Amanda Zuckerman is co-founder and creative director for Dormify, a one-stop shop for small-space decorating and design. She founded the site with her mom, Karen, during her freshman year in college.
LIVESTRONG sat down with Zuckerman to hear about her self-care routine and her tips for career advice and work-life balance.
The Qualities That Helped Zuckerman Be Successful in Her Business
“Passion, drive and grit are really important in order to keep on moving in the direction that you’re going and not give up and not be let down by roadblocks that come your way or wrong decisions that you make or things that don’t go the way that you want them to,” she said.
Her Top Career Advice
“I’m a huge proponent of networking. Not just going to an event to say you went to an event, but actually doing something about it — going up to someone who is a complete stranger and having the confidence to shake their hand and introduce yourself,” said Zuckerman. “Even if you give them your card, follow up with them the next day and make sure that you build that relationship and turn it into something that will be effective and beneficial to you in the future.”
Where She Goes for Creative Inspiration
“Living in New York City is inspirational in itself; just walking around, being amongst different people and going to different restaurants and stores,” she said. “Just exposing myself to that environment is always inspirational.”
She also mentioned the power of Instagram to be inspired and find out more about her customers. “Going on Instagram and following my customers and people in our target audience is so inspiring to me,” explained Zuckerman. “I get to see what they’re doing, what they’re liking, what they’re gravitating toward. So it’s a really interesting research opportunity.”
Meeting with other founders is another place she gathers inspiration and learning. “I am always really inspired when I meet another founder or someone in the startup or e-commerce space for coffee and just have a really nice chat about what things are going on in their business and what we can learn from each other,” she said. “It’s always something that I step away from and say, ‘Wow! I’m really empowered to go do my job!’”
Who She Follows on Instagram
“I follow a ton of different types of people on Instagram,” said Zuckerman. “Probably too many, and that’s why I’m always on my phone to a fault!” She mentioned @EmilyWeiss from @Glossier as well as @HannahBronfman, @GaryVee and @CreateCultivate.
Her Best Tips for Work-Life Balance
According to Zuckerman, it was challenging to run a business while attending college because she wanted to also have “that college experience.” She explained that it’s even harder now, living in New York City, a place with exciting things going on all the time. “The growth of the business has been really exciting, but it’s made balance harder,” she said.
“Just knowing that I am not going to be able to do everything and being OK with that. I know I’m not going to be able to make every single birthday dinner and every single workout class and be there for every little thing. But I’m going to be there for the important things,” she said.
Zuckerman told us that one of her most essential realizations was about the importance of making time for herself. “When I first graduated I was really bad at this,” she said. “I would forego time to myself or time to work out or be healthy. Making time to make myself dinner on Monday nights or go to hot yoga on Sunday mornings — that is what’s going to give me energy to make it through the week.”
How She Handles FOMO
According to Zuckerman, saying no is the hardest thing. “I’ve learned that I need to say no to certain things and prioritize my time,” she said. “I can’t be there for every single person at every single moment. Social media is a little bit toxic, so I try to be above that and say, ‘It’s not that important — it’s not the end of the world.”
Her Favorite Self-Care Tips
She works out when she wakes up. “I like to work out in the morning, because I know that if I don’t do it first thing in the morning I will come up with some excuse to not do it,” she said. “And I’ll say I need to stay at the office longer or something.”
Zuckerman's Favorite Healthy Foods
Her fave foods include green smoothies, chia pudding and avocados and eggs. She’s also a huge fan of matcha. “I gave up coffee, so now I drink matcha, and I love it because it doesn’t give you that crash in the afternoon,” she said.
Her Top Tip for Getting Some Extra Time in the Morning
Zuckerman said that she sees a life coach, and they are actively working together on limiting her smartphone use. She found that she can gain an extra 20 minutes in her mornings if she avoids using her phone.
“I’ve tested the amount of time it takes me to get ready in the morning if I don’t touch my phone versus if I touch my phone, and it’s very scary,” she explained. “There is no way that I’m going to be late if I don’t touch my phone.”
That last one may be a tip that gives all of us back some extra time in the morning. Let's try it out!
Get more advice from female leaders in LIVESTRONG’s Stronger Women interview series.
About the Author
JESS BARRON is VP and GM for LIVESTRONG.COM, a leading healthy lifestyle website with more than 32 million unique monthly viewers. In addition to LIVESTRONG, her writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune and MyDomaine. Jess has appeared on MSNBC and ABC News and has been a keynote speaker at Health Further and a panelist at SXSW, Create & Cultivate and Digital Hollywood. Follow Jess on Instagram at @jessbeegood and Twitter too!