Tessa Wegert is a Canadian business writer and marketing professional currently residing in Chicago. In addition to being a long-time contributor to the Globe and Mail newspaper and its marketing site Globelink.ca, Tessa writes the weekly media buying column for the Internet marketing news publication ClickZ.com and manages communications for digital marketing agency Enlighten. Over the past ten years Tessa has covered business and technology news for such publications as the National Post, The Montreal Gazette, and USA Today’s USA Weekend magazine, and has created advertising strategies and ad copy for such brands as Audi, Audible, Blue Cross, Bell Canada, CIBC, and P&G.
Are you a morning person? What are the first few things (work/business/personal) that you do each morning?
I’ve always worked best late in the day and at night, so my morning routine is typically conducted from a pretty foggy place. Fortunately there are few urgent issues to deal with at 6 am and it’s nothing a few cups of coffee can’t cure.
When do you first check your email? And how many emails do you get a day?
My iPhone is in my hand within a few minutes of waking up. I check my email, the weather, and Facebook – in that order. I probably get more emails than most people in a day simply because of the glut of newsletters I subscribe to, which I use to research stories. Between my personal and my work accounts I get anywhere from 130 to 160 messages each day.
My iPhone is in my hand within a few minutes of waking up. I check my email, the weather, and Facebook – in that order.
Do you have any tips for dealing with email? (Any techniques or tools you use?)
Managing a large amount of email on a regular basis is all about organization. The more folders you can use to classify and catalogue your email content, the better. It’s also not a bad idea to keep absolutely everything – or as much as space will allow. You never know when a single word response from a client or colleague might prove to be irreplaceable.
What time do you usually arrive at the office? And what does your typical day look like?
For the past few years I’ve worked entirely from home, a routine I was lucky enough to establish shortly after my first child was born. Because I split my time between multiple organizations and projects my days can vary dramatically but always include several hours of research and writing. Often the work I can’t get to during the day spills over into the evening – a hazard of having no tangible divide between work and home. Given my penchant for working at night, it suits me fine.
Because I split my time between multiple organizations and projects my days can vary dramatically but always include several hours of research and writing.
What’s the most interesting thing about your job?
The variety of topics I have the opportunity to cover, and the different styles of writing I’m able to employ.
How do you approach productivity? What challenges do you have in this area? How are you overcoming them? Any tips for others?
I’m a firm believer in identifying your ideal work strategy, and sticking to it. I happen to be a big multitasker and am constantly flipping from one project to another based on my current levels of inspiration and preparation. My biggest challenge is coming up with the inspiration on demand; with weekly story deadlines to adhere to, there isn’t much time to spare.
I’m a firm believer in identifying your ideal work strategy, and sticking to it.
Do you have a good work-life balance? If no, why? If yes, how do you achieve it? What are you beliefs around this?
My work-life balance is a work in progress. If I can spend more time with my kids in a given day than I do huddled over a laptop, I’m in good shape.
Can you share a personal or business challenge that was hard to deal with and how you overcame it and what you learned from it?
The biggest business challenges I’ve faced have all stemmed from handing over the reigns to a project once my part in it is done. I think there’s a natural desire to see things through, but the fact is that when one’s work is highly specialized there are always countless other parties involved without whom a project could never reach completion. I sometimes struggle with giving up control, even when I know the final product will be better for it.
What inspires you?
Originality, and the courage to take calculated risks.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” (Daniel Burnham)
What is one thing that your coworkers, clients or friends may not know about you?
I read a ton of fiction and am entirely convinced that doing so can make anyone a better writer, regardless of the type of writing they do.
In your industry, what is the biggest trend or opportunity you are seeing right now?
Social media has become so invaluable, particularly in Canada, that everyone can now benefit from using it to promote their business. Not every company or brand should be on Facebook, Twitter, and foursquare simultaneously, but consumers expect a social media presence of some kind and in some way or another we should all try to comply.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?
Writing some fiction of my own.