Setting boundaries to create the space you need - #IMadeTheAsk with Mallie Rydzik

Welcome to the #IMadeTheAsk entrepreneur spotlight series, where we share the stories of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have made the ask...and lived to tell the tale.

Read on to learn about Mallie's business journey, how personal boundaries can make all the difference, and why recognizing that other people are excited to work with you can be a big boost in your negotiating power.

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Tell us a bit about yourself, and your journey as an entrepreneur.

I've been on a bit of a crazy entrepreneurial journey since 2013. I left academia where I chased and studied tornadoes to become a scientific and technical editor. Then, from 2014 to 2017, I dabbled in the more creative side of the online business world as a coach and podcaster. Ultimately, I realized that editing and writing really fit my introverted personality best, so now I'm back to where I started: working as a freelance/contract scientific editor for ESL scientists all over the world.

What's an Ask that you chickened out of making...and regret?

After a few months of freelancing for a corporate client I worked with years ago, they invited me to become an editor on contract--basically putting me on an annual retainer. While I did ask for some additional specifics about their expectations of contractors, I was mostly excited about being moved to retainer so quickly after my return to the world of freelance editing. After I accepted, I realized that I could have negotiated my pay and available hours more since they were as eager to retain me as I was to work with them more closely.

What's the Ask that you're most proud of making - whether or not it worked out?

After academia, I briefly worked with a federal government contractor in a full-time employee position as a technical editor. I was offered the job just a few hours after interviewing, and, because I had seen others there interviewing for the same position, I realized I had some negotiation power. I successfully negotiated a higher starting salary as well as additional time off since I was getting married a few months after my start date. That extra money and vacation time made an otherwise mundane corporate position bearable until I was ready to make the leap to full-time entrepreneurship.

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Which Ask has been the biggest win for you - professionally or personally?

While we do talk a lot about financial wins in the world of entrepreneurship and freelancing, my biggest making the ask wins have been those regarding my personal boundaries. Through years of therapy, I've gotten more comfortable regularly asking for space to recharge or declining to discuss topics I'm not comfortable discussing.

What's your #1 piece of advice for other entrepreneurs or business owners who are gearing up to #maketheask?

My mom always tells me that "the worst thing they can say is 'no,'" and maintaining that perspective has always made it easier for me to tackle difficult conversations.


Twitter: @MallieRydzik
Instagram: @MallieRydzik