Ever wondered what people do at work? If you’re a voyeur like us, then you’ll love our series A Day in the Life where we get a real behind-the-scenes glimpse into the professional lives of CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs we admire. From their morning routine to the rituals that set them up for success and questions such as “do you ever reach inbox zero?” because we all want to know how to streamline our lives.
In a media-saturated world, it can be hard to decipher the realness from the noise but there’s one site we always have bookmarked: Glitter Guide. From fashion to home décor, beauty and wellness, founder Taylor Sterling has always served up engaging, educational, and topical content we love—like this story about about the myth of “age-appropriate” clothing—and that’s something she, along with her digital lead, Samantha Welker has decided to shift her focus towards with the new site redesign.
Sterling and Welker both made a conscious shift to focus on the brand’s core values rather than what "performs" the best. “Our new motto is ‘we want hearts, not eyeballs’ and we hope our audience will connect with our new creativity-focused content,” Welker tells me. We can’t wait to see more. We are always so inspired by Sterling and the content she creates so we wanted to get a sneak peek into a day in her life.
Ahead, Sterling gives us a snapshot of her day, what it really takes to be a founder, and key advice to propel your career.
What does an average day in your life look like?
Most days aren’t all that glamourous. I wake up at 6 a.m. with the kids and get them ready for school and out the door. Then until about 3:30 I’m usually sitting at my desk working on assignments and having meetings. The rest of my day is dedicated to getting my kids from school, spending time with them and getting them ready for bed.
What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do upon waking?
Usually it’s 6 a.m. First it’s a quick snuggle with the kids (who wake me up) and then I immediately get some coffee.
Are you a night owl or a morning person? When do you do your most important work and why?
Naturally I’m a night owl. Growing up I always felt the most creative and productive at night. However my husband is the opposite and he’s trained me to get to bed earlier. Also, since having kids it’s been crucial for me to change my ways. Now I’m most productive around 9 a.m.
What does your morning, pre-work routine look like? What rituals set you up for success?
This past year I’ve really slowed everything down and made more time for self-care. That means that in the morning after the chaos of getting the kids to school I come back home (where I work) and I spend about 30 minutes doing a speed clean of the house. I’ve found I work better when it’s tidy and I don’t feel anxious about having to clean it later. I usually listen to a podcast while I clean or some relaxing music. Then I try to fit in a quick workout. Usually something at home or a run. I usually start work around 9:45 a.m. after I have made time for these things that help me feel centered.
Being a founder means you are wearing so many hats and across so many facets of the business. How do you manage your time effectively?
This used to be a huge struggle for me. I felt like I was doing everything and involved in everything. I started to burn out. We didn’t have good organizational systems. Once those were put into place and the entire team felt confident in their roles and obligations it freed us up and we weren’t juggling as much.
Do you ever reach inbox zero? How do you handle the constant influx of inquiries and communication entrepreneurs are so familiar with?
This is going to sound so bad, but I’ve become really lazy with my emails. I used to be addicted. I would always respond to everything I could. Now that my team isn’t on my emails much I can be better about batching. Some days I don’t even check it. You have to get comfortable with missing something. It’s really felt like a weight has lifted. I know that’s not for everyone, but it’s been a relief.
What are some work habits that help you stay healthy, productive, and on track to reach your goals?
Staying healthy and having good work habits is a huge priority. I want my team to know it’s something I value and I hope they will do the same. My team uses Asana and Slack daily and they have been game changers for us. I know that if I have a day where I can’t work as much, as long as I get my daily tasks done then it’s going to be okay. I carve out time for me and also my family. Work is something I’m passionate about, but at the end of the day it’s still work. My life is way more important.
When do you go to bed? What’s your “optimal” # of sleep hours?
Ideally, I like to be asleep by 10 p.m. to set myself up for success.
What’s the most rewarding part of your day?
I love days where I have taken care of my needs, had a productive work day and my family is happy. I always feel like I’m on top of the world when that happens. However, usually something in that mix gets thrown off.
When did you know you wanted to start your own company? What was your journey like?
I never really went into it thinking, I want to start a business. I just knew what I wanted to create and it happened to turn into a business. I think that’s the case for a lot of creative entrepreneurs. It’s almost better that I was naive and that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had to learn by doing. I’ve made so many mistakes over the past ten years. As painful as that is, it’s crucial. It’s how I’ve grown. I’m thankful for it.
What advice do you have for aspiring female founders?
Always trust your gut. I’ve made the mistake of ignoring it before, but it never leads you astray.
What are some of the biggest lessons you learned along the way?
I think one big lesson for me is that you are going to have ups and downs. It’s natural. It’s how you handle those downs that are really going to define you. Don’t let them distract you. Stay focused but flexible and you can come back up again.
How do you combat the loneliness often felt by CEOs at the top?
Thankfully my team is so tiny that I don’t ever feel this way. I feel more lonely from us being a totally remote team. Using things like Slack, Google Hangout and having face-to-face meetings when we can really help.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Keep your blinders up.” This isn’t really the best advice, but it’s one I think of often. It’s a reminder that when you get distracted by what others are doing it can be a real downer. Stay positive and focus on what you love and things will often fall into place.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’m not sure I’ve ever had bad advice. It’s usually more that people sometimes don’t get my industry or my situations and give advice based-off their own experiences. You have to keep that in mind when asking people.
What are some exciting projects you’re working on this month? What are you most excited for in 2019?
Glitter Guide is about to relaunch our entire website. It’s getting a new look and will be much more user-friendly. With that we’re also changing a lot of our content. We want to connect to people’s hearts and tell stories that have meaning to us and those who we’re working with. We also want to explore creativity and how we can cultivate creative energy. I’m so excited for this new chapter.