Episode 118: Project Pitching 101 with Sarah Lyon
In this episode I’m introducing you to Sarah Lyon, a full-time freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest, Apartment Therapy, The Spruce, Washington Post, and more. We're thrilled to have her here to share her insights and experiences.
We delve into Sarah's journey into the world of freelance interior writing and how her passion for writing and journalism led her down this path, even without a dedicated journalism major at her liberal arts college. Sarah's background as an editor for her student newspaper laid the foundation for her career, honing her technical skills and ethics involved in journalism. After graduating, she moved to New York City and embarked on an exciting career in the world of print magazines.
We learn from Sarah how she transitioned into freelancing while working her full-time job and how she was able to balance the unknown of going full time in her business, with the practical things she wanted to make sure she had in place when she finally took the leap. Her transition was gradual and cautious, which allowed her to make an informed decision about going full-time as a freelance writer.
You will learn about how to pitch your projects effectively to publications. Sarah recommends introducing yourself, providing context about your projects, sharing your background, and creating a compelling story around your work. She emphasizes the importance of following up on pitches but advises doing so strategically. Remember, it's all about building a professional relationship with editors.
Thank you for tuning in to this episode. We hope you found Sarah's journey and advice inspiring. If you enjoyed this podcast, don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review.
It would be very much appreciated if you would leave a rating and review wherever you listen to podcasts. It really helps to keep the show relevant, and I would love to come back to see some of your kind words. Enjoy this fall weather, and take some breathing time for yourself too!
Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
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A Podcast Launch Bestie production
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I of course am excited every time I introduce a guest, but today I would like to introduce you to Sarah Lyon. She is a full time [00:01:00] freelance writer for publications, including architectural digest apartment therapy, the Spruce Washington post and more. So I know you guys are going to be excited to hear what she has to say
. So Sarah, thanks for being here. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be a part of your podcast. Oh my gosh, we were just talking before I hit record. It's been a couple of years since we've connected and we came across each other. I think it was on. Instagram or something might have just found you on Google and you have been such a great source and such a good champion of my career.
And I appreciate that, especially having never met face to face. I really, you know, love women supporting women and I know you do too, but thank you for always being so encouraging and helpful and responsive. Oh my gosh, absolutely. It's, it's like you said, it's. Women supporting women. We really need to make sure that we reach out and offer up any assistance that we can whenever we can.
Um, just so absolutely. You've been such a pleasure to work with and getting our name [00:02:00] out there and a couple of publications and so forth. So let's talk about that. Um, first of all, but let's talk about how you get into a freelance type of writing? Sure. Um, so I had always loved writing and journalism and I went to a liberal arts college where we didn't have a journalism major or anything like that. And so I was a sociology major. I chose that school because I really wanted a small school. I'd gone to a big high school and I'd done the newspaper then and had loved it.
So in college, I decided to just pursue liberal arts, but I became the editor of our student newspaper. And so I loved that. And it was such a good foundation of building the technical skills, because there are a lot of technical skills in writing, you know, knowing how to lay out a page, how to master your grammar, how to interview sources, all the ethics involved in journalism. And so I really enjoyed that. And after college, I moved to New York city. So I'd done a few journalism internships throughout college. Um, I'm from the Washington DC area. So I did one at a magazine in DC. During [00:03:00] college and then the summer between my junior and senior year, I did a magazine internship in New York.
And it was so, you know, out of one of those TV shows, like you're living in an NYU dorm with three other girls and making no money and, you know, just having fun in the city. And it was so great. And it made me decide I wanted to come back. So. I moved back and I was an editorial assistant at American Baby, which was a magazine under Meredith at the time.
It has since folded like a lot of those print magazines, kind of affiliated with parents. And as a 22 year old girl, I mean, I don't have kids now, 10 years later, as a 22 year old girl, I really had no idea. What I was doing, writing about birth and babies and talking to gynecologists and things like that.
But it was really interesting and it was such a great station, you know, just to learn like the journalism skills again and learning about fact checking and interviewing. So it makes sense. Just kind of getting your feet wet. Yeah, exactly. And I met, you know, a good friend and it really was like one of those shows about the 20 something girls in New York and just like dating and what a fun way to be together.
Yeah. So it [00:04:00] was just such a fun time. But so. Yeah. Unfortunately, I just sort of didn't feel like the print industry was super stable at that time. So this was 2014. , and I was a little nervous about what the future of print magazines would hold. And in college, I'd always loved writing about the kinds of the issues going on on campus.
