Liana Pavane of TTYL on craving unplugged human connection and wellness
Describe your business in a few words:
I am an event/podcast host born and raised in NYC. I founded TTYL–a tech-free community dedicated to human connection–in 2018 after noticing how much I was plugged into my phone due to the enticement of social media and technology. After launching a dating podcast during the pandemic, Ghosts of Dates Past, I am bringing TTYL events back with a focus on singles and friends nights because meeting new people can be extremely difficult. TTYL is a phone-free space filled with eager-to-connect individuals participating in nostalgic childhood activities. Its mission is to enable people to socialize in a fun, welcoming environment without distractions.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I graduated from Ithaca College with a major in Theater Studies focusing on directing and playwriting and a minor in Screenwriting. Since graduation, I have delved into sales at a recruitment agency, managed the Artists & Fleas market in Williamsburg, and currently head Strategic Partnerships at JIGGY puzzles.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I always had a natural inclination to create and follow through on projects. As a kid, I had a vivid imagination, which I believe is what led me to make the impossible possible. Because that’s what entrepreneurship is, in a sense. You have a concept, and somehow you make it a reality. As a director in college, I discovered my passion for developing work and leading a group to bring my vision to life. After that experience, I felt confident to follow my desire and create my own business.
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?
For my first event, I mainly used social media to get the word out. I also posted on Eventbrite and a ton of Facebook groups. Somehow, 50 people showed up at my first event, which exceeded my expectations.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I truly will never forget the first event I hosted. It was such a heartfelt experience to see 50 people mingling in one room, mostly strangers without phones actually talking to each other and playing games. When I started seeing people come back with friends, I realized that TTYL was becoming a community. Before the pandemic, I produced over 50 phone-free events with thousands of attendees.
I was thrilled to receive positive media attention from Forbes, Thrillist, Time Out, and one of my events was featured on NY1. CBS News was scheduled to film a TTYL event the night before the city shut down due to the pandemic, but their interest was definitely a high point that validated my business idea.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
With the pandemic, it’s difficult to achieve a healthy work/life balance. The biggest challenge with WFH and/or being an entrepreneur is that you are responsible for creating your own schedule and holding yourself accountable. It’s important to carve out time for yourself. I like to take a 10-minute pause and have a dance party, take an hour at the end of my workday to read a book before starting my business work-up, and make a point to prep my meals throughout the day. Working 12-hour days is going to leave you burnt out in one week. Work is a marathon, not a sprint (unless you have a deadline).
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
My podcast is about to hit 50 episodes, which is extremely exciting! I was also able to interview my podcast role models, two women who inspired me to start a podcast in the first place.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Re-launching TTYL after a two-year hiatus and transforming the events into singles and friends nights. Previous attendees can expect the same nostalgic activities mixed in with a more meaningful approach with new brand partnerships and entertainment. I am also developing some products for the first time that I’m really excited about. My long-term goals are expanding my events to more cities and getting involved in the corporate world as a way to create a healthy environment for teams.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I am beyond excited to join the Entreprenista League to expand my knowledge about entrepreneurship, network with other amazing women, and develop my business with the goal of becoming a full-time entrepreneur.