Connections, Coffee & Confidence


Use Your Voice to Stand Out

Season 1, Ep. 66

This episode is a bit of a departure from my usual, message-driven, strategic content. This one is more of a musing on how our experiences shape our voice and we use our voice to stand out - no matter how much we might want to just fit in sometimes. How combining our experiences into something new might take courage and boundaries and a leap of faith, but we can do it. A little bit meta as this episode is me stretching my voice, calling on my experiences and using them as stories to illustrate my points, and opening up a bit about my own journey.

Have you left a rating & review yet? Please take a moment and do so as it helps bring this podcast to other small business owners (and I'd be forever grateful!) If you're listening on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) please rate and review there. If you're not an Apple supporter, you can go to Podchaser: Thank you so much for your support!


**Hey, are you wondering how to use social media so it helps you reach your goals instead of kill time? Let me show you the exact steps I use to make sure my client’s social media is strategic and cohesive so that you can use the socials to support your business without wasting time and getting frustrated.


Take my half hour masterclass and by the end you'll:

  • have 30 days worth of strategic content ready to be created,
  • know how to create your own messaging to ensure each post or live is pushing you towards ticking off your goals,
  • know my four foundations of creating the visual,
  • and learn a few extra tips to keep you rocking.


I work you through a live example so you can see exactly what I mean and how the method works in real life, not just theoretically. Go to to learn more.


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So this week, as I write, is my birthday week. I’ll be 42 and I find myself fairly reflective, doing lots of thinking. Maybe it’s the age, maybe it’s the amount of change we’ve gone through as a family and that I’ve gone through personally. Today I want to talk you through being different and the urge to fit in.


Right at the outset, I want to be clear. 

I can only speak to my experience and somewhat that of my family as we can really only know ourselves. And I don’t presume to think we or I have a monopoly on feeling or being different.  I know that sometimes there’s a necessity to fit in, there are issues around personal safety for being different. As a mom to children with higher needs, I have some lived experience with this, I can’t imagine dealing with it personally and have no place to address it so I’m not.

What I do want to talk about is how your experiences, your decisions and the resulting consequences, they all make you different on the inside. This episode is a bit of a departure from my usual message driven style and I’ll be curious to know how this lands, please send me an email or post on my Connections Coffee & Confidence Facebook page and let me know what you think.

Alright, let’s get into this.

Well by the time you hear this we’ll be into September. My favorite month and not just because of my birthday. I love the changing colours that are so unique to this part of the world. And you don’t need to @ me on that one, there is science to back up that claim to uniqueness. But I love it. I love the snugglier clothes but there is still enough sunshine and heat for those summer dresses and last trips to the beach before the snow falls. You know what? I even loved school starting. And I was always doubly excited because I used to get school supplies for my birthday sometimes, like little extras. This is the time before you had to have 3 two and a half inch binders, one red, one light blue and one black, and so on. So I was pretty darn happy to have Strawberry Shortcake scribblers and funky erasers and whatnot. Parents wouldn’t buy them for their own kids but they’d splash out on name brands to spice up a birthday gift and I was considered odd because I relished the nice school supplies. We moved a few times while I was growing up so I was not only the new kid but the new kid who liked school supplies.

But you know what? I even still write in my gratitude list that I’m grateful for a really nice pen or new journal. Could be my virgo tendencies, I don’t know.

So in the last ten years, our family has gone through some massive upheavals and changes. We’re not alone in that. We’ve moved continent, crossed Canada twice. Lived with my inlaws and my parents. We’ve had numerous diagnoses that have impacted how we function as a family unit, how we interact with our communities. We’ve rented, bought and sold homes. We’ve been sick, gotten healthy and learned to all live, work and play together 24/7. 

All of these experiences and others I won’t bore you with, have shaped me differently to what I had anticipated. And I bet that’s the same for you.

It’s that different aspect that I‘ve been reflecting on.

For example, I speak differently to my parents and brothers, with a different accent and expressions. And different still from where we’ve lived, no matter where that is. I sounded Canadian in Ireland and by the time we left Ireland, I sounded fairly Irish. I’ve lost a bit of it and picked back up some of the Maritime accent but not enough to sound local. Sometimes someone will start to speak to me and there’s this moment after I respond where they try and figure out if I’m local or where I’m from. You can see it on their polite but curious face. I’m different.

Sometimes being different is hard. It makes you tired to the bone and you wish you could just not be different. You wish you could be the same or at least feel the same just for a few moments, just to take the weight off

Unfortunately, that’s not a long term strategy. And as understandable as it may be, it’s not a healthy one either. 

Those differences are what shape your voice. You know, that thing that helps you communicate with others. Not just the vibrations that come from your vocal chords but the way you speak, the mannerisms you incorporate, the ways you express yourself. The way you attract or repel people, run your day-to-day relationships and your business.

Your voice defines you as being separate from others who might be perceived as the same by those who see you as part of a larger, blurry group they lump people in your industry into.

And that’s a good thing. Because when it comes to your business, you want to be seen as unique. You want to be remembered for something and ideally something that is comfortable and natural to you.

