[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the WIIM Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcasts, and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim double I .com.
Hey guys, what is going on? Welcome back to the Women in Influencer Marketing podcast. I’m your host and founder of this incredible community, Jessy Grossman, based in New York City. A little stressed out, but here I will be so transparent with you guys. I’ve had so many issues hiring. I know this is a hard thing to do.
I actually recruit influencer marketers, so that’s why my role even exists in doing so. I know that it’s difficult to hire people, especially in this economy, especially in this day and age, but oh my goodness, it has been so hard. There are like a couple really key hires that we’re looking to make for WIIM. They’re so exciting. It’s like membership strategist to continue to build our incredible membership, but emphasis on quality members.
So it’s like for somebody who has a really great network in the influencer marketing industry and loves hitting and surpassing goals and just like talking about a community that they believe in and already love. I’m looking for that person.
And then the other person’s a no brainer, and that is our social media. So historically, we’ve enlisted some of our mentors to create content for us and some of our members to create content for us and done like really cool user generated content, which has been so fun.
But the rest of it is pretty much myself getting inspiration from you guys, putting cool content together. We have a few regular things that we produce on our Instagram, for example, like those salary reveals that some of you love, they feel so salacious and like voyeuristic, we give you like the news stories of the week.
So we have some repetitive things. But I wanna amp it up. I want us to be the destination for all things influencer marketing, women in business, female empowerment, and just like a really lovely and fun and engaging and community driven destination on social media. But also it’s like email marketing. It’s like all marketing.
So anyways, I’m looking to fill these two roles. Duh. I’m bringing it up on this podcast because I’m hoping that you are listening, that you, my future hire, are listening to this episode or watching this episode. If you’re on YouTube and Spotify and you prefer watching your podcast. I would love to have hired this person a week ago, a month ago, but nonetheless, here we are.
So if you are interested, please send us a DM on Instagram. It’s Iamwiim, I A M W I I M on Instagram. Tell me that you heard about the open job listings on the podcast. I will send you like details, but tell me which role sounds right for you.
And if you know of anybody that these roles sound amazing for these are gonna be contractor roles part-time, and I would love any recommendations. So huh, struggling. Are you guys struggling with hiring? People just say everything that you wanna hear in an interview. And it’s so hard to really determine whether or not it’s the right fit.
And again, I know this I’m a recruiter. I also recruit influence marketers for people. So I’ve heard this before, I’ve experienced it. It’s literally why I do what I do. But everything’s different when it’s for you and your own business. I feel it a little bit more, right?
Anyways, stressed about that. But great news we’re hiring and then great news. In addition to that, our website officially launched. I have been working on this site with a team of developers for over six months. That’s how long it takes, and it’s not even finished. We just had to launch it and there’s gonna be kinks that were gonna work out.
I’m a perfectionist. I just had to let it go. Anyways, the website is so much more than just a website. It’s really like a membership experience. So you like log in and you have access to certain things and you could submit job postings and you can request a mentorship session and you can, either like subscribe to our events calendar, so you’re always in the know, but you can also watch our events on demand in a little, another portal.
There’s so many things that you could do on this website. It’s not just a website. I really wanted to make it this like really wonderful experience for our members to have. We have this membership directory that’s unbelievable. It’s like hundreds of people in the industry and now you have access to either their email or their social media, their bio.
And so if you’re a member, make sure that you go in there right after you listen to this episode. Or if you’re a multitasker like me, go check it out now. Log in. And then you’ll head to resources, membership directory and then you can fill out your membership profile. And then everybody who’s looking through there, you could search by keyword or name or company name or clients, like all sorts of stuff.
Anyways, fill it out and it’ll be searchable and it’ll be not just, active networking, which I highly encourage you to do always, whether it’s like our Facebook group or Slack community, but also passive networking and that some people might reach out to you based on your profile. It’s like dating, it’s like a dating profile, making it really nice y’all.
Anyways there’s a lot of exciting things going on, but I need to get over my perfectionism. I know someone listening relates to this. I know probably a lot of you, I’m hoping ,that a lot of you relate to this.
Perfectionism is a bitch, man. I want this to be so fucking perfect that it’s like, it looks like a Fortune 100 company. Fuck Fortune 500, fortune 100 company, but it’s just not . Cause I don’t have those types of resources. It’s close, man. I think it’s I don’t wanna toot my own horn, but like we put so much work into this, so I think it looks beautiful. I’m excited for, to get even better and I’m excited for you to also listen to this week’s episode.
So a fantastic guest for you. Her name is, Sourma. She and I met in real life in Anaheim, California a few weeks ago at VidCon. We had this really lovely Wiim dinner where I was like, I feel like a bunch of us are gonna be in California at the same time. Let’s have a dinner. So I was like this lovely group of women.
She was one of them. And at dinners you wanna chat with every I wanna chat with everybody individually for an hour, but you just don’t have the time. So we chatted for a little bit and I was like, I wanna I wanna continue the conversation. So we did so by inviting her on the podcast we had a really nice time.
She and I have a lot of similarities, so I happen to really enjoy our conversation. She’s a really cool background. She’s very entrepreneurial. And she’s so smart. So, if you’re interested in gaming at all, that’s her background. If you’re interested in what does it really take to start your own business ,this is gonna be an incredible listen for you.
And also she just gets very real about what it is to be a woman in influencer marketing. She doesn’t mince words, y’all . So anyways, thank you so much for tuning in. As always, make sure that you’re subscribed and share this podcast after you listen with anyone else that you think would benefit.
Have a lovely rest of your week y’all, and enjoy this episode.
So we are live. So like I mentioned, I just wanna pick up the conversation, from when we were last chatting. It was so lovely seeing, everybody in person for the first time in such a long time, but also was like, oh my gosh, I’m so happy you’re coming to this dinner that we had in LA after VidCon.
I could meet you in person. But like with any dinner, right? It’s like you wanna spend like an hour with each person and there’s so many people there. And and I’m like, oh, perfect. I was like, if you’ll agree to come on the podcast, we’ll can pick up our conversation that we started in person.
So thank you.
[00:09:33] Sourma: There’s so much. Of course, there’s so many amazing conversations and I get really passionate about everything, so I can just go on and off.
