Posts in season 1
10 lessons learned producing the first 10 podcast episodes

Hey, it's Melissa (founder of The Kindling, writer of the words, hoster of the podcast)! 

Today I'm here solo to share some of the biggest lessons I've learned on this podcast journey so far. A few are about podcasting, but most of them fall under the broader category of “things I’ve learned about launching something brand new.”

...well, and some stuff I haven’t quite cracked the code on yet.

You'll learn why I started this podcast in the first place, and where the name came from. Then I’ll talk through what I’ve learned so far, including just a few helpful tools and advice about podcast world, plus the surprising best part about running this podcast so far. I'll also talk about some of the challenges I'm facing, and what I'm trying to figure out next.

Episode references



Hilary Sutton, writer, speaker, & consultant

The 9 to 5 is evolving.

Working from home is becoming an option for more freelancers or even full-time employees. So this week we’re asking, “What’s it actually like to work from home, and how do you get anything done without getting distracted by cute puppy videos on the internet?”

I worked from home full-time in 2016-2017 alongside 50 other employees at a fully remote company. And people always asked me questions like, “How do you get anything done?” and “What’s does a work from home day actually feel like?” That's why today, we have author and fellow podcaster Hilary Sutton here to help us answer those questions.

By the end of this episode, you’ll learn some of the biggest benefits to working from home, and Hilary’s surprising answer to who she thinks would thrive in a work from home setting. We’ll also address the biggest challenges, like how to stay productive, and we’ll also get into a few specific tools and suggestions to help you live your best work at home life.


What you’ll learn

  • How the need for flexibility in her diverse freelance career allowed Hilary to carve out a schedule that lets her focus and get results.
  • What are the major benefits to working from home? What are the challenges?
  • Who would thrive in a work from home setting? (Is it a better fit for introverts or extroverts?)
  • Ways you can continue to interact with a team, even remotely.
  • How do you structure your day working from home to maximize productivity?
  • Tips for organizing your space to separate your home from your office.
  • Techniques for using your time wisely without being distracted by the internet or other non-work activities.
  • How to use time tracking to further motivate drive and focus.
  • Hilary’s hopes for the future of business.
  • How a “daily vacation” can truly enhance the work from home experience.

Guest Spotlight

Hilary Sutton

Hilary Sutton is a writer, speaker, and consultant, passionate about helping people spend their days in work that is wildly fulfilling. She is the host of the podcast, “Hustle and Grace” and the author of several eBooks and courses including More in Less: 21 Productivity Hacks for Creatives. Hilary has worked with clients ranging from Broadway shows, to nonprofits large and small, creatives of all stripes, and consumer brands. She is a contributor to USA Today where she writes about careers. Hilary and her husband live in the DC metro area. You can connect with Hilary on Facebook and Twitter @hilarysutton, on Instagram @hilary.sutton and on her website at


Connect with Hilary


Em Hammel, creator of

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and in today’s modern dating world, that first impression is often your online dating profile. So today we’re going to talk about how to write a great dating profile that’ll help you stand out from the pack…in the good way.


The wild world of online dating apps

Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, OK Cupid,…I mean the sheer number of dating apps and websites available in 2018 is incredible. Maybe you’ve tried a few, or maybe you haven’t, but if you’re anything like me, the thought of writing a dating profile is enough to make you abort mission altogether. How do you write something that sounds like you, doesn’t sound cliche or common, and most of all, makes you sound legitimately dateable?

I have a feeling that my 2013 Tinder profile of Coldplay lyrics and various emojis doesn’t make the cut, so by the end of this episode, online dating expert Em Hammel from will help you write the perfect profile.


What you'll learn

  • Before you even write your profile, Em has a recommended exercise for you to make sure you're targeting the right kind of partner for the relationship you want.

  • Em shares three questions you should ask yourself to help you write your best online dating profile.

  • What are some of the biggest mistakes Em sees people making in their dating profiles?

  • What pictures should you include? (And which should you leave out?)

  • How to make your profile less generic and more inviting to the right partners

Before we go, Em will also share a few before and after examples to really illustrate the power of a great profile, and as a final bonus, Em has a few tips about one last online dating minefield; messaging, aka how to get someone you like on an actual date. You know, IRL.


By the way...

Em is offering Figuring It Out listeners a special 20% off her eBooks! See the promo code and details below. (woot!)


Guest spotlight

Em Hammel

Em Hammel is the creator of, where she shares smart online dating advice for men and works one-on-one with clients to write engaging and effective online dating profiles that attract the right women and launch lasting relationships. Her advice has been featured on Lifehacker, Thought Catalog, and on awesome podcasts like this one!

A sucker for all types of online love stories, Em is also the founder of Lumos Communications, where she designs websites and writes compelling copy to help small businesses connect with their dream clients.

Find Em online at

Episode references

Interested in learning more about online dating and how to up your game? Check out these great articles from!

Also, Em has graciously offered 20% off her eBooks as a special thank you to Figuring It Out listeners. Use the code FIO at checkout:


Jossie Perlmutter, owner & head pastry chef

Is my passion profitable?

