Above all, try to stay patient with yourself while you figure it all out – Phoebe Lovatt.
Phoebe Lovatt has been an idol of mine since the summer of 2013, when I picked up one of the last ever Company magazines – remember those?! – and found her 25 year old self as a freelance journalist, born in London, living and working in LA. That tiny article inspired me more than any other piece of journalism, so much so I’ve kept it ever since. Since then, Phoebe has interviewed the likes of Nicki Minaj and Sophia Amoruso, built her own empire for fellow working women called The WW Club which is now worldwide, self published a book called The Handbook – which I obviously bought – and now has a published book that is out today! In a nutshell, this is why Phoebe Lovatt is one of the biggest inspirations for women in the creative industries. Now, she shares her insights, advice and own inspirational women in The Working Woman’s Handbook which is published by Prestel.
CONCISE | EASY TO READ | INTERACTIVE
Set into seven chapters – including an intro and outro – The Working Woman’s Handbook carefully guides you through each crucial stage of getting your own innovative idea off the ground, whether that is as a freelancer (like Phoebe), a businesswoman, or working your way up the career ladder via various jobs within a company. It is gold dust for bloggers who are looking to monetise their creative corners of the web.
The main body of the text has chapters answering those questions such as where to start? how much to charge? how to keep sane and healthy throughout the entire process? Phoebe has answered them all in bite sized chunks and columns that will quicken your pace of reading.
Each section also has fabulous – and very handy – worksheets to fill out, or copy, or simply read to capture your progress in both Handbook and your potential career. The exercises are concise, yet pinpoint everything you need to go over in relation to your career, in chronological order. For example, at the beginning, she asks you simple questions about you and your life to figure out what exactly it is you want. You might not know specifically what you want, but have an idea as to where your faded path lies, at the beginning of the book, but once you’ve finished reading, you will have a new-found motivation to definitely figure it out, if you haven’t done so already. There are also checklists and inspiration pages that are tailored to you.
One thing that I definitely loved about the first Handbook were the mini interviews with incredible women across the worlds of fashion, journalism and businesses who had started from nothing and worked their ways up. The Working Woman’s Handbook is no different. In between the pink, grey and blue pages (incredible colour scheme – great for coffee tables), there are bites of interviews with women who are amazing in every way. The likes of Teen Vogue editor, Elaine Welteroth, speaks about her career fear, alongside designer, Sandy Liang, who talks about running on crazy energy at the beginning of her career, and Neneh Cherry, the musician, who boldly reminds us all to be true to ourselves and our craft as well as stating that everyone’s calling is completely different, just as everyone’s paths are: there’s no need to rush. These women prove that if you want something, you go and get it. Every time I need a career pick-me-up, or a burst of inspiration, I know where I can turn to within a millisecond.
THERE’S NO DENYING THE GRAFT
Sometimes a dream just seems way too far away. I know that feeling. And sometimes, that distant sparkle of a dream is so out of reach that it makes you feel like you want to give up. However, reading this book reminds me that nothing is ever handed to anyone on a plate and I cannot just wish and dream about it, whilst sending copious emails about a possible collaboration one week, but not following up the next. I am guilty of this. I know I have worked my arse off getting the contacts that I have (see Portfolio), but there is always more work to be done, especially if you want to be a freelancer or a blogger full time, or self-employed in general.
Phoebe reiterates this by varying between motivational bursts and simply saying it how it is: if you’re not prepared to work, it’s not going to happen. And that is the truth. The chapter “Work Well” is especially good for this part of the gruelling process of becoming freelance, jam-packed with more inspirational women too!
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT WORK, WORK, WORK
Despite it being called The Working Women’s Handbook, not everything is about the actual work. Phoebe stresses that in order to work well, you need to have time for yourself as well as a social life, and a holiday every once in a while. I loved the example of a working week where there are sectioned off squares for gym sessions, free time, creative brainstorming, meetings and more. It makes it all seem doable and accessible; if you do it well, it looks like a breeze from an outsiders point of view. There are paragraphs talking about motherhood and the “roles” of women as well as motivational protests that we can actually have it all if we want to, however that can lead to a frazzled brain and unhappiness. Nevertheless, if done correctly in a balanced manner, giving leeway here and there, why shouldn’t women be able to be the best mother in the world as well as the best boss, alongside the best partner and best friend?
When Phoebe first shared on Instagram (@phoebelovatt // @thewwclub) that she was publishing a new book, I knew I had to get my hands on it because without even opening the first page, it was obvious that this book would have pride of place on my bookshelf next to the likes of #GIRLBOSS and It by Alexa Chung. Plus, all the colours match!
Are you going to be buying The Working Women’s Handbook? Let me know what you think of it! Which interview or section or exercise is your favourite?
Love, Faye xo
* This book was kindly sent to me by Prestel UK, however all views and obsessive nature of this book are my own.