A Day in the Life: SignSmiths of TX Owner, Mallory Smith

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It’s Small Business Week and we’re highlighting our fearless leader: boss mom and small business owner Mallory Smith.

Find out how she starts her day, manages her to-do list, maintains a healthy lifestyle, and makes sure she’s striking the right balance as a small business owner and working mom.

What time do you wake up? Tell us about your morning routine and getting up and out of the house.

“I’m up at about 5:45 every morning. Usually, I’ll check the weather for the day, pick an outfit, then do my makeup and hair. It’s important for me to make the bed before leaving my room – I always heard that if you don’t accomplish anything else in a day, you can at least do that.

After that, I do a quick workout with my X-3 Bar. Following my workout, I make a breakfast protein drink, make my daughter’s lunch for the day, then her breakfast. I like to drink my coffee while sitting with her at her tiny little Minnie Mouse table while she eats breakfast.

Then I get her dressed for the day, her bag packed and out the door!”

What’s the first thing you tackle at the shop? Tell us about the start to your workday. 

“I’ll usually go over emails first, but I also try to have a morning meeting with the team right away so that we can organize projects for the day.

Some days I have morning networking meetings and I’ll jump straight into that.”

What tools or systems do you use to manage your to do list?

“I LOVE Trello. It allows me to manage our production schedule and new opportunities from anywhere, so it keeps us organized and helps us communicate. I will also keep a checklist on my phone for things that pop into my head throughout the day that need to get done.”

By late morning, what have you accomplished? What headaches have you possibly run into? 

“Hopefully by late morning I have reached out to a few customers, organized some site visits for the week, and gotten some quotes out.

My biggest headache lately has been issues acquiring materials. Things like aluminum, wood and plastic are either hard to find or incredibly expensive, so I spend a lot of extra time on sourcing the best materials to benefit my customers.”

Lunch break? Or scarf down a month old granola bar from the bottom of your desk?

“Not usually a full lunch break; I like to take a working lunch and eat at my desk so I can make the most of my time. However, diet is really important to me, so I almost always have a good meal planned.”

What’s next? How are you avoiding the 2:00 crash? How are you staying focused?

“I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and energized through the afternoon. Typically, we schedule site visits and meetings in the afternoon so I can get out and interact with people. This helps break up the day and I really enjoy that part of the business.”

How fast did your day go? What’s left to tackle before the end of the day? 

“It’s usually pretty fast. I’ll try to get some accounting in at the end of the day or go over our KPI’s. However, I am a working mom (my friends and I like to call ourselves “Boss Mom’s”), so I usually have to be out at a certain time to pick up my daughter.”

When does your day wrap up? Any last minute, close-up items before you head home?

“It’s different every day, and as the business owner, I don’t know that it ever really wraps up. I just have to decide when is enough for the day to maintain my balance at home.” 

What – or who – is waiting at home? 

“We have 2 dogs – a Brittany Spaniel and an Australian Shepherd – that don’t get nearly enough attention with our busy lives. Sometimes we will take them for an evening walk while my daughter rides in her wagon.

Other times I just want to jump on the couch and relax. My husband, Mike, usually gets home about an hour after me.”

What’s for dinner? 4 course meal made from scratch? take out? frozen pizza?

“We cook quite a bit, and we love steaks paired with a nice bottle of wine. I tend to get pretty creative in the kitchen, incorporating things like infused spicy honey from a local vendor to a black truffle tartufata I got on sale at Home Goods.

We cook simple meals using meats and veggies with complicated flavors. This way, we stay healthy, cook quickly and are satisfied at the end of the meal. On days when cooking isn’t an option, we love grabbing Piada or Chick-fil-a for a quick and cost-effective meal.”

Talk to us about the nighttime routine. 

“Our daughter goes to bed around 8, and that gives us a small chance to clean up after dinner or get other chores done before bed. I’ll usually make a mental game plan for the next day right before bed, but we will also sometimes watch a TV show or read a little too.”

Night owl? Or early sleeper? Are you preparing for the day ahead? What’s keeping you up at night? 

“With as early as I wake up, I try to be in bed by 9:30, and it never takes me long to fall asleep. I’ve never been much of a night owl, but I can hang with a few of them as long as there’s something fun to keep me up.

But during the week, I’m useless if I don’t get enough sleep, so I make it a priority.

Of course the business keeps me up at night; there are lots of roadblocks and challenges that I face daily. But at the same time, I have to remind myself to have faith that everything will work out if I put in the work, and that gives me peace.”