In this episode, we're incredibly excited to chat with Marielou Mandl, a successful content creation entrepreneur, influencer, and beacon of self-care. Marielou has made it her mission to empower women in content creation, and she joins us to share her unique journey and valuable insights.
In this episode, Marielou shares how her diverse creative career led her to build a thriving content creation and influencing business. Listen as she delves into her strategic focus as a self-care influencer and discusses how this focus serves as a powerful tool to uplift and inspire women. Marielou also breaks down the world of User Generated Content (UGC), illuminating new pathways for marketers and freelancers. You’ll love her perspective on the power of saying 'yes' and her tips on eliminating resistance in your workflow to accomplish more.
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Marielou’s Beginner Editing Class on Skillshare:
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Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Talk Freelance to Me podcast. I am so excited to introduce to you one of my favorite people in general in life. We've gotten way back into time. We've known each other for a long time, the illustrious Marielou Mandel. Welcome Marielou. Hello, everyone. Thank you Ashley for having me on your show. When you said you were doing the show when I saw your new project pop up top freelance to me, I've just really passionate about what you're doing and like you are the person to do it. So thank you for asking me to be part of this. Thank you. Thank you for carving out time from your busy schedule because I know you do a lot and freelance fam. I want to read to you a little bit from Marielou's bio so you can see what she's working with and see what she's coming to the table with because it's amazing and super inspiring. So I'll read a little bit. Marielou Mandel is the life of the digital party. As a content creator extraordinaire entrepreneur and self care space influencer, she's got a knack for juggling all the internet fun you could imagine. Her booming business specializes and user generated content, tutorials and turning client projects into virtual masterpieces that would make even Mona Lisa smile when she's not busy sprinkling self care fairy dust on her followers. Marielou is the go to guru for beginner content creators who want to learn the secret sauce of video editing. She's like a magician with a YouTube channel transforming content creation newbies into video wizards one tutorial at a time. her YouTube channel is like a Content section content about making content. From tips and tricks to hacks and how tos. Marielou's channel is a one stop shop for all your content cravings. And let's not forget the last she's got a sense of humor that will tickle your funny bone and leave you in stitches. Marielou Mandel is the digital Dynamo with the heart of gold and the wit of a standup comment. If you're looking for inspiration, information and a whole lot of entertainment, look no further. Marielou's got you covered. And she also had Chad GPT write this bio for her. So you know it has to be true. Can we give it up for the bio? I mean that bio rocks? Well, so we were talking about right before we started about like writing is like putting my thoughts and things into the written word is difficult. So with chat, GBT, I'm like I don't know like this, say this. But say it more funny. Like I asked her to write a bio, but I was like, be a little more funny about it. And then it was like, it cracked me up. And this is the first time I heard it out loud. Like, oh my god. I love it. No girl, would you send it to me? I was like, jealous. I was like, This is great. This alliteration. It's funny. It's very you. So I'm telling you chat. GPT. I'm embracing it. I'm embracing it. Yeah. And it's using those tools to like, help you were the things that you feel deficient in. I couldn't wrap my head around writing a bio. I will write bios for other people all day long. But for myself, I'm like, Ah, she makes videos. The end. Right? But there's more to it than that. But yes, I was really impressed when it came up with that. I was like, Okay, let's do it. It's amazing. It's amazing. And I can imagine for someone as creative as you that writing might even feel a little like restrictive, maybe a little bit limiting in some ways. So I could totally see how you would feel that way. And I think chat GPT it's amazing what AI is doing, even in music and art. And it's a cool time. So and I will always cite my sources of chat GBT or AI. I have no shame telling people that I'm like, I asked AI to do this for me. Thank you very much. I love it. I love it. I love it. And I was reflecting on me and you and just we've known each other a long time. And we've seen technology change like it's insane. So when did we meet? Did we meet in grade school? Or was it a middle school? I can't remember it probably in middle school and sixth grade but like still before? AOL? Yes. Yes. So it freelance fam for you. Just so you know, me and Marielou are from the same hometown. And we grew up together in middle school and also high school. And Marielou has always been so creative, such an actress and all the like plays and stuff we had to do for score. Even like our classes when we'd have to do skits and stuff. I mean, talk about somebody who was going all out and we're like, Man, this is like a Broadway production for this assignment. Like you've always been that girl. I just love you. And I'm so inspired by everything that you've done all these decades later. It's amazing. Very cool. Thank you so much. And I've always been impressed by you. I have like stories about you that I tell my partner all the time. I adore you. So we can just love on each other all day long. ButMarielou Mandl:
I want to send some love out to you guys listening, who want to go on this freelance journey because like as women, I feel like it's pretty scary for us. But now like, we're fortunate to be in a place where we can showcase things to other people who maybe want to do this crazy life. Yes,Ashley Mejia:
it is a crazy life. And it's so interesting because like we were talking before we on the onset, how you've been doing this for a long time, the term side hustle, or even like the idea of remote work. That has been I feel like a surge in popularity in the last several years. You know, maybe since the pandemic really started. But you've been doing this a lot longer. And you have one of the most diverse, interesting careers, you've done everything from acting, you were a TV host, and emcee, you also put on huge events you produce. Now you're doing this self care, influencer. And you teach people like me who are scared of making content like in this way, and you help us get out there. Not only encourage us, but you teach us with these tutorials. Who so what makes you zero in, you've done all these things. And you have all these options. How did you zero in on these aspects of content creation.Marielou Mandl:
