How She Got There: Laura Wellington, Author & Entrepreneur

Name: Laura Wellington
Age: 51
Job Title and Description: Author & Entrepreneur, includes writing books and the blog THREAD MB, as well as growing the business platform around both 
College Name/Major: Ramapo College of New Jersey, B.S. (Marketing concentration)
Website: www.threadmb.com
Twitter Handle: @TheFourStarDiet
Instagram Handle: @ljwelli12

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

LW: I work for myself, so that allows me a lot of flexibility in how I run my schedule. It’s always been a big benefit to me because when you have five kids and you want to be a hands-on parent, that makes all the difference in the world. There’s not a real typical day because of the craziness with my professional life with my new book having come out. Every day is a new event, whether it be someone new approaching me with another opportunity or wanting to collaborate on another book that maybe they have an idea on. 

And then there’s a ton of marketing that goes into whatever you’re doing, whether it be writing a book, selling a product or marketing yourself. I deal with my publisher and deal a lot with the media, but it really changes from day to day. The best part about it though is that I get to craft what each day looks like. And of course, my youngest is still eight, so I get a chance to be involved in his life whether it be running between my work and then going to a baseball game that he’s playing. So, it varies, there’s no real normal. 

What is the best part of your job?

LW: The best part of my job is watching my art and the progression of my career unveil itself - to be more than I ever could have anticipated. I think that’s been the real fun of this. And the surprise, the excitement has been landing where you never expected and seeing what you’ve created, which no one else has created. It puts you in a place that when people applaud you for it in a sense - and it’s not the applause per say, it’s just the satisfaction of knowing that you helped - you actually made an impact, and seeing what comes of that. Because, once you create something that people want, all types of doors open, and that’s what causes your day to be so untypical!

You just don’t know what’s going to come of what you created, and that’s really exciting. It’s just satisfying to know that you’re going to leave something behind that another person has not.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

LW: It’s funny, I have had very few jobs in my life. I’ve always been an entrepreneur, so I think the only job I had prior to me being an entrepreneur was working for a tech company who put computer systems into restaurants. That would lend itself to where I am now because I was in tech for many years - we own a number of companies my late husband and I - and then once that phase of my life was done, I went on to create children’s television, and then I went on to begin writing. Each one has helped the other, and each one has a link to the other. So, it’s been a very interesting adventure.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

LW: Truthfully, this is easy for me because I basically say this every day to myself in some way, shape or form: “Whether you can or you can’t, you’re right.” It’s the truth. And anyone who's an entrepreneur needs to understand that and wear that statement close to the breast because you have to really believe in yourself, and if you don’t believe in yourself, then you’re right. You will never make it. So you have to become your biggest cheerleader.

And that’s tough to do, especially as a young woman or a woman in general. We don’t seem to be raised to pat ourselves on the back, where men are raised like that all the time. A woman takes things to heart, failure becomes very personal to a woman. I think you really need to develop a thick skin without becoming hardened because those are two different things. Also, you need to believe that you can and realize that if you don’t believe that you can, you’re right. You won’t.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

LW: When you're young and you’re out there to conquer the world, you think that the battle is only up to you. You forget that that’s not how the world works, really. There’s always going to be outside forces that come into play, whether it be someone you need to prove that an idea will work to and making sure they know it’s worth their time to do so. The universe has its own forces that either work for you or against you. You have to leave space within an area of your head that allows for that partnership because you’re only half the battle. There are other things that come into play that make up the other half. You have to leave space for reality, and you have to leave space for the universe to work with you.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

LW: When I was first in children’s television, and the character I created, called a Wumbler - I walked into a Walmart store and I was shocked to see the character on the side of the watermelon bin in the store. Something that I created was actually in the store helping people buy watermelon. What you created, it becomes real. It’s real life to you now. That’s always interesting to have that happen, and then you’re surprised by it. When you’re in business, you have other people doing other things, so you’re not always aware of where they sold things to. So I was just really surprised by that and it was so cool to see that little Wumbler on the side of the watermelon bin. And the second moment is interviewing Andrea Bocelli.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

LW: The first thing I look for and I’ll always buy before anything else is passion. They have an excitement for what they’re going to do for me. If they just have an enthusiasm about life, if they’re bright-faced and ready to go, I’ll take that over experience any day. 

