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Pru Chapman
OC Founder + Head Hustler

Pru Chapman is the Founder + Head Hustler at Owners Collective, a dedicated digital community and global online resource hub for early-stage entrepreneurs. Pru gets giddy supporting business owners to create meaningful, sustainable + profitable business. She loves nothing more than bulletproof coffee, her pooch Maverick, andd an empty mountain hiking trail.

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Ever wanted to peek behind the scenes of a super successful startup?

*spoiler alert it’s wildly challenging both personally and professionally* 

In this episode I interview Anita Siek, ex-lawyer turned Brand Strategist and Word Chef at Wordfetti to talk us through how she started a business knowing no-one in the industry. 

Fast forward to today, and Anita has established Wordfetti, a wildly successful brand strategy and copywriting studio, as well as Brandfetti the podcast and online learning arm of Wordfetti. 

But it didn’t always look this way…

Anita launched while taking leave from her corporate job to have a crack and bringing her dreams to life, having no idea what she was in for. 

In this episode we get real on the highs and lows of launching your own gig, standing out from the crowd, and the deeply personal challenges that come along with the wild ride of entrepreneurship.

If you’re up for some straight-shooting on startup life, this is the episode for you!

 

Here’s what we cover:

  • How Anita started Wordfetti as a side hustle while rocking her corporate lawyer day job
  • Launching to crickets and still committing to showing up every damn day
  • Attracting a highly active and super-engaged community by focusing on human-to-human marketing and connection 
  • Creating something truly unique by maintaining a beginners mindset
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with the right people
  • Anita’s three key learnings from the first three years of business

 

Links and resources:

  • To find out more about Anita head to her website here
  • To hear the Brandfetti Podcast tune in here
  • Be sure that you’re subscribed on Apple Podcasts or Spotify so you don’t miss an episode!
  • If you’re keen for more head over to my other podcast One Wild Ride for a listen
  • Ready to launch & leverage your own gig? Download my free guide to starting and scaling your business over at theownerscollective.com/startandscale

 

Enjoy this episode?

Be sure to be subscribed on Apple Podcasts or if you’re an Android user you can follow on Spotify. While you’re there, I’d LOVE you to drop me a rating and review, as is helps get this podcast into the ears of more fine folks like you.

Full Transcript

Pru:

Hey, hey friends. My guest today is Anita Siek, an ex-lawyer turned brand strategist and word chef at Wordfetti and Brandfetti. Hi, Anita, and welcome to the show.

Anita Siek:

Hello, Pru, so excited to be here.

Pru:

I’m so excited to have you here, and I wanted to get you on today because your growth has exploded over the past couple of years. You are not only the founder of Wordfetti, a copywriting agency, but now also Brandfetti, which is both a podcast and the learning arm to your business. Now you have spoken on some incredible stages. You’ve built an incredible following, particularly on Instagram, and I think what people maybe don’t know is that you did all of this literally from a standing start because I think when you and I first met, you’d only just left corporate. Is that right?

Anita Siek:

Yes. Yeah, I was just going to say that would have probably been two, no, maybe three years now. I’m just trying to think. Probably around two and a half years now when we first hung out in Byron. It was in Byron, and I engaged you probably … I had just left my corporate job, but it was that funny period because I’d technically took leave from my corporate job. I technically didn’t quit, so for a good six months, I had to be very careful with what I was saying. I was like, “Yes, I am just taking leave,” when really I wasn’t going to go back. But, yeah, I think you and I started to work together at very early stages in January or February, and I’d left in December. So, yeah, and so Wordfetti was a side gig for me for a good nine to 10 months before I pursued it full-time.

Pru:

Well, and I’m actually really glad that you just clarified that because me and KJ were talking about you the other day, and I was saying, “No, we started working with Anita, she’d left her corporate job.” And KJ was saying, “Nope, she was definitely still there. I know she was there.” So I guess it’s a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B. We were both a little bit right.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So half in, half out.

