Close to eight years ago, while running her own high-end event-planning company in L.A., Rachel Hollis had a thought: She should start a blog. “Everyone was doing it at the time,” she remembers. “It’s free marketing for your company, so why not?” Still, writing about her day job, which included celebrity weddings and entertainment industry events, and explaining how to get the look for less wasn’t clicking.
“One day, close to the Fourth of July, I was at a loss for what to write about,” she says. “I remembered this dip that my mom used to make when I was a little girl that was pretty trashy but also delicious, so I wrote it up. I got 50 responses! It made me realize that the secret to success with blogging is being authentic.”
And that’s what Rachel, a working mom of four, has done: Her blog—The Chic Site—chronicles everything from recipes to styling advice on a budget to parenting tips she's learned on the job and more, all told through Rachel’s honest (and endearing) voice. “The goal of the site is to offer you the tools to live your life, whether that’s how to style your denim jacket or how to clean your front-load washer, in a way that’s achievable so you can understand it, no matter where you live,” she says.
But that’s not all. With a team of nine, Rachel’s built a full-service lifestyle brand with a reach that goes far beyond her blog. “A lot of people don’t know that we’re a creative agency, too,” she says. “Our niche is moms and millennial women, so a lot of brands like Walmart, Target and Rubbermaid have us create content that they own but you don't know we created.”
There's more: Rachel's also a published author with novels and a cookbook under her belt. She even has a brand-new podcast on the way. “It's a lot, but it's all really exciting and I'm so proud of the work we do," she says. Her secret to success? "A lot of wine happens in our house."
On how being a mom influences her business. “If I could put a flag in the ground for anything, it’s the idea of being a working mom. The stigma and guilt isn’t going away and I don’t know a lot of people who think, ‘You know what? You can kill it at both things.’ But I don’t believe in work/life balance. I think life is a pendulum and sometimes your personal life takes extra room and sometimes it’s your work life. The key is accepting that this is what life looks like and that it is possible to do both these things well. I might not always get there, but trust me, I’m going to try.”
On the best advice she’s ever received. “One of the first things I heard as a baby assistant in my very first job was to go into the office and make it so they cannot live without you and you’ll always have a job. I think that if you go on vacation and nobody in your office notices, you’re in trouble.”
On a parenting hack she swears by. “Our boys’ bedroom is upstairs and we have a rule in our house: You are not allowed to come downstairs in the morning until your teeth are brushed, you’re dressed for school and your bed is made. My youngest is four and a half and already doing this. People ask me how I made it happen and I say: ‘Girl, number one: You’re the parent. Number two: It’s about consistency.’ Just remember, their version of making the bed won't look like your version. The important part is that you’re teaching them how to take care of themselves.”
On how her and her husband squeeze in date night. “My best advice is to choose a day. Ours is Thursday night, and every week our babysitter shows up at the exact same time. Our kids even know: It’s just part of our schedule. Certainly, we have to move it occasionally when I travel or he travels or things come up, but we’re pretty hard core about it. We also trade off, so one week, I figure out date night, and the next week, it’s his turn to plan it. Still, whether we go bowling or do something more elaborate, what matters most is that we spend dedicated time together.”
On how she decompresses. “I’m a huge book nerd. So getting to read while the kids are in bed and not opening up my email anymore is my relaxation time. Another thing—which kind of goes back to date night—is that Dave and I take a vacation without our children once a year. I get a lot of flack for it because people on social media are like, ‘Wait, how could you leave your children?’ but my response is ‘because I want a marriage that lasts forever.’ It's important for us to fit that in."
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