one million Instagrammers don’t flock for nothing. While clean eating and recipe blogging aren’t new concepts, our October Guest Editor, Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella has built up a brand we love and a community that’s truly something special. Her following embodies what we think girl power is all about – lifting each other up to support one another in our own definitions of health and wellbeing. If that’t not the ultimate measure of success, we don’t know what is.

We asked Ella about her personal journey to the current high point in her career (one that’s included best-selling cookbooks and a skincare collab we’re obsessing over), and were refreshed by her down-to-earth answers about the power of optimism, the struggle of loneliness and the importance of having some good old-fashion “be your best self” values to build on.

Maintaining balance as big dreams come to life requires a strong and stable foundation: Read on as Ella tells us about the key bricks in hers, including a book recommendation we think every woman needs to read at least once (and yes, audiobook counts)…

Success is made up of…

Optimism, determination and a fantastic network of supportive people. People are everything – both in terms of your team at work and your friends and family. Having people to turn to who you trust and who are fantastic at what they do makes the world of difference, especially if you have a great attitude toward what you’re doing.

3 things every girl boss should read:

For a book I’d say Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is fantastic. For a resource, I’d say a great friend who is doing something similar/being an awesome girl boss, so that you always have someone to support you. For a site, I’d say follow lots of other inspiring woman that you aspire towards. Someone told me recently that you can’t be what you can’t see. There aren’t enough awesome girl bosses out there, so find some that you look up to and watch what they do. It’s empowering to see others doing amazing things; I find it helps me feel that I can do it too.

3 qualities you most admire in colleagues:

Honesty is the biggest one for me – I like straight talking people who will tell you the truth no matter what the situation is, good or bad. I’m all about finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems, and that quality really helps you cut straight through it. People you can trust are also essential. Trust is such a huge part of a business, especially when it’s your own and your letting them be custodians of your brand and do the things that you don’t have time to. The third quality would be people who can make you laugh – work needs to be fun, as well as serious, and having colleagues that can crack a great joke really helps lighten the mood.

The hardest truth about success:

I think it can be quite lonely sometimes. Ultimately, if it’s your company then it’s always going to be up to you in the end to make the hard decisions, which can be tough. You’re also committing yourself to work so hard and – especially at the beginning – there isn’t really such a thing as a day off, as you always need to be available. Sometimes this has made me feel distant to friends, but I love it so much that it’s worth it.

The loveliest truth about success:

It’s the most amazingly empowering, rewarding thing. Seeing yourself grow and learn every day is incredible. I’m so proud of what I’ve done so far, and how much I’ve evolved in the past few years. I’m equally excited to see how much further I can go in my own journey.

Advice you wish you could give yourself at the beginning:

Always be an optimist. At the end of the day, you have to find a solution to every issue, so taking on a really positive attitude makes a world of difference. You have to believe that there is a way to do it, no matter how hard it can seem.

5 staples every woman in business should own now:

Hmmmm that’s a hard one, I think it varies for everyone. For me, it’s my iPhone, my laptop, a great outfit, a good night’s sleep and an organized to-do list!

3 businesses inspiring you now:

Any woman who is doing awesome things and businesses that are bringing more transparency to food. I’m so passionate about helping to change the food industry to make it as honest and transparent as possible. We’ve recently launched a range of products into supermarkets in the UK, and we share the recipes for them all – just so that everyone knows exactly what they’re buying and could make them at home, if they wanted to.

Best advice you ever received:

Take all ego out of work. This has been so important for me in business. Just because it’s your idea and your concept, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of people who know more about – and have more experience in – certain aspects of business that can help you hugely. Find the best people and give them the space and autonomy they need to be the best; learn from them and see them as the best way to push forwards.

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While the healthy food culture that runs rampant in L.A. isn't the first (second or third) thing that comes to mind when we imagine life in London, Ella Mills is paving a new path with her cult blog, books and even a new restaurant...

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