When I first started my blog, one of the things I loved was the fact that I could do so much of it by myself. I am an introvert by nature so I crave alone time. However, as time went on and the blog grew and grew, I found myself not only drowning in the number of tasks on my to do list but, constantly battling persistent feelings of failure and hopelessness. I started to doubt and question whether I would ever be able to go to dinner with my girlfriends without kind of wanting to hurry because I still had XYZ to do that evening let alone ever be able to see my big dreams for this little slice of the internet through.
In the Fall / Winter of 2015, I had spent so many days feeling like I was putting the hours in but making absolutely no progress so I started to pray over these feelings of defeat and asked God for guidance and a resolution. At the time, it seemed like a bit of foreign concept for me to have an assistant. I mean, who am I to have an assistant? I am not an elected official. I am not a celebrity. I am a person who runs a blog. But, the idea of hiring someone on to help in whatever way I needed kept creeping into my mind. It seemed like the only way I was ever going to move forward.
Beyond that, this recurring thought was a reminder that God calls us to be in community with other people. We’re not supposed to do life alone. We’re better together than we could ever be by ourselves. I felt like if I keep going the way I’ve been going, acting like I’ve got it all together, and it only takes ONE person to run a blog … then I am seriously living a lie and I am not down with being fake. When I got real with myself and all of these thoughts, I realized that in order to move forward and starting working toward the dreams I have for this blog, Alyson Haley, I knew I was going to need more hands on deck, even if it was just one set for now. I also knew that it was going to take a special person to fit this role. I wanted someone who was a natural go-getter and enthusiastic helper. I wanted someone who was slightly neurotic about keeping things in order, was able to communicate with travel partners in a professional and prompt manner, and would get a little too excited about ticking off a task on their to do list.
The amazing thing is … she was right under my nose, connected to someone I knew very well, and I am SO thankful that person tipped me off to her because, if they hadn’t, so much of what y’all have seen me do over the past two years just simply would not have happened! Justine is the best team mate I could have ever asked for. She is literally my compliment in so many ways and, while we are very different human beings, we just work and I love that, so much so, that I think it’s about time y’all met her!
Hey! I felt so honored when Haley asked me to write this post. I’m excited to meet you all! Here’s me. – jmp
I grew up in a small town in Central Illinois. My whole family still lives there, and I love going back to visit.
My husband D.J. and I have been together almost ten years. He’s legit the best.
I graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois with a degree in PR/marketing.
I play bass guitar and sing in a band with D.J. and some friends.
I’m a music history junkie. I listen, research, and write about music almost every day.
This little floof is our shih-tzu/poodle mix, Woogie. He loves the outdoors.
D.J. and I are going to all 59 U.S. National Parks together.
I’m 76% introverted.
Podcast: A horror podcast called Last Podcast On The Left
Band: Led Zeppelin
Destination: Maui, Hawaii
Ice Cream: Cherry Garcia
Snack: Movie theatre popcorn, no butter
Musical: Les Miserables
Guilty pleasure: Heavy metal
TV: Rick & Morty, Arrested Development, Friends
Movie: A tie between Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi and Pitch Perfect
Alyson Haley post: Haley’s Heart Talk about being single and raising the boys. I cried my eyes out.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I pull myself out of bed, roll out my yoga mat in the living room, do a couple unenthusiastic downward dogs, and then get through my BBG workout for the day.
I usually make myself a coffee and sit alone in the living room, writing and listening to records. Woogie usually finds his way downstairs and snoozes on the couch next to me while the sun comes up.
D.J. and I go for a walk together with Woogie and catch up.
I’m in work mode! I check + respond to emails, and draft social copy to promote that day’s blog post. I also use my mornings to correspond and negotiate with international partners for upcoming travel, as they’re typically 5-6 hours ahead of us.
I usually head to UPS to pick up morning shipments. I might also grab photo shoot props while I’m out, as well as fresh flowers for the house.
