How to Have Multiple Thriving Careers—at the Same Time
Thirtysomething actor, Jane the Virgin director and skincare entrepreneur Melanie Mayron shares the lessons she’s learned.
Melanie Mayron may be the consummate multi-hyphenate—the actor-director-entrepreneur directs episodes of Jane the Virgin, Pretty Little Liars and Grace & Frankie, while answering emails about her up-and-coming skincare brand, Mayron’s Goods between takes. “When I was growing up, all our parents had one career their whole lives,” recalls Melanie. “When I graduated high school in the 70s, a newscaster said ‘this generation will have three careers in their lifetime.’ It couldn’t have been more true.” After acting in a handful of acclaimed movies, including Harry and Tonto and cult indie favorite Girlfriends, Melanie earned an Emmy for her starring role on Thirtysomething. After the show was cancelled, she started directing television. “At the time, I was also starting to think about becoming a mom,” she says. “I said to my dad, who’s a chemist, ‘Let’s make the best diaper cream there is.’" It took 14 years of experimentation and hard work, but the product is truly incredible.” Today, they’ve got a well-rounded line of baby products, filled with beneficial essential oils, vitamins and minerals, and free of toxic chemicals. Next up, Melanie and her father are expanding their line of adult products.
Melanie shared the lessons she’s learned about running a business from across the country, building multiple thriving careers—simultaneously!—and creating a life she loves.
1. Go with the flow
After launching our line with the diaper cream, we created a body milk, head-to-toe hair and body wash and shea butter chapstick. The chapstick, which we call Chap Stuff, didn’t say “baby” anywhere on the packaging—and it got picked up by Vogue and Cosmopolitan as an adult product. I realized that, as amazing as the baby market is, you lose your customers after two years. It’s like acting in that no matter how good you are, you always have to go out and audition for the next thing. I decided to go with it and move into developing adult products.
2. Use all of your talents
Doing two very different careers at once gives me the opportunity to pursue multiple passions and put all of my creative talents to use. On top of directing incredibly talented actors, I get to help create great products with my dad, work with graphic artists to come up with product packaging and write clever names for the items in our assortment. Working on our line, for me, is very artistic.
3. Choose jobs with flexibility
Between preparation and shooting, a TV episode takes about three and a half weeks to shoot and edit, and then you’re off for a few weeks or months—the work comes in spurts. When I’m on set, I can often answer emails and get things done for my business while they’re lighting on the set. I take care of product orders at night or early in the morning. When I’m not directing, I fully devote my time to my business.
4. Build a trustworthy (remote!) team
I have a brand manager, David Pirrotta, who I love. His team is incredibly helpful in sales, and they field inquiries about the line. My friend, Ava, helps us order product ingredients from her office in Philly, and makes sure they get to our manufacturer in Reading, PA. My friend Tre helps me with shipping and getting the big orders out. I don’t feel the need to have one office where we all work together. Everything gets done, and we’re always in touch. We keep the USPS and FedEx very busy.
5. Create the life you want
So many kids are graduating college and struggling to find jobs. It’s a really messed up time in that way. Think outside the box in terms of how you’re going to pay your bills. Figure out what you love and find a way to do it. Between social media and online marketplaces, like Etsy, it’s easier than ever to reach people. You can do your thing from your apartment, and it can become something. You don’t have to be in an office—you can make your life the way you want it. The sky’s the limit. There’s never been a more amazing time to be an entrepreneur.
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