I did a lot. It's funny compared to what I write about now, because I loved like the hard news stories you know, things like that. And now I'm like writing about all the fun stuff. But so I loved that. And so I realized, like, I might want to work in higher education because I loved covering those issues.
So I went back to school and did my master's in higher education in Philly. Um, so I left New York and that program was just a year and I really enjoyed it and was working in higher ed in DC. So I worked in alumni relations and fundraising at George Washington University, um, first at the business school and then in the engineering school.
And so I loved both of those, but they were pretty like nine to five jobs. Um, right. So I mean, other than having a lot of like evening events to plan and I [00:05:00] always love I think that's where like also the lifestyle journalism is a natural fit because I love events and parties and you know, meeting people so I loved alumni relations.
But anyway, because I had kind of more time and not a lot of money, I wanted to freelance on the side and so what was great was so I was, you know, maybe 2627 at that point. And. A lot of the girls I'd worked with in New York those first few years or even interned with were then becoming editors. So they were able to meet, yeah, as a freelancer.
So it really kind of came back to a lot of those connections from the summer that I turned 21 and the summer, you know, I was 22 working here. And so it was honestly a great thing. Um, we all kind of had a Facebook group and people would post like, Oh, I'm hiring someone at Country Living to do a gift guide or blah, blah, blah.
So. I started to do those and I really enjoyed it. Um, and by 2019, I kind of was doing a lot more freelancing and was still in my job. And then was kind of ready to [00:06:00] apply to another job at GW. So I got promoted and was still freelancing. And it was funny. I was telling someone this actually last night, cause she was asking as well.
And I was saying to her, like, I was in a really good spot at that point where I was. In a position I was happy with at work and I was in a place that I was happy with freelancing and together it was a very good setup in many different ways, but it wasn't going to be sustainable because had I tried to get promoted again, you know, down the line or take on more work, I wasn't going to do both.
And so I sort of was like, Oh, I'm in this perfect crossroads. Yeah, but it was like great while I was enjoying it. I was like, I'm in this perfect spot. but I don't know what I'll do in the long run. And so I was kind of just like living at that point. Just okay, you know, I'm going to continue to try to be good at both my day job and freelance and just like see.
And then when COVID happened, my job slowed down. Thankfully I had my job the whole time. I was worried because education is also kind of an unstable field sometimes. and [00:07:00] especially during, you know, when colleges were closed and everything, but so thankfully I had my job. Um, but we just didn't have as much going on because we didn't have all these like events we'd have to travel for across the country or things, you know, after work hours.
So. I was able to take on a lot more freelance work, which was great. And I was really building that up. And because I wrote for the home areas, that's what everyone who had disposable income was spending their money on. So those, and so I had a ton of work coming in and I really kind of for six months, just kept a spreadsheet and made sure, you know, How much is coming in?
Could I live off of this? Blah, blah, blah. Because I really, I was older. I mean, I was in my late twenties. I didn't want to be. just doing this and living with four people and you know, right. So I sort of was like, and I didn't hate my job, but my job was fine. So I sort of was like, I'm only going to leave my day job and the benefits and all of that, if I can really do this.
And so it did turn out that I was able to earn significantly more working for [00:08:00] myself. And I finally took that leap of faith right around when we met and went. Yeah. Full time, but I feel like I was pretty conservative, honestly. I think a lot of people think , Oh, I'm just going to do this.
And that's great. But, I freelanced part time for three years before I went off full time. So I was pretty cautious about what I wanted to do. I think that makes sense and good for you for taking your time and making sure it wasn't just like a boom that gave you that much context. You actually had historical data.
Hard, because I think, , the question I get asked a lot with friends who want to do freelance, whether it's photography or something else, is You sort of don't know how much you're going to be able to earn or take on until you act as if you're doing it full time while you're still part time and for a lot of people, it's just really hard to do that.
And I think it was really because of the pandemic that I could kind of pretend that I was doing that. And it was tough because it was the pandemic and I was pretty isolated you know I lived alone and I sort of felt like if I can't balance both of these jobs now, [00:09:00] what am I going to do when I'm traveling, seeing friends, things are opening up.
So that was something that made me realize, you know, something has got to go and it made me feel more confident to go full time. But yeah, I sort of had to act as if it was my full time job. And then once I put it out in the world that I went people took note and were assigning me even more at that point,
Yeah, but I think it's just a hard thing where you have to just sort of pretend that you're, you can't like build your business after. I mean, some people do that, but in my view, I'm like, why would you do that? Because you could be doing it during your other job and then you just let go of that job and you're ready to hit the ground running.