“Pursue your passion” feels like common career advice these days. But this week we're asking, “If I want to pursue my passion, how do I actually turn a profit?”

Shows like Shark Tank are more popular than ever before, and it's easy to think that pursuing your passion is the surefire way to achieve the success trifecta: purpose, joy, and of course, a ton of cash. But how do I know if my passion is profitable anyway? And beyond that, will I even enjoy turning my passion into a business, or will that ruin the fun of it all?

Today's guest is Jossie Perlmutter, the Owner and Head Pastry Chef at artisanal dessert catering service Sweet Affairs in Charlotte, North Carolina. By the end of this episode, Jossie will help us understand how she turned her passion for cakes into a legitimately profitable business. Plus, she answers a question I didn't even think to ask. “How do your passions change when one of them becomes your business?”


What you'll learn

  • How Jossie went from being an engineering major in college to the owner and head pastry chef of her own business, Sweet Affairs
  • How Jossie started her business, and specifically how she made sure she'd be able to finance her dream
  • Jossie's advice for anyone thinking of starting a new business
  • How Jossie's passions have changed over time as her business has become her passion
  • How Jossie started an annual fundraiser called Sugar Shock in Charlotte to benefit her community

Guest spotlight

Jossie Perlmutter

Jossie Perlmutter is the Owner and Head Pastry Chef at artisanal dessert catering service Sweet Affairs in Charlotte, North Carolina. Born and raised in the D.C. metro area, Jossie graduated from the University of Miami in Florida with a degree in Entrepreneurship. After years of testing out gourmet cupcake recipes on her friends and family, Jossie followed her passion to France where she received formal pastry training before moving to Charlotte in 2013. After launching the pastry program at Heirloom Restaurant, Joselyn went on to develop the pastry programs at The Asbury and Block & Grinder.

In 2017, Jossie was named the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Pastry Chef of The Year, and today you can find her teaching baking classes in her shared use kitchen, mentoring other small baking businesses, and catering weddings around the Queen City.


Episode references


Jenna Birch, author "The Love Gap"

What is the "love gap?"

This week, I’m talking with author Jenna Birch about a new modern dating phenomenon called The Love Gap, a term she coined to define the reasons why men don’t always pursue the smart, ambitious women they claim to want.

By the end of this episode, we’ll explore how generations of male and female relationship roles have influenced modern dating, and we’ll learn how to identify what Jenna calls the Real Deal, or someone who’s ready for a real relationship. Lastly, Jenna will offer her best dating advice for both men and women, and she’ll address one of the most common questions she hears:

…“how do I know if I’m settling?” 

What you'll learn

  • What is “The Love Gap?”
  • How do you know if someone is “ready” for a real, committed relationship?
  • How have traditional gender norms in relationships influenced modern dating?
  • Is there really a place for online dating apps to build meaningful connections?
  • What dating advice does Jenna have for someone looking for a long-term relationship?
  • How do you know if you're settling?
  • What are the three types of connection that all successful relationships share?


Guest Spotlight

Jenna Birch

Jenna Birch is a health and lifestyle journalist. Her work appears frequently in print and online publications including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire, Psychology Today, Health, and many many more.

She’s here today to talk about her first book called The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love, a research-based guide to navigating the newest dating phenomenon–“the love gap”–and a trailblazing action plan to help smart, confident, career-driven women find (and keep) their match.

Connect with Jenna

Episode references:

The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love (Jenna's book!)



Jena Viviano, your career strategist

This week I’m talking with career strategist Jena Viviano about how to find a job. But without giving everything away, let me tell you that a perfect resume is NOT the answer. In this episode, Jena gets real about some of the biggest mistakes she sees job hunters make, and we talk about the job hunt criteria they don’t teach you in school, how to network like a human, and why she’s breaking up with resumes.

Ugh, networking

Job hunting is…the worst. We spend hours searching through job boards, perfecting our resumes, and brushing up on our interview skills, but do any of those efforts pay off? It turns out that most hiring managers only spend 6 seconds (?!) on your resume, so you'll need to do way more stand out from the crowd. And I hate to break it to you, but that means networking.

The good news is that network doesn't have to be awkward and cringe-worthy. To help us network authentically and land the job, I'm excited to host career coach Jena Viviano (formerly @ The Muse).


What you'll learn

  • How to define what you want in your dream job
  • The career criteria that no one taught Jena (or Melissa) in school
  • Why you shouldn’t stress so much about perfecting your resume…and what you should be focusing on instead
  • How to network confidently and authentically (without making it weird)
  • How to build a genuine relationship with someone over time
  • How to pitch yourself and effectively answer the question, “Tell me about yourself”


Guest Spotlight

Jena Viviano

Finding a job, let alone a fulfilling career, can be stressful. That’s where Jena Viviano comes in. Jena is a Nashville-based virtual career coach and entrepreneur who knows what it’s like to go through multiple career changes. She’s worked on Wall Street as an investment banker, reported live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and scored a job at a growing career startup, The Muse, before launching her virtual coaching practice full-time.

Her sweet spot is helping go-getter professionals all over the world articulate their branded career story to land their dream jobs. Learn more at

Connect with Jena

Episode references