Claim Ownership


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In this episode, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Rachel Allen.  Rachel is the owner of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, where she and her team make words make money. She loves mixing the neuroscience of communication with the art of great writing to create the words and strategies that make it possible for businesses to take the cap off their income, impact, and influence. Ultimately, all her work is in service of one simple mission: to write the words that bring great ideas into reality. A little while back, Rachel wrote a series of three articles about the state of the online business world. They’re so good, I highly recommend you read them — in fact, I think they should be mandatory reading for every business owner out there! Anyways, out of everything that Rachel wrote, six words really stood out for me. And by “stood out”, I mean: I couldn’t get them out of my head. They’re still there, they keep popping up in my mind almost daily — a sure sign of a true golden nugget! Those words are: Human is the only move left.  And that, my friend, is exactly what Rachel and I are going to dive deeper into in this episode — that also just happens to be the perfect follow-up to the last episode I dropped; about reclaiming authenticity. I hope you enjoy this very human conversation! TL;DR — episode links: ShownotesBolt from the blue websiteConnect with Rachel on Instagram or FacebookArticle 1: The big lieArticle 2: The third wave of masculine marketing is here. It’s smart. It’s woke. And it’s horrifyingArticle 3: Human is the only move leftJonathan Stewart (Rachel mentions him)
Authenticity. It’s unfortunately become a bit of a buzzword in the branding world, and that is a pet peeve of mine! Because so many companies have been misusing authenticity as a marketing gimmick to appeal to people’s yearning for something genuine, trustworthy, sincere products and experiences, “authentic” no longer carries the same meaning as it used to.  So now, when a brand claims to be authentic, instead of leading to increased levels of trust — it often leads to scepticism and cynicism. That’s because we, as consumers, increasingly recognise that many brands use authenticity as a fancy facade to hide their true intentions. And those intentions are often focused on profit, profit and more profit, at any cost. As a result, these cynical brands have ruined authenticity for the rest of us, and it’s pissing me off big time! Can we reverse this damage? I think we can, but it’s going to take some work. As human-centred brands, we need to take a different approach, one that prioritises authenticity in every aspect of our businesses — without shouting about it as if it’s a big deal. I mean, it kinda is a big deal, but really it should just be the norm. We shouldn’t have to question someone’s authenticity, but here we are. Tune in to hear my take on this! TL;DR — episode links: ShownotesStrategic brand designBrand BoostBrand it! strategy hoursBook a free callFree five day micro course: Brand values, not bland values!
In this episode I want to dig deeper into a topic I emailed my list about a couple of weeks back, and I want to challenge you to ask yourself: are you falling into the trap of building a shallow brand? I want to make it clear: I’m not implying that you, as a person, are shallow! Firstly: I don’t think you’d be listening to this podcast if you were, tbh. I would have scared you off a loooong time ago! And secondly: even if you were, you wouldn't admit it, would you? I mean, who wants to be seen as someone lacking emotional or intellectual depth; that person who judges others on their looks, their job, their house, or how much money they have. Who is all-consumed with appearances, but flakey af when shit's about to get real. I’m not saying that at all. Of course you're not shallow. But what about your brand? I hate to tell you: If you are only focusing on the visual aspects of your brand, then… yes. Your brand is shallow.  — But I want [my brand] to be so much more than just a pretty face! I hear you scream. Well, my friend, I want more for your brand too. Tune in to hear about the pitfalls, and how to avoid them! TL;DR — episode links: ShownotesFree brand audit checklist (PDF)Free five day micro course: Brand values, not bland values!Free brand perception survey (Google form)Brand it! strategy hoursStrategic brand designBrand BoostBook a free call
With all the recent talk about artificial intelligence I thought it would be fun to “invite” ChatGPT to be my guest for a podcast episode about the importance of a human approach to branding in 2023 and beyond. I hope you appreciate the irony of the topic as much as I do 😆 Anyways: I asked ChatGPT to script an episode, and dropped a few questions into the mix along the way, and here’s the resulting “conversation” between AI and I.