That's what I've seen a lot of interior designers do: they're working, let's say, a nine to five, and then their design is the side hustle, like your freelance writing was your side hustle. And then it's just like scales and you can scale your side hustle until it outgrows your day job, and then you can make that leap.
Yeah. And I'm so glad I had that job, especially, um, the nature of it. It was a [00:10:00] little more of like. Not a corporate job, but for the higher education world, it was a little buttoned up and I was making briefings for our dean and emailing donors and alumni. And it was kind of like, you know, you can't make a mistake type of thing.
So I think it was a good way. And it makes me appreciate working for myself now, having worked in an office because you really notice like, oh my gosh, you know, this is so much nicer than I thought it would be. When I had to do that for that person or whatever. Yeah, that makes, it's a, it's a big difference, but I will say entrepreneurship or freelancing is not for the faint of heart because you have to get out there and hustle and pick the jobs up so let's talk about that from a, from an interior design standpoint, nobody's going to be calling us and saying, Hey, Michelle, you want to pick up this, you know, article gig or whatever that I have going on.
If we want to pitch. What, what are some basic things? Like, how does that start? Do I find the editor and then I send him or her an email? Do I send them pictures? Like how do [00:11:00] you open that conversation? Sure. Well, and I do think people do sometimes reach out cold. Like I think I reached out to you cold for sure.
And sometimes that does happen, especially like being on Instagram. I do follow people and there's so many cool projects I see. And so sometimes I'll even just put them in my little like saved folder. And when I'm doing a round of pitches to editors, because some people, you know, accept them kind of more on like a monthly basis, they're only going to look at pitches at a certain time.
So you know, that bedroom makeover was really cool. Maybe that would be a fit, but I do agree. You're right. But generally you have to pitch out on your own. And so I do get a lot of pitches and I would say, so there's two camps. There's people who are working with PR and there's people who are not.
And so for PR, those firms are pitching out. all of their clients projects, um, and kind of sending out updates about what their clients are doing, or they just say, you know, Oh, John is available for comment on these topics. If you'd like to talk to him and this is, style and where he lives and whatever.
So kind of basic info, [00:12:00] but for the people who are cold pitching, I do think it's really important. And maybe this is just me. And again, I'm a millennial. And sometimes when I say this, I feel like. Older, you know, just like so out of touch, but I think it's better to go through email than dm. I don't love getting work-related dms.
Um, there's actually a few reasons. So first of all, I feel like so my instagram is a work one, but it's kind of turned into both. And I feel like I'm always on my phone. I'm like that friend who's like typing the reply as soon as Your text comes in, like I'm on the phone. And so sometimes if it's a DM, I'll see it and kind of maybe not feel like ready to reply because maybe I'm like in line to work thing.
Yeah. But it's just like, kind of can come at like a weird time or you're like checking them as soon as you wake up and you're just not ready to respond. And I feel more pressure too, because you see like someone, so is write your message. And so I think that, but also the bigger reason. And so when I'm on email, I'm always ready to reply, whatever.
But I think the bigger thing is that. Especially as a writer so I'm not editing a section I'm just a writer. [00:13:00] So I have to pitch and run everything by an editor and so if it's a DM that's a whole other step of me having to like screenshot it or forward it to myself or like, find the link so if it's an email I can just forward your email to my editor, or, you know, flag it and come back to it later and just, you know, everything's in one place and that's So much more helpful .
Yeah, that makes sense. Plus I'd lose so many dms. It's ridiculous. Yeah. What should, so if I wanted to pitch you or I wanted to go wild and go directly to the editor of house. Beautiful. What do you include in a pitch email? So definitely, this sounds so silly, but definitely introduce yourself. Believe it or not, so many people forget to do this.
They might not say who they are, what, you know, what their firm is, where they live. They might just say, Oh, hi, I'd love to pitch this project. And then you're like, wait, have I met them before? You know, who are you? Right. So I think it's helpful if you haven't met, or even if you have, you could say, Oh, I met you at the CB2 event last week or whatever, and just say, Oh, you know, we [00:14:00] met at this or.