After my errands, I head over to Haley’s! I snuggle with Fish and Chips for a minute, then start prepping for the day’s photo shoot. I set up the studio, steam all the outfits Haley has styled, and hang them in shoot order on the clothing rack with accessories/handbags for each outfit. I do one final scan to make sure we have everything needed for the shoot.
While Haley is shooting looks, I am usually working on things around the office. This typically includes processing returns, organizing and filing receipts, and pulling fresh inventory to sell on @ShopAlysonHaley, which I manage. To sell an item on Shop Alyson Haley, I find a photo of the item styled on the blog, assess the condition of the item, price accordingly, then post to Instagram. Haley takes such amazing care of her items, so everything I sell there is in beautiful condition and such a steal. Come say hi!
I help pack everything up from the photo shoot, put away clothes and accessories from the shoot in their appropriate spots, and tidy up. I’ll take finished returns with me and head back home.
Quick mid-day walk with Woogie, then I make myself some lunch and relax for a bit while he chases lizards around in the yard.
Email check! I pop open my computer and make sure I’m up to speed on all our current projects and collaborations. I’ll also try to use this time to link up the outfits Haley shot earlier and prepare those blog post drafts for her.
I head out to do some final errands for the day, including another trip to UPS to pick up afternoon shipments and send those returns from earlier. This run could also include picking up grocery items, making a quick trip to Nordstrom, or anything else Haley needs.
I head back over to Haley’s and unpack new shipments. We will also use this time to shoot a daily look for Instagram! If I’m still at Haley’s during the boys’ dinner time, I’ll help get them fed and walked before I head home around 6:30.
As far as nights and weekends go, Haley is really respectful of my time. We get so much great work done together during the weekdays that we typically don’t see each other much on nights and weekends. Of course there are early mornings, late nights, and Saturday errands once in a while. But that’s such a welcome trade-off for the flexibility I’m afforded otherwise.
No two days are the same, (for instance, we don’t schedule a photo shoot every single day), but hopefully that gives you an idea of what a typical day might look like for me!
How did you and Haley meet?
I used to work in advertising, and I hired Miguel Emmanuelli quite a bit for one of my photography-heavy clients. I eventually left the agency to start my own event planning company in 2015. Miguel and I still kept in touch after I left. He even photographed a few of the weddings I had planned in that first year. I remember as we were packing up after a wedding, I had happened to mention that I was looking for some additional freelance work on weekdays. He told me how he also shot photos for Haley, and how she was looking for someone to help her get things organized. I coordinated large-scale events all the time, so I figured being a part-time assistant wouldn’t be too much of a stretch! So he introduced us. (thanks again, Migs!) Haley and I met for coffee in April 2016, and I was hired on part-time.
Throughout my first year with Haley, I realized how in love I was with being a personal assistant. It’s bittersweet now, but after two years of planning weddings, I just became less in love with that profession. I loved all my couples SO much, and I was very good at being the one in charge on wedding days. But to be honest with you, owning that business was causing me a lot of dark times in the background. My stress level was through the roof, I was anxious all the time, and was eventually diagnosed with depression. I just didn’t see a way to move forward as a wedding planner while also enjoying a life I loved.
In 2017, I made the very difficult (but ultimately BEST) decision to set my business aside, leave event planning, and come on full-time with Haley. We’ve been killing the game together ever since.
In what way are you and Haley the most different? The most similar?
How we’re different
Being the type-A introvert that I am, I crave structure. But when it comes to work, I am challenged with the fast-paced, schedule-shifting, on-the-spot creativity that Haley brings to the table. I think we are a LOT different in this way, but we both see this as a plus – she brings out the spontaneous side in me, while I bring a little more order and structure to her day in return.
How we’re similar
I could sit here and say that we both love musicals (which we do) and dogs (obviously) and Jimmy Fallon (heart-eye emoji). While those are all wonderful things to have in common, that’s only on the surface. I really believe that what Haley and I have most in common is a mutual respect for each other as successful, strong women. We’ve seen each other at our best, as well as our most vulnerable. We have laughed, and cried, and made big plans for the business together. We are proud of each other.