There are loads and loads of podcasters, if you hadn’t noticed. And many of them are women in what’s termed the marketing and business space. So at first and still now, it’s easier being in such a crowded space because it’s easier to do something scary when I think no one is listening. This could be the same for you when you started your business. You wanted to blend in because it feels safer, more comfortable. You had done something different for you but maybe you’ve done it exactly the same way as everyone else so how are you actually standing out?

You use your voice.

In my early episodes, I felt more stilted. I had only heard wildly successful female podcasters and I couldn’t be them - could I - but I felt the pressure to do it the same way. But my personality is kind of quiet and shy, I’m thoughtful and analytical and I felt like those traits would help me establish credibility with all of the strangers who, frankly, were not listening.

But what makes me me is that I have a dry and often sarcastic sense of humor. I’ve been an immigrant, I’ve done some travelling, I see things from different perspectives and have different ways of expressing myself. And I need to accept that it’s okay for me to be me, to speak like I do and let my observations come out. Because those are what will help me carve out more of a niche and get a bigger following. 

Um, hey, what will also help is if you could leave a fabulous five star review on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser for me. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference reviews make when people are choosing a new podcast to listen to. Thank you!

Because I need to not sound like Amy Porterfield or Jenna Kutcher, they have those niches quite nicely settled. I need to sound like Janice Fogarty, whatever her accent or approach.

And you need to do the same. Be yourself, I mean. Don’t be me. It’s not as cool as I make it out to be.

Using my voice as a tool to help my podcast grow is one thing but in accepting it coming out in my marketing, in my interviews on other podcasts and or media, where there might be a new or larger audience, is still hard. Because there’s that desire to fit in. That desire to not stand too far out because what if?

What if I make a mistake. What if I do it wrong and it can never be fixed. What if somebody hates me. What if somebody points out I’m wrong and everybody thinks I’m stupid. What if they don’t understand me. What if they judge me and find me lacking. 

So going back to Ireland for a moment, they have this delightful habit over there of combining occupations just because that’s the way it’s done. My favorite is visiting a small border town and heading to the local pub for a pint or two. And I ended up sitting on the counter while my husband sat on the freezer because the pub was also a glorified convenience store that sold a selection of groceries. And hardware goods. And was the undertaker. 

Of course this was a throwback to the early early years when the pub was the only place that had either the space or the cooler facility to store a body. And the family didn’t have far to go to mourn over their pints. Food and hardware items are required for living life, and every town had a pub so why not lump it all together?  And it works so why change it?

You knew the tourists because we were the ones with the quizzical looks. Like, am I really seeing this? Can I really buy pizza pockets here and you’ll heat it up in the microwave while we wait for the Guinness to settle for the rest of the pour? Ok. And the next town we stopped in, years later, that had the same set up, I walked in and didn’t bat an eyelash because of course.

I tell you this because it’s a different approach to business. And your personal experiences and beliefs and skills, they might all come together to nudge you in a different direction than what’s considered the norm - in your field, your friends and family circle, your own head. 

Like your voice, it’s hard to accept that initial phase of being deliberately different. It’s hard to just decide to do it and buck the trend until... it’s not. Because you’ve decided and you’re tired of thinking about it and talking about it and writing your lists for and against. You just decide to do it and then it becomes easy. Until you are hit with evidence that you are different, you’re doing it differently, and it’s making other people uncomfortable or question your decision making and it becomes hard again.

That fear, that level of difficulty is sometimes soul sucking. It can hit like a ton of bricks when you thought it was all going great and you were congratulating yourself for all of your awesomeness in backing your own capabilities and decisions. 

This is where knowing yourself, your voice, your strengths, and I think most importantly, your limits or boundaries are important. Because if you know who you are and you feel comfortable in your skin, you know you’ll survive the judgement and the fear in the pit of your stomach. Because if you have boundaries, you’ll decide whose opinion matters and disregard the others that pile in.

I belong to a group for female podcasters and what I love in there is that we celebrate the first one star review. Because it’s inevitable that you are not going to be someone’s cup of tea. Someone will have a contrary opinion and they will feel entitled to share it, usually giving you a good taste of their voice, and it’s a sign of growth. When you first start up, your close friends will listen to support you. Maybe your mother. And they aren’t going to roast you publicly. But the danger with growth is that you grow. You get exposed to new people, to different concepts, to new ways of doing things and not all of it will go well.

But we can’t grow without those less-than-stellar experiences. And we must continue to grow. So we have to push ourselves. We decide which risks are worth taking and we take them. We have the power to choose to value our experiences, to be true to them, and use them as gifts. And we have to just... do it, whatever it is, as best as we can.

Because part of the fear is that judgement piece, and we might be able to have those boundaries around whose opinion actually matters to us but rarely do we exclude our own!

I don’t know about you but I am my own worst critic. I will flip flop several times on this episode. Will I publish it? And if I do, will I publicize it as much as I do other episodes? Will I be embarrassed about it in six months time? A year?

Maybe. Because to be honest, I’ve already done things on this podcast that have embarrassed me. I remind myself that I’ve done the best with what I had and what I knew at the time. I fix what I can when I have time and if it causes a big enough shudder when I think about it. But I leave a lot because time soothes my anxiety and people enjoy a journey. We all appreciate watching or listening as someone evolves, as they grow. We grow with them. And it makes us feel less different, to know someone else is squirming through their evolution, even if we’re evolving differently. 

