Relationships

20 Career Tips From Entrepreneurs

During my career, one thing I’ve learned is that advice from experienced people you admire is invaluable. So, this week, I decided to ask nine smart women who run their own businesses to share what they’ve figured out over the years…

EMILY HENDERSON, INTERIOR DESIGNER:
Emily is a blogger, Target Home Spokesperson and interior designer based in Los Angeles. She is also the author of an upcoming home decor book, Styled.

Give yourself permission to hire personal help or splurge on a luxury. Identify the one thing outside work or your relationships that brings you nagging annoying stress. I don’t mean real stress like bad health or how you are going to pay the predicted 300K tuition for your kid’s future college, I mean that nagging stuff that makes you in a slightly less good mood every single day. Examples: you have no jeans that really fit, every drawer in your house is a “junk drawer,” your car is peppered with child snack crumbs—or it could simply be that you’ve been using cheap root color to cover your grays and it bums you out every time you look in the mirror. My philosophy is pick the one that is the most annoying to you and give yourself permission to hire someone to help you fix this. This kind of stress takes up some much-needed brain space and makes you less productive throughout the day, not to mention less happy. I’m not saying you need to or can pay someone to get rid of all of your problems, but sometimes staring at small fixable problems on a daily basis can be strangely detrimental to your happiness.

Flexible protocol is your friend. I went for years without protocol because what normal creative person wants to enforce rules on other people they like? But protocol (with flexibility) makes everybody less stressed out. For instance, I didn’t have a payroll system for independent contractors that I hired—they emailed an invoice whenever they felt like it and I paid it whenever I remembered to. Sometimes they would wait for months to invoice and sometimes I would accidentally wait for months to pay. It was stressful for both parties. So now we have Tsheets (a hourly wage app) that keeps tracks of hours in and out every day on your phone and every two weeks sends an invoice. Or if it’s someone who is less regular, I now pay the 5th and 20th of every month so they know the have to get their invoices in before that day in order to get paid in that period.

AMANDA HESSER AND MERRILL STUBBS, FOOD52:
Amanda and Merrill are the co-founders of Food52. Their latest book, Genius Recipes, is available for pre-sale, and their podcast, Burnt Toast, can be found on iTunes.

If you told a story about your career, would it be interesting and surprising? If not, think about the path you’re carving. You spend a large part of your life working—make it a story you want to tell.

Help others.

Eliminate the word “just” from your vocabulary—as in “Just checking on this!” You’ll immediately feel more confident.

RONY VARDI, CATBIRD:
Rony founded her jewelry brand, Catbird, in 2004. Eleven years later, she has 47 employees to help her run her two brick-and-mortar stores, online shop and signature jewelry collection. Brooklyn-based Catbird has been credited with launching trends like dainty earrings and thin stacking rings.

Approach difficult conversations head on. Realize that it’s undoubtedly difficult for the other person too and put it out there, right up front: “This might be a difficult conversation, so let’s work this out together.” Also, for years I didn’t have a private place to meet with employees, so I got into the habit of having “walking meetings.” We would walk around the neighborhood and talk, and I found that the other person seemed to be more relaxed. It feels less like an attack and can encourage the feeling that you really are trying to work things out together.

Be flexible. It’s great—and important—to start with a vision but don’t be so in love with your vision that you can’t bend. For example, at Catbird, we ventured into other avenues (shoes, scarves, clothes), but we realized that other brands were doing those things better than we ever could. Whether it’s your neighborhood, competing stores or new apps, remain hyperaware of the changes around you and how they will affect your business, and be ready and willing to shift. We tell this to our kids—be like the reed in the wind, not like the oak. No offense, oak.

ANNE SERRANO-MCCLAIN, MCMC FRAGRANCES:
Anne is a perfumer and co-founder of Brooklyn-based fragrance company MCMC Fragrances, which she runs with her sister, Katie. She formulates all MCMC perfumes by hand in their Brooklyn studio.

Just show up. Every day. Owning your own business, you sometimes feel like there’s too much to do. You have big goals, and there are a million little steps to get there. But you just have to show up. Every day. Sometimes people ask me how MCMC Fragrances got where it is today, and I shrug and say, “luck.” Maybe I don’t want to sound too proud or boastful. But the truth is, it took work. I like to keep an actual handwritten to-do list. I update it every few weeks. I have one column on the left for longer term tasks, and on the rest of the page I write down every thing I need to do that comes to mind. Then I strike them off with a big pink marker for satisfaction.