Hi, I followed your Instagram for a while and I'm in Dallas and, you know, give your whole little spiel, but I think, um, that's helpful, but also, you know, you can say how long you've been in business, whether you've done this for 10 years or 10 months, what other press you might've gotten, you know, my past work has been featured in X, Y, and Z.
and link to your portfolio. Also make sure that you're pitching someone who writes for the places you're interested in. I get again, it sounds so obvious, but I do. And this is sort of like it can kind of go either way because as a freelancer, I'm always happy to try to pitch something out to a publication that might be on my personal list to write for.
And it's a lot easier to get my email through the door than The designers because people kind of know who each other are, you know, people are sort of familiar or I can kind of figure out who the contact might be a bit better. Sometimes people say, you know, Oh, I'd love to be in this and I've just never written for whatever that is popular mechanics.
[00:15:00] Right. Yeah. I don't really know. And so I think, um, it's better to say like, Oh, I see you write a lot of this type of feature for XYZ. I'd love to be considered. And so I think, so when you're pitching, you want to describe your project and send photos, um, it's best to send over a literal link, like a Google Drive or a Dropbox, rather than something that people have to download, just because again, with the forwarding, I mean, my editors get even more emails than I do.
They don't want to click on a wee transfer or whatever. So just, that makes sense. Yeah, make sure your link is like shareable and people can see it. And it's good to send information that you think someone would want to know rather than just basic, you know, so rather than saying, I just did this project in upstate New York, you could say, Oh, you know, my clients were the owners of a wine bar and they actually built a home above the bar.
And this is what we did. And, you know, kind of. Tell the story. Give some context. Yeah, it doesn't need to be like as cool as that, but just a story that's kind of, you know, my clients renovated a 1920s farmhouse that they had inherited or [00:16:00] whatever it is, and just kind of say why it's interesting. and, you know, I think good design is great but a project needs a story.
And additionally good design is great but photos are key for publications and so. It's best to not pitch until you have all of your professional photography back. You know, people sometimes will send things on an iPhone and It's just so I was shooting a project last week and it is like night and day.
And I mean, I did the styling. I was proud of how it looked, but it looked 10 times better on the professional camera than on my phone, because that's so much more. And so someone could have sent me those pictures on their phone and I might've been like, I don't, but you know, then when you see the real ones are like, Oh, wow, you know, this really is great.
So I think having the photos ready is good. Cause the editor will be able to visualize the full scope of what the room looks like. Um, and also sending enough. So I don't, if it's a full house, it could be quite a few images, but if it's one room or an apartment, you know, maybe 10 to 12 images that show the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, maybe the bathroom, whatever you're trying [00:17:00] to get a feel for the vibe.
Yeah. Cause sometimes people will just send, I mean, and don't send like a vignette of a flower pot. You know, you got to send like the full room and work some of those in, but it's not helpful that that's only, you know, one of like four images. So I think. That's definitely key as well. and I think one more note on pitching is just to be very, you know, polite isn't really the right word but just kind of like, do your due diligence in a sense of, I've gotten emails before where the subject line just says like Arc Digest and the body is would love to be featured, like, thanks, Susan.
And I'm like, who are you also like? What projects do you have? You know, it's so right. Of course, we'd all love to be featured, right? But you would never email like Goldman Sachs and say, Oh, I'd love to work here. Thanks, Sarah. You know, it's like, yeah, a little context, big, but I think it's just so odd when people do that, because it's like, It can just be so confusing and you know, I, I don't know who they [00:18:00] are or why, why they might be fit.
So yeah, those are kind of my go to. I think that makes sense. Yes. Just add a level of professionalism and know who your audience is. Yeah. And I mean, don't be afraid to follow up too. I think like one of the biggest mistakes people can make just in any field is not following up. I think people are always checking their email at these weird times.
And so, you know, I've had friends apply for like TA positions in grad school and I've said, Oh, you know what happened with that role? And they've said, Oh, well, I never heard back. So I assume it went to someone else. And to me, I'm like, he could have just been, you know, like putting his kid to bed when the email, like, you don't know what someone's doing, email comes, it never hurts to follow up.
Yeah. How many times did you suggest following up? So I do think you have to be strategic. I mean, I wouldn't follow up with someone like the next day. I maybe would give them six days to 10 days to kind of let them check their email. Um, maybe follow up twice. I probably wouldn't follow up more than that.
You could maybe spread it out, you [00:19:00] know, do it one week after the first one and then follow up again maybe a week later if your project is I think it's hard sometimes for designers because you might have like a top choice and then another publication might have reached out and they want the exclusive or I do get that that can be hard, but I think with anything.