Pru:

Awesome. Half in, half out. So, look, I mean, you are incredible at, like I said, starting from scratch, and so what I was hoping that with could talk about today for our listeners is how to start a business knowing no one in your industry. So, perhaps you could actually kick us off. You could take back, I mean, maybe into your corporate life before you took the leap. Where did this idea of Wordfetti come from before you took that extended leave of absence?

Anita Siek:

Yep, that I never went back. All right, so I’ll take everyone down through, I guess, memory lane. I feel like if someone was to tell me I was going to be a copywriter three, four years ago, I’d be like, “Ha, what do you mean? What?” I didn’t realize that I could actually do writing as a job. I think that was one. So, I guess going backwards, I did a very traditional route for those … Obviously, you guys can’t see my face, but I do come from a Asian background, so my parents were your stereotypical tiger parents, and I’m allowed to say this because I am Asian. Literally, there were two paths. Do you want to be a lawyer? Or do you want to be a doctor? And because Anita didn’t like blood, lawyer it was. So, I went down the traditional path, and I studied law and psychology in university. If I was to be honest, though, I would probably say halfway through the degree, I was clear that I didn’t want to pursue a career as a lawyer, but I was pretty much already nearly finished. There was already a HECS debt, so I was, “Might as well finish it.”

Anita Siek:

I think the first seed, to be honest, that planted when I first was like, “Maybe there’s more to life than just following this traditional path,” was actually when my dad was … and I haven’t really too much openly shared this side of the story, but when my dad was actually diagnosed with terminal illness, and I was his carer. For so long my dad has always been just someone who has just go, go, go, like get pushed down and get back up twice as fast. I think when like seeing someone you love deteriorate and also realizing how short life was, I was like, “Okay, what if following this traditional path is not what I’m meant to do? What if being a lawyer and doing that is not what I’m supposed to do?”

Anita Siek:

So in my head, I think that really hit me when that happened and I lost my dad. That was when I started to be like, “I’m just here. This is almost like a stepping stone.” I was in my corporate role, so I think it was through the last two years of uni I got a role in government. And those who are in government or may know of anyone in government, it’s usually quite hard to get in, or once you’re in, you’re pretty much set. So, I actually started in admin, so the lowest, like literally admin.

Anita Siek:

When I graduated, I then got promoted, and I slowly, in a way, climbed the corporate ladder. My mum was very proud of me. It just sounds so much better to say, “My daughter is a lawyer, works in the government,” as opposed to, “My daughter is a writer.” And I think for so long I hung onto that, and I didn’t want to disappoint her. I think that may be the reason why I just kept on staying, and I really enjoyed the role. So the last role that I was in was in governance and strategy, so I was writing things people don’t read if I was to be honest, a lot of policies, a lot of strategies. Yeah, people never read my things ever until something goes wrong, so yeah, to go from that, I won’t lie, I didn’t mind it. I actually quite enjoyed the role, but there was always a creative bank account I felt that I never got to tap into.

Anita Siek:

The entire idea of words came to me when … I guess I’ve always been approached by my friends and even my doing now, Dean, he would be like, “Hey, can you help me with my cover letter?” And even back in university, I would smash the assignments, smash the essays because I’d get time to refine and refine and make it perfecto in terms of the writing. Because in a way, when you think about it, it’s a piece of persuasion content, essays, and assignments.

Pru:

Absolutely.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, so I started Wordfetti, which in my head is words and confetti because I wanted to make fun. That was the entire idea behind the names. I wanted people to see words as fun because I personally like words, and I knew words were overwhelming to a lot of people. And I didn’t want it to be that way, so I named it Wordfetti. I built my own website. DIY’d it within a week or two through Squarespace. Wrote my entire website, did my own thing, own design on it, and I created an Instagram account, and I launched it in between that period, funny period, between Christmas and New Years where you have no idea what day it is.