What number are you on the Enneagram?
I’m a 6.
Sixes strive to create a stable, safe environment, they cooperate and create with others, and are always prepared for the various difficulties that life presents. They are good with details, and they have a talent for seeing potential problems and dealing with them before problems get out of hand. Alternatively, Some Sixes tend to collapse into their anxiety more often, feeling fearful and anxious. They live in a state of worry—and then find something to worry about. They often “scan” their surroundings for problems, expecting that something negative could happen at any time.
Basically, I keep a first aid kit, sewing kit, and extra snacks with me at all times, I always sit facing the door at restaurants, and within 5 minutes of entering a room, I’ve already located every potential exit out of it. It’s not weird.
What is something you know about Haley that no one else knows?
I know how late she stays up some nights, getting those incredibly personal posts written. I watch how much thought she puts into every Instagram she posts. I know how she sets aside time to make sure and respond as much as she can to her readers. Simply put, I know how much Haley loves you all. It’s nice to see it from the other side.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to be a personal assistant to a blogger?
First off, the most important thing to understand about yourself is why you want to get into this job. If it’s because you want to eventually get into blogging yourself, you’re in it for the wrong reason. Bloggers are very protective of what they’ve built, as they should be. I don’t mean to be too frank, but if you’re in this job to further your own personal interests, or for any reason other than the success of your blogger’s business, it’s a recipe for mistrust.
People who do best in this job are flexible, efficient, and are self-starters by nature. Influencers are both right- and left-brained, having to deal with the business side AND the creative side. They don’t have time to repeat directions or hand-hold. Part of being a self-starter also means you are inquisitive and bring new information to the partnership. I immerse myself in knowledge of the industry, understand trends, and research best practices. This is especially important now, with how much blogging has changed even in the past few years.
With that all in mind, if you believe you are a good fit for this role, then start reaching out! It’s all in the approach. Make sure you are only contacting bloggers you respect and truly believe in. These are the women with whom you will be able to go into work every day and be passionate about what they are doing for their audience. Also, when you reach out, send an email rather than a DM. DMs are impossible to track and your message will get lost in the shuffle. Lastly, know your worth, be confident but not cocky, and be clear with how you specifically are qualified and passionate about helping them succeed.
Being a personal assistant to a blogger can be an extremely fulfilling career if you find the right fit. I consider working for Haley one of the biggest blessings in my life. I feel like my opinions are heard, my time respected, my efforts appreciated, and my life balanced.
I’m so glad to meet you all, and thanks for being so supportive of Haley – you’re backing a truly talented and hardworking woman who cares so much for you. – jmp
I hope you enjoyed meeting Justine!
Today, we celebrate our two-year work anniversary as teammates. She has seriously impressed me since day 1 with her professionalism and ability to stay calm and think rationally through all situations, taking all emotion out of the picture. We have tackled so many projects together over the past two years and powered through struggles and high-fived over successes. She has proven to be just as committed to my blog as I am, which I was convinced was nearly impossible to find!
Over the past few months, Justine and I have noticed a natural evolution occurring when it comes to her role on the team. In an effort to give her the space and time to nurture and develop this new role, we have decided to open up the assistant position on our team to someone new! We may be a small team, but here at Alyson Haley, we believe that team work truly makes the dream work!
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs
With that said, and to make things even more exciting, there are actually TWO new positions available on our team and we would love to give you the opportunity to check them out and apply if you think you’re a great fit. Head right THIS way to find out more information. Please read carefully. Only serious applicants may apply!
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb
Thanks so much for stopping by today, you guys! We have really appreciated the love you’ve shown the new website and all the hard work that went into it. We will be continually working on it over the next two weeks to improve the search results you find within the Style environment and the subcategories you find under each category. This site was built for even more than it’s offering you right now but it’s a great start so we will keep you up-to-date on all the latest fixes as they come through, most likely on IG stories!