I mean, it's like dating or something too. It's like the people who respond first are the ones who should. People, you know, it's not worth like chasing after someone who isn't interested. So yeah, you don't want to come across as desperate or the crazy ex girlfriend like, Hey, Right. So I think it's like, yeah, maybe that wouldn't have been your first choice, but it could end up opening, you know, a great.
Like path of getting to know that editor who did respond. So yeah, I do understand that sometimes people are like, okay, well, if we don't hear back from this place, we're going to move to this one and okay. But this one has to be the one that runs at first. And, you know, so yeah, it's a juggling act. Yeah.
But I think just being, you know, judicious about when you're [00:20:00] following up and treating someone how you would want to be treated, I guess. No, I think that's good advice. And I also think that, you know, knowing the audience. Our listeners that are interior designers, I would think that most would err on the side of not following up because we don't want to be, um, a nuisance or seen as.
Desperate or anything like that. So by you saying that it gives everybody permission to follow up once or twice and just, like you said, you don't assume that they saw it and just deleted it. Assume they never saw it. You just want to remind them to go back and look. Yeah. I mean, people get so many emails and especially if you're in house, I mean, your name is just out there even more than a freelancer.
Also, I think it's a freelancer, not to generalize, cause I really don't know, but. I think I'm kind of like hyper attuned to emails because I'm self employed. And so I'm like, what if some amazing thing is coming through? But if I were, you know, in a staff position, I might just kind of be used to the rhythm of what's [00:21:00] coming in every day.
And so you might not be like hyper looking for some of these messages. And that's a valid point. Yeah. So I think, um, Especially if you're emailing someone in house, they're just so busy with all of their staff because a lot of people are managing teams and you know, they're dealing with their internal meetings.
Like these are all things I don't have to deal with. So I think it's always kind of like, they're probably mostly getting emails from their coworkers and, you know, people on their team, whereas I'm getting a lot of emails from potential clients and things like that. So I think Right. It's just a mix of, I might be kind of like looking for those and other people.
It's just, they have so many emails to get through and they're on slack the whole day too. And, you know, so I would just give it overwhelming time. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. So is there anything else you would suggest not doing? Like, what about photos? If I had professional photos taken of this beautiful project that I want to send to you to, um, pitch to.
Architectural [00:22:00] digest or whatever, but my photos are already on my portfolio. They're all over social media. What is that frowned upon or do they mind? Um, that would really kind of be up to like the editor of each specific section. I can't totally speak towards that. And I'm not really covering a lot of home tours right now.
I'm covering a lot more trend pieces. And so a lot of that I source are kind of one offs cause it might be a roundup of 10 interesting, small entryways or something like that. So. For that, obviously, of course, the photo can be published in a tour that's already online. Um, it kind of just depends on the publication.
I think some of them used to have kind of more strict rules on that, but I feel like everything is always changing, and a lot of these publications have gone online only, and you know, You have to roll with the market. Yeah, so I don't quite, you know, I, I wouldn't like not shoot your shot. I would definitely go for it because they might again, they might say, Oh, you know, we can't run this, but we're doing a piece on laundry rooms and we love the laundry room photo from [00:23:00] your gallery.
Could we use, you know, so it never really hurts. But again, it's like someone you. probably isn't going to take the time to like, make that connection all the time and think, Oh, well, just my writer this, but sometimes my editors do, they'll say, Oh, I got this pitch and we can't use this, but you should email her to use that photo for your piece or something.
So that makes sense. Yeah. Don't be shy. Nonetheless. Yeah. I think get in front of people, but I think also kind of when you're pitching, be aware of similar projects that have run and, you know, I think. One of the things with that, I think, comes down to photography style, and I feel like there is sort of a crisp, clear style of photos that is what we're seeing in most publications.
There was someone else I had kind of consulted with once he was interested in pitching a project and I told her, probably try to reshoot it before pitching it and it was a little bit difficult for her to hear because she really liked those photos but I sort of said, you know, I just go back and look at the other photos on these sites and[00:24:00] maybe you'll kind of see what I mean in terms of just the photo quality that.
Right, or running because I think that really is so important. in terms of picking up a project that, especially if it is going to be a full tour, you know, you want really strong photos. So I think that's kind of something, to focus on as well. That makes sense. So to paraphrase that, if you're pitching a particular site, go and take a look at the majority of the images that they have published and try to replicate that style, not, not the aesthetic, but the image style itself.
