Thursday, November 22, 2012

In ter im

I'm working on a new site that will house information about my eBook, a new workbook I'm finishing and this blog. Good potential business deals are distracting me, and for that, I apologize.

So, what's cooking?

Well, after being laid off for the second time in three years, I'm looking to create my own gigs. It's just simply too tough to think about having someone else be the master of my fate. I've also had quite a bit of freedom bestowed upon me due to my layoffs and doing the 9 to 5 thing just wouldn't feel natural anymore.

It's scary moving forward without the guarantee of a paycheck, but I feel more ready than ever. There have been countless entrepreneurs before me who jumped and landed safely.

There's no time like the present. There's no option but presents ahead.

Here goes nothing.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Unbearable Weight of Loss

In August, I lost my job, had food poisoning, moved into a bigger apartment and said goodbye to my beloved dog. As far as months go, it sucked.

For more than a few days, I felt like a loser. In the sense that there haven't been many wins in my column in recent years. The one bright spot was my senior rescue dog, Shaggy. It's been a long time since I was in love. He awakened my heart. Loving him and taking care of him made me feel like I had a purpose. I could move an entire apartment by myself, I could brace myself for unemployment and I could see the other side of food poisoning. All were positive changes, detoxing bad situations from my life. As long as I had my faithful companion, everything would be ok.

Shaggy's loss was dramatic, quick, traumatic and exhausting. I had to make a tough decision that wasn't tough rationally. It was tough because I was losing my pal, my constant companion and my connector to the dog community. He kept me present and my mood was uncharacteristically good. I could remember life without him. I just didn't want to live that life again.

A psychic told me that Shaggy is all around me. He left because I needed him too much. He wants me to have a human relationship, clear all of my heartbreak and then he'll come back to me in the form of another dog. He also said he wished he'd spent more time outside (btw, he spent 2.5-3 hours a day outside, more than any of his friends. He's still relentless, even from the other side.)

Even knowing he's ok, it's been a struggle to stay positive. For every moment that I feel ok, there are two where I feel like Mike Tyson is throwing knockout punches at my chest. I know that it has to get better.

I've learned that anything can change in an instant. There's no point in hiding behind fears. YOLO. So, I'm vowing to try a few things outside of my comfort zone. I'm going to sell a children's book. I'm going to start a microbusiness on the web related to pets. I'm going to follow what I want to do rather than what I can do. Hopefully, by following my passions and my heart, love will come my way. I'll find my husband, have our child, have a career that I want without money worries and my Shaggy, back to me in a new, young body to live with me for his entire life, instead of his last months.

If I can make this, when I make this happen, I will have the life I've always wanted to live.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Looking Back at Silicon Beach Fest

The sand has settled from Digital LA's inaugural Silicon Beach Fest, a celebration of the LA start-up culture challenging Silicon Valley. With three days of panels (and after parties) held simultaneously in four locations across Santa Monica and Venice, guest got to mix, mingle and learn about what's happening and upcoming on the Los Angeles tech scene.

PromoJam, a leading social media platform, held four panels at their offices focused on social media with respect to broadcast, music, hispanic market and voting. Executives from NBC Universal, UStream, Interscope Records, OOYALA, M-GO, Hitflix, Atom Factory, The Audience, Topspin, Lopez Negrete Communications, RAPP, Shrine America Latino, Rock the Vote, Redlaser and Techcrunch took time out of their busy schedules to share their insights on social media. 

The key takeaway from PromoJam's panels is that people are using more and more devices to engage with media and are adding their voices to dialogue, whether it be Pretty Little Liars fans, the upcoming election and concerts. It's imperative for brands to conduct conversations, not dictate what they want fans to know.

From a personal standpoint, I really appreciated seeing people so passionate about what they do. Embodying the spirit of emPLAYment, was inspirational. They live, breathe and socialize with those who are directly or indirectly involved with their entrepreneurial pursuits.

The first ever Silicon Beach Fest showed the LA community the strength of the LA tech scene. With locals joined by those from New York and as far as London, it's becoming clear that SoCal is catching up to it's NorCal neighbors in terms of innovation, technology and start-up culture. Better start planning for next June's extravaganza!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Richard Slimmons

On Saturday, I completed my new year's resolution. I worked out with Richard Simmons.