I don’t let fear get the best of me. When you have your own business, there’s so much you don’t understand how to do. How do I get a barcode for my product? How do I make my blog link to my website? Can I even pull off this big project? I usually say yes first, and figure it out later. I don’t let any opportunity slip away. I study hard and learn to do it, even if that means learning the hard way.

There’s never going to be a perfect balance. There’s only the balance of right now. When I first started MCMC Fragrances I was 28 years old and unmarried. I worked all day, all night, and all weekend—and I loved it. Now I’ll be celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary and I have a two-year-old. I work 9:30 to 4:30 Monday through Thursday, and it’s never enough, but I cherish the time with my family, cooking dinner for them and watching my toddler grow up. Soon this schedule will change again, and there will be a new balance. When I feel behind at work, I tell myself, “Everything in due time.”

DEB PERELMAN, SMITTEN KITCHEN:
Deb is a self-taught home cook, photographer and the creator of wildly popular food blog Smitten Kitchen. Her first cookbook was a New York Times bestseller, and her second cookbook will be out in the fall of 2016.

Find a schedule that works for you: Take note of the times you feel sharpest each day, when you want to crawl under the covers and take a nap, and when you’re the most stressed about everything, including your place in the world.

For me, a clear pattern has emerged over the years: I can write in the morning, I’m useless at crafting sentences after 1:30pm. I’m great at cooking in the afternoon. In fact, if I’m not deeply immersed in a cooking project at 4pm, I am embarrassingly likely to fall asleep on the sofa, especially now that I’m six-months pregnant. I really try not to work—also, it’s nearly impossible—between 5 and 8pm so we can have dinner and some family time before putting the kid to bed, but I’ll often get a few things done between 8 and 9. More than an hour of work, however, and I start getting tired and cranky and a swarm of self-doubt sets in. If you find yourself in this place, close the laptop. This is what making popcorn and binging on House of Cards is for. Or watch a comedy. I find it impossible to stay focused on my anxiety-du-jour while laughing over Knocked Up for the I-don’t-even-want-to-admit-it-number of time. (P.S. If you’re kid-free and live in a city, my advice would be to leave the apartment and go somewhere, preferably a place with cocktails. And to please have one for me.)

Once you have a schedule, protect it.

I also refuse to work on the weekend unless absolutely avoidable. If I don’t get downtime, if I don’t get out of the city or try new things at least a day a week, how am I going to get back to it on Monday feeling like I have something to offer? So, this weekend we introduced the kid to Peruvian chicken and the wonders of fried yuca and sweet plantains on Saturday. And we went to the aquarium in Norwalk on Sunday, just for something new to do.

While I rarely do this, I feel strongly that if you wake up on a Wednesday and feel like you’d rather have a root canal than get back to work, take a mental health day, or at least a mental health morning. Treat yourself to a sit-down breakfast, or a walk in the park. Run an errand out of your way, and take the scenic route. Do something to listen to your internal cues so you don’t get burnt out. You never know what fresh ideas you might find outside your normal work zone. And remember, even people with traditional jobs get to go out for lunch or happy hour once in a while. It’s very easy to get overly austere about work, but it doesn’t necessarily produce better outcomes.

SHARON MONTROSE, THE ANIMAL PRINT SHOP:
Sharon is one of the most sought-after commercial animal photographers and the founder of the online store The Animal Print Shop. Sharon has eleven published photography books, and her animal series photos are part of public and private collections around the world.

Most of the time, I’m improvising. I just turned 41, yet I still feel like a kid playing office half the time. I can’t speak for others, but I’m pretty sure we’re all winging it.

Be direct—anything else is a waste of valuable time (yours and others’). I’ve always had a no-bullshit approach, even before I could afford it. Just don’t forget: If you’re female and tough in business, you’ll be accused of being a bitch (especially by other women). It’s okay—not everyone is going to like you, you will never please everyone and not everyone will understand you.

Take the breakdowns in stride. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’ve had many a day ruined by some kind of stressor: a rude customer, our server going down. I finally realized what has me in knots one day, doesn’t even phase me two weeks later. I’m much better at rolling with the punches now and less time is wasted ruminating on things that don’t matter in the long run.

No matter what my Instagram portrays, along with the joys, life is a great struggle. Movement is the best way for me to neutralize the stress of work and life. I prioritize my physical heath, because it directly affects my mental heath. In addition to prioritizing time to move outside work, we now have rings and a pull-up bar at the shop, and a wall to practice handstands so our whole crew can take breaks to move and stretch.

