For this episode, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Jo Casey to the show. Jo describes herself as an unshiny business coach, and she helps artisanal business owners (including coaches, makers, and healers) increase revenue without compromising their values or sacrificing their wellbeing. She’s the host of the Unshiny Podcast and creator of The Supernova Collective – a transformational 9 month coaching and mentoring program. In her own words: she’s the coach that you come to when you’ve grown tired of the bro marketers and their obsessions with how big their funnels are and how early they get up every morning.
Right up my alley, in other words! So as you can imagine, I knew I wanted to invite Jo to a conversation about how to embrace an unshiny approach to building a brand. Let’s dive in!
TL;DR – here’s how to connect with Jo if you want to learn more from her:
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then cleaned up by my wonderful VA – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s probably not 100% accurate.
P: Jo, welcome to the show. I am so excited about our conversation today.
J: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited too. This is great.
P: Yeah. So if we just rewind a couple of weeks, we had a lovely virtual couple. Yes, I think it was squashed, actually.
J: Well there’s probably tea for me because I drank an inordinate amount of tea.
P: I love it. But anyway, that was part of your project where you’re having 100 chats about building an unshiny business.
J: Yes.I am. But I can’t remember what number you were. Were you number 11?, Were you number…? I can’t remember. It was quite early. I think I’m up to 18 now, so I’ve only got another 82 to go, 81 to go.
P: Blimey, Well, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
P: But I’d already, at that point, tuned in to your podcast after one of my previous guests had very kindly pointed me in your direction. For anyone listening that was actually Helen Tremethic. She’s on in episode 16 if anyone wants to go back into the archives and listen to that.
But yeah, she very kindly pointed me in your direction and your approach really spoke to me. So while we were on that call, I shamelessly took the opportunity to invite you to be a guest on my podcast.
J: And hey, free the virus. This is just Oh, my God. For me to get to twitter on about the subject that I love most in the world, please don’t feel embarrassed about that. This is a wonderful opportunity for me. I’m thrilled to be here. And it was so lovely having that conversation and getting a chance to get to know you without any agendas or any awkwardness or any kind of ‘What do you do then’ or anything like that.
Which is why I just love having those like virtual cuppers with people because, you know, I just get to know a bit more about the real person, you know?
P: Yeah. Yeah, that was fun. And then just like that, here we are.
J: And here we are, Yes.
P: So you call yourself an unshiny business coach.
J: I do, yeah.
P: I absolutely love that. So before we get stuck in, I’d like to invite you to tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do, who do you serve? What does it actually mean to be unshiny?
J: Yeah. So I’m a business coach, but I quite often call myself an accidental business coach because I never really anticipated it. When I first started out in my business. originally I was, I suppose, more of a life coach, working with people around their resiliency and stress management and wellbeing at work and things. that I would end up being a business coach because one of my big challenges, I think like a lot of people who aren’t like a very confident, extroverted, straight white guy. I really struggled to see myself in the business world, especially in the online business world.
There seemed to be lots of very confident people out there who looked a certain way and who sounded a certain way and kind of were on social media all of the time and were very kind of, I suppose, confident in their ‘ I’m an expert, and I can teach you how to do this.’ And there was a bit of, almost like an aggressive undertone with it, and I just couldn’t see myself in that. I’m very introverted. I’m a middle aged woman and I’m really into helping us work out what makes us tick and how we can just be that bit more effective in our own lives.
And I’ve always been very, I suppose, much more comfortable having those more intimate conversations than what seemed to be a very shouty broadcast. ’I’m the greatest buy my thing!’ And so initially I was really questioning whether there was a place for me in the business world and whether I could make a, you know, a successful business. And success for me was I just wanna be able to pay my bills and do work that I really like.
P: I love that you said that because, I mean, I’ve been doing this now solo for five years and, yeah, those first years, it was all it was all about all of the shoulds. You know, what I thought I was meant to be doing because that was what all of the people who are shouting like you said, And they’re loud and their message is everywhere, and it’s like, ‘Oh, six figures seven figure business.’ Now they’re talking about eight figure businesses. I’m like, what? You can absolutely be successful without having a seven figure business or even a six figure business. So I actually love that you said that.
J: Well, I was gonna say, and lots of that idea of those definitions of success also seemed to be about doing it really quickly and in a very, very hustling way and messages around. ‘Well, if you want success, then you have to be willing to work 16 hours a day!’