[00:09:43] Jessy: We can do that today if you’re down. Amazing. So you were in LA as well, Anaheim technically right? For bit on, what was that like two weeks ago at this point?
[00:09:58] Sourma: Longer, but yeah, I think it was just two weeks ago.
[00:10:01] Jessy: Like two weeks ago. And yeah. So when did you get back? When did you stay until?
[00:10:10] Sourma: You know what? It was only a one day thing for me. I only did, yeah. And usually it is the case for us locals. I could be wrong cause there is a lot going on, but yeah, it was just one day.
[00:10:22] Jessy: Okay. Its one day. It’s so funny. Some people are like, I’m gonna use it as excuse to have a night away from my kids . I heard people being like, yeah, I’m totally staying at the hotel, and my husband’s watching the kids. And I was like, you do you.
[00:10:34] Sourma: Yeah, absolutely. I would do the same thing.
[00:10:36] Jessy: You do you. So now I’m excited to, like you’re all about, I wanna learn more about you. I have a spidey sense that you’ve got lots of opinions about the industry. So I’m excited to hear like your thoughts and opinions on the state of things and where things are at right now.
[00:10:53] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:10:54] Jessy: But I also wanna just learn more about you. So my first question for you, tell me more about your professional journey. I wanna know about mostly you, a little bit about your company as well though. And also I love that you’re like a first generation, I’m assuming that’s a pretty powerful story.
So I wanna hear all of it. So tell me just a little bit more about you and like how you are even, how’d you get to where you are today?
[00:11:23] Sourma: Oh gosh, yeah, I’ll definitely tell you all of it. So born and raised in Chicago. First generation as Syrian parents were from Lebanon. Came here I think 50 years ago or so. And one of the things we always harp on with my parents is, why’d you have to go to Chicago? Cause it’s so cold. But yeah, I’ve been in LA for six., It’ll be six years.
And my first part of my career was nonprofit, so I went to school, to Columbia College in Chicago. It’s a liberal arts school. Love it. It’s amazing. Being first generation, one of the things that I realized was I put myself through college. So I was working fulltime, going to school full time, and at some point I would do an internship, on the side how I did all of it, I don’t know.
But what really was difficult for me, and I think a lot of people don’t understand is that like when you’re doing all that, you don’t get the best internships. At the time, that’s what the issue was. So this is prior to any social media except for Facebook.
What I mean by all of that is for example, at the time the best agency to work for was Leo Burnett, which is now Starcom, and maybe now it’s changed to another name, but it was like the quintessential ad agency, and it was really hard to get an internship there because those internships were nine to five and they were unpaid.
So somebody like me, putting myself through college was extremely difficult to get that. And so right there I realized the privilege of a kid who’s going to school with parents and have money and don’t have to go to school work and just get those jobs and you could see the trajectory from there for them.
And so that was something eye opening for me when I was in college. And you can’t help but feel like anger and resentment, and envy and all the things. So I just knew from that point on. I always knew I had to work really hard, but that was the point. I was like, okay, I gotta work even harder. Got it.
And so when I listen to other immigrant stories, it’s literally that it’s the same thing over and over again. But yeah, like everyone else, I worked really hard. Being from Chicago, being first generation, all of those things, they all matter. They’re all the same, of trying to get by and make it.
So yeah. So the first 10 years of my career, fortunately and unfortunately was nonprofit because I just wanted to do something that I felt like I can make a difference. But not long after I realized I need to make money because there’s not much you can make a nonprofit. And so my mindset was I don’t want to be in the same boat as my parents. I don’t wanna live paycheck to paycheck, so I have to make this work somehow.
So moved to LA and Immediately, when I moved here, I knew I had to find something quickly. This is a hustle city. There is no room in between. So I hustled, like I’ve never hustled in my life. I had to probably about 30 jobs a day, and this was 2017 or 2016, and I stumbled upon my luck a startup called 3BLACKDOT, and that was the beginning of my influencer marketing career. I didn’t even know it existed. I didn’t know this stuff was what it was. I wasn’t a gamer. I’m still not a gamer as they call it. I guess I am, but we’ll get into that.
So yeah, so 3BLACKDOT was my beginning and the reason why I love that company I respect it so much, is because it taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about marketing and influence marketing…
[00:15:22] Jessy: And so for those who may, I’m certainly familiar with through 3BLACKDOT, but for those of us who may not be familiar, tell us a little bit about them.
Cause I think that especially since that was like your entry point into Influencer, it’s important to have a little bit of context of like your entry point was through, through 3BLACKDOT. That’s interesting. Tell us a little bit more.
[00:15:40] Sourma: Sure. So their background ,they’re a creative studio now. So there are 360 Creative Studio. In the beginning they started as a talent agency and they managed talent from from YouTube. And we had our own MCN channel on YouTube as well. And so once that flourished, because the talent that they have on their roster is Massive that we started to get brand deals and those just came, as a reaction to the talent that we had.
And so the company naturally just grew from there. And the mindset and the creative ideas that the CEO at the time had. His name is Angelo. He’s no longer there, but he was pretty much, to me, a creative visionary. He had a lot of ideas that were just amazing and, built the company with, of course many of the other founders they had a merchandise department.
They then grew to publishing and TV and digital content and movies. And one of the last things that were made there when I was there was a movie called Queen and Slim. So they were one of the executive producers of that movie. And it was pretty, it was a pretty big deal. And what I love that I love to say, and I’m so proud of is the fact that it was such a diverse group of people.
The CEO himself was African American, the COO was African American. And there’s something to be said about that as an immigrant can’t explain it. The moment I met these men, I felt comfortable. I felt oh, I could be my full self now. Whereas before, in every other office I couldn’t, I had to, as they call it code switch and talk a certain way.
And I didn’t even know I did it until I started working at 3BLACKDOT. I was like, oh yeah, got it. I wasn’t being myself the whole time. I was just surviving. So yeah, so that’s why I think I have a special place in my heart for 3BLACKDOT so I was there for almost three years and yeah, learned a lot, grew a lot. Started as a project manager slash operations manager, and then became director of Operations within six months.
Just worked really hard and just loved what I did. It was a lot of work, lot of late nights. Lot of challenges. So it definitely wasn’t easy at all, but the people made it. It’s always the people you work with that make it easier.
