A few weeks ago we hosted our very first Good Talk, a speaker series in which we talk to experts about the changing world of work.
For the inaugural talk, we were lucky enough to have two amazing speakers, Alexandra Tanguay, the Global Brand Director at Spotify and Phoebe Lovatt, a freelance journalist, moderator and the founder of The WW Club.
Originally from London, Phoebe currently lives in New York where she runs the The WW Club—a platform that connects, supports, and inspires women working in creative industries worldwide. We spoke to her about having two careers, the importance of social media and learning how and when to grow a company.
Can you tell me why, as a freelance journalist, you started The WW Club? How do you fit both into your day-to-day?
Like many small-business owners, I started The WW Club as a solution to my own problem! I had moved to LA from my hometown of London and was really missing the tight-knit creative community I’d been part of there. LA is a notoriously sprawling city, and it’s a lot harder to connect with people on a daily basis. I wanted to create a space—both physical and virtual—where like-minded working women could meet, learn, and get inspired.
I originally launched The WW Club as a pop-up cowork and event space in January 2015, but now it’s a roaming concept which means I host career-focused events in cities around the world. I’m based in NYC, but I regularly travel back to London, LA, and beyond to host events and meet-ups, as well as offering digital content including a newsletter, blog, and podcast.
In addition to running The WW Club, I write a column for the British business magazine Courier and occasionally contribute profiles and features for a range of titles in the UK and US. I also host and moderate events and conversations for brands. How did I fit both in? Let’s just say my life is one long juggling act and I write a LOT of lists! Ha.
What are your thoughts on building a personal brand? You’re creating The WW Club but you’re also building a career as a writer and speaker. Is there a difference between The WW brand and your personal brand? ?
Obviously, I think a lot about social media and its role in building a modern career—not just for myself, but on behalf of The WW Club community. I think a lot of us have mixed feelings about social media and how much of a role we want it to play in our lives, but still accept that it has become a non-negotiable aspect of building and marketing a business or self-made career.
I put considerable thought and time into The WW Club’s social media presence, but ultimately I refuse to let it take up too much of my time. At the end of the day, do I want to look back and think that I amassed x number of followers on a platform where I have no ownership of the content? Or that I took that time and spent it creating services and experiences which might have a tangible impact on people’s lives and careers? When I look at it like that, it becomes a no-brainer.
This ethos also extends to my personal accounts. I definitely try to offer an interesting, aesthetically-pleasing insight into my life, but I’m not spending entire days shooting ‘content’ to post! I’ve got what I deem to be more important things to create, plan, and do.
How and when did you decide to grow The WW Club into something bigger and how are you planning for it?
I honestly didn’t launch The WW Club with any business plan or long-term strategy in place—it was just an idea I had and couldn’t not act on. What galvanized me to develop it further was the incredible response I received straight off the bat, both in my immediate community in LA and around the world from women who'd discovered the Club online and loved the idea.
I’ve just launched an official membership platform, which offers exclusive content, events, and access (plus a cute pink card!) to subscribers. That’s been really well-received so I’m excited to develop it further next year. I’m also working on another publishing project (The WW Club was initially conceived alongside my self-published book, The Handbook For Women Who Do Creative Work). I want to host events in cities I haven’t reached yet, as well as lots more meet-ups and activations in the cities where my core communities reside.
Looking forward to 2017, what do you know now that you didn’t know this time last year?
That physical spaces, experiences, and communities are far from dying out. In light of recent global events, it’s more important than ever to connect with the people around you in 'real life', as often as you can.