Your Name and Age: Lucy Werner 36 and Hadrien Chatelet 34
Tell us about your family: We are parents to Rafael nearly 23 months and boy bump
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I used to work in some of London’s top PR agencies but left to create an affordable PR service for entrepreneurs. In the beginning I had a three-year growth plan but had a baby in year two which changed things somewhat. With our first child we took shared parental leave and I had a team but subsequently transitioned to a lean model and I was the only full-time employee.
When did you launch?
The Wern as a PR consultancy launched in 2014 but as the business has evolved I did a brand relaunch in January 2019 which felt like The Wern 2.0, my partner Hadrien joined the business officially from May 1st to set up a creative arm that expands the offering for design and branding.
How did you get started?
I started with some savings in my back pocket and took the leap to try and find my own clients with a three-month deadline to make it. I bought a laptop, found an excellent accountant and invested in a few affordable PR tools that would help me deliver to my clients.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business
I have honestly never had the Sunday night dread. My three rules for any client are 1: Do I like you? 2. Do I believe in your business and 3. Can I do a good job? A huge resentment in my previous jobs was working on things that frankly I couldn’t care less about but made the agency owner money. PR is such an integral part of your business, that I find it bizarre that you wouldn’t have a publicity partner that doesn’t live and breathe your brand. I now forge brilliant relationships with the people I work with and I don’t have to worry if I need to disappear for a day because my son is poorly because all of my clients are not only reasonable but lovely humans.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business
I’m definitely a geek at heart and enjoy learning and development. I miss having constructive professional and personal feedback top help me grow as a person. I also have to invest a lot of my own time and resource to keep up with best practices in industry so that my ideas don’t become stale because it is just me a lot of the time. When you are in a big office you take for granted what you learn from working with other people.
What has worked well about your business?
We have already seen a huge influx of new business leads since we have expanded into design and branding and I’m very hopeful to see where the next few months will take us as we pivot the business into more of a one-stop shop for launching your business/brand.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
Gosh, loads (and I don’t believe people who say they have not made any) probably not seeking HR advice when my team was at 7 staff. Luckily, there were no severe repercussions but then I got bounced into an HR support service that said it was for startups but really wasn’t and I had terrible trouble getting out of an overpriced contract that didn’t fit my needs. Shamefully, after I had already spent much time pleading with them to cancel my contract it only happened after I had posted a negative review online.
How do you fit in work with the family?Is your partner supportive of your business?
My partner is so supportive he is now part of the fold. It is in fact even easier now we both work from home together because we can take it in turns if our son is sick and have equal share of work/domestic chores. In fact recently, Hadrien has been doing main childcare whilst I have a final push on my business to save for my maternity leave.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
Yes, although it is very long-term. I have a book launching next January called “Hype Yourself: A no-nonsense DIY PR toolkit for small businesses” and off the back of this will be promoting my new services one-to-one coaching, online courses as well as free templates and toolkits. We are also designing some handy PR & branding tip products, the first of which is available for pre-sell now:
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
I can’t imagine not wanting to do PR, I still get a rush every time I help my clients succeed or I implement my own teachings for myself and see the impact it has on my own business. But never say never…
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment?
Securing my book deal in January. I wanted to be a writer when I was a child, but the confidence was knocked out of me a bit through school because of my academic writing ability. The recognition that someone thought my content worthy enough to publish me was a huge boost for my confidence.
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
To have established The Wern as a brand for brands. I’d love to provide a raft of FREE tools, beautifully designed shoppable products and a range of online courses and training for startups and entrepreneurs.
Your website link: www.thewern.com
If you have want a free 15-minute PR or branding consultation you can book either of us through the website: https://www.thewern.com/shop