An interview with Melissa Ben-Ishay how she benefited from losing her job, how she overcame her biggest obstacle as an entrepreneur, where her work ethic comes from, how she’s managed her work and personal relationships and her best career advice.
Welcome to the 69th episode of 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel. As your host, my goal is to curate the best advice from the world’s smartest and most interesting people by asking them just 5 questions.
This episodes guest:
My guest today is the creator, President and Chief Product Officer of Baked by Melissa, Melissa Ben-Ishay. Born in Hillsdale, New Jersey Melissa graduated Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s in Child and Family Studies. Her first job was as a sales assistant at Telerep Inc., then she worked at Deutsch Inc. as an Assistant Media Planner, where she was fired at age 24. Her side hustle during this time was baking tie-dye cupcakes for friends, family and co-workers. Two weeks after being fired, Melissa partnered with her brother Brian to create the Baked by Melissa company. Fast forward to today, where Baked by Melissa is in 14 locations and ships nationwide. Melissa is also the author of Cakes by Melissa and invests her time in philanthropic initiatives like Make-A-Wish and the Side with Love campaign to help spread kindness. While I don’t eat cupcakes, I see Baked by Melissa stores walking around in New York City and at JFK Airport so I was interested in learning how she made all of this happen!
The 5 questions I ask in this episode:
- How was losing your job as an Assistant Media Planner a blessing in disguise?
- When you initially had the idea for your company, what was your biggest obstacle and how did you overcome it?
- Like you, I remember working over one hundred hours a week when I started a company in my 20s. Where does your work ethic come from and how have you continued to sustain it after 12 years in business?
- You co-founded your company with your brother and have since married your husband who works under you. How have you been able to manage these relationships without letting work get in between you?
- What’s your best piece of career advice?
Follow Melissa’s journey: