art and design private school, but due to the low grades and my lack of commitment to high school, my mother was very hesitant to back me financially and also those bad grades made me ineligible for scholarships. The local community college in my area offered a cosmetology/partial business diploma program. At this point my only experience with hairdressers were very low end haircutting salons, so I had an ignorant mind set of “anyone can be a ‘hairdresser”. After the first week of school and learning how vast the opportunities were with a cosmetology license, I felt like everything fell into place. And from there, I thrived in beauty school.

I became and educator first as a network educator with Bumble and Bumble in 2004. There is where I got better training on speaking, and teaching skills. With social media platforms and my personal seeking of continuing education, I have had the opportunity to share with a whole new grouping of stylists.

N: What is the biggest challenge you have had and how did you overcome it?
R: My biggest challenge has been insecurity. I have always lacked confidence, and probably will always suffer from that. The lack of confidence has often stopped me for going for something bigger and reaching outside of my comfort zone. With constantly seeking out continuing education and an awesome network of stylists that encourage me and mentor me, I continue to work on that confidence.

N: What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
R:  That the root of all evil, especially in hairdressing, is fear. Fear will stop you from all greatness. Fear stops you from thinking outside of the box. Fear will stop you from staying inspired and free to imagination.

N: What is one skill you believe all successful educators need to have?
R: Compassion. You must have compassion for others to help and understand that information doesn’t always come easily to others. Also, compassion helps you find patience to stay with a person mentally until they can “get it”.

N: Why are you so passionate about sharing your behind the scenes work in the salon with other professionals?
R: I believe that there is SO much to learn just by watching a salon work. How is the salon set up? How are their working stations? How are their clients greeted? These little moments are often overlooked as education opportunities.

N: Favorite quote?
R: Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will die. Dave Mathews band

N: Coffee Bean or Starbucks?
R: Starbucks

You can find Ruby on Instagram @rubydevine on Periscope and on Facebook for all types of awesome!

Love + Awesomeness-

Laura Kaszoni Passion Profile.jpg

Passion Profile: Laura Kaszoni

“Every accomplishment begins with a decision to try.” Unknown

As a fan and follower of @lalasupdos for sometime, I was thrilled to learn I would meet this talented power house at the first ever Butterfly Circus in the summer of 2015 (thank you David + Alexis Thurston!) But I had NO idea I would instantly fall in love with this special human. Laura’s humility and beauty is what struck me at first, then to watch her move hair in ways I have never seen in my 30 years of being in the hair biz, I knew I was witnessing something insanely special. It’s an honor to share a little chat I had with my dear friend, and passionately talented Lalas Updos…

N: What does passion look & feel like to you?
L: I’ve been in this country for 9 years and worked in the wrong field for 8 years. After settling for less, being miserable and wondering what’s my purpose for so many years, I think now, that I finally do what I love the most, can describe what passion is…

Passion is when you fail, but never give up.

Passion is not being able to sleep because you’re too excited about what’s on your agenda for tomorrow.

Passion is planning to spend one hour practicing your craft and look in shock at clock few hours later not knowing how that happened.

Passion is when you don’t listen to anything that anyone has to say about your craft & style, and you don’t change your vision based on people’s opinion.

Passion is sleepless nights when creative ideas won’t let your mind to rest, is smiles, tears, butterflies, failure and the determination to keep going, no matter what.

N: Why did you create your own education company?
L: I created my own education company because I’ve been asked to. I have never planned or dreamed to become an educator – as a matter of fact, I do not even consider myself one. I am just a stylist passionate about art of up styling, sharing my love and knowledge with other fellow artists.

After I had my first class in December of 2014, I got more and more requests to travel and share my knowledge, so I can say my education company was born out of people’s hunger and love for up styling.

N: What is the biggest challenge you have had and how did you overcome it?
L: Biggest challenge was finding balance between work and personal life. I think I was able to overcome that issue when my daughter pointed out that I am spending less time with her. I realized in the end, when everything else is gone, the loved ones are the only ones that matter. The only ones that will be there for you, and they should be always #1 priority. When I come back from my trips I try to wake up early take care of my business, and leave the afternoons to my family.

