Tune in as I chat with Suzi Gray, an online business mentor who likes her humour served dry. You can already tell this is going to be a good one, right? Suzi works with quietly ambitious coaches, consultants and creatives who want to position themselves as pioneers in their industry and radically redefine success for themselves. She’s also a new mum, former lawyer, and she lives on a little marina in the UK. (I mean, come on, how fantastic does that sound?! I’m a little bit jealous here.)

Anyways, Suzi considers luxurious simplicity to be her love language. Her clients adore her ability to pull out the gold inside them and the unique way that she combines strategy and creativity to package it up irresistibly. Before moving into mentorship, Suzi was an in-demand copywriter and brand strategist for some of the industry’s best. 

There are currently two main ways Suzi works with people. The first one is inside the success sanctuary. A mentorship meets mastermind where who you become is more important than what you’ve done. A place where you leave the shoulds out the door and leave yourself down the path of least resistance into the business and life you truly want. The second way you can work with Suzi is inside Story Marketing Goldmine, a short course that shows you how to develop a raving fan ready-to-buy audience by writing compelling stories without spending hours on marketing that you don’t enjoy and that doesn’t work. Sounds good, right?

She had me at “combining strategy and creativity” — I mean, that’s the exact same intersection that I operate in for my own work, so I know how truly powerful the combination is. In today’s episode, Suzi is here to teach us a thing or two about positioning yourself as a pioneer in your industry.

TL;DR — episode links:

Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then cleaned up – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s probably not 100% accurate.


Petchy: Suzi! Welcome to Brand it! I am so excited about our chat today. 

Suzi: Thank you so much. Me too. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time now.

Petchy: It’s always just so wonderful to bring another brand strategist onto the show because I know even before we start that the conversation is just going to be on point.

Suzi: No pressure.

Petchy: No pressure. So before we dive into things, I would love to invite you to take a moment to say hi. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Suzi: Yeah, of course. Hello. I’m Suzi Gray. I am now an online business mentor. My company is called Captivation House, and I work with, I think, the coolest people on the Internet.

Petchy: No, no, because I work with them. 😉

Suzi: Sorry. My bad. Delete. Delete it up and out. 😅

Petchy: Okay. Now we can share the best people, right?

Suzi: We absolutely can. I think that’s such a good point, actually, right off the bat, is that there is an abundance of cool people for everyone to work with, and I definitely take that approach with business that there’s plenty to go around. I was previously a copywriter and a brand strategist focusing on done-for-you-work. Did that for many years, and then in the past, probably three ish years, now transitioned into focusing on mentorship. So I absolutely do still help people with positioning and messaging, but also looking at the bigger business picture. So everything from what are your offers to how do you actually want to make your business fit into your life? I’m very much about having a lifestyle led business and marketing in a way that feels really good to you and ignoring all these shoulds that get thrown around in our industry.

Petchy: This is music to my ears. Yeah. I think that’s why we connected so well. And why I wanted to invite you on here, is I know that you take a similar approach to myself in that respect. I think we need to amplify the voices that do things a little bit differently than the big health proclaimed gurus.

Suzi: Absolutely agree. Yes.

Petchy: So you told me a little bit about how you have a background in brand strategy, but you’ve transitioned into being an online business mentor. So how was that for you? How did that come about? I’m just curious now before we dive in.

Suzi: Well, it happened in a forest. I actually wrote a piece about this because it really did. You probably experienced this in the done-for-you-work. You end up doing quite a bit of mentoring within that anyway, and I really enjoyed that side of things, and I was starting to feel that pull towards doing that more because it takes a lot of mental and emotional bandwidth to do work for other people. And I loved it and I was good at it, but I think I just reached that point where it felt like a pivot was the natural next step for me. But it was very much a kind of like dipping the toe into what mentorship could look like and keeping one toe still in the dumb for you work. So it was quite a long transition period.

Petchy: I like that. I like that you mentioned that, because a lot of people think you’ve got to change just like that. You’ve got to pivot in a second. You don’t.

Suzi: Yeah.

Petchy: I was the same when I transitioned from doing general graphic design work over into the brand strategy and the brand identity design. It took a while. I think it took, like, two years before I fully transitioned into my new line of work. I think that’s important to normalise, actually. It’s not like you don’t have to just spin around and then from one day to another, just completely revamp your business.

Suzi: Exactly.

Petchy: It doesn’t work that way.

