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In Interviews on
May 22, 2017

A Conversation with ‘These Dividing Walls’ Author Fran Cooper

Fran Cooper grew up in London before reading English at Cambridge and Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She spent three years living in Paris, and is now based in London with her fiancé and their three-legged cat. Having heard her discuss her first novel, These Dividing Walls, at a recent reading, I’m so inspired by her curiosity, tenacity and the interesting life she’s lived so far. Here, we discuss juggling writing a book with a full-time job, the importance of mentorship and more.


Many people feel that writing a book with a day job is a near-impossible feat. What advice can you give anyone struggling with exactly that? How was it for you, and what did the experience of writing your book with limited time teach you along the way? 

Well, full disclosure, when I wrote These Dividing Walls I was studying, not working full-time, so I had it much easier than many people. I’m in the process of editing my second book now, which I have written while working, and it was hard!

It’s hard to turn on creativity just because it’s Saturday and you’re not in the office and it’s the only time you have. But my number one bit of advice to anyone trying it is “little and often”. At the beginning, I’d despair at how slow my progress was – a finished manuscript felt so far away! But if you do a little every week, it adds up and suddenly you find yourself with something almost book-length.

And don’t pressure yourself into never going out, or never seeing friends, or working every evening. There are times when you’ll be too tired to write or you just need to go out and enjoy yourself, and in my experience the writing is better for it when you do get to your desk again.


You recently shared the importance of a mentor when it came to writing your book. Can you share a little about that experience, and how the mentorship programme worked? 

Absolutely. I was really lucky to be accepted onto The Womentoring Project (you can find them on Twitter) when it started in 2014. I applied to work with Lisa O’Donnell and she was just wonderful. She’d published two books by then and was working on a third, and it was transformative for me to have the advice of someone who actually knew how it all worked.

With the best will in the world, advice from people who don’t know about agents, publishers, synopses, pitches etc isn’t always that useful. Lisa read my work. She encouraged me to take a leap of faith and start writing a novel rather than just short stories. And she explained to me how submitting works:

In brief, write a novel; edit it until you’re pretty happy; research an agent WHOSE TASTE MATCHES YOUR WORK; follow their submission guidelines, and don’t sound insane in your cover letter). 


These Dividing Walls is described as “successfully walking the fine line between meticulous storytelling and a politically relevant message”. How did you find a wonderful balance between the two? 

Wow, that’s a lovely description. I didn’t actually start out to write a “politically relevant” novel at all! But I was living in Paris, and I wanted to show a different side of the city than the clichés we’re all so familiar with. I wanted to write something that felt real to me – that was true to the place I was living in. A lot of the protests and political elements in the book are things I really came across – I was quite surprised at the end to stand back and see how political it had become.

The best advice I can give is to write something that you care about. You spend a lot of time with your book and your characters, and it must be very hard if you’re writing about people and things that don’t make you feel very much.

Feel as much as possible. If you feel something, it seems to me that other people might too.


How did your own relationship with the city of Paris evolve and change through writing These Dividing Walls?

When I started These Dividing Walls I was still living in Paris so it was easy to just absorb everything that I saw around me. We moved to London in 2015, and much of the book was written in London that summer. I tried not to be too nostalgic about the city, not to fall into the trap of only making it beautiful. It is beautiful, of course it is, but it’s complex too, and difficult and riven with many of the same problems we find everywhere today. So I tried to remember all those things, to keep true to that version of the city. It’s been so nice to hear from readers who know Paris and who feel the book’s captured some of that complexity.


These Dividing Walls explores the intriguing idea that, in modern life, we live in such close proximity to others without ever getting to know them. Out of curiosity, has the book inspired you to get to know your neighbours better?

Haha, erm, not entirely. We have some very nice upstairs neighbours in London, but it’s such a busy city, everyone’s hustling, and it’s not always easy to strike up a friendship with the people who see you taking the rubbish out in your pyjamas! We are good friends with the people who live next door, though!