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

LW: Keep positive and become your own cheerleader. Realize that there’s nothing that’s going to happen to you along the way that isn’t for your own good. It’ll only develop you into a better leader. Sometimes it’s really hard to be an entrepreneur. It’s really hard to constantly be pushed back, get that “no” time and time again, and then continue to go on. But that happens because it’s the weed out process. If you can’t keep getting back up, you’re not going to make it. And that’s just life because there’s only a certain amount of people who get to the top, so those spots are slim. If you really want to make it you have to be able to get back up no matter what, even on the days that you don’t feel like it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like it. Feelings have nothing to do with this, not if you want to win. 

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

LW: There’s never really been one thing. Every person is so unique. I had a young lady interview with me and she was dyslexic and her resume reflected her dyslexia, and ultimately I ended up hiring her. The reason why I hired her was because she was so lively, so bubbly and so creative. Very few people know that - and I know this because I have a daughter who’s dyslexic - there’s enormous creativity in differences like this. It’s “differences,” I don’t say “handicapped.” They’re just differences. If you understand what you can get with those differences, you gain something in the organization that you may not have known about or have gotten had you hired the resume that was more conventional. You have to look at each person as an individual and see if that person fits the job you’re looking to hire them for, and she did. She ended up being an incredible employee for us. 

What inspired your new book, What to Do When Jane Knows DICK About Dating: If He Wants You, You Will Know It?

You have to be open to allowing life to show itself to you, and that you’re only half the battle. What happened there was I had come to a bit of a crossroad, my youngest daughter had gone off to college, and it gave me some space to think about next steps. I was no longer at the place that I was in raising my kids, so I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do now. I decided I’d take a trip to Amsterdam.

And I love to travel, I think travel for women is so important. I always say if you want to expand your horizons and become a better leader or person in general, travel. The exposure is amazing and can bring ideas to you that you might not have gotten otherwise, or just understandings. And so I did that! I hopped on a plane and went to Amsterdam and I spent about a week there. While I was there, I ran into two women I did not know.

They were seated at the bar and they were talking about a very bad date one of them had. The man that she had been with from what I overheard of the story was really disrespectful. And then the question arose whether or not she should see him again despite how disrespectful he was! To me, it was an obvious answer but to her, it wasn’t. And so I laughed out loud just from the absurdity of it - I didn’t anticipate doing that but I just was shocked - and so she turned around and drew me into their conversation.

I spent the next hour with them talking about the importance of having self-respect. The importance of really valuing yourself as a woman, as a human being, as a daughter, etc. and they really took it to heart. She suggested I write a dating book and frankly I had no desire to write a dating book. In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d do that. But that idea haunted me for the next week. I called up a publisher I had done a favor for at one point and said, “Here’s the idea, what do you think,” and he signed me on the spot. You know an idea is right when mountains are moved when they shouldn’t be moved by the idea. And then when the idea flows to the point where basically, in this case, it wrote itself and you’re more the tool. And that’s what happened with this book.

I had a five-week writing deadline because I was traveling again, and then I had a six-month release date and we hit the marks without a problem because the book wrote itself and then it came out. What’s really interesting is not only seeing how it’s trending among young women and even women my age and older, but men are applauding! Men are saying, “She’s right on the money and it’s scary that she is!” and if you have a man saying that, that’s something to pay attention to. It’s not as if they want their jig to be up, it’s just the truth. It’s just wisdom and understanding male and female.

My heart bleeds a lot for young women because they’re very confused when it comes to dating. It’s a very confusing time. Rules are changing but they’re not. Women are expected to do more than ever. Whether it be in life or in dating, they feel like they have to prove themselves to be equal when they’re equal already. There’s no proving. We feel like we are equal because we pay the bill, we cook the meal and we clean the dishes. Well, where does that leave space for him? What does that leave for him to do? How is he proving himself to you? There’s fair in life. If you want to pay the bill, then let him cook and clean. If you want to cook and pay the bill, then let him clean. We feel like we have to not be equal, we need to supersede to prove our equality. No! You don’t. No one expects you to except for you. 

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Amanda is a senior at Carthage College double majoring in Communications and Public Relations. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois, which she can confirm is indeed a windy city. When she's not at cross country or track & field practice, she can be found obsessing over pizza, watching dachshund videos on Facebook, or enjoying the Lake Michigan view on campus. She is also the Editor in Chief for her college's Her Campus chapter, and a Her Campus Editorial Intern.

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