Anita Siek:

It was crickets. It was crickets. Because let’s be honest, just because you have a website and a social media account or an Instagram account does not mean you’re going to get leads. So it was crickets. I was talking to no one. No one really cared. No one even knew who the heck this person was, and it took probably, I’d probably say six months for us to start building a community around us. And then it was just from that, and I think we got our first lead probably seven or eight months in. And I was so happy and excited. I will never forget it. I was just like, “Oh, my gosh. I have a lead. Someone actually wants …” And I charged peanuts, by the way, charged absolutely peanuts, but I was just so happy someone believed in me with their brand and willing to share with me their story.

Anita Siek:

I remember spending two and a half hours on the phone with her, and I was just jaw-dropped with just the fact that this person has just shared her dreams, her vision, what she wants with her brand with me. We just connected. She’s been following us for the last three, four months, and she’s just shared this entire story. I was just so inspired, and I was like, “Yes, this makes me so happy. I want to do this. I want to keep doing this.” It was just from that. It was just through word of mouth. We didn’t spend any money on advertising until probably 2019, last year. We didn’t spend any money on Facebook ads until last year, so it purely, in a way, grew through word of mouth and, yeah, I’m here now. Yeah.

Pru:

And I think that’s really important for everyone to hear because I remember even when we met, you had this Instagram account, and it was crickets. You weren’t getting much back, but what you were doing is you were showing up every single day, and you were putting out really great content. Even if no one was responding, you’d made that decision about the way that you were going to show up. I think that people really need to hear that because now you do have an incredibly engaged community around you, and particularly on Instagram as well. But it didn’t start like that. It started from followers, zero.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, and I think so many potentially listeners that may be listening in right now, you might have started a new business or you just started a new side gig, et cetera, and you’re giving it your best shot with content and all of that. Maybe it has been a month. Maybe it’s been three months, and maybe it’s been five months, and you’re still not getting that traction or that result that you want. But then you just like, “Okay, well, obviously wants it,” and we start telling ourselves these stories, right, where we’re just like, “Oh, obviously no one wants it. Obviously, no one will buy into this. This was a terrible idea. What was I thinking?” But I’m here to say, literally, if you just truly believe in what you do, you dedicate time to it, and that’s important, and be realistic with the results you get, too, particularly if it’s your side gig because putting in side-gig energy does not mean you’re going to get full-time business in the business results.

Anita Siek:

I think, yes, so often I see now a lot of our audience, or sometimes even clients, they get disappointed because they don’t get the results quickly. But it’s not a quick win. It’s a long, long haul game, long haul game.

Pru:

It is. Yeah. It’s a marathon not a sprint. I think that’s really important for people to hear, and yeah, exactly as you say, it’s just continuing to show up. I think if there are listeners that are just in the early stages of their business, it’s really important to hear this, and I would say give it a go for a year. Make the commitment for a year because you’re going to have all the side wobbles on the way. Like you said, I think that’s really important to hear as well, if it’s your part-time gig, you’re not going to get full-time results to start with. And also, I think be careful not to compare your day one to someone else’s year one or year five or year 10.

Anita Siek:

Oh, my gosh, yes.

Pru:

One post on Instagram, it might only get a couple of likes, and that’s okay to start with. We all start somewhere, and so, yeah, I’m glad that you said that. It’s really important.

Anita Siek:

And I love how you mentioned that, too, Pru, that the comparisonitis, right? I think it’s human. You can’t help but be like, “Oh, but this and that, and she’s doing this. Or he’s doing that, or that brand is doing this.” Again, you spiral into this story you’re telling yourself when really you’re just making assumptions. You don’t really know, really, what is exactly going on, and I think you see so many quotes out there that talk about this, but you only see the highlight reel on social media.

