You could say that you are on a “career adventure” instead of a career path. Welcome to “Choose Your Own Adventure”! Our “career adventure” interview series charts the joys & challenges, and many different directions our career adventures can take us. Anything from career changes, working remotely, freelancing, contracting, self-employment, starting your own business, working on your own projects alongside your day job, having a side hustle or a portfolio career – all depending on what choices we make, what steps we choose to take, what opportunities or challenges that come our way in the most unlikely of places that help you to choose your own adventure.
Lucy Werner provides fun, bright, brilliant tips on how you can PR yourself! She’s launching a new book “Hype Yourself” in January 2020 in the new year, runs a PR consultancy from home together her partner, all while looking after their newborn and sharing tips far and wide on how we could all hype up ourselves more.
Thank you, Lucy, for finding the time to share your career adventures telling us about how your went from PR intern to PR expert, making great friends of your clients along the way!
Tell us about yourself
Hello! I’m Lucy, I live in East London with my French partner and we have two children. We also run The Wern together out of our garden office where we do PR & branding for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
What are you working on now?
I’m on “maternity leave” or whatever that looks like when you also run your own business. I’m not doing any paid-for client work but doing lots of guest articles, interviews like this and workshops to promote my book “Hype Yourself” which is coming out in January. I really wanted to provide tools and training to help small business owners learn how to do DIY PR for themselves and this was my way of doing that.
Could you tell us about how your career adventure(s) started, about what experiences, challenges or opportunities you came across over the years that led you to choose your own adventure? Where has your career adventure taken you in the past leading you to where you are now?
My first bite in public relations was as a work experience for a music company, I could wear trainers in the office and used to get free CDs and I thought I was winning at life.
I really grafted for a good ten years in public relations. When I started, I was faxing press releases and at one point I’d sit and manually watch and fast forward showreels on VHS to make sure the order running was right before posting to journalists. It’s a strange thing, the more you work in a PR agency the less actual day-to-day work you do, so once I had hit a really senior position I missed the capacity for day-to-day creativity.
I went to a talk at The School of Life called ‘How to have better conversations’ which was actually the tipping point to me realising I wasn’t serving myself in my current career choice. This led to me making the jump to working on my own clients.
What past projects or anything that you have worked on spark joy for you when you look back at what you have worked on?
One of my first projects for my own business was an experiential stunt for a brand called Poopy Cat, based in Amsterdam. I never thought working on cat litter trays could be as hysterical. It was brilliant.
Almost all of my clients have gone on to become good friends. I am proud of the connections and relationships I have made. When my new-born baby was born needing open heart surgery, it was my former clients and the freelance community that kept me going.
How do you choose what to work on?
Three golden rules:
1. Do I like you,
2. Do I believe in you, and
3. Can I do a good job.
A huge chunk of public relations is sales and you really need to feel part of the team.
What advice, practical or otherwise, would you give to someone looking to start a career adventure similar to your own?
Be prepared to get stuck in and get your hands mucky for a long time but the pay-off is huge.
I love reading the papers, listening to the radio, podcasts, attending events etc. You have to have a real passion for the medium or there is no point. It hit a point where I just wanted to help every entrepreneur and small business owner I met that I knew it was time for me to leave big agencies.
And never stop learning, I’m always attending “How to do PR talks”, reading podcasts, lectures etc. I always continue doing so to be at the top of my game.
Could you describe your day-to-day at “the office(s)”?
Builder tea and papers to start with. I try to read as much as I can, it keeps me inspired and sparks loads of ideas. I prefer writing content in the mornings so often do guest articles, pitching or crafting strategies then. I tend to do calls in the afternoon and then do a bit of email admin.
Where do you feel you work best and thrive the most?
I’m really sociable but I love working on my own listening to music. The garden office for me is perfect as we have huge double doors so I can stare out into a bit of nature.
What inspires and drives you every day?
I love new experiences, whether that is finding something new to do in London or taking a trip. Outside of work mode, I like to explore and feed my brain as much as I can and I love having a career that offers me the flexibility to do that as part of the role. I feel grateful that I can now do this with my family and we are always up and doing early doors. It’s great being where we are in Zone 2, so close to everything London has to offer but also a 20-minute walk from being completely in the middle of nowhere in a nature reserve.
What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?
I was riddled with insecurity and low-confidence until my 30’s. I would ask my younger self to take more time on learning to self-love and stop being so hard on herself and seeking love from others to feel good.
Lucy Werner is a PR expert and founder of The Wern, a specialist communications consultancy and training hub for startups, entrepreneurs and independent brands. She has worked with top emerging business talent such as Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, The Marshmallowist and Vinyl Me, Please. She also consults for innovation, marketing and other public relations agencies. Her book ‘Hype Yourself’ is available for pre-sale here!
Feel free to contact us at Project Anywhere if you have any questions about any of our career adventure stories. Come back soon to read more career adventures! Contact us here if you’d like to be featured here to share your own career adventures story or if you would like to write a guest blog for Project Anywhere.