Image support for a realllly tired mom who needs to be the face of a company

My startup got funded! I'm so excited to keep building out, and as a next phase in the business, I need to be out in the world as a thought leader. I'll be speaking at events and on camera. Only problem- I'm EXHAUSTED. I'm a busy CEO and new mom with limited time and money. I'm run down, my clothes need TLC, and I honestly just need a 2 week nap.

how do I tackle my image? It's something that has never been a problem for me, but I need help at this point because I can't keep doing what I'm doing? Resources or advice?

Congrats on the funding and on being a new mom! Where does thought leadership and public speaking fall on your priorities list? I ask because (in my experience) it’s not always necessary. Do you need it to acquire users or customers? If it’s not a must have, I’d probably skip it for now.If it is high priority - are there things you’re doing that you can drop or delegate to make some more space for these PR related activities?Lastly, I would prioritize taking care of yourself first. The benefit to productivity and your mental state will be worth it. And everything feels less daunting when you’ve gotten enough sleep.Take care and good luck!
Congrats on the funding, Chelsie! And on your new motherhood! My advice is to treat yourself as the company's most important asset and get the support that you need to take care of the asset. Like @cadran said, sleep is essential, but it's also elusive for a new mom. I know because I've had 3 babies while building companies. The age-old advice of napping while the baby naps has been said a million times because it's good advice. Easier said than done when you're a startup founder but it might help to remember that sleep is not only important for your health, lack of sleep will have a negative impact on your image. I know that's not fair, but it's true. Since you mentioned limited money, look at ways that you can lean on others for help. Practice saying "Yes" every single time that someone offers you help. If the offer's not specific, for example, "What can I do to help?" or "Let me know if I can help," then ask them for something that you need. For example, if that person is stylish, ask them to curate a few speaking gig outfits for you from Poshmark or Nordstrom Rack. Community also helped me a lot when I was a new mom. It may seem like you don't have time to add something like a mommy-and-me class to your packed schedule, but that 1-hour a week with other new moms was a lifeline for me.
Congratulations on both the new baby and the new money!! It sounds like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself, and I'd agree with @cadran here on the fact that you can probably reduce/skip your on-camera/IRL obligations more than you think. Take baby steps in building out your calendar of "appearances" and in parallel, focus on taking care of yourself in a way that is sustainable for the foreseeable future. With that said, the whole "look good, feel good, do good" adage can really be real - so no shame in seeking a bit of a pick-me-up if you know it will help you bring your best self to work. A few tidbits that might help, in no particular order:1 - "Thought Leadership" can come in so many forms - ease your way into it with the things that come easiest to you / require the least effort. You can write blog posts, create your social media strategy and content, and engage with 3rd party content without a camera involved. 2 - If you plan to create serialized video content, try to do it all on one "shoot day". Hire a stylist and HMU team for the day, get some good lighting, and shoot as much as you can in one go. If you can take headshots at the same time, do it!3 - 100% agree on the "prioritize yourself" advice as well. This can take a lot of forms - gentle daily movement, weekly blow-outs, monthly spa visits, reading for fun, and obviously as much sleep as you can get. It also could look like outsourcing household work, hiring a personal trainer, etc - depending on how much you can comfortably fit into your budget. 4 - I swear, my LED light mask has fixed my exhausted face - you can find good ones for $100ish, and they genuinely help with fine lines, dark spots, and the general sallowness that comes with a lack of sleep. 5. If you're looking for wardrobe options, try a rental service like Rent the Runway. You can use it to find designers/sizes that work for you and it's a great, affordable resource for camera/event-worthy outfits. Lastly - don't forget what a badass you are!! A new mom CEO who just secured big funding for her company - you are doing the damn thing!! Walk tall and no one will notice or care that your pants are from a few seasons ago :)