Pru:

Yeah.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, you only see the highlight reel on there, and if I’m to be completely honest, it hasn’t been a … and we were just chatting about this before we hopped on, but it hasn’t been a straight-shooting, happy journey as well in the last couple of years. There’s been mistakes made. There’s been ugly cries. I’ve called you up at random times, Pru. Of course, Wordfetti is a very funfetti and fetti-filled brand, but I guess I just want to be really honest and transparent and say that it’s always not what it seems as well. There’s definitely the same … like we make mistakes. I make mistakes. I’ve made wrong decisions. I, yeah, go through the same thing that you do as well.

Pru:

Yes, and also, I mean, you hear me say this all the time, Anita, but business is the fast track to personal development. When you have a business and you are showing up, and you’re showing up every day, and then you’re starting to build team, and then all of a sudden you have to be a leader, and then you’ve got clients. All of a sudden you have to be able to take negative feedback, these are all skills, skills and experiences I should say, that your everyday human doesn’t have. So you really do, you thrust yourself into the arena when you start your own business. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

Pru:

I mean, we quite often say it’s like throwing spaghetti at walls. It’s also like dancing on hot coals with someone like trying to spear you at the same time. It can be quite a confronting experience, and it can have all of the highs, but there’s also some lows. I think, again, for anyone listening who’s either just started out or even within the first few years, it’s not a smooth road. Don’t expect it to be a smooth road. I think once you can take that expectation off the experience of starting your own business, it’s going to be a lot easier, you know?

Anita Siek:

Yes. Yes.

Pru:

I think you always want to show up and do your best, but you are going to be thrown curveball after curveball after curveball.

Anita Siek:

100%.

Pru:

Well, then there that … What is that? There’s one of those sayings as well. I never get them quite right, but something like, “The waves never stop coming, but you learn how to surf,” or something like that.

Anita Siek:

That’s right. Yes.

Pru:

It’s so true. It’s so true.

Anita Siek:

Yes, and I think the other bit with that, too, is I used to get so down, I think, when things don’t go right. I used to be so down on myself and be like, “Oh, how could you not have seen that? How could you not have planned for that?” But now I think, particularly in the last six months or a year, I’ve been like, “You know what? I’m really glad that happened.” When has there been a time where you don’t grow or learn when things don’t go right? You always learn. You always grow, and if things were always smooth sailing, how boring would that be? How boring would that be?

Pru:

I think you learn if you’re willing as well. I think that’s a really important component to it, and I think your worst client or your most difficult employee, they are going to teach you the most. And still this happens. I’ve been rocking my jam for 10 years and still learning every day because it’s something that comes out of left field that I didn’t see coming, and it might put me in a little tizz for a minute. But then I’m like, “What is there in this situation to learn? What do I need to bring to the table? How do I need-”

Anita Siek:

Oh my gosh, did you say tizz, Pru? I can’t imagine you with-

Pru:

I did say tizz. Oh, oh, yes, a tizz.

Anita Siek:

[crosstalk 00:16:51] more it’s like, “What would Pru do? Pru wouldn’t cry. What? She wouldn’t cry.”

Pru:

You’re right. I don’t cry, Anita. I just throw things at walls. I’m more the angry type than the sad type.

Anita Siek:

Oh, bless.

Pru:

But that’s the beauty of it as well, and I mean, I think if you’re willing to step up to the plate or throw yourself in the arena and be willing to grow, then every day presents an opportunity. Those opportunities don’t always feel great, though, in the moment I have to say.

Anita Siek:

Yes. Yeah. No, I’m completely with you there, and there’s this quote, actually two that I’ve got on top of my head at the moment. “When something bad happens, know that you are the driver and not the passenger as well,” and then there’s this other quote that I really like, which is … I should totally trademark this, but it is, “You should never be measured … Your value should never be measured by a craptacular situation.”

Pru:

Oh, good one.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, and I think whether or not sending an idiom out to a lot of people with really a bad typo or with first name template over there or having a client who sends you a email that didn’t feel great, or making a mistake, it doesn’t mean your value is not there. I think that is also another big lesson I’ve definitely learned in the last two, three years because, yeah, definitely two years ago Anita would have been very hard on herself and been, “Oh, my gosh. How did she … You shouldn’t have done this anyway. You shouldn’t have.” Yeah, but now I’m just like, “No, there is value there. I truly believe I’ve got value to deliver. Yes, that wasn’t great. That was sucky, but lesson learned from that.”

