Amplify Podcast

Episode Overview

Joanne Sweeney works with the public sector on issues around communication and the use of digital marketing and social media in particular. She works with social media managers, policy makers and anyone who's job it is to be front and centre, online for police departments, governments, health services and even the UN.

In this weeks show we explore Joanne's journey, her challenges, inspirations and really get under the bonnet on what makes her business work now. If you want to play bigger but find your own head gets in the way then you will love Joanne. 

About Joanne

Joanne Sweeney is the CEO of Public Sector Marketing Institute and Digital Training Institute, host of the Public Sector Marketing Show podcast and organiser of Europe’s Public Sector Digital Marketing Summit.

A skilled digital marketing consultant and trainer, Joanne’s accredited programmes attract students from across the world.

She is one of only 14 trainers delivering Google’s Advanced Data-Driven Marketing programme to their biggest clients worldwide. She has also briefed Facebook’s senior government team and has spoken at Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco on Digital Citizenship.

A former broadcast journalist, she is also a two-time author on digital communications for government and public sector agencies. Her second book Public Sector Marketing Pro has been described by former President Barack Obama’s Chief Digital Officer as “the handbook I needed when in the White House, it would have saved me years of learning by error.”

She holds two Master’s Degrees, one in Journalism and one in Digital Marketing.

Joanne’s writing has been published on Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest social media website and she has spoken on stages in the US, Australia, mainland Europe, the UK and Ireland.

Joanne's website:

Automatic Audio Transcription

Please note : This is an automatically generated transcription.  There are typos and the system may pick words or whole phrases up incorrectly.  

Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Personal Brand Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to take a second to subscribe through your player app. And while you're listening, join our Facebook community. Just visit, amplify me forward, slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. Hi there. And welcome back to amplify the personal brand entrepreneur. My name is Bob Gentile.

And this week I'm really excited. I mean, I always say I'm really excited, but this week I'm really excited to speak to Joanna Sweeney from the Public Sector Marketing Institute. If I got that right, that's perfect.

Bob, how are you?

I am very well. Now, we've been circling each other's worlds like a pair of knowledge hungry tigers for a long time, and I never really had the time to spend any time with you. We both worked with Chris Tucker and his mastermind. And I know you know Chris really, really well. And I've been watching what you've been doing with all for the last few years. So I'm really excited to get to speak to you. For those people who aren't in that particular universe, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and what you do.

So it's great to be on the show. And yes, I agreed to have this conversation and we have crossed paths, albeit mostly online. So I'm based in the west of Ireland in Galway. I'm from the northwest of the country and I'm a digital marketer by trade. I've been working in the sphere for 12 years now as a self-employed consultant and trainer. But before that I was a broadcast journalist, worked in Peor and had a couple of CEO roles.

But essentially for two decades I've been in communications and my real job title, if somebody wanted the unofficial title, would be writer and storyteller, because I believe that stories are the things that bind us all together. It's the little beginning, middle and end, the parable with the emotional connexion that allows us to reach people's minds, but also their hearts, and then bring them on a journey with us. So I'm really fortunate that I love what I do.

And about, what, 13, 14 years ago, I saw the communications industry change. I saw the waves of change lapping up my ankles. And not one to be outdone by a younger generation coming out of university, I decided that I wanted to be at the cutting edge of digital. And it's really interesting looking back and intentionally making that decision, because I now look at my trajectory of between academia and my profession and my business. And I have to say that that intention was always with me.

Now I specialise in digital marketing for government and public sector. So I have gone niche. I have jumped to that side of life. And while pizza and shoes and handbags are my favourite things in life, I don't want to market them because it's the journey in me. I really love the hard news story and I really love the cut and thrust of politics. And I loved being a journalist, but it was never going to satisfy me. And I really probably always was the the captain of my own ship.

So that's where I right now, Bob.

So for anybody who doesn't know and anybody listening in the U.S., you're in for a treat. You've got two proper regional accents from. So the islands that are called Britain and you're in the Republic of Ireland on probably the prettiest part of the coast in Europe, in my opinion, other than obviously the west coast of Scotland. But that's quite interesting for me, because Galway is probably about as far away from any centre of government as you could get in Europe, unless I've completely misunderstood the sort of the political geography of Ireland for a start and Europe subsequently.

What sort of what was it that led you to pick public sector specifically? Because I'm guessing if keeping a Galway, it's not central to your day to day life there.

No, you're absolutely right. You're just thank God your geography is spot on. And we do live on the wild Atlantic way. And so we're more about adventure than perhaps politics here. And the corridors of power, obviously, in Ireland are in Northern Ireland and Stormont in Dublin and Leinster House. Then we go to Brussels. And from a European context, then if I go west, it's its next stop, Washington and us. So yet it's not on my doorstep.

But the beautiful thing about it is that the digital world has allowed me to actually be at the doorstep of the corridors of powers and actually go into them. Because I can be location agnostic, but the reason that I chose this niche and it actually took me a year to figure out what my online niche was going to be. So four years of teaching people how to trade online, scale online, be online, show up online, build brands online.

I was like, hey, I want to do that for myself. Hence the personal brand philosophy that I subscribe to, as do you. And I really wanted to know what would be my niche because I didn't want to. I knew that doing digital marketing for everybody and even for businesses was going to be really tough and the digital space. So I kind of took a step back and looked at the things that got me interested. And and that was back to my journalism days, like I did a master's in journalism.

And back in 2001, I did a master's degree in digital marketing in 2013. And when I did that, I decided to research how the Irish police force used social media for community engagement, public relations and crime prevention. And that was really the answer there, right there. And then six months after finishing that academic piece of work, I wrote and published my first book. And because I realised that when I was looking for articles and journals and papers to quarter my academic research, there weren't any.

And like any good digital marketer, the light bulb went off in my head and I said, I've just identified a niche right there. And then and I can own the Internet for this topic. But what I subsequently realised that was like policing and social media was just too niche because I was too early for the market. And within police forces, there was usually just a handful of officers, probably at a senior level, that were responsible for social.

So my vision to scale in that area just wasn't to be. And then a number of years later, probably 2016, 2017, I decided the public sector more broadly was probably the place for me. I have a degree in politics, sociology, master's in journalism and public relations. Still just watch news on TV, on TV. So I feel at home in that place and I'm really enjoying it.

So one of the things that's really interesting is people pick niches for so many different reasons. Some people pick them because they're already an expert in that space. They just realise, actually, I can I could just make this my one thing. And for me, that was what I did for a little while. I was what I called the UK's leading expert in digital marketing for the upstream oil and gas market. But I hated it. I didn't want to be that guy.

So I sort of lit a match and a Viking funeral for that personal profile. There's Alex Curtis, who I'm pretty sure you know, he is a digital marketing expert for the financial services because that's the background that he comes from. But you picked a niche. It was sort of a flash of, aha, here is a niche is not necessarily one that you earned your way into in terms of this is what I've spent the last 15 years working on.

It's this is where you discovered you wanted to make your mark and your contribution and you learnt about it. You studied it and you became the expert. And that's something that I think not enough people consider is Nicias can choose you or you can choose. Nicias doesn't have to be one or the other. And I'm curious to know, how sudden was that decision tannish there? Or actually, did you have to circle back to it later on and realised that that was finished that you were going to use?

Honestly, it took me a full year. I was part of another mastermind a before I joined Kris's with Sigrun could consider the Icelandic business coach who works with female entrepreneurs and trying to increase the number of female entrepreneurs that break the million mark, because the percentage, I think, is less than five percent globally. And I was paralysed in that mastermind for a year while my peers were selling and scaling online. I was just frozen and I did not know what was wrong with me.

And basically I had imposter syndrome because again, who said, you know, talk to me about your book, talk to me what you know, what you love. And she said, you're the global expert in this field. And I thought it was a ridiculous thing. And I just it just didn't sit comfortably with me. And you're absolutely right. I had never worked in the public sector. You know, I tried politics in 2009 when I was six months pregnant and lost by forty seven votes and dear.

So. I just it didn't sit with me, but then and I even went for a job in public sector and during the interview, you know, I was like, I've got a degree in, you know, government and national European. I know this stuff. And I had at that stage been CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce where I was living then. And the guy on the interview panel said he said if donors paid and he looked at me and he said, Joanne, you know what the problem is, you know too much.

So I didn't get the job. But yeah. So with Sjogren's mastermind towards the end, I remember making a four hour journey from Donegal where I'm from, to go away and stopping halfway through. And I had to pull in at the side of the road and I wrote it on my phone and I said, my mission is to elevate the standard of digital communications in government and public sector to try and change the world. One digital message at a time.

That's quite profound. But it was in that moment that I went, yes, that's what I can do. And since then, I've kind of done a bit of soul searching and wondered. And it's the podcast episode that I am threatening to do on myself, but I'm a little bit too nervous to do it. But I'll tell you the story. And when I was 16 years of age, I discovered that I was pregnant. And when I was 17, my daughter Sophie was born and I went back to school to do what's called the leaving certificate here in Ireland.

It's that state exam that gets you to third level. And so I was hugely ambitious from an education point of view. And I just knew that education was going to be the passport to my independence and Sophie's future because I come from a working class background. You know, poverty was kind of mainstream in the 80s and it was just life was tough. But I was smart and I loved school. But I again made a conscious decision that I wanted to to get my education, get my living search.

I went back into my principal and I'm glad social media wasn't around back then because I would have been trending because been pregnant in the mid 1990s was somewhat of a scandal. Yeah. Rural Ireland. And I said to my principal, I'm coming back to school. I figured it out. My baby will be six weeks old at the first mid-term break. She should the baby should be sleeping all night. And he just looked at me and he said, OK, sweetie, he said, but the same rules will apply for you.

