Hey there rebel!
Today's post is an interview with a client of mine who just started her own rebellious podcast People Behind the Business, and I am so proud of her for jumping into it like she did. Most of us would plan a project for ages until we have figured it out and made it perfect, but Rosemary just knew that she would figure it out as she went, and that's what I love about her. The other thing I love is that she is always genuine, no matter what. You'll see in the interview.
But hey, let's hear the story from Rosemary herself...
Hi Rosemary! I'm so happy to see you here. :)
Hey…me too! I’m such as huge fan of your blog, so I’m happy to be here!
So... can you tell us a bit about your struggles before you sought coaching?
When I started my business, I’ll be honest. I dived into it not really knowing what I was doing. I had never taken a business class before, I had no idea what I was doing when it came to the “numbers” aspect of running a business. But…I knew what my strengths were, and that’s the one thing that kept me going.
Plus, I finished my undergrad when the economy was in really bad shape, so my options seemed a bit limited at the time. And I think this trapped me this classic “hustle” mentality, where I focused more on getting clients to like me, and less on what I wanted to get out of my business.
Flash forward to year three of my business, and a series of stuff in my personal life changed things for me: from deaths in my family, to my partner getting a major surgery that made me have to take on a caregiver role for a bit.
And then that’s when I decided to reach out to you. I followed your work online for a while before that, and honestly, I didn’t want my coach to be anyone else.
Aww, thank you. :) And how did coaching made your more confident?
The most important thing coaching did for me, is help me figure out how to fight against all the scared shitless “what if” questions bouncing around in my head.
I have a lot of ideas…like…a lot, and that’s why I never go anywhere without a pen and a notebook. But ever since I’ve made the transition from writing as hobby to writing as a profession, I’ve questioned far too much how good or bad these ideas are. Sure, not all of these ideas are “good”, but I now have the tools that I need to not be so hard on the value of my own ideas.
My dad was around during one of my podcast interviews, and he’s an actor so he is incredibly insightful when it comes to other people. And when the recording was done, he said to me “you’ve found your voice!” And you know what? I think that sums up the impact perfectly.
So tell us about your podcast, it sounds wonderfully rebellious. :)
It is! It totally is! The title of my podcast is People Behind the Business, and I picked that title because it pretty much explains itself. I got the idea from one of the best client projects I’ve ever done.
In year one of freelancing, I pitched Yellowpages Canada, and this lead to an amazing opportunity to interview and write business profiles about small, local business owners in my city.
A business owner I interviewed for Yellowpages went from:
- Telling me about the food he sells
- To talking about how he loves how his wife is always smiling, in a really genuine way when she talks to customers.
I always remember that because he mentioned they’d been married for over 30 years, and there was so much love in his eyes.
So that’s what my podcast is about. It is about capturing who small business owners are as a person, and how that shapes who they are as a professional.
In most cases, I’ve talked to them off-air first, so that they feel a lot comfortable about having a vulnerable conversation about the non-resume version of their business. Very few of them are experienced podcast guests or public speakers, so the off-air conversation makes them feel comfortable enough to not be anything but themselves when others are listening.
Just to give you a sense of the kinds of conversations I’ve had:
One guest went from talking about why she loves Facebook Groups, to talking about how her Facebook Live helped her feel better about a troubling doctor’s appointment she had.
Another one, talked about the unpredictability of running an online business with a chronic illness. Anyone that has lived with any kind of illness or disability will know that the hard part is the lack of certainty about how it will impact you, both physically and emotionally.
You often talk about running a business with a disability. Would you care to share your story?
I was formally diagnosed with a disability that impacts my fine and gross motor skills when I was about four or five years old (dyspraxia). On an unrelated fun fact note, that’s the one thing I have in common with Daniel Radcliffe.
So there were very few “regular” job environments I’ve felt like I could really thrive in most of my life. Like...if there’s too much going on around me I can’t focus!
However, I learned how to read and write way later than most of my peers. And that allowed me to have a really unique way of looking at language. Then I fell in love with language and most of my life’s focus became about finding a way to help people with the one thing I could do extremely effectively.
Honestly, I've never seen such a fast turnaround with a client, usually people take a long time planning things and then working out the kinks, but you just went for it. You didn't overthink, you just DID IT! How did that happen?
It has really been about the people I’ve talked to. Without those conversations, there’s no way I would have gotten nearly as much done.