Suzi: And I think the key part there is just to communicate that to people, because I think that’s what makes people feel a bit like, oh, you know, I either do it or I don’t, because otherwise people just won’t understand what I’m doing. But then it’s just about communicating clearly that you work with people in a couple of different ways, and then over time, the ratio will kind of shift towards the new way, and you can let go if you even want to completely let go of what you did before, but you don’t have to. Like, I still do a tiny piece of done for you stuff for the clients that I love the most, and I think it’s beautiful to have that flexibility. So yeah, it’s just making sure that people are aware that this is how you do things.

Petchy: Yeah.

Petchy: You know what? I think if we wrapped up this episode right now, people have already had value from it, and we’re not even at the main topic yet.

Suzi: Yes. That’s great to hear.

Petchy: So today we are going to have a conversation around how to position yourself as a pioneer, even as an introvert. And that part particularly caught my interest because as anyone who knows me or anyone who’s followed me for some time on socials and stuff, they know that I am a hardcore introvert. Yeah. So I’m really excited to hear what your thoughts on this are. So shall we start with the basics, maybe? Like, what does it mean to be a pioneer?

Suzi: A big question. And to be honest, I feel like this about most things. It’s really about defining what it means to you. It’s the same with success. It’s such a personal definition, I feel. And it’s the same with pioneer because you would think, well, I think the actual dictionary definition of pioneer is to be able to lead others with a new way of doing things. But I think to first lead others, you have to be able to lead yourself. I think self leadership is really important. When we talk about being a pioneer, I think the word leadership can sometimes intimidate people, especially introverts, because they think, oh, I’m not really a leader. I’m not sure I have the qualities to be a leader. I’m not sure I want to be a leader. I’m not sure that word really kind of resonates, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not a leader already, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a very effective facilitator of transformation for people.

Petchy: You know what? It’s funny you should say that, because I think sometimes introverts can be the best leaders, because now, I know I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of introverts that I know have they’re very empathetic. They have a way of picking up on people’s feelings even when they’re not spoken. And when you can do that and then translate that into supporting people and leading people, that’s really powerful. So I would say that even if you are an introvert like myself, don’t discredit your leadership skills, because I think there’s so much below the surface there that you just don’t really think of. When someone says leader, you think there’s sort of a strong, maybe masculine stereotype.

Suzi: Yes.

Petchy: It doesn’t have to be that way, does it?

Suzi: Absolutely. And going back to what you said earlier about these kind of, like, self proclaimed gurus, I think that was the phrasing. We can see that as an example of leadership and think, oh, that’s how it’s done, or that’s how we must be in order to be leaders. And I don’t think that’s true at all. And you can lead without leading, if that makes sense. You can show people the way you do things and just say, kind of take it or leave it, like, take what works for you and leave the rest. So it’s less about saying, I am the leader, this is how I do things, and therefore this is how you must do them too. And more about, “this is how I do things”. If this feels good to you, if this aligns with your vision, if you vibe with what I’m saying and the way I live my life, then maybe you’ll enjoy hanging out with me and we could just walk this path together. I think that’s a much softer, gentler and more human way of looking at leadership, which I expect speaks to introverts like you and I.

Petchy: Yeah, I agree. And I mean, the first example of a leader that you described there, that sounds more like dictatorship than leadership, and I think we need to get away from that.

Suzi: A lot of the examples that we see in the online industry, I’ve done it, so you can do it too. Here’s my step by step method that is, in a way, pioneering, but it’s only for one person, not for the people who are following them. I want to be a pioneer, but I want the people who work with me to be pioneers as well. That’s not going to work if they just try to be clones of me in some way.

Petchy: That’s such a good point. Such a good point. So I think the key takeaway from that little section there is you don’t have to be a dictator to be a leader. You can lead on your own terms, and you can find your strengths to lead with. So for anyone who’s thinking, oh, I can’t be a pioneer because I’m too quiet or I’m too shy or reserved, there is probably a way to be a pioneer, even for those people.

Suzi: Absolutely. I’ve just started describing my people as quiet pioneers.

Petchy: That’s a goosebump moment. I love that term.

Suzi: Yeah, I think it’s beautiful.

Petchy: I love that the online business world, and probably the business world outside of just the online space as well, is moving towards more of that humane way of doing business. I’m here for that.

Suzi: Yes. Me too. Sign me up.