And he give me a punch on the shoulder. And it was a punch of real support. And I said, no problem. And off I went. But circumstances then happened five months later, Sophie's dad was killed in a road traffic accident. And I was there that night. I decided not to get into the car. Three people were killed and I was just parachuted into what I call the very first steps of my entrepreneurial journey, which where grit, resilience and being resourceful when you have no resources.

So I call myself the accidental entrepreneur. So I think the seeds were so on then. And so that education was, as you could now appreciate, was even more important to me, even more important. And I got the third highest results of my class. Highest of all, the girls are so proud of myself, the first person in my family to go to university. I mean, this was this was breaking down so many barriers and breaking through so many ceilings.

So stereotypes are completely. And then when I went to university and I thought that was that I realised that the government supports for me, I just didn't check the box. And there's a support there called third level allowance where you will get support with childcare and rent allowance and all of these. And it's really to encourage mothers to return to education or adults who left education early to go back and to get a third level qualification. But they said to me, Joanne, you're under age.

By this stage. I was nineteen. And I said, What do you mean I'm underage? And they said, Well, you don't qualify until 23. And I said, But that's going to cost the state an extra eight and a half thousand pounds. And, you know, I took a case to the ombudsman and this guy called Kevin Kelaher used to call me in a phone box, if you remember one time. And my daughter Sophie was at my knees and we used to walk to this phone box and Salto and Golway at a particular time.

And he would call me to update me on the case. And I'll never forget that man. And the fact that he listened and took an interest. You know, the end of that story was I got some compensation for not for not Kuala. But the legislation, unfortunately, still remains out of date today, but I actually think that is that is the reason why now I care so much because social media, as you know, is a two way flow of conversation, and it gives the ability of the citizen to have a say on policies that are written in their interest.

And we live in a world where I have written about in my latest book where the pendulum of power has swung from state, church and big business into the hands of the people and the people's voice. No matters because it can't be ignored. And I think that's probably the way of what I do now. And I it's more than digital marketing for me. It's more than, you know, trying to get on the inside by being on the outside.

It's actually just about good practise and saying, you know, social media isn't an evil and it's actually a necessary tool for you to listen, to learn and to lead by listening. And and and so that's that's where I'm at. And as I say, I'm I'm enjoying it. But initially, it was a bit tough to to take it on and get rid of the imposter syndrome.

Well, I think the thing with imposter syndrome and this is something that I find again and again is because impostor syndrome comes up very often on this podcast. And I can think of maybe two occasions. And if there are anybody, just listen to every single episode of this podcast. Number one, you're awesome. No. Two, I don't believe you there, but I don't think there's any more than two people have ever said I don't suffer with imposter syndrome at all.

And what I would say about those people who I've met for whom imposter syndrome isn't an issue, what I see is somebody that stop trying. They are not. For me, imposter syndrome is a signal that you're on the edge of your comfort zone and you're growing. So for me, it's a signal of this is you're in the right place. But what I love about your story there, particularly in the public sector, I think. Yes, you can build a business there, but it's bigger than that when you can genuinely serve unless you bring something special to it, you offer it the opportunity for transformation.

That's what anybody does. Anything, anyone, anybody buys anything is because they want some kind of transformation. You're offering transformation to big organisations. And like you described most businesses, their understanding of social media. It's a facility where I can transmit. It's not about listening. And what you described there was the ability of a community and an organisation to really start talking to each other and listening. But what I was really interested in and I'm curious on your perspective, and this is getting really off to the left of what would normally be talking about, but that's fine because it's your niche.

So where I'm coming with this is when that conversation starts and when the power is in the hands of the people. How much of an issue is it that they actually take responsibility and educate themselves as to what it is they've got in terms of power, because that's something I see as really lacking?

That's a great question. And what you're talking about here is citizens like you and I who now have a democratised Internet, the free availability of Wi-Fi and a smartphone in our hand, and we can talk and speak and engage and maybe go so far as to challenge, disrupt, misinform, troll abuse. And we know that those type of conversations go in any direction. And what I would say to that is, yes, there's personal responsibility. And I describe that as digital citizenship.

And that's the safe, savvy and ethical use of the Internet by all of us as a collective. We all have a responsibility. However, that's not something that every person is consciously aware of when they are on their smartphone. And, you know, you get a hundred people in a room and you ask them when you tweet or when you post on Facebook, who do you think he sees it? How many people do you believe sees? And they probably won't know.

We know because we study this as a discipline and we're knee deep in it every single day. So personal responsibility is massive. However, there's also a digital literacy problem and a divide and a gap that exists because there is a lack of self-awareness. I would say in the main you are going to have a cohort of people on the extreme who are deliberately using platforms to disrupt governments, democracies and science and research. We're going through a pandemic. So we've seen that and also to take on others, whether in professions or people that they know through targeted bullying that exists.

There is one area where I talk about a lot and it's disinformation, but the role of government and public sector and in the spread of disinformation. So I am fortunate to be a trainer for Google and work with Google's Digital Academy, which was funded in London a number of years ago. And now they develop digital marketing programmes for their biggest clients across the world. So when we were getting trained three or four years ago, I think we had a leader from YouTube and he was talking about the phenomenon of the influencer probably born on YouTube.

I know right across tech talk Instagram, you know, there were Snapchat influencers there. Also, there still are. And basically Google as the Goliath of the world of search. And I'm social if you if you think about YouTube as the world's biggest, you know, social media outlet, after Facebook said that what they were seeing as a phenomenon is as search became mainstream, obviously you and I and everybody like us were using Google to search for particular topics that we were interested in or that we wanted to know more about.

What Google and YouTube saw on the inside of their platforms was that there was a huge vacuum in terms of trusted information being provided by brands, but also by government and public sector. And when there was a vacuum, there will always be somebody to step and hence the growth of influencers who were sitting there behind their mikes, behind their front of their video cameras and blogging and really filling the Internet and owning the Internet for particular topics. So now when we see the spread of disinformation, whether it's around the pandemic vaccines, political decisions or policies, whatever it is, whatever you want to talk about, I always say, who is the author and the owner of the truth on this?

And there's always a government department or a public sector agency that owns the truth or who should be the prescriber of the truth because they're directing policy. And if they're not communicating and filling the Internet and optimising content on social with the truth, that is, you know, their truth, then they're going to leave a gap. Not I'm not for one minute suggesting that freedom of speech and the governments, whatever they prescribe, is truth. But what I'm saying is bad actors can hand out gaps and they can manipulate and take advantage.

And so I think that's where my expertise comes into the main. And I'm even teaching radio stations in Ireland about this also because as media as being the Guardian. Off the truth and investigating what truth is, and they also have to step up, so it's it is a big conversation. And whenever I say to a journalist, do you think social media is mainstream media? Oh, my goodness, it's they hate me. And it's one conversation that I want to have with a group of journalists, and I will have it at some stage.

But, yeah, we all have a personal responsibility to to put out, you know, the truth and responsible information on the Internet.

As you might know, the show is supported by our sponsor. I go Arapiles. Now, you know how hard it is to juggle all the things in your business, the accounts, the meetings, the never ending inbox. And that's why I teamed up with a group to give you more than five hours back a week. When it comes to managing your social media marketing, no complicated Excel talks, long emails or millions of open times simply manage all your social media channels in one place.

Go to amplify me. DOT agency Fogo ripostes to score two months for free on me now or you have to do is figure out how you want to spend those spare five hours. Yeah, and I guess something you were talking about with the public sector organisations needing to have ownership of a conversation space, then they also need to take responsibility for the ownership of that conversation space and actually participate. And I think that's where I think your niche probably has its obvious, tremendous value is somebody to go to that's showing leadership in this and can answer the questions because they're very specific.

They're very, very specific questions that are different from what everybody else does. So here's a question for you. Your niche is very specific, but it's very big because the world is a massive place and public sector is public sector is public sector. It doesn't matter what language you speak, sameness. So how do you deal with this problem of relationship building? I know you you do content marketing, and that's clearly where I'm going with this conversation. But how does Joanna Sweeney manage to turn up in other people's conversations in order that, A, your business can grow be because people are appreciating your value?

That's a great question. And because your primer to that question was, you know, public sector is public sector and government. Wherever in the world you go, you've got a huge market. My challenge is that this market doesn't realise that I or my service exists because guess what? They're not even Googling social media for government or digital marketing for public sector, because if they did, they would easily find me. So you're right. I'm really going in on that relationship building and making a statement with authority content.

And that's always been my approach. Just because I'm a writer and a storyteller and a broadcaster by trade, it's where I'm comfortable. So. I have the public sector marketing show, which is a podcast and a weekly Facebook and YouTube show, and I also have a book called Public Sector Marketing Pro. I have the Public Sector Digital Marketing Summit, which is an event. And I also write the state of social media in the public sector report every year.

And that's a report that provides social media benchmarks for government and public sector and excludes private sector. So, for example, the last story I did was in 2020, and I analysed the social media footprint of over 500 government agencies in Ireland to get benchmark rates on engagement, reach follower's number of posts. And so, yeah, I try and own the market with authority. Content is a very deliberate strategy because I know my market. I know that they there are very discerning.

They're not going to like all your posts. They're not going to disclose themselves to me because they have to be very careful who they associate themselves with, even in a work capacity. So what they hang along the edges and the fringes of my content, they also will do their due diligence on who you are. And I need to make that due diligence very, very easy for them, because if they Google John Sweeney or Public Sector Marketing Institute or have a look at any of my content, it has to speak to them.

And also, I've designed my own courses so of diploma and social media for government and public sector, a diploma in digital marketing for government, public sector. You are getting the trend now, but I've also accredited those. So I've made an effort right now and the accreditation because again, that's what matters to them. And believe it or not, it's it's not the money objection that I suffer from. It's the commitment object objection of, well, this is all very new to us.

