Doing What It Takes to Pay the Mortgage

Tiffany Ervin calls herself the “queen of self promotion.”

She has to be if she is going to pay the mortgage.

She has cobbled together a series of positions to do just that. She has worked as a morning radio show host, a keynote speaker, a sideline reporter, a TV host and even a commercial spokesperson. She also owns a clothing boutique.

Those positions came from her passions – speaking and giving back.

As a preacher’s kid, Tiffany listened to her dad in the pulpit and came to understand how to use words to move people. She also was active with the Miss America organization where she learned the value of community service and further enhanced her public speaking skills.

Tiffany Ervin speaks to NFPW members at the 2014 conference. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Tiffany Ervin speaks to NFPW members at the 2014 conference. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

She followed a fairly traditional path except that instead of working in broadcast journalism she went into public relations and marketing. She oversaw marketing for a hospital. During that time she worked for three CEOs in four years. Tiffany decided it was time for a change.

That’s when she began co-hosting a morning radio show. Next thing she knew, she was doing an infomercial for South Carolina. Other jobs presented themselves, and she became involved with Rotary, which also helped grow her public speaking. She now offers talks called “Breakfast with Tiffany.”

She told an NFPW audience at its recent conference in Greenville, S.C., that “to be a freelancer you have to be constantly evolving and reinventing yourself.”

Part of succeeding, Tiffany stressed, is to find your passion. For her it’s public speaking and giving back. “I’ve had so many great mentors,” she said. “I want to do that for someone else.”

Along the way, she has learned that sometimes she has to make difficult decisions. “You have got to be doing things that give you forward progress,” she said. For her that meant giving up a radio show that required a long commute that cut into other opportunities.

Once you know what you want to do, Tiffany encouraged audience members to network and use social media, both of which involve building relationships.

“Social media is an opportunity to network with people who may be looking for you, and you didn’t even know it,” she said.

Tiffany uses social media to share short clips from her speeches. “It’s great for when someone wants a sample of my work,” she said.

Facebook is good for demonstrating the breadth of what she offers. She finds Twitter helpful for meeting people in the long-term.

At the end of the day, when she has finished all of her jobs, she also knows she has paid the mortgage.