Petchy: Okay. So that was kind of a very loose definition of what it means to be a pioneer. But how do you actually put that into practice, though? I think that’s what people will be interested in hearing. That’s probably why they’re here. 

Suzi: Yeah, maybe. Yes. So there’s kind of two directions that we can go here. The first is when I think about success, and we’re all in business to be a success. We already are a success story. I always say that your success story is still being written, but you’ve got goals, you’ve got visions. So how do you achieve those? And the way I like to look at things is using this trifecta. So we’ve got self leadership, which we’ve spoken about a little bit already, and really kind of embodying being a pioneer, and that’s really about being and then we’ve got self expression. So this is the saying piece. So how do you actually communicate with people? What are you saying so that others know that you are being a pioneer? And then we’ve got self drive, and this is doing and I think this is the piece that people focus on probably a little bit too much. It’s just all about the how. How do I do something? What steps do I need to take to achieve things? But I think we have to look at everything together. So it’s being, saying and doing, making sure that we have all of those three pieces covered to make sure that we are actually achieving our own unique definition of success. So I just want to put that like, add some context.

Petchy: I love that. And that translates into branding as well, in a broader perspective, and that everything is connected. It’s like you cannot work on one piece separately and expect the others just to magically fall into place. They all have to be connected. So I love that you’ve kind of brought that part of the brand strategy part into your current work, which is spot off.

Suzi: Yes. And I think that we get a bit too caught up in thinking, if I just do the right things. So with branding, it’s often the visuals. If I just pick some nice colours and if I just get my logo and all of those kind of the doing pieces that you then present that’s enough. But it’s not if you haven’t done the deeper work. So that those visuals actually represent not just who you are, but who you’re becoming, they’ve got to represent the evolution as well. So, yeah, I think it’s really important that we are applying that approach to everything in business. Because burnout is a real thing these days and it tends to happen because people just are so caught up in the doing, like trying to do all the things without thinking about why am I doing this? And do I want to be the kind of person that does these things? And does this actually align with my values to do things this way and that’s? Because they’re not really focusing on that, being peace first and foremost.

Petchy: So if you’re stuck in the doing part, then it’s a good idea maybe to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

Suzi: Yes, absolutely.

Petchy: Nice.

Suzi: The other side of things, like being a pioneer, how do you actually go about that? So the way I like to look at this is using four Ms. There’s four of them. So the first thing is: model. So looking at the business model again, how do you create one that fits your life rather than replicating a business model that fits somebody else’s life? Because everything can work. I really believe that you can make anything work. It’s just whether you want to make it work for you. So some people will swear by memberships, some people will swear by done for you service offers, some people will swear by group coaching. It can all work. It’s just about deciding what is the business model that fits you and it’s going to allow you to be a pioneer in your life as well. Because this isn’t just about business, this is about what is the lifestyle that you want to have and having the business that supports that, rather than trying to squeeze your life around your business.

Petchy: And also from my own experience, I found that this is a process too. It’s not like you decide on a model and then that’s it forever.

Suzi: Absolutely.

Petchy: I know for myself and my own brand, it has been and it still is a lot of trial and error and seeing what works and leaving behind what doesn’t work, which I know a lot of business owners find really tough, just leaving parts behind of what you’ve already worked on. Because isn’t it then a waste?

Suzi: Of course.

Petchy: I don’t subscribe to that. I just think you have to experiment sometimes to figure out what works for you. Because if you haven’t tried something, how do you know if it’s right or wrong?

Suzi: It’s the only way. Yeah, and I think people are scared to, aren’t they? To really experiment. Because what if I make the wrong decision?

Petchy: People think of me, I think I’m flaky if I ditch this thing and start doing something else.

Suzi: That’s a good one.

Petchy: No, you’re not flaky. You’re just trying out and figuring out what works for you. And what works for you today might not actually work for you in a year or even three years.

Suzi: Yeah. And the essence of being a pioneer is walking a path, experimenting, seeing where it takes you, and then having the courage to course correct if you feel like, no, this isn’t right for me. And there are no wrong decisions. You can’t make a wrong decision because you will take lessons from that that then inform the decisions that you make next. So there’s nothing although it can be scary to experiment like that. And definitely it is essential, I think, in business.

Petchy: Yeah. I’m sorry, I actually interrupted you. When you were about to move on to your second M.

