Some people know exactly what they want to do with their lives — even from an early age. Allyson Fulcher was one of those people. When she was in kindergarten, Allyson started telling people she would grow up to be a teacher — so when she started college, that was exactly what she planned to study. But as it tends to, life had another plan… and Allyson found herself changing her career path to something totally unexpected.
because periods CAN suck less
Several years and a few job titles later, Allyson is now the ass-kicking, hard-working, show-stopping Editorial Director of The Everygirl — a driving force behind content creation, scheduling, and management. She’s learned a lot about managing a team, moving across the country, and changing up your lifelong career plan — and she’s got a whole lot to teach. Read on to hear more about Allyson’s unique career trajectory, the two pieces of her life she’d never give up, and even a little behind-the-scenes scoop about The Everygirl.
Name: Allyson Fulcher
Current Title/Company: Editorial Director of The Everygirl
Location: Mobile, AL
Education: BA in Sociology with a minor in Communications from Texas A&M University
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first ever job was at McDonald’s… so glamorous, I know. The summer after my 16th birthday, my mom told me I had to get a job. Of course, I had all these visions of working at a “cool place” (this is 2006 so Abercrombie, Hollister, Icing) in the mall, but my lack of work experience and the fact that every other teen wanted a job meant that I didn’t get called for a single interview. After two weeks and no “cool job,” my mom drove me to McDonald’s and had a long talk with me about how everyone has to start somewhere and that nothing is ever “beneath you.” I was hired on the spot and spent the summer inside the drive-through.
When did you first discover The Everygirl? How did you decide to reach out to The Everygirl for an internship?
In college, I started off studying early childhood education. Since my first day of Kindergarten, I had told everyone that I wanted to become a teacher. I was naturally good at it and the entire trajectory felt set in stone. Sophomore year, I started wondering if there was something missing and quickly realized an entire creative, driven part of me was just sitting in the backseat. I started to realize that if I couldn’t give 100% of myself, I was never going to be satisfied.
Without a plan and really any idea of what was next, I changed my major to Communications… where I quickly discovered there was no easy-to-understand job trajectory or path. I felt trapped because I couldn’t get an internship because I was working crazy hours to put myself through school. I was driven, hard-working, and yet completely lost at what the next step was.
I decided the first thing I needed to do was get a more regular, stable office job. My school connected business owners in the community who were looking for student workers and I saw a job at a plastic surgeon’s office. I had no experience (other than showing up for work on time and that I knew how to work a computer) and my interviewer told me he had never hired someone that didn’t want to work in the medical field long term. I looked him in the eye and told him that whatever I didn’t know, I was willing to learn and that I would make up for it by working hard and never giving up. He gave me the job, and over the next three years, I gained a ton of experience and knowledge about what makes a good employee. I made plenty of mistakes, but the best thing to do when you make a mistake is to own it (no one wants to hear your excuses — no matter how good you think they are) and not let it happen again. Don’t worry… you’ll eventually make another one you didn’t even know was a mistake.
It was around my second year into my Front Office Manager job that I stumbled upon Alaina’s personal blog Live Creating Yourself. What started as interest in an Ikea buffet in her dining room turned into full-blown blog fangirling. I ended up starting my own blog because I wanted to express myself and showcase recipes I had found on Pinterest and DIY home decor on a shoestring budget. Through blogging, I ended up teaching myself Photoshop, shooting with a DSLR, editing photos, and how to work in the Blogger platform. Everything I learned through trial and error. Googling questions I had, tweaking with code for hours, and watching YouTube tutorials. Let me just say… it was not a great blog, but I was constantly learning new things. I didn’t even come close to blogging fame (despite my valiant efforts), but it did teach me a whole host of skills and immersed me in the world of blogging, which turned out to be incredibly valuable for my career.
I remember when Alaina and Danielle announced they were launching the Everygirl because all I could think was THIS IS ME. THIS IS FOR ME. I counted down the days and even stayed up until midnight to see the site go live… only to find out it wouldn’t be live until 6 am. I read daily, printed out articles and put them up in my apartment, and was just so inspired to know that there was a community of women out in the world working their asses off. It made me feel like anything was possible.
I wanted so badly to intern for them, but there was no feasible way for me to get to Chicago and no blogs or similar options near me at the time. I followed the site and continued to blog. I would even work on the weekends to send in submissions and never heard back. Ha! It wasn’t until months later that Alaina and Danielle listed they were open to a remote intern. I just knew this was my chance and I went home and worked to create this amazing resume and cover letter. This was in 2011, so I spent hours designing blush pink chevron at the bottom to “stand out,” and I sent it in the same day, incredibly proud of my efforts.
