We had the good fortune of connecting with Mari Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mari, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I am probably not the best person to talk about work life balance, but 8 months into owning my own business while working full time as a legal assistant, i’ve definitely learned some things about creating a balance for myself without going insane. When I first started my business I did not think I would receive the response it did or the growth of it. I found myself working from 6:30 A.M. – 2:00 A.M. almost everyday. Working a full time job on top of owning a business where I am the accountant, assistant, calligrapher, social media manager and delivery person took a toll on me to the point where I burned out and took a little much needed break back in February before the wedding season craziness began. So what changes did I make that have helped? 1. Take breaks! Probably the hardest for me to do because I felt guilty if I wasn’t working, creating, or emailing someone the very moment they emailed. But truly taking off a Sunday to unwind, relax, and reprogram has helped me tons.
2. Create boundaries. For most small business owners there is one person running the show, and creating boundaries such as times you’ll work, answer client calls/emails or work on projects is important to create true balance. Continuously remind your self that you are a person who has a life that needs to be enjoyed. In my case I am a wife and a dog mom, although my husband helps me out a lot and we get to spend time together working, it’s important I spend time with him also doing non-work related things, and my 7 month old pup wants all the love and attention that must be given to her. Creating boundaries will help you enjoy life more with the people you love most.
2. Create a schedule and if needed set a number of clients you’ll take per month. There was a certain month I took on way too many clients and went bananas. It only created confusion, and an insane amount of stress. From that I began to only take a few clients a month to help me create a work life balance and saw so much improvement in myself and the quality of my work since, plus it gave me an opportunity to focus on enjoying life and creating new things for my business.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I first started my business I just bought a mirror and thought lets see if any one wants a seating chart. My friend Indiana from Cherry Blossom Wedding and Events reached out and said her client needed a seating chart. Thats how it all began, before I knew it there was other brides wanting seating charts and other signage and my business grew. My success or at least what I consider success would not be where it is at without my syupport system. My parents, husband and dear friends have helped me to keep pushing on. On my Instagram page people see pretty mirror and signs but hard work has gone to that. Restless nights, me having little breakdowns because I felt like I was not good enough to be a calligrapher and I should quit. Many tears, and doubts but I overcame everything with the help from God and my support system.
Pretty Little Letters was made out of love, the love for writing, designing, and love.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I lived in Miami for 20 years, I moved from Argentina when I was four years old and have my ultimate favorite spots. I am not crazy for the Miami Party Scene and prefer more quiet activities. Here are the places i’ve taken friends/family members whenever they are visiting the area. 1. Wynwood. Whether its day time or night time, there is always something to do and eat.
2. Take them for a walk/ Sunset view at Margaret Pace Park and then go get coffee near by.
3. I am from Argentina, so instinctively I take everyone to Nahuen Gourment Market in Doral to try some traditional Argentinian pastries called facturas, they are the absolute best!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mom, she owns her own business named By Monica Barber and is a total boss lady. She is creative, compassionate, hard working and a total boss lady. I truly couldn’t have done everything I am doing without her. I can vividly remember learning cursive because I wanted to copy her pretty letters when I was little girl and going to markets with her to sell her work in Argentina. Once we moved to the United States she didn’t stop working hard and with her business, we began going to pop up shops and I served as a translator meanwhile she learned english, now she’s a pro (even though she says otherwise) Her hard working energy has only helped me become better.

Instagram: prettylittleletters.co

Image Credits
Eli Gomez- @photographyby.eli Abner Reyes- @airstudios.inc JP+ Camille- @thecardonas Rob and Ale- @robandalecaptures Becca- @beccameyerphotography Joy Smith- @purelyjoyousphotography Michelle and Pete- @michelleandpetephotofilm

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.