P: Yeah, and if you’re not, then you don’t want it enough!
P: I know! What kind of bullshit is that!
J: Total total bullshit. I already knew that I wasn’t gonna be able to work 16 hours a day on my business because I had already had a full time job and I had two kids and, you know, I have certain health challenges that just meant there was no way that I was going to do that.
And yet, I loved my work and I knew I was really good at it. So fast forward a few years, I was getting quite burnt out on working with people around their resilience, I was doing a huge amount of coaching around people who were being made redundant, who were losing their jobs, and it was really kind of quite heavy. They were in a very fearful place, and it just became a bit too much for me. And during that time I was getting people who were coaches who maybe had coaching adjacent businesses like they’re healers or Reiki healers or yoga teachers.
And they were asking me how I had done it and what my advice would be. And so I slowly started doing some work with them. Then I decided I would switch my business over all the while thinking, ‘Oh, God, please don’t let me be one of those coaches who coaches coaches.! Please don’t let me.’ But I found that I was really good at certain aspects of it and that people really responded to the fact that I was like, ‘Oh no, you don’t have to work 16 hours a day and this is what I found has worked.
And why don’t you try doing it this way? And have you thought about doing that? And how can we make this work for you?’’ and taking a much more holistic view of ‘what does success mean?’ And, you know, does that mean working 16 hours a day or just actually that mean being able to replace your full time salary by working four days a week doing work that you really like. Or do you want to do courses or just actually, do you want to carry on doing one-on-one work and not go over into building your ‘E-course empire,’, or about finding businesses that worked on a human level rather than just on this really shouty, shiny level.
And that was how I started referring to those very loud, aggressive ‘Six figures! Multiple six figures! Seven figures ! Work 16 hours a day! Hustle, hustle, hustle!’, people. And so that’s how the idea of ‘what if we did it without shouting? And what if we did it in a way that doesn’t have to be shiny?’ What if, actually, we make a virtue of the fact that we’re not shiny and it’s like unshiny. And it’s about ‘how do we collectively all kind of look at ‘you know what, guys, I appreciate what you’re doing’ -because it tends to be a lot of guys-It’s not entirely. But I think it’s really exciting that there are now people all over the world who with quite a small financial investment, like a laptop and a WiFi connection, you can start a business and you can have a business that works really well. And so we get so many more of us doing those things, so why should we have to follow that pattern? That blueprint that’s set out by the ‘shouty shiny’ people?
P: Exactly. I’m here for this. So here for this. So I get a sense that we’re gonna be quite chatty today, and we’ve got a lot of things to say about this topic.I think both of us do. So before we really get stuck in for those who are tuning in today, what can they expect to take away from this episode? I mean, why should they keep listening to us?
J: Well, I hope that all they’ll take away is kind of some inspiration and some full permission to be working and building their business in a way that is going to work for them, where you get to make your own rules if you like. If you’re the person kind of person who likes rules or guidelines. And realise that there are so many other ways that you can approach having an online business- we’re still in COVID times so most businesses have to have, you know, at least a strong element of online. And that there’s a way that you can do that in a way that’s going to suit you from your personality, from your energy levels, from your values and only is it perfectly OK for you to do that, but you can be really, quote unquote “successful” doing that too. You don’t have to follow the ‘shiny-shouty’ nonsense that’s out there.
P: Do you hear that, people? You don’t have to. You don’t have to do anything.
J: No, you really don’t.
P: I think that’s why I really like your approach to it. I am on the inside. I’m a little bit of a rebel. I never like to conform- rules just for the sake of having rules annoy me and they make me want to break them. Basically. You know I’m still a law abiding citizen and all of that. But like, if someone tells me you can’t do it this way or you shouldn’t do it this way, then my gut reaction is “huh Let me show you.”
J: Yeah, I can relate.
P: Yeah, and so part of that, what I do with my business, I want to do exactly what you just said is give people permission to do it their way when they’re building their brands. And I think from a branding perspective, the whole sort of idea of “unshinyness” is really, really interesting because I am really, really am passionate about allowing people or encouraging people to build their brands based around their own personalities and who they really are and not trying to shy away from their quirks and to just show up and be human, because people still actually buy from people. This whole notion of ‘what is professional’ that really annoys me as well. And who gets to decide what professional looks like? And so my kind of vision and mission for my own brand is to help other business owners embrace their kind of realness. So that’s why I’m so happy to have you on as a guest today.
