On the up · 15 February 2017

PR guru Lucy Werner reveals her secret to banishing ‘sunday night dread?

Lucy Werner
Lucy Werner: “The nature of working with startups is that some don’t always make it”
Soon after leaving the corporate world to become a freelancer over two years ago, Lucy Werner realised that new and growing UK businesses were hugely underserved by quality PR services.

She launched The Wern as a new top-quality consultancy, specifically there to support startups.

Business Advice sat down with Werner to discuss her experiences going it alone, and why startups, more than most businesses, needed trusted representation behind them.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

Im Lucy Werner, founder at The Wern, a PR consultancy and training center for startups, small and independent business owners.

(2) How long have you been around for?

Ive been working in-house and agency PR for approximately 13 years, but started working on my own client portfolio full-time from January 2015. I gave myself three months with savings as a salary to give it a go.

(3) How do you make money?

In as many ways as possible, as a team we work on retained PR briefs and projects. I also am building additional revenue streams for the business for ad-hoc expert consultancy, training and talks.

We are also in talks to represent our first female founder for talent management.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

Were different because we fill a gap in the market for all the amazing new and small businesses out there that can’t afford the London agency prices that are usually affiliated with quality PR.

We sit somewhere between a freelancer and a competitive PR agency.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

Meeting Dominic Cools-Lartigue, the original founder of Street Feast, who was in development for his next project.

He inspired me to work with other self-starters whose business passion is contagious.

Cools-Lartigue took me out of my comfort zone and off the grid of the traditional 9 to 5? full-time job. His unwavering belief in me that I had a talent catapulted me into the world I inhabit today.

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

My accountant telling me he was proud of me after we completed our first-year tax return, and still genuinely being in love with my vocation a decade after I started in that world.

I don’t think many people like their day job, but I pride myself on never having Sunday night dread, and my work makes me happy.

The Wern
Members of the growing PR team at The Wern
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

The nature of working with startups is that some don’t always make it, one client went bankrupt and I had paid the freelancer who worked with me on the project.

I was left out of pocket at quite an early stage of my business and it was financially crippling at the time.

(8) In five years? time, I will be??

Continuing to expand our revenue streams by helping as many small businesses as I can with my team.

From teaching people, how to do PR for themselves to passing on some of my knowledge back into the industry, to stopping bad practice don’t get me started on blanket emails to journalists, where PRs can’t even be bothered to put the person’s name on an email!

I also like to take on a few pro bono projects a year in East London where our office is based and most of the team live.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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