And I can say that till this day, I’m still friends with many of ’em, very close friends. So yeah, so that was the beginning and then Covid happened and then got laid off and that’s when I started a little small business that I haven’t picked back up again. So I’m glad you’re talking about it cuz it’ll maybe, start a fire in my belly to do this thing.
But I am working full-time as well, so that’s what makes it difficult. But at the time we had two years we’re in Covid, I was missing my friends, I was missing my family, missing my coworkers. Crazy thing is I used to cook a lot, even at the office. Like we would have barbecues and just different things and I would just love to cook. And so I would do that.
There’s stories about me cooking with my work colleagues. It’s crazy. But yeah, so I was missing everybody and I was like, okay, what can I do to show them that, like I miss them. I’m here. And it was weird, this is the beginning of Covid. So, I just started thinking of things that I can make being Middle Eastern and I was like, okay, I can do these tips. I can make pita chips. It’d be easy. It’d last long. It’s easy to travel, it’s cheap for me to make, not too much of me spending money. And then boom, they came up with these dips in pita chips. So one of them’s Hummus and then Muharram, and I’ll explain each of ’em what they are and then Sadzonki.
So hummus for me is like the thing you make always at home. You never go and buy it at the store. And the thing that I hated from the store bought hummus is, there’s lemon juice extract, which is not fresh lemon. You always have to put fresh lemon. Fresh garlic have to use fresh garlic. So those things to me matter.
And they, the taste is you taste different. So that’s why I did that. And then Muharram is a roasted red pepper. I believe it’s ancient. I think it’s either Egyptian or Syrian. I think it’s Egyptian. But every, every country makes it, every in the Middle East makes their Muharram.
Yeah, roasted red pepper, pomegranate, molasses, breadcrumbs, walnuts. Those are like the key ingredients. So it’s a little tangy, a little spicy. And then Sadzonki is, because I grew up with Greeks in Chicago. I worked at a Greek restaurant, so it’s again, easiest thing to make Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic.
And so the mixture of the three, I think of pal, I think of how they balance each other. And then with Pita chips, I just made, my own little herb mix and they taste really good with everything. And I just had a lot of fun doing it. And I came up with packaging and branding and social media, and I did everything myself.
It was the funnest thing and the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And it lasted about six months or so, like officially. I’m, I sold over 400 products within the first three months on all word of mouth, on Instagram before Instagram shopping. Just, posting, doing fun little things and then and then delivering them myself.
Like it was a lot. It was. It was a lot that I did. Looking back at it now but if anyone knows the food industry, it’s very hard to scale or to sustain and scale and doing that all by myself and not feeling, having the courage to go all in at my age, it’s a real thing. It’s a real problem. It’s a real decision, it’s nothing like you could just I guess I’m just not at that point anymore in my life where I’m just like, ah, again, let’s just throw it all in savings, life savings especially in the food industry. Cause I’m just aware of how long it takes to make a successful business.
But that also maybe all the excuses I’m making to myself I don’t know. You know what I mean? It’s one of those things I continuously go back and forth on, but but it was very rewarding. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work. I call it a food lover’s dilemma because I’ve had this name forever. On my Instagram, I used to just, I was at typical take pictures of what you’re eating at the restaurant, what you’re cooking at home and post.
And then I just kept that and I just have an abbreviated A F L D, but it’s called A Food Lover’s Dilemma. And the reason why I call it that is because I’m always in a dilemma. I never know what I wanna eat. I always wanna, every day I’m on Pinterest looking at res, at recipes on Instagram, looking at what people are eating.
And so it’s, to me, it’s that’s the thing, the dilemma. What do you eat today?
[00:22:55] Jessy: So I have a question. So I have a question about this. I love this. I love so many aspects about this story and I wanna try your cooking so much. I’m like, why did we even all go out to eat? It’s cuz I wanted you to enjoy yourself and not feel like it was a cook. That’s why.
But in LA I’m like, gosh, I wish I, I gotta try something that you make that sounds insane. When I was in Israel, some of the best food I’ve ever had in my place. So talking about delicious Middle Eastern. But I have a question for you.
[00:23:21] Sourma: Yes
[00:23:22] Jessy: First of all, getting laid off, incredibly relatable experience. Getting furloughed during the pandemic, incredibly relatable experience. So I know there are people listening that are like, oh my God, like I’ve been there too. I had that. What an incredible message to send though, that you’re like, not only are you gonna, pursue, something to just make money.
But like this thing that’s you’re so passionate about this thing that’s so ingrained in who you are and it sounds like you have a good amount of success with it.
I’m sure. I’m sure. Using a lot that you had learned through influencer marketing, you’re talking about it was, word of mouth on social, on Instagram.
So one question I have for you about that is what do you feel like was the key thing that made that venture successful? Is there anything that like we can take away from that? I’d love to learn.
[00:24:21] Sourma: Yeah. Good question. I think it’s timing. I think it was at the right place at the right time for me to pursue this. Everyone was home. Everyone needed something exciting to look forward to, dips and pita chips, any chips, right? But dips and pita chips, it’s the easiest thing to consume quickly. And when it’s really good, you can’t wait for more, especially with a group of people. It’s a nice gathering type of thing.
But timing truly is the essence of this. And so I believe it would people say for example, with TikTok, like just start making content. Just start doing it. If you have a feeling, if you wanna do it, just start, don’t wait until it’s never too late. But, there’s always really good timing, right?
With the way the algorithm works and everything’s working. And I say that about my business, it’s like I started something through the pandemic. There are all these new rules about the way people were, starting food businesses too. I remember that one woman in la I think she still exists, where she’s making sandwiches and then just, she lives on the third floor and then with a rope, has a bucket and just, you, you grab the sandwich and thanks, bye.
It’s like what is going on! This is amazing. And she’s built a business around that. So I think there’s so many stories like that they started in the pandemic. So timing would be one.
I’m also gonna say cuz the thing that I think that a lot of people don’t admit to is money and the amount of financial literacy that you have to have in your or need have your…
[00:25:57] Jessy: Like, let’s dig into that. I agree with you. Not enough people talk about it and hello, of course you have to talk about and consider …
[00:26:04] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:26:04] Jessy: Your financial statements starting a business and what you can and can’t do. So please, I think you talk about this.