So it sounds chaotic, right? When you don't see the through line, but your life to anyone on the outside may look chaotic. But it's your journey, right? You don't have to go in a straight line. And that's been my life. It has not been a straight line. It's been exploring things of interest, things I want to know more about and being willing to say, Yes. Which I'm very willing to do. I'm always willing to just say, Yes. Let me try this out. So whenever we graduated college, and I moved out to LA in like 2007. So I think I finished undergrad around 2005. Just like was working whatever, in Florida. And then I was like, let me move to LA. And then it's the recession. Right? So it's like, okay, what do I do anything that I can, and that's how freelance started for me. So from graduating college, I was like, just take a little job here, little job there. Because I don't exactly know where I want to land. But I love to learn, I love to learn, I want to know how things work, I want to know the inside the outside, I want to know every position, like so early working in TV film stuff. I just wanted to know what everybody was doing. I couldn't just be an actress. And I think that's why my acting career didn't like, go where I thought it would because I met resistance within myself of like, I can't just be here and have people tell me what to do. I'm not that person. And then that has been kind of the through line of I can't be the person. I've never been the person that does well being told what to do. I can collaborate. I can work in teams, I can manage projects, but I don't do well when somebody owns me. And that is freelance life to me is that nobody owns you, you can choose where you go. But you also are responsible for everything. And that's like the double edged sword. Like I don't mind being responsible for everything. Like I'm the oldest child of a mixed family, you know, like stuff like that. You understand, right? We've been in charge of things. And it's hard to be like, well, nobody else knows what they're doing. And the thing is, like nobody knows, like, even I don't know, but I know that I'm confident enough to try things and I'm confident enough to make mistakes. So that's why things have gone a little bit everywhere in my career, but they all inform where I am now. So to your question of like, Why did I hone in on kind of the two verticals that I'm on right now. So I've got the content about making content. And then I've got this newer venture, which is self care influencer thing. Now, they seem kind of unrelated, but they do inform each other with my content about making content. I have been making videos as long as I had a camera in my hand. I love making videos. I feel like in high school, like if we had a presentation, they're like, you can do a paper or you can make a video presentation. I'm like I'm making a movie. Thank you. I could get ready, I'll be back. And this was before we had editing tools. So I'm having to like do it on the tape and like watch it and then rewind it record over it stuff like that. I loved it. Like I love just that history of experience with this format of making video. And then I'm still passionate about it. It's like not a lot of things like last through my life. But video making always has been. So with making content about making content during the pandemic. Like I had some tutorials up for years I've been making this stuff for years kind of on the side with my other jobs with my production jobs with my tour managing jobs, and I would produce videos with other people produce Videos For Marketing clients, but like I wanted to have my YouTube channel which rooted from anytime my friends all knew that I knew how to do social media. I knew how to do video if I got asked a question three times as like I'm just gonna make a video Because, obviously people need this, I'm just like, here's the link, this is how you do that thing. So those were just kind of up there now cut to the beginning of the pandemic, everybody's at home. And now everybody's panicking a little bit like thinking they need to have an online presence, which like for some people, that flourished and for some people wish, just something to do. And for some people, they got to realize that's not for them. But that's where my channel started to kind of take off, and I was getting more questions, and I got like, outreach for consultations, or for coaching or things like that. Just to be clear, I don't do coaching and consultations anymore. But if you have questions, you can DM me, I don't mind answering questions, that stuff started to pick up. Great. So I really love this content about making content channel. But I've noticed that the people, the audience, at large that it attracts, is not necessarily the audience that I want to reach, I want to help women like us who have a life that they want to build. So the side project, the newer project of the self care stuff, is to put my content in front of the type of women who may be interested in building a life themselves because we are consumed types thinking about like, what do I spend money on, I'm buying massage tools and face oils and face masks and bubble baths. Like, I love it, right. And like, I just feel like that's like a common thing. For typically women, everybody can enjoy that kind of stuff. But women who like want to take control of their own lives who want to feel good about their lives. So that's where this project is coming in. Because now I know my videos will get in front of those people. And those people who aspire to do that kind of thing. They will find the tutorials. But when I was just doing the tutorials I find in production. And this was like when I was doing TV film production. This is like all production that I've done is that I come head to head with men. And I love to collaborate with men. But I do not like to be talked down to by anybody, right? But there's like a trend here. So I'm like, okay, but this project, the content about making content tends to be people who want to make their own tutorial channels on film production, TV production, cool. Video Production. Great. But that tends to be Ben. Some women would find it right, would find some of the right people. But I was like really trying to hone in on like, how can I get to the women I want to help. And if it reaches them this way, it's an effort to get to these women in the right way. Because women aren't necessarily looking like up. How do I edit a video necessarily at first, right? But they might find what's the latest in skincare. And then they see how I edit my videos and how I make my videos, they end up on my other page, they see my behind the scenes, and then the information will find them. So they're unrelated, but they are informing each other. And that's where we're at with the two things because my secondary channel I was going to do it. We're still originally about a year ago, Lou talks tech, because I was going to be like, Okay, let me talk about cameras. Let me talk about microphones, which I do from time to time. But again, that was attracting, not the demographic that I want to serve with my work. I loveAshley Mejia:
that first of all freelance spam, I hope you're listening, tell these gems that she's dropping the business strategy that you're putting into practice to get to your audience that commitment, first of all, that super smart. Second, some people don't have that commitment to figure out, okay, these are the people that are gravitating to me, but I actually don't want to serve them. And how can I find that people? How can I help those people that I actually want to serve, find me like you're going that extra step? That's super admirable and very, very smart. And I think just to put a testimonial, so me and you ran into each other. For the first time since we graduated in 2001. And 2019, you were in town for a guest speaker that was speaking at the local library, and I was there and I was super pregnant with my third kid. And we were in line to meet the author and the speaker at this big event. And you were in front of me. And I was like, I know that hair. I know that hair. And I was like, That can't be Mary Lou from my hometown that I have not seen since 2001. Again, this was 2019. And you had moved to LA you know, you had been over there on the west coast for so long. So