Arielle Lapiano, Director of Communications & PR for global law firm Paul Hastings and Founder & CEO of social enterprises Shattered Glass Tees & Shattered Glass Corp, empowers women & girls through workshops that drive confidence & communications skills and t-shirt sales to fund charities that empower girls.
Why did you decide to pursue your passion as a side gig rather than quit your job and do it full time?
I admire adventurous, risk-taking, fearless folks, but I am just not one of them. I am a cautious, strategic, planner, so the dual-track of reliable income, accompanied by the passion fueled-side gig, was a better fit for me. I am also the main breadwinner for my family, so we needed the stability of the day job.
What are some tips to successfully balance priorities of your side gig and day job?
Boundaries — big, impenetrable, unscalable borders — that allow your day job to be just that, a job that is done during the day, is mission critical for juggling a “real” job and a side gig. Otherwise, you will run yourself ragged.
If you’re burning the midnight oil too often for the day job, explore ways to lighten your load. If you manage a team, consider delegating more. If you’re a sole contributor, talk with your boss about ideas to streamline your responsibilities.
Also, conduct a critical audit of your efficiency at work and in life, because having a side gig means you need to be an expert in efficiency. I did a lot of research before launching my business to ensure I could run my operations without a crazy divorce-inducing time commitment. For me, that meant using drop shipping. It’s a trade off, as I don’t make as much profit, but I knew I would drive myself (and my family) crazy, if I was busy shipping shirts at all hours of the day and night. Similarly, at my day job, I’ve become more masterful with productivity. Each evening, I identify what’s most important to accomplish for the next day and try my best to not let anything get in the way of checking off my priorities.
But of course, everything takes time and there is just not enough of it. You need to be a time thief and find short periods of time when you can get things accomplished. In our culture, we often think of setting aside an afternoon, a day, an hour. Managing my day job, side gig, fitness, meditation and kids (and husband), I prefer to deal in minutes. My commute into work, waiting for my kids on days I pick them up from school, time at restaurants awaiting meetings with new contacts – all are prime side gig working times for me. Think small. Try to find short moments of focus.
What personal branding challenges do you face when running your business and representing your employer?
Working as the head of PR and communications for a big global law firm, I was very nervous about my personal branding when launching the side business. I was a bit concerned about wearing my fervent feminism so visibly and proudly, both figuratively and literally. But, then I reminded myself that I am doing something that is energizing me, which is making me a better, more productive contributor to the firm. Moreover, I am empowering women and girls and giving back to the community, and my firm is committed to diversity and to community as well. I realized that while my personal brand is more salsa compared to the law firm’s quiet jazz, we are dancing to the same beat.
Do you use LinkedIn to enhance the side gig part of your personal brand?
I have been using LinkedIn to help promote my personal brand, including my writing and speaking engagements. I also use LinkedIn to stay connected with new and old connections and to support them virtually with likes, comments and shares. It’s an amazing tool. I hope that sharing articles and pictures from speaking opportunities is increasing awareness of my business and its growth, and how I can help add value. In particular, I am working to expand into paid speaking opportunities to talk about women and girls’ empowerment to benefit the same charities that I support with the sales from my shirts, bags and pillows. LinkedIn is one of the main ways I am getting that message across.