Suzi: Yeah, so that’s model. That’s number one. So the second one is: method. And this is where being a pioneer can really just like, you can go wild with this because this is how you take everything that is unique about you. The way you look at the world, the way you do your work, just the approach that you take, the lens that you look at things through, all of that stuff that makes you and what you do unique. You can create a method around, you can build a methodology around. And this is amazing actually, for positioning. Like, if we’re talking about positioning yourself as a pioneer and saying, these are the people I want to work with. This is how I want to work with them, this is how I’m going to present the value of what I do to them. Having a unique method will really help you do that. And that’s where the work we do as brand Strategists, we can really have some fun with this stuff. You can be really creative. This is where you develop your intellectual property, all of that kind of good stuff. So that’s the second M. Would you like to interrupt?

Petchy: I’m such a talker sometimes. Like, for an introvert, people get surprised all the time because I can chat. Not so much interrupt, but just to add a little note that, yeah, I’ve experienced this myself. It took me, well, 15 to 20 years to really nail my methodology and to create my framework. But once, a couple of years ago when I was working on it and I just couldn’t get it to fit right, and then all of a sudden, it just clicked into place. And ever since then, it’s been so much easier to talk about how I work and why I work the way I work. So I definitely do not discredit having a method. It can be such a valuable asset for your business.

Suzi: Yeah, absolutely. Do things click into place for you at, like, 03:00 A.m., or is that just me?

Petchy: Mostly it’s when I’m out hiking. So, like, when my head is completely empty and other stuff. This is a side note of a side note that when I’m out hiking, at least every other time I go out, I do not listen to a podcast because I need my head to be completely empty for those ideas to pop into my head. So that’s my kind of magic place. Yours is in the middle of the night then, I guess?

Suzi: Or in a forest. When I mentioned at the start, like it happened in a forest, I do that as well. I go out for walks, not listening to anything. Maybe I have a question in my mind or I’ve just got ideas percolating, and that’s when things can click into place for me as well, which it did with Mentorship. I went into a forest, decided, yes, I want to focus on Mentorship and then on that walk. My whole methodology for my new offer came to me on that walk in the forest. So, yeah, I’m with you there. Or in the middle of the night. I get my kind of best ideas.

Petchy: If people bump into me in the forest, they might find me just speaking randomly into the voice notes app on my phone. Thankfully, there aren’t that many people around here, so I’m often alone in the forest, but it probably looks a bit silly. Here I am in the middle of the forest with my phone app. But it’s all good stuff. 

Suzi: Yeah, I think it’s really good to mention that because I think people can almost try to force themselves to sit at their desk and work through an issue until they’ve got the solution or got the clarity or whatever. I would say like 99 times out of 100, you’re not going to find that when you’re just sitting at your desk or in front of your computer or whatever it is, trying to figure it out, like you want to get out of your head, like you said, empty your head to just give it the space for your self conscious, I think, to do the work.

Petchy: I think this is going to be an episode and a half, I think, because we’re going out on tangents, but I love it when that happens. But yeah, I think having worked in corporate before, it was really hard for me to get out of the corporate world, the “stay at your desk between the hours of eight and four or nine to five” or whatever it is. And it took me a couple of years at least, before I was able to shake myself out of it when I went into self employment. And sometimes I find myself stuck in it still, and I’m seven years in now.

Suzi: Oh, yeah.

Petchy: So it’s something that I have to work on consciously. I have to give myself explicit permission. It’s okay to leave your desk. It’s good to leave your desk, go out for a walk, because sometimes I will get stuck in front of my computer thinking, I have to finish this, I have to figure this one out. But it’s not until I’ve left my desk that it actually falls into place.

Suzi: Yeah, absolutely. So method is your second M and then, so you know how you said that when that method clicked into place, like, suddenly it was then easier for you to talk to people about your work. So the third M is messaging. So this is really being able to articulate the value that you bring to the table and then speaking to a specific kind of person who’s going to be a perfect fit for you. And I think you’ve got to know exactly what your offers are and what your method is before you can effectively articulate your value. So it was no surprise to me when you said that. So, yeah, this is really about the words and how you’re connecting what you do and the value you can provide with the people who need it most. They’re putting words to that, both for the brand itself, like the core brand messaging, the core brand story and the specific offer itself, the promises and all the good stuff of whatever it is that you do. So that’s a third M, messaging and then the final M is marketing. So this is how you actually get in front of the right people. Like, what are the channels that you are pushing that message through so that it does actually reach as many of the right people as possible. And again, this is very unique to the person. You don’t have to dance on TikTok if that sounds like your absolute worst nightmare.

