EXPERT ADVICE: JILLIAN LAUREN
What advice would you give to someone who feels overwhelmed by the competition? It might seem clichéd, but believe in yourself and never give up. Don’t be deceived by urban legends of insta-success. They’re almost always falsely representing the real story. If the world needs what you’re offering, a window of opportunity will eventually open up.
What is something that has really worked for you on social media? What is something that has not? I find social media works best when you look at it as a community, and participate just as you would participate in any community. Respond, communicate, entertain, support… don’t just relentlessly plug your brand and your product. Think about what you can give to the community and not just what you want it to do for you.
When you think of the best people to work with, what traits do they share? The best people to work with are honest, brave, authentic, vulnerable, creative, hard-working, and supportive.
At what stage of your business did you need to build a team? Tell us what that looked like for you.As a writer, I work alternately alone and as part of a team, depending on what stage my work is in. When I’m starting a project, it’s just me and the wall. When I have a book coming out, I’m on the phone constantly with my editor, my agent, my publicist. I’ve found that the people I’ve worked best with over the years have been not just ambitious and effective (although that’s nice, too!) but also genuinely passionate about the project.
Entrepreneurs often say that “you can’t do it all.” What three things do you always outsource? I outsource housework because I hate it. I outsource a lot of technology stuff, like web design, because there are people way more talented and efficient than me. Right now I have an assistant who helps with research, makes sure everything is up to date, and handles some of my publicity correspondence.
What are a few of the business resources that you can’t live without? I pretty much stole everything I just said in this interview from Brené Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection – it’s a must-read. And Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is the ultimate writing inspiration book, though you don’t need to be a writer to benefit from its wisdom. Everything I don’t steal from Brené Brown, I steal from Anne Lamott!
Give us your top five tips that would benefit a woman who is starting or growing her business:
- Don’t be a perfectionist. As Voltaire said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”
- Think about your audience in a very specific way.
- Find a voice that is a unique and authentic expression of who you truly are.
- Talk to yourself like you’d talk to one of your children. You’d never say to your kid, “You suck. How could you have made that mistake? You’re so stupid. Everyone else is better than you.You should just quit. Oh, and by the way, you’re also fat.” But I hear bright, accomplished, kick-ass women talking to themselves this way all the time. It’s a crime. Don’t do it!
- Never, never, never give up!