Sarah Hartley is the founder of Holl & Lane Magazine and mom to adorable 2-year-old Henry. By day, she works full time at an architecture firm, Her hope is that someday the magazine will be my only full-time job, but until then she’s juggling it all and today she’s sharing how she makes it all work…
First things first, tell us a little bit about your family and where you live.
I live near Pittsburgh, PA with my husband, Brandon and our two year old son, Henry. Brandon and I met years ago in a bar (which we’re super proud of) and moved to the Pittsburgh area about five years ago. We welcomed our first child, Henry, in February of 2014. The majority of our friends and family still live near Toledo, OH where we both grew up.
Which came first, the babies or the business?
Technically the baby. But the business has been something I’ve wanted to since I was little. I went through many ideas of what I wanted to be when I “grew up” but one thing that always stuck with me was my love of writing and magazines. For the past few years I’ve had it in my mind to start a magazine but I had no idea how one just starts their own magazine. After Henry was born and I realized how much I loved being with him (I never thought being a SAHM would be for me), I started thinking of other ways that I might still be able to have my career but also be able to spend more time with him. In April of 2015 I decided to just go for it, create the magazine I always wanted, and see what happened. Over a year later I’m still working on it. I still work full time for an architecture firm but at night after Henry is in bed and on the weekends I dedicate A LOT of time to my magazine, Holl & Lane. And thankfully, it’s growing.
What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Until recently I hadn’t even thought of myself as an entrepreneur, that had never been my end goal. I just wanted to create something out of this dream that I’ve always had. But now being my own boss is something I crave. Whenever I have the free time to work on the magazine- whether it’s designing the spread, talking with contributors, or responding to readers on social media- I am happiest. I love that I get to decide the direction of the magazine, that I don’t have to answer to anyone else. It’s my hope that within the next year I might get to completely be my own boss- without having to answer to a 9-5 job.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m an afternoon person. I’m far, far from a morning person (though my son is determined to make me one with his 6:45 weekend wakeup calls), and being so busy during the day means that I’m exhausted by the time Henry goes to bed. But on weekends when I have all day, I find that I’m most energized in the late afternoon. That’s my sweet spot.
Coffee or tea? (Or are you a unicorn who does not need caffeine?!)
I actually AM a unicorn. I don’t like coffee or tea. Occasionally I’ll have a soda, but for the most part it’s all water and milk for me. But there are many days that I WISH I liked coffee when I need a little help waking up.
What does your morning routine look like? What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
My alarm goes off at 6 am during the week, and Henry and I have to be out the door to daycare by 7. I’ll be honest, I’ve perfected a 10 minute routine for myself just so that I can keep hitting snooze until about 6:30. During the week the first thing I do is wash my face and get dressed. Then I get my lunch ready, then wake Henry to get him ready for daycare. I don’t look at my phone until I’m at the office at 7:30. I find that if I look at it first thing I immediately feel stressed about all of the things waiting for me (9-5 job and magazine job included). On weekends I wake up whenever Henry decides it’s time (the days he decides to sleep until 8 are golden). I usually still leave my phone sitting on the kitchen counter for a half hour to an hour and just enjoy the early morning snuggles with him.
Balance—we can’t do this interview and not talk about it! Mostly because I’m desperate to know all of your secrets. How do you make it work?
People ask me this all the time and honestly, I’m still not sure I know the answer. I used to work on the magazine until all hours of the night because it was my only free time. But after a couple months of that and feeling so run down, I knew I had to change it. Now, I work on the magazine while I’m on my half hour lunch break at work. Once my son is in bed that is when I will work on the magazine for a couple hours- whether that’s doing Skype meetings, or designing, or just answering emails. But I’ve found that not doing anything except watching a show with my husband a couple of times a week is also much needed for my soul, so I’ve instituted “office hours” and a couple times a week I’ll just put everything away and hang out with him.
My other secrets are my team and my husband. I’ve assembled a great team of five women who help me as much as they can. They do things like work on our Facebook and Twitter pages, help me with editing each issue, research PR opportunities, and are generally sounding boards for me. My husband is so supportive that I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t for him. He knows how passionate I am about this and so when I have an issue launch coming up or I just have a lot on my plate, he’ll take Henry off my hands and let me head downstairs for some quiet time.
Childcare is a big factor—what’s been working for you? Nanny, daycare or the stay-at-home/work-at-home life? Or does your son go to school now?
Henry has been in daycare since he was 3 months old. Though I still wish it was me that was with him every day, I LOVE the daycare that he attends. The women are incredible and he’s made some great friends and learned SO much.
How do you make room for personal time for yourself? When you do get down time, what do you do to relax, refresh and/or get inspired?
This is my biggest issue that I’m struggling with. Because I’m so passionate about Holl & Lane and because I don’t get to work on it as often as I’d like, I don’t always know how to turn it off. The office hours have really helped, and sometimes just heading out of town to be with our friends and family refreshes me. Recently when I felt like I was on the verge of burnout, my husband surprised me with a certificate for a 90 minute massage and that really helped as well (Brandon, you should keep doing that!). I’ve been trying to take time to run after work or to do yoga when I’m feeling up to it. But if anything still needs improvement, it’s this.
What one bit of advice would you give to a fellow mompreneur trying to make it all work?
Surround yourself with the biggest support system you can. They’ll be the ones that you turn to when the days get hard, when things aren’t going the way that you wish they were. And they’ll be able to lift you back up, to remind you of why you do what you do, and help you to remember your value. They’ll also be waiting with a beer in hand so that you can take a break for a minute or two.
Thanks for sharing your secrets with us, Sarah! Hope you get to