[00:26:10] Sourma: Of course I didn’t have it. I got, I was taught it at a very late stage of my life. I literally just a year ago have a, found a financial planner and looking back into my twenties, I was like, shit, if only I had this person in my life, my future would look different.
So now it’s just, I have to readjust what that looks like, and I don’t sound somber or depressing. It’s just real, like it’s real, what they say about savings and investment and all of that stuff.
But going back to the business, I had a lot of savings. I could easily stay unemployed for over six months. If I didn’t have that literacy, if I didn’t have that education that I had built up and the discipline, I would not have been able to start the business. And so I’m aware of that for myself.
And I think a lot of people need to know that and remember I have no help. I’m not going on my family. I’m not going, I’m not racking up credit card, none of it. I’m literally all just, and I’ve separated the business. I started an LLC, I did everything, the right way.
I may have jumped the gun, realizing it now. Cause I actually didn’t need to start the LLC. That’s another thing that I realized that TikTok taught me, that I thought I needed to have was an LLC first. Not necessarily, because in the state of California, you gotta pay a lot of money to maintain your license. It’s $800 a year. When you’re somebody like me starting out, 800 is a lot.
It’s just unnecessary. If you’re not making enough. So I now know to reach out to my tax accountant and have that conversation about, if I do this again, do I need to reopen up the LLC again? What are the pros and cons? But I didn’t make money off of it, and I made sure that I just, I literally put a spreadsheet together and I took all of my ingredients and I broke it down.
Broke it down to the point where I knew how much my cost was for hummus, for a eight ounce container of hummus. I wanted to know it at that level because you hear these stories, you hear these stories of people starting businesses and they just spent all this money and they make this amazing product and it’s amazing and it’s everything you want.
But then they go down and they’re like, in debt. I just couldn’t, immigrant mind could not let that happen.
[00:28:44] Jessy: A question for you, like what were you taught prior to starting this business?
[00:28:50] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:28:50] Jessy: And what part of this business were yourself taught about and what advice would you give somebody of all of that knowledge if they were to start something on their own tomorrow?
[00:29:03] Sourma: I feel like most of it was self taught because I’m an observer. Like I naturally just observe things. I also was taught through work, so I’ve always worked with budgets, whether it’s on the nonprofit side and the influencer marketing side. So I understood, profit and loss and expenses and income. Like I just understood it.
And I also, personal finance is a big thing for me. I, balance my checkbook every week on my Excel spreadsheet. I’m always looking at my money. It’s just who I am. So most of my experience probably came from work. Unfortunately, you don’t learn that in schools. It’s another problem that I think people need to be aware of is take a class in college, if there is personal finance or business accounting, take it. It’s worth it, regardless of if you start something or not. Cause you’re gonna learn it for yourself.
And that’s what I would say to somebody who’s starting off. It’s what are you making? What do you wanna build? What are all your expenses?
What are you gonna be paying out? For example, Shopify, how much does Shopify cost it to cost? 350 I think a year. Canva, if you’re using Canva, cause I’m not a pro Photoshop a hundred something a year. All these expenses, just add them up and see how much they cost. And then think of okay, what is your, the price of your product gonna be or your service gonna be?
And then just have to figure out like, are you gonna make money? And if so, what’s that margin look like? And all these things are very easy to like just look up like how do I figure out my margin? Like just google it. It’s the thing that people always say, and it’s true. Google it, YouTube it, there’s an answer.
So that’s another part of probably my experience is like just googling the shit out of everything.
[00:30:48] Jessy: No, I love that though. So I will be candid and say that the financial piece of my businesses historically and even presently, it’s just something that I’m not naturally good at. I struggle with it to this day, like at 35 years old, I’m just I know more than I ever did before. But I think that I struggle with motivation because I don’t consider myself good at it.
So what did you struggle with the most throughout this process and like, how did you work through that?
[00:31:22] Sourma: It is the craziest thing. It was social media. I’m such a perfectionist and I so love it so much and I wanna make such a good impression. And I was copying from Chipotle. I was copying from all the big brands and the things they were doing at the time, cuz they were coming up with very catchy, fun engaging posts. And I would recreate those.
It’s so much work. I had have a new found respect and love for people who are in who are social media managers. And it is true. They cannot do everything. One person can do it all and in and of itself, it is a full-time job. So that became really difficult for me to the point where like I wanted to just get off and never get on again because it became so, so hard to maintain, to create, just content, create, maintain and then enjoy it at the same time because I always enjoyed social media.
Because when you’re doing everything yourself, you can’t, it’s not sustainable. And so I think that’s the thing that I realized. Quickly is that when you start a business, find somebody you respect and you respect first, you trust and respect and you enjoy working with them because I think that’s the joy.
Another level of joy starting a business is doing it with people, with others. And delegating is a huge thing that you have to learn to do as a business owner. Because all the best CEOs in the world, they know how to delegate and they find and they hire the people, who they don’t know what to, like for example, for you, for it was finance.
It’s like you need to just hire the right person for this role. Who knows exactly what they’re doing. Whether it’s just your accountant and you’re like, great. Give me all the information that I need to know. Okay, we have this all solved. Wonderful. I don’t have to now worry about this. And I think that’s the thing that the best CEOs do is they hire all the best people in those areas that they’re just not good at because all of us have weaknesses.
And yeah. And I think the other part of it was really daunting was delivering as much as I loved seeing people and I loved to just literally drop it off to them, cuz I would literally do that in like a 20 mile radius in LA. That’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of time, so yeah. If that’s not enough information, I just dumped
[00:33:53] Jessy: Perfect. I have a million questions cuz I like I think it’s such a really cool use case for people to learn about. So I love hearing what you struggle with, what you’re good at, what you learn from it. All the things. Delegating for a lot of people is really hard, especially if it’s like your baby, like it’s your idea, your thing, but so much how much time and energy into it and was the delegation piece, was that easy or hard for you?
[00:34:21] Sourma: Extremely hard. I’m such a control freak and again, another thing I respect in CEOs now is like, when they’re control freak, I’m like, okay, I know who I’m dealing with. I know what this looks like. All right. Let me just be patient and be there and help whenever you needed. Cuz that was the thing. I couldn’t let go, I couldn’t afford to hire anybody.
