Career & Education
Women’s Appreciation Series: Smart, Pretty & (Not So) Awkward Molly Ford
Molly Ford is the creator of Smart, Pretty & Awkward, SmartPrettyandAwkward.com, a site that Molly gives advice on how to be smarter, prettier and (less) awkward. Along with giving inspiration to women who may not feel as confident as they want to feel, Molly brings a lightness and down to earth feel that makes you unable to leave her site for want of more. For each post, Molly includes a piece of advice, inspiration, a link to a helpful article or snippet of interesting information, compiling just the perfect amount of encouragement for the day.
What inspired you to start Smart, Pretty & Awkward?
There wasn’t one big moment when I got the idea to start a blog. I was looking for an outlet to write more, and I thought of the idea that maybe a blog would be a good way to do that over Thanksgiving weekend. By December 1, I had a theme and my first post was up. I hadn’t told anyone about the blog, so I assumed no one would find it or read it; so starting the blog was just something fun I was trying out.
I loved the straight-forward aspect of your site, how you give each advice separately. How did you come up with that idea?
I knew I wanted to write an advice blog because I didn’t want to put super-personal information online, and because I enjoy reading non-fiction, self-improvement-ish books. Just focusing on “How to be Prettier,” with beauty/fashion tips, was my first thought, but that type of advice wasn’t enough to cover all the topics I was interested in, so I added “How to be Smarter.” Then I wanted a third topic so the site name would flow well, so I added “How to be (less) Awkward” to round out the set. I was originally planning for the third section to be called “How to be Awkward” and have the tips be tongue-in-check and the opposite of what to do, but adding in the (less) made more sense in the long run.
What was the hardest part of your start up process?
The hardest part of both the start-up process and the day-to-day writing of the blog is coming up with tips that are relevant, interesting, and helpful to my readers. Writing each post is the best but also the hardest part of the blog.
Where do you get your inspiration for each post?
I find inspiration for tips everywhere. I carry around a notebook, as well as make notes in my phone constantly about ideas, plus keeping a running list in gmail of links I’d like to include. I never publish a tip that isn’t either something I currently do or something I wish I had done in a certain situation, so each tip feels very personal.
How has creating this site changed your life since its start up?
Starting the site has been one of the best decisions of my entire life. It has also been one of the most game changing in terms of my career, relationships, and opportunities. I’ve had the blog for so long now that I can’t even imagine who I would be without the site’s influence on my life.
Starting this site has, in no particular order: shaped my career path to online marketing; allowed me to meet some of my closest friends in NYC; given me opportunities to speak at conferences, consult for other brands, and have my own advice column on The Daily Muse; has given me a forum to write on a consistent basis; provided me with a way to be involved to talk with an audience I really love (my awesome readers); and one million more ways that I couldn’t even count. Smart Pretty & Awkward is one of my very favorite parts of my life.
Do you have a higher goal that you are working towards with Smart, Pretty & Awkward professionally?
I feel so lucky that I get to write about topics and share links that I really love with many sweet, smart girls. I care less about what the blog becomes and more about who it reaches and how the reader feels when they leave the site. My goal for the site has always been for readers to know they are not alone, and that by providing tips for navigating life’s big and small situations, I hope that in some way my advice helps to give them confidence they can do it—whatever the “it” is: a successful relationship, job interview, or walking into a party alone. That is a goal I try very, very hard to stay true to, regardless of how the site’s readership has grown over time.
I also think because I do have a full-time job, I have freedom to not feel super-pressured about future opportunities until I find the absolute right fit for the blog’s next few steps.
What advice can you offer to young females striving and struggling to be inspired?
Try everything. As inexpensively as possible, but try everything that may strike your fancy. You just never know what next decision to try something out could change everything, and that’s one of the most exciting things, ever.