Until tomorrow, my friends! Have a great day! xo.
This was so much fun! It’s great to meet Justine!
Wonderful post – It’s awesome to see two strong and amazing women working together to create such a wonderful product!
Loved meeting Justine and finding out what she does for you. Also, congratulations on the blog doing well enough to add 2 more new team members! That is amazing! 😀
Thanks, Nicci! It’s an exciting time. I’m really exciting about what else 2018 has in store! xo.
I was smiling the whole time reading this post 🙂 Seriously, it was so fun to learn more about Justine and the two of you working together since I hear her name so often in our insta-stories!!
Aw, I’m so glad you enjoyed! I love how different we are but how well we work together, regardless! 🙂 I think it’s a testament to the idea that bloggers may have thinking you need someone who loves shopping and styling outfits as much as you do! xo.
Good luck on the site revamp! It can be a frustrating process but I’m sure it will be worth it! xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com
It’s already been totally worth all of the hard work and all the things we had to put on hold or on the back burner while we prepared for it! 🙂 Thank you for the kind words! xo.
Beautiful post! Great team!
wow…its so amazing how well u two know each other and work together! i think this is the very first blog post I have seen where a blogger does a post about their Personal Assistant and showing how much passion and work gets put into a blog and how well you can get along with someone. and its just an amazing post….love it Alyson!!!
Glad you liked this one! It was a really fun post to put together and don’t want it to be such a taboo topic that bloggers talk about because there IS a lot of work on the backend and there’s no shame in saying we need help getting it all done! 🙂 xo.
Loved getting to know Justine and learning more about the business you two run! Small world, but I’m actually from the town Bradley University is in and moved down to FL 2 years ago…Go Braves!! (: Thanks for my making my day with your awesome blog posts and insta stories!
YESSS I miss Peoria! Go Braves!! -jmp
Such a fun post!
Glad you liked it!
Hi Haley & Justine!
This was such a fun post & I have loved following you! I was so excited to read that Justine went to Bradley in Peoria, I am from Peoria and I have plenty of friends who also went there. So cool!
Love the new website <3
Glad you enjoyed it! xo.
It was so great getting to know you Justine!!! You do a great job!!
thanks Jennifer! -jmp
Haley, I thought you were awesome…then I “met” Justine!! Hahaha only kidding! Seems like your similarities and differences mix together perfectly for running the blog. Also, we need a video of the band that Justine is in?!?
Hahah, no I get it … seriously! She is so cool! We are similar in ways but I love our differences.
Loved getting to meet Justine! This was such a cute blog post idea.
I’m excited for your new adventures together and the expansion if your team. It’s all going to work out and end up fabulous!
Have a wonderful day <3
You guys thought of it! We just brought it to ya! 🙂 Glad you liked it and thanks so much for your support! xo.
Justine! This is so funny…I’ve read this blog for years and always saw your name mentioned but had no idea it was you. I didn’t even recognize the first picture with the red hair, and then I scrolled down, and was like wait – that’s DJ, ha! Excited to see you’re doing well and tell DJ I say hi, too! #scoutforever
haha hey Emily! I miss those Scout days! <3 -jmp
Love this post getting to know more about how you two work together to make your blog all that it is, and something I always look forward to reading!
Also, I couldn’t be more excited to see you’re hiring a Content Manager! My resumé and cover letter will be hitting your inbox tonight. 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I can imagine knowing more about the back-end can be really interesting! 🙂
I’m really really excited that you’re interested in the Content Manager position and looking forward to receiving your information! xo.
I worked as a wedding planner for a bit and loved it! I miss it so much but it is such a high intense job! But I love being someone right hand and its so cool to be apart of someones every day life and even such big parts of their life. So nice to get to meet you!
Justine is my spirit animal!! I am a personal assistant too and its so cool to hear that someone else enjoys all the weird tasks that comes with that job like I do!! More Justine please!!