Because we do want to fit in. We want to be recognized as a part of a larger something. It’s primal and built into our brains to be a part of the larger group, safety in numbers and all of that.  But there’s a mix possible, to having our own voice, our own way of doing things, our own standards and expectations, along with being part of something larger. Even if it’s something we need to create ourselves. I think that mix level ebbs and flows as we go through different periods in our life but we need to find the strength and the confidence to be who we are and adapt that into our business, whatever any of it turns out to be.

I’m not sure how I got here on this topic. It’s not my usual type of podcast. I’m usually rather structured with a point and this one had a loose moral to the story but not my typical fare. I guess I’m experimenting with trying out my own voice, letting my thoughts run. And I’m not sure if I was talking more to you or me throughout this one. Who knows. I know I flip flopped between you and me throughout. I hope you got something out of it. I hope you realize that there are times when we can settle and times we need to push, but through it all we need to be ourselves.

And if you're already clear on who you are, well, thanks for sticking through this whole thing. If you’re ready to start using that voice of yours in your marketing and PR, I invite you to take my masterclass on Creating your social media content strategy. I go through my process for creating messaging and aligned posts for my clients to use in their business facebook pages so you can do the same for you. This content can be repurposed for all of the feeds, the key is the messaging and you know I walk you through that! SO I’ll link to that in the shownotes or you can go to my website for more details, and I thank you again for listening today. I’ll be back next week, a year older, maybe wiser. Until then my friend.

