26 July 2021|Female Founder Spotlight, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Stephanie White is the Hampshire-based founder of copywriting agency By The Way Creative. After graduating from university, Stephanie went into her one and only corporate role, leading the marketing team in a small, but high-pressure company. Stephanie found it to be a strict, stifling, and sexist environment. The atmosphere and long workdays soon took their toll. Soon after, while abroad, Stephanie’s live-in partner of five years cheated, and Stephanie was left with their joint legal and financial obligations. The stress, trauma, and anxiety resulted in her worst anorexia relapse to date. On New Year’s Day, Stephanie had a realisation “this cannot be my life”, and took steps to change things.
She had the confidence to resign her corporate job, returned to waitressing in order to pay the bills, and established By The Way Creative in April 2017.
Stephanie now helps to give female entrepreneurs a voice, empowering them to have the confidence to use their words to go after what they want, helping to create a generation of assertive women. We were delighted to catch up with her recently for our Female Founder Spotlight Series.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I was a Navy brat, moving schools and countries thanks to my dad’s job – which was great! I was born in Wales, moved to Singapore when I was 11 months old, after which we moved to New Zealand, then back to the UK, when I was 9 years old. I’d class myself as being from Hampshire, and that’s where I live now. It was great seeing those countries and experiencing different cultures, and it really formed who I am as a person – I learned that being outspoken and using my voice was the best way for me to adjust to my constantly changing environment. I studied English Literature at university, focusing on feminist topics and really forming my passion for female empowerment.
I’ve always loved to write, so when I realised that the corporate 9-5 (let’s be real here, 7-6) wasn’t for me, I looked for a way to turn what I love into a business. By The Way Creative was established soon after, and is now a thriving copywriting agency for creatives, entrepreneurs and digital marketers.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
By The Way Creative only came about after my terrible experience of the corporate world, which I truly hated. I was constantly tired and not enjoying it one bit. The incredibly sexist and stifling environment didn’t help.
When I calculated that my hourly rate (due to all the unpaid overtime and long hours) it was less than when I had worked as a waitress (a job I actually loved), I quit and went back to waitressing to pay the bills, while starting to plan my own business.
It was in April 2017, when I was 23 years old, that I set up By The Way Creative. Over the course of a few months, working with different clients, I realised that I wanted to work with female entrepreneurs, giving them a voice and the confidence to use it, and from there developed my first copywriting programme. It really was the best thing I ever did.
How did you achieve awareness?
It’s been a combination of networking, a strong support system, social media, and investing in PR. We’re lucky in this day and age that we have the power of Instagram and Facebook for example, enabling us to reach so many more people, especially during a time when we were locked down! The key, I find, is to stay true to yourself – don’t push yourself so far out of your comfort zone that it becomes unbearable, but strive every day to be a better version of you – whatever that looks like to you.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
Self-funded baby! I took the last of my savings and invested in a VIP coaching day – this was a massive 4-figure leap, so not an insignificant decision, and it changed my business. It was that day that I came up with the idea for my copywriting programme, Wake Up + Smell the Copy, which has since evolved into a self-study course and sold in the five figures. Since then I have frequently reinvested into By The Way Creative, most recently into the conversion to a limited company, and have expanded the team to six incredible women and numerous external suppliers as we’ve scaled to the six-figure turnover mark and beyond!
What are the key successes?
What aren’t they!? So many. Hitting six-figure years, creating a life I love, helping to give hundreds of women a voice… But I would say the main successes are being able to give back. It’s not how much you earn that matters, it’s what you can do with that money – that’s what truly fulfils you. By The Way Creative gives me the freedom to use my time volunteering at a homeless shelter, the business is totally carbon offset, and I am able to fulfil my ‘green’ nature on a higher level. For instance, I have set up a mission for the business ‘30 under 30’, where we intend to sponsor thirty girls from underdeveloped countries to stay in school – we currently sponsor one girl, and I am 27, so plenty of time to reach the target!
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
I think my biggest obstacles were the ones in my mind. I know now that you can achieve anything you put your mind and heart to but back then, especially as a young woman whose confidence had taken a battering both professionally and personally, it was easier said than done.
The first step was quitting my corporate job. It brought me no joy and was affecting my mental health massively. Slowly, with the support of my now-husband, friends, and peers, I overcame these self-imposed obstacles and thrived.
What are your plans now/for the future?
The world is my oyster! My business has achieved more than I ever thought possible – we have just become a VAT-registered limited company – so what’s stopping me from achieving even more? I plan to meet more people, more clients and more mentors. There’s really no limit and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for By The Way Creative.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Go for it! If there is something you love to do, there will be a way to make money from it. Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate, living a life you don’t love. You already have within you everything you need to succeed.
Can you share your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Yes, absolutely. There are so many things I wish someone had told me before I started but it’s all part of the learning curve! A few pointers I would mention include:
- Outsource everything that isn’t your expertise and focus on what it is you’re good at
- Niche into your perfect client – you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s fine. Focus on those that love the brew that is you.
- Allow yourself to feel your stress and anxieties – it’s what makes you you and will make you a better entrepreneur in the long run.
- Heed advice with caution – yes, hire coaches and get business advice. But remember that you are the captain of your own ship, always
- Don’t expect everyone to understand, and be ok with it. Entrepreneurs are enigmas, it’s natural to feel a little misunderstood
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
Very many! I believe that success is a result of a support network and I’m lucky enough to have a team in mine! To name but a few;
In terms of public figures, it would be https://www.instagram.com/inthefrow/ – Victoria. I’ve followed her since I was a teen and she first started blogging. Now she’s an internationally recognised fashion influencer with impeccable content, a bulletproof work ethic and a dreamy wardrobe. I just totally admire her perfectionism and dedication.
My close friend and colleague, Ayse. https://www.instagram.com/surgesocialuk/
My awesome coach, Amy. https://www.instagram.com/socialcactuscoaching/
And my copywriting mentor, Lauren. https://www.instagram.com/thewealthywordress/
But most of all, my husband. He was the one that encouraged me to quit my corporate job and go solo when we’d only been dating for a couple of months. He has always had unwavering faith in me and is a fantastic listener.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a HELL NO.
Always go the extra 2%. Sometimes it’s the difference between good and record-breaking.
What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?