Welcome to RJT, Carla Birnberg! Carla is a friend of both Kat and Liz, and today we’re talking with Carla about her fascinating career journey as a solo-prenuer, marketer, writer and blogger. Carla has SO much information to offer, and she’s a wonderful example of someone who hustles and creates opportunities through talent, grit and ingenuity.
Carla’s career was never planned. At the beginning of her career, she thought she would go into academia, and she landed a job at the University of North Carolina. Unfortunately, that job got eliminated before she even started! This forced Carla to think about what she liked to do, which revolved around training and fitness. Shethen became a certified personal trainer, and has had a series of entrepreneurial adventures ever since.
Carla opened af fitness studio, but then moved to Austin, so she needed to ask herself what she wanted to do in the new city. Should she open a training studio or should she do something else? The key questions Carla asked herself were:
- What do I like that I can take with me and what do I want to change?
- Why am I doing this?
- Who do I want to help?
- Who is my target person?
That's when Carla started blogging under the name Mz Fit . She worked at the Austin American Statesman during the day to make money, and then worked on the the Mz Fit blog at night and on weekends until it could become her full-time gig.
Carla found her niche and defined her audience in each iteration of her career. For her blog, it was for women getting into fitness. She was really clear about who she was aiming her writing at.
Everything Carla’s done as an entrepreneur is something she’s passionate about, and something she’s healed in herself. The understanding and drive helps her help others.
Mission statements: they drive where you are and where you’re going. You can have them for fitness, business... anything that needs you to find your “why.” Why are we here? What do we stand for? Why are we doing this?
Carla saw niches that needed filling and created spaces for herself in the fitness world. She reads landscapes, works with brands she loves, and is able to keep her fingers on the pulse of what’s coming. As an influencer, she pivoted to do more content creation for others vs herself and showed up consistently.
By doing a little every day, whether it’s with fitness or writing, Carla had no hard and fast rules and does everything on a case-to-case basis. She looks at the opportunity in the big picture and takes risks that have potential payoff later vs pay today.
Even today, as Carla has a traditional day job, she defines herself by her side hustles because they define her entrepreneurial nature.
Carla is now the CMO of an RPO company, and she’s learning a whole new skill set, while also using her core competencies of seeing how to make things work better, being quick thinking, creative and taking risks to be successful.
The value-add that Carla brings is being unafraid of her creativity. She is “unapologetically herself” and believes that age and thick skin allows her to take risks.
She works through her ideas and thinks through businesses whether they’re viable. Carla asks herself if she wants to make something the focus of her career. If the answer is no, she doesn’t go through with it. However, if she enjoys a project, like being the show note writer for Esther Perel, she holds on to it, boh because she loves doing it, and also because she doesn't know where it will lead.
Carla talks about searching for jobs and how to tie experiences together to explain where you are now. She was also able to anchor her job search with the desire to be part of a consistent team. It wasn’t a stretch to take all of her freelancing success and showing how she could have the same success in-house.
We asked Carla how she gets her freelance gigs. She is part of communities (mostly women) where they want to help each other out: she helps other women and they help her. She mentions a Facebook group called “The Binders” for freelance writers. It’s about vulnerability, being human and real, and reaching out to people and building relationships. We also talked with Carla how she engages in her Facebook groups in order to build relationships.