Lastly, what is some of the best writing advice you’ve been given? And what is the best writing advice you, as a published author now, can give? 🙂 

The best writing advice in some ways is the most obvious. Just write. Just get on and do it, and stick with it, and you do get there, eventually you get there.

The best advice I can give about publishing are two bits of advice that were given to me: 1) don’t sound insane in your cover letter (I know I’ve said that already, but you do hear about some humdingers. Agents are people too! And they’re much more likely to read your work if you sound nice and normal!) and 2) don’t submit to agents until you’ve finished your manuscript and you’ve done as much as you can with it.

If someone replies saying they love the first five chapters and want to read the rest, you don’t want to leave them hanging six months while you actually finish the thing!


Follow Fran Cooper on Twitter @FranWhitCoop

In Interviews on
May 9, 2017

Meet Scott Raven, the 25-Year-Old Running For Parliament

25-year-old Scott Raven is tired of UK politics. He’s tired of not having a voice. And he’s tired of the way the system currently works. But instead of just complaining about it online, like so many of us do, he’s taking action in the biggest way possible: he’s running for parliament as an independent candidate for Buckingham.

As soon as I heard Scott’s story, I was inspired by his bravery and tenacity. Here, we talk about what drives him, what’s surprised him so far, and how you can make a difference in your community, too.

 


Q: Can you start by introducing yourself, what you do and what drives you to do what you do?

A: My name is Scott Raven and I am an independent Member of Parliament (MP) candidate for Buckingham. I am a Politics teacher at a local school/college and I used to work for a charity called Global Classrooms. I live in a beautiful village in Buckinghamshire, England and I am 25 years old.

In terms of what drives me – I could talk for days! It really comes down to the love I have for the democratic process, which is something that we should all be incredibly grateful for. I am running as an MP in my local area because I strongly believe the people of Buckingham deserve a decent choice when electing a representative for Parliament. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, is currently our MP, which means he must remain impartial and does not get to vote on Parliamentary decisions our behalf. Therefore, the people of Buckingham have no say on what happens on a national level.

 

Q: What made you stop being an observer and start being an active participant?

A: I have always been a proactive person. If something needs doing, I’ll do it.

By throwing yourself into different situations you get opportunity to learn from that new experience.

When it comes to politics, I believe that politics is everybody’s job, not somebody else’s. We all have a duty to step up and try to make society better.

 

Q: What is one of the biggest things you’ve learned so far from engaging with the public on a political level? What’s surprised you?

A: I am surprised by how interested people are. There is a lot of apathy and frustration towards politicians at the moment. However, the people I have spoken to seem interested and engaged which has been a really positive thing for me to experience. Voter turnout in Buckingham is around 70% which is above the national average, so luckily I am dealing with some very switched on people. I have also learnt that oftentimes people are quick to criticise, but they don’t take the time to hear the positive actions politicians have taken to help the community. I know some politicians ruin it for the rest of us, but most of us are genuinely trying to help people as much as we can!

 

Q: Do you agree that in order to fully understand the political climate, we need to embrace and understand both sides of the argument?

A: Absolutely. Let’s use the Brexit referendum as an example here. As someone who voted to remain in the EU, I think it’s vital now to come together as a nation to tackle this monumental operation. Most people who voted to leave did so in order to break away from a political union with Europe, and most of the people who voted to remain wanted to stay in a cultural, social, economic and academic union with Europe. Now, we need to find a way to leave the political union but maintaining a close relationship with Europe. A relationship which fosters growth and unity but remains separate from the political process. This can be achieved only if we work together.  

 

Q: What made you run as an independent candidate? For anyone who isn’t familiar with the process, could you outline how it works?

A: Becoming a candidate is fairly simple, all it takes is time and support. To become a good candidate, you need to be deeply driven to help the people you are running to represent. I chose to run as an independent candidate because major political parties do not run against the speaker of the House.

I have also started to doubt party politics as a viable means of representation in general.

From what I have seen, running as a party candidate will get you a lot more support to begin with but once you’re on the inside, party politics becomes a bigger priority than your constituents – and nothing should be bigger than the people who elected you to represent them. As an independent, I am free of this chain of command, free to be ‘whipped’ only by the people I represent!

 

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to make a difference, but feels insignificant and hopeless? How can they start making their own impact, however small? How can they get started?

A: I have 3 pieces of advice for this:

1) Start by learning. The most logical foundation before you start anything is to gain some prior knowledge. Read up about politics, follow the news, learn who your local candidates are and gain an awareness of what issues there are in your local area.

2) VOTE. It is so simple. It takes 5 minutes and it will make a huge difference. If 30% more 18-25 year olds would have voted in the Brexit referendum, there would have been a ‘remain’ majority. The younger generation out-number the old for the first time in human history – we can make a difference if we get out there and vote.

3) Litter on your road? Stop expecting others to do it and go pick it up. A neighbour has lost a dog? Help them put up flyers. Get a taste of what it is like to help people, even when no-one is watching. It takes time, but you can become a well-respected member of your household, street, village, town or city. Lastly, look at how you can improve the world around you, even if it’s a little bit.

 


Support Scott’s campaign today by visiting his website and following his Facebook page.

In Interviews on
May 1, 2017

A Conversation with Project Consent Founder, Sara Li

After struggling with anxiety and depression, 17-year-old Sara Li had the idea for Project Consent.

It all began as a simple Instagram page that invited people to write the word “NO” on them to symbolise the fight against sexual assault. Fast forward to today, and Project Consent is a global, non-profit movement that serves as a community for survivors of sexual assault, driven to make a difference and change the narrative around consent.

Sara has a staff of 40+ people, contributes to MTV, Elite Daily and Thought Catalog, and was one of the leading partners in the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign.. She is a hugely inspiration example of what happens when turn your pain into motivation.

Here, Sara and I have a candid conversation about creating positivity in today’s climate, the pressure of being a public figure at a young age and more. 


 

Hi Sara! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and why you do what you do? What drives you?

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m a sophomore at the University of Kansas where I’m studying Strategic Communications and Creative Writing. I’m the director of Project Consent, a sexual assault awareness and prevention program that I started in 2014. I’m also a writer; I freelance op-eds and short stories.

I would say that I’m driven by optimism. I believe in better days and good people and I want to be part of that.

 

I’m seriously impressed by your career trajectory so far. You started Project Consent when you were just 17. Can you talk about the moment you decided to stop being an observer, and start using your voice? What was the catalyst? How did you turn your pain into motivation?

Thank you, that’s really sweet to say! It’s been a wild ride. I’ve always had a strong personality — which is just a polite way of saying I’m headstrong, but in an effective, over-achiever kind of way. It’s strange to be applauded for…standing up for what’s right? I don’t know, I think about this a lot. Whether you’re 17 or 70, anyone can be a good person.

I think it’s important for people to know that none of this was planned. Even when Project Consent first began, I never thought that I’d ever go into the field of humanitarian work.

I don’t think I would’ve started a non-profit to combat sexual assault if it didn’t happen to me personally. Am I happy that it took something terrible to unlock that part of me? Absolutely not. But that’s the funny thing about choice: when it’s taken from you, you’re the only one who can take it back. There’s a lot of power in choosing to make something good out of something bad.

Something that’s helped me a lot is not making ‘victim’ a part of my identity. Everyone is a victim of something: abuse, depression, heartbreak, neglect, etc. I look at victimhood as a phase — an inevitable one because suffering is universal— because you do recover, eventually. And it doesn’t happen overnight, trust me. But I have worked too hard to be strong and capable and smart to just be a victim of someone else’s actions. Once I came to terms with that, I was able to move on and create something that I hoped would help others.

 

What have the pressures of being a public figure taught you? How has the experience shaped who you are and changed your perspective?

I don’t know what’s weirder: accepting that I’m a public figure or accepting that others think I’m a public figure.

I was 17 years old when a feature in NYLON put me on the map (or whatever you want to call it). My friends would make jokes like “Sara’s famous” and I’d laugh them off because I was a kid who knew I was a kid. I wasn’t in the mindset of thinking myself as a public figure and yeah, I miss that blissful ignorance. Your reputation is always bigger than you are, so it’s very surreal to have people assume that I am exactly the person they read or hear about. I would love to be the girl who can do anything and is always on top of it, but I’m not.

I think there’s a lot of people who can take being a public figure in stride. I just wasn’t ready. When you’re in your late teens and early 20s, you’re still trying to figure out who you are and what you’re capable of. When I hit my late teens and early 20s, I felt like everyone already had this idea of who I was before I did. It didn’t give me a lot of room to make mistakes, to be young and stupid, because I knew who I had to be. Now I’m afraid of disappointing other people as well because when you are a public figure, to whatever degree, you’re constantly wondering what people are thinking about you. I know the worst things that I think about myself, so I try not to go down that hole.

I’m been trying to embrace total transparency a lot more. There’s a lot of factors that I can’t control — half of what I say is edited out for clarity because I ramble so much — but I do try to be really, really honest about who I am. And if people don’t like me, then, well, I understand. I’m a work in progress. My progress is just more visible than most people’s.

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In Interviews on
March 26, 2017

A Conversation with Poet and One-Woman Movement Melissa Tripp

Melissa Tripp is a Boston-based author, poet, entrepreneur and one-woman movement. Her work explores and expresses themes of love, vulnerability, empowerment, simplicity, personal narrative and hypothetical selves. Melissa’s words empower. They inspire. They intrigue. They heal. I’m so excited to be introducing you to her work. A few of my favourites include:

“you owe yourself: more care. more dialogue. more solitude. more reflection. more honesty. more room to be human. more healing. more love.”

“don’t waste your beautiful mind doing ugly things.”

“today, commit to nurturing the most important relationship you’ll ever have: you. enjoy your own company and explore your magic.”

Here, we discuss how to make money from your words (without losing your integrity), finding the courage to share your voice and more.


I’m curious about your writing journey so far. Where did it all begin for you and how has your relationship with writing changed over time?

Think about the vulnerability it takes to love someone. It’s not something you can forge in an instant, it happens over time. Writing, for me, has been relatively the same thing. The same investment, the same empowerment, the same discomfort. Gradually, then all at once. I think sometimes people have these preconceived notions about the life of a writer that are pure fantasy realm.

My personal journey as a writer, articulating my heart with no armor, is constantly shifting and shaping things in me. Things aren’t always in perfect sync. Words don’t automate closure and healing. But, they’ve made it easier for me to navigate the things I have yet to understand. The things I have yet to make peace with. 

 
Your words are so moving — simple yet so powerful. What is inspiration for you? Is it a particular book, a place, a mindset?

It’s not something I can pinpoint. Inspiration is this beautifully strange, complex, fragile thing that feels like travel. Inspiration is movement. Fleeting, mostly— there are no literal translations. Inspiration finds me in the brief moments, in the prolonged moments, in the moments I wish would stand still. Higher frequencies, secret structures, multidimensional escapes.

Sometimes i think we complicate inspiration trying to dissect it and confine it to one room. I’m learning to just let it be magic and mystery. 

 

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In Interviews on
March 8, 2017

Meet The Start-Up Founder Empowering Muslim Women

Nafisa Bakkar

I met Nafisa Bakkar at a networking event and was instantly impressed. Her company, Amaliah.com, was founded to address the difficulty Muslim women face when searching for clothes that are modest and fashionable. Now, having grown over the last 18 months, Amaliah is fast becoming a platform for the voices of Muslim women in over 85 countries.

For International Women’s Day, I spoke with Nafisa about her vision for Amaliah, the unglamorous side of start-up life and how she’s working hard to help give Muslim women a voice.


