Welcome to “So, What Do You Do All Day,” an ongoing series that explores what real jobs look like—and how people manager their time. We ask accomplished entrepreneurs, executives, and generally fascinating people about about how they juggle their time, approach work-life balance, and get shit done.
You can thank Amber Venz Box for helping fashion bloggers and influencers worldwide connect with covetable brands to rake in the funds. As the co-founder of RewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it, Venz Box managed to develop platforms and programs designed to help monetize what, at the time, seemed like a nebulous concept.
The word “influencer” may not have entered pop culture yet, but Venz Box was already thinking about how social media mega stars could make money. Along with her husband, Baxter Box, Venz Box launched RewardStyle in 2011, a digital platform that made it easy for fashion bloggers to collect commissions from retailers for products purchased through their blogs. A few years later, long before Instagram developed its in-app purchase capabilities, Venz Box co-founded LIKEtoKNOW.it. Users could “like” a blogger’s photo and get an email with shopping links to the products featured in said ‘grams. The technology has only evolved from there.
Last year, the company launched the LIKEtoKNOW.it app which allows users to shop products curated from screenshots. And the company has a forthcoming book LIKEtoKNOW.it: Stories From The Influencers Next Door (Sept. 18), which showcases daily life beyond a picture-perfect social presence.
So, how does a busy entrepreneur like Venz Box balance her days while fitting in time for herself, her family, and the occasional Instagram? We asked her to it break down.
I always start the morning by listening to some kind of podcast that can kind of transition me from the shower to putting on makeup. It’s a little bit mindless and it gets my creative juices flowing and thinking about other ways people are approaching problems or ideas.
A Good Day
We usually start the days with meetings with either the executive leadership team or the senior leadership team. I spend a lot of my time reviewing products and messaging, specifically. We all have very specific meetings around different things that are about to go live, or things that are in the planning stages that I give feedback on. Then, there’s always an element of third-party calls, or meetings, whether that’s partners or investors or anyone external to the organization. Overall, we do have more meetings than I would like.
I love Dallas because of the expected work-life balance. While I would argue that I don’t have the balance that I would like to have, I find that when I’m in other cities, I’m working completely around the clock — and there’s not that cultural expectation in Dallas.
When I’m in other cities, I’m working completely around the clock — and there’s not that cultural expectation in Dallas.
People aren’t taking 8 p.m. meetings in Dallas. The day wraps up for everyone by 6 p.m. Also, there’s a much lower cost of living than in coastal states, and so we’re able to have a nice big office and tons of relaxing areas and social areas.
What It’s Like To Work With Your (Romantic) Partner
It was huge struggle in the beginning of the business. We were dating for two years before we started the company, and the fours years after we started the company we got married. We started out being very much on top of each other and sharing a desk. At that point there’s not a lot of differentiation of roles and we were really competing over every single topic.
As the company grew, we physically separated ourselves. Working from separate offices was a big win. And then also, our skill sets lie in different areas of the organization and so as those got built out, we really focused on completely different areas and that’s been really helpful.
The Kids Are Alright
What I didn’t really realize about being a working mom is that you really have to carve out very specific times with your children or you will never see them.
And I honestly think having children has been fantastic for our business mainly because it forced us to start hiring managers, instead of touching everything directly ourselves.
“As a working mom, you really have to carve out very specific times with your children or you will never see them.”
For the first year of RewardStyle, I actually slept in the office. I would work around the clock and there was no end time. It would be nine o’clock at night and then I would just move to a bar in our office. I’d sit there with engineers and talk about all the stuff they were building, and the day just never ended. Having children really forced me to block off that personal time.
We eat dinner super early because the kids eat super early, usually by 6:30 p.m. We always cook fresh food for the kids and so that’s fruits and veggies and all that kind of stuff. Then Baxter and I, most nights will actually order in and then some nights we kind of do the sandwich thing. It’s funny, we cook for the kids but not for ourselves most of the time.
The kids are in bed by nine. I’ll usually jump back online and finish up whatever work up until around 10:30 p.m. Sometimes Baxter and I will watch a TV show, something mindless, non-political. The sillier the better, honestly. We’ll read a little bit.
Honestly he’ll go to sleep before me and so that’s when I can lay there and update all my notes, my task lists and everything to prepare for the next day. Then I do a lot of organization and prioritization for the next day, so that I’m clear on I’m going to accomplish and my assistant is clear on the priorities — and then I also have a list for the kids, and the house, that my mom manages.
I’m probably going to sleep around 11 p.m.
The Work and Home Life Shuffle
Once we’re in the house, after work, we don’t talk about work. You can email, you can set up a meeting with the other person, but we try and keep conversations about work out of the home.