I wanted to go to Slimmons Studio solely for the kitsch (not Taylor) factor. As a kid, I remember Letterman mock the '80's icon and being really irritated by his over the top crying in infomercials. I can tolerate anyone for an hour, especially for a good story. Heading to Slimmons, my expectations were simple: sweating, oldies music, flamboyant Richard and a unique LA experience.

At age 63, Richard doesn't disappoint. In fact, he's more effusive in person and an unexpected inspiration. His joy and enthusiasm is infectious and even the most jaded ex-New Yorker can't help but smile.

Before class, he introduces himself to each student, asks their names and kisses them on the cheek. He knows that he's is best advocate and the friendly touch goes a long way to win over the naysayers or those just their to make fun of Richard. He makes fun of himself before you get a chance. He's not in on the joke, he is the joke and graciously lets you join him.

The class is a sweat-inducing mix of aerobics, weights and situps to 60's music with a touch of Lionel Richie. Mid-class, he grabs class members, dances with them in the center of a circle and even rips the shirts off good looking young men. At one point, a bachelorette pulled off her hot pant shorts (she had on a leotard and tights) and Richard matched her. I can tell you he wears tights and nothing else underneath those little satin shorts. Aside from that little horror, you smile while sweating and cheering on your classmates.

After class, he stays to take pictures with everyone, including group and individual shots. All told, you spend $12 for a 3-hour Richard experience, which is a pittance in a town of $22 classes.

While it would be hard for me to workout with Richard weekly, I foresee another visit to Slimmons Studio in my future. It's fun, a good workout and a nice break from fancy hybrid pilates-yoga-ballet studios.

Verdict: Angelenos and visitors will be pleasantly surprised by Slimmons.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Another Year, Lots of Learning

My birthday was a few days ago. I usually, annually fall into despair because my life isn't the way that I want it to be, but this year was different. I still want things to change, but I'm looking at this upcoming year where they will.

About a week before my birthday, I went to the doctor because I'm always exhausted. He called me to tell me that my blood test showed low sodium. When I googled, I saw that it is a symptom of some serious illnesses, including lung cancer. As an ex-smoker, this made me nervous. I kept calm, knowing it's a slim chance but I started thinking about too many things that I haven't done. Some of the easier items are to go to the Magic Castle, visit Catalina and have brunch at the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge. They will happen this year.

I also realized that fear has held me back from a lot of endeavors. Failure doesn't mean I'm a failure, just like wearing a bad outfit means I have bad taste. I'm also not psychic so if I assume something won't work out, I'm jumping the gun because of...fear. No more.

Shaggy, my rescue wheaten on my birthday morning
I'm thankful for many gifts: my dog, Shaggy, who has opened my heart; the writing opportunities that are slowly coming my way; for the job opportunities that will allow me to pay off my debt while living comfortably; and for my friends and family who love me although they may not always agree or understand my path.

As my birthday fortune cookie said, "Happiness is around the next corner, wealth down the street." Woo hoo!

(And the blood test was an anomaly, so I'm in the clear.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Interview #3: The Landlord With Secrets

Today’s interview is with Drew DeMasters, a Marketing Consultant and Non-Fiction Author of “Landlord Marketing Secrets.” I’ve had the privilege of working with Drew and can tell you honestly that he is an extraordinary marketer and genuinely great guy. That doesn’t mean he gets softball questions.

Hi Drew! Welcome to the blog. You’ve been working as a marketing guru as the main focus of your career. What do you like best about it? Least?

Thanks, Kerry!  Great to catch up with you again.
The thing I love about marketing is that every business out there needs help with it and the successes I’ve experienced with some companies really, truly do translate for others as well!  And I think that’s because good marketing is about understanding consumer behavior and making real connections with people.  No matter whether it’s a Super Bowl commercial, a new store grand opening celebration or a YouTube video that goes viral to millions of views . . .  the reason why any type of advertising or promotion ‘works’ boils down to whether it really connects to people.  So, helping businesses understand and connect with their customers better really excites me.

As for what I like least?  Well, when I see good businesses with well-meaning, sincere people get caught up in internal politics and turf-battles, it leaves me sad and wondering ‘why can’t we all just get along?’  You know that the business owners and founders never wanted it to be that way but the egos and insecurity of people a bit further down the chain can actually hold a business back from achieving great things and reaching its goals.  I’ve seen it so many times, and that’s definitely the worst in my view.

When we were working together, I remember you writing your book during lunch breaks. What inspired you to take on such a lofty goal while working full-time and what kept you going?

