Sophia hosted her own Digital Fireside on Girlboss to answer all of your work, money, and life questions in real-time. The comments section was full of your brilliant, vulnerable, and thoughtful Q’s, covering everything from drastically switching industries and getting out of a creative funk, to dealing with friend jealousy and zeroing in on your life’s purpose. Having built and rebuilt her career, managing teams, and wearing literally all the hats—from vintage clothing schlepper to marketer to founder—Sophia has some thoughts on all of the above.
Read the full thread right over here—and if you don’t have a Girlboss log-in just yet, get one here to access all Digital Firesides, hosted by some of our Founding Members like Jen Rubio, Bozoma Saint John, Kate Walsh, and many other women thought leaders. Plus, connect with the entire Girlboss network, including thousands of woman who want to see you win.
Scroll onward for some highlights from Sophia’s Digital Fireside.
1. What if I’m nervous about starting my own project?
“We can never predict whether or not something will work out. In fact, everything is temporary. Pour yourself into it! If you don’t end up with the results you want, you’ll find that you learned a hell of a lot, improved at your craft, and will be proud of your body of work regardless.”
2. What do you wish you knew when you first started out?
“When you learn by doing, it becomes muscle memory. When you learn by getting advice, it doesn’t sink in the same way. That being said, I wish I’d worked on a team. Or in an office. Or had a proper manager to prepare me for working in ANY workplace. I wish I had a little bit more chops before I was signing the lease on offices and building company culture having no idea what those words even meant.”
3. Are you ever jealous of your peers, even when you’re doing great?
“Even as someone who has accomplished a lot, I’ve also fumbled a lot and am watching a whole new crop of women building billion-dollar businesses and cruising around on super yachts in Italy. Not that I want to hang on a super yacht—I don’t think I could be trapped on a boat with people—but as someone who is rebuilding her career, it’s hard to watch. The engagement rings and the baby bumps. Quite honestly, I mute some of these people even when they’re my friends. Just like keeping ice cream out of the fridge, intentionally taking away the things we want to stop can really work. And then remember that everyone is struggling, fighting with their partners, feeling insecure, fearing failure. Some of us are just better than others at masking it. You do you! You’re in the right place no matter where you are.”
4. What if I don’t love where I’m at in life?
“Find a great manager who you can learn from and stick around for at least a year. Don’t hop around too much. Your education and resume is solid, so just keep applying! Send follow-up emails a few days after applying, expressing why you’re interested in the role and what YOU can do for them, not how you would benefit from the role. And don’t chew gum in the interview.”
5. I want to make a major career change. Where do I start?
“There are a lot of women looking to change industries—this is a question I get a lot. Often, to learn a new craft you have to be ready to take a less senior role and sometimes a pay cut to learn the ropes of something new. The number one mistake I see those trying to change industries do is expect the same pay and the same seniority level of their current position, but the fact is that without specific domain experience the company is taking a bit of a gamble on you. That being said, there are the few employers out there who hire for aptitude over experience, so anything is possible. My best advice would be to seek out those in the role you want or those hiring for the role you want and ask their advice.”
6. How do you even begin to hire a team?
“1. Write job descriptions. 2. Spend a lot of time with them before you hire them. 3. Set goals for the company and for individuals—the individual goals should ladder up to the company goals. 4. Establish the ways you work—are you flexible? Is this 9-5? What behaviors are encouraged or not? People like having structure. 5. Be generous with your team. Give them a little more flexibility, let them have a life, give them the benefit of the doubt.”
7. As someone who has written a book, what’s your advice for getting started?
“I like having an in-person accountability partner to sit with me to make sure I focus. I also dictate a lot, then transcribe it, then organize it. I’m a writer, but I can get a lot more out in a shorter time by saying it out loud. Even if you don’t have to, write a proposal. Write out your chapter titles and get your structure together, then fill in the blanks. And have fun!”
8. Strategies for getting in the creative mode?
“There’s a process called ‘Design Thinking’ that I recommend you check out, but I have to admit I’m not a master at it. Generally, I’d say get some post-it notes and blurt out the dumbest ideas you can. Embarrass yourself. Grab a few friends to do the same. Look around your house and ask yourself “what’s missing here?” or “why is this thing so ugly?” or “how could this thing be better?” and then size up the market. Is there an opportunity? The mattress industry was antiquated, so Casper disrupted it. They made MATTRESSES sexy! Some of the best ideas come out of the most outrageous ideas.”
9. How do you get closer to your life’s purpose?
“Your purpose emerges when you let it. Sometimes when we stop looking and start doing, the universe shows us things that we could never have predicted. I wanted to be a photographer but ended up starting a stinky vintage store that became something huge. I followed my nose and wound up in fashion—the last place I’d have guessed I would. Sometimes when we make what we love our job, we can love it less. I don’t really shop for vintage anymore, because I did it for work for so many years. Let life lead you on a path and things you’ve never dreamed of will emerge. And try to pursue a job and your craft at the same time—at least for now!”
10. How do I stick to the pricing I set (and know that it’s reasonable!) if I have a hard time believing my self worth?
“The value of an item is the price someone is willing to pay. If I try to sell a jacket for $200 and no one buys it, I have to discount it. If it then sells for $80, that’s what it was worth all along. If you set your rate and your clients don’t balk, you’re worth it. If they’re too cheap, don’t settle. Have a floor and stick to it. And know your worth—they aren’t doing you any favors by paying you. Your labor is worth something and the exchange is completely consensual. Now GO MAKE BANK!”