Consultancy

Lauren Wallett: Creative Anarchist, Pleasure Activist and Certified Coffee Addict

"I don't see the point of holding back. I'm always bouncing. It's how I roll. Most recently it meant relocating to London. I didn't see that coming."

Meet Lauren Wallett, a creative anarchist, pleasure activist, and self-proclaimed coffee addict. Lauren is on a mission to construct the world's inaugural prescriptive AI, giving users a powerful new tool to analyse data and provide specific recommendations or actions.

That tool is known as Creatrix SaaS, and We Are Founders are excited and looking forward to seeing it go from success, to success.

With over 18 years of experience in content marketing, Lauren has collaborated with some of the globe's most prominent brands. However, her true passion lies in nurturing emerging talents brimming with potential.

Lauren's philosophy revolves around the idea that when each individual radiates their utmost brilliance, we collectively illuminate the world. She's dedicated to forging a future characterised by creative excellence, where everyone is welcome to partake.

Here's her journey, in her own words.

Can you tell us about your journey as a founder? What inspired you to start your own business?

I'm a serial entrepreneur and by 26 had already sold 2 businesses. Then I pivoted from my Marketing Agency, to open Create Business Academy to mentor solopreneurs on how to optimise their businesses through content and community. I saw myself as a support role, guiding others to step into the spotlight and stand out as the star they are.

I'd been the pitching coach for TechStars, taught around the world, spoken internationally, and worked behind the scenes with hundreds of business people - and I loved being of service to big dreams and bold visions.

It was only at TechStars Foundercon 2022, watching 20-something boys on stage that I realised: I've got +20 years of expertise in marketing and business and actually, I have what it takes to be a founder too! I got back to Los Angeles and started preparing to build my software.

Two weeks later in October, I flew to New York City to do a recce to confirm it was the best place to establish my start up. I moved in Jan and by April had bootstrapped the first part of my MVP. At 40, I followed my big dream and became a solo founder in NYC.

What challenges did you face in the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey? How did you overcome them?

Growing on a shoestring is always a challenge because you have to do everything yourself. Then you get used to it and so getting support feels inefficient and ineffective - but you can't do it all alone and teething problems are part of the handover process. I see business as an extension and expression of who I am so it's deeply personal and a reflection of my philosophical values.

"I got sober which is a game changer in clarity and trusting your intuition. And I've had to stop having unhealthy relationships and friendships."

There's an art to creating a business like this - you follow your heart even when it doesn't make logical sense. For me, that meant following my bliss and peace of mind. It's been a removal process of people, places, things, habits, and activities and replacing ideas that don't serve me with ones that offer more compassion and acceptance.

For example: I left my home Country of South Africa because I wanted to expand into my potential in Los Angeles.

I got sober which is a game changer in clarity and trusting your intuition. And I've had to stop having unhealthy relationships and friendships. Boundaries and self-respect have been very important. Knowing that my worth isn't dependent on how much money I have and that big dreams take time to come to fruition.

I have to hold a vision for the future that doesn't yet exist and treat myself as a person who's capable of achieving impossible things so that I'm motivated to keep going.

The bigger the risk, the bigger the leap of faith so I've had to become mentally and emotionally strong. "Brave" was my mantra so practicing courage and showing up even when I didn't know what I was doing is how I landed up in incredible places.

I got a green card for exceptional ability as a celebrity entrepreneur which was incredible and costly (+$12500) and when Trump was president he shut down the processing department so I was delayed 3 years in actually getting the card which was super stressful.

Undoing my internalized misogyny was important in overcoming my limiting belief that I was a "helper" instead of a leader.

How did you identify the target market for your product/service? What made you confident that it would resonate with customers?

Marketing needs an upgrade and it is my industry. I know the struggles, challenges, and massive problems shared with solopreneurs, small businesses, and massive global conglomerates. I combined insights from my marketing agency and business school and built a super tool that supports all the people I've served over 20 years. I built the tool of my dreams.

It would have changed the game back for me in the day and it encouraged me to reopen my marketing agency now (As a media agency) because I finally have the effortless support I've always wanted (basically a team of 13 in one SaaS product).

What were some of the major obstacles you encountered while building your business? How did you navigate through those hurdles?

If you go a traditional path you'll encounter obvious problems. Proving yourself to VC's who want traction but not to pay for product build-out (the same VC's who fund less than 2% of women). So I explored the options and found all of them awful.

I didn't want to do the accelerator I was offered and give away 7% of my company for $100K - so I bet on myself and took the financial risk. I lived with a roommate in NYC and when that didn't work out, I moved to live with my sister in London. I decided to build in public on social media and attract people organically.

I'm building this business based on personal relationships that offer win-win solutions for all of us. I've had nothing before. I know how to handle it so I don't have any delusions of grandeur about how this needs to appear to others. I'm a non-conformist.