Petchy: Yeah, that’s never going to happen for me.

Suzi: Me neither. I don’t even understand how to use TikTok. And that’s quite embarrassing to admit as I’m a millennial, just about. But yes, you can absolutely be pioneering in all of those parts. The way that you talk about your work, like, the language that you choose, that can be pioneering. And then the way that you actually market, that can be pioneering. Like, you can play. Like, sometimes when we talk about trying new things and experimenting, it can take the pressure off to just think, like, just play, just let yourself play. And that sounds much more fun and less pressure. In my eyes.

Petchy: I like less pressure. I find that marketing is scary sometimes to think of because there are so many things that you can do. And I know that a lot of our listeners are like myself, solo business owners, they might have a VA or they might have like a couple of people part time on their team, but most of them are just running their businesses as one person. So that’s one person, if they’re doing done-for-you-work, that’s one person doing that work for clients, one person. That same person has to do marketing, brand strategy, everything has to be done by one person. So, I mean, it’s enough to make your head implode when you’re like, I have to be on TikTok, I have to be on Instagram, I have to be on LinkedIn, I have to do Facebook ads, maybe.

Suzi: Yeah, it’s very much, I think about depth. Pick one channel or two channels. Maybe it’s an email list, maybe it’s a social media platform. Maybe it’s something completely different. Maybe you love doing in person stuff now that that’s probably more of a thing. Again, pick one or two things and go deep with them rather than trying to be everywhere, but spreading yourself so thin that you can’t physically do a good enough job or enjoy your experience there.

Petchy: Yeah, and I think that’s the key as well. Key point there, with enjoyment. I think if you’re on a platform because other people are telling you that you should and you absolutely hate it, it’s going to shine through.

Suzi: Oh, yeah.

Petchy: People are going to be able to tell that this is not what you really want to be doing, and it’s not going to make compelling content.

Suzi: Yeah. It’s energetic. I think the way that we communicate, if we’re not feeling it, if we don’t believe in our message, if we don’t enjoy what we’re writing about or the way that we’re marketing, then our energy is off from the start and people will feel that. So, yeah, it’s probably more important than we realise to focus on what actually feels good to us in the first place, starting there, rather than just thinking about where people might be, because your perfect people might be on a certain platform. But if you absolutely hate it, then that’s not going to be the right place unless you can find a way to love it. That’s always an option, too. 

Petchy: That’s an option. I’d be curious to know how you do that. I’m playing with my marketing at the minute, actually. I used to love Instagram, and all of a sudden it just did not work for me anymore at all. I hated it. I started to resent it. I didn’t want to put out posts, and so I thought, well, let me try something new. So I saw this modelled by @goingultraviolet on Instagram. She had replaced her feed with a nine grid or a twelve grid. Yeah, I don’t like to say static, but it’s an evergreen feed. So she took away the pressure of constantly churning out new content. That really spoke to me. So I took her lead. (See, that was leadership from her, right. That was pioneering.) And so I took inspiration from her and ran with it. And it just feels like such a relief. So now I’m focusing more on showing up in the stories in the DMs and deepening the connections. Because what I realised was when I was looking back, traditionally, I think probably 95% to 100% of all my business comes through deeper connections, not through fleeting connections on Instagram, because someone read one of my posts, but they all come from either someone I know or someone I’ve worked with who have recommended me to someone else. So I thought, why am I spending all this time creating content that no one’s interested in, really? So I thought, “Well, I am going to go deeper. Narrower and deeper.” So that’s still an experiment for me. But I’m liking where it’s going so far. Which I just thought that was an interesting note and a segue into something else I know that you wanted to talk about, which is like the whole relationship based marketing and selling, which really speaks to my heart.