EVA JORGENSEN, SYCAMORE STREET PRESS:
Eva is the founder of Sycamore Street Press, the paper goods company she started straight out of school with her husband, Kirk. The brand has evolved into a full-time family business that is carried in stores around the world.

Once a year (or whenever something new comes up—new baby, new job, illness, move…) pretend your life is an overflowing closet. In order to really get it organized, you can’t just remove one or two things here or there. You have to take everything out and then one by one put the most important things back in. When you get to a point where it feels good—close to full, but not crowded or crammed—stop. Get rid of everything else. Sometimes you have to get rid of good things in your life in order to make room for the best things.

If you get organized and make systems for just about everything, you’ll be able to delegate more, work fewer hours, and spend the hours you do work on the really important things that move your business forward. My systems: Google Calendar, Google Drive, Unroll Me (for taming promotional emails), Boomerang (for keeping an organized email inbox), Schedugram (for scheduling Instagram) and Viraltag (for scheduling Pinterest).

KAVI AHUJA MOLTZ, D.S. & DURGA:
Kavi is a trained architect and designer and one half of the fragrance line D.S. & Durga, which she founded in 2007 with her husband, David. D.S. & Durga has thirteen original scents and a collection of scented candles.

Networking is important. I’m not a networking expert—in fact it makes me quite uncomfortable—but I’m good at listening to people, especially people I look up to. It’s as important to listen as it is to speak, and I’m happy to soak things up and learn from them. Always try to relax and be yourself so you don’t sound like you are selling anything.

A nice handwritten thank-you note is always appreciated—for meeting, for a piece of good press, for any reason! It’s also worth investing in good quality personalized stationary.

Thank you so much to these nine wonderful women! What lessons have you learned through the years? What advice would you add? Hope some of these takeaways are helpful no matter what your field. xoxo

P.S. 10 lessons I’ve learned in my career and 14 women talk about work/life balance.

(Layout design by Diana Moss for Cup of Jo)

  1. This article was right on time! Thank you so much! As a mom of two, living in another country, and trying to take over the world at the same time, I can get a little scatter brained. I can easily find myself stuck in loads of laundry, nursing my 12 month old all day, or destroying my kitchen. Then before I know it, it is 11pm! The scheduling tips are a big help!

    Xoxo!

    Erin Wright
    http://www.thecurlyroots.com

  2. It’s so valuable that you’ve managed to collect the wisdom of all these amazing women in one post. I have one more inspiring lady to get on your radar, that I am fortunate to be working with. She doesn’t only have 20 years of biz experience but now helps other and builds a community for skills exchange, too. http://fearlesscoaching.com/meet-murielle

  3. Such an incredibly helpful and inspiring post that I know I’ll read time + time again when the self-doubt kicks in. Thank you!

  4. These are great tips! I heard about eliminating the word ‘just’ from your vocabulary a little while ago and have been trying really hard to follow through. It is more difficult that it seems when you’re trying to write an email or message to a colleague or friend. But it is so true that it helps you feel more confident!

    High Heels & Happy Feels

  5. I’m inspired by Emily’s tip too. I am hiring a dog walker! Also, Deb’s scheduling ideas are really important. In Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga on health & lifestyle), the morning should be used for hard work and the afternoons are better for creativity, meditation, rest. Think about farmers! Keeping a solid daily schedule is really important to me and I run a business teaching other professional women to do the same: http://www.selfcarewithgracy.com (shameless plug!). Thanks for posting and I’m excited to keep reading. XO, Gracy

  6. I was so drawn to this post as it is always refreshing to hear tips from women creatives who are successful at what they do. Being creative for a living seems to present many obstacles, so it’s nice to hear that part of the process is just to keep going and accept the vulnerability that comes with it!

    http://www.lindseykyokoadams.com

  7. Love these tips and would appreciate more of them! It’s always so refreshing to see successful women doing their own thing and helping others along the way. Kudos to all who contributed.

  8. These are wonderful and real and insightful. These are such unique ideas and not the usual mundane career advice that’s so blah. Love this post. I also love that they come from creative women with a full life! Love it.

  9. So good. I can agree Anne about to do lists. It`s like a magic how everything start working after everything is written down

  10. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen’s tips were interesting to me, as they seem to indicate she is a morning person. Conversely, I’m more productive with things like writing as the day goes on than before 11 am. The principle of keeping a schedule is extractable of course. It caught my attention how one person’s rhythm can be so different than another person’s.

