Lauryn Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential
Meet Lauryn Evarts Bosstick, influencer, creative director, and founder of The Skinny Confidential, 360 lifestyle and wellness brand built around content for millennial women. Founded in 2011, The Skinny Confidential started as a blog made to offer tips and tricks to young women interested in wellness, and over the course of nearly a decade, has grown into a media empire that sees Lauryn at its head, the blogging exemplar leading legions of “#bossbabes” across the Internet’s infinite corners.
Meticulous and calculating, Lauryn pulls back the curtain to reveal the cogs of a well-oiled machine many are quick to label as an overnight success. With over 800,000 followers on Instagram keeping up with her every move, from the serums she uses at night, to the “Justin Bieber Pasta” she orders at a Beverly Hills restaurant, Lauryn invites her audience along for the ride, serving up aspirational goodness on a golden platter while maintaining the informational integrity the blogging industry was founded on.
Despite building a business that places her in the eye of the storm, Lauryn stresses the importance of tapping industry experts to maximize value and offer as much specialized information as possible through The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast, co-hosted with her husband featuring interviews with leaders and professionals across a multitude of industries, from entrepreneurs, to authors, to doctors, picking their brains for distillable information and transferrable key lessons. Having grown the podcast to over 27 million downloads and counting, Lauryn is proving that the blogging industry is hardly dying, and merely shifting in form.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR BREVITY AND CLARITY.
What led you to start The Skinny Confidential?
“White space. I was going to San Diego State full time, and I saw this really big space in the blogger industry for a resource. There were all these influencers and bloggers who had their platform and were talking about what they wore, but I was curious about what other people were doing. I wanted to get the supermodels and the celebrities, and the everyday girl, and the mom in Minnesota who is super chic, and then also compile all of my tips and tricks I learned over the years and create a resource out of it, a beauty, wellness, and health space. Before I launched it, I really knew I was building a brand, so I was super methodical with how I laid out the content. It took a year to launch, and to make sure I launched with 30 posts, and I knew from the beginning that I was building a brand and the blog was the foundation for that.”
AND THEN IT GREW AND YOU ALSO HAVE THE PODCAST AND THE FACEBOOK GROUP, ETC. WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?
“Yes, so I launched The Skinny Confidential 8 years ago. I launched with just a blog, it was super niche, just health and wellness. I was really strategic about how I introduced the audience to characters in my life, and how I rolled out the content, and made sure that I was creating that foundation and brand, and then I slowly launched a Pinterest, and an Instagram (keep in mind, this was 8 years ago), and slowly started to roll out all of the different facets of the brand. And then the podcast came about because my husband and I were getting all of these questions on social and we wanted to be able to answer these in a streamlined way where we can really talk to the audience and engage them in an intimate way. This was 3 years ago, and podcasting was very new, but we just decided that a podcast was a way of respecting our audience’s time while also giving them a plethora of information and bringing other guests on that were superstars in the industry.”
What tools do you use to stay organized with all of your projects?
“Staying organized is definitely a complete work in progress. I went from being a solopreneur, bartending and teaching Pure Barre and pilates at the same time while I had a blog to having to transition into being a team of 10 people. Staying organized has been something that I’m constantly perfecting. I think that you have to become a practitioner of organization and I think to become a practitioner, you have to fall a thousand times before you get it right, so it’s constantly trial and error. I use Slack for communication with my team so my email inbox isn’t crazy. Google Calendar is the pulse of my business because it basically dictates where I need to be and when I need to be there. It has everything organized, down to when I’m showering, when I’m driving in the car, all the information of each thing I’m doing in a color-coded way is extremely helpful. And then, having a really strong team helps you stay organized. I’ve given everyone really specific roles, and knowing how the dominos are falling… so if someone’s job is graphics for YouTube, making sure that there are systems in place and not just goals and ideas. With my whole business, I’ve really created strategic future by design, and goals are awesome and execution is amazing, but you have to set those systems to get there. Writing your goals down, but then writing down how you’re going to actually achieve them in tangible steps. And then, of course, email. I have different emails for different things, that’s really helpful. I spend an hour in my DMs in the morning and an hour at night, and do everything I can there. Bringing the community together in the secret Facebook Group has been really cool because they’ve become friends and it takes me out of the equation.”
WAS THERE A NOTABLE TIPPING POINT WHERE YOU WENT FROM, “LET’S SEE WHERE THIS GOES” TO “THIS IS BIG NOW”?
“No… I get asked a lot of there’s been an epiphany and there really hasn’t. It’s been slow, strategic, exponential growth, day after day, 7 days a week. There hasn’t been a day that I woke up and it grew immensely overnight. It’s been slow, strategic, tiny steps to get to where I wanna be.”