More Episodes


Let Me Explain the Link Between Christmas, Perception and Your Marketing Work

Season 1, Ep. 70
In this short episode, I ask what we're waiting for - what those of us who should be on the mailing list for Overthinkers Anonymous are actually waiting for and I propose a simple solution to move past the chronic overthinking that slows us down. With a nod to my mom who in her usual ever so slightly sarcastic way of making her point, left this golden gem in my head: Christmas is coming... This translates into: what the heck are you waiting for?Also mentioned in this podcast:This is the podcast I probably listen to the most; it's fun, it's interesting, and there's always a fresh take on things I've thought about - and some I've never considered! This is the episode where one of them mentions marketing as a human experiment. you left a rating & review yet? Please take a moment and do so as it helps bring this podcast to other small business owners (and I'd be forever grateful!) If you're listening on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) please rate and review there. If you're not an Apple supporter, you can go toPodchaser: you so much for your support!**Hey, are you wondering how to use social media so it helps you reach your goals instead of kill time?Let me show you the exact steps I use to make sure my client’s social media is strategic and cohesive so that you can use the socials to support your business without wasting time and getting frustrated.Go to learn more.My Products:Don't Waste Your Breathguide on creating your own strategic messaging, based onyourbusiness goals. Get this download and learn how to speak clearly and with purpose about your business. ( about taking advantage of all the podcasts as opportunities to get your message out? You need my one page download onHow to be an Amazing Podcast Guest checklist( how to get incredible PR to grow awareness of your business but can't afford a PR agency? You need10 Places to get Publicity, Even with Zero Budget('s Connect!✔Join me on Pinterest😀✔Let's connect onLinkedIn✔AndInstagram!✔Connections Coffee Confidence Community on Facebook, my groupTranscript:Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Connections, Coffee and Confidence with me, Janice. I’m coming at you from our new home in Prince Edward Island - if you’ve ever read Anne of Green Gables, you know where I am. My freckles and I are fitting in well. And the new house has a new office which you may have seen if you’ve been on my Facebook or Instagram stories. Windows and everything. If you’re new, you don’t know this is a significant move from my Harry Potter style cubby under the stairs. Happy to be settling into a new home and being able to get into routine. I feel like I have a new lease of life, to be honest. And what’s interesting is that I have had a recurring theme push its way through to me, one that has come from some kind of surprising people. And if it’s coming from them, maybe you are experiencing it too. So let’s talk about it.INTROSo what are you waiting for?Seriously.Life is passing us by and here we are, waiting for something. My mother would always tell me that Christmas was coming when I was busy thinking something to death and then thinking about it some more. I believe she was implying I was taking too long to make a decision and take action.Are you waiting for Christmas?There are perfectly rational and reasonable times when waiting and thinking things through is appropriate. When there are safety concerns, the potential for significant emotional impact on someone else, or large sums of money involved, yes, have a good think.When it comes to making a pitch to the media, launching a new product or service, paying for an ad on your favorite social media platform or being yourself, that’s different.This often boils down to fear and fear can come from a variety of places. Usually it can be dealt with by educating yourself on the reality because your perception is clouding your view.I was recently messaging with someone I really respect, someone I admire in so many ways not least because of her accomplishments. And I was really nervous about asking her to come on the podcast because I was worried about the time she and I had talked and I had goofed the time difference. And it turns out she had completely forgotten the incident. We had a good laugh and she made a comment about Overthinkers Anonymous. And I’m sure if I googled that I’d find that someone has already taken that as a title for a book or a membership or something. Or maybe they’re too busy overthinking it.But there was a similar mini conversation in my Facebook group where myself and another woman were having a discussion about over analyzing things. Talking ourselves in and talking ourselves right back out of really great ideas and actions.Does any of this ring true for you?Do you circle around and around your ideas, looking at them from every angle before deciding to not quite jump but dip your toe in? Do you think about them for so long that when you do decide to take action, you find someone else has started while you had your head down?When we wait, we miss out. We miss out on opportunities to meet new people, to try new things, to see new places. We miss out on money. And what really gets me is that we miss out on knowing: knowing if we can. Knowing that we can. Because it’s the confidence we get when we’ve tried it and seen just what we’re capable of, that’s usually missing from those of us considering joining Overthinkers Anonymous.And even if we aren’t successful, that’s fine. The world doesn’t end and we come back from that with a better idea of how to do it next time or if, in fact, we should never do that again.When we don’t over analyse and simply create a thoughtful plan, leaving to chance the stuff we can easily handle and mapping out the big things, we get the opportunity to test and revise, to rethink and do it again.We need to do to improve - both the work and ourselves.An interesting thought is one I heard on another podcast, the David McWilliams podcast which I’ll link to in the show notes. I can’t remember if it was him or his guest who had said it but one of them said that marketing was just a human experiment.Did you hear that?It’s just an experiment!You know how in science class you learned or maybe had the opportunity to do actual experiments? Where in scientific theory, it’s actually based off of not knowing and trying to find out? Where if the experiment doesn’t prove the theory, neither you nor the theory are wrong, the theory just wasn’t proved right. You don’t come into it at all, it’s not you who is right or wrong - it’s the theory that’s being tested.And when I heard that sentence, marketing is a human experiment, it just felt like so much of the weight had been lifted.Do you feel it?It’s an experiment! And we all experiment at those things we’re good at, those things we’re confident about and comfortable with. Maybe you’re like me and very confident in the kitchen; I bet you experiment in there all the time. You know how it goes and if it doesn’t go exactly right the first time, once you’ve taste tested the results you know that you need to dial back the garlic or punch up the balsamic or the lemon was good but next time you’re trying lime because you have a suspicion that’s what’ll knock your taste buds right off your tongue.Or maybe you know how to experiment with clothing. Or technology. Or compose music or put on make up or one thousand other things. You experiment and if it doesn’t go exactly right, that’s ok. You can fix it.And what if it was exactly the same with your marketing and PR?You just tweaked your message and your visuals when the first attempt didn’t land as you wanted.You just tried it on a different platform or pitched a different journalist?What if you just tried it? With a plan, like you’re not just diving in headfirst with a blindfold on - you know the basics of what you’re doing and you do it to the best of your ability, but you do it. You try it.Have you ever noticed how much energy you can put into overthinking? Some people are nervous fidgeters, they expend a lot of energy. I’m more of a sit still while my mind races for hours and hours kind of analyzer. After I had the boys I learned to channel those sessions into sitting in front of the laundry that needs to be folded but still, there is an energy that you’re putting into thinking things into oblivion that you could be using elsewhere.What if you took even half of that thinking or nervous energy and put it into actually doing what you’re thinking about? Imagine what you could accomplish?Imagine what you could learn about yourself, about the idea, about your potential audience, about your market, about the practicalities if you took that brain space and put it towards good?It’s funny because I say I can talk myself out of anything. And I was rolling that idea that marketing is just a human experiment around in my head - ok, I was rolling it around for a while but hey - new province, new house, new school for the kids - there is a lot rolling around inside my head recently! But it made me wonder what would happen if I took my amazing superpower to talk myself out of anything and just flipped it. Just like that. Instead of talking myself out of things, I just talked myself into them. What would that look like?Think it would be like those books and things you read or hear about where people decide to say yes to everything for six months or a year. But not as extreme. Because I know that when I start overanalyzing my ideas, I’m doing it out of fear. And that fear is based on a perception that I’m not good enough or smart enough or that people won’t like me (please please send me an email or tag me on Instagram if you get that reversed reference, doggone it!)And I bet you’re the same.What if we chose to look at it as though it’s just an experiment. We’re just testing something. It has nothing to do with us, it’s a theory we’re testing. No reflection of our worth, it’s a human experiment. What if all of those things you were worrying about were just like my worry of that woman thinking I was a doofus who can’t tell time or understand time zones? What if those fears are just our own perceptions? Not reality.Would you find it easier to get things started, to get them going, if you were just testing an idea? Because Christmas is coming, no matter what religion or belief set you might have, there is a well known date on most calendars and I bet you have something you’ve been rolling around in your head for the last while.I guess the big question is - what are you waiting for?