    A fun blog post. Thank you.

  11. I love this! Nothing better than getting inspired by smart, driven women!

  12. I’m a daily reader, but never comment. I had to break the silence to say this is such a fantastic post!! Really speaks on so many levels to the daily struggle to make it all work. Exactly the advice I needed from some very wise ladies today. Thanks Joanna and Caroline!

  13. amazing advise! I just want to hug every single one of these wonder women and you, Joanna. thank you so much for this.

  14. This was great! I’m hopelessly addicted to Catbird, and Smitten Kitchen!

  15. I love this. Though while I sometimes have dreams of owning my own awesome business, I am not sure I could handle the risk. And there are some things that are awesome about my (sometimes bureaucratic) job. Any plans to feature life/work balance advice for those who aren’t awesome entrepreneurs? :)

    -Katie H.

  16. Amazing article. Thank you so much for this. Endlessly inspiring and real.

  17. Awesome advice from bangerang business women! Definitely bookmarking this for bad days – I love having others’ words and experiences to connect with when I’m struggling with something in my own life/work. Thank you!

  18. Jo says...

    What an amazing roundup. Thank you for this great post, Joanna!

  19. I never comment on these but this was a great article. As a college student, stress can be overwhelming and fear of the future can really make you want to hide away in your room with Netflix for three days. I love hearing advice from women in the professional world and especially in creative fields. Thanks for this post!!!

  20. Great post, Joanna. My #1 tip is to ask for what you want. The worst someone can say is “no”, and people can’t read your mind. My #2 tip is to learn the art of saying “no” – so many people (especially women) struggle with this.

  21. As we are ‘just’ starting a blog I read all of this, this post gave me inspiration, great idea.

  22. Loved this post! So helpful and inspiring to hear it from people who have ‘made it’. When you think of successful men & women it kind of blurs out that they we’re once bottom of the career ladder, and sometimes forget that they are actually people themselves!

    Thank you so much for sharing, fantastic post! x

    http://www.caitylis.blogspot.com

  23. Yes, most of the people on the planet don’t have the luxury of working a job that is a soul calling, most work to get by or survive. It makes it even more meaningful to me and worthy of taking time each day to recognize that I am privileged, I want to work to create more opportunity for others, and I breathe in gratitude each day. I also resonate with the message of rest time and family time. We need time to disconnect from stress and demands so we can connect and live our lives (and work) with presence and good energy.

  24. The like, please, and understand sentiment from Sharon Montrose is so. Also Emily Henderson’s point about fixable problems escalating.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Casey’s point above: that many aren’t in the position to choose a career that delights. It is a luxury. I currently live in a developing country where most don’t choose their path, and it’s a case of getting by. It makes me feel fortunate, humble, and grateful for the lucky spring boards I’ve had in life. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting my own career to be a story. Perhaps the problem is the way that piece of advice is presented: a large part of your life is not worthy if your career story is not interesting. I’m not sure that’s how it was meant though.
    Perhaps the problem is that this article is for those who are striving for career development and for many reasons, good and bad, that’s not everyone.

    Personally, I’ll be re-reading and re-reading. Thank you Joanna :)

  25. I love these career posts. I’m 26 and I just started a new job this week. It’s challenging and exhausting but hearing about the challenges of these established and respected career women is comforting. I’m pretty sure we’re all winging it.

  26. First off – I love your blog and read it whenever I have a chance. I I’ve never commented on your blog before (after years of reading it), but when I saw your post with the text “Female Entrepreneurs,” I felt compelled to respond. Women are entrepreneurs, period. We shouldn’t have to caveat the word with our gender. Your post and images would have been more powerful by removing “female” from the headline. Otherwise, I very much appreciated the post!

  27. Loved this! I think that closet metaphor is so profound. Law school starts in September, and I’m going to remember that.

    I’m also echoing Courtney’s comment:
    “If you are so inclined, it would be neat to see a future post with viewpoints from female entrepreneurs in arguably non-creative professions – e.g., solo/small group practitioners in law or medicine, financial advisers, accountants, etc. It would be interesting to see how the tips differ (if at all) from trailblazers in professions that are often viewed as less flexible (and more male-dominated).”

  28. Great advice- especially about sending hand-written thank yous, and being direct. I would love to see this again from some 9 to 5 women (maybe some doctors, lawyers, financial adviser types?)

