ll archives: Scoutmob's Liza Dunning
Ever heard of a little app called Scoutmob? Designed to save you a little dough and to celebrate the indie people in your city, it's pretty much one of the coolest things for your phone – ever. We sat down with founding member and editor-in-chief Liza Dunning to see just how life at Scoutmob works. Check it out!
Current location: Atlanta, GA
Where are you from? Marietta, GA
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism/Advertising, Creative Circus (portfolio school for advertising creatives) for copywriting
Formal Title: Editor-in-Chief, Creative Director, Dish Washer... depending on the day
What is Scoutmob? Scoutmob began as a mobile tool that encourages you to explore locally-owned restaurants and curious experiences via daily deals and content. We’ve since expanded that model to become an e-commerce destination for inspired goods made by independent craftsmen. Together it’s all about celebrating the unique and independent makers out there, giving our users a way to connect for themselves!
What did you do before? I was a copywriter in an advertising agency.
What did you think you’d be doing now whenever you were 10? You know, it’s weird. I knew I wanted to be a writer in some capacity. I’ve loved journaling my experiences and ideas since I learned how to spell, but I don’t think I actually knew what that could entail. My default dream job was probably to become a camp counselor. I LIVED for summer camp at that age. Clearly, foresight was not my strong suit back then.
Is Scoutmob your dream job? If not, what else is in the works? Scoutmob became more of a dream job than I ever imagined. Not only have I gotten to create a brand and live out a mission that I truly believe in, I get to see others really connect with it and champion it as well. I’ve gotten to meet with, write about, and champion local businesses from the ground up; it’s the most rewarding thing to see when they end up succeeding, and we somehow got to help out and be a part of that. So yes, it’s been more than a dream job. But if I’m totally honest, I think my ULTIMATE dream job would probably be to travel the world with a similar mission and document it all. And that, of course, is always in the works.
Are you involved in any side hustles, ladypreneur collabs or baby projects? Tell us about them. Oh, you know it! I’ve gotten my hands into a few freelance branding projects recently here in Atlanta and in San Francisco, which is great because I like to have a reason to get back to the “ground-up” work that involves writing and concepting. The bigger picture “baby project” is still pretty hush-hush, but I’ll be excited to share it with Ladypreneurs of all kinds once we are ready to launch. The concept will hopefully fulfill a desire I share with a few people to give Atlanta a creative hub for entrepreneurs, smaller start-ups and freelancers to connect and collaborate. I just see so much talent here and potential for Atlanta as a city, but not a lot of great way for these different types of talent and ideas to connect. So, yes, that dream is currently in the works.
What does your daily routine consist of? I’ll be honest: I thrive off of a lack of routine. But if I were to put my, uh, “controlled chaos” into a schedule, it might look something like this: Workout at 7am Coffee and meeting at Octane (Grant Park) before heading to the office The in-office dance of meetings and emails, writing copy, concepting and curating for Shoppe Lunch around 1:30 or 2, usually at my desk More emails More meetings More coffee Leave the office around 6:30 or 7 Spend a few hours either at dinner with friends or taking in some kind of local cultural event or get-together. In bed by 11
A day in the office of Liza Dunning is like? Controlled chaos. ‘Nuff said.
How do you balance work and life and is that actually even possible? You know, I struggled with this a lot in the early days Scoutmob. When there was only 3 or 4 of us, we all had to do everything--there was no stopping point, no end time, and not much option to tag team the workload. And without understanding what I was doing to myself, I burned out pretty hard in those first eight months and made myself pretty sick. That was my hard-earned lesson to listen to my body. I had to realize no one was going to say, “hey, you need to take some time off now,” I had to just take that for myself. Which always gave me a lot of anxiety about things falling apart, or slowing down, or messing up if I was gone. Which is just dumb. I don’t think there is any hard advice I can give here, because every life and every work situation is different. Planning ahead to take time for yourself is key. Sticking to that plan is even MORE key. Taking time away from work to do whatever it is you do that makes you feel balanced, I believe, makes for a smarter, more efficient product when you ARE working, so just be good to yourself. And realize the world will not end if you take time away to just do you.
You have to do it and you hate it – what is your least favorite task to do at Scoutmob? Anything that involves a spreadsheet. My brain just literally wants to reject those little cells of data.
What are your favorite business lady apps? Evernote -- my brain trust Clear -- to-do lists feel so rewarding Sleep Cycle -- I hate waking up. This alarm makes it way less painful, and it’s fascinating to read how well I sleep each night Uber -- I wish I could just get rid of my car and Uber everywhere I go. Such a slick game-changer of an app Scoutmob -- of course
Top 5 favorite cities? I fall in love with a part of every city I’ve been to, so I’ll keep this domestic just to narrow my options:
1. San Francisco 2. Atlanta (hometown love affair) 3. New York (in the fall) 4. Austin 5. Chicago (in the summer)
Red, White or Sparkling? Depends on the day, but I think there’s always a good reason to break out the bubbles and feel a little festive.
Tell us the best place to eat in your city. If it’s your kitchen, share your favorite/best recipe. This changes depending on my mood, but right now, I’m going to go with Gunshow. I love that they are trying to break the restaurant routine and do something new. I’m a person that loves having a bite of everything on a menu, sharing the tasting experience with a table. Not only are the dishes here exciting and incredible every time I’ve been, you can just tell that the chefs are having fun with it. And that just gets me excited about restaurant and eating and new concepts in general. Kudos to Kevin Gillespie.
Words to live by . . . The wise words of Steve Jobs are on my desktop: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
In 5 years you’ll be . . . In five years, I’m planning to have checked off at least five more of my global travel destinations. In five years, I also would like to have started another business that not only allows me to be creatively independent and fulfilled (allowing for the aforementioned world travel schedule), but also allows me to cultivate a community for creative people. I’d also like to work more with photography and videography; it’s something I’ve admired from afar and only dabbled in with work. And, who knows, maybe in five years I’ll be thinking about a family. I mean, for someone who is used to planning her world and the future of work within a span of five months (not five YEARS!), it seems like an awful lot of time to play with.
On being a woman entrepreneur . . . I was actually thinking the other day on how it’s the perfect time to be a woman in the start-up world. I’d never really thought much about the fact that I was the only woman in the Scoutmob fold for the first year or more, because it didn’t really phase me. But I think it can be a total advantage. The world is more ready than ever to hear new ideas from strong lady leaders. And no matter your gender, it’s never been easier to start something on your own in general; we have the tools, the interest, the drive, the capabilities, the fresh perspective… and some great female role models paving the way. I think the hardest part is just taking that leap of faith and believing in yourself.