This interview is part of the Chasing Dreams interview series. I’ve interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have chosen a different path in life in order to go after his or her dream career. Have an entrepreneur in mind you’d like to learn more about? Let me know! Today’s interview is with Andy Hayes, from the website Plum Deluxe, whose goal is to help people create moments that matter. He contacted me after reading the blog and we found we have similar messages. I knew he'd be a great addition to the interview series. Here are some of the guiding principals of the website:
At what point did you know you wanted to follow this career path? How did you know this was the right direction?
When I was young, I used to cut up paper and staple it together to make little books and magazines – so I’ve always known that being in the publishing space is really in my DNA.
In 2007, after finally making the decision to leave my long-term, well-paid corporate career, I asked myself: what will I do? I told a friend I wanted to start a magazine, and she said “maybe you could do that online first. Test the waters.” And so I did.
You asked about the right direction… I didn’t know if it was the right direction, and honestly, almost 8 years later, I’m not always sure about directions. All I do is focus on the next right step, and make sure I’m having fun and spending my time with great people.
What are the biggest struggles you’ve faced while trying to achieve your dreams?
For awhile when I started, I listened to (and asked for) a lot of advice. And I took a lot of it. Unfortunately, that ended up with me creating a job for myself, and being a terrible boss for myself, doing a lot of work I didn’t want to do. Sometimes, you have to be brave and make decisions that go against conventional advice. Now, some advice is good. But there are many times when you have to forge your own path – and that’s scary. You have to push hard. You’ll spend a lot of time in the weeds, unsure how far you’ve come or how close you are to your goals. It’s important to always have a good sense for where you are and taking a moment from time to time to check-in and look at the big picture. I am also very grateful for the support and sounding boards I have to ensure I stay on track.
Owning your own business can be tough on the body and mind, between long days, instability and really putting yourself out there to reach your goals. How do you stay healthy? Do you have any rituals that help you stay centered?
I think the worst part is just sitting all day! My healthy rituals are in two parts. Firstly, I start my day off on the right foot with at least a half hour of meditation. This provides me with creative insights and clears any negative thoughts or worries out of the way, so I can do my best work with full focus and energy.
I also break midday for a minimum of an hour exercise – even if this is just a power walk around the neighborhood. I find I get more done on days where I take the hour break than if I just sat here the entire day.
And drinking lots and lots of water!
Speaking of putting yourself out there, overcoming rejection is a big part of chasing dreams. How do you bounce back?
News flash: we’re all going to fail at some point. No matter what is on your future plans, some things are not going to work out. Accepting that failure is part of the learning process is key! Remember, when you are rejected, get a NO, something works out terribly, the rejection is about your work, not about you. You have to separate the two. Big rejections can still sting, but when this happens I just remind myself that I reject people all the time and I don’t feel bad about it – for example, when I turn down the dessert offer at the restaurant, I’m not rejecting the server personally, nor am I rejecting the chef who made it or the restaurant owner who decided to offer it on the menu. It’s just not what I want right now.
What do you do when you’re having an off day- maybe feeling down, struggling with self-doubt, or just unmotivated?
I try to have fun. If it were me, I’d check out for a couple of hours (or take a mental health day if necessary) and treat myself to rejuvenating experiences – maybe a hot bath, baking a cake, going to one of my favorite local antiques store, watch a movie. Getting away from the screen and turning your brain towards something else, in my experiences, tends to unlock blocks and gives your brain a chance to surprise you with some new ideas when you’re ready to head back to the office.
What is one misconception people have about you and/or your profession?
That’s hard to say. As the owner of an online magazine/blog/website, I tend to get the full spectrum. Some people think I’m a bit like Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada, barking around orders all day in Skype meetings full of editors. Others think I just sit around all day with no pants on writing and writing and writing. The truth is right in the middle: every day is different. Some days I am meeting with my team and coming up with the latest and greatest to share with our readers. Other days I’m working on our next tea blends to feature. Or maybe I’m helping with a site tech issue, or making sponsor calls. It’s exciting and fun, but it’s not always glamorous.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
That everyone’s definition of success is different, and you have to know yours. For me, it’s all about having fun, making an impact on the world, and of course paying the bills. I think people should really have a good hard look at what how they want to feel every day and what they want. Then match that vision up with your dreams. My dream was a business where I could work from home most of the day, have full control over my daily schedule, and work with a small team to support me.
When do you feel the most inspired, alive and the most like YOU?
Every Sunday. Our email newsletter goes out Sunday morning, and by afternoon, my Inbox is filled with emails from readers who thank me for what I do, tell me how I have changed their lives and inspired them to live a better life. It doesn’t get better than that.
What people, books, music, etc. inspire you?
For books, I love The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.
People who inspire me include Oprah and Pharrell Williams.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life right now?
In business, I’m most excited that we are expanding our organic loose leaf tea line to include some new products. We’re working with other small batch artisans to create custom products for our website – tea-infused soaps, salts, and more.
Personally, we are buying a house, which excites me because I’ll have a larger studio space for my home office. I spend the majority of my days either asleep or in my office, so I am excited to create the perfect space!
Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe, the website that helps you create moments that matter. A published author, prolific writer, and public speaker, he is based in sunny Portland, Oregon.