Stephanie’s Style: Young Mother and Marketing Specialist Embraces Independent Life

When Stephanie Stiles studied English at Westmont College, she had no idea that ultimately, she would use her writing skills to help clients with marketing campaigns. She wasn’t sure what marketing even was.

Today she operates Writing Stiles from her Anaheim home. Her clients include colleges and universities, and companies in the business services, reverse mortgage and other fields. She applies her well-developed research, writing and marketing skills to produce marketing campaigns, newsletters and blogs, among other materials.

Just to think, she originally considered becoming an archaeologist.

“I always loved journalism and literature,” Stiles says. “I wasn’t sure what jobs I could do in those fields.”

After seeking counsel from Westmont College’s Career Center, she discovered employers seeking writing assistance in many different areas. Stiles was hired by the Girl Scouts in Santa Barbara where an outstanding mentor helped her produce what she calls an “amazing newsletter.” Later she worked for the San Fernando Valley Girl Scout Council.

“I loved being a part of an organization that empowered young women toward success,” she recalls. After working for a variety of companies in the tech and software industries she and her husband moved to Orange County in 2003 so she could work at a manufacturing company.

Stiles started her business one year ago, after spending more than 11 years as a marketing program manager for the business services department within the UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education. Part of her work included discovering sponsorship opportunities for organizations that offer professional development, including IABC-Orange County.

“I started coming to IABC events and was impressed by the continuing education and leadership opportunities,” she says. “For me, it filled a social and networking gap. I wouldn’t have been able to start my own business without IABC.”

Thanks to vital support from her mentor, Amy Brandeis, and advice from board members Claudia Miller and Sarah Willis, she felt confident to become an independent contractor and move beyond the security of a monthly paycheck.

Working at home offers her the flexibility to take 6-year-old Ellie to first grade and to be a room mother, both of which help keep her involved in her daughter’s life.

Today Stiles is a member of the IABC OC Board of Directors and co-chair of the IndyComm subgroup. She appreciates the bimonthly meetings focusing on independent contracting issues and the chance to help lead an organization that continues to benefit her in multiple ways.

Stiles takes advantage of other networking and support groups and is laser-focused on making Writing Stiles a successful business.

“My first year has been full of ups and downs,” she says. “I thought I’d be concentrating in marketing for higher education, but I’ve been working on all kind of accounts. It’s offered me the chance to do tons of research, which I appreciate as a lifelong learner.”