By WomenMakeBot

Anne-Laure Le Cunff (@anthilemoon) created Maker Mag, a community-driven magazine about mindful entrepreneurship. She recently has grown her newsletter Maker Mind to 5,000+ subscribers and wrote 40 articles in 2 months.

The AMA took place on Instagram on November 6, 2019.

Women Make bot

Do you get any 'resistance' before writing? If so, how do you deal with it?

Ha! Writer’s block! Yes I do get it sometimes. The way I deal with it is by having a living list of ideas that I constantly add to. It’s on my phone, in Google Keep. There is a list of about 50 ideas at this point, coming from conversations with friends, books I read, podcasts, etc. If I’m feeling blocked, I pick something from there, and I do a Google search. Usually, reading 3-5 articles on the topic will give me a good perspective so I can start jotting down ideas.

How is your day look like? 🦊

Hey! :) I always start with writing. I block time in the morning to write for an hour and a half. Then, I do emails and client work. At lunch time, I go to the gym and grab some food on the way back home. The rest of the afternoon is usually spent working on various projects, coding, etc. Sometimes I have a call with someone who reached out on Twitter or I do interviews and podcasts. It’s pretty flexible. In the evening, I either hang out with friends or relax at home with a book or a series.

What do you wish you knew when you started your entrepreneurial journey?

Thanks for the interesting question! I wish I knew it’s okay to have doubts. Sometimes, doubts can be very healthy. When I founded my first startup, I was so focused on succeeding that I didn’t stop to ask myself *why* I wanted to succeed. One day, when I was feeling exhausted, I realised that this supposed success I was running after would not make me happier. Realising that I was working on this for the wrong reasons allowed me to recentre and to become more mindful of the way I work and *why* I work. It’s not about the finish line, it’s about the journey. It’s okay to take detours, and it’s okay to not always be 100% sure of what you’re doing, as long as you have your why as your North Star.

What differences do you notice between the world of indie makers and the one of entrepreneurs funded by VCs?

Thanks for the great question! I think the goal of a VC-funded startup is often to grow at all cost; being an indie maker is about creating value in a sustainable manner. VC-funded startups are about beating the competition; indie makers strive for collaboration. Indie makers believe it’s possible to innovate without the desperate need to raise enormous amounts of money.

Women Make bot

I want to ask someone to become my mentor. How would you do this and what are your best tips for approaching potential mentors? Thanks!

Mentors are great! Do some research on their work and background so you can give some context as to why you would like them to become your mentor, then send them a message and ask. It’s also good to explain what it would entail, e.g. a monthly coffee? In terms of platform, I would 100% recommend Twitter if they’re active there. People are more open to these kinds of requests there.

Hi! Thanks for doing an AMA! So exciting! Here are a few questions for you... 1) What were the early days of Maker Mind like? 2) Did you know immediately what you wanted to write about or has it evolved over time? 3) Was promoting it and finding an audience difficult? 4) Finally, have you ever experienced professional or personal burnout? If so, how did you handle it? Thanks in advance!! 💛

Hi! Thanks so much for being here! 1) I started Maker Mind in July this year. At first, it was pretty quiet, but after a few weeks some articles became popular, and there was a big jump in traffic. I went from a few hundred to a few thousand subscribers in three months. It was super exciting to see my content resonate with people! 2) Because I’m studying neuroscience and running a company, writing content at the intersection of both felt like a natural fit. I needed a topic I deeply care about to stay consistent. But it’s a large enough topic that it can evolve week after week! 3) I’m lucky that I already have a decent audience on Twitter, but it’s definitely not easy to grow a newsletter. I still haven’t found the right recipe, and most of my subscribers come from 3-5 articles that went kind of viral. 4) I did experience burnout! I wrote a whole article about it if you search for my name on — I mostly dealt with it by acknowledging the problem and talking about it with people around me. Thanks for your questions!

I’d love to know how far out into the future your plan! Also, what are your long term goals and aspirations?

Hey Steph! I roughly plan in 1-3 month “sprints” where I focus on a couple of goals I have. I do have long-term aspirations, but I’d rather focus on what I can do know rather than spending too much time overthinking and overplanning. Long term, I want to create a space where people can learn about how their brain works so they can achieve their (personal, professional, creative) goals without sacrificing their mental health. I’m not quite sure yet what this space will look like, but that’s my North Star!

What productivity apps and tools do you use?

I’m probably too deep in the Google ecosystem, but I just use a combination of Google Sheets, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. Google Sheet for long term goals, Google Calendar for time management, and Google Keep for tasks. It has been working well for me so far, but I’m sure there are better, more integrated tools out there!

Women Make bot

Could you get back to an employee status and what would be the prerequisite(s) if yes)? If no, why?

That’s a great question! At this stage, I don’t think I could. I have too many projects in mind that I want to try. In the future, why not. Not because I want to right at this moment, but because I don’t like the idea of completely dismissing a possibility. I think I could work for a company if I was super excited about the mission, if our values were aligned, and if they allowed for flexible/remote work. Companies with a culture similar to Buffer, Webflow, Basecamp, etc. but with a product that’s more aligned with what I’m passionate about. But that’s a very slim possibility, as I really enjoy the freedom working on my own projects.

Anne-Laure, how broad is your definition of “maker?” Does it include only tech and physical products?

That’s a great question! My definition is pretty broad. It includes people who make stuff. Founders, designers, writers, painters, Etsy shop owners, developers, you name it. To give you a counter example, someone who is a lawyer, accountant, or marketing manager would not be a maker in my eyes except if they had side projects.

Do you have any special morning routines or something that helps you to write one of the best on the Internet 🤓 tips in a crazy intense pace ? 🦊

Aw, thank you so much! It’s really about consistency. My daily writing session is sacred. I never book meetings then, it’s really just for writing and I do it first thing in the morning. I make myself a cup of tea, sit down, pick a topic, and stay focused until I’m done. I think the more I write, the better I become. I sometimes re-read old articles and I can already see the progress I’ve made.