My suggestion is to outsource what you person cannot do everything. Prioritize what is most important to you based on your limited energy, and outsource things that you are okay with others taking on....for example, childcare, grocery delivery, hire someone to clean your house so you don't have to...there are so many things now that exist as a service so you don't have to deal with the extra upkeep and maintenance of doing it this way you can then spend your limited time where it is most valuable. Nonetheless, this is probably more expensive, but if you see your time = money, one person simply cannot take on everything realistically.Also for clothes, they have personal styling services like stitch fix or you could even look into hiring a personal stylist for yourself.
Congrats!! Just a quick disclaimer for this answer - I used to be a stylist/make-up artist, so that's the perspective I'm coming from. I'm not saying women have to look a certain way to be leaders. These are just some quick hacks I've found incase they suit. I subscribe to the 'high-maintenance to be low-maintenance' strategy. It's about investing in some high-maintenance things upfront, so that it saves you time & cost later. Eg;Hair - Get one of the Dyson Airwraps or the Revlon dupe (£40). The way it works is that you essentially dry your hair like you would with a normal hair-dryer, but it ends up coming out like a salon blow-dry due to the brushes. Takes 10mins max. Also invest in some salon shampoo/cond (get the hairdresser to assess which one is best for you) and some store-bought heat-protectant/shine spray. Re: shampoo/cond, salon lasts way longer than store-bought, so worth it in the long run. Then your hair looks super healthy by default & always looks some degree of 'good'. Skin - Clear/hydrated skin doesn't really need makeup. Depending on your skin type, but La Roche Posay (Effaclar range) tends to work for all & is affordable. Focus on putting as much moisture back in as possible - makes us look well. A bit of rosehip oil every now and again is great/glowy. Counter-intuitive, but avoid hyaluronic acid. Vitamin C serum works almost instantly and creates brightness. Makeup - Use some tinted moisturizer mixed with your normal one, and vaseline lip therapy or something basic like this for lips. The rest is kind of up to your preferences around makeup. I tend to do an under-eye concealer and brown mascara. Clothes - Capsule wardrobe. Neutral colours & comfy. Get 5 basic long-sleeve loose knit tops from Zara in black. These paired with any bottom work well. Own a black blazer, beige trench coat, black boots, nude ballet flats, white sneakers. Add some jewelry to upscale. You can literally put anything with these items and will look put together - removes the energy drain around decision-making. Personal style & colouring - knowing what best suits you naturally & your skin tone specifically facilitates effortless style choices. Get your skin tone assessed by a stylist. CurateYourStyle have a super easy & affordable online option. lastly, honestly nothing beats some sleep. Make sure to rest up when you can :)
I'm intrigued and could use a little help to build a capsule wardrobe. Would you mind sharing a link to the Zara tops you mentioned?
Sure! As below from the UK site, but they are in the basics range/just search the product name into the relevant Zara site. I found a few other items along the way so just included them too. The key is loose and comfortable styles, so that they are easy to wear. Black every-day top - one also looks good - to wear under - blazer 1 - blazer 2 - trench 1 - trench 2 - trench 3 - trench 4 - shoes, something like these style-wise - but I would actually recommend spending the cash on a higher quality shoe so they are comfortable)Best sockettes for ballet flats - ballet flat - ballet flat -
Amazing. Thank you!!
Really appreciated this take and these tips!
Also thought to add - the good thing about Vitamin C serum is they are pretty much always effective no matter the cost, so no need to buy an expensive one. Same with Rosehip oil, can get it at Wholefoods for like £14. If you're looking for makeup suggestions, stick with IT Cosmetics, they are makeup but also skincare, so actually help to keep your skin looking great while wearing. With normal makeup I feel like you're always trying to play catch-up to trade off the clogging/damage caused by it. And I can't believe I forgot sunscreen! Even when sitting indoors. La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream - is excellent. Light, no smell, no cast.
Congrats- on work and motherhood! I feel you!! Your time is limited and chances are you want to spend non-working time with your child, so think about outsourcing things that don't bring you joy. A few great virtual assistance services: Tula, Yohana and LilVil. Think about something like Instacart for grocery deliveries. I was at a conference in my early motherhood and a woman told me to use paper plates- don't spend time doing dishes at night. So whatever your "paper plates" moment is, embrace it!