I'm like, is that Mary Lou Mandel and I think I even said your name and I was preparing you know how like when you wave to somebody and it's not the first thing is that you feel kind of crunchy like I was preparing for that moment. And it was you and then we had the best time we reconnected and you were telling me two things that stand out. One you told me that and I just quoted this with another guest you're going to hear this on Lolos podcast interview. Is that what you did as a child? You always will come back to you. You were talking about how you were on the morning announcements and you were always linked on your camera and very comfortable, and now fast forward to you helping other people do the same. And then you also said, to get out of your head and to like, get more comfortable. Think about talking to someone that you love or somebody, you're really comfortable and you're sharing that you were using your sister. And honestly, that tip, I've used, like when I've just barely started this platform. And sometimes I'll visualize my little sister Jessie, let me just pretend like I'm talking to Jesse and like telling her this and that. So I love the full circle moments. I love the intention that you're doing to reach this specific group of people. It's super cool.Marielou Mandl:
Yeah, it makes a difference in your intention now, like, it wasn't always that right. It took a long time for me to figure out what is my intention? Right. So it's like, I want to be on camera, I have something to share. I want to share, why am I reaching all the like, the wrong people, if the wrong people see my content, and they get use out of it, I have no problem with that. I'm not like you can't look at it. But there's like a group of people that I want to empower and encourage to make content if they want to, like people like you. Like you are wonderful speaker, you're wonderful on camera, but like there's a little bit of a resistance, right. So if we didn't know each other in person, like I don't know, if you would have found my content tutorial channel. Like I don't know if that would have landed with you. Because I can see from my demographics that that's not usually who it lands on. Like you can see, you know, on your YouTube analytics and things like that, that, you know, it's a majority this way or that way. Now, it's like I really tried to make my stuff look really feminine and really colorful and really like different than some of the other stuff that's out there. And it still wasn't landing. So the secondary channel like to reach the people and also to connect with other women as well, just in like a common interest because I'm like, What am I spending money on? Okay, it's this. So like, let's talk about this kind of stuff. And then how can I do this in a way that's distinctly me that can show people it doesn't all have to look the same? And, you know, with the freelancers that are writers, right, like your writing doesn't have to look like everybody else's writing, unless that's what the client wants, right? So like, that's where we get into the US, UGC and the like, client work. That is something different. That's a whole different arm of the business. And that's like, when you're a freelancer, there's a lot of arms to this business is no one thing.Ashley Mejia:
So let's talk about that. Because I think you posted recently, a little bit about user generated content, UGC. And this is something that I had never heard about whole new world. Can you tell us more about that, and how interested people can take advantage of that?Marielou Mandl:
Yeah, so if you look at even advertising on TV commercials, so it's like, I don't have cable, but like some streaming channels will have their commercials pop up and things like that, that are actual commercials. Even that stuff is looking like it is generated by users by people. Like there are commercials that I've seen pop up that do not look like they were shot by a full production TV studio, they look like they were shot on a phone. And it's an interesting, like, Listen to the Wind, see where things are going. The level that I'm at in marketing, I don't have the resources to have focus groups and research teams and things like that. But I am very perceptive and will pay attention to what they've found. And I'll start to see that. So user generated content is even coming in on trend for like mainstream TV commercials, as a creator on a creator level on social media, when we're scrolling through the feeds, and we see stuff that it looks like people shot in their house, they shot with their kids, they shot it on their phone, we're like, cool, let me watch. Let me watch. When something pops up that looks like a commercial, we turn off, we just turn off. So companies are putting money into bridging that gap, and to making their commercials. But they are not low end. Because like it's not necessarily low. And because there is an art to it. But it is less commercially. And more like your friend is recommending a product to you. So companies will hire out creators to do user generated content. A lot of the times they specifically will ask that you shoot it on your phone, you don't shoot it in the studio, like this look, I will not use for a lot of my user generated content unless it's something that they specifically request. So for like tech products and things like that, this is a fine setup for that they will take this it looks high quality. They want that because that's the audience, that kind of product, but if it's like, you know, cat products, like I get to review cat products sometimes right because I always like post pictures of my cats. It's like specifically shoot it on your phone, shoot it in where it looks like the house, make the house look nice, but don't make it a set. Right? So if you want to get into something like that, it's basically like influencer videos, but you don't have to unnecessarily post it to your own personal profile. So my user generated content like it will be whatever kind of clients I want to work with. That's the freelance business of like, you know, choosing who you want to work with and what direction want to work with. So if like a cigarette company came out, they're like, hey, we want you to do something like I would turn that down. That's not for me, alcohol content, not for me. But like, skincare stuff, like a face cleaning brush, I got to do recently. Like, that's kind of fun. The cat stuff, of course, that's really fun. Like, I got a cat stroller, I don't know if I would have bought a cat stroller. But I got to film a cat stroller. And it's fun, because you get these little prompts, right? And a lot of the times it's not in any way that they specifically want, they might have like, they're like, Hey, can you hit these talking points, like the warranty, the wheels go over, you know, all sorts of terrain, and then it it breaks down to something small, right? They might cover that. But they're like, other than that 15 seconds vertical video. Or if it's a Facebook ad, they'll say they want 30 seconds, they want it to be square, different things like that, or they'll just want footage, right. But you just shoot some footage, I've done that too. Recently, I shot with a Filipino grocery store got a new like service coming out of like, pre made meal. So I kind of like a HelloFresh kind of thing. But it's like heating it up at home. So I had to shoot in my kitchen with like a real looking kitchen. But like, you know, make everything look nice. But showing this kind of stuff that looks like it's done in somebody's home, not in a studio. Now when audiences see this, they're like, Wow, that could be my friend, like sending me