  29. Wonderful post…but I wish we would have heard your advice as well Joanna! You are running a wonderful, beloved and successful blog. How do you do it?
    Cheers
    Milla

  30. Great advice! But wow, this particular line really stuck out at me, and I think it can apply to all of us out there trying to make it work:

    “I usually say yes first, and figure it out later. I don’t let any opportunity slip away. I study hard and learn to do it, even if that means learning the hard way. “

    These are some of the accomplishments we can be most proud of! Working hard and showing the world we can do it!

  31. “If you told a story about your career, would it be interesting and surprising? If not, think about the path you’re carving. You spend a large part of your life working—make it a story you want to tell.”

    I’ve got to be honest, while there is a part of me that 100% wants to be all in on this, there is another, louder part of me that can’t get past how privileged a view point this is (and this is SO not a negative critique of the person who said it, who I am sure is an amazing and lovely person). I just sort of hate this idea (up there with “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”). Sometimes you just need to work to earn money or have health insurance, period. Things happen, life doesn’t care if your career is interesting enough for you, and sometimes, you just need a job to be able to pay off your student loans or to buy your kid new shoes for the first day of school – and that’s not even getting into the many blue collar workers in this country who never have the opportunity to consider whether or not they like their job. Or maybe you just have a job so that you can do fun things when you’re not working. That’s all totally okay, and that is just as important to consider. Maybe it’s a dim view to take on the world, but having a job that is fulfilling and a source of happiness is a bit of a luxury.

  32. Yay! Thank you so much for this post, Joanna! This really hit home personally. I left a career in which I was super successful but, unfortunately, totally unfulfilled about a year and a half ago to pursue my dream of growing a business of my creativity. I could not be happier! Yes, many (most?) days I feel a bit scared because every single product feels like a little piece of me. But it is so exhilerating and fulfilling!!

  33. This is such great advice, thanks for sharing! I have to ask if there is any advice for actually landing a job though? I’ve been applying to internships up one wall and down the other and I’m curious what I might be doing wrong???
    ~ Samantha

  34. This is not only a great post, but so IMPORTANT. Thank you!

  35. Some very good tips from some awesome women! Really like Deb’s advice of figuring out what time of day you’re best at doing what tasks. Have heard it before but it feels reassuring when it comes from someone whose work you know and love! Thanks for putting this together.

  36. This is such a great post – I love it. It is so true that little things can chip away at you, and when you are very busy, you just need to be able to overcome that. I also firmly agree with the mental health morning and take one whenever I feel I am getting overwhelmed. Such great tips. Love the entrepreneurship posts in Cup of Jo!

  37. This is such a wonderful post! And as afellow entrepreneur, so valuable. Thank you!

  38. Joanna, thank you for posting about amazing women doing great things! I love it so much.

  39. I am loving these snippits. I’ve been writing them out on pretty paper and posting them in my cubicle as inspiration.
    Actually- there’s an idea for a post. Cubicle decor. Pinterest is lacking and I’ve had to figure it out on my own.

  40. I love this!

    One thing I always ask myself when I am procrastinating is whether I am doing so because I don’t *want* to do something or don’t *know how* to do something.

    Especially being an entrepreneur, there is always so much to learn! I’ve found that just asking myself, “What is the first little-intsy-baby step you could take to get one centimeter closer to your goal?” usually helps me get out of my productivity funk.

  41. I love this article (and am a massive fan of your blog), but it still annoys me how male entrepreneurs don’t have seek out advice on how to juggle work and family. It’s just assumed they will have a woman to take care of the family aspect while they’re off being brilliant. Unfortunately until we adopt an equal shared approach to parenting this will always be the case.
    Lib

  42. Loving the tip about the organized closet, I totally needed to hear that. And so happy to see Deb featured – she is my favorite blogger ever and forever :) :)

  43. Fantastic post! This is valuable advise no matter what you are doing in life.

  44. Today I got up early and i had a rough week at my current job. I was moving slow and all I wanted to do was spend the day in comfy clothes with my 3 yr old and go to target. So I did and I took a giant step in emailing my previous manager to go back to an old position where Ill feel more secure.here’s to making tough choices and pressing on.!

  45. This is a great post! I work full time as of February this year, and my husband is home with our girls and then works part time. As I get used to our new routine, I have started meeting friends for lunch every couple of weeks. I used to think that was a waste of money, but now my evenings and weekends are so precious with my family that this is a great way to fit in a social life bit by bit and to break up a potentially mundane work day once in a while!