That’s funny you remember that!  Yes, I was a regular at that McDonald’s in Venice for a couple years!  I had thought casually of writing a book for a few years before I actually started it, and I think what inspired me finally to the point of actually putting pen to paper (as they say) was really two things. 

One, I had experienced a number of successes doing marketing for clients on the agency side and really getting excited from seeing them enjoy the high of those ‘ah-ha moments’.  Those successes proved in my mind that I what I was doing was not a fluke, but something really powerful that could help a lot of other businesses too.

And two, that individual landlords and property managers maybe more than any other type of business owner really need help with how they market themselves, their properties and how they provide service to their residents.  As a rental property owner myself, I saw this huge need and opportunity to help a lot of investment property owners succeed more than ever in their rentals.

The book is 240 pages, so it did take me many months of writing during lunch breaks and on weekends.  My wife was amazingly patient with me and actually did the cover art that brings the book to life in its final published form.
What has been the biggest challenge of being an author--writing or promoting? What has been your most successful method of generating book sales?

Oh definitely promoting the book.  It’s a completely different kind of marketing than I’ve ever done before so I’ve really learned a lot through this process.  But since I love the business of marketing, it’s not been hard, laborious work so much as just a steady, evolving challenge.  A challenge I’ve helped many of my own clients overcome . . . how to find and connect with new customers!  

The three most successful methods of book sales I’ve seen so far are –
1)     Public speaking and presentations at tradeshows and conferences
2)     Article marketing
3)     Radio interviews

And wow, radio was a wildly new frontier for me.  For my first interview, I was as nervous as I’ve ever been in my life.  Sweaty palms, dry mouth, couldn’t sleep the night before, etc.  Way over-stressing it.  But the best thing I’ve learned with radio interviews is that it’s just a conversation between two people, not to a cast of thousands.  So, now I just focus on sharing an important message that can help people.  And low and behold, listeners do connect with you.

Recently, your company eliminated your job (stupid heads). Do you find yourself living funemployed (vs. unemployed) and what are some of the activities that you’re engaging in?

Oh, funemployed for sure.  I loved the company but had ended up in a role that wasn’t a fit for me at all so I couldn’t wait to leave.  And I consider myself very lucky that in 14 years of experience, I’ve only had one bad boss.  So yes, I’ve really enjoyed the time so far.  Spending a lot more time with my kids.  School activities.  Finally took the Warner Brothers Studio Tour with my wife that I’d wanted to go on for 10 years.  Took the kids to Disneyland.  Occasional walks, brunch and biking on the beach.  Doing more writing, speaking engagements and being able to help other businesses find and keep new customers.  That’s my passion.

For your readers Kerry, I would say this … don’t let yourself be defined by your job.  Be defined by your personality, your skills, experiences and who you are as a person, but not by your 9-to-5 job.  Time is the most precious resource anyone of us has, so we really have to use it doing something meaningful that you feel makes a difference.  Famously, that was Steve Jobs’ philosophy and one I choose to live by as well.
Clearly marketing is your passion since your book is centered around it as well. Will you continue with corporate marketing, focusing more on landlords or both? Are you working on another book?

I’m going to continue helping landlords in various ways and am creating some new products to help them market themselves.  Other industries that I’m particularly interested in are law firms, independent insurance agents and mid-sized retail businesses.  So, I may eventually write some marketing guides for each of them and setup a couple of new websites targeted to those niches.

Thanks, Drew for sharing your story with us. Anyone needing effective and affordable marketing consulting, please contact Drew at If you’d like to buy Drew’s book or learn more about his landlord marketing tips, visit

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My new article for online magazine Real City

I'm honored to have my first article published by online magazine Real City. Check it out here and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I have a new website!

No one loves blogging more than me. I felt that I also needed a web site that provided content specific to the ewBook, FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn. Please take a look at my new site and let me know what you think in the comments section!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What does success feel like?

"What does success feel like?" asked the Russian psychologist with whom I found myself walking in a dog park. Needless to say, since Shaggy (my rescue wheaten terrier) has come into my life, I've met some interesting people. Since our dogs were playing, Vladimir and I started chatting. I told him about my book and we started talking about working hard, not having a work-life balance and that's when he asked me that question.

I had to pause and really think about my answer. It's relatively easy to talk about what success looks like. Having a nice house, a great car, a family that loves you and enough money to live comfortably would likely be typical answers. But that's about what you have, not about how you feel.

