Between running her PR and Event Consultant company, Kathryn Elise Studio and running the day-to-day operations of the blogger conference she founded, Go Blog Social, Kathryn Snellen is building quiet the fashionable empire. Oh, and did we mention she is only 25?! Take a page out of this smart cookies playbook and learn how turn your passions into a profitable career.
Full name: Kathryn Elise Snellen
Location: Kansas City, MO
How long have you been a full time Creative?
My two-year anniversary of quitting my full-time agency job is this November. Technically, I left my office job to work satellite for a boutique marketing/PR firm based in Los Angeles. So, I didn’t jump right into being self-employed without knowing I would have stable work.
Within 3 months of taking the leap – I began to take on my own projects and clients – from traditional PR, producing fashion events to styling, in addition to my consultant position. Having the flexibility of working from home, while maintaining relationships in my local network organically grew my personal consulting work and opened up other opportunities for launching my business, as well as developing Go Blog Social which was founded in January 2013.
Honestly, there really is no “normal” workday. I’m in my (home) office 2-3 full days and the rest of the week I am out for meetings, events and anywhere else I need to be to plan for upcoming projects. Working from home can definitely be a challenge and it took awhile for me to adjust to getting into a routine after going from a traditional office environment to my home. It helps that I created a space that is separate and reflects my interests and personal “brand.”
I like to start my day by enjoying a cup of coffee with my husband, checking my inbox to see if there is anything pressing that needs to be addressed immediately, and browsing Instagram and other social media pages. I also write a daily to-do list in my notebook, so I can stay on track for the day. From there, I take my dog on a walk and try to hit the gym for a morning class (currently loving ballet barre). If I’m working from home, the later morning to afternoon is dedicated to emails, conference calls, scheduling social media posts for my clients + Go Blog Social, and tackling my to-do list.
In the past two years of being self-employed, I’ve learned that my most productive hours are between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. So, I try to get the bulk of my heavy work done within those hours and will take ‘creative breaks’ in the afternoon to keep me inspired. My afternoons are usually set aside for meetings, lunch or coffee dates, quick errands and planning fun things I truly enjoy – whether that is researching next steps for my biz, taking a few moments to read my favorite magazines or coming up with concepts for Go Blog Social – like photo shoot’s.
Being in the events/PR industry, many of my evenings are dedicated to attending events that I have planned or supporting other businesses. During my busy season, I will attend anywhere from two events or more a week. If there is nothing on the calendar, I love cooking dinner with my husband and catching up on Netflix.
I love the flexibility and creative freedom that being self-employed brings. The risk is often exciting and rewarding! And most importantly, I love being able to wake up everyday and get to do work that I am truly passionate about.
What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?
I wish I had known that sometimes you cannot do it all and that behind every success story are many key players that have helped build that business. It’s important to balance doing what you are good at and outsourcing for the rest.
The other thing I had not prepared for was failure. Not every project will turn out as planned, not every business opportunity will go through, and sometimes you have to deal with rejection. It’s hard not to take those disappointments personally and to continue on with the same enthusiasm, but you must remember why you started and keep going (even if it’s a slightly different direction) from there. And sometimes those little flops lead to something much greater!
I’m a firm believer in having a wardrobe that not only is versatile, but also reflects my personal ‘brand.’ I also had to learn the hard way that it’s important to buy for your body and to invest in a wardrobe with quality pieces that can easily be mixed-and-matched versus a closet filled to the brim.
For me, that means finding key pieces that can be worn for a variety of occasions whether working from home, heading to meetings or going to an event. My staples are good denim, soft t-shirts and blouses, and classic dresses that can go from day to night with the help of different accessories and a swipe of lipstick. I love jackets, as they can dress up an outfit and always make me feel polished.
Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?
I’m very meticulous about what pieces I add to my closet and try not to impulse buy. I keep a running list of items I want vs. need and try to stick to a monthly spending budget. When I shop in the moment, I always ask myself if the piece I’m considering can be worn in a variety of ways (at least three styles) based on what I already have. It’s taken a few years of sticking to this plan, but I finally feel like I have a well-curated closet that reflects myself and works for my lifestyle.