But as the days went by and the deadline loomed closer, I started to really doubt myself. Why would they pick me? I have no experience, and I had a feeling my resume was lost in a stack that was growing by the minute. The final day of the deadline, I started thinking about how I had gotten my last job. I needed the chance to prove to these two Internet strangers why I was special and why they needed me on the team. I stayed up late designing a graphic in photoshop and at 11:43 pm pressed send on an email titled “8 Reasons Why You Should Take Another Look At My Resume And Hire Me As Your Social Media Intern.” I attached my resume and what was a VERY adamant paragraph about myself. I wanted it to be at the top of their email box when they went to look at the resumes. A month later I got an email back from Danielle requesting to meet.
What was your biggest takeaway from your internship and how did it help you navigate in your next role?
Once I got the job, my every move centered around being valuable to the team. I knew not being in the office meant “out of sight, out of mind,” and this felt like my ONE BIG CHANCE. Yes, all caps are needed because that is how big it felt. There were no opportunities like this near me and I just needed to make the most of it.
I said yes to everything. If they asked me to do something, I said yes (whether I had time or not). If I didn’t know how to do something, I would google it and spend time figuring it out. If Alaina or Danielle took the time to show me something, I took diligent notes. This was in an internet time before Instagram and before “scheduling” existed, so I was on social media for The Everygirl 24/7. I delivered metrics and summaries in an excel doc before that was even a thing for the company. I came up with ideas and pitched them when they weren’t even asking for it. I’m sure at least half were terrible, but it didn’t matter.
The not so glamorous side? I skipped class all the time to work on the Everygirl and made TERRIBLE grades my last year of school. I never missed a day interning so whether I was sick or on a trip in New York with my best friend (that we had saved up a year for), I was working on The Everygirl. I would DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMEND THIS. But Alaina and Danielle had no idea and I wanted to be their go-to employee… which ended up happening, but not without a lot of sacrifices.
You worked at Lulu & Georgia in Los Angeles as the Marketing Director. How did you get that job?
Lulu & Georgia posted that they were looking for someone to help with social media. Even though I was interning for the Everygirl, working full-time, and going to school, I somehow thought I could add that on too. It wasn’t very many hours to start and it was a paid gig… which I desperately needed. I started working with them remotely and really loved the company.
Toward the end of school, I decided I was going to move to Chicago for the Everygirl. Even though they couldn’t pay me at the time, I really believed in the site and thought it would only be a matter of time until they could bring me on as a paid editor. Until then, I planned to work a job that would pay my bills and keep on interning. I had a friend that was willing to move with me and we were going to figure it out as we went.
Everything was set… until Lulu & Georgia flew me out to Los Angeles for a photoshoot. I was enamored with the city and team. The CEO asked why I wasn’t considering Los Angeles and I couldn’t really come up with an answer. I was afraid it was too expensive, so when I got home I called my friend and told her to think about Los Angeles instead. I knew if she didn’t come with me I couldn’t afford it but I also didn’t want to pressure her. She called me the next day and said she was in. Two months later I drove across the country with my dog, only the belongings that could fit in my car, and a savings that basically consisted of some graduation money.
At the beginning, I was a freelance employee and really had to prove myself and show that I was worth hiring on full-time. At startup companies, this means taking on any task, no matter how big or small, and really owning it and taking pride in your work. I did everything from answering customer service phone calls or emails to planning photoshoots, and I worked long, intense hours any day of the week, but it was all worth it. My role eventually grew and evolved within the company to bigger projects and more responsibility.
You’re from Texas originally, but moved to LA for the Lulu & Georgia role. What was it like to move so far away for a job? Would you recommend it to others considering a similar situation?
Moving far away is definitely not for everyone, but it changed my entire life. I changed rapidly during that time. It gave me the push to try new things, break up with my unsupportive boyfriend, and basically create an entirely new life for myself. A life I’m completely in love with. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. But let me tell you right now… it was fucking hard and I was a mess more often than not.
What did you like about Los Angeles? How does it differ from Texas?
The LA weather really cannot be beat. I mean who doesn’t love a life with no humidity?! But it’s a really hard place to be when you’re in your early twenties and struggling financially. I didn’t have any help from my parents and I was staring at a mound of student loan debt… not exactly the best start to living in one of the most expensive cities.