You know, as entrepreneurs, we're we're quite decisive in terms of I do this, I get a result. I invest this, I get a return, you know, where whereas with the public sector, they're a bit more considered and conservative and still nervous, I would have to say, about going all out online and committing. But the one thing I would say on that is covid-19 has fast forwarded that sector in a whole year. As Google says, we've experienced a decade of digital transformation and 12 months.

And, you know, the World Health Organisation was the number one social media brand in 2020. And so the focus of the world was on your public health and your government. So it's been like a weird gift has covered to me because now there's a sense of urgency. And my education marketing that was so intense and trying to convince and convert is easier now because of the pandemic.

I think as well, people are much more accustomed to dealing with people like you and I online. It's it's become mainstream. Whereas a year ago an online course was it was a bit of a sort of laurant oddball way to go, whereas now it's it's all there is and yours is the only accredited option, which makes it pretty much golden.

Yeah. And again, I would say that's been a real a real gift to me that, know, the decision making and seeing an online course is. Yeah, that's the a natural thing to do as opposed to drag you halfway around the world and put you into a room of twelve people for a day and then you fly back. I also think the cost benefit analysis of people's time and er models and all of that and has, has definitely shifted.

So everything you describe to me in terms of your sort of online ecosystem, it comes across as methodical, diligent, well put together, structured. It also sounds like you're in a ton of work. And I'm curious to know because lots of people listening will probably also think, wow, well, that sounds like a lot. How do you have help or is this all, Johanna, just working 24 hours a day? John Rother?

Yeah, I mean, listen, I I'm the queen of to do lists and systems and processes, and I've been. Working for 20 years, I've been self-employed for 13 bob, if I hadn't mastered my own process by now, I should really be questioning myself. I really have perfected what I do and how I do it. We're a very small team. There are like three of us. But then I do have other subcontractors who will, you know, do my podcast, video editing and things like that.

And but really tomorrow, for example, I will record for 35 minute shows in a studio, which will be the Facebook and YouTube show and the podcast. And one of my team then will repurpose it based on our process and do the social. And my report has a has been going for three years. I have a process for that. The so much this will be the third year. I have a process for that and. And then in between times, I serve my clients, I mean, my courses are evergreen, I do have clients that I consult with and that have bespoke training.

And and but really, I have improved the scalability of me and little story. I was on The Irish Apprentice a 10 years ago. I got to the final, but I came third. And so I was the last person to be fired. And ah, our Lord Sugar was built. Cullen, a car garage mogul, he said to me, Jwan, you're great. You're a great saleswoman, you're a great PR woman. But guess what?

Your business is you and you're not scalable. And that always stuck with me. And then I met Chris Stocker and the rest is history.

Yeah, it scares me to think of the costs that must exist. And a chain of car garages. It's very and this is the thing people need to understand is there's a huge difference between turnover and profit. You can build an incredibly successful business with a tiny, tiny footprint in terms of resources. Some I was speaking to somebody today. She has seven multimillion dollar businesses. Each one in itself is a multimillion dollar business. And she has a team is probably about the same size as yours.

It's it's what you do with it that counts is where you find your leverage. It's how you distil your value and then get it into the hands of the people who need it the most. And I think I know how well you're doing, but I know how well you can do. And it makes my eyes water.

Yeah. And one thing, Bob, I would say is that I now have perfected my focus. I know what where I should be spending my time and where I shouldn't, whereas and we've all done it years and years of doing everything that was not adding value or that was distracting you from your focus. And and also my clients are good value clients. The other thing is that the value of a client for me, the lifetime value is very high.

So once I engage with them and I'm on their system because, you know, you have to be set up as a supplier in a government agency, that relationship is a longstanding one. Yeah. Oh, and I invest in that a lot. I invest in the relationship a lot.

And I think because you have the strong personal brand, the clear authority, they have to push past you to get to somebody else. And that's a really powerful place to be. They're going to have to actively say no to John Sweeney before they say yes to somebody else. And that's going to be hard to do.

Yeah. And when the more contacts realise that what I do is designed specifically for their needs and it's not a generic, you know, digital marketing offering and I can speak their language, I think that makes a difference. I understand the nuance of politics versus the policymakers where where the power brokerage is. Who are all of those stakeholders that have a. A role to play in the decision and in a communication, I'm actually thinking for them to know which which is really helpful.

And and also, you know, PR crisis management is a favourite topic of mine, you know, and that is one that will always hook them in because, you know, our public sector agencies are not immune from our regular crisis stuff starts or escalates on social.

So we've kind of seen where you've gone over the last few years, what's over the horizon for you? What are you looking forward to?

I'm really looking forward to to crossing through that crossroads that I can see in front of me. So the product base, the systems are there. And the next step of scalability, I believe, is just in front of me. And I have a picture of the White House on my vision board. I'd really like to add Vice President Biden and the forward for my book, Public Sector Marketing Probe was written by the chief digital adviser for President Obama. So, yeah, I just feel that I can genuinely help, you know.

Governments and big agencies and help them to do it right, but also from a place of citizen first as opposed to a place of spin. And yeah, I want to be operating on all continents and I want to be advising at the highest levels. I mean, I'm fortunate enough to advise currently in the European Parliament and with a lot of European organisations. So, yeah, I'm looking ahead to to other big to other big frontiers and and also making sure that I can fill my courses with a lot of people and to scale that, you know, changing the world one digital message at a time.

And the Internet allows me to do that. And so that's what I'm looking forward to, really.

Well, I'm excited for you. I think you've done an incredible job with the Public Sector Marketing Institute. I've got that right. Yeah. Thank God. It's very, very impressive. And yeah, hopefully there are people listening, thinking, you know what, Joanna? That sounds amazing. Where can I sign up? So people want to engage with you. How can they take things further?

So the website is public sector marketing pros, dot com. And even if you Google Joanne Sweeney or Public Sector Marketing Institute, you will find us because I own the pages for those on Google and on the social networks.

And you mentioned your summit very briefly. Tell us who's that for? Who should attend? What can they expect?

Yes. So anyone working in government or public sector who have an interest or a role around any type of communications, this is for you is the 22nd twenty third of September online. We have speakers from across the world, from hopefully every continent. Day one is the main stage keynote and case studies and data is a day full of practical social media, how to workshops and again, public sector marketing And click on and you'll find it there.

Awesome. Join. I guess I need to ask you the question I ask everyone at the end of our time together. And it's what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

That's very easy, Bob. I wish I had committed to going online five years ago, and I didn't because I had fear.

And I think what I what I'm really excited about is how much you can achieve in the time that you have been online because. Oh, my God. And I think that really needs to be a powerful takeaway for anybody listening. This isn't necessarily a ten year slog. It can be. But if you commit to it, you can do such a lot in such a short time.

And what I would say is, as a final note, is that what I have achieved in three years, I hadn't achieved a percentage of it in the previous eight.

Fantastic. John Sweeney, you have been an awesome guest for me, an amazing role model. Thank you so much for your time.

Thank you, Bob. Thank you.

Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe and join our Facebook group. You'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me. Don't have time forward slash inciters also connect with me. Wherever you hang out, you'll find me on all of the social platforms at potential. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love a five star review on our podcast that would make my day. And if you share the show with a friend, you would literally make my golden list.

My name is Bob Gentle. Thanks to you for listening and I'll see you next week.

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Episode Overview

If you post anything on social media then you’ll be familiar with the slightly vain frustration of people whizzing past your post without giving it a glance.

Yes - those people might just be stupid.  But it’s more likely that you didn’t hook them.

Today, on the podcast, I’m speaking with Brendan Kane about Hook Points.  

If you’re wondering what a Hook Point is - and you should be if this matters to you - then you can listen in and discover exactly how to deploy them in your content and actually stop the scroll.

About Brendan Kane

Brendan's website:

Automatic Audio Transcription

Please note : This is an automatically generated transcription.  There are typos and the system may pick words or whole phrases up incorrectly.  

Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Personal Brand Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to take a second to subscribe through your player app. And while you're listening, join our Facebook community. Just visit, amplify me forward, slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify. My name is Bob Gentile and this week I am joined by author Brendan Cain, author and consultant and general man about town.

I should say. Brandon has written the bestselling book One Million Followers, I'm sure has a bigger title than that. I'm sure you'll tell me in a moment, Brandon, and also your more recent book, Hook Point Attention and a three Second World. Now you can give me the correct titles of those books, but for my audience, these are books you should get excited about. So, Brandon, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Bob. It's a pleasure to connect with you and everybody that's listening to this.

So for those people who don't know you, if people were meeting for the first time, how would you introduce yourself? Who's Brandon Cain? What do you do?

Yeah, so I'm an author, speaker and owner consulting firm. And what we really specialise in is helping companies and individuals. We work with companies that are pre revenue all the way up to twenty five billion a year. And our core focus is helping them stand out in the very noisy world that we find ourselves in. Because if you think back pre social media, maybe there's 10000 content creators in the planet through like television, radio stations, magazines, and the distribution of content is very controlled.

Fast forward to today. There's three point nine six billion content creators in the planet. Yeah, every single one of them is creating content for the people they love and truly care about to the tune of over 100 billion messages sent out on digital platforms each day. Which means that that really sucks for people that are trying to stand out and make waves, you know, to get attention. So we specialise in just that. How do you grab attention to your product, your service or your message so that you can achieve the business goals that you're going after?

So I had a look around your world a little bit, and you worked for some pretty big names. So people like Taylor Swift and IKEA and MTV and these are great. They're super impressive and oh my God, Taylor Swift. But most of us aren't those people. Most of us aren't. Those sort of commercial powerhouses with the resources and the assets they have. And one of the things that I looked at when I was reading the reviews for a million followers, for example, is a lot of people probably thought that book was something that it wasn't, because a lot of the reviews are I mean, upfront, this book has awesome reviews, so don't take this the wrong way.

