Tessa Parry-Wingfield is the founder of The Power of Words writer collective – who encountered not one, but three lightbulb moments during the entry level of the Wyseminds’ training programme.
Where to begin? My all woman writer collective, The Power of Words, began writing for Wyseminds about a year ago. But, it became increasingly obvious that it was me, as TPW’s founder, who needed the wisdom of Wyseminds’ Julie Perkins and her knowledge of working with female entrepreneurs – as much as we needed her as a client. Arguably more so.
Everything for everyone
I’d recently made the bold (read possibly foolish) move to go from being a one man band business writer to heading up a small copywriting consultancy. Rather naively, I thought this was an obvious next step. And it was, in many ways. But my offering was weak: we were fast becoming everything for everyone. ‘We write any copy for any sector, anywhere in the world’, kind of thing. Not only copy – but video, podcasts, graphics. More content, content, content; a kaleidoscope of confusion and chaos.
Lightbulb moment #1: I didn’t want to continue on this path
As I delved deeper into Julie’s work with other female entrepreneurs, embarked on ‘Your Journey’ – their interactive training programme – and started having my own brainstorms with her, my first mini lightbulb moment happened: I realised TPW was not only not purpose-led, it was entirely purpose-less. And certain patterns of behaviour were escalating and perpetuating tiring inefficiencies and annoyances. Sure, I’d still be able to grow, operationally. But I would be the worker bee, pouring my energies into the operational level of TPW. A project manager (where my skill set does not lie) frantically doing more, with less enjoyment – and a lot of burn out. This was the trajectory I was obviously on, just one year in.
No more ‘niching’
Various calls with Julie later (simultaneously the most patient listener and yet galvanising guide I’ve ever met) and it was time to give purpose a go. I’d spent a lot of time previously trying to ‘niche’’ as they say; we write for particular sectors and have experience in certain topics like tech. But purpose, I (wrongly) believed, was the territory of companies that fight to save the planet, people or animals. Or a word bandied about by corporates trying to fulfil their ESG pledges. To think that a writer collective could have a purpose that acts as a North Star of the business, was both confusing and compelling, in equal measures.
Lightbulb moment #2: discovering untold stories
Then came the quite daunting task of trying to unearth what that purpose might be for our all woman writer collective. Julie asked me to peel back the layers to when I first started in journalism. What was it about the newsroom that I loved? I explained my intrinsically nosey nature. How it was our job to discover untold stories from all corners of the world so they could be heard. And there we had it, my next (proper) lightbulb moment – although it was Julie whose face lit up, alerting me to the fact that we’d hit a nail well and truly on its head.
More enjoyable and no less profitable
The Power of Words’ purpose was born: we discover and write untold stories for businesses. This is now a North Star for my company. One that my writers, clients (and perhaps one day investors!) can align to. No more niches. No more obliviously ploughing energy into growing by doing more. Instead, doing it better when it’s the right fit. And above all, not taking on any clients (or writers, for that matter) that don’t align with our purpose. We would only write for brands if we truly felt we could unearth an untold story which brought value. That may mean turning away lucrative gigs. But that’s ok – because there are better fits out there. Ones that are both enjoyable and profitable.
Lightbulb moment #3: tapping into the zeitgeist
My lightbulb moments soon turned into a trilogy. Thanks to Julie’s insight, and the space she’s given me to air my angst and ambitions, I have come to another liberating conclusion: some time in the future (not now, the time is not yet right), I’d like The Power of Words to write untold stories for or about women only. Challenges, equality, ageism, pay, menopause. And that’s a pretty powerful purpose right there – one that we’d all be proud to be aligned to that I believe captures the zeitgeist of right now, as well.
But I’m racing ahead. I am only part-way on the journey. I still have some of the entry level to the training programme to go: defining our values, proposition and only then, business strategies for the future.
It’s not easy, but it is liberating…
Finding purpose is difficult, yes; it’s not a straight-forward endeavour. Well, it wasn’t for me, anyway. Your brain can ache. And at times, Finding Purpose (like Nemo) feels elusive. But, Wyseminds guides you through in such a kind, curious and motivating way, that you never feel like you’re in a tunnel on your own, trying to dig yourself out. When you do see the light, it’s liberating. And exciting. And it’s changed the course of my business. Now for TPW’s next purpose-led chapter.
To have your own lightbulb moment, why not join the entry level to ‘Your Journey’ right now? Click here to find out more.