We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheryl Hawley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheryl, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This is a thought that is definitely overlooked when entrepreneurs decide to work for themselves. Many of the startups that I have worked with struggle heavily with work-life balance. I myself have struggled with this concept and it has changed significantly over time.
I used to think I was invincible until I realized I wasn’t. I didn’t think too much about having a schedule for my work-life balance at all. I literally would just keep plugging away at all my work demands and leave my personal demands for last. I eventually found myself empty and starting to hate doing the work I once loved. One morning I woke up and realized that I hadn’t taken a vacation in 3 years! This is the moment my perception on prioritizing my work-life balance changed forever.
Balancing the demands in your professional career with the demands in your personal life can be hard but the reward is great. When I think about balance between these two I think about my overall mindset and health. I arrange a schedule around my work demands and my personal requirements. I then hold myself accountable to keeping that schedule. Sounds simple, right? The truth is it’s far from simple. Finding balance requires accountability and commitment. I actually covered this topic thoroughly on my 54th episode on The Skinny On Beauty podcast. It was one of those topics that is, as I mentioned, overlooked when venturing out to be your own boss.
It’s a topic worth exploring early on so that you don’t burn yourself out when striving to achieve your dreams. In the end balance is a very personal thing, and only you can decide how to arrange your lifestyle best. Making this commitment early on will save you in the end.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It’s really quite simple. I was sick and tired of people telling me “you’re over qualified.” When you are working your way through school the last thing you think about is a problem getting a job when you are finished. My heart ached each time I went for an interview and the interviewer looked at me and said, “I think you are overqualified for this position because of your education.” I went to California State University, Fullerton for both my undergraduate and graduate degree. I studied Film and Marketing Communications in Graduate school. I recall being so excited to finally enter the workforce. I wanted to sit with a team and create beautiful campaigns, strategize marketing plans and grow something from nothing. But, each time I interviewed I left without a job offer. This was hard to accept.
I finally got tired of reliving the same storyline so I decided to take matters into my own hands and start my own company, Unite Socially. Here I knew that I couldn’t be told “no” and that all of my hard work would pay off. Thus I launched my new career as an entrepreneur in the beauty and wellness space!
My company started out with offering social media marketing services to startups. I took small steps towards being able to handle website design followed by complete digital marketing services; including video marketing and influencer programs. The build was not easy, but it is definitely worth it today. Growing a brand is tough, but if you are willing to admit your setbacks and learn from your mistakes, chances are you will make it through to the other side of change.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a loaded question. I’ve always had a hard time being a tour guide but I’ll give it a shot. Let’s go with Orange County, CA and not venture into Los Angeles, CA simply because there are too many fabulous spots to visit between these two cities.
Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland are two of the major attractions in my area but I wouldn’t start there. I’d head straight to the beaches and show off some of our beautiful coastline. Balboa Fun Tours in Newport Beach has the best bikes to rent in town. I would start here and take a ride along the coast through 3 beach towns and land at the Shake Shack in Crystal Cove. This place has been around since the 1940’s and has a breathtaking view.
San Juan Capistrano is the jewel of the California Missions and also a beautiful spot to enjoy wine while visiting several historic sites. The town hosts Mission San Juan Capistrano, a Spanish mission founded in 1776. It is known for tasteful arches, exotic gardens and bubbling fountains. Across the way is the Capistrano Depot where you can find several upscale restaurants to eat at. The town’s unique vibe is due to the early mission homes that have been converted into businesses and the 1894 railway depot that runs through it.
Another fabulous spot to eat in North Orange County is The Olde Ship. Located off the beaten path in downtown Fullerton. This British pub offers a laid-back vibe, great atmosphere and an extensive selection of beer. They have the best Fish-n-Chips in all of OC. This is a must especially for their trivia nights on Thursday evenings.
Last but not least, Downtown Disney. I must say I would only go here simply because I wouldn’t be able to commit to a day at Disneyland even though it’s a ton of fun! This is an outdoor shopping center located at the Disneyland Resort, which neighbors the attraction park. They have The Disney Dress Shop which carries a wide selection of vintage-inspired Disney dresses, skirts, handbags and accessories. The Lego Store that features Lego displays, products and interactive play areas. The outdoor shopping center has several unique retailer shops and upscale eateries.
The list could go on forever, but this is a good start.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love that you asked this question. Too often it is overlooked.
The support that I have received as an entrepreneur has been vast but there are some constants that stand out for sure.
Most of all, my family is my anchor. My parents and two siblings have stood by me through the last 11 years without any doubt in my ability to continue to grow and support other entrepreneurs and startups. On Christmas day in 2011 my family and I were chatting about my goals as a solopreneur. I told them that I wanted to start my own business in social media marketing. I recall us sitting around trying to come up with a unique name for my company. I knew that I wanted the word “socially” to be included in the name… During our brainstorming session (a couple hours or so) my dad said, “how about Unite Socially?” Yes, we all exclaimed! Thus launched the birth of my very own website design and digital marketing agency. A few years later we all did the same for my podcast, The Skinny On Beauty.
There are many female entrepreneurial groups and women owned businesses that have helped me along the way like Society Gal and Kathy Marino from OC Fashion Week. Without the support and encouragement from having them in my corner there are days that I would have just wanted to throw in the towel.
I also owe many thanks to a mentor / business coach that has been a huge catalyst along the way, Oscar Gonzales of Notagrouch.com. There is so much that goes in to starting a business that I would have had no clue on how to address or systematize if it wasn’t for his lead. Without the insight and experience that he had to offer, I would have needed an entire team to help guide me through. Same goes for a good friend of mine and lawyer, Ryan Dryer who has lent me his ear many times and offered guidance for constructing thorough and fair contractual agreements. Which, let’s face it, is a big part of protecting yourself in any line of work.
I will forever be grateful for their time, effort, support, love and encouragement along my journey of substantial success.
Other: Podcast: http://bit.ly/SBiTunesU