I connected with Taelor Salmon via Instagram, and am so excited to share our interview with her below! She works full-time in federal contracting but also launched her own business, Cadence Candle Co., a candle company centered around scented candles and music, which is a mix of two things many of us love. Such a unique concept, so be sure to check out Cadence on IG!

Thank you, Taelor!

Name: Taelor Salmon
Location: Washington, D.C.
Education: B.A. Economics, The College of William and Mary (VA)

How did you determine what to study in college (and grad school if applicable)? 

I favored working with numbers and wanted to work in some form of business, so economics was an easy choice for me. 

Walk us through your initial job search strategy and how you landed your first full-time role. 

Initially, as an econ major, I wanted to work in a job centered around finance or business analytics and strategy, so I applied to a number of consulting firms (the Big 4). I interviewed at a handful of places in the D.C. area and ended up getting a summer internship with FedBid, an online marketplace platform firm, the summer after graduating. Interviewing can be nerve-racking, but it’s important to go into anything with knowledge and confidence. I always put myself in the interviewer’s shoes and ask myself “what would I want to see or hear from this interviewee in order to feel comfortable hiring them”; that’s what probably landed me the initial job. Ultimately, I ended up turning it down at the last minute to work for my family’s federal contracting firm. Since then, I’ve learned the ropes of federal contracting, and I now own and manage my own federal contracting business (I sell to the government). 

What advice would you give to your early-career self, knowing what you know today?

Learn patience, stay patient, and stay disciplined. Everyone’s journey is different, but I always found myself stressing to be independent or successful from the very beginning. I would try different careers to see what I like but then I’d be over it before I gave it a chance. I have multiple careers and streams of revenue now because I’ve always been willing to try so many things to find my niche, but it’s important to really give something a try and stick it out whether you initially like it or not.  With any type of success, there’s time, experience, failure, new beginnings, and patience. Nothing worth having comes overnight, so patience would be my biggest advice (and it still is today). 

Tell me about Cadence Candle Co. When and what prompted you to start it? 

Cadence Candle Co. is a candle company centered around scented candles and music, and ultimately relaxation. It’s really about you, as the consumer, and it’s an opportunity to let go, relax, and indulge within. I have a lot of different interests so my mind is constantly moving. I would always come home and light candles and play music, and that was my ultimate, subconscious, self-care routine. I just felt at peace and ease with my house lit with fragrance and my SONOS sending off a curated, musical vibe. I could finally take the time to center my mind and my thoughts, and that routine is what motivated me to create Cadence Candle Co. It’s really a business created to serve other people more than anything.

What does self-care mean to you? 

Taking time for yourself, and your needs. That means focusing on your mental, physical, spiritual health. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. I’m sure we all could use more self-care.

Do you have any advice for women who might want to start a small business but are not sure how? 

JUST. DO. IT. Start out small and start out with a plan. It’s OK to be nervous at first, but try not to hold out on execution for long. Sometimes, the hardest part of a service or product-based business can be putting yourself out there. However, the more you put yourself out there the easier, and more comfortable, your next steps will be. The people who will support you WILL SUPPORT YOU. You’ll always have someone in your corner whether you believe that or not. Focus on providing good service/products, and the rest will follow suit. 

How do you balance Cadence with your full-time role? 

Time management and discipline help, tremendously. I like to have set hours per day, or per week,  where I’m working on contracting real estate, or candle work. I like being busy, but time management makes my schedule 10x easier. 

Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support? 

My Dad has always been a mentor by example. Growing up, watching him become a successful entrepreneur set the foundation and expectations of what I wanted my business and success to look like. I look to role models like Serena Williams, Emily Weiss, Michelle Obama, and Lebron James for good work ethic, poise, passion, and discipline.

Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education, career, and wellness goals? 

Trust in your vision, beliefs, and goals and do everything with intention. Always take your journey a day at a time. I can’t stress that enough. Every bit of your journey is worth it. Try not to compare yourself to others, as everyone has their own, individual journey, and everyone’s purpose and plans in life are different. Always give back to others through service, a passion or a goal, but don’t forget to live for yourself. Seek solitude, to listen to your mind and body (self-care), and to find what makes you genuinely happy.

If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you? 

Instagram or my website contact. I’m responsive and I like meeting new people!