But a lot of people complaining that it was a book about ads and I think they missed the point. So for anybody that does look at a million followers, for example, and thinks, well, this is a book for big businesses, how do you feel about that?

Well, a few things to what you said. Is it for big businesses? Yes. As if for other people. Yes. I mean, the whole purpose of the the hook point of the book is to demonstrate that somebody starting from scratch, starting from zero without being a celebrity, a professional athlete or anything like that, can generate significant awareness, visibility, engagement in a short period of time. And then to do the second part of the people saying it's a book all about ads that tells me that people didn't read the entire book.

Because what I did is 25 percent of the book is my strategies. The rest, I went out and interviewed the top strategist influencers, partners that I have in the world. So collectively, if you look at the book, we've all probably done 150 to 200 million followers and well over 100 billion views. And even people just look at the title and they just look at my social accounts. I mean, my team alone has done 50 billion views and generated over one hundred million followers for clients.

So, yes, do we break down at ad strategies in the book? 100 percent. We see it's an effective tool if you have an ROIC based equation for how you're going to recoup that investment. But at the same time, we break down strategies from other people that have done things purely organically, too. So again, it's just when I hear those comments, they're obviously not reading into the entire book or they're just reading into the things that they want to read and not actually paying attention to the overarching message.

And to me, I'm a huge proponent in that there's not one way to be successful. There's many different ways, so in in both of my books, I provide different perspectives from different people that have achieved amazing results, sometimes those strategies will contradict each other. But to me, I'd rather paint a full picture of all the different ways that you can be successful and then choose the route that is the best fit for you.

Do you think it's fair to say that the people who maybe looked at the book and that was what they took away, what they were actually taking away was you can pay your way to success or you can earn your way to success, but there actually isn't very much in the middle.

Well, I think both are one and the same, because I don't know that you can pay your way to success. All ad dollars does for you is it allows you to put your content in front of people. It doesn't guarantee that somebody is going to follow you, it doesn't guarantee that somebody is going to buy a product or service from you, all it's doing is buying you the opportunity to put something in front of people.

You're absolutely right. But what I guess where I was coming from was. Actually, doesn't matter which route you take, whether you pay, I'm not articulating this properly, but what I mean is you can pay and if you don't put the effort in to create the right message and to create the right creative to show up properly in that context, even if you are paying, it's not going to work that well. But if you create great content, if you genuinely engage, if you think about what you're saying and who you're saying to, and you use the kind of tools that you're talking about in Hook Point, everything just works.

You connect. I guess this is what we're talking about here is connexion because people need connexion, attention, then connexion and then you have a relationship. But that requires effort. I think everything people talk about the effort, it's it's one of my advisers has ingrained this into my head. And I think it's one of the most valuable statements I've heard. And he says it's not easy, but it's simple. Yeah. So you think about like climbing Mount Everest, for example.

It's pretty simple. All you got to do is climb up the mountain. Is it easy? No. Same thing with, like a triathlon. It's it's pretty simple. You bike X number of miles, you swim X number of miles, you run X number of miles. But is it easy? No. And I think that that's also where a lot of people have negative reactions as they get into this. And they're like, oh my God, this is actually a lot of work.

Yeah, it's like, yeah, it's a lot of work. Anything you do to be good at takes a lot of energy, effort and dedication. It's not there's no magic pill and anything in life. And people I think are oftentimes looking for that, that quick fix. And the minute they get in there and it's not working for them, they ultimately give up and then they blame the information. They blame the strategy. They blame the author.

I think that is the danger with a book, with a with a with a title like A Million Followers, which calls out like a beacon to so many people, but then they realise, oh, I was looking for Huck. And it's not that, but it is a road map. And I think if you're going to line something like Mount Everest, you're going to need a guide. And I think it's an awesome, awesome tool for that.

Yeah, I mean, this in the book, I mean, both of the books, all I can do is share what's worked for us. That's all I'm doing. I'm not promising anything. The bulk of the book doesn't say how you can get a million followers in 30 days is how I got a million followers in 30 days. And I'm very transparent and upfront. And I've rewritten the book three times with feedback to just say, listen, here's my strategies here, strategies from other people.

This is what we found to work. Take it or leave it, do whatever you want with it. But I'm just kind of presenting what what we found in the world. And it's the same thing when we hire people or we read books. Is there certain stuff that doesn't work for us? And do I blame the information? No, because they've obviously gotten it to work for them. And then there's certain things that work extremely well. It's it's the way that I kind of operate in life is is you just bounce around and you just keep trying and trying and you don't give up.

That's the biggest thing, is make sure we look at people that have amassed tremendous success. But we we don't really talk about the journey that it took. And obviously, some people will get to the, you know, that success quicker. Some people will not get there as quick. But I can definitively tell you nobody's going to be successful if you don't keep going when you know shit hits the fan, so to speak. Yeah.

So let's talk about Hook Point, because what I love about I mean, I haven't read the book yet because I only realised who I was interviewing two days ago. So I for that, although you love this Audible has been bugging me for weeks and weeks to read this book.

I'm glad to hear that.

So let's talk about Hook Point because this is an outrageously practical book. It's really, really good. I have been watching some of the videos where you talk about the content in the book and I've been applying some of it in videos that I haven't put out there yet. But I can already I'm excited to put these videos out in a way I haven't been for a long time. So for anybody who doesn't know what Hook Point is all about, Brandon, go.

Yes, I want to again set the stage for the world that we live in today because people, you know, most brands are struggling because they're still stuck into the marketing strategies from 20 years ago. They're trying to apply marketing tactics and strategies that were developed for a pre social media world. And we all know that with social media and digital and just Internet in general, the entire world has really shifted around us. And we have to realise that we have to realise that there's three point nine, six billion content creators in the planet.

We have to realise we're competing against every single one of them for attention. We're no longer living in a world where we're just competing against our direct competition, which poses a really big challenge. How do we stand out? How do we capture attention? How do we get somebody to stop the Skrull, earn the click, open an email, respond to a LinkedIn message, take a meeting with you. Whatever your goal is, we've got to first learn how to position ourselves so we can get people to just stop for the first few seconds.

To pay attention to what we have to say, and then once we have that attention, how can we hold it as long as possible? So the whole subject matter of the book is how to master those things. And again, going back to that, that motto is of it's not easy, but it's simple. Well, the simple part is, is to be successful in today's world. You've got to do two things and two things only. You've got to grab attention.

So stop the scroll, earn the click, get the email open. And once you have that attention, you hold the attention for as long as possible. If you do those two things, you dramatically increase the ability to get the consumer action or engagement that you're going after. Now, if either one of those things falls flat or doesn't work, then the whole thing falls apart. So just an analogy is going back to science class. We we learnt about what it takes to send things into orbit, into space.

And we know that we have to have escape velocity to reach orbit. If we don't reach escape velocity, you're not putting anything into space. The same thing goes with marketing and content is you have to overcome these billions of messages that are sent out every day because if you don't rise above them. Then you get lost in the clutter and you don't generate the response you're looking for. You don't hit your goals. So that's really the focus of the book.

Now, in the book, we we don't just talk about social media. We talk about all forms of marketing. We talk about online and offline and even how to how to leverage off our online and offline off of each other. So even if you're not interested in social media, there's much bigger applications for businesses, for brands that they're really trying to reach that that next level and reach the pinnacle of their industry. So.

I love the idea of escape velocity, and I understand the imperative to stop the scroll. Now, I would say lots and lots of content creators are aware of the importance of stopping the scroll. What I see as a response to that very often literally just descends into what you might call shit posting. It's I'm posting something to get you to stop the scroll, and it actually detracts from the core message. There isn't an easy answer to this question. So I guess what I'm getting to is how do you maintain the alignment between the brand and the values of that brand and the lower rent methods that people use of stopping the scroll?

I mean, the answer is creativity. I get that. The answer is creativity and. Effort and planning and thinking things through and answering my question, I'm sorry, Brendan, what do you say to somebody whose response to reading Hook Point is shit posting? Well, that's my question.

And there's there's many different layers to what you just said and I'll break down, I'm glad because as I have a properly inarticulate moment.

No, no, I hear exactly where you're going with it. So first off, you have to create a successful hook point. There's two elements. There's grabbing attention and holding attention. And as I mentioned, you have to have both in order to be successful. So when you talk about shit posting, you're referring to click bait like that doesn't do much if you don't have a story to hold that attention and take them on a journey. Now, I would say that the biggest problem that people have is not really posting.

I would say the biggest problem I have is that they've been trained to think that I've got to put out as much content as possible. That consistency is is key publishing as much content as possible. Now, did that work at a point in time? Yes. You know, you think about seven or eight years ago when there was less people on social media, it did work. But because there's so many people that that strategy doesn't work and it doesn't work because you're not really analysing the results, you're not setting a hypothesis testing that hypothesis and then pivoting from it.

So that's number one. Number two is the the first place that you've got to start is you've got to identify the patterns of content that is being published. So when you're when you're on Instagram or YouTube or Tic-Tac or whatever platform you're on is, you've got to start studying. Get us are studying what what content is working and why, what content is not working and why and identify. And it's very easy to see that there's patterns that people fall into.

And your job as a content creator is to break those patterns. Now, there's many ways of doing that. You don't have to do use negativity or fear or those things. You can use them, they can be effective. But there's so many different ways of going about that. So the first place you've got to start is you've got to be a student of the game and see what is actually being published on these platforms and what's working and what's not working and creating hypotheses around that so that you can apply it to your content.

Secondarily, you had mentioned, you know, brand values and mission and all of that, what you stand for. Which is important, you know, to have in a business, and I'm not diluting the importance of that, but honestly, when you're creating content. People don't give a shit about it, they know they don't care about your brand values, they don't care about your mission statement or what you stand for. Now, people will say, oh, yes, they do.