Security to some feels like suffocation to others and the picket fence life wasn't for me. My businesses and books and my babies.

I want an alternative life so traditional rules don't apply to me. I don't feel the pressures of a biological clock ticking or the need to be married again. My life's focus is on creative expression and creating businesses is a huge part of that.

Could you share a specific moment of doubt or failure you experienced along the way? How did you bounce back from it?

I think I move so fast because I'm scared all the time. In the ancient performance art form of traditional "clowning," there's an idea that Christopher Bayes phrases as "The speed of fun" It means that you go faster than you can think - so you don't think, you just do. I move like that.

And when I'm faced with a problem, like an unsafe living situation, I swiftly pivot - I'm okay with extremes.

I'm used to chaos and living through what others consider terrifying experiences. I don't advocate this life for everyone, but for me, there's no other way to live. I couldn't NOT do everything I'd dreamed of.

I don't see the point of holding back. I'm always bouncing. It's how I roll. Most recently it meant relocating to London. I didn't see that coming.

Turns out it was the best thing that's happened to me, personally, and for Creatrix. I trust the process of creation and that includes lots of confusing blurry times. I know it's part of the heartbeat (contractions and expansions) of birthing something into the world.

How did you approach scaling and expanding your business? What strategies did you employ to ensure sustainable growth?

When I've scaled before it's all been about the goodwill of the brand. For Creatrix, I have a few theatrical alignments with collaborators lined up, and a great board and I'll run all the marketing through my agency: Malva Media, and my PR company: Malva PR, and utilise Creatrix as a tool.

Ensuring the first customers are wildly successful is how I plan to scale, so I'm being strategic and selective about who I allow to use it.

This tool is extremely powerful and I want to right people to have it. I don't believe in winning at all costs. The only way to sustain growth and achieve the scale I want (which to have Creatrix as the industry standard when it comes to marketing) is to maintain personal equilibrium, pleasure, and joy.

I want the same for every business owner. Creatrix is a money-making lifestyle tool.

It isn't about working for productivity's sake. It's about working less so that you can explore creative excellence - at work and at play. Creatrix is just a tool of the future of Creative Excellence for everyone. That's the world I want to live in.

Did you face any scepticism or resistance from others when pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams? How did you handle it?

Maybe? But I tune people out. What do I care what people say who live lives I'd never choose for myself? It's hard for me to respect people who are playing by outdated rules in a losing game.

"I prioritise people over productivity. There's always time for coffee, conversations and some tarot cards!"

If the only way to "win" is to act as if I'm someone I'm not, I've lost. That's punishment. I know the system is rigged with supremacy and oppression and how that wrongly benefits and suppresses me.

So I listen to my intuition, artists, poets, writers, and people I actually respect. I officially stopped listening to old, white, rich, American businessmen in 2020 and it was the best decision I ever made.

Their rules don't work for the rest of us. "Hard work" and "Focus" - such stale ideas when there are a zillion more interesting and achievable alternatives.

You don't need to wake up at 5 am, not drink the overpriced latte, have ice baths, and "hack" your way through your human experience. Life isn't a string of problems to solve. Shame and fear tactics get us nowhere. We get to choose alternative paths, elevate our lifestyles, and seek the extra in the ordinary to make every experience extraordinary. What you do is just as important as what you don't do.

I prioritise people over productivity. There's always time for coffee, conversations and some tarot cards!

Can you describe a key decision you made that significantly impacted the trajectory of your business? What were the factors you considered?

Right now! I'm applying for the Innovative Founder Visa which will mean a permanent relocation to the UK after 6 years in the USA! I am considering my lifestyle, family and peace of mind. I need to take care of my emotional, spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing if I'm going to make Creatrix everything it can be.

And that means I don't have to do it alone. I'm allowed to get support. It's a very big transition and shift for me. So let's see! I'm scared and I'm hopeful (story of my life!)

What advice would you give to aspiring founders who are just starting their entrepreneurial journey?

Join a performing arts class: clowning, improv, acting, musical theatre, dance. Get sober (stop drinking and drugs) and join any 12-step program that suits you. Join lots - just get with the program. You don't need to understand why - you'll experience it when you humble yourself and choose surrender over control.

Enjoy yourself by paying more attention to what matters, not by escaping your pain. This includes setting the scene: candles, fresh flowers, aesthetic details, the music you love - your environment matters. Rest. Keep going.

What role has mentorship played in your entrepreneurial success? Were there any specific mentors who made a significant impact on your journey?

More so they showed me who I didn't want to be. I had male mentors and quickly realised how dysfunctional they were (especially emotionally - unregulated, immature, and creepy - when with loads of money). I am inspired by music - especially musicals like Rent by Jonathan Larson. Poets like Maya Angelo, writers like Bell Hooks and Clowns like Matthew Silver.

Stay up to date with Lauren on LinkedIn, over at her blog, or Instagram  

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