Wellstruck Lady Boss, Sarah Zero, on Connecting Women Entrepreneurs Through Monthly Round Table Events

Since 2014, Sarah Zero, founder of Wellstruck Lady Boss and Wellstruck Brand Strategy and Design, has been a pioneer in Philadelphia for connecting women entrepreneurs through round table events. These events create spaces for women to develop genuine relationships, build new collaborative opportunities within several industries, receive mentorship, guidance and support, and gain the knowledge and confidence that will lead them to achieving pivotal turning points in their business.


Zero loves helping people overcome challenges and gain clarity in what they offer while guiding them through self-discovery.  Her philosophy combines a type of learned design-thinking through her expertise in visual communications with an empathetic approach in catering to the needs of business’ audiences.


What can attendees expect at a Wellstruck Lady Boss round table event?

Wellstruck Lady Boss round table events are two hours long. There are seats for just 12 women every time (including me and the co-host). It keeps it intimate — and we all sit around one long table. We kick off with introductions around the table. Then I loosely moderate a Q&A discussion for an hour, where in each guest gets a chance to ask the group a question. I set a timer for five minutes, and during that time anyone with expertise, wisdom, experience to offer is welcome to chime in and contribute. When the timer buzzes, we move along to the next question. This takes the pressure off of making small-talk — and also creates space for some super productive, educational conversation! Each month also has a different theme that can help inspire questions


In your words, what is a Lady Boss?

Smart, strong, hard-working, ambitious. I intentionally have these events during the day because it’s geared towards women who are full-time business owners or full-time freelancers.  


How did you choose Philly as a location hub for Lady Boss?

Philly is the closest city to me, I love Philly. I lived in Philly.  {I love the} people. I think there’s a good, down-to-earth vibe in Philly. I kind of like the gritty and scrappiness of it and that’s a lot of what entrepreneurship is. I think of Philly as my community. When I first started Wellstruck years ago, the first one was in my living room. Then for a few years, I hosted them at my co-hosts’ homes, offices, and studios. Eventually, I found the perfect home for Wellstruck Lady Boss events at Vault + Vine in East Falls, Philadelphia.


The magic of Vault + Vine has been a key player in the vibe of the community. It’s a minority-and-woman-owned business — a combination of a café, an urban jungle oasis (where you can buy plants and pots galore!), and a carefully curated gift shop full of locally made goods (by many talented, hard-working women!). It’s easy to find parking and accessible to both city-dwellers and suburbanites — making it the perfect spot for us to come together. Peicha Chang (the owner) and her team are champions of this community. We meet upstairs in their meeting space. I like to think of it as our secret, cozy little hideaway. Making the trek to V+V is WORTH it because the place itself is magically therapeutic.


What drives you to hold these events each month?

Something that drives me is human connection and a sense of community, and also, design-thinking of what it is that people need. So, when I have that community first in mind and think about their needs, that allows me to create a better community. I’m able to put myself in the shoes of those people — what are their anxieties, fears or apprehensions about showing up and meeting up with a group of people, especially if they happen to be shy or introverted or feel like they don’t have anything in common?  How can I design this community so that it feels super welcoming? — I think about that in every process of every service in my business of “What is the person thinking?” and I think about it with Lady Boss.


What’s your favorite part about holding these events for women entrepreneurs?

People come and it’s the greatest compliment when they come to an event and they say things like, ‘I’ve never been to a networking event like this’ or ‘I’ve been to networking events with this structure but it never has the same vibe.’


I hear that every single time someone comes for the first time and it means so much to me because I do that by design and it all comes back to design and empathy. I nurture it very closely. I do a lot of behind the scenes relationship building to keep this community what it is. To be successful, it needs to be nurtured continuously, so it’s less about reaching a mass audience and more about growing a really wonderful, real, genuine, quality community.  


The other thing that I see happening all the time because it is so genuine is — when I’m strolling through my instagram and I see some new collaboration or workshop, and it’s a collaboration between two women who I know met at the table at Wellstruck Lady Boss. They’re thriving off these collaborations. I am not taking credit for their collaborations because there’s a lot of work that goes into that; that’s their own credit, but it is extremely rewarding. I have to remind myself that it’s a legacy! It’s creating a platform for women to explode, amplify their message, get noticed, get seen, make the right connections so that where they have gaps in their business, they have experts, that is hugely rewarding.  


What is the biggest challenge you see other women entrepreneurs face?

Confidence. Imposter syndrome. People often ask me why [just] women — for a long time I didn’t want to include just women because I wanted to include everybody — but women tend to undervalue themselves. Women, especially really talented, smart women, don’t realize how valuable and how awesome they are and so I love to be that cheerleader or give them the space to realize the value that they bring to the table. There is something magical about women rallying around each other, and I really think that Wellstruck Lady Boss does it.   


Tied hand in hand with that, I think a lot of people don’t think about audience first.  If they approach their businesses from a more empathetic angle of “Who’s my audience?” “Who do I want to help?”  “How can I help them?” “What can they afford?” so you really need to overlap your passion and your strength with people’s needs, which are the basics of business. I think all too often people lack confidence in their package and they’d have more confidence if they were starting a little bit backwards and starting with their audience rather than what they want to do.  


When I talk about branding, I’m not just talking about visual branding, I’m talking about your client experience, which goes back to your processes. It leads, in the end, to confidence, money and joy. Having clarity gives you confidence. Confidence allows you to really see your true value and talk about your value more easily and what you bring to the table. When you’re more valuable you can charge more money (you’re happier, you’re working smarter, not harder, etc) and that’s the key to successful business.


What is inspiring you at the moment you can share with entrepreneurs?

I am always inspired by hearing what my audience is struggling with because I cannot help myself but want to jump in and provide them with support and services that would help them get through it and come out better, stronger, louder. I have free 20 minutes inquiry calls and I love those so much.  When I hear somebody [say], “I don’t know what I need!” I’m like girl, I got your back!


What resources are you currently using to build your business, Wellstruck Brand Strategy & Design?

When I have a question, I often go to the Wellstruck Lady Boss Facebook group (which is exclusive for women who attend events) and ask or find somebody that I’ve met through it and I say, “I’m stuck on this and I know you’re really good at thinking through these types of issues.  Can we meet to have coffee?” 

I also use Squarespace for websites, Acuity for scheduling (this makes time blocking easier for me, too!), Mailchimp for building my email list, Boomerang for Gmail to schedule emails and to remind me to follow up, and Google My Business for SEO.


What do you love most about what you do?

The appeal of thinking empathetically is why I think I love design so much.  When I think back on my life [and] about all the things that have brought me the most joy, it always comes back to forms of mentorship and teaching. 


What is the best perk of being self-employed?

Being able to test and change and iterate without bureaucratic bullsh*t, office politics…


Recommendations on how to get involved in Wellstruck Lady Boss events and/or your branding services?

Subscribe to my one email a month newsletter.  I only send one. It is where I announce the upcoming events.  If you know someone who’d be a great co-host [for Lady Boss events], encourage them to start by attending an event as a guest!  Every month since the beginning, I invite a different woman business owner to co-host with me. I personally invite them from the pool of women who’ve previously attended, and I look for women who are doing awesome things as well as giving back to other women business owners.