10 percent of the of the world cares about that. And I can break down that a little bit further. What people care about is they want to be engaged. They want to connect. They want to be entertained. When they go to these platforms, they don't stop the scroll and be like, let me see what the brand values of this piece of content is. Let me see what the mission statement is. They just do not consume content in the way and that way.

And I would ask you that question is like when you're on social media, are you looking at content from that perspective? So so I think a lot of people get so caught up in letting brand values and mission statements dictate the content and let it instead of letting the content of what your your end user or consumer wants to engage with, lead the conversation. Does that mean you go on a tangent and do stuff that you don't believe in or that is inauthentic to you, who you are?

No, I'm not saying that by any means. When we're working with clients, we never change who they are. We never change what they care about. We just contextualise what their zone of genius is and contextualise the message they want to get out into the world. In a different way that will grab attention and hold attention, so I'll give you an example. We were on a call this morning with a client that does some truly remarkable. Healing work, and they kept saying, well, look at our testimonials are testimonials are so good, why aren't they taking off on social media?

And I was like, well, when was the last time you logged in to social media and say, I want to see some great testimonials? Yeah, never like. But can you tell amazing stories about these people? Yes, people love storytelling. Like one tactic, you know, just to test, you know, online and offline is start by saying, I want to tell you a story about X, Y and Z. I want to tell you a story about the time I thought I was going to die when I was on a plane to Los Angeles.

Well, that's great. I want to hear a story, I want to hear what that's about. Obviously, through that story, you can express something about what you're trying to get across. Another big problem that people are making is they feel like they're that social media is a sales tool. People do not log on to social media to be sold to. And there's a huge distinction between paid and organic content. Organic content is meant to engage, is meant to connect with that consumer.

It's not about selling. It's about connecting. And then you can use paid media from a retargeting perspective to go back to those people and say, thanks so much for watching that video. Why don't you check out X, Y and Z? So I just threw a lot at you. I don't know if I answered every single part of your question, but I just want to stop there to check in to see what other questions came up or if there's a part of it that I didn't answer for you.

As you might know, the show is supported by our sponsor. I got a pulse. Now, you know how hard it is to juggle all the things in your business, the accounts, the meetings, the never ending inbox. And that's why I teamed up with a repulse to give you more than five hours back a week. When it comes to managing your social media marketing, no complicated Excel docs, long emails or millions of open tabs simply manage all your social media channels in one place.

Go to amplify me. Dot agency Fogo ripostes to score two months for free on me now or you have to do is figure out how you want to spend those spare five hours. And I think you painted a really, really clear and useful picture there. I really actually enjoyed that because for me the whole question of educating, entertaining and inspiring, that's really, really important. And I think anybody in my Instagram feed, for example, that isn't pushing one of those buttons is very likely to get unfollowed.

And what you described was. Very clearly, you need to be doing one of those three things and you need to be doing you need to be putting some back into it, those people that are trying to transmit information that's not trying hard enough. If you're going to show up, at least get dressed up. Don't turn up in your pyjamas and social media.

That's well, I mean, you can't you're one of the biggest misconception is production value. Oh, I don't have a fancy camera. I don't have a camera. You don't need that. It's about what is the message that you're getting across? How are you connecting with somebody? That's the most important thing. People don't go to social media to look for your high production value stuff, and we often see high production value doesn't really work. I mean, you can go look at Nike's account and I don't even know what they're a hundred two hundred million followers.

And a lot of their content is falling flat because it's just overly produced. And that's coming from the biggest brand in the world. And there's other influencers that are in pyjamas or tick dancing in front of their bed or something that. Yeah, that takes off.

My my reference was to pyjamas was was more about if you're going to show up as a content creator, try and create good content.

There's so many people with minimum effort and then there's minimum viable and they're not necessarily the same thing.

Yeah, I guess I'll give you another example, I'm we're consulting for a very, very large corporation, so they have over 100000 reps all around the world. And, you know, the common question was, well, I don't have eight hours a day to create content or get good at social media. So what's the the simple hack or the simple way to get good at it? And it's just it's you can't approach these things in that way. It's not to say that you have to quit your day job or spend eight hours a day doing it, but you do have to invest some time to, at a minimum, understand it.

And even if you're going to hire other people to help you with it, you've got to understand it yourself. So you're making the right decisions going forward. So, again, I'm not saying that you have to sit there and spend all of your time every day, but like anything in life, you have to to really put some time and effort and energy into it in order to get good at it. Yeah.

I guess I'm going to ask that question for for the average independent, I'm going to say consultant, expert, author, somebody who doesn't have a team, but they need to show up for their audience because they do have an audience, but they want to try and level up their content to get attention more often, to convert people from first impression to relationship more effectively. I guess there's a few questions I have around. Number one, there is a a strong movement towards a volume of content over the potentially quality.

So if you were to take the Tim Ferriss approach, if you were going to invest in content, what's the minimum viable dose in terms of frequency from your perspective? I know there's probably no simple answer. And what are maybe three things that, you know, you could apply to pretty much everybody as the A, B and C of, OK, you're going to do a video, try these three things.

So to the first part, there's no there's no real answer for frequency. It's all about. Do you have any idea do you think is going to work or sometimes we'll have an idea where we don't think it's going to work, but we want to test to see if our hypothesis holds true. So you have an idea for a piece of content and say, I want to test this email and test this social at. Because I just saw somebody else doing something else, or I want to share this message and see how my audience responds to at that point, then you can go and invest in making that piece of content, whatever that investment looks like, time, money, resources, and then off the back and just make sure that you measure.

Did my hypothesis hold true? Did it generate the response that I was looking for? The problem with frequency is people are just getting caught in the hamster wheel of just constantly churning out content and not really setting hypotheses, not really measuring the results of it. And thus you just keep doing the same thing over and over again and you're not really learning. So that's the first part of it. So in terms of like the things that everybody can do, no one is research.

Is looking at content, so if you're trying to get better at email marketing, sign up for other newsletters. If you're trying to get better at Facebook ads, use the Facebook ad library. If you're trying to get better at organic Tic-Tac or YouTube, consume that content. And in that research phase, what you're doing is, again, you're looking at the high performers and the low performers. You have to look at content that is actually driving results and lack thereof.

Most people don't even look at the results, just look at content and say, I want to do something like that because it looks pretty. Or because I think it looks good or feels good to me, we use analysis of like what's performing and what's not performing to guide our decisions. It cuts a tremendous amount of time out in that. We're looking at what other people have done to inform our decision, so the interesting thing is. In science, we leverage centuries of data to inform our decisions and going forward, whether it's medical or other aspects of science, chemistry, space travel, we're relying on this data set to inform.

Yet when it comes to content, for some reason, everybody discards millions of data points that are readily available to all of us in lieu of I want to be completely original. I want to be completely unique. Why? I mean, that's just that's just a clear problem that if you just started there, it's going to make your life so much easier, it's going to make you more successful. So so that's kind of where we really emphasises start with the research from that research, create a clear hypothesis and then test that hypothesis and measure the results and just keep doing that over and over again and let the research guide your content decisions.

Don't let your brand values your mission statement or any of those things lead it, because people don't care about that on the front end of the communication now as when people dive deeper into your brand. Yes, that can be important. But nobody wants to watch a video of saying, oh, I want to share with you my brand values today. Yeah. So that is a system in a process. We have a viral content engineering process around that that can can work for any.

Content creator, no matter what platform, whether it's online or offline, I think anybody is listening to this and they want examples because I think in this examples are really, really useful. Go and follow Brendan on Facebook or Instagram, because you break down this content for people and actually. Although this sounds like it's a lot of work or it's it's it's complicated when you break this down for people through your content. For me, the light bulbs were just going off constantly.

This is actually easy, but it's not easy, obviously, otherwise everyone would do it. It is a bit of work. But the nice thing is you can look at, well, this is the work I need to do, but I can now have some confidence it's going to have a result. If you're somebody that's sitting there creating content on a hamster wheel and it's getting you nowhere and you think something has to change. Go check out Brandon on Instagram or Facebook.

You will not be disappointed.

Yeah, we don't. We went in creating those videos. That's the internal process that we go through and analysing other people's content. Now, we're not as diligent in creating content because we're so busy like building a business. And all of that is kind of funny. Some of the content our comments I get is like, oh, you did a million followers in 30 days, but why aren't you growing? Why aren't you posting content? It's like I got a business to run.

We're busy building awareness and followers and stuff for other people. But the whole purpose of that content that you're referring to is to externalise the internal process that I just walked you through of how we find content even. It's not related to my business. Like we broke down to musicians. I broke down a car ad. I break down an inspirational speaker. It's like that's how we learn. That's how we use references. So that's that's really the intent of those those formats.

And I'm glad you found it helpful.

Yeah, it's really, really useful. And I think anybody listening, you need to go and check that out because for me. Twenty minutes well invested. My next video completely different, it was it was really, really useful. So I'm looking forward to reading the book a lot. So for those people who are listening to this new thinking that Brandon, I think I want to go deeper with him, how can they find out more about you? Obviously, there are the books.

How can people get the books? But there might be your next A-list client listening to this. What should they do?

Yeah, if you're interested in working with us for for our team and myself to develop plug points for you or strategy, you can just go to Hook Point Dotcom and learn more about us and and schedule call with our team at Hook Point dot com. You can get the Hook Point book. Do you want one million followers. You can go to one million followers, dot com. It's also on Amazon and all inaudible and all that. I would recommend, even if you're interested in following starting with Hotpoint, because it really sets a solid foundation.

You can't go wrong with either book. But I just I just feel like Hook Point is the newer book and we incorporated a lot of the social media stuff in there. And again, like, you have to learn to grab attention and hold attention to even maximise value of followers.