10 Tips to Improve Your Writing Confidence Right Now

Season 1, Ep. 69
One of the things I get asked about the most is confidence in writing, communicating. So I came up with this list of my top 10 tips for gaining that confidence. Pick which one works for you for the project you're working on right now and put it into action!Have you left a rating & review yet? Please take a moment and do so as it helps bring this podcast to other small business owners (and I'd be forever grateful!) If you're listening on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) please rate and review there. If you're not an Apple supporter, you can go toPodchaser: you so much for your support!**Hey, are you wondering how to use social media so it helps you reach your goals instead of kill time?Let me show you the exact steps I use to make sure my client’s social media is strategic and cohesive so that you can use the socials to support your business without wasting time and getting frustrated.Go to learn more.My Products:Don't Waste Your Breathguide on creating your own strategic messaging, based onyourbusiness goals. Get this download and learn how to speak clearly and with purpose about your business. ( about taking advantage of all the podcasts as opportunities to get your message out? You need my one page download onHow to be an Amazing Podcast Guest checklist( how to get incredible PR to grow awareness of your business but can't afford a PR agency? You need10 Places to get Publicity, Even with Zero Budget('s Connect!✔Join me on Pinterest😀✔Let's connect onLinkedIn✔AndInstagram!✔Connections Coffee Confidence Community on Facebook, my groupTranscript:Hello and welcome to the Connections, Coffee and confidence podcast with me, Janice. This might surprise you but one of my earliest dreams was to work at Dairy Queen. And if you aren’t in a country lucky enough to have a Dairy Queen, let me break your heart by telling you what you’re missing. It’s a fast food chain that yes, offers hot food but the real beauty is that they offer treats like blizzards where they take their ice cream (actually ice milk but we aren’t going to split hairs here) and blitz it with candy pieces and flavours of your choice, and dipped ice cream cones, and sundaes and banana splits and my personal favorite the peanut buster parfait - layers of ice cream with hot fudge sauce and peanuts. So when a new DQ opened up in the town I lived in in high school, I took myself down and got a job. Just like that, I fulfilled one of my life’s goals.Fortunately, I had other goals left to conquer such as becoming a published author. And I’ve been published publicly before, in magazines and newspapers in Canada and Ireland, but not under my own name. Because I usually do for others what you do for your own business, write. You might not think of yourself as a writer, you might shudder in horror or laugh your head off at the idea of you being a writer but trust me when I say, you are a writer.Off the top of my head, I know you write emails, text messages, social media posts for sure. And you probably write product or service descriptions, maybe a sales page, website or landing page write.Something that is often asked about when people join my private facebook group is writing - getting confident in writing, knowing what to write about, how to do those things with comfort and ease. Okay, comfort and ease are my words but people ask about writing a lot. And when I talk to them, it’s because they aren’t comfortable, it doesn’t come easy and therefore it’s hard.So today I am bringing you ten tips on gaining writing confidence. These aren't in a strategic order, you don’t need to start at number one and master it before you move to number two; not at all. You pick what you need as you need it, work on it, try it out. The tip you focus on could well depend on the situation you find yourself in and that’s just right, too.So I’ll start with this tip I’ll call number one and it’s sort of ironically called get started. The worst thing to do is to stare at that blinking cursor, the one that seems to reappear in a slow laughing rhythm. Put some words down and break that rhythm. Often the first few words are the hardest or the least sensible or the most muddled but they are words and those words lead to more and better words. And that’s what you’re after. So get started.The second tip is for you to Practise. Keep doing it. You might not feel like writing or rewriting that sales page, and that’s cool. But if you know it’s something that needs to be done, take a practise run at it. You aren’t committing to anything, you’re practising. Take the pressure off the act of writing, just try it out. And if some gold happens to fly from your finger tips well, that’s a bonus. Copy and paste it into the real version of whatever you were practising. You may have expected me to say practise like write the same thing fifteen times. And if that works for you, then do it. I know I write about four or five, sometimes more titles for my episodes. But any more than that and I drive myself crazy. I use a headline analyzer and check the SEO and the readability for each title, pick the one that works the best and roll. But I always have those practise headlines to help me.Another note about practise is that Seth Godin has written in his blog every day for well over a decade. And he talks about how not every post is solid gold. But it’s practise. And if it works for him to show up and practise every day, there’s probably no harm in us trying it more days than not, eh?The third tip is do not expect perfection. There’s nothing to kill that creativity, to stifle your ability to access words from your brain, than the pressure of writing and making it super awesome. And awesome on the first go. Ugh. It is better to be done and done well now then to be perfect in, well, you and I know things are never going to be perfect. So do it to the best of your ability and move on.Fourth is a common piece of advice from me: Have a point. Nothing helps focus your work like, well, having a focus. When you have a goal that you’re working towards, you’ll find it much easier to decide what to say and to say it well. This is where my eguide on messaging can help you - a workbook that walks you from your goals to your messaging and helps you find that focus. I’ll link to it in the shownotes and you can also just go to to see for yourself. But when you know what you’re talking about, when you know what the end result will be, that will always help shape what you actually say.Fifth is to keep in mind who you're talking to. It’s much easier to communicate with someone when you know who they are. Have you ever gone to a party that your friend begged you to go to with them, where you don’t really know anyone other than that one friend? And then you don’t