Hahah, she is pretty amazing!! We need people like you guys because, if we pay too much attention to those tasks, not that they’re menial or ‘below’ us, we will stay right where we are and and never get anywhere. YOU GUYS ARE THE REAL MVP’s! 🙂
Everybody needs a magical pair of helping hands … you have definite found it! Justine sounded amazing and so helpful. Keep up the great work you two have been doing. ????
??LA BIJOUX BELLA ??| By Mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog
Thanks, Mia! xo.
JUSTINE!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️ So happy to finally meet you!!!
wooooo you too! thanks for reading! – jmp
…small world! I grew up in Central Illinois (Mackinaw, IL) and am also a graduate of Bradley University (Merchandising/Art) ? my parents are still local and I have in-laws in Groveland, IL… Fantastic post and absolutely beautiful, intuitive site! ?
Ah, that’s crazy! Small world!
yes! go Braves! p.s. Mackinaw Valley Vineyard is my JAM – jmp
How fortunate you both are to have found one another! And Woogie is the cutest, love that puppy smile!
thank you! Woog is a happy boy! -jmp
Great to meet Justine and get some behind the scenes action! Y’all are awesome, ladies!! P.S. I love that Justine’s favorite band is Led Zeppelin!
?thanks for following along? -jmp
Justine is so much cooler than I am, that is for sure! Haha
Well this was just a super fun post! It was awesome to learn all about Justine and to hear how she feels about you. You ladies make an amazing team! And I love how different you two are. Now the real question is, how do Fish & Chips feel about Woogie? I hope they all get along because there is just too much cuteness between the three of them! <3
They love each other! Woogie’s always excited to see friends his size. -jmp
They LOVE each other. It’s so fun to see them play together. Justine has a bigger yard than we do so, sometimes, I’ll take the boys over there to let them wrestle 🙂 and their mom’s enjoy wine! haha
I can’t express how much I loved this post!! Definitely in my top 5 faves! I truly enjoyed getting to know Justine & learning more about her valuable role as well as learning more about her connection with Haley & the blog. To be honest, I’m a bit jealous. I would LOVE to work along side Haley for a number of reasons but I won’t lie, a big part of that is to get to interact with Fish & Chips on a weekly basis! If a position opens up for those two nuggets, I will move to Jacksonville and sign me up!
Hahaha, Fish & Chips have been trying to convince us that they need their own assistant hah 😉 We’re so glad you enjoyed this post!
I am in the process of starting a blog that I also want to do a podcast with. I have a topic that I’m passionate about and feel that I could interview people who are very knowledgeable on the topic and I love talking with people so the podcast is a must for me haha. Any way when it comes to your blog do you use a program or website to run it? Also have you always used Apple products or have you ever used PC products ever? I’ve always used PC’s only because that’s what the schools I went to had but I feel Apple has a lot of good products for the podcast/blog world. I just feel might take me a bit of time to get use to Apple. Any help is so much appreciated and again great post!
Hi Brandon, Thanks so much for your comment. Could you please email these to us through the Contact page and we will be sure to get to it when we can! Thanks!
Well Justine has a dog so automatically awesome. You both work so well together. where is Justine’s Chambray from? I’m on the hunt for a new one and this one is perfect!
I got it a while back! I can’t find the exact one online, but I think this is the light version: http://bit.ly/2qb20IW hope that helps! dog people unite! -jmp
I loved the story about Justine. I always knew she was great. She gets it from her god-mother! Go Justine!!
Thanks Aunt Renee 😉 -jmp
It’s so great to meet Justine!!! You talk about her all the time and so it’s nice to put a face to the name!
We had fun putting this post together for y’all! xo.
This was such a fun post! I loved learning about Justine and getting a glimpse of behind the scenes. Thanks!
I loved this! I was always so curious about Justine, thank you for sharing, you are both awesome!
This was such a great, insightful post. Really interesting to hear about Justine’s life and her role, would love to read more posts similar to this in the future. Also, my parents met at Bradley University – small world as I feel like you don’t hear much about that school.