Ask Morgan Anything.
In your twenties, focusing and figuring out what you’re truly passionate about can be hard. Between the bottomless brunches and constant day parties, it’s often hard to fight the urge to be social and just slow down.
Stuck in the same dilemma as many twenty-somethings, Saturday School creator Morgan Peterson decided to get out of her rut.
In an effort to capitalize on her time in the Big Apple, Morgan decided to start Saturday School.
Watch (or read) the interview below to see why she started the site and where she sees it going in the next five years.
Saturday School: So what has been your favorite interview so far?
Morgan Peterson: I don’t think that’s a fair question just because everyone I interview I love and I learn something different from everybody. I think every interview is great in their own respect.
SS: But if you had to choose a favorite one...
MP: That’s rude!
SS: What about, which one did you enjoy the most or learn the most from?
MP: Okay, when I got to follow Ashley around. She’s a fashion blogger and she was my first interview. I spent most of the day with her and I didn’t know much about the fashion blogging world outside of what I’ve seen on Instagram. So when I got to follow her around I got to see the full process and I learned a lot about an industry I thought I knew a lot about...and we got a great brunch after [laughs].
SS: Alright, who are your top five inspirations?
MP: So my mom, I know everyone says that but I had good examples in my life! So my mom, my dad and my stepmom. Then outside of family... I literally love P. Diddy... Puff Daddy... you know Sean John [laughs]. I actually saw him talk at the New York Times “Times Talks” a couple of months ago and I got a new found respect for him. Granted, he’s crazy but he really knows what he’s talking about. He’s unapologetic about it and I really respect that about him. Then... it’s Beyoncé. I know it’s cliche but this woman’s work ethic is crazy. It’s not just because she’s beautiful and she can sing but her work ethic is insane. So if I have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé then that’s something to look up to.
SS: Why did you start Saturday School?
MP: I started Saturday School because I was bored. I was really bored and I was like “I need to be doing something else with my time.” I moved to New York to expose myself to things and branch out and I love storytelling and hearing other people’s stories. Everyone I’ve interviewed are either friends with me or a friend of a friend. I haven’t really gone outside of my circle yet and it’s been almost six months since I started Saturday School. So I started it just to really learn people’s stories. Everyone moves to New York for a reason. A lot of people move for jobs but they also have a lot of passion outside what they do.
SS: If you could say where you want Saturday School to be a year from now or five years from now where would that be?
MP: A year from now I would like to incorporate more video. Maybe more thought out photoshoots as well. I want it to be more of a multimedia platform. For example, maybe there’s a video aspect to someone’s interview or maybe more of a fashion aspect to someone’s photoshoot. Also I would like to have an event done. I don’t think I want to do a panel because panels are sometimes dumb [laughs]. You go to those panels and you hear people talking about the same things every time like “have a social media presence... blah blah blah” just talking about all the stuff you already know. So I’d rather throw a dinner party where you have the opportunity to talk to people who are your age and doing really cool things, making it more of an organic networking opportunity. Instead of the typical “here is my business card, follow me on LinkedIn.”
Now in five years it’d be cool to be making some money off of Saturday School [laughs]. Maybe have some merch! Actually I could do merch in a year, I have pencils already. But my true end goal with Saturday School is to make it a foundation. I feel like the digital magazine would be its own entity but a branch of it would be the Saturday School Foundation. I would target kids in middle school and high school and teach them how to brand themselves. Some kids don’t think they can go to these Ivy League schools just because they don’t have certain grades and that’s not true. I wasn’t a straight-A student, I was a straight-B student. I didn’t score well on the SAT’s, my ACT score was okay, but I got into five out the seven schools I applied to and they weren’t shabby schools. So I believe if you know how to brand yourself in other ways it’s important, for example, you might not be the best student but you might be a great leader and other schools will see that. I want to teach kids that.
SS: That’s good! So what advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own passion project or do what you’ve done with Saturday School?
MP: I would say get out there. Well first I would say do a brainstorm with a friend. A friend you trust because people steal ideas all the time. Brainstorm and just write down everything you can think of. Even if it sounds stupid just write down everything. Then figure out where your passion lies within that. Once you figure out what you want to do then you can figure out what platform you want it to be on, who you want to target, etc. Then make a schedule. I started interviewing people in July but I didn’t launch Saturday School until September. I had to buy a camera and scout people I wanted to interview because I wanted a bank of interviews before I launched so I knew it would be successful.
SS: Okay gotcha, so this is a two part question. First, do you think high school you would’ve imagined you would be where you are today and second, do you think high school Morgan would be proud of where you are today?
MP: In this instance specifically did I know I was going to start Saturday School? No. But I definitely knew I was going to be living in New York, I knew I was going to be successful and I knew I was going to be happy with whatever I did. I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do with my life since I was little and I don’t really switch up so I assumed I would be doing something I would like. So I’m not surprised I am where I am. Would I proud? Yes. I think I would be proud of myself because I’m happy!
SS: In terms of the work with Saturday School, what would you say has surprised you the most so far?
MP: I knew it was going to take up a lot of my time but I’m surprised how into the photography I am. I took a couple of photo classes in college but I’ve really gotten into it. I’ve even started taking photos that have nothing to do with Saturday School. That is one of the aspects that has surprised me because I found another passion within the passion I started which was pretty cool.
SS: What would you say are two or three things you’ve learned and then maybe what have you taken from that first interview to now. What have you learned throughout that process?
MP: I would say doing your research on the person you’re interviewing. Granted I knew that beforehand but I didn’t have a lot of experience interviewing people so once I started to get into it, I learned that it helps the interview so much because it makes the conversation real. If you know a lot about that person, a lot about their passion, you’ve creeped on them on the internet and if you’re already cool with them on top of that, it makes for a really well rounded interview.
Second, don’t take things personally. That’s still a work in progress because I’m sensitive [laughs] but not everybody is going to rock with you as hard as you expect them to and I’m learning that now. Just because I’m passionate about what you do doesn’t mean that’s going to be reciprocated. And I know it’s not personal, well it might be I don’t know [laughs] but I know people are just out here trying to get it done so you just have to stan for yourself and that’s okay!
Lastly, I learned that you need to keep your network strong. The fact that I’ve interviewed as many people as I have and I still haven’t gone outside of my network is huge. I’ve only been living in New York for a year so I think really knowing people and talking to people is important. Also don’t be afraid to put yourself on. Hype yourself up so people will be hype about you.
SS: And what would you say has been easier than you’ve expected?
MP: Finding people to interview! I remember I was at the three month mark and I was like “I don’t know how I’m going to get people” but then I kept talking to people and they were like “well I do this and I have a friend who does this” and I don’t turn people away,] I have a content calendar to fill [laughs]. Even as January came around I was like “oh crap, I don’t have anymore friends” but gradually people started popping up and I was like “okay, I can continue Saturday School!”