Poised, intelligent, creative, ambitious, and BOLD – just a few ways to describe this month’s #Truboss, Lauren Shirreffs.
In less than four short years, Lauren, along with her business partner, Steve Dolson, has turned 2Social into one of the most successful social media marketing agencies in Toronto with clients like Frigidaire, Bento Sushi and Pancreatic Cancer Canada.
Can she attribute her success as a self-starter to passion and determination? Sure! The “right” connections? Unlikely. Luck? Probably not.
Lauren will be the first to tell you that it takes a ton of hard work, persistence and self-belief to convert an idea into reality, and she shares a lot more as the November #Truboss!
BT: I understand you’ve been an entrepreneur for most of your life. From selling your artwork as a child to offering personal training services for five years, and now running 2Social with 30 clients and counting! Did you always know you’d “make it” as your own boss?
LS: I always knew I’d be able to support myself and create a life I was proud of. “Make it” has many different meanings, to many different people. It would depend on overall goals and life plan – and I try not to think about it too much, opting to just focus on the work at hand.
One of the best quotes I have heard is “don’t show up to the party like you’ve arrived if you’ve only just received the invitation.” I have a long way to go before I put my feet up and say I’ve made it. But I can happily say, being an entrepreneur has added incredible value to my life. It continues to excite me every day, and I am constantly thinking, “what’s next?”
BT: 2Social has achieved so much since 2013! What has been the highlight for you the past three years?
LS: Wow. So many ha! Firstly, every time I receive a testimonial from a client I tear up. Sincerely. Also, the time I signed our first national brand as a client; this one was a big deal for me because I felt like we were going in the direction of my dreams. And I guess, the day I looked around my office and had 13 employees, versus 3, that was certainly a moment.
The only thing worse than failure (and boredom) is being afraid to try.
BT: You are bound to experience ups and downs when you’re running your own business. That being said, you have openly blogged about successful moments as well as the disappointing ones in your life. Your transparency is very admirable. Can you recall a failure in your career that has brought you to where you are today?
LS: First, thanks for noticing because I really try, to be honest about it all. Yes, I mean, entrepreneurship is such a crazy rollercoaster… one day you are happier than a pig in… and the next you are sitting up with anxiety. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or has an awesome prescription.
One of the reasons I write about failures is because I really believe in using them for learning. Every one of my “failures” has led to amazing new beginnings and opportunities.
Before 2Social, when I was growing tired of the freelance world, I had the opportunity to interview for a huge tech company, and it sounded like the perfect (and coolest) job. After 3 rounds of interviews, and really feeling confident that I nailed it, I had a call to basically… tell me otherwise. It was between myself and another candidate, and they chose to go with the latter. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. It truly made me question my knowledge base, experience, and confidence. So, rather than cry about it (but I did), I signed up for night courses in areas I thought I needed improvement, continued my freelancing, jazzed up my vision board (truth), met my business partner, and began 2Social. If they weren’t going to give me the job I wanted, I was going to go out and create it for myself. And I have. I now I have my dream job.
BT: You are always photographed at the hottest events in the city, sporting the BEST outfits! What is your go-to power outfit that makes you feel invincible when you’re heading into a high-pressure situation?
LS: Well, I really have to credit my stylist sister, because it’s her pushing me to dress outside of my box (and throw away my cardigans) that brings about my best outfits. In a high-pressure situation, I think you can’t go wrong with a killer trench, heeled black booties, sleek black trousers (slim fit) and a tucked in tailored shirt. Really, dressing depends on my mood, and I always feel better in anything if I have a fresh blow-out, curled lashes and a bit of blush.
BT: With a busy schedule during the day and a demanding schedule in the evening, what is your favourite way to decompress?
LS: A short nap, a long shower, and a deep glass of wine. Oh yeah, the gym too. Totally the gym.
BT: There isn’t a secret sauce to success but many successful women have habits that stand out from others. What habits would you say contribute to your success?
LS: I am a morning person, and love the quiet time to think about the day ahead. I write out my goals, I spend time thinking about what I am grateful for, and I text or call a loved one before work. This starts off my day with love, positivity, and gratitude- and keeps me feeling more patient and grounded while powering through even the toughest of moments.
Also, early on I put together a “personal board of directors” of people whose opinions I value and trust, and who had varied experience in different industries. I make time to meet with one of them quarterly to talk shop and share ideas or experiences. This has proved exceptionally valuable and assisted me in situations when I may not otherwise know the best way to address.
BT: Who is your favourite female #Truboss and why?
LS: My mom. She speaks her mind, she oozes confidence, she is the life of any party and can convince anyone the sky is green (all while making the best dinner of your life). I don’t know many people who can multi-task like her. Pretty bad ass.
BT: What kind of advice can you offer aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for a little push to launch their own business?
LS: Before you start your own business, I think it is important to experience working for someone – in the same field or otherwise. This experience will prove valuable when you manage a team, communicate with a client, and treat your work schedule.
Stay inspired along the way and have faith in yourself. The only thing worse than failure (and boredom) is being afraid to try. At least your can say you did it.