As Americans, we measure success by what we have. If you work hard, you'll be able to buy an Audi. But once you have it, after awhile you start thinking it'd be nice to have a Mercedes. If I work harder, then I can upgrade...and so on. If you're working so hard, do you have a god quality of life? If you took away all the material items, what is a measure of success?

Is success sitting with your family, having a wonderful meal and feeling that just shy of being too full feeling? Is it feeling the sun on your face as you watch your child playing and having fun? Is it being able to sleep late on Sunday morning? Is it snuggling with your dog while he looks at you with so much love in his eyes? What makes you feel content, happy, complete?

Maybe for you it includes a car, a house with a pool or a designer handbag. But I'm willing to bet that it involves something a lot more priceless. Because it's less tangible, it's easier to forget and lose sight of. You get caught up in a race, looking for that item that can validate all of your effort. See, I have a new car. It was worth it. But a hunk of metal can't love you back or fill you exhausted energy tank or make you have a great relationship with your spouse. Why can't success be the same as happiness?

What does success feel like to you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Interview #2: The Eye Doctor Changing The World

Today’s interview is with Dr. Eric Dessner, an Adult and Pediatric Ophthalmologist in New York City. He is also the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Maji Umbrellas, an organization that supports efforts to provide clean water to people that are affected by the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa. He embodies the spirit of emPLAYment because he’s successfully pursuing his passions.

1.     Hi Eric! Clearly, you’re a busy guy so thanks for taking the time to share your story. Becoming an Ophthalmologist and building a practice takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. What are the best and worst parts of your job? Do you have a super creepy story to share?

The best part is watching the reaction you get from a satisfied customer, patient that is! It feels good when a patient that you’ve done cataract surgery on in one eye is so eager to do the second eye that they say, “Can we do the left eye next week?” It lets you know that you’ve done a good thing for them.

The worst part, hmmm….well it’s a stressful job at times. Microsurgery can be that way. Also, sometimes it can make you feel like a bit of a pinball--one patient to the next over and over, which can be a bit numbing. That’s why I always have music on in the background and like to work in different locations throughout the week.

Helping people seems to the common thread between your jobs. Does Maji help you fulfill some aspects that you were missing from your Ophthalmology practice?

Yes. It’s a creative outlet in many ways. My partner and I really started this from scratch, from the concept to its implementation. Also, the project gives me a chance to do some writing which I enjoy.

Maji’s focus is to sell umbrellas to raise funds for those suffering from drought in the Horn of Africa. What are your long-term goals, e.g. expansion to other regions or different types of products?

Well, right now we’re focused on the Horn of Africa. However, in the future we would love to have a role in providing clean water to other parts of the world as well. For now, we're focused on umbrellas because the umbrella ties together the themes of “protection” and “water.” A Maji mini umbrella for kids has been discussed because we think it would set a good example for children. There have been some preliminary discussions of other water themed accessories in the future.

We take drinking water for granted. Can you share some of the effects of not having enough water or water that’s not clean?

Well, lack of access to clean water claims more lives around the world each year than any war claims through guns. A survey in 2008 conducted by UNICEF stated that 884 million people lack access to clean water. That’s pretty staggering.

That's horrifying. Let's sell some umbrellas. What the best part of the umbrella? My guess is they won’t invert on a super windy day :)

The best part of the umbrella is that it has a built in donation to Oxfam America. Each purchase provides 20 days of clean water to the drought stricken Horn of Africa. It also looks great and is really sturdy. It’s a much better umbrella than many that are selling for 3x the price.

Thank you again for sharing your story. If you need a top-notch Ophthamologist, please see Dr. Dessner. And, you know you never have an umbrella when you need one, so please support Maji by buying an umbrella or two and help do some good by spreading the word. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Four Paws For Love

One of the most asked about chapters of my eBook is the dating chapter and if all of those stories actually happened. Yes, they're all true.

After a year of shunning online dating, I got back on the train...and soon realized why I got off. After trading about 3 emails with a man who was very interested, he referenced his partner...and his baby. I double checked his profile and it indicated he was straight. Business partners typically don't adopt babies and "Three Men and a Baby" seems to far fetched for reality. I also didn't think he was a Jason Bateman-Turkey-Baster-Guy-in-an-Aniston flick, but before I let my imagination run too far away from me, I wrote, "So I take it that you're not single if you have a baby with a female partner?"

"Oh no, I challenge the concept of monogamy."

Hmmm, well, I challenge the concept of polygomy. Block!