J: Oh, I love that. And it’s so true. And I think you know, you say the rules. The rules were usually created by the people who had the power to make the rules. And what is so cool now is so many of us now-that power is becoming much more devolved.
Technology has obviously unleashed some elements into the collective social bloodstream that are not great at all. But on the flip side of that, it has meant that I don’t know what it’s like in your country, but my mom talks about- So my mom and dad are in their seventies, and they talk about when they bought their first house. My mom wasn’t allowed to go even to meet the bank manager. So this is what, fifty years ago?
P: That’s insane.
J: Yeah, my dad still had to sign her check. She wasn’t allowed to get a credit card. And to be able to open a business -nobody would have lent her money. My grandparents used to have a shop and my granddad was apparently hopeless with money and business stuff. But he was the one who had to sign everything because my gran, who was kind of the brains with it, wasn’t able to. So think that’s just going back, a generation.
P: That’s not long ago at all,
J: It’s not long ago at all. My daughter is 11, and I can see her looking like ‘that’s ancient times!’ but it’s really not. It’s within my lifetime really. Yeah, I’m pretty old, but I’m not that old. But now we have the ability to start and run businesses in a way that even 25 years ago we weren’t able to. We’d have had to have gone to the person with power. The bank manager, (usually a man) where they would lend us some money, would be able to find you people, suppliers and things like that, and we don’t need that anymore. So suddenly we have all of this. All of these are the people like you, and like me, and marginalised groups, and people of colour, and people who just weren’t allowed access to this stuff And we’re able, suddenly, to kind of go ‘Uh, I don’t think I need to follow your rules. Thank you.’ And we get to then change it ,and shift it, and kind of go ‘Actually, you know what? There are new rules.’ This is one big experiment. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to learn from other people. But bear in mind that the way that they’ve done it might not work exactly the same way for you. And it’s a very empowering, scary thing to realise that, you know, you can create this, however you want to.
But you start with that ‘Who are you?’ like you were saying about the brands. If we start to use that as a starting point, then you’re on the right track from the start.
P: I think another really good thing about the online world and how it’s so easy to connect with people now is that all of us who are thinking in these, kind of different ways-it’s easier for us to connect with others. It’s easier to find that community, and so it’s easier to not feel like you’re sticking out like a sore thumb, because- and this was quite a pivotal moment for me in my business when I started connecting with and finding more and more of ‘my people’ quote unquote. And it was, it felt like it was almost a little magic.
It’s like, ‘Oh, wow, here is this whole world of other people who also think that you don’t need to do X y Z to be successful. You don’t need to do X Y Z to be professional. I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way.’ When you’re in a kind of a traditional business setting that I like to call it with all of the middle aged and above men in their fancy suits. It’s hard to feel like you’re fitting in and maybe you were never meant to fit in.
But then you try to because it’s expected of you, and then that doesn’t lead to any good things really, for people like us, I don’t think. I know I felt like an outsider for most of my career and so finally have this world just appear in front of me. It was amazing. And the good thing is, it snowballs. It really snowballs because one person will introduce me to another person who will introduce me to another person. Obviously that’s how I got connected with you as well.
J: It’s lovely. It really it is,
P: Part of why I’ve been able to connect with like minded people is because I have dared to actually be more myself and well, be ‘unshiny’ as you say. Because how are you going to know who’s like you if they aren’t showing the true person that they are?
J: Exactly. And I think so much of that kind of traditional advice that we’re given is things like Well, you know, ‘don’t don’t share personal stuff. Don’t talk about politics, be kind of slick’ And people end up putting all this pressure on themselves to try and pretend to be this very, very one dimensional thing. This entity that you know doesn’t have a personal life, doesn’t have emotions, doesn’t have beliefs, doesn’t have values, but it’s just here to provide the product. Then it becomes very almost mechanical and you’re absolutely right. It’s really hard to, especially if your service based business or actually no, I think I was going to say, especially if your service based business, because you’re hiring a person to do a service for you so you’re connecting with that person.
