THE #LADYLEADER BEHIND A LITTLE PAPER DOLL
LADY LEADER: KAYLA MILLS
LADY OF NEW YORK CITY / LEADER AT A LITTLE PAPER DOLL
Name: Kayla Mills
Business/Side Hustle/Job: Mental Health Therapist, Freelance Lifestyle Photographer/Social Media Content Creator
Instagram Handle: @alittlepaperdoll
I’m so excited to introduce you guys to my newest Instagram crush, Kayla Mills, the beauty that some of you may know as @alittlepaperdoll. In addition to creating content for her absolutely gorgeous Instagram account, Kayla works full-time as a Mental Health Therapist, making her the definition of a #LadyLeader. I was so interested to hear about how Kayla balances her 9-to-5 with a successful side hustle, and I hope you guys will be as fascinated by her story as I am!
What made you take the leap/how did you get to where you are today?
After accomplishing my academic goals, I moved to New York City on a whim from Nashville three years ago. During the week, I work as a therapist and I am free on the week nights and weekends to be able to pursue what I love creatively. When I moved to NYC, I instantly became inspired by the city and others around me. I began using my Instagram to document my life and interests. After about a year, I was able to turn it into freelance work, where I could create visual content for companies in my spare time.
When did you know that this job/career was for you or realized a past job wasn’t working for you?
People that know me from my Instagram are always shocked to find out that I work a full time job and have a Master’s degree. I am a bit of an academic and bookworm, but you would never be able to tell from my photos. I really enjoy psychology and helping others, so Mental Health Therapy has always felt like a perfect fit! My freelance work was really something that just happened to me. I really feel like I get the best of both worlds. I get the stability and the creativity.
Word of advice for anyone looking to do freelance social media work:
My advice would be to know yourself and what you bring to the table. I struggled with trying to do what everyone else was doing for so long and it always led me to feel frustrated. I started becoming successful when I was true to myself, style, personality, and interests. I stopped caring so much about what other people wanted to see and started capturing photos of what I love.
Something practical every on-the-rise exec should have:
A positive attitude! Know that there will be days that it won’t turn out quite like you planned or envisioned, and that’s okay!
Style in Three Words:
bohemian, edgy, vintage-inspired
Favorite Brand and why:
Free People! I feel like their clothing was just made for me! I always know that I can walk in the store and find something that fits my style and personality.
Power-Boosting Beauty Hack:
Sleep on a silk pillowcase to help your hair grow by reducing split-ends.
What makes you feel like a total girl boss in the morning?
Lots of coffee and Spotify! I am a firm believer that the right song can set the tone for your entire day.
Who are a few women that inspire you and why?
Stevie Nicks, Yoko Ono, and Lena Dunham. They inspire me because they are all creative, hard-working trailblazers who are unapologetically themselves in everything they do.
What motivates you the most?
I always set small, short-term goals for myself and tell my clients to do the same! It’s much easier for me to stay focused on my long-term goals when I can see the progress I’m making along the way.
Your #girlboss secrets to leading a efficient yet stylish lifestyle:
My best secret is catching items on sale. I have expensive taste when it comes to clothing, but I rarely ever pay full price. I’m obsessed with Shoptagr! It is a browser that you can put on your computer that will notify you when an item you want goes on sale. It is a total game changer.
Challenges as a successful lady boss:
My biggest challenge has been setting boundaries. When I first started my freelance work, I would take on any job offered to me, because I felt like I was being rude if I turned a company down. I soon became overwhelmed with having to promote items that I did not like or use. I have learned to be more selective with the work that I take on and, in turn, have been able to build relationships with companies that I truly believe in!
How has your success affected your love life (work life balance):
I am pretty fortunate to have a good work/love life balance. My freelance photography never takes away from my relationships, because I usually just incorporate it in whatever I’m doing that day. If I am shooting a clothing item, I’ll just wear it and take a few snaps along the way.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years:
It’s hard to say. I would like to see myself enjoying all of my hard work, traveling, and continuing to express myself creatively.
The best piece of advice you have ever received:
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.” This is a big one for me. I have heard it my entire life. I am such a perfectionist and I’m always striving to be better. I have to remember to give myself a break every once in a while.
Favorite activities to do or places to eat in your city:
My favorite place in New York is Strand Bookstore. When the city becomes overwhelming or I have a bad day, I surround myself with books. I could spend all day in there and never get tired of it.
SHOP KAYLA’S LOOK