It should come as no surprise to regular listeners that I take a very strategy-driven approach with my work. A little while back I connected with today’s guest, and as we chatted it soon became apparent that the “strategy first” approach is something we share, and that we both implement in our respective professions. Today, you’ll hear us chat about how strategy and branding come before a website — and how most people think of the website as a thing that leads those, but it's truly just one piece of implementation. I’m thrilled to be welcoming today’s guest: Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling, the cofounder of Week of the Website. With over 700 successful site launches to date, Week of the Website aims to be the most creative, trusted and loved Squarespace agency for industry innovators. Week of the Website has worked with groundbreaking artists, industry innovators, game-changing political advisors, creative leaders and just all around awesome people. Kelsey drives business development and sales for Week of the Website, and loves working with clients to help them synthesise their ideas and make them real. She’s all about breaking down barriers between her clients and their websites, and gets super excited to work on projects featuring authors, travel, hospitality and design, but also likes digging into innovation in professional services. As the Fearless Leader of the Week of the Website design team, Kelsey loves coaching and supporting developers as they help make their client’s website dreams come true. When she’s not working, Kelsey loves spending time with her son and her husband in Chicago. Lately, she’s making her way through a cosy knitting project and reading The School for Good Mothers by Jessamin Ward. TL;DR — episode links: Week of the WebsiteConnect with Kelsey on InstagramWebsite planning toolkit — handy steps you can take to prepare to build your website either on your own or with a designer
OMG! It's a rebrand!

OMG! It's a rebrand!


OK, so this is exciting! And terrifying. But mostly exciting. When you're a brand designer, one of the hardest damn things in the whole world is working on your own brand! And yet, that is exactly what I've been doing for the past few months. I'm 42 today, and this is my gift to myself: a bolder, braver, and more edgy iteration of my brand. I'll be rolling it out across all my platforms and collateral over the coming month or so, starting with my evergreen Instagram grid, the most important parts of my website and my podcast.  You'll recognise some familiar things, like two of my brand colours and one of my brand fonts (and me, I'm not going anywhere) — but there are also some quite radical changes, like a new and quirky feature font that is also used for the logotype. My yellow accent colour is sharper, and I've added a darker teal for better visibility and contrast against white backgrounds. Overall, it's a more attention-grabbing brand identity that aligns better with my brand values — and my depleting levels of fucks left to give. To hear more about the rebrand and why it came about, tune into this week's podcast episode! TL;DR — episode links: Check out my new Instagram 9-gridTake a peek at my new brand guidelinesSign up for the Brand values, not bland values! micro email course
“I have done many values exercises but found absolute clarity in embracing your challenge.” That was the response from Stephanie Graham, after taking part in my Brand values, not bland values! challenge. In this episode, we get to hear how Stephanie worked through the mini course, and the difference it made in how she approaches her brand values. Stephanie is an artist, photographer, and filmmaker who creates artwork about relationships, pop culture, and being black. She exhibits this work in art galleries and museums and works on commissions through editorial and advertising companies. Her zone of genius is getting to know people! People are her palette as she loves to hear people's stories, where they have been, where they are going, and what their dreams are; conversations and storytelling with people and how we relate are where she gets her inspiration for her projects. She says she can talk to anyone, and you can see some of this in her podcast noseyAF, an interview series of people in the thick of what they do. Anyone who has listened to my podcast, or been in my general orbit, for a while, knows that I keep going on and on about the importance of rooting your brand in values. So I think it’ll be really cool for our listeners to hear about the process from someone who has actually done the work to define their core brand values.
Do I have a treat of a conversation for you today? Yes, yes I do! In this episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with Maddie Peschong — a branding photographer and coach who is obsessed with teaching creative entrepreneurs how to build a profitable business by being themselves. If you’ve been listening to this podcast, or following me on social for more than about three seconds, you know that this is something I feel strongly about too! Through coaching, digital products, and personal branding photos, Maddie helps women discover their magic so they can stand out in a saturated market, confidently scale their income without trading more time for money, and do only work they love. She is the leader of the Confident Creative Mastermind, host of the Take it Personally Podcast, and founder of the White Space Studio in Sioux Falls, South Dakota — a place where creatives can design, dream, and collaborate while developing their own irresistible brands. Today, Maddie and I talk about building an authentic personal brand to stand out in a saturated market — and we get to learn about her framework, and the “four Rs”. I can’t wait, so let’s dive straight in! Links: Shownotes + transcriptConnect with Maddie on InstagramVisit Maddie's website Brand BoostFree 5-day micro course: Brand values, not bland values!
What makes us trust a brand? I know, hard to put your finger on, isn’t it? It somehow feels so… subjective and intangible. Yet, trust is one of the key ingredients in building a successful brand. If people don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. But how do you build that trust? Last week I learned something that I wanted to share with you. I attended a business related conference, and one of the keynote speakers was Anita Krohn Traaseth, who is a brilliant and very well renowned Norwegian business executive, speaker, and author. Anita shared about a tangible way of determining your trustworthiness: the Trust Equation. It’s a tool that you can use when evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as you work to earn the trust of your people — whether it’s your employees, or your dream clients. Links: Shownotes + transcriptBrand BoostFree 5-day micro course: Brand values, not bland values!
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.  In this episode, Suzi is here to teach us a thing or two about positioning yourself as a pioneer in your industry. Links: Shownotes + transcriptConnect with Suzi on InstagramVisit Suzi's websiteGo read the love letter! Brand BoostFree 5-day micro course: Brand values, not bland values!
You can't rush quality

You can't rush quality


You can’t rush quality. In this episode, I talk about the current obsession with instant gratification, and why it’s not a great approach to take when building a brand. I see it all the time, across all industries: people are chasing after results, and they want them NOW. “I need a full rebrand, and a full visual identity system, and some branded templates — and I need it ready to go in three weeks!”  When did we get so impatient?! It’s a bit of a rant, this. But I just want to be a counterweight to the fast-paced hamster wheel, and advocate for a return to seeing time as a creator of value. Whether you’re new to business and this is your first time building a brand from scratch, or you’re a seasoned business owner who was seduced by the thought of instant gratification and later realised that you rushed past all the good parts in the process: this episode is for you. Links: ShownotesBrand BoostFree 5-day micro course: Brand values, not bland values!That 🔥 post by Nik Goodner (and a hat tip to Tracy Stanger for making me aware of it!)
I'm kicking autumn off with a special client spotlight episode to highlight my Brand it! Group programme. For those of you who are new around here, Brand it! is an intimate group experience where I help you go from confusion to brand clarity → in just 12 weeks, as you discover and define your brand’s unique purpose and personality, find the confidence to own your sh*t, tap into your uniqueness to spark meaningful connections — and attract more of those omg, yes! 🤩 clients. At the time this episode airs I’m in the middle of enrolling students for the second cohort of the programme, and what better way to give you an insight into what it’s actually like — than to invite one of my past students on to tell you about their Brand it! experience? So that’s exactly what I did. Lynn Dutrow was a student in the first cohort of Brand it! and in this episode I chat with her about her brand strategy journey. Lynn calls herself a Compassionate AssKicker, and has a background in psychology, education, coaching, and motorcycle sales. She specialises in supporting Empathic Entrepreneurs and Purpose-fuelled Professionals in enjoying their success with less stress. She’s also the author of the book ALIGNED as Fuck — transforming your inner assholes into allies. Yep, she’s pretty awesome, and I’m proud to be able to call her a client and a friend. Links: ShownotesBrand it! group programmeBook: ALIGNED as Fuck — transforming your inner assholes into alliesLynnDutrow.comConnect with Lynn on InstagramConnect with Lynn on Linkedin
In this episode, we’re going to be diving into the topic of… emails! And I have invited a guest on, who is just the perfect person to teach us a thing or two about using email to boost your brand! Eman Ismail is the person to call when you want to make money from your emails.  As an email conversion strategist and copywriter, she helps 6-figure (and above!) online business owners and ecommerce brands fire up their conversions, evergreen their sales and turn fans into Superfans.  She’s worked with powerhouses like Emily Thompson from Being Boss, Joanna Wiebe from CopyHackers, Belinda Weaver from the Hot Copy Podcast, Interact (the quiz platform), and she also holds regular copywriting workshops in partnership with Lloyds Business Bank.  When Eman is not writing high-converting emails for clients, delivering workshops or teaching business owners how to write copy that converts, she’s bingeing either podcasts or pizza (but she’d rather you didn’t tell her PT that). I reached out to Eman about… six months ago I think it was. I first came across her when she was a guest on The Get Paid Podcast by Claire Pelletreau, where she spoke about how she went from tiny profits to steady 10k months. I was inspired by her story, and started following her, and there was something about her relationship-building approach to emails that just really resonated with me. I knew pretty soon that I wanted to invite her on for a chat. Ah, I’m eager to dive in, so let’s get to it! Links: ShownotesThe Email Rules (free 35-minute email class)InkHouse websiteInstagram