But actually even brands or businesses who are product based businesses. We are now much more aware of the importance of ‘What’s the values of this organisation? What do they stand for and what do they stand against?’ And that’s becoming much more important to us because we know that our values influence our actions and our actions, influence the culture and what we’re putting out into the world. And so you’ve seen it the world over this past few years of people going ‘Well, no, I don’t want to work with that organisation because they’re standing by and they’re doing horrible environmental things.’ or ‘that organisations supporting some really dodgy political practises or they’re turning a blind eye to things and actually I don’t want to buy from them anymore. I don’t want to be one of their consumers.’ And when we’re working as a solo or a small business owner, that becomes something that we can almost take advantage of because we are able to show the humanness, the humanity behind the business because it is us. It’s much more difficult for a large organisation. You’ll see them with their value statements and things like that, and they’re so bland. They mean so little, whereas for a small business, I can say ‘this is what I believe in, and if you don’t believe in that, that’s fine.There are other people who you can work with, but this is what I stand for. This is my personality. This is the way that I work. This is the approach that I take.’ It’s much easier as a small business owner to convey that, and the caveat with that is it can also be quite uncomfortable initially because a lot of us are conditioned to kind of keep that mask up and to, you know, pretend everything’s fine and it’s all perfect.
P: But there has definitely been a shift in recent years towards what consumers in general have really become a lot more aware of and more discerning, the more picky about where they’re going to leave their money, because they have started to see what implications their investments can have. Like for good or for bad. It’s probably easier for the small businesses to really sort of have those personal values, but we’re seeing the bigger brands doing it as well. And they are daring more to be proud of their values and to not be so safe and bland as you say, because I think the bigger brands are picking up on this. Well, obviously they are, and the people who don’t realise that you you have to start promoting your values, and you have to dare to be polarising sometimes if you’re going to get the right kind of people to buy from you or buy your product or your service. I think it’s not something you can avoid anymore, whether you’re a big brand or a small brand, because people are going to see through it. And maybe it was different before when there weren’t so many brands around. Let’s take it back 50 years like you did. Maybe there are fewer companies around providing the same kind of products, so consumers didn’t have as much choice. And it was just like, ‘OK, I want to buy this product. It’s a commodity. It’s made by that brand. Let me buy it.’
J: What is my local shop selling?
P: Yeah, And now there’s so many brands around, so many brands are selling the same things, who are doing the same things. And we, as consumers, are bombarded with these choices. And one way of kind of guiding the consumers to make the right choice or attract the right kind of client or customer is to differentiate yourself through those values through being more human. I think that’s what branding is all about. It’s about emotional connection.
J: Yeah, it is. It still boggles my mind when people say ‘you need to keep the emotion out of business.’ How? I mean generally, how do you do that?
P: Just know.
J: Yeah, just know. Because everything is, as humans, we’re about connecting with one another on an emotional level that’s fundamental to who we are as a species. And so the whole ‘keep the emotion out’ or, you know, ‘keep your values out’ or ‘don’t talk about that. We don’t show that side.’ I think those are the brands that are going to go by the wayside or they’re going to really, really struggle because,
P: I agree
J: I think that the world is moving on and we have the ability now to have much more choice and to be much more conscious and discerning about where we put our money and our investment.
P: Yeah, so for someone who’s building their brand, maybe they’ve been doing it for a while, they’ve been in business for a while, and they’re like, Oh, this idea of ‘unshiny’ it sounds nice, but how do I actually start? Because, like you said, it can be scary. So if you were just starting out on your unshiny business journey, what would be, that first step that you would take?
J: Well, I think one of the misconceptions, one the questions that I kind of address a fair amount is, there are some business coaches who will say be deliberately polarising in your opinions and I just want to stress that’s not what I mean by unshiny. Being unshiny is about showing up as a more fully rounded human.
It’s not necessarily about turning up, you know, doing live videos when you’re in the middle of a massive row with your spouse and things like that. It’s not necessarily about being on a constant soapbox about things. But it is about feeling permission to drop some of that masking that we all do. And just as a little side here. I’m on a very interesting journey with this term masking because I’ve been using it for a while for like, a couple of years. And then a few months ago, I was diagnosed as being autistic, and that’s something that autistic people do is we mask. Which is, we’ll, maybe mirror people’s facial expressions as well and try and contain what’s going on inside for us. But I actually think that everybody has a tendency to do that to a certain extent when we’re in certain situations. I see that a lot in the business world we have to show. Case in point- a few years ago, there was quite a few female business coaches who are working with other female coaches, and they would be encouraged to dress almost like in a uniform. So it was like you’ll remember them. It’s like the sheath dress, you know, they’re quite type in a jewel colour, usually so like a pink or a blue or purple high heels.
