Have you ever met someone that is living their passion? Literally, someone that wakes up every day and everything they do is aligned with a purpose they care deeply about. As I inch closer to my grand finale (just two days away) I have to share a story about someone that I admire, someone that is a living breathing example of The Niche Movement. Amanda Morrison must of woke up one day and just decided she was sick of seeing people ‘sit home’ in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world (NYC). So she decided she was going to use social media to show everyone all the amazing things that happen in life when we make that choice to ‘not sit home.’ And the beta version of what is now a thriving campaign, #DontSitHome, was born. I am getting a little ahead of myself though, let’s first go back to the beginning… On the first day of school I bumped in to an old high school friend, Ashley, and she asked her for a spoon so she could eat some soup she heated up. I gave her a spoon and Ashley escorted me up to the 4th floor of the residence hall to introduce me to her roommate - Courtney Stone. If this was How I Met Your Mother, this would be a pretty momentous occasion...but it’s not so I digress. Courtney was already settled into her room because she was on the tennis team and got to move in a week early. I stayed and hung out in their room and on their floor for pretty much the rest of the day because I didn’t want to spend time with my roommate or be “that kid on the quiet floor.” At whatever point that I felt like I outdid my stay, I went across the hall and met their “neighbors” Kristin Coleman and Amanda Morrison. Amanda was from Hillsborough, NJ and played softball for FDU. Next, I met Sameer, CJ and several other guys on that floor.
Eighty-percent of my first year at college was spent on the fourth floor hanging out with Sameer, Courtney, Amanda and several other friends. Our friendship extended into that summer where Courtney, Amanda, myself and my friends all went rafting. Throughout the next three years we all went down separate paths while still staying connected - Amanda had her successful softball career while earning a degree in Legal Studies and Pre-Law, Courtney started a peer educator program and became president of her sorority, and I started a marketing club and Habitat for Humanity chapter. Courtney and Amanda reconnected senior year when they both studied abroad in Costa Rica.
After graduation, we would run into Amanda periodically at the bars in Morristown and catch up where we could ask questions like “How’s your job?” and we would all would have very boring answers. In 2010, Amanda landed an amazing job as an Intellectual Property Coordinator at a prestigious newsgathering organization. From the outside looking in, you would see that Amanda was onto a successful career. However, when she moved to Hoboken, something changed for her.
In her group of friends, she was the one coordinating fun outings and sharing the up and coming events happening in the New York City metro area. Everyone around her would say things like “How did you know about that?” or “Wow, that’s awesome, I would never think to do that.” Amanda started to think about this feedback and drum up some ideas that matched her adventurous lifestyle and passion for meeting new people. In October 2012, right before Hurricane Sandy, Amanda launched her blog and shared her first Don’t Sit Home post. This is where it gets good...
Finding deals, events, and the newest spots to check out in NYC came easy to Amanda. Over the next several month’s, Don’t Sit Home grew. And it grew fast. She harnessed the power of social media to spread her adventures in real time on her Facebook and Instagram accounts. After Hurricane Sandy she was volunteering and using her Instagram handle and iPhone to provide real-time journalism and updates to her followers.
Within a few short months, Amanda became known as the Don’t Sit Home girl. A few months after that in April 2013, she was hosting a launch party in Hoboken as she hit 3,000 Facebook fans. Today, Don’t Sit Home is at 8,743 and all of that traffic is coming from organic social media strategies. Check out this picture of Amanda playing kickball with Olympian Ryan Lochte!
The amazing thing is that Amanda was building something bigger than herself all while working full-time. Her evenings and weekends were spent living life and finding the next experience to share with her followers. She may not have realized at the time, but Amanda was on the verge of disrupting one of America’s oldest traditions, the old lifestyles and entertainment publications of years past. She reinvented the way young professionals were finding out about things to do and places to go in NYC and Hoboken. Not only was it incredible content, but it worked! It has definitely inspired Courtney and I to be more adventurous and not sit home. I know we aren’t the only ones.
From kayaking to concerts and everything in between, Don’t Sit Home is your guide for finding fun if you are in your 20’s and 30’s.
The big announcement came on May 20th of this year when Amanda messaged Courtney and I to share the news that she ripped off the bandaid and quit her prestigious job with one of the world’s oldest news publication to launch Don’t Sit Home full-time. Talk about diving into your passion! We were not surprised at all to see her take the big jump, and we see nothing but success for Amanda’s future with Don’t Sit Home. She is disrupting industries like event planning, event photography, journalism, and entertainment publications. Scaling the Don’t Sit Home movement is what the world needs and wants, and Amanda is the perfect person to do it.
What They Taught Me:
I know it would be naive of me to assume that every single day is perfect and filled with fun for Amanda. I know that what she is doing requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but like most experts, Amanda makes it look easy. She has taught me that you can not only love what you do, but you can actually have a blast doing it. That’s what has made the Don’t Sit Home campaign so successful, Amanda’s genuine passion for opening people’s minds to experiencing the world around them.
How They Inspired Me:
Everyone says follow your dreams and do what you love. Heck, I say that! Amanda doesn’t need to say those things, she is showing all of us how. Just like I talked about how Nina has shown me to trust your gut and take risks, Amanda inspires me to do the work you love. She inspires me to put the work into The Niche Movement because I know that it will all be worth it. I may never play kickball with Ryan Lochte, but I know that my rockstar moment will come if I continue to put the work into it.
I often meet young people that don’t think it’s possible to start their own business or follow their passions. Next time you are doubting yourself, think of Amanda. If you have an idea that is new and creative, and you are passionate about that idea, then you need to go after it. Know that you will need to put in a lot of hours, but if you are willing to work hard then there is no reason you should give up on an idea before it even has a chance to breathe.