Posted on January 18 2021
Our first female founder interview of 2021 is with Suzanne Paulinski, founder of The Rock/Star Advocate®. We loved kicking off the new year with Suzanne and her message. Follow along to find out why her company was such a fabulous brand and message to jumpstart 2021 with.
Ally Shoes: Hi Suzanne, tell us about yourself
Suzanne: Well, I grew up, and currently live, in Queens, NY. In fact, I recently purchased a tiny house (yes, like the ones on HGTV) and it resides in a family driveway! I have always had my mind set on working in the music industry, even as a kid. The goals and visions of what I would do in this industry have taken on many different iterations, but after finally reaching my goal of working at the major labels by the time I was in college, I realized soon after college that it wasn't for me and the dream I had wasn't what I thought it would be. It took a number of years, but after getting my Master's in Psychology, I realized my true calling was in working with music professionals to help them find better ways to manage their time in order to have a better work/life balance and avoid burnout, which I myself had experienced in my mid-late 20s.
Now, with The Rock/Star Advocate, I'm able to work with the types of people I want to work with and make an impact by coaching others on how to put themselves first while building an engaged community through service and authenticity. I've surpassed what I was making at the labels and I am much healthier and more confident in my work now that I take more time for myself and work with greater intention. I never would have believed 10 years back this was possible, so I know the type of trust I'm asking my clients to put in me when I guide them through these shifts in mindset.
Ally Shoes: Tell us more about The Rock/Star Advocate
Suzanne: I started The Rock/Star Advocate back in the winter of 2014 after hiring a business coach who had no direct experience in the music industry. It took me years to say yes to working with her, as she had offered to help me time and again after being introduced to me at a networking event and watching me flounder for years as I struggled to understand the difference between knowing the industry I was in and knowing entrepreneurship.
Once I finally put my pride aside and asked for help, after suffering from Lyme Disease and only having approximately 4 hours/day to even be able to focus and work on anything, including a full-time job that was slowly becoming part-time, I put my trust in her and her wife (who was helping me as an entrepreneurial attorney) and did as they said and within 6 months I was full-time with this business and had left my day job.
The difference between starting this business and starting my last two which were not able to "take off" is that I finally learned entrepreneurship and how to create services that spoke to my zone of genius, charge for the value I offered, and work with intention and reflection rather than from a place of fear and reactionary decision making.
The "/" between the words Rock and Star symbolizes the need to be grounded (like a rock) in order to reach your full potential (as a rising star). I knew I wanted to be an advocate for creatives and when my coach suggested adding the word "rockstar" I winced because I hated that it conjured up "sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll" and the burnout so many artists endure. After some brainstorming we realized it was actually the perfect word and mission for what I was creating.
I work 1:1 with clients, as well as run a group accountability and coaching program with the help of my Director of Rock/Star Affairs, Jennifer O'Hagan. I focus on helping music professionals get clear on their goals and next steps, and shift their mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. I have also created a line of products to help creatives stay organized and focused on their goals.
Ally Shoes: What makes your yearly planner different from others?
Suzanne: I created The Rock/Star Life Planner with a very dear friend, Alyssa B. Jackson, in 2016 because we could not find a planner that had what we needed and wanted - a place to plan out our marketing, a place to remind us ways we can engage with our community (it's so easy to blank on and overthink that piece), and a place to not fall into what I call the dreaded "purse curse." Here's the thing - the bigger the bag you carry the more crap you'll put in it; the same goes for planners. When there are lines all the way down the day with 15-30 minute increments, we feel obligated to fill it up! And then we fill our days with busy work or, worse, we overestimate what's even possible to get done in a day, we come up short, and then we feel like lazy garbage going into the next day and it snowballs.
The Rock/Star Life Planner is not just a book - it's a guide on how to manage your time, how to plan effectively, and how to ensure you make time for self-care. The Planner comes with a slew of digital "rocksources," including a vision board tutorial and template, a video training on time blocking, and an exclusive library of checklists, spreadsheets, and guides you can download to help you stay organized and grow your business (and we're always adding more). You don't need to be in the music industry to use it, it is aimed at helping creatives and entrepreneurs in general succeed at their goals.
In addition, I've also recently created a private community on Instagram - @redefinethehustle - for all those who own the Planner (we've been publishing them since 2016 so having any version counts!) and want to have some guidance and inspiration for making the most out of planning their week each and every time. We offer weekly planning lives every Monday, tips and trainings via lives every Thursday, and productivity power hours to finish the week strong via lives every Friday.
All of this is included with your one-time purchase of the Planner. For me, it's crucial to not simply throw tools at you, but ensure you know how to get the most from them.
Ally Shoes: Not only do you have the planner but tell us more about your group coaching and private coaching. Do you have to be in the music industry?
Suzanne: You don't, in fact, some of my clients are comedians, writers, and other entrepreneurs. If you're someone who struggles with managing their time, reaching their goals, and/or can't seem to identify their goals, let's talk! My private coaching and even group accountability program are aimed at helping you create structure and clarity around your day-to-day. The only thing music-industry-specific about my company is my background in it and some of the topics I cover in my podcast, The Music-Preneur Mindset, but otherwise my resources are applicable to almost any industry/focus.
Ally Shoes: We believe that everyone needs an Ally at Ally Shoes. Could you tell us more about who is your ally?
Suzanne: I couldn't agree more, which is why I'm such a fan of your brand! I am so fortunate to have so many great allies in my life, but if I had to choose one I'd have to say my mom, Barbara. No matter what life has thrown my way she never let me give up on myself and so many of the lessons I've passed on to my clients stem from the lessons she's taught me throughout my life, including putting myself first. It took me decades to hear that lesson and follow it, but as usual, she was right. Everyone needs someone in their corner cheering them on, even, and especially, when they can't cheer for themselves and she's been that ally for me.
Ally Shoes: What does work/life balance mean to you?
Suzanne: I believe balance looks different on everyone, it's a very personal vision. For me, I feel balanced when I'm able to know my clients have all been served to the best of my ability and my family and friends know that even if I get quiet during a launch or big project, I am never too busy to pick up the phone or show up when they need me. I have learned over the years pushing people to the sidelines for the sake of reaching a work goal only makes reaching that goal a very lonely experience. I am more than my job and more than the goals I set so I make sure my friends, family, and my own self know that by drawing boundaries around when I take client calls, when I do live streaming, and how many projects I take on at once.