And they would be advised to go to Paris or book a plane and go and have photographs done outside in cafes in Paris- in front of the Eiffel tower.It will show, it will indicate lifestyle and affluence and it’s aspirational, that image that you are projecting. I think when people have come from a traditional branding background, they have this ‘Well we need to create an aspirational brand,’ and I get that, I get where that comes from. But actually that became really tired really quickly, and it was almost like those clones all over the place.
P: So I mean, like, what’s aspirational to one person is not aspirational to the next person.
P: Exactly. I really struggled to see myself in one of those dresses.
J: Absolutely no way. A fountain, high heels, no. So an unshiny approach would be okay. ‘What do you feel comfortable in? What do you normally do your work in?’
P: And if that is going to Paris in that dress, then fine.
J: Absolutely. But if you’re more comfortable in say, you know, I’m a big fan of the dungarees and a T shirt that is kind of my uniform, but most of the time. So when I first started out, I had my headshots, photographs done. I was wearing a suit jacket because that’s what I thought I had to do in order to have people have faith in me. And my business was really slow in taking off. But once I was able to, you know, drop things like that, be able to show up how I look, be able to talk, how I talk, be able to share some of my opinions. And it was a gradual process, almost like a slow kind of dropping of things. Then people were able to see me and connect with me, and some people kind of went ‘No, she’s not for me,
P: Yeah, but that’s good.
J: But that is good. But I think for a lot of us we come into this thinking ‘ I have to appeal to as many people as possible.’ And although it’s counterintuitive, what you’ll actually find is, the more you try and tone yourself down, the blander you become. And then it becomes harder and harder for people to actually connect with you. So being unshiny isn’t necessarily about sharing your political activism or showing what you have for breakfast every day. But it is about I mean, you know, if you’re the kind of person who does that, and then that’s absolutely fine.
But if that’s not you, being unshiny, maybe may look much more like ‘Do you know what? This is an area in my business I struggle with. ‘ or ‘I love doing this!’ or speaking really genuinely from the heart about what you love or championing your clients or sharing your opinions on the latest episode of Love Island if that’s your thing. It’s about allowing yourself to be seen as the rounded human that you are without a lot of that masking that we’ve been, I suppose, conditioned to do, because that’s how people get to connect with you in that real deep way.
But the scary bit is that also means that there’ll be some people who won’t connect with you. The more you show of yourself, it becomes weak. I think Renee Brown talks about being armoured up and so an unshiny business is about being able to drop some of that armour. But that does mean that,
P: Yeah, you’re leaving yourself exposed.
J: Yeah, and that can feel vulnerable. Yeah, exactly.
P: Yeah, I get that. I get it because I’ve been there as well. So when I first started out, my visual branding and all of my communication looked very much different to what it does now. It was all based around this whole notion that I had to be so professional, corporate, you know, if I was to to get the kind of clients. And it just wasn’t me, and that’s exhausting to pretend to be someone that you’re not. But I totally get that from a new business owner’s perspective. It’s scary to think about pushing some people away because you want to pay your bills, we all have to pay our bills. And so I just want to kind of stress that it’s so common to just take on any work, any kind of client in the beginning because, yeah, we’ve all done that. We’ve all been there. Some of us might have to return to that place at times.
P: Let’s just normalise the ebbs and flows of business a bit.
J: Oh my goodness yes, if we please cut this idea that you know, it’s a straight line trajectory and it really isn’t. And it isn’t for anybody. And it’s not even for those multiple seven figure people. It’s just not. You will have ups and downs and your income. You have ups and downs in your.. how much you’re feeling it, how much energy that you have. You’ll have times when you think ‘this is amazing.’ It’s going to be going. You’ll have times when it’s just like ‘this is fine.’ and you will have times which, like ‘this is awful. Why am I doing this?’ That’s human. That’s part of being a human in the world and a human running a business. I think if people talked about that a bit more as well, then it would make everybody else’s journey that bit easier.