quite know how to speak to people straightaway. But once you’ve had a chance to chitchat a bit, get to know a little bit about the crowd, it’s easier to talk. You know if you’re in a room full of masters degrees, entrepreneurs, stay at home parents, married couples, single parents, employees, friends or colleagues or whoever. Once you know who you’re talking to, you know how to communicate with them. It’s part of being strategic as a communicator, you know who your audience is.Tip number six for gaining confidence in writing is to ask yourself why the person you’re talking to cares. It’s not the same as what’s your point; this tip is about the audience, the person or people you’re speaking to in your writing. You can think of it as being generous with your intentions, if that makes it easier for you. It’s often easier to write when we hold in our minds what it is the recipient will find value in from your words. It’s not just a sales tactic, it’s helpful in all writing.Tip number seven is to give it time and space. This is a phrase I’ve borrowed from child psychology but it exactly describes what works for me every single time. This is commonly known as editing but honestly, I struggle to edit my own words. I read it exactly as it’s meant to be read or spoken, I go off of what was in my head versus what’s actually on the page or screen so I miss the goofs; my brain fills in what was supposed to be there so I miss the gaps. I need to give my work time as in, don’t rush the edit to publish, and space as in think of something different, do something else, before I go back to edit so I can do so with a clear brain that may have forgotten the details that were flowing through me, making it easier to catch what I originally missed putting down. Sometimes that’s not possible, I know I’m not the only one who mmmm shall we say doesn’t always plan the best or is stricken with inspiration that you simply must post right this minute which doesn’t allow for time and space editing or life simply happens and you gotta publish now or it becomes less timely and you’ve missed making your impact.That’s where tip 8 comes in. Say it. So this works in two ways, you pick which suits you. First, whatever you’ve written, whatever for, whoever for, read it out loud - not in your head - out loud! And you’ll catch what you’ve missed, at least most of it. When I was a speechwriter for a government minister, you can bet your last dollar that I not only paid attention to how she spoke, her rhythms and her speaking style, but I also read every speech out loud before handing it over to anyone else. So I caught the things, the awkward phrases that read well on the page but people don’t really speak like that, or the less than perfect word to make that point. Reading it out loud made it, whatever it was, better. Try it.The second way this works is to say it out loud first, then transcribe it. I like to write. I had someone reach out to me from my past for help and in the third email he commented that he didn’t remember me being so chatty. And that’s because I’m comfortable in my writing. But also because I’m over forty, I'm a mom to three neurodiverse boys, and wife to someone with a strong personality; I’m not the exact same person who he knew all those years ago. Same as you - your experiences shape your voice. So if your voice comes more naturally to you when you speak or sing or whatever verbal exercise works for you, then do that and take what you need for your posts. You might think you’re only good at going live when your communications strength comes from actual verbalization but that’s not re-using your content creation in the most efficient way. Go back over some of your really great lives and pull the quotes or even full paragraphs worth of words and repurpose them into posts. They’ll be brilliant because they’ll capture your best voice and your message and they’ll appeal to those in your audience who prefer to read than listen.Tip number nine on how to write with more confidence is to personalize it. It might be another way of saying be authentic but it feels less catch-phrase-of-the-moment and more, well, like me. How would you say that to a friend, to your sister, to that co-worker you used to really enjoy chatting and having a laugh with? When you can speak as you would to someone you’re comfortable with? How would you say it then? Can you capture that for your material? Can you relate it to something that has happened to you or worked for you or you’ve seen in others? And sometimes it’s easier to speak about something that happened to us like it happened to someone else and that’s ok, you’ll tell that story in a wonderfully clear way because you have full confidence in the details. And that clarity, those details, make the communications feel good for both you and your audience. When you feel good, you’ll be more confident to do it again.Last but not least, perhaps the most important tip of all actually, is number ten. Have fun. Seriously. When’s the last time you were just living in that moment, laughing your head off or feeling so full up with contentment, at peace and smiling because that’s where you were meant to be at that moment. Not concerned about if you had the right word, if you looked good, what someone might think. What platform, what time of day, what clothing, what setting, what style of delivery feels really good for you? Do that. Sure you can’t always choose what’s the most fun but you can recapture that feeling of having fun and inject it into whatever you’re doing in the moment. Try saying to yourself straight up and out loud: holy heck, I am having fun! I am frigging loving this. Or however you might speak to yourself in moments of great enjoyment. Your brain will follow along. It wants what’s best for you and if you tell it you are having fun writing copy for your sale page or product descriptions, well it’s all in on the fun and won’t notice that you’re doing work. The better you feel doing that work, the more confident you’ll become in doing it.So there you have it, my top ten tips for gaining confidence in your writing. And really, I think you can extrapolate these tips to all communications. You want confidence when you communicate. That doesn’t mean you aren’t nervous sometimes or you aren’t scared every once in a while; it means that you do it anyway, and that you just do your best to do better every time you try. So don’t forget if you want help on your messaging, you can download my guide and workbook from my website or you can pop me an email and we can book an appointment to see where I can help. In the meantime, I really want to know which tip stood out to you the most. Write it down and tag me on Instagram at janiceefogarty so I can see! And until next week my friend, have a fan freaking tastic rest of your day.