I’m so inspired by your story. What was the catalyst for starting Amaliah? And once you had the idea, how did you get started?

I realised that it was a genuine problem. It being Muslim women finding it hard to find clothes that are modest and fashionable. I’ve always wanted to empower others and I realised that fashion is a really strong vehicle to exert your own identity. It shouldn’t be a struggle for a Muslim woman to find clothes to wear.

Past this, I realised the Muslim woman’s voice is hugely unrepresented. We’ve since evolved into a platform that represents the many different voices in the Muslim community through our content contributors.

I started by learning as much as I could about startups. I read books, watched videos, spoke to people who had done it.

I thought it was very important to build some sort of foundation of knowledge. I then learnt to code so that I could go to the next level: building the first version.

I love how Amaliah is built upon the goal of empowering muslim women. Can you speak to the idea of reclaiming the muslim female voice and narrative? How do you plan on expanding upon that this year?

We plan on expanding to more countries with our contributors. Our community is from 85 different countries and I want to reflect that in our voices section.

For so many years, people have spoken on behalf of Muslim women whether it be in the media or even Muslim male scholars. It’s time that our own voices and stories were surfaced. It shouldn’t be a struggle to find the opinions and voice of a Muslim woman in the mainstream, but for now it is.

Ultimately, we want to send out the message that you can be who you are as Muslim women, hold the beliefs that you have, and be a person of purpose and impact in a society.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself since starting Amaliah? What have been the challenges and/or sacrifices?

First part: the toll starting a company takes on your mental health is a hard hit. I think the start-up world is VERY glamorised and people don’t speak enough about the fact that it’s bloody hard. The biggest challenge I’ve had is managing the toll it takes on your mental health. I think you sacrifice a few things — a big fat pay check for one, and also your relationships. But, at the same time, I remind myself that doing what I love is a luxury and it comes with the choice.

You’ve successfully raised seed funding and turned Amaliah into a monetised business. In doing so, how has your definition of ‘success’ changed?

I’m a real success skeptic. I always say don’t believe the hype. Raising money is not success, neither is being in Forbes or the Metro. But people seem to see these things as a sign of success.

Looking at your background, you seem to have always had entrepreneurial ambitions and ’thought big’. How have you managed to stay motivated and not be restricted by your own self-limitations?

I always say that where we are now is very much down to other people. I have constantly surrounded myself with people who help pick you up when you’re in those low moments or full of self doubt. I’ve also accepted that motivation dips. I think people think if you run your own company then that means you jump out of bed every day, raring to go.

There are periods when you won’t feel motivated and you’ll want to give up and that’s okay.

 


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In Interviews on
March 4, 2017

Cait Flanders on Life After a Two-Year Shopping Ban

Cait Flanders

Cait Flanders is one of my favourite people on the Internet. She started her blog as a way of documenting a journey that saw her pay off $30,000 in consumer debt and get rid of 75% of her material possessions. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she then embarked on a two-year shopping ban (yes, you read that correctly!) and shared her learnings along the way.

 

But what I love most about Cait is that she’s not afraid to get candid on a topic so many of us shy away from: money. In this conversation, we discuss her upcoming memoir, The Year of Less, how inherited financial behaviours affect us all, and how her definition of what it means to be ‘wealthy’ has changed over the years.

 


 

I can’t wait to read your upcoming book, The Year of Less! What has the process of writing it taught you about yourself so far?

Oh my goodness, so many things! It demanded that I improve as a writer and editor, and required me to be even more vulnerable than I have been on my blog. I wrote about things I haven’t shared with some of my closest friends, and found myself wiping tears off my keyboard more than a few times. But honestly, the best thing it taught me is that I’m capable of completing a project of that size. I have a tendency to look at big projects, like a book, and feel like it’s a mountain I’m unable to climb – so I procrastinate, put it off and say things like “maybe one day”. Having a deadline forced me to work on it every day and ultimately cross the finish line. Now I know that I’m capable of completing any of the creative projects I dream up.