Let’s be honest, right? Like it’s a very new company starting off on myself. No one that I necessarily want to get in. There was no one on my mind. With all due respect to my family and my friends, I love everybody. When you get into business, somebody, it’s business. And it’s personal.
Business is personal. I don’t care what anyone says. My favorite housewife says that Bethany Frankel .
[00:35:05] Jessy: Oh my god, my favorite too. Love her to death. Hold on.
[00:35:10] Sourma: Yes.
[00:35:10] Jessy: Do you also wa listen to her podcast by any chance?
[00:35:14] Sourma: I have, yeah, I have at times. I’m starting to love her and get annoyed by her at the same time. That’s how I know I really love her. Cause I’m just like, I feel like we know each other and I can be annoyed with you. Yeah, she sticks her foot in her mouth at times and I do it too, so I’m like, but for the most part, yeah, I do love her.
[00:35:34] Jessy: What do you admire the most about her? Why is she your favorite?
[00:35:37] Sourma: The hustle. The hustle. She started on her own. This woman had a vision. She was determined. She is the first housewife to become an influencer because of a reality TV show. She has a multimillion dollar business because of it. She’s the one that started Skinny Girl Margarita.
And she doesn’t mince words either. Many times these women have tried to take, some type of, not ownership, but like I helped you start it. I remember …, and she would just go in on her and just be like, no, you did it. Why would you say that? And she just pounces until she knows she’s right. And then they’re like, okay.
And I think in business, especially being in New York, you may know better than me. You have to be that way. And fortunately, and she’s gotten really far and now doing philanthropy, it’s like she’s unstoppable, honestly. So I respect that. Hustle it.
[00:36:34] Jessy: Oh, that’s such a good observation. I couldn’t agree more with you. Cuz. It’s her, she’s such a hustler.
[00:36:43] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:36:43] Jessy: In the truest, purest sense of the word. And it’s she’s also like handed and so real and you say she puts her foot in her mouth, but like it’s because her words just spill out of her mouth. You know?
[00:37:01] Sourma: So throughout my, oh God, throughout my twenties, the things I would come outta my mouth. Yes.
[00:37:08] Jessy: I just love her. So it’s really cool to see that that’s an influence of yours. It’s really cool to, to hear that. And I definitely see not everybody can just, so you get furloughed from a job or somebody let’s gets let go or fired, God forbid, like whatever from a job.
Like people have very different reactions to what they do from that. And it’s very telling that you went ahead and started your own thing. And hustled and went inward, this is my roots, this is what I love, and I have this name and I have this passion and I’m gonna do it.
And it’s a very particular type of person. That is where they go when faced with adversity. And I think that’s so cool. And I see the throughline. I’m like I can see that you would be inspired by somebody like Bethany. I love that.
[00:38:01] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:38:02] Jessy: Who are other people that inspire you? And can name, names or not, but what are the traits, if everybody like gravitates towards different types of people, whether they’re like leaders or mentors and things like that.
Some of us are lucky enough to have lots of them, and some of us don’t have any at all. Be oh my gosh. So talking about VidCon, I’m not gonna drop names, but this is related. There’s somebody at VidCon and I like really admire. And I had this idea that I was gonna go up to her at some point after she like, did her thing there. She was on stage and stuff.
[00:38:42] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:38:42] Jessy: And ask her if she would be like, my like, like official mentor and mentor me. Like I just, I oh my God. I like, I just respect her so much.
[00:38:52] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:38:52] Jessy: She actually said thank you so much. I am so honored, but I just simply don’t have the bandwidth, like she said. No. Yeah. And I, I get it. I appreciate it. But I hope that by sharing that, like somebody gets something away from what was my takeaway from it? I’ll ask again in maybe a year. That’s a takeaway. Talk about a hustle, right? Yeah, I’ll keep in touch with her in the ways that I can, I’ll learn from her in the way that she’s able to teach me.
I respect so many things about her and it’s not surprising that she’s so busy because part of what I’m impressed by is all that she’s accomplished both professionally and personally. So not be discouraged, but I bring that story up to say there are people that we admire, there are people that we, whether they’re like mentors, teachers to us, leaders, whatever.
And there’s certain things that we’re attracted to. What qualities are you attracted to and people that you really learn from?
[00:39:54] Sourma: Before I say what mine is, I wanna touch on what you just said, cuz I think the thing that women don’t get enough, we don’t experience enough of, cause we don’t put ourselves out there.
Maybe in this gen, newer generation. I’m Gen X, so my generation, I’m not used to rejection. Like the idea of dating apps, I freaking hated them so much. I still do. I don’t use them. I did use them.
But my point is rejection. I think we need to put ourselves out there more and be rejected because that builds tolerance, that builds just more…
[00:40:25] Jessy: Tenacity?
[00:40:27] Sourma: Tenacity and so so I’m gonna say to you is if that person, you really believe in your heart of hearts, your gut, that this is your person in three months, see how you feel and reach back out to them and ask them.
And then in six months do the same thing, feel the same way and do the same thing. Because you don’t know. Sometimes it’s like those saying no and then finally getting a yes. And it’s just wow, you were so committed. You were so driven to asking me, I really wanna work with you. I think there’s something to be said about that. Just because we get a know doesn’t mean like we can’t go back three months later and be like, hey, we met. This is what happened, and I would love to work with you. I know you’re busy, but can you?
[00:41:09] Jessy: Oh yeah, a hundred percent. I will say, like one of my strengths is probably my tenacity, but I don’t know. I’ll tell you part of it is because I was like, I was a theater major in school. And so as an actor you get nos all the, you get 90% nos, 99% nos, and then 1% yeses.
And in my instance, I wasn’t good, so I got pretty much like a hundred percent . So I’m used to getting rejected. I’m okay with it. I actually think that there’s no real such thing as like rejection.
It’s like they’re learning opportunities and growth opportunities, and I actually firmly believe that. So I’m cool that, I’m curious for you, so as somebody who like self identifies though, as someone who’s not good with rejection, right? Like perhaps you want to find the love of your life, but your fear of rejection is preventing you from even going on a dating app, right?
