March 20, 2019

How This Chicago Founder Is Making Her Mark: Meet Kelly Nash, Founder of Lipstick & Ink

By Emily Merrell

What does Lipstick & Ink have to do with success? Well, Chicago based founder Kelly Nash understands the importance of making your mark to lead to your own version of success. Lipstick & Ink encompasses professional and lifestyle advice as well as in-person events. Read on to get a glimpse of a day in the life of this boss lady!

Kelly Nash, founder of Lipstick & Ink. Courtesy of Kelly Nash. Photo & Film by SarahElizabeth

SDS: Congrats on your one year anniversary of Lipstick & Ink. What inspired the creation of your amazing platform?

KELLY NASH: Thanks so much! It’s crazy, a year ago I didn’t think I’d be where I am today. I started Lipstick & Ink originally as a creative outlet for me to get back into writing. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. Growing up, I wrote and published short stories, opinions, poems and also wrote for my high school newspaper. In college, I went through an experience that motivated me to write a book (one that I don’t think I’ll ever publish though). Writing has always been my escape and my therapy.

As I was planning for my wedding over a period of two years, writing unfortunately took a backseat. I was so focused on our wedding that I hardly ever felt inspired to write. However, when we got back from our honeymoon, my creative drive flooded back once my free time opened up. I was ready to write! But then came the question, what was I going to write?

As I’ve navigated my advertising career in this post-college world over the last eight years, I’ve found that many people – both men and women – have come to me for career advice as well as resume and cover letter help. It was then that I realized I could couple my love of writing and helping women in their careers.

With that, Lipstick & Ink – a career and lifestyle blog – was born in January 2018. The vision was and still is to encourage the female professional through the ups and downs of her career while she navigates all the other parts of her life.

SDS: Not only are you building your brand of Lipstick & Ink, but you’re also working full-time. What advice do you have for side-hustlers balancing their time?

KN: Whew, well, it’s not easy. I work full time in advertising tech at Salesforce and am sometimes traveling or working over the standard 40 hours a week. I’m a workaholic by nature, so it’s been difficult to stay on top of every aspect of my life while balancing my career and my side hustle. If you’re really serious about both, it’s inevitable that something else in your life is going to have to give – that’s just the reality of it. I’ve unfortunately had to sacrifice time with my husband, Adam, and with my family and friends. I’m making a conscious effort to be better about this, but it’s definitely tough!

I’ve learned some things over the past year specifically that have made me smarter about how I spend my time:

Stay organized.

I use my Gmail calendar to keep track of all my work as well as Lipstick & Ink related meetings and events. I even schedule the plans I have after work or on the weekends with family or friends in my calendar. I also write these in my planner that I bring with me everywhere. Seeing everything laid out helps me keep track of what I need to do and also ensures I don’t overcommit or overextend myself.

Prioritize the things important to you.

With any side hustle, you’re bound to have less free time available. This is why it’s so important to prioritize the other areas in your life that are important to you. For me, it’s networking with other females that have the same goals and values as me, working out at my favorite barre and pilates studios, having self-care days, and spending time with Adam, family and friends. I plan and schedule these out in my calendar/planner to ensure sure my life is well-balanced and not just overloaded with work.

Create to-do lists.

I may or may not be the biggest to-do list advocate. I mean, I have a to-do list within my to-do list! One of my favorite tools I’ve discovered from working with you (for those who don’t know, Emily is my coach!) is Todoist. It has helped me categorize my to-do lists by projects for my business and set deadlines for myself that I can keep track of in the simplest way. I usually keep my short-term and long-term goals documented in Todoist but then also write out daily to-do lists on paper to stay on track and help me organize my day.

Batch work.

Batch working has been proven to help manage your time as it moves you away from multi-tasking and forces you to focus on one task for a certain period of time. Truthfully, I’m still working on this to really focus my time on specific tasks, while also setting timers for myself. This has been the most difficult for me because I’m a huge multi-tasker and I tend to go down a rabbit hole and lose track of time when I’m in the zone of working on my business. However, when I’ve actually followed through in my batch working, I’ve found I’m more focused and more efficient with my time. Work in progress!

SDS:  You’re in the midst of writing a book. Can you share what it’s about?

KN: I’ve always had this inherent feeling that I was meant to write a book. I’ve toyed with ideas of what to write for years and over the last few months, I’ve realized I have a lot of the content already within many of my blog posts and social media posts. Lipstick & Ink’s underlying theme is all about ‘making your mark,’ which to me means unlocking your potential to accomplish what you set out to do – all while making an impact on your life, the lives of others, or on the world.

My goal with my book is to encourage women to realize the potential and power they have within themselves. I plan to weave personal experiences into each piece of advice that I share in regards to how I’ve gotten to where I am today, especially when it comes to my confidence, determination and positive spirit. I believe these are critical to accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves.

Kelly Nash, founder of Lipstick & Ink. Courtesy of Kelly Nash. Photo & Film by SarahElizabeth

SDS: You’re launching an event series— can you tell us more what that looks like?

KN: As my blog took off last spring and I began getting positive feedback on the topics I was writing about, the idea of hosting events came up. It wasn’t even on my radar at the time – I had just launched my blog after all! But as I thought more about it, I realized it could be a good way to bring my blog topics to life and establish my brand not only online, but offline.

I hosted my first event in August 2018, which was more of a launch event for Lipstick & Ink, so I could introduce my brand to the Chicago community. It was an amazing experience and I took a lot of learnings from that event. Over the last few months, I’ve had more time to think about how I will structure future events. My goal moving forward is to have all Lipstick & Ink events be both valuable and educational. I want women to walk away from my events feeling empowered and ready to implement the things they have learned after they leave.

I also plan to infuse the ‘making your mark’ theme into each of my events. My first event for 2019 is ‘Making Your Mark on Your Financial Goals,’ where we’ll be discussing how to invest with purpose and prepare for retirement. I’ll also be hosting ‘Making Your Mark on Your Professional Brand,’ this spring as well, which will focus on how females should be positioning themselves online and offline from a business perspective, especially when it comes time for job applying and interviewing.

I definitely like to see where there’s gaps in the market and where Lipstick & Ink can insert itself into the conversation and provide value to Chicago females. More events are on the horizon in 2019 and beyond and I’m excited to see where this path takes Lipstick & Ink!

SDS: What’s your vision with Lipstick and Ink? How do you hope to impact your community?

KN: While the base of the Lipstick & Ink brand is and will always be the blog, there’s so many avenues of where I can extend my messaging to empower women in their careers and everyday life. I plan to continue creating and delivering events to the Chicago community and perhaps extend that to other cities in the years to come. My upcoming book will be an extension of the blog topics I write about and will set the stage for potential other books to be written in the future. I have a few e-books in the works to help women specifically in certain areas of their career. I’d also love to do a podcast someday and bring my “Shine On” series to life through that. The sky’s the limit at this point and I’m just seeing where this path takes me. Nothing is set in stone, but I have faith the opportunities will keep coming the more I put myself out there, so I’m excited about the possibilities for Lipstick & Ink.

I aim to impact my community through my stories and experiences to ultimately encourage women to unlock the potential they have to pursue the goals they set for themselves. My hope is that Lipstick & Ink becomes a destination for women to feel inspired and empowered when it comes to their careers and their lives so they ultimately gain the confidence to make their own mark.

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