 

How has your definition of what it means to be ‘wealthy’ changed over time?

It’s funny, but when I think about the word wealthy, I do picture what the media shows us: people with lots of money, big houses, cars and maybe a boat. But because I didn’t grow up around anything that resembled that picture, that’s never what I’ve imagined would or could be in my future. Years ago, I probably would have said my personal definition of being wealthy would have meant having a net worth of $1 million – and for no real reason, except that’s a random number that used to get thrown around in the early 2000s. “Save for your future and you could retire a millionaire!”

Now, money in the bank is only a small portion of what it would mean for me to be wealthy. I can’t deny that having savings helps me feel more comfortable. But true wealth, in my eyes, is being in control of my time and having healthy family/friends to spend it with.

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In Interviews on
February 12, 2017

A Conversation with Poet, Blogger and Author Nicole Gulotta

These days, it’s rare that a blog strikes you as being refreshingly different. But Nicole Gulotta’s is exactly that. As a voracious reader and writer, Nicole’s popular blog, Eat This Poem, invites you to bring poems to life on the plate, infusing recipes with personal stories, thoughtful commentary and simple ingredients. Her blog is also home to a selection of city literary guides, which just so happen to be one of my favourite corners of the Internet.

In this conversation, we discuss writing rituals, how to stay creative while working full-time, and her upcoming book (!!!).

 


Can you share a little bit about yourself, what you do and why you do what you do?

I’m a writer, author, tea drinker, and home cook. At the moment, I work for a food startup in Los Angeles, the city I’ve called home for nearly a decade. Because I’m a content editor, writing is the core component of my day job, but I always have several creative projects of my own going on, too.

I write because I can’t not write. Writing found me early in life (I have memories of family vacations where I scribbled songs, poems, and our daily adventures into notebooks), and in high school I started writing poetry very seriously (so seriously, in fact, I went on to study it in graduate school). Now I write more about food, but regardless of subject, the impulse to write has always been there.

This past year I’ve started connecting with fellow writers to encourage them on their journey. I absolutely love this work.

The writing life is hard, but I believe the more we’re empowered to embrace our desire to write, combined with practical tools to navigate balancing work and creativity, the easier it becomes.

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In Interviews on
January 5, 2017

Meet the Girl Changing Publishing for the Better

 

From the moment I met Jessica Montgomery at a recent networking event, it was clear that her energy is infectious. After all, she has founded Spora Literary, a platform that aims to change the face of publishing forever, making it possible for you and I to submit our manuscripts and get representation straight away. (The dream!). And she’s done it all while still maintaining her full-time job.

I spoke to Jessica about the future of publishing, her plans for Spora, where she gets her motivation from and more…


Where did the idea behind Spora Literary originate from and what was the catalyst for starting it?

I have always known that I have wanted to work for myself, and a year out of my Literature and Journalism degree I was working as a freelance content creator and marketing manager at a London start-up.

All my dealings with fellow writers and creators had taught me how closed off the publishing industry can be, especially to those who might not have the knowledge or the contacts. Working in the London start up scene also meant I was witnessing the changes other industries were making and thought; why can’t publishing make a change too? 

Similarly, (my then friend and now business partner) Dominic was experiencing the same thing working in publishing directly. He came to me with the basic idea for Spora wanting my opinion. ‘Could this work?’ After a few months of back and forth, brainstorming and picking our own ideas apart we grew the original model into Spora Literary as it is today.  

 

A lot of people stumble when it comes to finding the right business partner. How was the process for you? 

Going into business with the right person is crucial, and more often than not it’s someone you might not expect. I was friends with Dominic at University prior to setting up Spora and when he approached me with this idea, it started a dialogue that showed us another side to our relationship. We actually make great business partners and colleagues, who knew? In many ways we are complete opposites in terms of personality and skills sets, but that works to our advantage. We always challenge each other’s assumptions and aren’t afraid to call the other person out on an issue. Going into business with your friend doesn’t work for everyone but we know each other well enough to never take anything too personally.