  46. This is brilliant. Love hearing these sage words from successful women; thank you!

  47. I totally love when you do career-focused content! Thank you for this!

  48. Thank you for this post. Just when I was letting my self doubts get the best of me.

  49. Absolutely wonderful post, Joanna, it’s just what I needed this week. Eva’s closet metaphor and Deb’s timeouts for mental health really struck a chord.

  50. Thanks for a phenomenal post, Joanna!! I have nothing to offer but this is exactly what I needed right now. I am 26 and took a chance to try a new career. It turned out terribly and I’m desperately trying to get back into communications. Hearing from these fantastic women was really wonderful and I appreciate it!

  51. While I don’t have my own business, I have learned to separate my work life and my private life. I’m a high school teacher, and while many teachers live, eat, and breathe school, I don’t. I try to get all my work done at school, so I can relax in the evenings and enjoy the weekends. If I’m really behind, I will grade papers at night or on the weekend, but that’s rare. If I don’t take time for myself, I can’t be a good teacher. Teaching takes more energy than most people realize. Get a cleaning lady or pedicure or whatever it takes to make life easier.

  52. This was insightful and fun to read! Great idea for a post. If you are so inclined, it would be neat to see a future post with viewpoints from female entrepreneurs in arguably non-creative professions – e.g., solo/small group practitioners in law or medicine, financial advisers, accountants, etc. It would be interesting to see how the tips differ (if at all) from trailblazers in professions that are often viewed as less flexible (and more male-dominated).

  53. Very inspirational! Thanks. (BTW, minor correction needed: I count nine women, eight companies.)

  54. Joanna,
    Thank you for the lovely post! I juggle a medical career, a small business and my family and it can be overwhelming at times. I remind myself of why I do what I do and what would life be without this craziness. I also take time out for myself and make it a point to go out with my friends, a glass of wine can work wonders!

  55. @lessthanperfectmama, thanks for your sweet note :) girl power for sure. xoxo

  56. angelica, interesting story: when my sister graduated from med school and became a resident doctor (with insanely crazy hours), she went to the orientation and they were telling them all sorts of academic advice. but at the end, they got really serious and said, “everyone in this room should hire a cleaning service. you owe it to yourself and career to do so.” i thought that was so fascinating that they kind of gave everyone “permission” to do so.

    xo joanna

  57. This article is so inspiring Joanna! It’s incredible that you are able to collect these valuable tips from these amazing entrepreneurs. I can’t wait to share your post with others!

  58. Thank you so much for this post!
    I’m a mom of twins doing PhD, and there is an unbelievable pressure to always look/be busy all the time in academia when i just can’t take it anymore! I especially love Deb’s wisdom :’It’s very easy to get overly austere about work, but it doesn’t necessarily produce better outcomes.’ Spot on!

  59. What a great post! I’m an entrepreneur who still feels like she’s a kid playing office. I’m going to add my own two cents even though I feel like these people have way more experience to back up their advice. :)

    1) Hire people you get along with. Not just employees, but vendors for any aspect of your business, and even people who repair your windows or whatever. It makes life so much better when all transactional relationships are with people you enjoy. And even if It feels like there’s more at stake if an uncomfortable money issue comes up, it’s still vastly easier to resolve when you actually like each other.

    2) Pay to get great marketing photos of yourself for your business. No matter what kind of company you run, showcasing the human behind it always helps your brand. So many women are so vain about our appearances (with good reason; the world judges us harshly on them) that we never want to show the face behind the brand. Investing in flattering, personality-filled, non-cheesy photos of myself is the best money I’ve soent on my low overhead business.

  60. I am always in need of inspirational words and pieces of advice that show it is possible to have a great work/life balance. Thank you so much for this post!

  61. Joanna thanks for this great post. Whenever I’m feeling a little down about the incrementally slow pace of reaching my career goals during this ride called motherhood, inevitably I read your blog that day and feel better. (especially when I read the latest Toby line and then I really have a laugh.) These ladies are inspiring! I love Deb and Anne’s firm boundaries on when they get work done and making family a priority. Every now and then a little girl power is in order and these gals have that for sure.

  62. wow, I absolutely loved this! thanks so much for sharing, jo.

  63. thank you for this post! i loved reading “Most of the time, I’m improvising. I just turned 41, yet I still feel like a kid playing office half the time. I can’t speak for others, but I’m pretty sure we’re all winging it.” because, at 24, on the precipice of my career as a creative entrepreneur.. nothing makes sense. i’m sort of relieved that it never will! :)

  64. Love Emily’s tip. The quality of my life greatly improved once I gave myself permission to get a cleaning lady!