Yeah, I think definitely if anybody spending money on ads, you have to go and read Hook Point because it will transform the effectiveness of those ads. I promise you, Brendan, you have been an awesome guest. It's been a treat to speak to you. I need to ask you, what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I mean, you dive very deep into behavioural psychology and understanding the subconscious and conscious mind. So I think one of the things is, is really I do a lot of breath work. I do a lot of free diving training to reprogramme the brain to understand that correlation between mind and body and dealing with anxiety, stress, self-doubt and things like that. So I would say probably that if I would have started it earlier, I would have really benefited from it.

Mhm. And do you do the free diving as well or is it just the training.

I do as well. I spend most of my time in the pool training, but I do go and do it, you know, some free diving in Mexico and other places as well.

It's far too cold for that where I live. It's been awesome. Thank you so much for being a guest.

Yeah. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe and join our Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me forward. Slash insiders also connect with me. Wherever you hang out, you'll find me on all of the social platforms to potential. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love a five star review on our podcast. It would make my day. And if you share the show with a friend, you would literally make my golden list.

My name is Bob Gentle. Thanks to you for listening and I'll see you next week.

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Episode Overview

Today we’re exploring how nearly everybody can add a mastermind to their range of offerings to really boost both your impact and your revenue streams. No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the transformation business and masterminds are where people can learn and grow like nowhere else.

If you’ve heard of masterminds but never really got it, or if you’ve been thinking about joining one but don’t know what to do next then jump in and get ready to meet Mastermind expert Liz Scully as she walks you and me through everything you need to know.

About Liz Scully

Emmy award winning Liz Scully is a strategist that believes business should be ridiculously fun as well as highly effective. 

She runs Mastermind groups for herself and other well known coaches. She trains coaches to run effective Masterminds. Bringing skills from over 20 years working on big Hollywood films, she helps brilliant minds achieve more together than alone.

She's Irish, nomadic and as confused as everyone else why she has an English accent.

Liz's website: 

Automatic Audio Transcription

Please note : This is an automatically generated transcription.  There are typos and the system may pick words or whole phrases up incorrectly.  

Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Personal Brand Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you knew, they'd take a second to subscribe through your player app. And while you're listening, join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify me, dot form forward slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. Hi there and welcome to Amplify the personal brand entrepreneur show. Every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work.

And this week I'm really excited to be joined by Liz Skully from Everything Central. And Liz, for those people who don't know you, why don't you start by telling us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do?

Well, it's lovely to be here. Thank you for having me. I am a business strategist and a mastermind coach. I only really work with clients myself in Mastermind's because they are so effective and my clients have been so happy and stayed with me such a long time that a while ago I started teaching people how to run a mastermind group.

And you were one of a very, very select group of people. That select group is people who have been referred to me by actual clients. I have a client that I think we have in common, and he told me you have to have Liz on your podcast. And when your customer tells you you have to have somebody on a podcast, there's no choice. So I'm really looking forward to speaking to mastermind's masterminding. For me, it has been a game changer in my business, in my life.

I think if it hadn't been for mastermind's, I'd know for a fact I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. We wouldn't be talking and I'd still be probably very unhappy in my business. So for those people who don't know what a mastermind is and they're thinking, what is he talking about? What's your definition of a mastermind? Who are they for? Who should be in a mastermind? Who should be hosting masterminds? Tell me about mastermind's list.

So that part of the problem I have with mastermind's is there is many definitions. So I'm glad you asked me what mine is, which is a mastermind in itself, in essence, is a group that meets regularly, shares information and sets a goal that you will have done by the next time you meet. It's super simple. And because it's so simple, it can be incredibly effective, like a coaching conversation. You're just talking to someone. But the results could be amazing with a mastermind group because it has longevity, because those people are with you for a long time.

They see the evolution of your business. They see where you perhaps have blind spots in a way that one to one coaching sometimes doesn't because you're not with that person for a long time. Many people are in my master mind groups for three years, for five years. And that's because it works. And as to who should run them, everybody who should be in them, everybody is quite evangelical, as you can tell.

So for those people who haven't experienced a mastermind group, there might be some misconceptions or misinterpretations. So one for me is what would be very different from a mastermind group to something like a networking group. And I'm thinking, for example, I dunno if you've ever experienced BNA groups, sort of local networking groups, where, again, people are together for a long period of time. How would you characterise a mastermind as being different from a networking group like that?

Well, being is, of course, fabulous. But as you say, it is a networking group, a mastermind group, particularly the So Irun is a small, intimate group. It's four to six people who were there for you through thick and thin. And the big difference between and I and similar groups is that you set goals at the beginning of the mastermind. So you're going to be together for six months or for a year. When I work with my clients, we set a big plan.

This is what you you know, if you want to be earning an extra hundred thousand three years from now, what do you have to do the year after and next year and this year? And what do you need to do in this six months to get that done? And that clear plan that that framework for everything means that each time we meet and in my groups, people meet twice a month in in those sessions, everybody comes with a question that is answered in B and I.

You kind of broadcast yourself to the room, which is wonderful and has a real place in mastermind's. You ask a question and then you're quiet while you absorb the goodness of the group. It's really powerful.

So I get that. And I was quite clear on the distinction, but I think there's a lot of misconception, misunderstandings for a lot of people if they've never. Hearings to mastermind, these are the conclusions they're going to draw or the assumptions that they're going to make. So I think it's important to look at what are the assumptions people might make about masterminds and sort of try and dispel some of those myths. What other things do you hear people talking about when they push back against the idea of a mastermind, whether it may be misunderstood or had some false assumptions around what it actually is?

Well, because there isn't a federation, there wasn't a body looking after masterminds, although one day I will fix that, I will create a Federation of Mastermind Excellence fome. Probably nice simply because I want to be head of the federation. I would like to I would like to manage the whole thing. But outside of foam being created, there are a lot of people that just adds the word mastermind to all sorts of things that the effective part of a mastermind is the group together, people who see you and understand you.

So sometimes people will take a Facebook group with 10000 people in it and call it a mastermind. That, my friends, is not a mastermind, not even close to a mastermind. So that's one of the biggest things. I wasn't a mastermind of a thousand people, and it was rubbish. Well, yes, it would be. So first of all, it's a smallish number. It is people where, you know, everybody that is really important and that makes a big difference.

Now, you can also potentially run and I've done it myself, you can run a mastermind where it's all peer's together. It's not there's no one coach in charge. And that can work very well. Obviously, when I'm in a mastermind, I tend to be the person doing that because that's my that's the main part of my business. But they can be terrible. Free masterminds tend to fall apart quite quickly because facilitation and curation the right people in the group and making sure that the balance of who speaks and the coaching and the mix of people is right.

If you don't have somebody looking after that, it can get awful one sided where one person is just taking up all the oxygen in the room. And that is painful. And if you've experienced something like that that's called a mastermind, they are painful.

I get that. And I think I've seen all different kinds. And my next question was going to be, and you you've halfway answered it, but I think there's probably another answer as well. There are masterminds where there is the mastermind host and then there is sort of almost like a hybrid of a coaching group where it's I'm going to say top down. I can't think of another way to say it is a mentor led perhaps is a better way to put it.

And then there's a pure mastermind group where there's no real mentor or leadership beyond maybe administrative leadership. What's your perspective on those two models? Are there inherent problems with one or the other benefits?

Well, they can both work, but the key to a paid mastermind is that you've chosen to be in the room of the person who's leading it, the mentor, as you say, with a free mastermind or alleged mastermind. You potentially haven't curated as carefully. Sometimes you have. Sometimes you've chosen your three most successful people and they are absolutely in accordance with each other, but often a three mastermind. The only curation is I like my friend, my friend who's available on a Wednesday.

And we need a bit more than that really so often. And those pre masterminds, often they sort of fizzle out after two or three months because that driving force isn't at the same rate in a peer led mastermind. You can have this amazing support group, but you're also if you're the person facilitating it, you're doing this quite complicated mental thing, which is you have to at some point shift gear from, you know, you speak next and you speak next.

And I think I think we've heard enough from you now that side of facilitation, you then have to shift gear to be in. And now I'm in the hot seat. Now I have to ask a question, and that is quite a difficult sort of mental piece of juggling to do. It's possible. Of course it is, but it's not fun.

I can see that. I really, really can see that. That's two very different modes of being from being a host to participant. It's a difficult switch to make.

Absolutely. And also, if I may add to that, there's also part of it. If some mastermind's mix training and masterminding in the same call, and I strongly suggest that that is not. The best way to do it for the same reason, because if you are teaching one to many, your brain as one of the many is in a kind of receiving mode, you're writing down information and you're fact checking and questioning. So you're in a kind of a how and a what mode, but for masterminding to work, you want to be in an emotional space where you are thinking about the best way to support the group.

So you're sharing you're all leaning in together. And that shift between one to many and we're all here together again, just like the shift from facilitating to being from participant to host is hard. It is equally hard to go from I'm learning. Oh, wait, now I'm in now I'm in a what are more of a commune with the group. Yeah.

So obviously masterminds are masterminding being the core of your business. Who is it that hires you to help and what are they hiring you to help with and what's your deliverable there? And when you're looking at potential mastermind hosts or owners, what are you looking for in terms of they're viable, they're probably not viable?

OK, so in my own groups, I as a strategist, I help people go from making money, maybe 100k a year, but not consistently. Sometimes they may come up, they have a good month, sometimes they have a bad month to regular good months and move towards 300 grand a year. So I take them from a hundred grand and take them getting the structure and the strategy to get to 300. Now, the interesting thing for me about that is that most of my clients, when they arrive, think that the problem is a mechanism, that they're missing some kind of structure, some something is missing in their business when it's actually really a mindset business.

