Chloé Watts: 'Feel the fear and do it anyway - that attitude got me where I am today'

You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard of chloédigital, the leading tech support membership for content creators, but how much do you know about its inspiring Founder and CEO, Chloé Watts?

A self-taught coder, Chloé launched the platform in 2014 in order to offer technical support and growth strategy to creators. Now, with over 300 global influencers on their membership programme, Chloé empowers women on the regular, and this year in particular she has played a huge role in helping creators pivot, maintain and actually thrive over a difficult time.

This month, Chloé launched CD World, a content hub for influencers looking for tools and knowledge on building a scalable and sustainable business. 'I reflected on this journey and how far we have come, and it felt like the right time to create a hub where influencers receive tactical resources and access to tech and industry services, to help them scale their business,' she said of the exciting news.

Marie Claire's Women Who Win series celebrates trailblazing female founders who are creating change for us all, and Chloé and her passion at showing women and girls that tech is achievable and accessible, breaking the pattern of under-representation, is that in a nutshell.

Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot caught up with the wonderful Chloé to talk CD World, the best advice she has ever received and why we all need to support each other.

Take me back to the beginning of chloédigital...

I was always into tech growing up. At 15, I taught myself to code so I could make my MySpace page look cute, and this led to me helping up-and-coming bands and artists create their pages. I then started designing websites for friends and small businesses, as a side hustle to my job as a Developer.

This was at a time when the influencer industry was rapidly developing, and many creators didn’t have the technical know-how to run their websites. So, I inevitably became their go-to girl. Quite organically the idea for chloédigital was born: a membership programme to offer ongoing tech support and digital strategy for influencers.

After six incredible years of chloédigital, working closely with some of the world’s leading content creators, I decided I also needed to create a hub - CD World - where even more influencers could find [free] tactical resources and get access to tech and industry services, to help them scale their businesses.

Have you been forced to pivot during COVID-19?

Fortunately, the remote aspect of the influencer industry means we’ve been able to deliver on work as we always have. We are also an incredibly fast-moving industry, so being able to adapt is in-built. Despite 2020 being a difficult year, many influencers were able to pivot, nimbly adjusting their content to be pandemic appropriate, leveraging the substantial jump in traffic and engagement to not only maintain their businesses but actually thrive.

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What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done

Building a business that remains authentic to me and my values. What grounds us is always keeping the ‘why’ at heart - everything we do is to benefit and grow our members’ platforms. Business can be hard, but it’s also really fulfilling when you’re creating a lasting positive impact on people’s lives.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Overcoming limiting beliefs. I have always found this challenging and it took the movement of 2020 to see that I had been restricting myself with limiting beliefs about what I was capable of achieving. Recognising that, and making a commitment to debunk it, has really shifted my mindset and enabled me to progress at a different velocity than before.

 Have you ever felt discriminated against as a female founder?

I try not to dwell on obstacles - call it a selective memory! We’ll all have setbacks and will always come across negative people, or hurdles in business and life; but you have to remember your own path and believe in your own abilities.

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What is the best advice you’ve received?

We only have one chance at life, make an impact but have fun doing it.

How can you achieve the right work/personal life balance?

I love what I do and it’s more than just a job - the lines are so blurred that work/life balance doesn’t really exist for me. But I have learnt that I can’t sacrifice myself for my business. Consistent work on my mind, body and soul is crucial for me to be working and living my best life, so I will always prioritise time for that.

Do you have a tip for asking for more?

Work well, provide value and you’ll usually find that those you work with will want more from you. If you were your boss, would you agree to the request? Make sure the answer to that is a resounding ‘yes’ before you ask.

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What is your superpower?

Endless energy and enthusiasm (is that two?). I always maintain positive energy, and I think that carries me through both difficult situations and demanding days. I also run on good vibes, which definitely has a positive impact on my team and business - smiles are contagious, after all!

What has been your proudest moment?

The moments when I see my company mission achieved. Our mission is to empower women to build the life of their dreams with technology, so when a client has a major win it makes it all worthwhile. I love that I work with people who are just as excited as me to see our clients succeed!

How do you celebrate success?

Can I say a glass of wine? Seriously, though, when you’re busy and riding high it can be easy to breeze past the wins without giving them a second glance. But I think it’s so important, for me and the team, that we remember to pause and take a moment to recognise our successes and how far we’ve come. There’s a lot to be said for the value a ‘thank you’ or a ‘well done’ can have on motivation and morale.

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What will you never compromise on?

My values and my mission. We’re trying to build a legacy business, and that takes time. Chloédigital is seven this year, but I feel like we’re just getting started.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?

Inevitably it’s the moments when I haven’t listened to my own intuition, or I’ve been sidetracked by people who didn’t understand my vision. Authenticity and clarity are so important to our business, so I now have mechanisms to check in on myself, so to speak, to keep us on track.

What is your mantra?

Feel the fear and do it anyway. It’s an attitude that’s definitely got me where I am today.

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What would you want to change for women?

I’m passionate about helping women use technology to forge the life and career of their dreams. It’s so rewarding to see my clients supporting their families and bolstering their communities, all with flexibility they didn’t think was possible. It feels incredible when they reach milestones like buying their dream house, hiring employees, or going into full-time self-employment, all because of the freedom their business gives them.

What could we all achieve if we supported each other?

It’s limitless. I think this starts at the top, though, with seeing more inclusivity amongst leaders in business. Once we have more representation in leaders we can start building reflective, supportive teams. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.