a little video. Just like, you know, recommendation to you for like making content of like, act like you're talking to a loved one. Like if your loved one was like, I don't have time to make food, but I really want to have food that's easy to make. And you just like grab your phone, you're like, oh my gosh, you'd have to look at this thing. Like this thing is so great. Like, you should get this and then you send it to them. And they're like, Okay, that's the style that we're looking at. And there's different companies that you can sign up with, in order to find clients for this. So below B I ll O is one client that I work with, they reached out to me and like, there's like a job board, right, you can go to backstage.com, which has been historically for actors finding auditions. But as I predicted, they're gonna go to actors for UGC stuff, because commercial actors are getting less work, because money is going to creators. So you have to be able to do both. So that's a place you can sign up for, you can look at jobs there and apply to those there. Or if you know you love a specific niche, right, so this is like your worksheet that actually has its niches to riches worksheet. Yeah. If you know, like, I really want to do stuff in cookware, or you started account, and you start making videos in your style. Because like, I'm not being asked to do stuff in other people's style, I make things in my style. It's because they're hiring you as a creator in your version of content. You can make a page, you don't even have to put your name on it. Like you can do UGC content, not even show your face if you want it. That could be just your hands. It could be just unboxings there's like so many ways that you can do this that is comfortable to you. Is that huge part of my business? No, but it does bring in some coins, right? And that's like what the freelance is like, I don't rely ever my whole career on one source of income. It's not viable. It doesn't feel good, it doesn't feel safe. I don't like it. Because that's putting too much power in the hands of something else. 100% so diversified. Please,Ashley Mejia:
please, sell good. Oh, my goodness. That's amazing. I mean, just the creative energy that goes into creating this content and making it look authentic and not super, like you said, commercial, I guess would be the proper word for it. That's amazing. And you still keep up with your own personal presence on social media. Why is it so important that freelancers create public facing social media content for themselves?Marielou Mandl:
It's really important, because you are what you tell people you are. And it is the new portfolio. Like, I mean, anybody that I meet, I'm gonna look them up. If they give me any level of information, I'm gonna look them up and like, you can have your personal account where it's just like your pets and food if you want, right, but also integrating that into an online presence that also represents you as a creator, as a writer, as a freelancer, as a business shows that you're human, that you're dealing with a human because people don't work with services, they work with people. So if you're a writer, sure, you can like go find a writer but now of like, I've got writer that's generic writer, a writer a. And then I've got writer B, who's like, oh, we both like connect on traveling. And we like I see that they're into travel. I see that they travel and I'm going to thinking that I need them to write cool, they're already seemed more qualified, even if this person, generic writer is like a professional, like they travel all the time, but we don't know that because they haven't shared that. So it's your like forward facing. Like I would think of as a pre interview as part of your resume as part of your application. It's part of your marketing as a freelancer. So you know, my content about making content things that helps me book my UGC clients, right, it helps book speaking clients and different things like that. Because like, if you look me up, they'll Oh, this girl makes content, because I go on there. And I say, Marielou makes content. And so they know like, she knows what she's doing. We can trust her. And also, then that helps me indicate my rates. Because I have like a obvious, very front facing skill set that they know it, they know it already. It's the storefront or like, you go in to a store and you're like, Okay, this store obviously knows what they're doing. That's what you want to be. That's your social presence. Like, do you need to be an influencer, influencer? No, not necessarily. But I will tell you, I was thinking about this earlier, that as a freelancer in any creative aspect, you already are an influencer. You influence thoughts now? Are you an influencer? Like, here's my selfie at Coachella. That's not the full definition of an influencer. There are influencers at Coachella, but you as a creative Freelancer are influencing in whatever lane you create in, you influence the thoughts. You influence people's like perceptions and the information that's out there. Because if we don't put it out there, it doesn't exist. Like you might be the one person with that opinion that somebody's like, I never thought of it that way. I never looked at it that way. So you are an influencer? In a sense, and like the classic sense. That is so good. Yeah. I mean, what it really means to like you were talking about if your sister texts you, hey, I need a meal prep, or you know, some kind of service. I can't do this. Yeah, that's what it is. Its core, it's word of mouth. It's me saying my this work for me. Maybe it will work for you. That's super cool. And I love what you mentioned about our accounts, being part of that package, part of the application package that resume because you're right, people connect with people, and people connect with your story. Like nobody's kid ever says, Daddy, Mommy Read me a brochure. Like they want to say read me a story, right? What's the story? tectus you get here? Like, what makes you different? And I know, we talked about chat GPT and like your bio and stuff, but I really feel like that's what's gonna separate us from these robots. Is that human? Like, I'm a real flesh and blood, imperfect person, you know, that's existing in this space. And what better way is there to get a feel for someone's and to see them? You see their pictures and their video and what they're about? So it's really powerful advice. Yeah, it's like with AI isn't going to live your day to day life. Like AI isn't going to show its favorite meal. Right? It's not your personality, a I can help you. Like I wrote my bio, because I just like, didn't want to write. I was like, Okay, sure. It's been a while. It's like, things have kind of changed. But like, I still had to prompt it. That's like a skill in itself. It's learning how to write in a way that it will give you what you want. And then if it saves you time, like, right, you can go work on something else. I have no fear of AI be like, Yes, let's go. I just call it my assistant. I was like, I have my assistant, right, this. That's what it is. I love that I love that fearlessness, and that willingness to embrace new things. And super cool, because things are going to change. They are things are gonna change. You either embrace it and work with it and grow with it, or you're gonna get left behind. And as freelancers like that is the game is being willing to grow with it, adapt to it. Like I remember, like, early in my events producing, you know, like, social media is coming. And I was like, always, always into social media. Like when Instagram came out. I was like, in it. I'm like, do it filters and I'm doing like layouts. I'm like, making little I was like, This is my art. And I got a lot of like, okay, whatever. And I was like, you know, if I'm like, No, I really think this is going to be a thing. And I'm like, when we're at events, we should be doing little videos, we should be doing like 15 second videos just kind of showcasing this or that and they're like, No, that's a waste of time. We've got a video team that's doing the five minute sizzle reel that's like this or whatever. And I'm like, okay,Ashley Mejia:
and now who was the last laugh I read? Honestly, like, look at you. You were predicting things. No, it's so true. When we were little Well, I feel like our generation, we've witnessed this. And can you imagine if we wouldn't have been open to like, we were young, it was like, Okay, let's go after school and get in these chat rooms. And we're pretending we're older than we really are. And you know that it was like these other, you know, like, these other affinity websites and blogging, and then Facebook came in 2004. And Instagram, I think was oh, six may or wasn't YouTube, I can't remember. But I mean, to just imagine that there's whole people like the careers that exist now. weren't around like, there was nobody at career day when we were little coming and saying, you know, this is how you do UGC, or this is how you freelance. Like, that wasn't a thing. It was here. You can be a doctor, lawyer, an engineer, teacher, you know, yeah, it's amazing. And I was like, IMarielou Mandl:
don't like any of those. I know, we want more options, more options. And it's like, you know, with what I was doing, I was like, Oh, you could go work in the news. And I'm like, but I don't want to work in the news. Like, that didn't feel right. pursuing acting was like, like, I know, I want to be on camera. And I know, I like telling stories and expressing things. But like, this isn't right. Like, the whole freelance. My whole freelance career has been like, it was like me finding a major in college, which I did it. I was like, Oh, let me try this. And this and this. And then I was like, Oh, you have two major, like two majors and a minor, just from like, the random classes you took, I'm like, Okay, we're doing fine. Let's, I just know, a lot of stuff.Ashley Mejia:
Yeah, as long as you get to graduate, I know. And, you know, it's so interesting, because when you're talking about that, that through line, you know, through your career, everything that you've done, has helped you like where you are now making content, like you know how to be on air or be on camera, like live streaming isn't a niche for you, not everybody can live stream, that's a whole other animal, you can edit stuff, you have the business, Intel, to know like how this piece of UGC content is, how the company is going to use it, what they're looking for how to position it, so that it's in line with what their goals are, like, that's massive how to do like, like, you understand how to do big, big events, you understand, like, project management, like there's, I feel like it's all it all came together, you know,Marielou Mandl:
it all informs everything. It's all these like little lines where like, you know, as you're going through, it may not make sense. But if you're learning something, like even the things that I don't utilize, I learned something from it as far as like, what not to do, you know, how not to do things. So, you know, when when the pandemic happened, and everyone's like, I need to start my podcasts, I need to film stuff at home. But like, they were like, people were melting down because they're like, I have to be on camera. But I have to also film, I can't do that, or I need to film but I need to edit that. Like it was too many things all at once. Now, if you and your career like we don't, we don't know where things are gonna go. You just learned things as you go integrate it into your being because it all will make sense eventually, or it won't. And you just know stuff. Like, I just know, a lot of stuff like weird stuff, like people are like, wow, you just know everything I was like, because I've been willing to say yeah, but so good. A lot, you know, even when it's like, okay, I don't know, but I've had some great experiences, like I got to be a producer for the New Year's Eve, ball drop in Times Square.Ashley Mejia:
That's so cool. Oh my gosh,Marielou Mandl:
right. Like, I did that twice. And I'm like, Cool, I did that. I don't need to do it again. But like, I experienced that, right? You know, big tours, I've been around the country. That's why now I'm like willing, and very happy to work at home. Like whenever locked down happened. I'm like, that could be so ready to just stay still for a minute. You know, but I can tell you about hotels across America, I can tell you, it's like knowing a lot of things. But then when you utilize that information, you figure out eventually how to distill it. So now like that's where it's like I could make content about absolutely anything, but choosing a lane based on who I want to serve. helped me hone things in and then that's how I can keep things really organized because I have like, in the business mindset of like having a niche in order to get to where you want to go. Right so like when you start to separate your personal identity and your personal worth from the output that you put out like I know my contents good. I know what I put out is good but like you know if I talk about self care stuff, it doesn't mean I'm only the self care girl for like the rest of my life because like my life has gone through so many iterations like that's just the project in the moment right now, that will attract work, and attract clients and attract the right one. Dance to grow. So using those things as magnets, not as your identity will really help you grow in your freelance career. I love that. And that is so counterculture to what we've been taught, right, we were talking about having to pick a major, it's like, from childhood, what do you want to be when you grow up, it's like this pressure to always associate what we do for income for survival with who we are. And we are so much bigger than the skills that we have in these things that we can create. And I think that is huge. And even just the type of work that you do the type of work that I do as a writer that some of the folks listening, it's a vulnerable thing. Like, we are not doing accounting or data entry over here, like we are, there's nothing and we make something and we put it out and we were like, be like it, like taking these abstract things from our client's mind. And we're just relying on whatever words they are able to use to describe it. And then we're tasked with Tada, here it is, you know, it's not easy work. And that ability that you have to kind of separate and to know where it lies, and to say, Okay, this is what I created. But that's not me, Marielou, like, or that's not me, Ashley, like, it's big. And that takes time. There's definitely been chapters of my life where it's like, I just toiled over, like, Is this my identity? Is this how I want the world to see me, but it's like, I don't know, there's so much more to it than that. So you know, like an example. When I first got started, like having the itch to make a YouTube channel, I was watching a lot of like makeup YouTubers, because that was like what was big at the time for like, our demographic was like to look at the makeup girls doing their makeup thing. And they're so fabulous. And they're like, they're growing and stuff. And I'm like, I love makeup. But I tried to make some makeup tutorials. And it drove me crazy. Because for me, doing makeup is like meditation. That's like getting my mind