The How and Why of Your Customer's Journey

Season 1, Ep. 68
Customer retention isn't just about having warm fuzzies because our clients love us (they really love us), it's also about being a savvy business owner because it's much more efficient to retain our customers than to find new ones. But what about those of us who are one & done? Do we still care about loyalty? And how does what we do impact upon our customers, their feelings towards us? Today's topic is all about customer experience - what it means to you, how to track it and when to do it.Have you left a rating & review yet? Please take a moment and do so as it helps bring this podcast to other small business owners (and I'd be forever grateful!) If you're listening on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) please rate and review there. If you're not an Apple supporter, you can go toPodchaser: you so much for your support!**Hey, are you wondering how to use social media so it helps you reach your goals instead of kill time?Let me show you the exact steps I use to make sure my client’s social media is strategic and cohesive so that you can use the socials to support your business without wasting time and getting frustrated.Go to learn more.My Products:Don't Waste Your Breathguide on creating your own strategic messaging, based onyourbusiness goals. Get this download and learn how to speak clearly and with purpose about your business. ( about taking advantage of all the podcasts as opportunities to get your message out? You need my one page download onHow to be an Amazing Podcast Guest checklist( how to get incredible PR to grow awareness of your business but can't afford a PR agency? You need10 Places to get Publicity, Even with Zero Budget('s Connect!✔Join me on Pinterest😀✔Let's connect onLinkedIn✔AndInstagram!✔Connections Coffee Confidence Community on Facebook, my groupTranscript:Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Connections, Coffee and Confidence with me, Janice. This week I’m taking a bit of a departure from the softer side of communications and looking behind the scenes at the theory and strategy behind why we do what we do. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about our customer’s experience and how what we do as business owners impact upon our customer’s interactions with us. Like, obviously what we do has a knock on effect on our customers but have you ever sat down and thought about it? I have and today I’ll share what I think you need to put some attention into in order to reap some deserved rewards.INTROSo Customer Experience or CX. That’s a whole sector of an industry that I feel was traditionally more technical in that it was data driven, it was analytical and kind of a problem solving area for a team in typically larger companies. Companies that had high profits, sold high ticket items, who had money they could spend on employing teams of people to look at the way a customer or client interacted with their company. The CX team worked in tandem with the PR team, who ensured the company’s reputation was shining beautifully and the important people were profiled in all the high flying publications, and also the marketing team, who got the people with the wallets through the door.Ok. That’s a simplistic description but you get the idea of how these things traditionally worked. Maybe you knew this because you worked in this kind of company before. Once upon a time, there were teams of people who specialized in these areas.And don’t get me wrong, there are still teams and individuals who specialize in this, absolutely. Maybe you specialize in one of these areas and have turned freelance, creating your own business out of your specialty. And if that’s the case then you know better than anyone that nowadays, that trifecta of teams is now just us. You and me. The business owners. Because we’re the ones who design our business, get the clients, fluff our own feathers and sweep the floors, fetch the coffee.So what do we, as independent business owners, need to know and understand about our customer’s experience or their journey through our business? And what on earth would we do with that information, like, does it actually matter?That idea of whether knowledge matters or not is an interesting one to me. My first thought is of course it matters. All information about your business matters, don’t be so silly. But there are no absolutes (and yes, the irony is intentional).Why do we care about our client’s experience with us? Why does it matter? Well, we take that information and see if it tells us about where we are losing clients and their money. That’s important, right? We look at every time we interact with the client and see if it’s effective, if it’s efficient, if the client feels good or empowered or satisfied or however it is we want them to feel at that point. Then we ask ourselves, can we improve?And that’s the same as asking if it matters. What’s our goal? Because if our goal is to create a long-term relationship with our client or customer, then yes, the information about their experience with us matters.But what if you look at your business and you sell a one-off item. You are a one and done kind of service. Does customer satisfaction or even loyalty matter? Is it worth your time and effort reviewing the customer journey and evaluating each touch point, nevermind the time and effort to improve it? ANd I guess that’s your decision to make.If you are a one and done kind of service or product, or if you provide a necessity, you may place a lower value on customer loyalty and retention. If you have no competition, you may place a lower value on those things, too. My word of caution on that is to be mindful because at some point, someone will come along and do what you’re doing. If the deciding factor between using you because they need what you sell but they don’t enjoy working with you or going to someone who is reasonably the same in every way but they are better to deal with, you might find yourself losing market share as time goes by.And if you’re the one and done, presumably you still count on word of mouth to spread the news of what you do. People talk. And they are more apt to talk about a negative experience so don’t give them a reason!And, it’s just nice to be nice.Although the answer to does a customer’s experience or journey with your business matter might seem subjective, if you have any interest in reputation management or if you just care about the people who spend their hard earned money with you, I argue that yeah - it matters.But how do we look at this to evaluate it? If it matters, we need to be able to look at it objectively and concretely, right?Where I like to start is to take something you produce for your client or your service and work backwords. Like a brainstorm or a mindmap or flow chart kind of thing. Conversely you can start at the beginning of the journey where someone finds you and map out every touch point or interaction until they reach that same end product. Because that’s the point of the actual mapping - to mark every time you have the potential to impact your customer’s experience.For example, take my Create Your Social Media Content Strategy masterclass as the final product I want to map out. I plop that as the end product and lis tour all of the ways people can get to that end result. So if