P: I know it’s made my journey easier to see people setting a good example and sharing the downs as well as the ups. That’s what I tried to do in my business as well. And I was warned actually. People told me not to do that because people would apparently see me as not successful and then not want to hire me. But in reality, what happened when I was human about it and I was like, ‘Look, business is a bit slow right now. I’m not entirely happy with where I am.’ Then people started coming to me saying, ‘Oh, I’m so glad that you said that because you know, nobody ever says that.’
Then more clients started coming, and they were the kind of clients that I felt a real connection with because they’ve seen that human side of me behind the mask. When that mask started to drop it’s liberating, it really is.
J: It really is because you’re right, it’s tiring for us to keep that mask on. But it’s tiring for other people too, well for us as well, to be living in this world where it’s just this faux success and this augmented reality all of the time and to actually have somebody say This isn’t easy and you know, I’m struggling with this right now. It gives us all permission to kind of drop the self recrimination that we’re usually doing kind of ‘Why is everybody else doing so much better than I am?’ and normalises that journey. And that’s such a powerful thing. But if you’re there in Paris in high heels going, ‘everything is just wonderful. Look at me with my amazing life.’ I’ll be honest with you. I’m probably not going to want to hire that person, because how do I want to go to them and kind of say, ‘These are the bits that I struggle with.These are the bits that you know, my branding don’t feel good, this bit that personally doesn’t feel great. I need you to help me.’ It’s hard to be vulnerable with somebody who you kind of think ‘I’m not sure they can relate to my journey.’
P: Yeah, and it’s not just about the relating, either. I feel like when people position themselves in that way, there’s kind of a power imbalance there, whereas they are kind of positioning themselves as this guru, and that makes me feel so small, so insignificant.
I hate feeling small and insignificant, and I think, now I’m not going to go back to my childhood in depth. But I was. I was made to feel small and insignificant enough during my childhood. I really don’t need it in adulthood as well. So those are absolutely the kind of brands and people I steer away from. I would never leave my money with those super shiny, super slick power bitches.
J: Yes, and there is something that I talk about about-you know, the elements of an unshiny business is one of my of my early podcast episodes -is about this. And one of the key things is about having an equal power dynamic so that you’re not a guru kind of saying I have all the answers and I can do this and you know, you work that on.
Don’t you want this badly enough? Are you prepared to work 16 hours? You know, it’s a very kind of power over, but equally we can sometimes fall into the position of ‘Oh, God, I’m not really worthy of the clients. And I’m going to, you know, undermine my prices. and I’m gonna cut my prices.’ I can remember having conversations with people early on and I tell you the price and they’d, you know, there’ll be a natural pause, and I’d immediately fill it with ‘I know that’s a huge amount of money.’
P: Why do we do that? I don’t know if this rings true for anybody else, but I find that the more praise I get from my clients, the more raving reviews I get and the more renowned in my business I become-the more insecure I feel. And I’m like, ‘I’m gonna fuck this one up.’ It’s really, really weird because it’s almost as in there is just that risk of failing is so much higher. Like the stakes are higher.
J: Yeah, yeah
P: So yeah, that was unrelated.
J: No, it’s an interesting one.
So the whole thing about being unshiny is about having this very equal power dynamic- being grounded in what you can provide- you’re not having to puff up and overblow ‘I’m the greatest person ever’ because nobody is. But equally, not underselling ourselves, not being that kind of ‘please, hire me.’ That kind of energy. And so it’s a journey. It’s very much, not kind of ‘Okay, do these things show up with no makeup on? Talk about your crappy morning and boom boom boom. The clients will come rolling in.’ It’s not like that.
It is about how do you human-being a business? And that also means things like owning up when you’ve made a mistake and being able to say, ‘Do you know what? I’m really good at this and I can help you if you’re this, this, this. ’ So It’s about having that balance. And it’s tricky sometimes, too, to be able to manage that. And you know, you’re not always going to get right because it’s messy. And as humans we are, we are messy, and that’s just how it is, but that, to me, is the core of being unshiny.
I think about things like, you know, a beautiful piece of wood. My brother works a lot with wood as a hobby. He will take a gorgeous piece of reclaimed oak that he’s found from somewhere. And there are some times that he will smooth it and polish it and then put coats and coats of varnish on it. And it looks beautiful and really quite slick and very, very shiny. But some of his most beautiful pieces have been where, actually he’s bringing out the grain of the wood. He’s showing all of the nuances. And yes, some people think the imperfections, the bits that are a bit bumpy, the bits where you know you can see where the years have aged and impacted the grain. That is even more beautiful to me. And that, to me, is what being unshiny is about. It’s about being able to see the, you know, the patina on things, the nuance, the growth, the really beautiful human side. And I don’t need you to kind of tell me that you’re the best thing since sliced bread and you know everything. I want to know that you are.