But fear not. Before I sound like a much too bitter single lady, I have a hot little love. Burning at 100.7 degrees, my 4-pawed, wheaten terrier rescue has made me fall in love with him, more than I ever knew possible. He lets me sing and babble on and loves every second of it. With my heart open, good things are ahead.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview 1: The Map Maker

I'm sure it gets boring just reading about me. This is the first interview in a series that explores people's journeys in FUNemployment and what I like to call EmPLAYment, where people follow their passions to success. 

Our first interviewee is Karla, who was laid off in 2011, has embraced FUNemployment and is on her way to EmPLAYment!

Hi Karla! Welcome to FUNemployed, the blog. Can you tell me a little bit about how you became FUNemployed?
Sure, I was working in a large engineering firm for four years until a major business change triggered my layoff. I was very sad at the time but I've learned to make the best of a bad situation. 

Tell us how!
I gave up my apartment, put my stuff in storage and started going on adventures. I have been doing WWOOF during this time, which is worldwide opportunities on organic farms and is a work exchange program. I work 25-35 hours per week on a farm in exchange for food and board. As a lifelong city girl, I never thought I'd know how to milk goats and make cheese. Plus, I get to travel, use my hands and I've met tons of interesting people!

Did your friends and family want to have your head examined?
They definitely thought that I had a break from sanity. Luckily my friends and family are supportive and know that I have a good head on my shoulders. I just explained that it was like a forced summer break, except in winter.

Wow, that's great! Sounds like you really stepped out of your comfort zone. Do you think you'll ever go back to your old industry?
I always look to make connections in the engineering/map making world. I've attended seminars and conventions in Washington and Colorado and managed to find some volunteer work in Minnesota and New Mexico as well. I've been thinking of using my map making skills to help make guides so that people have an easier time of finding these organic farms.

You just may have stumbled upon a new aspect of your career. 
You know, you have a good point. I've always loved being healthy and this could be a way to do some good while also using my skills and making a living.

If you could go back and change anything about your layoff, would you?
In hindsight, no. It was terrible at the time, but I always felt like my old job wasn't my forever job. I've gained more new experiences in the past few months than I ever did at work. I love what I do but I don't know that being at a big firm is really what I want for the long haul. My new experiences have made me a more well-rounded person. I do wish I could whisper in the ear of recently laid off me and tell her that it will all be ok.

Thanks, Karla. I really appreciate you sharing your story. Please do keep us posted about your journey...and if anyone needs a map or organic fruits and vegetables, let her know!

If you're interested in being an interview subject, please send an email to kerrylquinn51674 at gmail (dot) com.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back to black, basics, blogging

The most enjoyable work experience of recent years has been writing my ebook and blogging. Unfortunately, I let my new job get in the way of it and my writing career halted. I came into the job upbeat, exuberant and ready for a challenge. Three months in, I'm downbeat, tired and missing my writing. So I'm back.

Not to bury the lead, but I also fulfilled an uncompleted item on my FUNemployment list...I got a dog! He's not a puppy, but a 10-year old rescue wheaten terrier named Shaggy. For many reasons, I questioned whether I should get him but they've all faded. Since I gave up drinking, I don't go out all night. I have a job and am more financially stable. I'm ready for the responsibility and have the love to give. Plus, he's healthy and such a lover. Only a month together and he loves to cuddle with me, give me kisses and greet me at the door.

Now that we're settled and I'm recommitting to my writing, I'm working on an interview series about the funemployed and those who are pursuing their passions. This is not an empty promise, so thank you for your support and stay tuned!

Monday, January 30, 2012


I got a great review from Easily Mused of which I'm really proud. My eBook, "FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn," received 5 out of 5 lightbulbs! 

Here's a highlight: 
Kerry Quinn‘s optimism is contagious, and I really enjoyed her book. It was fun, witty, and easy to read. While I’m lucky to never have been unemployed, I came away with lessons that I can apply to other difficult situations as they arise, and I’d recommend this in a heartbeat to anyone just needing a pick-me-up.

I've also been working on my new Web site which will feature more information about me, the eBook and upcoming projects. I've also done a photoshoot which I can't wait to share. I've uploaded a few samples as a preview. 

I've also been working on an interview series with people who've been able to discover new passions or careers in FUNemployment, share their tips and just great stories. Stay tuned for more to come!

Lastly, I'm appearing on Mike Patterson's radio show on Thursday evening at 7pm EST/4pm PST. Be sure to listen!