Today’s episode is brought to you by throat lozenges and cough mixture, and you can probably hear why! I’ve come down with a nasty cold, so to spare my voice this episode will be short and sweet. It’s another behind the scenes episode today, where I’ll be talking about why I went back to custom proposals, when “everyone” says you need to productise and package up your service offerings in order to be successful. Links: ShownotesGet on the waitlist for round two of the Brand it! group programmeJoin in on the biz birthday giveaway (ends Friday the 10th of June)
I dunno about you, but I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. Take the daily grind of juggling running a business with family commitments, add all the expectations to show up everywhere, be on every platform, say yes to everything… top it with the stress that builds up during a couple of years of global pandemic, and add in a war, political polarisation, looming climate changes. It’s a lot. With everything going on in the world right now, do we really need to add to the stress by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves as business owners? Is there a way to find balance in a business world that seems to be stuck in the hustle or nothing mentality? Can we be productive without hustling, or is that sheer utopia? That’s what I’ll be talking about with my guest; productivity mentor Jenna Hellberg, in this episode. Jenna’s a recovering busy person living in the San Francisco Bay area. She’s run a documentary family photography business since 2014, which is how she got suuuper familiar with overwhelm and overworking. A couple of years ago she leaned into her experience as a business owner, her training as a psychologist, and her background as a Finn to figure out practical ways to be more productive without the hustle. It made her excited to start supporting small business owners to do the same. Her approach is holistic and collaborative, and the types of business owners she works with tend to care deeply about the people they serve. When she’s not working, she’ll take any excuse to head out for a hike with her partner Marcus and their Australian shepherd Nova. Ready to hear what wisdom Jenna has to share with us? Let’s go! Links: ShownotesBuilding Balance podcastInstagramFree marketing task declutter guideWebsite
Welcome to another behind-the-scenes episode, where I share a glimpse behind the curtain of my own business. I’m firmly on team #keepingitreal, and I’m sick of only hearing the success stories, and nothing about the hiccups, and that’s why I want to share about some of the less glamourous things that happen in a business. In this episode I pull back the curtain on a recent setback and how I’m using it to drive change in my own business. If you’re on my email list, you will probably recognise a lot of what I am about to talk about. I’ve sent out a couple of emails to my list recently, where I shared how I got myself into a bit of a money pickle. Turns out that just as you think the days of rookie mistakes are over… the rookie-monster comes back to bite you in the arse. After a total of almost 13 years as a business owner you'd think I'd be cruisin' it, right? Yeah, I thought I was too. Turns out, I'm not. Long story short: ever since I started my solo business back in 2016, I've been diligent about putting aside money for my taxes throughout the year. And every year I've set aside more than enough to pay my tax bill. So when I opened the email (that I knew was coming) from my accountant, I was fully expecting it to be a case of “Same procedure as every year, James!” Except this time… it wasn't. 😳 Links: ShownotesGet on my email list50% off The Lone Brandit (TLB) with discount code PETCHYPICKLES3 for 2 on Brand it! power hoursBook me for a podcast interview or guest training
In this episode I’m joined by Christine Baird – a media producer who teaches small business owners how to use podcasting and YouTube to attract their dream customers. After six years in corporate sales, Christine did a career 180 and has been working in podcasting, event production, and influencer branding since 2014. She worked on Lewis Howes’ brand, The School of Greatness, for four years, where she got to grow his top-ranked podcast from less than 1 million downloads to over 80 million. In 2019 she pivoted to supporting more brands launch and grow their shows and impact. She is the owner of a boutique media production house, Worthfull Media, where she trains teams to become in-house producers of high-quality media. Christine hosts her own podcast, Worthfull Project, and is the co-host of the Think Like a Producer podcast. She’s passionate about owning her worth and inspiring others to do the same. Since podcasting and YouTubing for business marketing has hit the mainstream, many business owners feel the desire or pressure to create this kind of media to market their businesses. But how do you make sure that the shows you're creating will get you the return on investment you're looking for? This is the foundation of what Christine teaches her clients, and it’s also the starting point for our conversation today. Shownotes: Links: Website / Instagram / Podcast: Think Like a ProducerChristine's current favourite recommendations for the most frequently asked questions regarding podcast creationMy wonderful VA, Melissa