Sure, they have to get consistent in outreach and marketing, of course. But there isn't like a magic. Oh, you need this special gizmo and everything's going to be fine. And what you do in a mastermind is this year, if it's a year long mastermind this year, we put in place the things. So you get the results next year. It's from a story point of view. This is where you're in the second act and the third act is where you get the results and it really works.

And because of that, when the next year begins to loom on the horizon, the clients can see that they're going to get that result and that's why they react. That's where people stay with me for a long time.

So sorry. Go on.

So so that's why that's that's what I do. I take people for 100K to three hundred K and when I'm training people to be in a mastermind to run a mastermind rather when I training people to run a mastermind, what I'm looking for is somebody who helps their clients make decisions in their business. That's really the key. If you do that and you like other humans, then masterminding is probably for you.

So let me ask you this then, because I guess if you're me, everyone and his mother seems to be running a monster right now, if you're listening to this, you may not see what I see, because obviously my network is full of people like Please and me who are embedded in this. But the sort of the reticular activating system seems mastermind's everywhere I go. So somebody who's thinking about launching a mastermind is immediately going to be struck with potentially the imposter syndrome of a.

But will they want to join a mastermind with me? What if they're already in a mastermind? Am I the right person? What happens if I try and launch this mastermind and I just get Tumbleweed or I get two people? Would that be humiliating? What mindset issues, I guess, is the question I'm coming to do you find are around the idea of launching a mastermind and how do you help people pass those towards actually taking action?

When you write the first, anything you do can be hard. And for most of us, we we do have moments of what on earth why would anyone pay me to do that? But the joy of a mastermind is that you can really maximise something, that you have years of experience and you don't have to be a coach. You don't have to know an incredible amount more than your clients. What you need to be able to do is to bring together the right people in the room, which is careful curation.

If you have the right people together, then you can guide them through the conversation. And one of the joys of masterminding is if for some reason you you don't have an answer to that question when. The group is giving their thoughts, you speak last. So if you genuinely have nothing to add to whatever that question is, you can make kind of gracious noises like, well, I think the group's really answer that. What a wonderful, lovely group of people you are.

How intelligent. I think Dave had a wonderful thing. I think Bob had a wonderful thing to add that I'd like to plus one, all of that. And that adds to that feeling of community. And you haven't really said anything, not, of course, that I ever do, such as such a thing myself. But but absolutely anyone can do it as long as you are bringing the right people together. So maybe we should talk about curation.

Well, this is where I was going to go next, because as somebody who for the last 18 years has been on a hamster wheel of sales, really it's only in the last five years or so that the pressure has come off me from a sales perspective, largely through to investing in my personal brand and changing my business model a little bit. But. I'm very good at selling, and the danger then becomes you end up with a group of people who have been sold to or persuaded to join rather than a group of people of a burning need for what you do.

So how do you manage that curation process in order that you get the right people, the people who have a genuine need, rather than those people you managed to persuade?

Curation starts with your theme, whatever your master mind is about. And it must be about something just the same way as if you were running a master class or a webinar. It's got to have a theme. So whatever your master mind is about needs to be something that your ideal client actually needs. Plus, of course, something that you personally can help them with. So in my case, it is growing the business, its strategy. In your case, obviously, it would be personal branding or marketing or perhaps even sales.

All of those things we know they have now, we can just put people together. And if you're good at sales, as you obviously are, you can sell people on things they don't want. That is not what you want ethically at any time, but be certainly not something you want for a mastermind because the group is going to be together for a long time.

That's what I was going to say, is that the problem with the mastermind is let's say I was selling a box of screws. I can sell a box of screws to somebody who doesn't really need a box of screws. There's never going to be any blowback. They'll just put the screws on the shelf and forget about it. Whereas with a mastermind, you're going to have somebody in the room for the next six months who probably doesn't need to be there.

And that's a real problem.

So in my own business, I have two two ways to get around this. So first of all, I say very, very clearly that there are no refunds. Once you're in, you're in is the Hotel California policy. And that's because I want to make sure that once people join their certain and next to the Hotel California, your policy is if you have any doubts, don't buy. Let's hop on a call and check. This is a good fit.

And what I'm looking for in a client like that is I'm not just looking in the client. I'm looking at what the group needs. And a good, well balanced mastermind has several things that are quite important. Obviously, there's the basics like people moving in the same direction for their goals. They have, roughly speaking, the same goals, but they're also moving at the same speed to those goals. So if you and I wanted to make a million dollars this year and you're at nine hundred thousand and I'm just starting, we're not moving at the same speed, you would be annoyed by how slow I am.

And I would be terrified by how experienced you are, except if you are very close to your million dollars. And I'm just starting. But this is my sixth business and I just left a business where I had a wonderful exit. I have millions of dollars to spend on this. I have a massive team and I might be moving more quickly than you are, in which case you might feel intimidated by the fact that, good God, this woman seems to be you know, she can do stuff in the two weeks between calls that I can't even dream of.

So you want that same speed to go. That's really important. So one of the other things that's really important for curation is to have a mix of people, not just personalities, but a mix of introverts and extroverts, because the way introverts and extroverts, it's not about how you feel about being in the crowd. It's how your mind processes are quite is quite important. Introverts tend to do a lot more internal thinking and then bring out an idea that's mostly formed to share, whereas extroverts, we tend to think and clarify our thoughts by speaking.

Now you need both thoughts in a group, but you also, from a curation point of view, that energy is going to be very helpful. And from a facilitation point of view, you need to warn you need to warn the introverts before you speak to them, because otherwise they will say, I have got to think I'm still thinking about it and you need to warn the extroverts if you're going to make them wait, because they will get to a point where they're like, oh, I forgot.

I was going to say, now it's all part facilitation. So a mix of people, similar goals, a similar speed to go, and then also the basics. Like you personally, I think this is really important. You personally have to like the group.

Yeah. As you might know, the show is supported by our sponsor. I go Arapiles. Now, you know how hard it is to juggle all the things in your business, the accounts, the meetings, the never ending inbox. And that's why I teamed up with a group to give you more than five hours back a week. When it comes to managing your social media marketing. No complicated Excel talks. Long emails are millions of open times. Simply manage all your social media channels in one place.

Go to amplify me dot agency, forgo ripostes to score two months for free on me now or you have to do is figure out how you want to spend those spare five hours. I would like to talk money because obviously we're all in business to make money. And the reason somebody would introduce a mastermind into the business model or their product line is because they want to increase their revenue. So where should a master mind set within your product mix and what impact could it have on your other offerings?

If you see what I mean, because if you introduce a mastermind at, say, 500 pounds a month, what if you are currently offering one to one coaching coaching at five hundred a month? There's a mismatch there. There's a disconnect. So how do you find people's product ecosystems shift when they start to bring in a mastermind?

Well, there's two places you can put a mastermind. You can put it below your one to one coaching as a cheaper way to work with you. I have a friend who is a director of marketing, and she is I think she's 10000 a month normally. So she has a mastermind that is 2000 months. So she's getting the same amount for the five or six people in a group for the time she spends with them. And they're getting a break on the price because they're in a group.

Or you can position it so that it's something you graduate into after you've done the one to one time, after you've got all the basics in place, then you are an alumni and can move into a much more exciting high range group. And they're part of what you're selling is the other people in the group, the fact that you are moving in lock step with a group of people who are your community now because you're in the mastermind together.

And how would you advise somebody to manage pricing on a mastermind within the context of of their business at that time?

Well, obviously, it it depends where you start, but where I suggest for my students and all my pricing, as you pointed out, is all my pricing is in US dollars because that's where most of my clients are. But what I suggest you do is that the very first mastermind is only three months, not a not a six month, not an eight month, not a year, just three months. So you can see if you like it or not.

So that's seven sessions. And in three months you can do something very specific. It might be the first step of all the work you do with your clients. It could be if it was a a book coaching mastermind, it might be you outline the book. It's that kind of thing. So you do something specific. And in that you would then have a choice on where you where you position it. So where I suggest people start is that you start at five hundred dollars a month and that you offer that very first one instead of a 1500, you offer an early bird that brings it to just under a thousand dollars so that if you have four people, you're going to earn just under four grand or six people just under six right now.

If you if you're listening to this and thinking, I want to charge much more than that, absolutely. Do that. There is pretty much no limit to how you price this, just as you would with coaching. I might recommend to a new coach that they start at a hundred dollars dollars an hour. But of course, if you want to charge a thousand and you have clientele that can do that, then that's where you start.

That makes perfect sense. I think I've kind of asked his question already, but from a suitability perspective, if you were to go out actively looking for a group of people that you wanted to start mastermind's, what would you be looking for? Who would you be able to look at and go, I know you're golden for it.

So your favourite clients, always the way isn't the people that I would start with. I was going to put together a mastermind for a new client. I would suggest they look at their the people that they adore, working with the people that are sociable and helpful and yet also have blind spots like we all do. So people that really want to get involved. And also there in that open frame of mind, you don't want someone in the group that's a no bot person or I don't like the sound of that.

Obviously, not everybody is going to be a great one. But you want people who are open and together and ready for that. And if I can sort of move us towards the way that I suggest people fill their first mastermind, which is you don't me. This is the beauty of. But you don't need a big fancy sales page and a big funnel. If you sit down and you think about those ideal people, you're already beginning to curators who would be in the mastermind who's a good fit.

You're already thinking about personalities and how much time you like spending with. Them and how they might fit together and how, you know, you can help them over time. So that list, if you can get 12 people on the list, you can get 16 people, at least you can pretty much fellow four person mastermind. Now, if you're lucky and can put 20 people on a list, you can fill a six person mastermind possibly to four people masterminds.