Yeah, but like before you hire someone to look at portfolios and see who's whose pictures look or even maybe it's a certain person who lives in your city who shoots for some of those other designers who hire that literal person. There you go. That makes sense. I mean, if you can, but, and I think, but I do think when you're pitching I mean and I think most designers know this but like house beautiful is very kind of grand millennial classic traditional.
- D. Clever is kind of funky and, you know, young and colorful. So, I mean, I [00:25:00] think it makes sense. Like, be aware of kind of the general aesthetic that these places are in some places. I mean, A. D. isn't 1 aesthetic at all per se, but other publications do feature kind of a more narrow. design aesthetic. And so I think, you know, if you have something like a sleek modern space, you probably don't want to pitch it to House Beautiful.
Maybe. I mean, I don't know. I don't know enough, but I think, you know, there's kind of a general guideline of what might be a good fit for where. So again, do a little bit of research. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, it's not just sending an email with your pictures and assuming you're going to be online or in print anywhere soon.
So how, so we kind of covered how to best pitch them. How do you determine who to pitch to? We kind of talked about that, you know, from the aesthetic standpoint, how, how do. You know, when you are ready to pitch a project. Um, I think when you have, you know, a set of photos that you're happy with. So again, don't don't [00:26:00] say, because I do have people say, Oh, I'm working on this, you know, here's to iPhone photos will have it shot in three months.
And I'll kind of just say, just follow up in three months because I don't think anyone really has time to like, I mean, maybe if it were some like super famous, you know, and we want, it's like publications aren't really in my experience, they aren't going to go reshoot something. So I think that might've used to be more of a thing in the past, but I've never had someone, you know, do pitch a tour and have my editor say, Oh, great.
We'll send one of our people out to shoot it. It's usually just like the images they submit. Right. It kind of doesn't make sense to submit these like behind the scenes updates until you're done because We just are going to evaluate the photos that are done. Right. So that's just going to get, thank you, please drive through.
Whereas the next person who sends in the entire spread of all of the beautiful edited. Professional photos will get more attention than the two iPhone photos saying coming soon. [00:27:00] Yeah. And it's just kind of like, I think 1 of the things I learned when I was starting out working. And I think it's also a good point for here is you don't really want to waste a contact with someone.
So you don't want to. Oh, that's good. And someone to say, what's your email? Like that's something you can figure out, you know, you want your contacts to be very like tight with, you don't want them to be, Oh, you know, where can I find your email? Because that's one now that's one contact, like one time, I feel like, you know, that counts towards your like three follow up.
Yeah. And so, and it's hard because even for me, and it was funny when I was interning here, Supervisors, we would have all these editors come and speak to us, um, during lunch and things like that, and they would say, oh, if you want to thank these people or connect with them, we're not going to give you their contact information, you have to find it, because if you want to go into this field, you're going to have to know, and I mean, that's a little harsh, but I do think if you're pitching an editor, a lot of people do have Instagrams with their email, or if they're on staff, they have a bio page on [00:28:00] their website, or they have a personal website, and I mean, I've sometimes emailed email.
People's personal email. I don't love to do that, but if that's the only email I can find for them, I might just say, hey, I couldn't find your work email, but I came across your portfolio. so I think, but I think that is a good way to kind of just streamline what you're doing. I'm sorry, I'm forgetting what the original question was, but no, it was just more along the lines of determining when you're ready to pitch a project, but you're right in regards to the fact that, have all your ducks in a row.
Yeah, it's just like, have your photos ready know who you're talking to know what the story is based on, on the design. Is it Christmas. You know, pitch or is it going to be, we've redone this and taken on three stories and now you have this view of the city, whatever the case may be. So I just think that what you said is this is, this is a professional avenue that you're pursuing. Be professional about it.
Yeah, totally. And I think, you know, in terms of finding emails, maybe you've emailed someone at that publication [00:29:00] before it's usually a similar email format. You'll be able to figure it out. Maybe you have a designer friend who's been featured in that. I mean, it never hurts. I feel like people are pretty collaborative in this industry, at least in my experience.
So, you know, maybe a friend who you can trade an email with someone for one of their contacts or something. Um, but yeah, I just feel like it doesn't make sense to go to someone to ask. What their email is. Yeah. Cause like you said, you, you burn one of the connections. Yeah. You burn one of your phone calls or one of your follow ups.
