Fantastic Females – Rachel Wood Founder of Rare Birds Book Club

Rachel Wood is the founder of Rare Birds Book Club and a passionate advocate for women’s fiction. Born in Canada, Rachel has spent the last decade living in Edinburgh. She has an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and a serious sweet tooth. 

Rare Birds  Rare Birds Book Club is a book subscription service founded on a simple principle: books should be fun to read. This bold new book club centred upon contemporary women’s fiction, selects only the very best pacey, interesting stories with gripping plotlines, amazing heroines, happyish endings, and – when the occasion calls for it – totally smouldering love interests.

What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career? 

I think when you run your own business what you most often end up sacrificing is balance. Sometimes you just have to give over more of your time and energy to get a project done (not just true of business!). But what I’ve also learned is it’s not sustainable in the long run – you need to find balance between your personal and professional life or else all that’s waiting for you is burn out. 

Rachel Wood rare birds book club

Who inspired you and why?

 As a teenager I was really inspired by my first boss, Jen. At the time I was about sixteen and she was in her early 30s, and I just thought she was incredibly cool. She ran her own small business and was glamorous and interesting and smart – everything I wanted to be when I grew up. 

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

If nothing else be yourself. The people who I admire and respect at work all have a few things in common: they’re authentic, honest and straight forward. It takes a huge balance of styles and personalities to run a business – your viewpoint is a lot more valuable than you probably give yourself credit for.  

Do you think women feel intimidated in business?

I think everyone feels intimidated in business sometimes; that’s just part of being a human being. Sometimes it can even be useful – often when I find myself feeling intimidated it’s because I look up to someone or aspire to be more like that business.  

Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.?  

 At my favourite coffee shop! Saturday morning coffee is a ritual in our household and one that I look forward to all week. 

What do you love about your job?

I really love introducing our members to books they’d never otherwise pick up – it’s a brilliant feeling when someone comes back to you and says I never would have read this on my own, but I loved it!  

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Betting on myself and starting my own business.  

What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?

Staying too long in a job because I was too scared of the unknown. 

How do you organise your time?

I’ve never really been one for a routine, so mostly I just go with it. With a busy growing business every day is different anyway, so not having a plan often works out in my favour. I have a few things I keep sacred – Tuesday afternoons are exclusively for working on creative projects (which lately has been a podcast). Saturday mornings are for my partner and I. I’m secretly a bit of a night owl; it’s not always practical to work in the evenings but I find I can get a lot done between dinner and bedtime… probably because I can send emails without replies pinging back to me!   

What do you think is your greatest strength?

 I’m decisive. 

What do you think is your greatest weakness?

Probably getting hung up on perfectionism. There’s a point when holding yourself to a high-standard, tips over into something that’s no longer healthy or helpful. I usually catch myself creeping into that zone when I’m putting something off – I don’t want to start in case I get it wrong. 

How do you make decisions?

I trust my gut and follow my instincts. 

What do you read?

Fiction! Our book club’s mission is to celebrate female writers, so I’m always reading all sorts of different books so I can cherry pick the best of them for Rare Birds. 

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?

It’s not a glamorous answer but, persistence. You just have to keep going. Good or bad it’s all part of the learning process.   

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