Running your own business is no easy feat. It takes a healthy dose of passion, discipline, and commitment. Ever wondered what a day in the life of a small business owner and founder is like? We’re here to give you a glimpse!
Today we’re sitting down with Mixed Asian Media co-founders Alex Chester and Michaela Ternasky-Holland. Mixed Asian Media began back in 2017 as Hapa Mag, a publication for people of mixed-Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry to express their heritage. As Hapa Mag grew and took on more contributing writers, so did their following. Eventually, they outgrew their blog, and earlier this year they decided to relaunch and rebrand as Mixed Asian Media. Now Alex and Michaela are raising funds to take Mixed Asian Media to the next level.
Read on to learn about what a day in the life is like for Alex and Michaela as they run their crowdfunding campaign.
MICHAELA: I wake up and journal about my day before I look at my phone. I drink a warm glass of water with peppermint oil. I look at my phone and catch up on emails/Slack messages while eating the same breakfast almost every day: greek yogurt, granola, berries.
ALEX: I wake up around 9:30a. I look at my phone right away to sort my emails and answer any pressing Slack messages. I drink a 12 oz glass of water with lemon juice, while watching the news. Then I make coffee and also eat my breakfast, which is usually: greek yogurt, berries, honey, and cinnamon.
ALEX: It really varies day to day. At this point, I start the deep dive into my emails inbox and check social media platforms for myself and Mixed Asian Media. If I am rehearsing for an audition or show, I may also be studying music, lines, and choreography. I will also take Zoom calls at this time. Right now, I’m taking a lot of partnership and sponsorship calls for Mixed Asian Media Fest.
MICHAELA: It really varies day to day. At this point, I could be on Zoom calls with internal or external team members for various projects that I manage, answering more emails or messages, sending feedback on projects, or I could be using this time to work out or clean my apartment.
ALEX: Again, it really varies day to day. At this point, I try to get an online workout at my apartment. If I have more time, I try to go for a run or bike ride around my neighborhood. Sometimes I am also commuting to rehearsals or auditions. Since I don’t have much time to cook during the day, I usually have a quick green juice for lunch. No matter how busy I am, I always make time for my therapy appointments.
MICHAELA: Again, it really varies day to day. At this point, I try to take a quick walk around my neighborhood to reset and have made myself a quick lunch in between project calls, public speaking events, and workshops. Meet someone at my co-working space, and If I am available I could have also taken a drop-in dance class at one of the professional adult studios in New York. No matter how busy I am, I always try to schedule an acupuncture appointment every week because of how athletic I am.
ALEX & MICHAELA: On Mondays, we have our weekly Mixed Asian Media Festival meeting with our incredible staff! We talk through items like project review committee, sponsors, speakers, and our Indiegogo campaign!
ALEX & MICHAELA: Right after our weekly Monday meeting, we jump onto a platform to engage our community with an hour-long discussion. Sometimes we use Clubhouse and other times we use Instagram. Our topics range from #StopAAPIHate from the Mixed Lens, Representation in Media, Growing Up Mixed, and K-Dramas!
ALEX & MICHAELA: Usually we are making dinner.
ALEX: My go-to dinner is meat or fish with potatoes and greens. Sometimes, I don’t want to do dishes, so I make Top Ramen with an egg on top. FANCY!
MICHAELA: My go-to dinner is meat or fish with rice and spinach. Sometimes, I also make eggs and have brinner! YUM.
ALEX: I will continue working on any upcoming auditions for shows.
MICHAELA: I will do one last clean-up of my email inbox and look over the notes from the meetings from the day.
ALEX: My husband and I wind down from the day by watching some television. We love horror films, 90-Day Fiance, Hell’s Kitchen, and United Shades of America.
MICHAELA: If I haven’t yet that day from post-workout, I take a shower. If it feels right, I will watch a twenty-minute Star Wars animated episode. Right now, I am watching Star Wars Rebels. Then I do some breathwork and meditation to fall asleep.
ALEX: I take a bath to calm me down and prepare me for bed.
ALEX: I pass out and do it all again tomorrow.
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of what their days are like, get more inspiration in our exclusive Q&A with them below!
INDIEGOGO: How and why did you become a media entrepreneur and creator? Was it something you always intended for yourself?
ALEX: This was totally by accident. I’ve been acting since I was 5 and was constantly being told by casting agents that I was not Asian or white enough to fit in a family on TV shows or movies. This narrative has followed me throughout my entire acting career. Granted, I have been fortunate enough to call myself a working actor. I tend to book work where the character is described as “ambiguous.” All of this heavily influenced why I wanted to create a platform for the mixed API perspective. I was so tired of trying to fit the boxes casting and society had placed me in and I wanted a community where I could be seen and heard. This is why Mixed Asian Media was formed.
MICHAELA TERNASKY-HOLLAND: I actually left my journalism degree for nine months to dance and perform on Disney Cruise Lines. When I returned to my university, I realized that our program needed more multi-media opportunities for students. I began the news program at our on-campus radio station and also led and expanded the video journalism student media organization. When I reflect back on those events, I realize that I wanted to help students like me – it wasn’t about becoming an entrepreneur or creator. Those were just the steps that led me to doing work that I was and am still passionate about.
INDIEGOGO: What makes your Indiegogo project unique?
ALEX: MIXED ASIAN MEDIA (MAM) is a collective created by multiracial, mixed Asian/Pacific Islanders Americans (APIA’s). We seek to build a community within this group through conversations of what it means to be of mixed Asian/Pacific Islander descent and find intersectionality in our search for our ever-evolving place in society.
We provide a platform to explore pertinent experiences, build powerful relationships, and discover sought-after clarity in the mixed-Asian narrative. We believe that representation and diversity matters in all mediums. From every issue of the magazine to an annual creative festival, we strive to capture mixed Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) stories and experiences throughout all of our current and future mediums.
Last year we were featured as one of three online magazines in the Nielsen Consumer Report on engaging Asian American consumers. Our publication has featured such notable mixed Asians as Apolo Ohno, Jessica Henwick, Midori Francis, Jason Tobin, and Andrew Koji, to name a few. We also had over 1.1 million impressions from Google search results the past year.
We have been a volunteer-based organization since 2017. With the name change and re-brand, our hope is to be able to financially cover our business operation, including but not limited to, paying our staff and magazine writers, purchasing a password manager, and upgrading our email suite. We will also be able to support our larger projects such as the Mixed Asian Media Festival in September 2021 and cover Mixed Asian Media’s photo and video production costs for the remainder of 2021.
INDIEGOGO: What’s your biggest piece of advice for women who want to start their own media business?
ALEX: Have a consistent therapy routine with a therapist you trust.
MICHAELA: Have a consistent routine that grounds you, whether it’s journaling every morning, having a breathwork or meditation practice. Know yourself, set your boundaries, and detach from any expectations. Attachment can lead to toxic forms of disappointment, insecurity, and anxiety.
INDIEGOGO: What tools would you recommend to anyone starting their own business, crowdfunding campaign, or project?
ALEX: Surround yourself with amazing people who follow through with what they say they will do.
MICHAELA: Have a solid handle on GSuite from Forms, Slides, Sheets, and Docs; use Slack if your team is beyond three people for quick communications; use Shift if you have multiple email accounts you are managing; and use Canva if you don’t have a graphic design background.
INDIEGOGO: What’s your favorite Indiegogo campaign, or a AAPI-owned campaign you’ve recently supported?
ALEX & MICHAELA: OURS! #StopAAPIHate
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