 

You’re currently managing a full-time job and the launch of your own company. What sacrifices have you had to make? What challenges have you faced? 

For me being super busy is the status quo, I have always had projects on the go be it freelancing, events or blogging. I thrive in high-pressure environments. However, when the stakes get higher it takes a lot more focus and energy to keep the balance. I’m incredibly social and cannot live without seeing my friends and networking, so to fit everything in, my events job, Spora and other commitments, I do compromise on my well-being.

I definitely don’t sleep as much as I should! The biggest challenge is keeping things consistent and finding a structure that works for me. At my full-time job there are things in place, infrastructures that make doing my job much easier. With Spora, I have to create all those structures and processes myself.

I have to set my own deadlines and goalposts and everything always takes longer than you think. I’m still figuring it out. Fortunately I am very passionate about everything I do and the way my life is slowly evolving. I wouldn’t do it all otherwise!

 

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In Interviews on
December 3, 2016

Investing Isn’t Just For Rich White Men. Ask Sallie Krawcheck.

Money tips | Money advice | Ellevest | Investing | Women | Feminism

 

Sallie Krawcheck is on a mission. A few years ago, you would have found her on the cover of Fortune Magazine. As CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, she rose up the ranks to become one of Wall Street’s most powerful women. Today, she’s making her greatest impact yet. Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women, is revolutionising what it means to invest.

If you’ve ever been confused by investing (with that much jargon, who isn’t?) or thought you don’t have enough money to even start investing, this interview is for you. It’s time to get serious about your money, because nothing is more exciting than financial freedom.

 

As someone who has been on the top of Forbes and Fortune lists and had a career that epitomises success, I’m curious about how your definition of success has changed over the years?

At this stage of my life, success to me is all about having an impact and building a great company. Your readers probably haven’t heard the term “gender investing gap” and aren’t aware of the fact it costs them typically hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lives. My goal right now is to, first and foremost, make women aware of it. Secondly, I hope to really inspire women to begin investing. And if they do close the “gender investing gap”, they can live lives that are very different from the ones they would otherwise live.

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In Interviews on
November 26, 2016

No-Bullshit Career Talk With a Copywriter

Copywriter Career Advice

 

Hillary Weiss is the kind of person you discover on the internet and are so glad you did. She has one of the strongest internet presences and voices I’ve ever encountered, and her badass attitude is nothing short of inspiring. Here she discusses why she loves being a copywriter, how to pitch clients (and win!) and the honest money lessons she’s learnt from being self-employed. Enjoy! It’s one of my favourite interviews yet.


 

You’re a renowned copywriter and content extraordinaire. Why do you love what you do? Has anything surprised you about your chosen career path?

I love what I do for so many reasons. 

Firstly, because writing has always been the only thing I’ve ever been good at. 

Seriously: I’m awful at math, I’m not naturally very organized or very neat, growing up I tended to, uh, resist authority, etc. So being a writer – and a self employed one at that – has been the perfect path for me in a lot of ways.

Secondly, I adore my job because it gives me endless opportunities, every day, to transform lives and business, just by giving a voice to ideas.

 

So many brilliant human beings bite their tongues when it comes time to share what’s in their hearts, or even talk about the stuff they’re experts in. They don’t know if it’s the right moment. They don’t know if they’ll say it the right way. They aren’t sure how people will react, or worse, not react. They wrap themselves up so tightly in a web of fear and doubt, their songs go unsung, and uncelebrated. Being able to step in, and be the one to say “Yes, this idea is worth sharing, and I can help you share it,” is a true privilege.

 

I don’t always know what I’m doing either.

I don’t always know how people will react, or whether an idea is as good as I hope it is. 

The only difference is that I have the experience-tempered audacity to shut my eyes and pull the trigger anyway.

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