Pru:

Yeah. I couldn’t agree more, and I think also we’re all doing the best that we can. I’ve got to tell you about a cracker that happened today.

Anita Siek:

Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Pru:

Oh, please. And this is like 10 years into the gig, guys. So I released a podcast this morning on email marketing, and at the end of it, I’m talking about why we need to pay attention to email marketing right now. “It’s really important,” all of the things. I put a lot of effort into this podcast and recording it. Anyway, at the end my call to action is, “You know what, guys? Why don’t you head over The Owners Collective website and sign up for our emails, and you can see exactly what I’m talking about. You can see how it’s done,” like everything I’ve covered.

Pru:

You know what happens? So, beautiful from Sophie from Australian Birth Stories sends me an email. She’s like, “Listened to the episode. I loved it. I went to the website. I signed up. I just receive two welcome emails from you. They’re a little bit different.”

Anita Siek:

Oh, no.

Pru:

I was like, “What a brilliant example of what not to do with email marketing. I couldn’t have actually planned that better.” And it was hilarious. It’s part my fault and part our web developers are changing something in the back end, and they didn’t know that that podcast was going live. But you know what? I just think it’s hilarious. We’re laughing about it now. It’s like, “What a craptacular situation.” You know what? If anyone thinks less of me for that, then they shouldn’t be listening at all, to be honest.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, right.

Pru:

Yeah, so the learning, the learning experiences.

Anita Siek:

Oh, the learnings.

Pru:

[crosstalk 00:20:10]. Goodness, I have all these questions here for you. I’d best ask some of them. I think one thing that you’re really known for is really building community and trust through human-to-human connection. It’s a big part. You’ve got psychology as a background, so can you tell the listeners a little bit more about what that means, like human-to-human marketing?

Anita Siek:

Absolutely. I think so often when it comes to marketing your brand, I think we automatically jump onto, oh my gosh, social media, or oh my gosh, email marketing, or oh my gosh something online. And don’t get me wrong. All of those things are important. They all form part of your ecosystem to build trust, build connection, build awareness for your brand, but I think so often we forget the offline connections and the power of the offline connections.

Anita Siek:

Also, there’s two parts to this. I always say, one of the things that I mentioned on some of my Instagram posts on Wordfetti is that Instagram, for example, it’s a rented platform. Your goal is to drive people off this platform, and that sounds so weird. Yeah, it sounds so weird, but the goal is not just to keep people on Instagram. Yes, the images are great. Yes, all of that is great, but through words … without words, in a way Instagram is just an attention grab, so we need to use words to drag them somewhere else. Whether or not that is to visit you in-store, whether or not that is to call you, whether or not that is to sign up to your lead gen, or whether or not that’s to go onto your website, so that’s one.

Anita Siek:

And I think the second part of that when we talk about the human-to-humanness is also realizing well, one, at the heart of … and I say this quite a bit, at the heart of business, in a way, we do business with humans. We are human beings, not business beings, and I think, again, people focus on, “Oh, we’ve got to tell people how great we are, the features, the benefits,” but all of that, don’t get me wrong, all of that is important, too, but why don’t we … to be honest, this is how I approach a lot of our marketing with Wordfetti. We go in with the goal to serve, just to get to know you, to see whether or not we can help you first before going in and being like, “Yes, we’ve got the best approach for you. Yes, you need words. Yes, we can write the words.” It’s more about, “Well, hey.” You kind of meet your audience on that wavelength where, “Hey, I get you’re going through this. How about you try this?” And you slowly build that trust that way instead of going in for the hard sell. I have a bonus tip here.

Pru:

Please.

