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Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk: Getting Involved

Discovering the Fulfillment that Volunteering Brings
Filed Under > Let's Talk

Let's Talk: Getting Involved with Volunteering Opportunities, @waitingonmartha

For years, my mom has urged me to volunteer.  To find a cause and give my time. To connect with others on a deeper level.  She’d tell me about how good it would make me feel, how it would maybe be the missing piece to my puzzle.  She’d tell me this whenever I was stressed, sad or feeling a bit out of sorts.  

I would shake her off, saying I didn’t have enough time.  My job was too busy.  I barely had time to see my friends during the week, let alone commit to seeing complete strangers.  I think in a way I was weary of just the thought of having one more thing that I didn’t reeeeally want to do.  I just didn’t want to have one more obligation on my calendar. 

My mom started talking to me about volunteering while I was in college.  She would mention it once in awhile in the years right after, too.  I still brushed it off, busy in my mid-twenties routine and consumed in work and my social life.  It was only in the past few months that I realized she was onto something.  It hit me one day out of the blue that I needed something…more.  I needed something to fulfill that part in me that needed to do something good.  

One night on my laptop in bed, I got the fire lit under me; I scoured Hands on Nashville, a nonprofit that organizes volunteering opportunities in our local community.  I had always assumed that finding volunteer opportunities and committing to specific projects would be a hassle to do.  But it was nothing like that; HON made it incredibly easy to search for causes that truly resonated with me personally.  I read all about these local charities’ missions and so many different ways to get involved.  I felt excited at the thought of connecting with a cause that I could grow with, and one that I could find new friends and make new memories with.  I was eager to find one that would help define the person I wanted to be.  

To say I enjoyed my first night in the garden harvesting okra and digging for potatoes with The Nashville Food Project is an understatement.  There was something about working with my hands—and no cell phone or laptop in sight—that did wonders for my mood.  I worked alongside other volunteers with totally different stories and backgrounds than me…and it felt good. 

As I near my 28th birthday this month, I can see how it gets easier and easier to just coast through day-to-day routines and almost even run on autopilot.  I can totally see how easy it is to make excuses about not having enough time, or money, or energy to give back to our communities.  I did that for years (and catch myself still feeling that sometimes).  But I’m also revived knowing that there are easy ways to help others…and it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds.  My mom was right all along; there are ways to get an even deeper fulfillment out of each day, and volunteering is one of the best ways to do it.  

Tell me, are you involved in your community through charity work?  Do you, too, struggle with finding the time to volunteer?  I urge you to see if your city has a local resource for finding the right volunteer opportunities for YOU, and if not, try a search on Volunteer Match.  I’d love to hear about your own personal journey in the comments below.  Cheers, Kat


Photography, Bloomsbury Farm

Let’s Talk: The Art of Snail Mail

We Revisit the lost art, and share top picks for pin-up worthy mail
Filed Under > Let's Talk

The art of snail mail, @waitingonmartha

I remember when I was little that I loved having a pen-pal.  Sure, I don’t know how long it actually lasted, and I have no idea what we actually wrote about, but sending and receiving mail was always magical to me—even from a very young age. Now, at 27, and as I’m ever connected to my email and iMessage, I’m striving to set aside time to put pen to paper and proactively send snail mail to friends and family. 

It sounds easier than it is; I’ve gone through spurts when I’ve been great about keeping in touch with a few friends that also appreciate a handwritten note in the mail.  But lately, I’m sad to admit that I’ve fallen out of doing it…it’s crazy how quickly it gets pushed down on the to-do list. 

I have found, though, that having the supplies on hand (even the stamps!) is the best way to make a successful habit of sending snail mail.  My biggest piece of advice (which I’ll remind myself too) is invest in a great set of personalized stationery.  You’ll enjoy sending mail so much more when it’s a perfect reflection of you.  There are SO many gorgeous designs out there, especially from a few WOM favorites like Parker & Thatch, Minted, Mark & Graham, Paperless Post and Rifle Paper Co.  And if you’re interested in general notecards, you’ll love this collection of beautiful note sets for any old day, and thank-you cards that’ll make anyone smile. When I’m deciding on a notecard set, I like to think of what will be prettiest tacked onto the recipient’s cork board…because no one can throw away a gorgeous hand-written note. 

So let’s talk.  Do you appreciate the art of snail mail?  Do you write regularly letters to friends and family?  Are you on top of sending your thank-you cards?  And if this account doesn’t make you want to send some snail mail right this instant, I don’t know what will.  Cheers, Kat

P.S. I’d especially love to know about your favorite stationery brands!  Please leave any recommendations in the comments below. xo




Featured image, One Kings Lane by Manuel Rodriguez

5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Becoming an Entrepreneur

The Things People Don't Tell You About Running Your Own Business
Filed Under > 5 Things

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Entrepreneurism is not for the weak of heart.  And while yes sometimes becoming an entrepreneur is a well thought out, strategic plan, I’ve found in talking to other entrepreneurs, most of the time it just happens to you.  It happens usually in a combustion of curiosity, desperation, frustration and passion; or at least that’s how it happened to me.