Suzi: Yes, definitely. People are just doing business with people at the end of the day. And like you said, I think the best stuff comes out of nurtured connections. And we can write a great message and we can push that message out in whatever way feels good, but we still have to just be human and have conversations with people. And when we think about having goals and having not that I have KPIs, but I know some people do like to have them. And often it’s about the end goal. What are you trying to achieve? And it’s generally conversions in some way, isn’t it? I want to sign clients or I want X number of people to buy my product, whatever it might be. It’s about the conversion, it’s about the end. And so that’s where we focus. But those conversions will always come from having conversations with people. They will come from having solid connections with people. So I prefer to put the focus there. And so as long as I’m having great conversations with people I’m making and then nurturing connections with people, I know that the rest will figure itself out. Like, I want to focus on the human and I know that the right people who are in my world and who, like what I’m about, will then be able to make a decision for themselves as to whether they want to buy something from me. And again, when we think about taking the pressure off, it’s a really beautiful way of being able to focus on moving your business forward and getting that momentum. But just talking to people as opposed to, oh my goodness, someone needs to buy something from me.

Petchy: What I love about that approach is that it’s totally platform agnostic. So it doesn’t really matter where you apply this approach, which goes back again to not spreading yourself too thin, because then you can’t if you spread yourself too thin, you’re not going to be able to go deep like you’re one person. You can’t do everything in one go. And I’m kind of thinking then, well, if you pick your one or two main platforms that you really enjoy being on and then start digging into those more personal relationships, getting to know people, and not necessarily or actually not at all with the goal of getting a conversion on the same day. It’s more about genuine curiosity and wanting to learn about that other person more than, hello, here I am, I’m in your inbox. I have this great thing. Do you want to buy it? Yeah. I was having a rant about that on LinkedIn the other day because I connected with someone after we both took part in an online summit. I didn’t have any interactions with this person during the summit, but she saw my name and my Instagram handle on the list of participants, and so she sent me a connection request, which is fine, that’s fine. She personalised it and said, “Hi, I was also at this event”, and so I accepted it. And then literally the second I accepted it, she was in my DMs going, “I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’ve got this thing, I’ve got this thing, I’ve got this thing. Are you interested?” And I’m like, no. I might have been interested down the line if you’d taken the time to actually have a conversation with me first, but it just made me feel like I was just a sale waiting to happen.

Suzi: Absolutely.

Petchy: And it kind of dehumanised me in a way. I was just a means to an end. And that does not make anyone feel good.

Suzi: No, it doesn’t. I think that there’s also pressure on the speed of results in our industry. It’s about how fast can you make something happen? And we see. I think tactics like that happen because it’s all about, yeah, it’s just numbers. How fast can I convert somebody? And I think that that does a lot of damage. And I also think, especially for introverts, it’s another way of putting pressure on and probably scaring people off, showing up, because they think that’s the way that I have to do things if I want to ultimately make sales. And by taking away the timeline that something happens on, that’s then going to allow you to have those real human conversations, make those connections that can then last years. When I think about the people I work with, so many of them, I’ve worked with them in various capacities over periods of years because I didn’t expect them as soon as they discovered me to just buy something from me. I’m never going to place that expectation on somebody. Their value is the same, whether they decide they’ve just met me and they buy from me versus someone who maybe it takes them three years of being in my world, maybe even longer, to decide, like, yeah, I’m ready now. I have equal respect for those people, and they’re not on a timeline for me. They’re on their own timeline. And I’m not here to put any pressure on when they make decisions, but I think the way that we see things done in the industry and it’s all about being fast results, makes people think that, oh yeah, I have to do things like that in order to create them.

Petchy: I actually get more excited about the sales that happen from a long-standing relationship and then they culminate in a sale when maybe I didn’t even expect it because I know then, okay, so these people have been in my orbit for X number of years. They have clearly taken their time to do their research. They must have come across literally hundreds of other people who provide the service I provide and yet still have chosen to come to me. Which makes me really excited because then I know that this is deliberate. They’re coming to me, not just because they need someone right now to fix this problem. It’s like they want to work with me, which is just such a great feeling when that happens.

Suzi: Yeah, absolutely.

Petchy: I had one lady, one client that I worked with recently. We’ve known each other since mid 2006, seven ish around there when both of our kids were small and we were in a baby wearing community together. And all of a sudden fast forward like 15 years, she’s starting a business and she knows of me because we’ve been connected from way back. So it’s like, yeah, it doesn’t have to be fast.

Suzi: Yeah, that’s such a beautiful story. And also: babywearing community, that’s so cool.

Petchy: Such a babywearing geek. I’m a babywearing pensioner now.