right before doing whatever it is I'm going to do. So it's like before, like an interview like this. Doing my hair, my makeup is just my time to like, kind of integrate the information and think about how I want to present think about what the day is going to look like. I just could not give that away. It was very, very hard for me. So I can love makeup. But that doesn't have to be my identity to the world now like sharing the self care stuff. Like that has been very personal stuff for me before. But I'm in a place where it's like, okay, I can share that. Just because I know the intention behind this. I know where this is going for me to get to who I want to get to with the main avenue, the main content. We need to see more of us out there. We've been scared away from standing in the light for too long. And I can't stand it. I can't stand it. I paid it. Like, come on, get over here. I can be the light because representation absolutely matters. Yes, it does. And if you're somebody who grew up not seeing yourself, and then when you do see yourself you're like, what? You're right. Yeah. Yeah, so like, because we could grow up and we're like, Fine, okay, sure. See this, I see that. But like, when I was doing video production for events, and this was, and 2017, this specific moment, it was the day after the election. And the representation that like, I want to be like felt a little shaky, right, just like strong women, women of color, doing anything. It just like everything felt a little bit shaky. So I got sent to do a filming job to film an event in Oklahoma. And it's at a middle school for the show that I'm doing like a sizzle reel for and I'm setting up my cameras, and I'm just kind of in my head. And I'm like, oh, like what is the world's gonna be like I feel for these little girls and like, what they're going to feel moving forward in the world. But because I was standing there setting up cameras, these little girls who are like getting ushered into the auditorium are like, Are you filming this? And I was like, yeah, and they're like, I didn't know a girl could do that. Oh, my goodness, I went to the bathroom and cried. Wow. Because like, that's it. That's what it is. That's where it matters. Because if they didn't see that, I don't know, maybe all those little girls will go up to become Academy Award winning filmmakers. Maybe they'll become the biggest YouTubers ever. Maybe they will just enjoy making videos in a way that they didn't think was accessible to them because they saw me standing there like in my head with my little vest and like wires everywhere. Just like be like, what is the world and they're like, I didn't know you could do that. Like girl, you could do any of it. You could do all of it.Ashley Mejia:
You care. So it matters that matters. And especially because that's kind of techie and you know, we were little, at least the message that I internalized was like boys are good at math. Boys are good at technology boys are good at science and you know, we're good at the softer things or quote unquote, the softer things, or softer subjects or what have you. So I imagine that that scene of seeing you like being a badass and plugging into stuff and lugging stuff and making things work was really affirming for them. And just the beautiful moment. Beautiful.Marielou Mandl:
Yeah. And I could feel it, like, I still feel like emotional over it, because it was like a group of them. And they just like, stopped. Like, they're like walking in and they stopped. And they were like, Are you filming? Wait, you know, so that's what like the content creator vertical that I have the content about making content stuff, like, girls aren't necessarily looking for that. But I want to find them and I want to connect with them. So what are girls tend to be looking for on the internet? Like the stuff that they try to sell us to tell us that we're not beautiful enough? Who has another podcast girlfriend, right? So it's like, okay, well, let me show up there and be like, well, you can enjoy some of this stuff. But you don't need to change yourself. But like, this stuff is fun. It can be fun. Like it can be both. It's just finding the right spot for it to fit into your world where it doesn't destroy you.Ashley Mejia:
So beautiful. So many gems, just gems for days.Unknown:
We're just here to change the world. Ashley?Ashley Mejia:
I know I'm telling you one freelance project at a time people. That's right. That's how you do it. That's how you move the needle. Love it. There's so much this theme that I'm sensing and what we're talking about, like your willingness to say yes, you've shared and your fearlessness about alright, I don't know about that. But I'm gonna learn. putting yourself out there can be scary for a lot of people. It's scary for me even what tips can you give to freelancers who know that they should be making social media content, but they're nervous, they're nervous to put their message out there nervous, their voice out there.Marielou Mandl:
We touched on it a little bit earlier of like, if you don't that opinion, that point of view might not ever get out there. And there's other people who need to hear that they need to hear the thing that is on your heart that needs to come out. They need to be influenced to think a little bit differently, whether they agree with you, or it's something they disagree with, that's still like getting people to think about things and formulate things and see themselves or see something that is not themselves, right to see something that is different is as valuable as seeing something that is familiar. Just to know like, Oh, this is out there, too. Because especially in social media, like it's very easy to get insulated, like the algorithm will tell you the things you want to hear. All right, it'll just give you those things. Disruption doesn't need to be giant disruption is existing, right? We've just been told so long don't exist, like the thing that you're doing don't exist step back. Yeah. Why are you doing that? I feel like so much of my life just trying to be like, what did they mean? Because I've been told a lot. I'm overqualified. Right? This is what also why like, I never really stepped into a full time job. Like I've taken little jobs here. And there. I've had like stints but I always like considered the longer term gigs. Because it just never was right. Right? You know, but like, after enough times of being told, You're overqualified. Oh, you like know too much. Okay, well, if I'm too much, I'll just do it myself. It's fine. And then I can sell off. I can like provide service with pieces that people want for that moment. And then I can be on my way. And that's what you're doing with your social media presence is like it showcase that part of you that you want to showcase, showcase all of it showcase a little bit, but you should showcase you. Because that is how you're going to connect with the clients that matter to you. And also, right, so the whole thing was like just doing freelance stuff is that it's the stuff that you feel good doing. Right? Like, you can make a career doing stuff you don't want to do. Or you can make a career doing stuff you want to do. Right? Just you can at least have a moral compass that helps you say yes or no. And here's something for you in life, if it's not a definite yes, it's a no, just hold that. Like if there's a client, it might be like your dream brand, but there's something in the interaction that you're like, This is not gonna be good. Just say no, it's fine. The right opportunities will find you or do it because you want to try it like sure, but just know when you hear that little voice that's like, just either listen, and do it and you know, you're gonna learn something, or listen and say no, and use that time for something else. So in making your content and showing up online, be brave enough to show yourself because people need to see you, someone needs to see you. And it will help you connect with the clients you want to actually connect with. Because if you're putting out the stuff that you want to be doing, I make fun, energetic videos, nobody is going to reach out to me to do a dramatic reading of an obituary. I'm not going to be outreach to cover the heartbreaking news because that's I don't Want to do that, but because I have an online presence, like you can see it and you're like, Okay, this girl does fun stuff. She likes to make jokes, she likes to have energy, she likes things to be colorful, so they can tell right away if you're a connection toAshley Mejia:
the gems, people, the gems, the disrupting, can just be existing. That part, I feel it's so much. Like, I feel like in so many aspects of life, like I felt that way. Like kind of like an inconvenience. We don't know what to do with you. Like, can you just stop like, feeling like, what can you getMarielou Mandl:
that right there? Like, can you stop and just like, but this is who I am.Ashley Mejia:
I know. And the fact that you're leaning in and saying, No, I deserve to be here, I deserve. I am a person, I am a human, I am a creative, I'm an energy. And I'm just fine. Thank you. And I will take up the space. And I will show up and all of these places. And I will do what I want. I mean, that's just existing and shining and being in your light. I mean, that's a form of resistance and rebellion. And I love what you said about putting out that content or just being yourself. You attract and you also repel the people you don't want. That's powerful. We've got to do more of it, girlfriend. I love it. Love it. Love it.Marielou Mandl:
Love it. Yeah. And it's like, the more you show up, the more things will align for you. The more you show up authentically, like you can show up in a way. That's not just the nice things. Like when things are bad for me. And I'm like, I don't know what I'm doing with my life. I will share that. And then other people are like, wow, I'm feeling that too. And it's like, cool. Yeah, we all are a mess. It's just good to show all of it like do you need to make everything a pity story? Do you need to share everything do you need to only share the wins, like it's Choose Your Own Adventure, right? If you want to have a very curated like professional portfolio that you present online, that's totally fine. Like there's there's any way that you want to do it, but it is just know it's part of your brand. It's part of your marketing. And it is part of attracting the freelance work that you want to be doing that fulfills you.Ashley Mejia:
I love it. So much goodness in this. So you've been doing this freelance life a long time, since 2005. And that's super impressive, too. What do you attribute your staying power and your success?Marielou Mandl:
First thing is willing to say yes. willing to say yes to things that maybe are a little uncomfortable things you feel like you're not ready for you're not qualified for? Because I'm going to give you the secret to it all is that nobody's qualified? Nobody, nobody and everybody is qualified, right? It's like, Are you qualified to learn quickly on the job? Like, that's like, the number one skill is like, can you learn something fast? And can you move through the world confidently? Are you willing to make mistakes and admit you make mistakes? I've definitely done that. There were definitely like events, we were overrun with people. It was like a very popular brand. And like, I was like y'all that to my team? I was like, okay, so we failed it. Like everybody laughed about it, because we just like it's the elephant in the room of like, Oh, I think we did this wrong. And like, Okay, so now how can we course correct from there? How can we learn from this, you because nothing is the end of the world to see in the world. So be willing to say yes, be willing to make mistakes, and get very organized with your finances, because it's going to be up and down. But you listen to Ashley's like first episode, where she talks about that you can make as much money as you need to pay your bills, you don't have to cap on your finances, you can take seasons, you can take things time off. So all of that is like the cream of the cream. That's like why we do this, right? Because they're not like we have control over our lives. But get organized with your finances, you get that really big windfall job, don't spend it all in one place. Don't do it. Get organized. And look at yourself like a business. You're a commodity, your services a commodity, but you are a business. So you need to get organized in a way, like get QuickBooks, this took time to do this. But like, there's like a whole other episode about just finances as a freelancer. But like the quick and dirty of it, it's like have one account that the money lands in. That's not the account you spend out of and then you divvy out every check before it even gets to your personal pay account. Take your taxes out, pay the business, pay yourself and then just keep going from there. And then like things like that have to be flexible that sort of like you can have specific numbers that are targets but like you'll have you know, seasons where the rains very good and then you have your droughts, right. So you build things in a way that he'll be okay. When there's a drought, you might have to tighten up, but you'll be okay. And then when there's like a windfall, you're like amazing. Now I can replenish my reserves.Ashley Mejia:
I love it along that organization tip. I did want to ask because you do so many different things. How do you stay organized?Marielou Mandl:
As with your workspace with, you know, the way you structure your business kind of your processes. Can you give us some tips about that? Yeah, so with where I film, so a lot of people are like, how are you outputting so many videos, because I do like it's just like videos all day long. It's because my video set is my desk set, the place where I film is the place where I edit place where I answer emails, also the place where I do my hair and makeup. So if you're watching on the video podcast, and we'll describe it a little bit for the audio listeners, this shot that you see right now, this is like exactly where we're sitting, where you see the rest of the podcast interview that looks very clean. But when I cut away, I've got my camera, I've got so many lights, or so many lights, two cameras that are just always here, ready to go. And then this, like my laptop just plugs in and out of this situation, the microphones, all of that goes into a hub that plugs into the computer. So if ever I need to film something, I could just sit down and do it. And this like this is my monitor that like comes out to the middle. And this is creating a workflow and a work situation where you remove as many barriers as possible. Now, this took years for me to get to here. But I can tell people now who are getting into it, I'm like, okay, just start with this because I would like set up my cameras and take them down. But then it's like, oh, that's like so much just setting the cameras up and taking them down just that part. And then making sure that the cameras the right settings, and the lights are in the right place. I found a way that I'm like, Okay, I don't touch this camera, this camera stays here all the time, right. And if I want to film something out somewhere else in my apartment, I'll film it on my phone off the mat