Haley Dagan, Founder of The Written World, on Launching a Digital Content Creation Agency

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Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:

Hi! I’m Haley, Founder and CEO of The Written World. We are a purpose-driven copywriting and content creation agency helping small businesses strategically build and connect with their audiences through purpose-driven website copywriting, SEO-optimized blog writing, social media caption writing, email sequence copywriting, and other digital content creation services. I always use the word purpose-driven because everything we write is engaging yet strategic and goal-oriented. In a world where customers and clients Google you or stalk your Instagram before visiting/contacting your business, your online presence is EVERYTHING. Our strategic approach is less about what you want to share with your audience and more about what your audience wants to learn/gain from connecting with you.

What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?

The opportunity to connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs who are equally as passionate about their businesses and a limitless future on their own terms!

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I actually started The Written World in 2018 as a side hustle (pre-kids!) to fuel my passion for writing while working full-time in hospitality marketing for W Hotels. After the pandemic shut down our hotel and laid off pretty much our entire staff, I spent much-needed time playing with my one-year-old and soul-searching. I decided I wanted my next full-time job to be one that also allowed me to prioritize my job as a mom, and thus, I took the leap and publicly launched The Written World full-time in 2020! It’s been a wild and incredibly rewarding ride ever since. I still have so many “pinch-me” moments where I can’t believe this is really what I get to do every day!

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

From the time I learned to hold a pencil (and yes, I actually loved the script writing part of elementary school!), I knew I never wanted to stop writing. I was the Editor-in-Chief of my high school newspaper and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. However, writing, like acting, was always depicted as one of those professions that would leave you eating ramen noodles between assignments as the chances of “making it” as a writer were slim. Thus, I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and a Master’s in Business Management in four years. After college, I set out on a career path in hospitality marketing, working first at an email marketing agency promoting major travel and tourism organizations across all verticals of travel industry clients, and then working my way up through the marketing department at W Fort Lauderdale (under the Marriott International brands of hotels) from Marketing Coordinator to Marketing Manager and then Executive Communications Insider under the General Manager.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Honestly, no! I always had ambitions of working my way up to a CMO title at a large corporation. I absolutely LOVED my corporate job, but the pandemic and having kids really changed my perspective of what’s most important in life. Things can change in an instant and doing something I loved while being present every day for my family became my number one priority.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out, and did it go as planned?

When I first decided to fully launch The Written World full-time, my marketing strategy was simply focused on building authentic connections, and honestly, it went better than I could have ever imagined. I luckily had a few clients from starting the business two years before in a part-time capacity, so I really just spent time in those early months deciding what services I wanted to offer and getting to know other service providers in complementary (and even the same!) verticals through Instagram and later Clubhouse. ALL of my first full-time retainer clients were referrals from those early connections I built!

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?

The biggest challenge for me has definitely been building out a team and streamlining our internal processes. As a creative, I never imagined I would one day build a full-time agency. The business and operations side of it has been a lot of learning as I go and leaning on other professionals to help us set up/automate key systems like our CRM to ensure that the deliverables are of the highest quality, but that the customer experience is as well.

What is the accomplishment you are the proudest of to date?

Client retention! Not only do we typically see continuous contract renewals past 6, 12, and even 18 months, but I’m also incredibly proud to say that the majority of our retainer clients who come on onboard for one service, end up also adding a second or even third service to their agreement. Even many of the project clients that come to us for a one-time website copywriting project, will later return for additional blogging support, website updates, and email sequences when they’re ready to expand their own marketing efforts.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Work-life balance is EVERYTHING. However, it requires a LOT of compromises. For me, time with my husband and kids is the balance part, and I don’t mind the work part happening at off-hours to ensure I can be there whenever and wherever for my family. I’d say my best tips are all about time-blocking. I block school drop-off, pick-up, and lunchtime every day without exception. For me, picking my son up from school and being with both of my kids for lunch is non-negotiable. Just decide what areas of balance are most important to you and find ways to prioritize them in your work schedule.

What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?

If you’re going to make an investment in something to improve your business or processes, make it a good one. Too often in the beginning I choose pricing over results to fit within my budget and had to later reinvest in the same service to either fix or completely redo the initial project. Key investments in your business are SO worth it. And when you make the right ones, even if they feel like a bit of a stretch, they will pay off tenfold.

What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?

I was recently guest interviewed on a business podcast and featured in a local Miami publication! I absolutely love talking to others about what I do, and I look forward to more opportunities like that.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

More agency services! Many clients now are looking for one-stop shops as there are so many moving parts to digital and content marketing. However, especially when it comes to writers, many agencies aren’t equipped with enough support staff to strategically offer those content writing services. We already have quite a few agency clients, but we’re really looking to expand that side of the business. Let’s face it, actually writing blog posts, social media posts, and emails are time-consuming. We have an incredibly streamlined, behind-the-scenes process where agencies stay the strategic partner while outsourcing key content creation tasks in a white-labeled way to us.

Learn more about the Entreprenista League and join today!

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