So all you need for that is you you get clear on the idea, you get your list and then you gently suggest the idea to them and you follow up with a call if they're interested. And it's so simple. Even now, eight years into masterminding, I still feel at least one mastermind a year just by direct outreach. I'm doing this new thing. It's really exciting. I'd love for you to be part of it. You're a great fit.

You want to talk about it, and you're not sending people to sales pages or complex funnels. It's very linear. I really like that.

It is. All you need is a simple email to follow up saying, you know, hey, Bob, it was great to be speaking to you. This is the mastermind I was telling you about. Click here to pay for it. These are the dates. I really hope you can be part of it. This offer's open till Friday. Click here.

So let me turn the question right around and think from your perspective as Liz, when you're looking at customers thinking that person really needs to start to mastermind, what are the standout features that you see as golden from that perspective?

Hmm, interesting question. So if they already have a good group of people that they've already you know, as we talk about last month, if your listeners are thinking actually, I do know some people, that's a really good sign. Also, anyone who's been in a mastermind and been very happy about it is going to know quite how lovely they are. But obviously, sadly, the whole world has not been a good mastermind. But if you can facilitate well, and that's a task that's a skill that many of us have if you can facilitate.

Well, and you were used to guiding your clients to decisions, and that's pretty much all coaches and consultants if you're used to guiding those conversations, mastermind's are a great fit for you.

I think what I love about mastermind's and group coaching and I'm on a I'm going to break with my group right now and I'm going to be bringing it back. So if anybody's listening, thinking I want to be in Bob's mastermind, reach out, now is a very good time. But I loved it. It was probably the highlight of my month from a from a fullfillment perspective. It was the best part of my business. But this is important commercially.

I went through the exercise of looking at all the different things I did in my business and calculating the effective hourly rate of each element. And the mastermind group was coming out very high and my group was inexpensive. Let me just put it that way. Compared to the the numbers we've been talking about, it was below you're way below your bottom range, but it was still still the most productive and profitable part of my business.

And it's so much fun as well. Yeah. I spend most of my days just hanging around with smart people, listening to their thoughts, brilliant.

And that that's why I do a podcast flatterer. But this is the thing. I mean, although you're talking relatively modest amounts of money, and yet if you're talking 500 dollars, what, five hundred dollars to me and somebody else might mean two very different things. Let's just assume it's a relatively modest monthly outlay for a business owner. But for you, when you look at collectively the value that mastermind is bringing to you as the person who's delivering it, it's really, really commercially worthwhile, probably the most worthwhile thing you'll do.

So I just want to say that there's a bit of reinforcement that mastermind's, they might sound a little bit wacky, but they really allow you. And this is obviously it's wacky if you've never heard of them, if you've been participating in them. And it's very mainstream, very productive, commercially so worthwhile. And from a personal fulfilment perspective, if you're well aligned with doing that kind of work and being sociable and facilitating is going to be the most fulfilling work you ever do as well.

Absolutely. And one of the one of the delights. But is you don't need to be an extrovert to run them because obviously introverts are not shy. They just don't want to meet lots and lots of people and masterminds the same group all the time. It's like going to a regular dinner party. You get to know the people. And for me, as I said, I run a business strategy mastermind. I'm sure that's why my business has grown so quickly, because I get to hear my brilliant clients helping each other with brilliant ideas and they become super fans.

I can test things with them. I can try bits of copy on them. They are always the people that buy anything. I've got first is just such a lovely thing. Plus, there's no homework afterwards. And frankly, as long as you've got the cameras switched on in your face in the right direction, you've got a shirt on. You are good to go 30 seconds before that.

So there's I want to talk about your business a little bit. What is it that makes your business tick? What do you do for money? How do you serve your clients? What is an engagement with you look like on the various ways people can engage with you? And what's a good looking client for you? I don't know what those questions were and I say even make sense together.

Well, as I said, I help coaches and consultants. Do I think I said this so I help coaches and consultants, copywriters, designers, anyone that has that. I hate that phrase. A knowledge based business. But that principle, I'm sure many of your clients are in the same position. So people that help people and my clients have a wicked sense of humour and they really want to do really well without destroying the planet. And it sounds really small, but nice humans that are doing lovely work.

I would not describe this normally as an ideal client, but it's very important to me and it is so nice to spend time with people who are energised about what they're doing. I never I mean, because that's the other thing is because of the curation, I get to choose who I work. So super connected, super engaged people and I help people with strategy, positioning, messaging and more and more, I'm sure you the same. More and more.

I've realised that the heart of everything is positioning. And once you get your position right, you know how you advertise. Your messaging is beautifully clear. Mastermind's will give you that. Just uplift around that. So I train people in mastermind's because they have changed my business. They are the way I work with clients. And frankly, as I said, I just spend my days giggling with lovely people.

Right? So if people want to connect with you, they want to go further with you. How would you like them to do that?

Well, I have made a special page for listeners of your podcast. You can go and pick up some information about Mastermind's. You can go to rethink central dot com exemplify and find some freebies. Therefore, you know, opt in. You can just go and get a whole bunch of lovely things. I'll speak to I'll speak to you, Bob, afterwards to find out what would be the best thing to have on there. And if you would like to follow me via Instagram, you can find me at Rethink Central.

And also I'm just starting a new business called Evil Koch, which is ridiculous and is it's not for everyone, shall we say. It's not for everyone. It's quite salty. But if you fancy if you fancy checking that out, it's all the things I've ever wanted to say as a coach with a weird side of kink. It is very strange. It's also on Instagram. It's Obey Evil Coach. That's a yes. Edgy. It's a bit of a left turn from coaches and copyrighter.

That's fantastic. Makes me giggle.

So I'm going to finish with one question that I remember to ask everyone these. And that's what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago.

I actually do a huge number of just random calls with people not not not absolutely completely random daily. But I make sure I do a huge number of networking calls either every week or every month. And I started doing them when I was I live in India. I used to work in the film industry and a lot of the networking, the people that are now my closest friends that became my clients, they came from making sure that I had made Connexions and now this is the thing I didn't used to do.

Now I have at least four hours a month, which is just set aside to talk to people. It has been such a good thing for my business and I think that really is what it's what's at the heart of masterminding as well. I had summed up to me as friends helping friends, which I think sums everything up. That's really the secret web, I guess that's almost underpinning this whole Internet business thing. Personal branding is important, yes. But never underestimate the power of Connexions and people.

And I'm not talking from a manipulative perspective, but if you can genuinely reach out and help somebody to reciprocate and that for me is one of the key strengths of a master mind is just a group of friends helping each other and the rising tide lifting all ships. That's been huge in my business. I'm sure it's been huge and yours and I hope to the listener they can start to make it huge in theirs, too. So don't underestimate, as Liz said, the power of simply reaching out and making contact with someone.

Liz, you have been an awesome guest, has been great to spend this time with you. And hopefully I get to meet you in person sometimes once once I start travelling again after the pandemic. But for now, thank you so much for being such a great guest.

It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much.

Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe and join our Facebook group. You'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me, talk there from forward. Slash insiders also connect with me. Wherever you hang out, you'll find me on all of the social platforms at Pop Gentil. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love a five star review on our podcast that would make my day. And if you share the show with a friend, you would literally make my golden list.

My name is Bob Gentil. Thanks to you for listening and I'll see you next week.

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Episode Overview

You might think you have disadvantages. You might think you’re too poor, too remote or too different to achieve your great things.  It’s tempting to think that way because it gives us a way out. It gives us an excuse to accept settling.

This week my guest on the podcast is Daniela Nica. Daniela is one of the most impressive trainers, coaches and community leaders you will ever meet.  She operates in three languages, on two continents with a wildly successful business by anyone’s measure, and all this started in rural Romania, working in cleaning jobs and making pizza.

About Daniella

Daniela's Website:

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Episode Overview

If you want a bigger business, bank balance, brand then you might just need bigger mentors.  This week my guest owns several multi-million dollar businesses and she’s 100% clear that you can do the same.  

This interview was the most fun I’ve had on the show for a long time.  I love Marissa Nehlsen and you will too.

About Marissa

Marissa's website :

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

Episode Overview

Being an introvert - and a generally shy one - I find a lot of things hard which many others in my space don’t think about. Does this mean I get off the hook building my personal brand? - no way!

If you identify as an introvert, then I’m thrilled to introduce you to @thefifimason who joins me on the podcast this week to talk about personal branding specifically for introverts. You know what? It turns out you have superpowers.

About Fifi Mason

Fifi Mason is a Personal Brand Strategist and Visibility Coaching, helping introvert entrepreneurs and small business owners get visible and develop a personal brand business that aligns with their personality.

She was also the host of The Quietly Successful Summit 2020, which features renowned speakers such as Mark Schaefer, Andrew & Pete, Matthew Pollard, Clare Josa and many more.

Fifi's Website :

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.


Some people work for others and some people work for themselves.  That sounds very binary but life just doesn’t work that way.  A 9-5 job might have been right for you at one point - but maybe you’ve grown out of it.  

This week my guest is Anna Lundberg and we’re talking about how to plan your exit from your day job, design a business around the life you really want and join the world of the self employed entrepreneur.

Annas' Website:

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.


Do you have a podcast?  Have you ever thought about starting one?  If the answer is yes - or even maybe - to either of these questions then you are in for a treat.  This week our guest is Danny Ozment.  Danny is a podcaster and also runs a podcast production company looking after dozens of shows for all kinds of podcaster.  

We talk about what makes a great podcast, what attracts and retains listeners and all the different ways a podcast can add value to your personal brand and your business.

About Danny

Right now, Danny is wearing out his Walt Disney World annual pass with his wife and 2 kids. When he’s not on Pirates of the Caribbean, he spends his days on mission helping podcasters change the world one download at a time. The podcasting services he provides to clients such as Salesforce and The John Maxwell Team, guarantee you’ll launch and grow a podcast that will impact the world.

Dannys' Website :

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.