Yeah. Maybe it's just like me coming out of having worked in an office is one of those things I think I'm like now a stickler about. No, but I think it's, it's valid. It's like, do your due diligence, girl, go figure it out. Like you have to be a problem solver. If you're going to get anywhere in life. Yeah.
And it's not just to give me. Yeah. And I think that's why you always hear like in shows and even in real life, like it's never the kid with the perfect grades. It's the kid who was really, you know, the initiative. Yeah. Who gets [00:30:00] the job? So I think that's always, yeah. I love that. I love that. Now, speaking of things I love, I love talking all things business, but I also love to have a little bit of fun.
Yeah. So I'm going to transition this into our Rapid fire Q and a sesh. Oh, okay. Yeah. So, it's just so the audience can get to know you a little bit better and, have a little bit of fun. So you're ready. Yeah. Let's start with, Sarah, do you have any tattoos? I do not. Okay. Well, that was an easy one.
Um, um, when was the last time you laughed until you almost peed yourself? Oh, my gosh. I'd have to think about that. But honestly, anytime I'm with like my friends from college and grad school, I feel like we just always have inside jokes like anytime with old friends, but yes, I would need to think of a specific moment.
That's okay. That's not a test. It's not a test. What would you pick for your last meal? Oh, I feel like I'd have to do Tex Mex. [00:31:00] I love Tex Mex and But the thing is, that actually would be a good last meal because you're always so like, uncomfortably full after that, you know, I don't want to eat ever again anyway, but frozen Marg and chips in case.
So, and like a lot of different tacos and things like that. Oh, that sounds good. Yeah. That sounds really good. Uh, what would you do? anything if you knew you could not fail? Oh, I think I would love to do some sort of like retail thing. I just feel like that's really hard to get off the ground because I'm always buying little things and people will say, Oh, you know, you should open a store.
And to me, that just sounds so complicated. And I just feel like would require a lot of thought and, you know, it's so hard to like manage shipping and. I just think that would be really cool. But yeah, if someone was like, Oh, this is going to be amazing. You're going to succeed and make all this money and have all these customers.
Sure. Why not? That would be fun. That would be a lot of fun. And where do you find inspiration? Um, I really like just honestly walking around New York city. [00:32:00] I feel like there's so many really cool. Hotels and bars and restaurants that are so well designed. And I always love, even though I'm in a small apartment, I always love to decorate and redecorate.
And I think just talking to people at those places too is really inspiring. I've met so many people just kind of randomly, I feel like out at events or out in the world in New York. Um, and I feel like. Yeah. Then I'll follow them on Instagram and realize like, Oh my goodness, their place is really cool. Or they take all these cool trips or whatever.
So I just think being out of your house, especially these days, you don't need to travel. You don't need to like travel, travel. I think just within your city, you can find inspiration. Well that you're not shy. So you do just end up talking to random people before and then just go,
What is your favorite productivity hack? Yeah. Yeah. Ooh. I think I like I'm a morning person, but not really early morning. I think the productivity hack is just getting enough sleep, honestly, because I've always [00:33:00] needed a ton of sleep and people would joke, especially when I was still in my old job and I had the freelance job people would say.
Oh, well, she must never sleep. And I'm like, Oh no, that is the one thing, not it's like I was eating or working out or talking to my friend, you know, but it was like, no, I'm getting my nine and a half hours. Like, I think that I honestly think like that is so key to me being productive in college and grad school.
I never pulled an all-nighter in high school. I would go to bed by nine 30, which is so weird and nerdy, but I just need my sleep. But yeah, so that's honestly, my hack is getting enough sleep. That's perfect. You know what works. Yeah. I just feel like, I mean, one day when I have kids or something, I'm going to have to like figure out how to not have nine and a half hours of sleep, but I definitely need that now.
Yeah. You just have to communicate that in advance. Exactly. So, um, what scares the hell out of you? Um, I think like people I'm not saying like I'm a people pleaser but I do think letting people down or having people [00:34:00] feel negative about you and that doesn't happen so much in my role but I do think about that just being on like Instagram and being present online like you always worry oh my gosh when I responded to that Q& A did it sound out of touch or did it sound rude or You know, did it sound complaining and I think that kind of scares me because I think in like this age that we live in and especially it's so interesting because I made so many great relationships from Instagram and online and I used to have a blog but I do get scared just thinking, Oh my gosh, what if I meet people in real life and they think I'm totally different than I am online or vice versa or whatever.