someone sees my pin on Pinterest, they can be brought to my website sales page for that masterclass. When they click to purchase, the go through the payment mechanism and then an automated message comes up saying thank you and what to do next. Then they log into the system to work through the masterclass and download the workbook and supporting documents I created and provided. Next is a 4 email sequence that follows to give more information and encouragement at what I deem to be critical points in working through the process. But the journey isn’t done there because that customer then gets placed in my general email list where I email them every week about the newest episode and some extra points of interest about the topic or a story behind the scenes. Each email in the sequence, the pin, the sales page, the automated message after purchase, it’s all part of the customer experience.But what if you sell a product like an essential oil blend or a bath bomb or a tshirt. The experience shouldn’t be a multi-stepped event because that then becomes friction, it becomes a deterrent to actually getting to the checkout. So I’d argue that in this scenario you’d need to be even more precise and more intentional with how this process flows and impacts your customer journey. Start with someone sees your ad on facebook. They click the button to buy or learn more and are brought to the product page of your website. They then click the buy button and are brought to your online payment system. The payment system completes and they are shown a thank you message and an email is automatically sent to their inbox. Then you package up the item and it gets mailed. Or your drop shipper kicks into gear.Then you take all of the other ways someone could get into that chain of events, where they enter the sequence, if there are extras that they get. And soon you’ll have a page full of points where you impact upon your customer, it’s your customer journey.When I do this work, I find that as I am mapping the sequence out, I’m discovering the gaps in service or the places where I could do a better job. I keep a second sheet of paper by my side so I can make note of it or you could just scribble it down right on the map. And maybe you’re a cool cat who uses actual planning software for that kind of thing and if so, hats off to you. My brain kind of freezes up when forced to look at logical sequences on a screen, I’m pen and paper. Sometimes markers. But anywho.When you see these gaps, when you look at what each email is about - the purpose it serves in the sequence, does everything flow logically and naturally? Is there a step in there that feels like a large jump or are there two steps where there really could just be one? Is each touch point or interaction effective?Because don’t forget your purpose, your reason for this exercise. What’s the end goal here? Yes to improve the customer journey but why? That answer shapes what you look at, how you value the information you get. If your goal is to increase sales, look and see if you’re losing people at one part of the process. Do you end up with a lot of abandoned carts? Why? Are you getting people to click on your facebook ad but they don’t buy, why? Do they open the email sequence after purchasing the product? If your goal is to increase referrals, are you missing an opportunity to make a referral-worthy impression? Are you adding your personality or personal touch to every step of the way to make it memorable and pleasant? Is there another opportunity to do so?Again, you need to judge whether this effort is worth it to you. It might take you days and days to go through and plug all of the holes or tighten up processes. And maybe all of the things you can do don’t actually need to be done. You need to still have a balance, to remember that done is better than perfect. I admit, when I opened my masterclass for my facebook group and email list, I did not have all of the emails written. In fact, it was open for sale to the public and actually had some sold to wonderful people who invested (thank you, if that was you, by the way!) and I still did not have all of the emails written. They were planned and outlined but not written edited and in the system. I had to do that and work around the automatic send dates and all sorts of malarkey. Because I was trying to get my kids through an application process for their school, because I had to buy a house and school supplies, sort out a mortgage, buy insurance, because I had a birthday and my parents came to visit as a surprise, because I had done enough to get started and had a plan to finish it up. Because done is better than perfect. Those emails are in now, being delivered and could I have written fifteen emails instead of four? Yes. Yes I could. I could write these purchasers a novel because I love the topic of creating and using strategic messaging to create social media that works for your business. Does anyone need that as part of their masterclass? No. It’s not worth that kind of overwhelm for anyone. So you might see gaps but they might be fine just the way they are.And if you’re looking at your map and you're thinking about the data and wondering what real people think about the whole thing, wondering how a paying person feels about the journey or experience with your company, well, you can always ask them. Pick out a few of those touchpoints that you’re wondering about and contact your old customers or clients. Or, set up a mechanism to ask your current clients as they go through the process. Find out what they think. It may be that something you feel is clunky or awkward doesn’t raise any issues with them. Or something you think is just bloody brilliant is just bloody weird.One last idea for you is to look at other processes similar to yours. Or maybe unlike yours. I don’t know how creative a thinker you are! If you look at the different ways and touchpoints that made an impression on you as a customer, try to emulate those. I subscribe to some smashing emails lists - Tarzan Kay is inspirational - and I definitely am influenced by the way she and others whose products or services I’ve purchased have handled me as a customer. I know what I like so why would I expect my customers to be any different?Irrespective of what your specific goal is, I suggest that the end result will be an improvement in your reputation. I know that going through this process will lead to people being even more happy with doing business with you and happy people do tend to make recommendations. However, in this as in all things, I recommend you be strategic - be mindful of the goal for the specific customer journey and examine those touch points to see if they are creating the customer experience you intended. Look for the gaps or opportunities and evaluate their importance, you don’t fix what ain’t broke, right? This is not an opportunity to procrastinate, this is an opportunity review, evaluate, fix and get back to daily operations, secure in the knowledge that you are doing the best you can to care for your customers like the valued business assets they are.Thank you for listening today and I’d love to hear what made an impact on you so post your thoughts and tag me on Instagram at janiceefogarty, I’d love to see what you're thinking. And until next week my friend, have a fantastic rest of your day.