on other cameras, you know, because you can always just do everything on your phone is setting your work up, whatever it is your output is going to be with the least blockages, right? Because you want a flow. That's why it's a work flow. Once you start to hit resistance, you're like, Okay, approach that, how can we change this? How can we remove this resistance. So setting up the cameras, right? That was resistance for me, because it's like putting them up taking them down. So I'm like living with a friend, I'm in her guest room, it's very hard for me to like set up permanently there. So then like I eventually got into an apartment by myself, and I was like great this room is for filming only. But I have my filming section and my computer office section are different places. Okay, and now this is like now there's the resistance of getting the footage off of the camera to the computer to edit too much resistance. So now the footage goes straight into the computer, it downloads onto the desktop, like I don't record on an SD card. This I use a program called ECAM Live, which like rocks my world. And I just record in there I do production, I can see what the camera sees on my computer, the audio goes right into the computer, it's all together. And then that's a little less resistant to hair and makeup. Right? If you're the type of creator that you're going to be on camera and you want to look a certain way you want to present a certain way, doing my hair and makeup like in the bathroom was like cool, but then I would sit down in front of the camera, and it looks different. Now it's not what I want it to look like. So all my hair and makeup is sitting right there. And I just turn on all the lights, I have a mirror that just like just died on it. I sit here so I can see exactly what it looks like the lights in the background, just getting rid of resistance, like making sure the set was clean was like oh my gosh, it's just too many things to think about. So now just this wall, just stay in this wall. And it's lights on the floor, not a set not backdrops, I need to pull down, it's a gray wall with lights on it. Remove the resistance to your workflow. And just like that just takes time because you need to figure out, okay, this, this is good. Things are going good. Okay, this is where I have a little resistance. What can I do? What creative solutions can I have to remove that barrier? Okay, cool. And you'll keep finding more until you work through it. So I'm able to make many, many videos in a day. I'll film it, it's already on my computer. Before I turn anything off. I'll go in, edit, edit, edit, make sure I have everything that I need. Okay, cool. Now I can move on. Because if you shoot it and if I don't edit it right away, I'm never editing it. You're never gonna see the light of day. That is incredible. Thank you, thank you, thank you for pulling back the curtain and kind of showing us this this is amazing for those folks that are accessing via YouTube like this is amazing. And for folks that are listening on the podcast, go to YouTube so you can see everything that Marielou shared and there's so many ways that we can apply this to whatever you're doing if you're doing social media if you're doing writing, you know having that place to work and figuring out what are the things that are stopping you not having your information or not having a system a filing system if you want to kick it old school for you know a folder for you if your client like taking what Marielou's sharing and applying thatAshley Mejia:
Do what you do. I think it's going to make a huge impact.Marielou Mandl:
That's awesome. Yeah, and then content on content, right? So we're filming this right now like Ashley's filming this, I've got a phone here on the side filming me talking to the camera, because that I will use as other content, whether you hear me talking or not. If you're a freelancer, and you're like, I don't know what to make content of, like, put a camera in the corner and film yourself typing on your computer, just so it shows that you're working, right, because you are what you tell people you are. So if you're a writer, show people your writing, because you're a writer, I don't care if you're just like playing Sudoku, like just, you know, you are what you tell people you are, and that will attract the clients that will attract the work that will bring you your peace and happiness.Ashley Mejia:
I love it. So good. It's so so good. So I know folks can follow you online. You also have this editing class on Skillshare. Can you tell us more about that?Marielou Mandl:
Yes. So on Skillshare I have video editing for beginners on mobile. If you have never done anything on Skillshare you can find a trial for it and take it for free. The class takes less than an hour. I just go through the basics on editing a video on your phone using a free app called cap cut. But the the things that we talked about are things that you can use in basically any video editor like talking about importing footage, right? If you've never heard that word, you're like, what does that even mean? Right? A timeline editing timeline, we'll talk about that and like how to kind of move footage around. And once you learn those basics, you can do so much so even if it's like like I filmed this little video here on the side today. Now it's like just a long piece of video. What do I do with that? Well, using the skills you can learn in this class, you can learn how to just cut the beginning and end off or how to just take a clip, or how to add captions onto it, things like that, that do make things very easy. And if you ever have any, any questions, just DM me, I'll answer you. Or if I have a video, I'll send you the link to it. If you find me on YouTube. That's where the whole library of tutorials for that kind of stuff. Fantastic. Because I want you to make your content. My thing is like, create, release, repeat is the only way you're gonna get better. It's the only way you're going to improve. And it's the only way you're going to feel more confident existing on the internet.Ashley Mejia:
That's so powerful, create, release, repeat people. That's what we need to be doing. So Marielou, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing so much wisdom with us today for sharing your time for your inspiration. Everything that you're doing in the world just frees us all up to try to say yes to these opportunities. Where can people find you online? Can you tell us those handles one more time so we can find you? Yes, you find me all over the internet at Marielou Mandel. And then there's a couple of other offshoots. I'm still playing with the names, but you can always find me at Marielou mantel everywhere on the internet. Thank you so much, Marielou, I appreciate you. Thank you. And with that we've come to the end of another episode. Please make sure you hit subscribe if you haven't already done so. And give me a five star review on Apple. This will help out a lot and getting the word out about this brand new podcast. I invite you to check out the show notes and also grab my free niches get riches, freelance writing worksheet to brainstorm the best niches for your writing business. If you're not a writer, you can still use it to get business ideas. And until next time, this is actually a talk freelance to me. Don't forget, we all get this one precious life. Don't constrain yourself to a box that you were never meant to fit in. It is your right to profit from your own creative gifts. This podcast was created by Ashley Cisneros Mejia. Our music was composed by Donna Raphael of World Instrumentals. Talk Freelance To Me is a product of Fenix Creative Studio.