P: I love a good analogy. Yeah, a piece of beautiful wood. like Do you really need anything else? It’s beauty. It’s beautiful enough in itself sometimes.
P: I’m loving this conversation. I have a feeling that we could talk for, I don’t know, a good couple of hours more if given. But I’m very conscious that my listeners are probably busy business owners, you know, they wanna go away now and start to implement a few things. And, so before we round off, I always have this one last question, and I like to ask my guests, and that is for a final actionable take away.
So if you could give my listeners just one tip-something that they could implement today if they wanted to If they like the sound of the unshiny approach, you know, what would that be?
J: Just one. Okay, well, there’s a really nice technique that I like to use with clients, and it’s really super simple. It’s to write a manifesto of what you believe in and what you stand for. And this is something that actually Helen Tremethick does with her people as well.
So Helen and I are very much on the same page with this. To write not necessarily a kind of ‘To the barricades people!’ , but almost like a call to arms. What you believe in, what you stand for, what you want in the world. And this doesn’t necessarily have to be something that you put out into the world publicly. But it’s such a great way of really digging into ‘What do you want for your people? What do you want for the world? What do you believe in? What are your values?’
And then look at ‘OK, how can I make them more real in my behaviour and my actions through my brand, through my business, through what I’m doing? So, for example, if you believe that everybody has the resources within themselves and that your job is simply to bring out those resources, then why are you putting out ‘10 tips of things you must do right now?’ Look at where the incongruent places are and just allow yourself to be able to lean into and own the things that you believe and stop operating from that place.
And that can be such a powerful way of opening up different ways of thinking about things for people.
P: I love the idea of a manifesto, and, you know, as someone who works with brands who are run by one person or who, like, have 60 employees, I just want to point out that this doesn’t have to be true just for one- person business. Because if you write a manifesto, if you’re the founder and you know that you want to grow your brand and it’s going to become bigger than yourself in the future at some point-the manifesto, I guess, would be almost like your North star. It’s something that you can use as you make those decisions moving your brand forward. And it’s something you can use to onboard your new staff and to teach them about the company culture and ensuring that as you grow, you’re going in the direction that you actually wanted to go from the start.
J: Yes,that’s true. I work primarily with solo business owners, but yeah, I can imagine just how powerful it would be if you’re using that as a as a slightly larger organisation and it becomes like the-there was a coach that I worked with a few years ago who likened it to or liking like the more human you are in your business and putting your values out there than the manifesto is part of that. It’s almost like you like to camp fire and you’re saying to the people, ‘You know, if this resonates with you, come sit by the campfire. Just come enter into our world a bit more and listen to some more.’ And it can just be this really wonderful way of attracting the right people. And somebody reads your manifesto. They don’t like it, It’s not for them. That’s fine. They can go find the places where it does resonate for them.
P: Awesome. So if people want to come and gather around your campfire, where can they find you If they want to connect with you?
J: Sure, if you go to jocasey.com, that’s my website and you’ll find links to everything there on Instagram. I am @jocaseyb. So that’s the Letter B just because Jo Casey was already taken. I’m also that on Twitter and Facebook. Although I don’t do a huge amount on Twitter, I tend to do more autistic-y stuff on Twitter. And then, if you like the cut of my jib and you fancy having a virtual cuppa with me, then there are details of how you can sign up for one of those on my website and we’ll sit and have a chat and get to know one another a bit more.
And it’s lovely and delightful, and you will help me with my research, and I will be forever grateful for it.
P: I absolutely recommend anybody who’s listening today to jump on over to your website and sign up for one of those 100 virtual cuppa spots before you’re done with the project.
J: Yes, before I’m done with the project. Yes, I’m hoping to get most of them done by the end of the summer. So, yeah, that would be…
P: Yeah. Grab, grab your spot now, people, I promise you, you’re not going to regret it. We had a wonderful conversation which again led to this podcast episode.
Just to round off: Thank you once more. So much for coming on the show. It’s been an absolute joy to have you here.
J: It’s been an absolute joy to be here so thank you for inviting me.
Until next time,
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