What you’ll learn in this interview:
- Why she started a platform for women interested in making a career change or pivot
- Her three pieces of advice for entrepreneurs
- The fitness routine that fuels both her body and her soul
- What two podcasts keep her inspired
- The weekly call she can’t live without
How This Event Planner Runs Her Business Behind The Scenes
1. What do you do? Who do you help?
I founded an online and events platform called The Next Collective – curating events and experiences that help women answer the question ‘What’s Next?’.
My career started in advertising and it has had many pivots – including working and living abroad, self-employment and taking time off to be with children.
As I approached my next chapter, I felt a growing restlessness and desire to pursue something different, with greater intention and purpose. And I realized I wasn’t alone – so many women were asking themselves these questions:
- Is this it?
- Is there more?
- What’s next for me?
So I started the The Next Collective to create opportunities for women with some experience under their belt, and a desire to create a new career path.
For the woman who wants to return to work, the woman who wants to explore something different, or the woman looking for a new purpose. It was founded on the idea that it’s never too late for a new beginning!
The Next Collective connects women with inspiration, resources and a like-minded community to fuel the path to their NEXT opportunity. The next chapter could be the best yet!
2. List your favorite business tools.
My business is still new, so I am continuing to learn about new tools to work more efficiently and effectively. But here are a few I’ve been working with so far:
- Preview app – Let’s me simply plan and design my Instagram feed and keep a consistent visual look.
- Hootsuite – Helps me schedule social media posts in a very visual format as well as review analytics.
- MailChimp – I use this to manage my email marketing and send a monthly newsletter. It’s user-friendly and has a lot of options for customizing.
- Eventbrite – Easiest way to sell event tickets and review post-event analysis.
- 99Designs – Great resource for a simple logo design that is done quickly and with transparent pricing options.
3. What is a good course, website or book you would recommend and why?
- Paige Nolan’s Focus – Paige is my life/business coach, and she just GETS women. This course is designed specifically for women is an opportunity to be more intentional about how we are living and creating our lives. It’s both inspirational and practical – and not overly ‘self-helpy’!
- WeAreTheGlu.com Female-led content for women across life stages, categories and topics
- Goop.com – I am sure most women know about Goop already, but this is one of the only websites I actually visit regularly and I am always learning something new here – and they have great travel guides!
- When to Jump: If you Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want – by Mike Lewis. This is a fantastic book about changing your life to pursue your passions. It’s full of inspiration and practical tips for making your own ‘jump’.
- Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot and Relaunch Their Careers – by Wendy Sachs. This book is a guideline for any woman looking to navigate a career pivot, with real-life examples and lessons.
- Second Life – This podcast hosted by Hillary Kerr (Co-founder Who What Wear) highlights women who have made major career shifts and it has been a huge source of inspiration for me
- How I Built This with Guy Raz – this NPR podcast gives you the stories behind some of the best companies and innovations in the world
4. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
- It’s never too late to be who you might have been. This is such a key component of The Next Collective. There is always an opportunity for a new chapter, our story continues to evolve throughout our life. We are never stuck on one path if we don’t choose to be.
- Surround yourself with people who talk about visions and ideas, not other people. If you are looking to grow, you have to be careful about where you spend your energy – spend time with those that support your growth and can teach you something.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
- Just start. You will learn more lessons by doing. It’s so easy to get caught up thinking that everything has to be exactly right before starting something. If that was the case no one would ever start!
- Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. You have no idea what someone else has been through to get where they are.
- Nothing really great happens in your comfort zone. I wish this wasn’t true, but honestly there is always some inherent risk to trying something new.
6. What is your beauty and/or fitness routine?
With three boys at home, I don’t have time for an elaborate routine! These are my go-to products for a quick pulled together look:
- It Cosmetics CC cream – it has just enough coverage for my fair skin and SPF as well.
- L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara – I am blessed with naturally long lashes and have tried all the expensive brands – but this one does the job!
- Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic blush – I like to use a powder blush and then layer a cream like NARS The Multiple for some shimmer.
- Glossier Boy Brow – this stays put and gives my brows a finished but natural look.
- Dior Lip Glow – it gives just a hint of color and isn’t drying.
- Soul Cycle – I am absolutely obsessed and I ride at least 4x per week. The physical and mental release you get from the dark room, the music, the dynamic instructors – there is nothing like it. And there is such a strong community no matter what studio you ride in.
- HIIT Yoga – A good friend is a yoga instructor and got me into this format where you combine traditional yoga elements in a heated room with high-intensity intervals. It’s a great all-over hit!
7. List the products or items that are indispensable in your life.
- Almond Milk Lattes – Grande. Extra shot. I think I mentioned I have three boys. Enough said.
- SiriusXM radio – I am easily bored with the same songs played over and over on the radio – Sirius has so many great channels whether you are in the mood for news, entertainment or any genre of music.
- Equilibria CBD – We are all interested in the benefits of CBD, and this female-founded luxury CBD company specializes in personalized CBD for women. Its membership includes access to a 1:1 female dosage concierge (use code THENEXTCOLLECTIVE for 20% off).
- Weekly calls with my life/business coach Paige Nolan. She keeps me on track and accountable for both personal and business growth. I look forward to our calls each week.
8. Which female entrepreneur(s) do you look up to and why?
- Kendra Scott – after her first business attempt failed, her resilience and determination helped her to build a billion-dollar jewelry business that she started from her home.
- Bobbi Brown – I’m intrigued by her new career shift from the beauty industry into the wellness industry with the launch of her supplement line Evolution_18. It just goes to show you that it is never too late to change direction!
- I’m so impressed with these Chicago creative entrepreneurs we recently featured at our conference: Jeannine Adams (Ready Pretty), Beth Berke (South Loop Loft), Elaine Frei (Luft Balloons), Christina Karin Monley (Christina Karin fashion).
9. List your social media platforms.
- Instagram @next.collective
- Facebook @findyournext
- Twitter @thenextcollect1
- LinkedIn: Melanie Panchal, The Next Collective
- Website www.thenextcollective.com
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hashtags #thenextcollective #findyournext #whatsyournext #pivotwithpurpose