Welcome to the first in a behind-the-scenes series I cooked up whilst laying on my sofa feeling a bit blah because I woke up to snow and my period. You can already tell I’m going to be such an effin’ ray of sunshine today, right? Today I want to talk about my word of the year for 2022, and how that’s affected my plans and my offer suite. I want to give you a glimpse into the brain of a small business owner trying to figure out what the heck she wants and how to make that happen. Spoiler alert: it’s not a linear process! As a bonus for me, I get to tell you about the different ways I can help you – which I was initially feeling might come across as very “salesy”... and then I remembered: this is my podcast, nobody is paying me to create it, and I get to do whatever I want to. Woohoo! So yep, I’ll be talking about my own stuff, but I hope that hearing about what’s going on behind the curtain in another small business is also helpful. Shownotes: Links: Brand identity design Brand it! Power Hours Brand it! group programme The Lone Brandit self-paced course WAIM Unlimited (affiliate link)
Today’s episode is a juicy one, for sure! Especially if you, like me, feel a bit vulnerable about putting yourself out there. You know the feeling, you want to be seen and recognised and known for your expertise – but the thought of being visible is scary as heck, because with increased visibility comes the very real possibility of people not liking you. And we all want to be liked, yes?  My guest today is someone who has truly mastered the art of putting herself out there: Eleanor Mayrhofer is a Californian transplant, who's lived in Munich, Germany for over 20 years. In her 25 year design career she’s done everything from book compositing to designing mobile apps to methodology and agile process design for global creative teams. She’s worked on projects for clients such as Chronicle Books, Rizzolli, Vodafone, BMW, Audi, and more. She escaped corporate life in 2010 to start her own online business, and her work was noticed by Goop, Martha Stewart, The New York Times and Pottery Barn Kids. For the last year and a half she’s been having a really good time helping (mostly) female business owners get their websites launched in a day and helping them with their digital strategy. Her zone of genius is getting you online fast. Eleanor has had her work featured in Goop, The New York Times, several magazines including Glamour, Martha Stewart and Architectural digest. So clearly she knows a thing or two about putting herself out there, and I can’t wait to hopefully pick up a tip or two! Shownotes: Connect with Eleanor: Website:   Blog:  LinkedIn: Instagram: @eleanormayrhofer
NOTE: This episode was recorded before the horrific events we see unfold in Ukraine right now, with the ongoing Russian invasion, and all the fear, suffering and loss of lives that war inevitably brings. I feel helpless, sad, scared and angry. I want to make it clear that I stand with the brave people of Ukraine – and I also stand with the thousands of Russians who take to the streets, putting themselves in danger to protest the war and oppose Putin's regime. I’d like to invite you to join me in one minute of silence. During that minute, take the time to visit – it’s a list of links (curated by Ukrainians) that tells you real ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner. If you can, please consider donating to one of the organisations listed. If you do donate, send me an email to let me know,, and as a thank you I’ll gift you my Brand it! Strategy Workbook. Let’s move on to the episode: Today I'm joined by Maya Šarić – sales copywriter, messaging strategist and owner of SharpshineCopy. She helps coaches and soulful service-based business owners win more freedom in business and life through content that connects people and stands out. With a background in philology, translating, and business, she’s been uncovering the wow factor in business owners’ offers and personal brands for more than 4 years, taking all the other puzzle pieces like insights and data from their ideal clients, transmuting them into powerful messages on websites, sales pages and emails. In this episode, Maya and I will talk more about what it really means to stand out from the crowd, if you can actually attract and convert clients with your content – or if it’s a myth and you have to give in and chase them down in DMs and bots - even if that’s not your “style.” Shownotes: Connect with Maya: Website / Instagram / Facebook Workshop: Shortcut to a stunning website
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