Suzi: My son is going to be ten months in like a week’s time. He’s getting heavy to wear now. But I do love it. But yeah, anyway, what you were just saying then, I have a couple of similar stories. Somebody who I went to school with, so we’re talking, I don’t even know, like many years ago, she had obviously just stayed connected to me in some way for all that time, had followed my content. We didn’t speak in that time. It’s not like we were friends particularly. We didn’t communicate because of my content. And then just one day I got a message from her saying, I would love to talk about working with you. And she had a business and she’d been following along with me for ages. She obviously loved and related to what I was talking about and she became a one on one client. I would never have expected that to happen, but it did. And I just think it’s beautiful how things can work out that way. And yeah, you can get these lovely opportunities and she’s wonderful to work with and you can get these opportunities just out of nowhere.

Petchy: And I think the likelihood of having these experiences is that the more of a pioneer you are, the more you do things your own way, the more people are going to remember you for it.

Suzi: Yeah, exactly. Because she couldn’t have done that had I not expressed myself, had I not spoken about what I thought about things and shared my point of view, shared my philosophies. That self expression, that saying piece is so important if we actually want people to know that the way we look at things or the way we do things is a little bit differently. And, hey, do you want to come on this journey with me too?

Petchy: And I love how you said “a little bit” differently, because I think when people hear the word pioneer, they think, “Oh, I have to do something that is so wildly new that no one has ever done before.” It’s like, well, you kind of can’t, because everything has been done before by this point. Most things, anyways. So it’s more putting your own spin on things and showing up genuinely and not trying to pretend to be someone else.

Suzi: Exactly.

Petchy: So I think that’s kind of a modern pioneer.

Suzi: Yes.

Petchy: You’re not crossing oceans to go and find new continents and settling there and creating new cities, but you can create your own version of pioneering.

Suzi: Yeah, absolutely. I can’t remember why I was talking to my husband about this yesterday, but he mentioned something about innovation. And when we think of pioneering or thinking about innovation, we think that it’s these huge new things, like an idea that nobody has ever thought of before and we’re starting from scratch. But it’s not. Sometimes the best innovations are just the tiniest tweak on something that already exists and you’re creating something new. So when we think about a success path, like you’re walking your own path, but it might just be ever so slightly different from somebody who’s walking next to you, and that’s fine, you’re still pioneering your own path.

Petchy: Yeah, I like that because it takes the pressure off, because when you think of being a pioneer, it feels scary. And maybe you don’t even start, because it feels like just a mammoth task to come up with something that’s so new. So I love how we’re sort of bringing it back down to how you can be a pioneer at your level. You don’t have to completely reinvent stuff.

Suzi: You already will be pioneering in some way. You just maybe haven’t recognised it yet. I think it’s really important to let people know that there will be things you’re already doing slightly differently. You will already be innovating in some way, like something that you do will be original in some way. You just maybe haven’t quite given yourself the space to see it yet, but it’s there.

Petchy: I think that is a lovely note to leave people with. We are going to have to round off this episode, because we’ve been chatting for a good 45 minutes now, and while I would love to stay on for longer, we’re going to have to wrap it up, I’m afraid. But before you go, I have this question that I always ask my guests, and that is, if you could leave our listeners. Just one top tip key takeaway from this episode. What would that be?

Suzi: I love this question. So obviously, talking about being a pioneer and thinking in this context, it’s quite easy to then automatically go to let me look at my competitors and I say that with quote marks. Competitors. What makes me different? It’s really easy to just automatically go, what makes me different from my competitors? I prefer to switch that and focus more on what draws you closer to your perfect fit, clients or customers. So we’re not looking at competitor differentiation, we’re actually looking at deepening that connection with the person that we want to work with. And it’s that that is like, so key in positioning yourself in a way that is going to make the right people say, oh my goodness, I have to be in this person’s world.

Petchy: I love that. Before we say our goodbyes, I would also love to invite you to tell our listeners: where can they find you? Where can they connect with you if they want to learn more or if they want to start a conversation with you and get to know you?

Suzi: Yes, I would love to have a conversation with you. You can find me occasionally on Instagram. I can’t remember the last time I updated my grid. I do love the idea of doing kind of like a nine or a twelve thing. I don’t know if I’ve got the guts to do it yet, but yeah, I occasionally update stories and stuff and I love having conversations in the DM, so please feel free to come say hi over there. And then my website is captivationhouse.com and if you just want to learn a bit more about me and the work that I do, the good stuff is on there.

Petchy: Yeah. And you have a love letter that you send people to as well, don’t you?