A good example of this is Ashley of Dash of Social. She has a newsletter where she posts weekly, free PR opportunities for entrepreneurs. I’ve been on her mailing list for a while, and on a whim, I sent her an email and told her about my interest in starting a podcast. Once I answered a few of her questions, she sent out a “call for guests” notice only a week later. And things like my email marketing and my blog, well... that was also about talking to people.
I made a promise to myself that I would email everyone who comments, likes, and shares my posts the most, every former client, every WordPress follower. And the plan was to pick a slow work day to do this. And those emails were just a polite way to say…” you can sign up for my newsletter…if you want”. A surprising amount of them were like “yeah, sure I’ll do that”.
And the social media marketing aspect was just pure luck. The social media management platform I use recently decided to stop charging money for its content repurposing tool. And that was a game changer because it was way too much money! Now I feel like I can take a day off to go see a baseball game or hang out with family and not even have to think about what content I’m scheduling next.
I mean… I guess there are still kinks to work out, but at this point, it’s mostly just logistics; E.G: how often to send newsletters, what headlines work, and how to make blogging a “normal” part of my routine, etc. And the best method I’ve found for figuring that out slowly is pure experimentation.
Awesome! So let's go into details. What was the process of starting a podcast like? Easy? Difficult? How did you find guests? What tools did you use? And what would you advise a person who is afraid to start their own podcast?
As I mentioned, Ashley of Dash of Social was a huge help with getting things started. Thanks to her newsletter, my inbox got flooded with pitches from business owners who wanted to be on my show. Same with a few of the Facebook Groups I’m part of. The relationships I’ve formed on these platforms have been extremely valuable. And I’ve definitely underestimated the value. So as soon as the group members I’ve spoken to the most heard about my podcast they were like “yeah, I’ll be a guest on your show!”
The easy part for me, was just talking to people about their businesses. The hard part was the awkward adjustment period where I was only just figuring out what I wanted the podcast to sound and feel like; so…like the branding, and the editing stage. But thanks to a lot of late nights and early mornings, I figured it out!
The whole thing was overwhelmingly exhausting and exciting all at the same time. It was exhausting because it sucked up a lot of my free time. But it was totally worth it, because It was the first time since my student radio days that I found myself hosting a show in front of a microphone.
And man, did it feel great to be doing that again!
In terms of the tools I use, I use a combination of Anchor FM and my iphone’s voice memo feature for recordings, and Audacity for audio editing. When I was in university, I was smart enough to take a course that taught me how to use Audacity and got some additional experiences with using it in student theatre productions. So, I picked Audacity because it is what’s the most comfortable. I chose Anchor FM because after I researched it a bit, I realized it was the most beginner proof. They even submit your RSS feeds to other platforms for you!
I was a blogger before I was a podcaster, so I already had people who were regularly paying attention to my tips and updates. And you need an audience as well for it to be worthwhile. It is also really helpful to approach it with a really specific goal in mind. Not everyone is destined to become a podcasting celebrity and that’s fine! Also…join online groups for podcasters.
Whenever I had a problem with any stage of the process, asking questions in these groups solved the problem quickly and easily.
Anything else you want to tell your fellow creative rebels?
No matter how appealing it may be to be some sort of Emily Dickinson figure, and just create your art in a secluded setting, it isn’t practical. I mean…sure sometimes you need your space to just be the creative person you are, but there’s a time and a place for that.
No matter what your passions are, you need people. You need people who will help you grow, and enthusiastically praise your work. Loved ones are great and all and serve an important purpose. But it’s fair to assume that they’re neither your target audience nor pulling the strings in your business.
And that’s really hard, but once you figure out how to do that, it’s totally worth it!
Thank you for dropping by, Rosemary. :)
Yeah, thanks for having me!
P.S. Hey reader, do you need help, too? I offer a very special type of coaching - Coaching for Creative Rebels - and it may just be the thing you need. No fear.
Rosemary Richings works with small business owners in the retail and E-Commerce sectors, who have a social conscience. She specializes in the writing, editing, and content strategy aspects of developing and enhancing the reach of her clients' websites.
Her background in content creation, copywriting, and social media marketing comes from over seven years of experience running her own blog, along with direct collaborations with not-for profit organizations.
Starting in June 2018, you can also check out her podcast, People Behind the Business, a show for small businesses with small teams and huge ambitions.