Anita Siek:

All of us I feel like, we probably have heard of the funnel, right, the marketing funnel, which looks, obviously, none of you can see me, but it looks like an ice cream cone. That’s the first thing I can think of because I’m hungry, but it looks like an ice cream cone. It goes downwards. Awareness is at the top, and you’ve got the conversion at the end. So, I firmly believe that the funnel is really a bow tie, and what I mean by that is imagine a bow tie. Imagine there’s two cones now, and it’s kind of a bow tie. What I mean by that is if you focus on those who have already converted, those who have bought into your because, and you say this quite a lot, too, Pru, it’s so much easier to get repeat business and also leverage off the connections of those who already have converted and bought in and really enjoyed your experience than to go out there to try to get one-on-one.

Anita Siek:

So if you really zero in on those who have already converted, that can grow your business as well. I call them super fans, and again, it’s also what we’ve done at Wordfetti to really grow our brand. If you’ve had a good experience, it would mean so much if you share a testimonial and really making sure we give that experience. This is not for us to necessarily always sell either. For example, with us at Wordfetti, we have a system now where we finish a project and we, at the six-month mark … no, one-month mark, but also the six-month and 12-month mark, we check in. We don’t check in to sell, by the way. We check in just to be like “Hey, just checking in to see how you’re going. How’s the storyline we developed? How is your website? We had a bit of a look. This looks yada, yada, yada,” but just to check in as a touchpoint.

Anita Siek:

Potentially if we come across something that we think is relevant to that brand or the business, we have client profiles at the backend of each client we work with, where we literally write down things like, “They have a son. They have a daughter.” We’ve actually got a client that’s got three horses, little things like that. I know this sounds a little bit creepyish, now you get to know that person so well that you’re able to, instead of being, “Hey, I found this that’s going to suit you,” you can start talking to them in a way that’s like, “Hey, I remembered you told me that, I don’t know, your daughter really likes this, etc.” You’re able to build that connection and start talking to them in a way that feels less salesy as well. Yeah, in a way, it’s selling without sounding salesy. That’s human-to-human marketing.

Pru:

Yeah. Amazing, amazing, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes businesses forget. They forget that it’s one human working with another human. There’s humanness, and even as you say, it’s like developing those super fans in your business, like number one, when you’re doing the awareness, it’s not just about attracting attention. It’s about actually getting to know people and do they have a problem? And do you have the solution? But then nurturing them through the process and everything you just said. Just what sits under it is just being a really good human. Checking in. Yeah, everything that we put in, did that work for you? It’s really interesting as well, and I think a lot of businesses focus on just getting more clients, like more clients, more clients, more clients, and you and I are totally on the same page with it’s really serve your people because if you really nurture and serve your people and get to know them and know what their problem is and really create something that’s going to solve that problem, they will be your client, not just this month, but next month and next year and 10 years after that.

Anita Siek:

Oh, my gosh, yes. Yes.

Pru:

It’s so incredible when you really do that. I know at Owners Collective, we did it. I had to do some analysis, like deeper analysis of the business. I think it was mid last year, and I had a look at people who had joined our High-End Hustlers program and what the conversion was for people either doing another … back then we only had High-End Hustlers, so they’d come and do another round with us, or they would move onto something else, like move onto our Alumni Program. And it was over 40%.

Anita Siek:

Wow.

Pru:

If you actually think about that for a minute, if we hadn’t been focusing on really that human-to-human connection and really connecting with our people and finding out what they need and how we could serve them, that’s 40% of our business that we just wouldn’t have. I think that’s a good one for our listeners to hear, both from OC and from Wordfetti is just the power in really taking the time to be a good human and get to know your people because it’s marketing, it’s sales, it’s basically everything that sits underneath a business and gives it foundations to hold it up.