Talk to me I wanna hear more about that. Do you, I don’t know, are you working on that? Is that something that like you really firmly believe is something that you like, wanna avoid at all costs and like how do you deal with that?
[00:42:15] Sourma: I would say even becoming a business owner, you have to be self-aware and have emotional intelligence. So therapy’s a very big deal to me. I go all the time, every week consistently, and I’m always about growth. So I’m constantly reading different books. I’ve been reading books about trauma lately and the word trauma and what it really means and how it’s not something severe. It could be something as simple as abandonment, something not giving you a lot of attention. And that’s a form of trauma.
So all that stuff I read and I love and really I dig deep. I always try to, become a better person. Always listening, trying to listen to what people say, if there’s some criticism, family, friends, whatever. As far as rejection, no. Now I can give a shit.
If I get rejection, I honestly giggle when it happens. It’s ego. It’s all ego is what I realized for me is in the beginning I would, I didn’t like rejection because I wasn’t used to it. Because again, I was growing up in a different time where like prior to me being in a relationship, the dating app was match.com, like literally online, not even on an app.
So when I became single , I’m like thrown into this new world of dating apps and I’m just like, wait, I have to talk to them first. What? I’m like, I don’t want this bullshit. And so that was the difficulty for me, like my uphill battle that I had to deal with. And I had a lot of fun. I’ve met really cool people.
Nothing future wise, but I just realized also that dating apps are like social media. It’s a slot machine. They wanna keep you. So that you can keep looking. And then when you get frustrated, you’re willing to pay for the premium so that you can get, see all of your matches and then have more control.
But at the end of the day, you continue just swiping. And it’s just not the way I think of dating. It’s, studies have shown there’s so many articles, women are more and more becoming and staying single because they’re so frustrated about how men are operating and bringing themselves.
But I feel like dating apps are making people worse, making humans worse. I don’t think men are that bad. I think it’s just bringing out the worst in them because they now know that, especially in LA there’s so many options. For men in LA I consider them two things. Tick Peter Pan syndrome and the grass is greener on the other side.
So the Peter Pan syndrome is basically I’m young, I’m gonna stay young forever. And then the grass is greeners. There’s beautiful women here just dropped at gorgeous. So either they go to a bar and they’ll meet someone. They just get on the app and they find someone .So there’s a lot of that. I could talk about this for days.
[00:45:01] Jessy: Wait. Oh my God. I literally just, I was literally going to say I can talk about that for days. I’m like, I, so I was on dating apps for I met my past probably three partners on dating and so I’ve been on for a long time. Yeah. First one OkCupid. I second one on Tinder, third one on Tinder.
I’m all about dating apps, but I always say you dating apps give you the opportunity to meet people that you just simply wouldn’t have otherwise met.
It broadens the pool of people. And for those of us who probably work so much and just have limited, Covid, whatever, just like limited opportunities to meet people, interesting people, especially, like it simply like solves that problem, which is huge. But I love, I don’t know, I could every documentary that I love watching, it’s all about like relationships and people and oh my gosh, like I go to therapy every week and I love the idea of studying like humans and like thinking about humans and my own your own like emotional intelligence and stuff like that.
Like literally before we hopped on this call, I like, I was on with my therapist as well, weekly love it, love talking about like human psychology. I wanna know so I can talk about this all day. It’s like a whole other hour long conversation. But what I wanna know first, cause please, let’s talk about this, talk about dating in LA.
I wanna know, like how does a woman who’s really focused on her career and loves what she does and stuff like that, like how do you balance dating and career and love?
[00:46:48] Sourma: I would say to any young girl, do not put your eggs in one basket. That is the thing that we’ve all been taught. Since we were young, prior to laws being changed, that we needed to be chosen by a man because then for us, in order for us to have a house, we couldn’t buy, get a mortgage ourselves, right? There was laws literally against that. So we had to get married, we had to, then that’s how we found a home. That’s how we were able to get a credit card. We had to be married.
Whereas today, you don’t need any of that. With all due respect to men, this is not a, like a bashing, I’m just stating facts. You literally can create your own life, but at the same time, work is not your life. Work is the place that you find joy and financial security.
And then you go and live your life and then you try to balance it with whatever it is you’re trying to pursue in your life, right? Whether it’s travel or starting your own business or taking a dance class, whatever those hobbies are, find that balance of what it is. Just don’t make it just one thing, whether it’s a job or a man, try to have that balance of just, and being by yourself.
I love doing stuff by myself. I literally go to comedy clubs by myself. I go to the movies by myself. I take myself to dinner. I love hanging. I love being spending time alone. And I think that’s a challenge for a lot of people in general to overcome. So I think that’s important too.
And to be open. I’m not open, right now. I realize that through therapy, I’m just not ready to like completely open up and that’s okay cuz I’m still enjoying myself. I just went on a solo road trip to Joshua Tree in Palm Springs. Had the best time. Because no one was there talking, not even me .
So it’s always a balance. There’s always a balance there, but I think you should start with therapy to figure it out, to make sure you’re on the right track. Because just like we go to a doctor to get a physical, we should be going to the doctor to check on our brains, and that’s through therapy. I just wish more men would do that.
I hope they are. I think I see that in younger men more so than men my age and older because we’re like that last generation of just doing things old school, some have baby boomer ish, but yeah. Again, can talk about this for hours.
[00:49:12] Jessy: I can talk about this for hours too. Actually, it’s funny, I never thought this before until you just said it, so there was like a different word for therapy, right? Like even if you have like physical therapy, it’s healing something and there’s this implication, there’s something wrong with you that you need to be healed.
I think that like therapy is the best gift that you can give yourself because it’s sure, my experience, right? I’m always working through some past stuff and like trauma and just working through I don’t know, just all sorts of stuff from the past.
[00:49:45] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:49:46] Jessy: Also, in terms of like self-awareness and like you have your whole life ahead of you and things that you’re experiencing presently and just having a sort of like neutral third party…
[00:49:57] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:49:57] Jessy: Who can just provide you with like perspective and ask questions and whole other topic is like, how do you find a good therapist? Cause that makes the world of difference. I’m so lucky to have the best therapist in the world. I will … anybody on that. She’s amazing.
But like finding a good person who can like, just challenge you. I have a therapist, I have a business coach. I just feel like having a whole entourage of people who support you in a variety of different ways. You’re talking about delegating, outsourcing.
