text by SHANI SILVER
photos courtesy of WAITING ON MARTHA
In the ever-expanding realm of career goals, there’s really nothing quite as inspiring as working for yourself. Setting the rules, the ideas, and the plans sounds like more than enough Monday motivation to us. We asked Mandy Kellogg Rye, Founder & Creative Director Waiting On Martha and MKR Design to share with us a few tricks of the trade, when the trade is what you make it. Read on to learn about how she creates a work life she loves, plus a few tips for anyone pondering entrepreneurism, too.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE SMARTEST CAREER MOVE YOU EVER MADE?
I didn’t know it then, but the smartest move I ever made was leaving law school after two years in. I was miserable and had I “stuck it out,” I would likely be working in a field I that wasn’t passionate about, and would dread going to work!
WHAT CAREER MISTAKE HAVE YOU SEEN OR HAD EXPERIENCE WITH THAT WAS EASILY AVOIDABLE?
Focusing on things that don’t matter. Whether it’s interpersonal colleague drama or Instagram envy, stressing over the little things won’t help grow you or your company. I love the quote, “A flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”
WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART ABOUT WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
For me, the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is being responsible for every single decision made. From choosing the best printer ink to how many full time employees to hire, I am the go-to for every answer, and it can be hard. That’s why I believe it’s necessary to build a team with the right people in the right roles. That way, as the company grows, some of that decision-making can be delegated.
AND THE BEST PART?
There is no greater feeling to seeing your vision brought to life and become successful. Well, that, and working from the beach with a Mai Tai in hand!
- Set a schedule. Working for yourself means there’s no need to clock in. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stick to a consistent schedule! This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, as without a schedule it becomes all too easy to start the day a little later, leave a little earlier, take the day off just because, or find yourself working 24/7. A flexible schedule is one of the biggest perks of working for yourself, but without discipline, this can become a very slippery slope.
- Do what works for you. Working for yourself means a flexible workday. But it’s important to create a schedule and methodology that ensures productivity and fits your lifestyle. I’m a big believer in the work hard, play hard philosophy, so I’d take working 14 days straight with five days off over weekends off any day. Figure out what works for you and just make sure ou stay consistent so that the work gets done.
- Get dressed. Working for yourself means you get to set the dress code. But while it’s easy to stay in pajamas or work in Lululemon all day, nothing makes you feel (and act) more like a boss than dressing like one. My most productive days are the ones where I have dressed the part. Even if I don’t see a single person that day! So get up, dress up, and prepare to conquer the world.
- Carry over corporate principles. Working for yourself means you are the one setting all principles, policies and procedures. But don’t discount your prior experience in corporate America! You and your company can really benefit from that experience and knowledge. From drafting employee contracts to budget forecasting, I believe my prior experience has been a big factor in Waiting On Martha’s success.
- Cut it off. Working for yourself means that boundaries can sometimes get blurred. But avoid the burnout by setting boundaries early on. Make them work for you, but make sure you stick to them. For me, I’ve found cutting off all work at least an hour before bed and giving myself time to get going in the morning before starting work are important. That and remembering to leave my phone in my purse when I’m out to dinner!