For the first year, my roommate and I were splitting a one bedroom apartment that was the size of my apartment living room in Texas. I ate turkey sandwiches exclusively and didn’t even experience the city for the first three months I lived there because I had to buy a mattress and window unit for our apartment. I would get a parking ticket and have to decide if I was going to pay it or buy groceries. Disclaimer: always pay your parking tickets because your car WILL get towed and girlfriend, you definitely cannot afford that. Living like that really takes a toll on you and displaces the fun out of being in such an amazing city because you can’t enjoy it.
That being said, there are so many things I miss about Los Angeles. Like going to the beach in January, hiking on the weekend, and just living in a city with a truly magnetic energy. I met so many amazing, talented people that I am still in touch with today, and sometimes I wish I could meet them for a matcha latte around the corner. The silver lining is now I can go back to Los Angeles whenever I want and enjoy it in a way I could never have afforded to when I lived there.
How did you transition from Lulu & Georgia back to The Everygirl?
I had met my now fiancé (who lived in Texas) and for the first time was starting to consider that I wouldn’t stay in LA long term. The CEO of Lulu & Georgia had just had her first child and the company was going through a major transition and restructuring of roles. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I felt really burned out at my job and didn’t know how to slow down or stop. I was catching up with Alaina when she mentioned they had been ready to bring on their first full-time hire and had been discussing me for quite some time, but they thought I was happy and would never want to leave Los Angeles. They sent me an offer, I accepted almost instantly, and within a few days had sold everything that couldn’t fit in my car and was on the road back to Texas.
You were The Everygirl’s first full-time employee. Tell us about the experience working for The Everygirl in its young stages. What is it like working for a young company with such a small staff?
When I started back at the Everygirl, it was just me, Alaina, Danielle, Ally (our Director of Brand Partnerships) and good old gchat. I was managing the editorial calendar, our freelance writers, and all the social media. I cannot stress this enough: when you work for a young company, it really is all hands on deck. Your day doesn’t end at 5 pm… it ends when everything is taken care of. That workflow isn’t for everyone, but I really thrive in it.
It took months of working six days a week with long hours before I finally felt like I was in a groove with my new position. Alaina and Danielle knew I was a great employee, but they had never passed off parts of their company for someone else to handle. It was a lot of proving myself and explaining my reasoning behind changing things they had been doing for years. I’m so lucky to have bosses that are open to evolving. My job at Lulu & Georgia had given me a lot of confidence in my skills and what I brought to the table, so if I wanted to start something new, I would just present it to them in a logical way, let them know how it would benefit the company (and possibly save or make money) and more often than not, they would go with it. I truly believe one of the most valuable things you can do at your job is to take a step back, see what may not be working, and propose a way to fix or change it. Even if your boss doesn’t go with your idea, the passion won’t be forgotten.
All the hard work and long nights paid off quickly. The strategy I implemented on Facebook doubled our traffic in three months. The spike in traffic remained consistent and within a few months, we were able to start bringing on more employees.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The only constant about my workday is that I try to workout every single morning before I sit down at the computer. It’s a huge priority for me and helps me manage stress. Also, working out in the morning means I can work late into the night without ever needing to stop.
Sometimes I wake up and although I plan to only respond to a few emails, I look up and it’s 3 pm, I’m still in my pajamas, and haven’t stopped to eat all day. All of this to say that no day is typical. Every day’s tasks look completely different depending on what’s going on with the company at that moment. Sometimes I spend the whole day putting out fires and getting on conference calls, while others I am free to work and write all day without a single distraction.
To give you a better idea of what I do…
- Manage our full-time employees and interns
- Communicate with and manage 20+ freelance writers
- Manage our editorial calendar
- Manage all ingoing and outgoing editorial pitches
- Run multiple team meetings a week
- Report performance on top trending stories and analytics
- Write stories for the site
- Read, edit, and approve every article before it goes on the site
- Work with the team to constantly be producing dynamic content, images, and headlines our readers will be interested in
- Work directly with our Director of Brand Partnerships on sponsored content
- Meet regularly with Alaina and Danielle to report on the site and team progress
And those are just the basic tasks. You know, if nothing exciting pops up or needs a twenty-four hour turnaround. 😉
You work from your home office, which is very far from The Everygirl HQ – what are the pros and cons of working from home and not from a typical office?
