Lauren McPhillips is the creative mastermind behind This Renegade Love, an online community that helps bloggers, entrepreneurs and creative types craft their own unique brand. She discusses the exciting rebrand that's taking place at This Renegade Love, the importance of learning to say no, and the one piece of advice she'd give any entrepreneur.
We're so excited to be featuring this Toronto-based entrepreneur. Lauren is passionate and promises to serve up realness in everything she does. If you're not already familiar with her healthy-dose-of-reality commentary, then we can't wait for you to meet her -- and be blown away by this interview!
Q. This Renegade Love — We love renegades! What’s your driving philosophy? The mark you want to make?
I launched This Renegade Love back in 2015, and since then, the driving philosophy has been to ‘build a life that is authentically you.’ I’ve always focused on serving content that encourages authenticity and vulnerability, and I do that through sharing my own stories and experiences, then inviting my community to do the same.
Q. What inspires you? What do you do when you feel a lack of inspiration?
I usually find most of my inspiration from everyday life and experiences, whether it’s the coffeeshop chats I have with friends or the podcasts I listen to or the stories from entrepreneurs who have launched their ideas from the ground up. When I started This Renegade Love, it was to be able to tell the stories of these ‘renegades’- just ordinary people who were doing extraordinary things with their lives.
I’ve also stopped looking so much for external inspiration and instead have been looking internally. I go for long walks without my phone and just let my mind wander – it’s crazy the places your thoughts will take you if you give them space to grow!
"The growing trend of all things 'influencer' is something I've been thinking a lot about lately...we're losing sighed of what it actually means to be influential, and really what we're doing with that influence."
Q. What is something you’re particularly excited about at the moment?
I’m in the middle of a rebrand, so I’m really excited to move forward in this new direction for This Renegade Love. All the core values are the same, but there will be a real focus on providing content and services that focus on a holistic view of entrepreneurship – all the elements that play a role in self-employment besides the ‘hustle’, from mental health to self-confidence. Included in the rebrand will be some offline workshops, more of The Renegade Sessions group meetings for female biz owners, and a new course on how to build a sustainable and profitable blog.
Q. What’s one recent trend or change that worries you?
The growing trend of all things ‘influencer’ is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, because I think it’s getting to be quite murky and we’re losing sight of what it actually means to be influential, and really what we’re doing with that influence.
When ‘influencers’ were first a thing, it would be a blogger or a YouTuber thinking “I’m really passionate about XYZ, I know a lot about it and I think there are people out there who could really benefit from me sharing it” – they started creating and sharing because it was a passion of theirs, and they became influencers organically because they grew communities who connected to them and trusted their opinion.
But now that being an influencer is an actual job that you can make good money from, people are launching Instagram accounts and YouTube channels with the sole goal of being an ‘influencer’. Instead of building community to influence ideas and actions, it’s become a lot more about building an audience to make money. And while I don’t think it’s bad at ALL for creators to partner with brands on content (hello, I do it!), for many it’s become the driving purpose.
Q. Who is your dream dinner guest?
I’ve been having a bit of an obsession with Jane Fonda lately. I recently watched a documentary on how many lives she’s lived, from an actress to an activist, and it was wildly interesting. She’s so self-assured, gives no f*cks what people think of her and is just such a total badass.
Q. Describe your typical morning, or if they change day by day, your ideal way to start the day.
As of late, I’ve been more of an early riser. I’ve been trying to wake up at 5am to get a head-start on creative writing (which is proving to be harder than I thought), and then I go to my F45 workout at 6:50 am. When I come home, I shower then walk my dog Keith and take that time to let my mind wander and get the creative juices flowing. By 9:00 am, I’m ready to start work and usually do my first two hours of work at the coffeeshop next door. From there, each day is completely different!
"Follow your own path… at the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is not about becoming a second version of someone else."
"Follow you own path... at the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is not about becoming a second version of someone else."
Q. Coffee, Tea, Elixir or other?
Latte, extra hot.
Q. Guilty pleasure?
Pleasures are meant to be enjoyed without guilt, no matter how embarrassing! I love crappy reality TV (Real Housewives of New Jersey is my go-to) and will never turn away a pot of Kraft Dinner (which my Aussie husband thinks is positively vile).
Q. What do you do to chill/unwind/pamper yourself?
There’s nothing like running a hot bath, pouring in some luxe Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir bath oil, lighting candles, topping up a glass of Sauv Blanc and watching crap TV on my laptop for an hour. GLORIOUS.
Q. What’s your definition of work-life balance? Do you feel that you have it and if so, how do you maintain it.
I think everyone’s situation is different, but for me, I’m able to maintain work-life balance by managing the expectations of other people and learning to say ‘no’. I’ve experienced burn-out from pushing myself too hard and wanting to please everyone, and it’s come at the cost of pleasing myself. Recently, I’ve started to take regular social media breaks (1-2 weeks at a time), which has really helped me to focus on my own creative process without distraction or without consuming anyone else’s creativity at the same time.
Q. What’s one piece of advice you would give any entrepreneur?
Follow your own path. There’s a lot you can learn from podcasts and courses and workshops and those who have done it before you, but at the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is not about becoming a second version of someone else. It’s about building a business and a brand that reflects your vision, your values, your voice and your version of success. Learn what you need to from others, then focus on doing it your way.