Hiring is, it’s interesting, right? This is my like, this is my like entourage of like people, or I feel like they support like just my life in general, whether it’s like person, professional, whatever.
And I’m trying to hire people for women. I’m like, oh, that’s hard. It’s all intertwined. It’s all similar in that like you gotta find your people. Do you have any advice? How do you find your people?
[00:50:53] Sourma: It’s hard as you get older, especially, so when you’re young it’s easy because you’re like, have more energy and you’re willing, your life have more like risk, you take more risks.
And I’m not saying I don’t do that, I don’t have that. I’m just speaking just from my experience. But because I find myself last two years of Covid, unfortunately , I became more of an introvert and I feel like a lot of people have because of Covid. So don’t forget that Covid happened and don’t forget that oh, maybe this is not who I am.
Because prior to this I used to be a really sociable person. So ironically I was on Facebook groups, like there’s this amazing one called Ladies Of Los Angeles. There’s like over 16,000 women on there. And we just ask advice and people are just constantly writing and we’re constantly giving it, it’s just a really a plethora of stories and experiences and opportunities to meet new people. Is like Facebook groups, as cheesy as that sounds.
Also you could probably create, a, you can probably meet people if you were a creator. Like on TikTok, I started making TikTok videos throughout the pandemic. But probably in the last year I’ve made more and I talk about relationships.
It’s definitely like off the cuff, I’m in my robe, I have no makeup on. My hair is like a mess or whatever. I had one literally go viral. It’s the crazy story in the world. If we have time, I can tell it, but yeah, I think just putting yourself out there and going out and going to event. So depending on where we live, right?
Like New York, there’s so many things to do la there’s so many things to do. Go out and just meet people and be open and be vulnerable. I mean that really is the key, is fricking vulnerability.
[00:52:37] Jessy: It is cause like vulnerability attracts other people to feel comfortable in speaking to you and then being vulnerable themselves and…
[00:52:48] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:52:49] Jessy: It’s like a cyclical thing.
[00:52:51] Sourma: Totally depends on, like with girls, it’s like we’re, when we’re young, we’re so impressionable. So also I I have a lot of like I have a young niece, she’s 18 and so I talk to her about things all the time. I also fear I want you to be vulnerable, but I want you to be careful.
And that’s the shitty part about being a girl, right? We have so much to lose, knock on wood. Than a boy does a lot of times. And so I’m also very hesitant in going just open up like it’s great, meet people, be risky. And it’s at the same time my immigrant self is like, be careful.
[00:53:29] Jessy: Be careful cause like we just, we’ve experienced the world and the world is how it is. If anyone watching and listening is unaware, …
[00:53:37] Sourma: It’ll chew you up and spit you out. LA will chew you up and spit you out. You cannot show any desperation in LA. People can see it, can smell it. And I, and thank God I’m from Chicago, right? And I came here a later time in my life, I noticed it and I was like, ok, noted.
And people have a hustle. They’re always doing like another job. They’re never just working nine to five in LA And it’s probably cuz of housing cuz everything’s so damn expensive.
But that’s another thing, you know that people. So like in these cities that people are very tough, I think somebody from a small town coming in and is holy shit, what the hell? It’s yeah, that’s why. There’s a difference.
[00:54:24] Jessy: That’s so interesting though. Cause I’m going through this too. I have a six year old and also I have a cousin who is like 21, just like graduating from college. And I like, think about what’s like advice that I want to give to them. Like part of me is was I like, of course we all were like naive until we weren’t, so it’s like part of us like needs to experience it for ourselves.
[00:54:45] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:54:46] Jessy: But do prepare them and like the jig is up, like the world is shitty. Like they’re just shitty people. I think like the biggest thing that I learned personally is just to be able to spot the shitty people, like in a heartbeat. If there’s a room of people.
I’ve been Fd over so many times by really shitty people that like, I swear I have such a good sense for it now. Like I have such good instincts for it. Why do I have that? Cause I went through some stuff, but like now I have it, and now I’m much more, less likely, I’m much less likely to go through it again. Because I can pick up on all of those subtle things, but do you prepare? How do you prepare someone for that? I don’t know. It’s a case by case basis, I guess .
[00:55:33] Sourma: Depends who you talk to too, right? Like for my niece, it’s like she has great parents that are raising her and she’s an amazing young woman, but there’s some things that maybe her parents don’t know that I know because I’m in the industry.
On of social media marketing and all these kind of things. And so there’s things that I get to say to her that’ll just resonate a little bit more than parents do. Cause it’s coming from the cool aunt or just of me, of my relationship with her.
And so it’s it depends on who you’re talking to too, but also yeah, it’s like, how much do you say without sounding doom and gloom, cause like you then become just like any other generation, but there’s just so much truth to what you’re saying. It’s shit, do you just, do, I just let you experience this? But yeah, there’s always that balance.
[00:56:19] Jessy: Do you feel like there’s a particularly higher level of I don’t know, malice, shittiness, shadiness in our industry in particular?
I picked up on that. Did I pick up on that accurately? Or is it like more or less how other industries are?
[00:56:41] Sourma: I think entertainment in general, right? Like just Hollywood in general. I live way away from Hollywood and I do that on purpose because I don’t wanna be around that type of energy. And I hate to use that word cause it’s so used in LA. It’s a typical LA word, but it depends on who you hang out with too, and where you live and how you operate.
Again, being older, it’s different for me, right? I’ve seen it all. I grew up in Chicago. I went to a really rough high school. I know the signs. I know what to look for. I know what to look for fake or somebody’s behind me, I know to turn around constantly. There’s these things that you just know depending on where you live. We used to live and grew up and raised being an immigrant, parents, any immigrant knows this. Your parents tell you don’t trust anyone.
So off the bat, just, I don’t trust anyone cause that’s my mom and dad told me. But yeah, I think Hollywood is shitty. I think entertainment, they’re all just, who do you know? It’s same thing with DC I’ve, I have friends who live in DC and they say the same thing in politics. It’s who do you know?
[00:57:55] Jessy: I hear you on that. I come also from like traditional entertainment. My personal experience working in like traditional old school, like I used to work for a town agency that like represented like stars of the seventies and eighties
So old school, like they were cutthroat. They were from a completely different era.
