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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

Martha Stewart's #1 Piece of Career Advice

You may be wondering what career knowledge can be learned from the world’s most famous homemaker, but as the founder of a company encompassing publishing, internet, broadcasting, and merchandise and with a net worth totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, Martha Stewart has a career to be reckoned with.

In a recent talk for AOL’s innovating BUILD Speaker Series, Stewart was asked what piece of career advice she finds herself giving over and over again.

While the first nugget was good advice that we’ve always stood behind at The Muse—don’t get stuck working at a job you dread getting up for—her second tip really stuck with me: “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”

Her message: Even if you’re working a really great job that you love, it can be too easy to fall into the trap of settling when there’s still so much you could do. You may not know this, but Stewart actually had two very successful careers that had nothing to do with her current line of work: Her lucrative modeling career for the likes of Chanel and Clairol helped pay for college, and she did a stint as a stockbroker until a recession hit Wall Street in 1987.

That was when the Stewart we all know now really started to come to light: She and her then-husband bought and renovated a farmhouse (which would become the set for her early television programs), and she started a catering business out of her basement that became a $1 million enterprise in less than 10 years. All this before she even signed her first book deal to seed the media enterprise that now bears her name.


Proof positive that, even if you’re feeling good about your current career, there could be something even better waiting for you around the corner—as long as you stay open to exploring other options.

So, make sure to spend some time every quarter doing some reflection and thinking about whether there’s anything you wish you were doing with your career. Explore new avenues with side projects or volunteer positions. Network and meet with people, even if it doesn’t initially make sense how they can help you out.

Just like Stewart, try to avoid standing still for too long, whether you’re happy or not—you never know where a wild hair might lead you, and it could just be your biggest career move yet.

For more career advice from Stewart and other successful women, check out the documentary MAKERS: Women in Business, which airs on PBS October 28 at 9 PM.

Photo and video courtesy of AOL.