Whats one accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
“Definitely the launch of my book. A book takes so much blood, sweat, and tears, and I wanted it to be what I had in my head, and my vision. To sit down and write a book takes so much discipline, and actually having the book to hold in my hands was a big deal. Seeing my community at meetups, and meeting them in person, and knowing that I’ve talked to so many of them over Instagram, or I’ve seen them have babies or new jobs. Interacting outside of social has been really powerful, and then definitely watching the podcast grow into this larger than life show that uplifts other people, has been really cool. I see so many times, the slight edge, the influencer only wanting to talk about what they’re doing, but the biggest thing for me is bringing experts on my platform and giving tangible advice that the audience can walk away with and use in their daily life.”
What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome in terms of starting and growing your business?
“There have been so many little challenges like learning when to shut off, learning where to channel my energy, learning to be a boss, and a manager of people… that was such a hard transition to go from working for myself whenever I wanted to work, and then taking on a team and having to be someone they came to, and putting out fires all the time. There are, of course, a lot of personal things I went through… my little sister being addicted to heroin and meth for 5 years behind the scenes, and knowing when it’s appropriate to share it with the audience and when not. My grandma was a huge character on my blog for many years, she was known by all of my audience and she passed away. When that happens, you wanna respect your own life and the life around you, but you also wanna bring the audience along, so it’s a very funny feeling. I think that I’m constantly learning and it’s one of those things where I have to create boundaries, but at the same time, it’s important to bring them in. I think, though, that running a business is like playing a sport, you’re gonna get knocked down so many times. I mean, I’ve sent out 4000 emails to ask people to interview them, and maybe 500 have said yes. There have been so many no’s -you know that firsthand- you have so many doors shut in your face, and then you get that magical person that just makes it all worth it.”
What does a typical day look like for you?
“My morning routine is always the same 7 days a week. I feel like that’s the foundation of my day and it’s non-negotiable. I’m not my best in the morning, and since I know that, I’m always looking at my weaknesses and trying to create an environment that replaces my weaknesses with habits. For my morning routine, it’s very thought out, I know exactly what I’m doing because the rest of the day is chaos. I try to time batch a lot, like today is a Wednesday, it’s interviews and conference calls. I know all of Wednesday, I’m gonna be talking, I’m gonna be on the phone, what it does, is it streamlines my thoughts. When I first started blogging, I would have one interview Monday, one conference call Thursday, it was like I had to switch off my work flow and get into a different mindset, so just having everything time-batched is super powerful. I’ve time-batched my content, I’ll write all my content on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:45. Shooting my content, I’ll pick 2 days a month and shoot all of the content, all of the videos, all of the photos, in one go, but you have to remember it’s also important to post in real-time on Instagram, so I’ll try to take pictures as much as I can during the day. It’s also a lot of strategizing with the team on the phone, and delegating… whether it’s the graphics, or what to do with a YouTube post, or how we’re gonna distribute the content. Distribution is huge, so many bloggers and artists are out there creating content, but they’re not distributing it. The distribution side is big, we have a lot of meetings over that, then there’s a lot of editing, a lot of podcasting, a lot of interviewing. We’ll try to interview Tuesdays and Thursdays in the studio, and then Instagram stories. It’s so important to utilize Instagram stories to tell the story of your day, while also getting that valuable advice on each slide - and it does take energy, I know that sounds strange, but the way that I like to run it, I like my fonts the same, my colors the same, I like to make sure I’m getting as much value as I possible can. That’s probably an hour of the day, and a lot of engaging with the community, going through the secret Facebook group, talking through DMs, etc. And then the most important part, which is scaling the business. Those are conversations that are happening every single day, whether it’s meetings or strategizing and making sure that we’re not just working in the business, but on the business.”
What advice do you have for young women looking to start and grow their own businesses?
“Launch fast, adjust accordingly. Put it out there, see how the audience responds, and adjust as you go. I would recommend launching a micro-blog through Instagram, not trying to think so big at first, launch an Instagram, provide quality, consistent content that’s pretty, really put your time and effort into that Instagram account, and as it grows, branch out to Instagram stories, and then grow past that eventually to a blog or a website. I don’t think you have to launch a blog first anymore, I think the formula has changed.”
What big projects do you have planned for 2019?
“Definitely more meetups in person. A live podcast tour, where we travel across the United States. Lots of Instagram stories, podcasts with interesting guests, and then potentially mid-year, products. I’ve been working on them for 2 years, that’ll be launching and that’ll be very niche down to the audience.”