Let’s be real… working from home is the best. Most people ask me how I’m able to stay productive all day when they would want to take a nap or watch TV. While I would love to do those things, I have a responsibility and a team that depends on me, so “chilling” during the day isn’t even remotely an option. There’s no way to relax.
The #1 pro is that no one is around and you can be incredibly productive. However, it’s also the #1 con. You really miss out on the joy of having coworkers. I learned so much from my deskmate in Los Angeles and he’s still one of my best friends. I do love spending the day with my dogs, but they never bring donuts to the office. I also miss getting dressed up for work and having a good wardrobe. Now I exclusively wear workout clothes (or my pajamas if it’s a busy day), and there’s no excuse to shop… another good and bad thing.
When it comes to my relationship, working from home has been an invaluable asset. My fiancé Harrison is in residency so his schedule changes constantly. If I had to go into an office, there would be weeks where we would never cross paths. It also means if he’s working late on patient charts, I can open my computer and work right alongside him rather than sit in the other room alone with Netflix. That being said, it’s almost impossible to “turn off” my work brain, but that’s something I plan to change in 2018.
What are you most proud of? What accomplishment or achievement do you feel is your greatest?
Creating my own career and path is my greatest accomplishment. In my head, I view it as “I just worked really hard and never stopped,” but when I sit down and think of the entire trajectory, it’s kind of crazy that I created this job and life I’m so passionate about out of nothing.
What I am really proud of right now is being a manager. When I was a manager in college, I was TERRIBLE. I remember after leaving my job in the surgeon’s office thinking, “I never want to manage people in my career.” I was the person who takes over the group project and does the job of 10, and I didn’t think I had it in me to inspire a team. But the more I’ve advanced in my career, the more I realize how unrealistic that is. Now managing the site, the staff, the interns, and the freelance writers, I try to take everything I’ve learned — good and bad — from past bosses and bring it to the table in how I manage. I’m not perfect by any means (that’s to everyone currently waiting for an email response from me), but I try my best. Nothing is ever too small for me to jump in and help. We’re a tiny team doing big work and every detail matters.
Also, having bad coworkers throughout my career has made me realize how miraculous the good ones are. I try to always thank them when they do something for me and I gush like a proud mom when they do things above and beyond. It’s the little things like calling someone out in a team meeting for something amazing or reminding everyone that it’s a team that makes this happen, not just one person. I’m really proud that something I thought wasn’t part of my DNA is now a huge element of my job.
Where do you see yourself and your career path in 5 years?
With the launch of the Everymom, my role is going to change drastically. With more employees and a brand new site, it’s time to start letting go of some of my duties to make room for more. I won’t be able to contribute in quite the same way as I do to the Everygirl, but I’m excited to be part of the new site and do everything I can to make the team successful.
Honestly, my role at the company evolves every six months, so I have no idea what it will look like in five years, but that’s exciting to me!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Monica Wang is my go-to for career advice. Read her career profile and it’s almost like having her in the room. She taught me a lot about my value as an employee and what I bring to the table. One time she told me “no one is going to stand up for you like you” and it really stuck with me. Please note: we were drinking wine so that might not be exactly how she said it. So many women don’t ask or demand what they are worth, whether it’s responsibilities, hours, or pay. Now, I’m very demanding, know my worth, and stand up for myself.
She’s also taught me a lot from her example about how you can’t do everything — even if you want to. I spent a big part of my career taking on everything I could handle, but now I only take on what I know I can accomplish. It’s about quality work, not quantity.
What advice would you give to your 23-year-old self?
Girl, put on sunscreen and stop wasting your free time crying over fuckboys. It’s all going to be okay. And don’t EVER let a stranger cut your bangs. You’ll spend a year regretting that terrible decision.
Allyson Fulcher is The Everygirl…
Most prized possession?
My dogs… I could lose everything I own tomorrow and as long as I had them, it would all be okay. But if I had to pick an object, it would be my engagement ring.
Can’t go a single day without:
What’s the secret to your flawless hair?
Growing up in the south and being in dance my entire childhood. You’re wielding a curling iron, hot rollers, and hairspray before you know long division.
I am obsessed with food. It’s my favorite way to celebrate or cheer myself up. I could die of happiness in a pile of artisanal cheeses, bread, ranch dressing, and tex mex.
If you could have lunch with one woman, who would it be and why?
Can it be Leslie Jones and a Game of Thrones marathon instead?