What if I'm just not conveying myself while online. Yeah. What if they don't actually get me? Yeah,
, I do, I think you have to be very mindful about what you're putting out there. And I do see a lot of, , snark and hate on people who are online.
So that does. Yeah. I'll get the occasional DMS and it's just like, that's not at all what I meant. Sorry. You took it out of context. Yeah., that's always fun. , what is your favorite book? So I [00:35:00] just read this amazing book called Adelaide and it's by another 30 something woman, my age who, , it was her first book and I'm actually hosting a meetup.
I liked it so much. I'm hosting a meetup for some of my Instagram girls in New York, just my followers who wanted to come and we're doing that in a few weeks. But, , It's about this girl and the super toxic relationship and I think like anyone who's been through that in their 20s can relate. , and yeah, just a really good kind of, , whether it was like a real relationship or someone you liked, I think, , anyone can relate.
And so I think she just told the story so well, it was told in a very literary way, really nice writing, but just kept you hooked. And I love any coming of age story like that about, , People kind of finding themselves. , so it's a great book. I'm really excited for the discussion, but it sounds like fun.
Yeah. And now the author and I are Instagram friends too. So I'm like, Oh, that's so cool. That was very cool. Yes. It's just , such a crazy world that we live in that you can connect with them that easily. But also I think that one of the signs of a really good book or movie. Yeah. [00:36:00] Or show per se, is that you're wondering what the characters are doing after it's over.
Well, it's interesting because this woman admitted that a lot of what she wrote in the book was semi autobiographical. . I could almost just find out like what her Instagram exactly. Yeah. Oh, that's fun. That's very fun. Well, I'm going to look that up. That's one of my favorite questions to ask because I have this laundry list of books to read.
Thank you. Yeah. I read a hundred books last year. Did you really? No, this year it's been like literally it'll maybe be 50 if I really push this summer. No, it's, I think there's just different like seasons of life for reading. I feel like it was funny.
Cause when I first moved back to New York, I was like, You were not allowed to read. Manhattan is not a city for being inside on your couch reading. Oh, there you go. Yeah. My second year I was like, okay. And now it's my third year. And it's just been, I can't believe it's June. It's been so busy. And I think part of that is because I've gotten really into watching Tik TOK too, and I cannot[00:37:00]
But yeah, I think also just in my job, cause people do ask, like, how do you read so much? And I think I'm just reading and writing the whole day that it. You can figure I'm not like speed reading, but I can figure out how to read pretty fast. Um, and it's not, there's not going to be a test over it.
It's like if you want to read the book, you don't have to memorize it and you don't have to. Yeah, you're not. Yeah. And I'm only reading that I want to read I'm not reading like all of Jane Austen I mean, maybe people do really like that but I'm not reading. I'm with you. School novels. I'm just reading, you know.
Yeah. If you want to read fluff, you can read fluff. If you want to read something with a little bit more substance, you've got that option. I totally understand that. Yeah. My reading is finally picking up now that my daughter, she just turned five. And so she has a little bit longer attention span doing other things.
So I can, but yeah, those first few years, there wasn't much. Well, that's also why I'm trying to like cram all the books in now. I need to read everything before. [00:38:00] Yes. More. It's like, I'm never going to cut that. No. And then there'll be more TikTok. So, right. Well, Sarah, thank you so much for being here. I know the audience has really enjoyed just learning more about pitching and what that looks like and that it's not so scary.
Um, and so because you're so not scary, tell the audience, how can they, how can they reach out to you? How can they find you? Follow you, pitch you. Yeah, so my Instagram is sarah, S A R A H, lion, L Y O N, nine. Don't know why the nine is there, but that's my Instagram. And on my Instagram, I have my email, um, big email girl, so please email me.
Do not DM. Yeah, we can talk about, you know, what you found at the thrift store. I love that. But, my portfolio and everything is linked. There's, if you want to see kind of who I normally write for, you can see all of that there. So Instagram is my like hub with all of the info and you can just. And then we'll connect to [00:39:00] make sense for lifestyle interiors.
Well, I will make sure that those details are listed in the show notes so that we can go and reference that. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business. Join our growing community on Facebook's private group. It's called the interior designers business launchpad.
I go live there weekly with little nuggets of insight and we run workshops on a regular basis. And yeah, I know it's Facebook, but it's a pretty badass group. So check that out. And until next time, thanks again, Sarah, for being here. Thank you. [00:40:00]