To be honest, I fell and then very reluctantly, jumped head first into entrepreneurism (read more about my journey HERE).  I didn’t really think about what an entrepreneur actually meant.  What it would mean to run my own blog, an e-commerce boutique and a design and consulting division.  I didn’t think about the accountability and responsibility it would take day to day to lead a team, not to mention to succeed. You’ll find a lot of entrepreneur success stories, and you’ll read a lot of advice pieces.  But what you can’t seem to  find are the not-so-glamorous learnings from an entrepreneur that’s knee-deep in it.  And the emotional side of it all?  Well, that’s not ever talked about…like ever. 

So today I thought I’d rectify that and share five things I wish I had known before becoming an entrepreneur.   I hope this serves as a helpful collection of thought-provoking points, but more importantly I hope that this reaches all of the entrepreneurs out there that need to hear it.  Because, together, we know that the struggle is real and the more we talk about and share our experiences the better we will be because of it. Truly, MKR

NO. 1… As an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for every single decision.  I repeat EVERY SINGLE DECISION.  From the smallest, most trivial questions to the craziest, largest things…you’re the one that calls the ultimate shot.  Which at first sounds fun especially for Type A’s like me, but becomes an immense amount of pressure quite quickly, because let’s be honest one person can never have all the answers.  TAKEAWAY:  Surround yourself with employees and people that you trust to take some of the pressure off.  Even in the beginning when you may not have employees friends, family, and other entrepreneurs can make great sounding boards especially when it comes to the big make or break decisions.  And ask questions, like I said no one has all the answers so don’t be afraid to ask lots and lots of questions.

NO. 2… Only fellow entrepreneurs will understand what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.  I’m not being exclusionary to anyone else hustling everyday but a CEO, COO, Vice President, etc., etc…they don’t have skin in the game like you do as a Founder.  If the biz they work for goes under, they will find a new job, if your biz goes under…well let’s just say it’s not that easy.  TAKEAWAY:  As an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to find a group of fellow entrepreneurs for mentoring, support, and questions you have along the way.  I’m in the process of joining an entrepreneurs-only group that meets monthly, and am actively involved with the founders of The Southern Coterie, as well as numerous other creative entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area.  Don’t have an already established entrepreneurial group in your area?  Start one yourself; think coffee and cocktails with a side of help and support whenever needed.  And if you’re just beginning a great FREE resource is Score Mentors.

NO. 3…You’ll be kept up at night with the constant question of what’s next, what can you improve, what can you do to succeed, etc.  A friend of mine, who’s also an entrepreneur, said it best, “it’s not my kids that keep me up at night—it’s my business.”  And I can fully see how that would be the case.  As an entrepreneur, the livelihood of everyone on your team depends on you, and that burden will never, ever go away.  You also can’t leave your own business at the door like you can with a corporate job…it will ALWAYS follow you home and consume you at all hours.  Personally, the question of scaling a business, knowing what growth really means (and that bigger isn’t always better), and all in all staying close to our mission statement and passion in everything we do is what keeps me up at night.  And I know those questions may change but as an entrepreneur they will never go away.  TAKEAWAY:  Learn to enjoy that you have this burden to carry.  Practice meditation.  And try to unplug at night best you can.  Wish I could provide more “answers” but I’m still struggling with this one friends.

NO. 4…Founders depression is real.  I didn’t have a name for it before I read this spot-on article from Create & Cultivate about founder’s depression, and it was a breath of fresh air.  No one ever talks about the self-doubt that comes with owning a business, so to know that other entrepreneur’s struggle with the same constant question…are you happier than before BLANK (before you left your job, before you grew, before you invested more money, before you expanded, etc. etc.)?  The blank will always change, but the main question will not.  It’s a serious question, and before starting WOM I would have balked at the thought.  Of course I would be happier being my own boss, making my own hours, being able to be creative every day.  But on the long days—when everything seems to be crashing down, and you’re responsible for all of it—it’s hard not to consider turning it all back in for the 9-to-5 you can leave at the door.  TAKEAWAY:  Talk to others, be open and honest about the good AND the bad and don’t make any rash decisions in the heat of the moment.  We all have bad days, bad weeks, heck bad months, but that which does not kill you (or rather make you throw in the towel) will inevitably make you stronger.

NO. 5…Don’t compare your middle to someone else’s end.  It’s really easy, especially in this digital world we live in, to play the comparison game.  Just don’t.  It will NEVER, ever make you feel better or more importantly it will never help you grow your business.  We all have our own path, so be patient, don’t take shortcuts, and stay authentic.  And above all else remember being entrepreneur is pretty damn amazing! TAKEAWAY: It’s about the journey not the destination


Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

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