[00:58:25] Sourma: Yeah.
[00:58:25] Jessy: And it was awful.
But my experience, for whatever reason, an influencer in particular, you get a little bit of that, but predominantly it’s not that. I dunno why, is it just cuz like people are better or because too enough of us experienced the other and now we’re like, I don’t ever wanna experience that again. I don’t know.
[00:58:48] Sourma: It’s both. I agree with you. I think, yeah, influencers are the best, especially gamers. Have you’ve ever worked with gamers before? That’s who, that’s where I work now and had work with, at 3BLACKDOT. Gamers are the best. People may look at them. The media portrays them as these guys living in their basements.
It’s not that at all. These guys are hilarious. They’re editors, they’re producers, they’re directors, they’re narrators. These are not just people playing video games and then posting ’em on YouTube or streaming them. One of my favorites who’s not even just, he’s never been just a gamer, he was always more political commentator, is Hassan The Son, I believe.
He’s huge on Twitch and he plays video games, but he’s so smart about politics and talks about the issues today, and there’s so many of those gamers that just have that level of understanding and the way the world works and the way they’ve communicate with their communities, like through their chats.
It’s just like profound, honestly. Like in those moments when I’m like watching their videos or just watching ’em just for fun, not even nothing political or serious about it, just silliness. But the way the effort they put into it, I’m like, the kids are all right. They’re good. And I know there’s downfalls to video games.
I’m aware of all of that, but in general the level of creativity and talent is, I’m sorry, unmatched with gamers.
[01:00:22] Jessy: Oh, I like it. I love the confidence. I love it. Like we’re like running outta time here today. So probably have to have you back on.
The last thing I wanna talk about, there’s a bunch of things that I was like, oh shoot, I’m not gonna get to this today. But one other thing that I wanna make sure we definitely talk about, I’ll talk about TikTok a little bit.
First of all, you casually drop that like you are on TikTok and that you had a video go viral, and I think that’s awesome. You’re working with gamers like you’re on TikTok. I have so many questions I guess, but I wanna hear just like broadly, what’s new in TikTok with in your world?
[01:01:03] Sourma: So the reason why I love TikTok is because it’s the first algorithm that gives me what I need, not what they want to give me. Which means I get happy, positive, loving, affirming building just all, everything positive and anything that comes up in my for you page that I don’t like, I’m not interested. I know that algorithim’s gonna know she doesn’t like that, so we’re not gonna show her shit like that.
For example, the Karen videos, any violent videos, anything just. Anything we’ve seen in the last two years. Not because I wanna be ignorant to the fact that these things are happening. I’m well aware. I love politics, I love read the news, I do that all the time. But when I come to TikTok, I don’t wanna focus on that.
And so the algorithm knows. Now that’s scary because it’s way too intuitive because there’s all that behind it and the fact that it’s a foreign company and what does that mean and what is it actually doing with this data? So that also is alarming and I’m aware of it. But at the same time, we all know what Instagram has done to people.
They know Facebook knows what’s it’s done to young girls. So looking at TikTok, I’m just like, it’s my peaceful place. I love this place. I follow so many people that are young and old. Old.
I’m talking like, there’s this one woman that I absolutely adore. Her name is Shoe Lover 99, and she’s from Alabama. She’s beautiful, sweet, caring mama type and literally is just there giving advice. She literally talks to you like as if you’re there. And she just is like, how are you doing? I feel like you’re having a bad day today. And she makes you feel connected. It’s just what the fuck? Like, how do I feel like this woman knows what I’m feeling right now.
There’s a lot of people like that. There’s a lot of therapists on there, there’s a lot of doctors, dermatologists. There’s just so much rich, richness in general. Funny, silly, humorous things that happen, things that go viral, things that start at TikTok and then all of a sudden make it on reels.
It’s no. That started on TikTok, the different musicians that I found and the songwriter that I find, like their music. I literally find music on TikTok and then go and save it on my Spotify. So it runs the gamut. There’s anything you like, you can find it, van life, tiny homes.
I love all of those things.
[01:03:32] Jessy: So the algorithm is strong on there, right? And really serves you what you want. It’s a powerful thing. It’s a super powerful thing. If anyone is, look, our audience is like in the know, like they’re working on, influencer marketing all day, every day.
So this isn’t anything new. But if you were to give, people one tip in terms of how to utilize TikTok in the best way, what advice would you give them?
[01:04:07] Sourma: It’s the same thing you’ve heard. Let’s just be authentic. Don’t fake it. If you wanna make videos, just be yourself. Be consistent. It’s like any other social platform, but this one’s like real. And that’s the thing that I always like to say is oh God, you get to be authentic here and no one’s gonna judge you. Yeah, that would be the key.
[01:04:29] Jessy: I love it. So be authentic. I’m so happy that you move on today. We have a lot of comments ,it’s oh, you’re fun to talk to. We can talk all about Bethany and therapy and like influencer marketing and all sorts of fun stuff and just go there and you’ve been such a joy to chat with today, so I’m super grateful that you could come on. I have a feeling that a lot of people who are who are tuning in would love to get in touch with you as well.
So if someone wants to reach out and say hi and connect, besides the fact that you’re in a WIIM, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?
[01:05:05] Sourma: You can connect with me on Instagram if you’d like. It’s the same. I’m gonna give it away. It’s the same as my TikTok. Listen, my TikTok is not professional at all, so whenever I say you cannot hold against me, it’s S k Chicago, but it’s S K C H G O on Instagram and on TikTok.
[01:05:30] Jessy: Perfect. So we’re gonna link all of that in the show notes as well. You just put yourself out there to the world, it’s gonna go well. Everyone’s obviously gonna be intrigued, but it’s good and, I don’t know. I like that it’s not, you’re like, it’s not professional.
It’s no, it’s like you like, this is your personal brand. This is who you are, and you’re putting yourself out in the world. You’re experimenting and you’re learning probably so much more about TikTok by doing it that way, you can have fun with it, period. But also that like you could bring it back to your work, and infuse that into what you’re doing professionally as well.
So Sourma thank you so much for coming on today. It was such, such a pleasure having you on. I know that people are gonna reach out and we’ll see you around WIIM.
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