N: What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
L: The greatest lesson I have learned in my life: It’s never too late to follow your dreams and start all over again! It was the most painful but rewarding lesson in the same time. I worked and stood in the wrong industry for almost 8 years, choosing to ignore the all the signs that showed me clearly that’s not my place. I was afraid to get out of my comfort zone, afraid of unknown, afraid I will fail, afraid my dreams were too big or too foolish. I choose to settle because of fear, but guess what? Fear doesn’t make you happy, nor content. Being stressed and miserable at your work place, are the first signs you are in the wrong place.

My point is: pay attention to the signs, listen to your heart, follow your dreams – don’t settle for less. It’s never too late to start all over again. It’s never too late to be happy, to stop surviving and start living.

N: Why are you so passionate about updo’s?
L: I always had an inclination for art – I’ve be been creating things from scratch, drawing and painting since I was a little child. But with updos it always felt different. The thrill and the passion I feel every time I create a new style, is different than anything I have experienced before. When I create up-styles I loose myself into it – the time just stops, it’s just me and my craft. I never get tired, bored, frustrated, or out of ideas. I think that’s a clear sign I found my passion/calling.

N: Favorite quote?
L: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillippians 4:13

N: Starbucks or Coffee Bean?
L: Starbucks

You can find Laura on Instagram @lalasupdos, on her Facebook page Lalas-Updos as well as her website where you will find her upcoming workshops, booking info and all of her other awesomeness.

Love + Awesomeness-

Jay Wesley Olson Passion Profile HD

Passion Profile: Jay Wesley Olson

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” Charles Bukowski

The first time I met Jay Wesley Olson, it was passion at first sight. Now, I know what you are thinking, but for reals, Jay and I just connected, on a soul level, right out of the gate. Part of it could be that our birthdays are one day apart, part of it could be that sometimes you just meet someone who you feel you have known a lifetime. Like a brother. And that is what Jay has become to me. Not only is he an incredibly talented colorist, but his gentle giant vibe and his approach to teaching is some of the best I have ever seen. So of course, I had to share a deeper look “behind the babe”, and into the mind, soul and heart of Jay Wesley Olson.

N: What does passion look & feel like to you?
J: My first thought was my wife and daughter. If I break it down, passion for me is a vibration inside. It’s soul. It’s what makes you breathe and gives you purpose. It’s your hunger that drives you. It can look and feel like almost anything. That’s for the individual. For me, it’s my personal growth. It’s making my family proud. It’s elevating “our” craft. It’s love, fear, fight and peace all wrapped in one. It is easily why I wake up.

N: Why did you become an owner?
J: The biggest reason I became an owner is so that no one could tell me what to do, but a very close second would be that every time, and situation that I have been apart of, I’ve drawn inspiration from. I’ve always wanted to take the very best, or what I felt was the very best from each environment that I’ve been a part of, and put that into establishing my own culture.

N: What is the biggest challenge you have had and how did you overcome it?
J: The biggest challenge that I have had would be finding that perfect balance between work and personal life. It was finally overcome by realizing that whatever it was, opportunity wise, that it would always be there the next day. The phone and Internet turn off as soon as I walk through the front door at my home.

N: What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
J: The greatest lesson that I have learned is to be patient and know that if you have questions, that they will be answered along the way. Also, always put your family first.

N: What is one skill you believe all successful owners need to have? Why that one?
J: As an owner you need to be a leader, but also be organized. You need to have the ability to uplift people and put them in a position to be the most successful they can be.

N: Why are you so passionate about hair color and education?
J: I am passionate about education because there isn’t a better feeling than somebody getting excited about knowledge you have. On a selfish note, I’m passionate about education because it breathes progress and motivates me to find my greatest version of myself!

N: Favorite quote?
J: “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” Charles Bukowski

N: Starbucks or Coffee Bean?
J: Starbucks

You can find Jay on Instagram @jaywesleyolson and on his salon page @thebespokecollective as well as on his education page @braidsandbalayage where he shares all the awesomeness he and @theconfessionsofahairstylist are creating!

Love + Awesomeness-