Suzi: So the main way that I work with people at the moment is in a place called the Success Sanctuary, where we work on a lot of the stuff I’ve been talking about today. And when I sat down to write about it, write a sales page about it, I was like, you know, what another way of taking the pressure off? I’m just going to write a love letter. And so that’s what came out. 

Petchy: I will link to it in the show notes as well for people to check out. I love how you rephrased the sales page into a love letter. I love that concept. Never seen anyone do that before. Again, pioneer. On that note, thank you so much for being here and sharing this conversation with me today. It’s been an absolute blast.

Suzi: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. And I’ve loved talking to you, and I hope that people have found some little gold nuggets somewhere in this conversation.

PS! Before you go, I have something for you.

If you’re a regular around here, you already know that I’m an advocate for values driven branding, which is why I have created a five day email course to help you step away from the generic and define heartfelt and bold brand values that truly resonate with your people.

Your brand values are an excellent opportunity to stand out because now more than ever, people want to buy from brands that stand for something beyond just their own success. And that gives you an opportunity to stand out by wearing those values on your sleeve. But if your brand values are not distinct enough, you may as well not bother. The more generic your values are, the less value they hold. That’s why I have created this email course, where, in five bite sized exercises, I’m going to gently challenge you to step away from the safe, step away from the generic, and into your truth. 

I know that you’re busy running your badass business, which is why this micro course consists of daily prompts that you can complete in no more than 15 minutes. Get your brand values right, and they are going to be a valuable brand asset for years to come. Sound interesting? I mean, it’s completely free and you can sign up over at petchy.co/brandvalues

But wait, there’s more!

I know, I know, it sounds like a TV shop infomercial, but the thing is, I’ve created a new offer and I think you might want to hear about it. If you’re at that stage of your business where your brand feels a bit all over the place, you are definitely going to want to hear about Brand Boost. 

The good news is you probably don’t need to throw everything away and start all over. But also, Brand Boost is not a brand in a day service, because designing or redesigning a brand from scratch takes time. It takes a lot more time than just one day. So Brand Boost is designed to work with what you’ve got to give it a boost. 

If you are in that place where you’re only kind of happy with your current brand visuals — maybe you DIYed it. Maybe you got a student or a junior designer to whip up a logo on a tight budget. There’s no shame in that. We all know what it’s like in those early days. The only problem now is you’re outgrowing the budget logo, but you’re not yet at that stage where you can throw upwards of €5000 at an experienced brand designer. So you still have to work with what you have. But it’s frustrating, and you keep changing things up because you want to make it better.

When you tally up the hours you’ve spent in Canva, you just can’t help but think that your time would be better spent doing what you do best. And you’re right. Your time is way more valuable when you put it to use in your zone of genius.

To make matters worse, the hours that you spent trying to fix things may well have been making things worse. Because when you’re constantly tweaking your visual brand identity, that tends to wreak havoc with your brand recognition. I don’t want to paint a doom and gloom picture, this is just a fact. Lack of consistency means people don’t recognise your brand, which again means it’s hard to build the familiarity and the trust that you need when you want to build a strong brand. 

So what the heck are you supposed to do? I mean, it feels like a complete catch 22 where you’re not in a financial position to outsource everything, so you keep bootstrapping things. But your bootstrapped efforts aren’t really cutting it when it comes to building the brand and attracting the clients that you need in order to make the money you need to outsource your brand design. 

Well, I created this new offer because I want to tell you that there is a middle ground. And yes, I’ve helped countless big brands craft their brand identities from scratch, and I happen to be bloody good at that. But I’ve also helped a lot of smaller brands make the most of what they have. #notsohumblebrag, but I dare say I’m pretty good at that, too. 

With this new offer, I want to help you where you’re at. I want to spend a day elevating your current visual branding to reach its full potential. So at the end of the day, you have a revised brand identity. You’ll have a primary logo, a secondary logo, a submark, and an icon, a revised brand colour palette… and every single asset will be saved to industry standard file formats. You’ll also have a PDF brand board right there to help you stay consistent as you move forward. And what that means is staying consistently on brand is going to be so much easier because you have the tools then to express your brand personality so that you can show up confidently as you every time. If brand Boost sounds like it’s something that’s right up your alley, please go and check it out over at petchy.co/boost. I would be so thrilled if I could help you make the most of what you already have.

Until next time,

Petchy xx

Pssst! If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! I’d also be super grateful if you’d share my podcast with a biz friend or two, or leave me a review.