Anita Siek:

100%. And people remember that. People remember, and in a way, and this sounds weird, but people are delighted and in a way shocked at the fact that you still remember things like that. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh, you remember that?” And you’re like, “Of course, I do.” Even when we started this podcast episode, the fact that you KJ were having a conversation about me potentially being in and out of corporate, the fact that you guys even remember. So it’s little things like that. It’s just like, “Wow, they really …” It’s beyond just another number. It’s beyond just another lead converted. Yeah, and I think that’s … I firmly believe that, one, it feels good for the client, but two, also, it’s longevity for this particular brand as well who does adopt a human-to-human marketing approach, not just online but offline as well.

Anita Siek:

Another bonus tip, but one thing that I’m really loving right now is Voice Notes. I’m really digging Voice Notes at the moment. Well, one, part of me is like it’s actually quicker for me to just hold my thumb and record a voice message, but two, people are shocked the fact they got a voice message because everyone just comments or double tacks on Instagram, for example. I sent this to … so we’re currently running an online program at the moment. That was the first challenge I set students of Wordfetti or words. It was literally just like literally talk to five of your most engaged audiences and leave them a voice message. Some of them even led to sales. Some of them just led to conversations as to, “Wow, I can’t believe you just took some time to leave me a voice message. Thank you so much.” It’s like, “Wow,” it took, what? Two, three seconds, and you were able to build that connection, and it’s like going that extra step further. So, yeah, if you’re listening right now, I would highly recommend you have a bit of play with the Voice Note option on Instagram. Yes.

Pru:

Yeah, good one. Good one. That’s interesting because I got a few voice notes this week, so I’m wondering if they’re doing your course. Because I was like, “Oh, people are really picking up on the audio this week.”

Anita Siek:

Oh, so cool.

Pru:

You might be behind that, Anita. You might be behind that. It’s so cool. Awesome. Now, something else that’s been really big in you starting Wordfetti to start with but starting from scratch, was really coming at it with a beginner’s mindset because you have just been a sponge from that start, haven’t you? I guess coming out of corporate and surrounding yourself with the right people and in the right situations.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, 100%. This may be a bit of a controversial statement, but I don’t love calling myself an expert because I feel like when you call yourself an expert, it’s almost like there is this way, and this is how it’s done. Whereas, I’m a firm believer in literally testing, refining, experimenting. I want to absorb like a sponge every day, and I think when I … so earlier this year I went and did this exercise where I just sat down and journaled what I wanted out of my life and what I wanted out of my work. There were three things that overlapped for me, and one of them was learning. Learning was something that I always wanted to make sure was in my life every day. I wanted to learn something different every day, and I think for me, when you’re in an expert mindset, there’s this idea like, “Oh, well, it’s always been done this way, so that’s why we’re doing it this way. This is the particular procedure.”

Anita Siek:

However, as we all know, with technology, new methodologies, there’s never just that one way to do something. There’s never just that one way. In fact, if you want to be a brand that stands out, you should not be doing it just the traditional way. So, I love being a sponge. I feel like there’s also the opportunity to absorb like a sponge in a lot of different settings, and I do it even through talking to you now, even through talking to my staff, even through talking to some of our clients. I’m picking up on little things that they say, little patterns potentially that they say that I’m able to shove into Anita’s, I don’t know, brain bank account. I don’t know. Is that a thing? It is a thing now. But yeah, little things like that, and I think it is important to approach life that way. I firmly believe it is.

Anita Siek:

It also makes it more exciting to realize that there’s never just that one way to do something. I think as an example, recently we launched our online program without a sales page, without any ad spend, without a website, when launch strategists out there would really dislike me right now, but traditionally you have to have a website. You need to have this. You need to have a sales page that is very scroll-worthy. We didn’t have that. We still made it happen, and yeah, I see life and I see work as a big experiment, and I think that keeps it exciting as well.

Pru:

And I think that’s such sage advice, particularly for people who are in their early … Well, actually for everyone in business all of the time to be learning, and I think particularly for the people in the early stages because it’s like if you’re going to call yourself an expert when you’re two minutes out of the gate, that puts an incredible amount of pressure on you to how out you’ve just done a weekend course, and all of a sudden you’re calling yourself an expert X, Y, and Z. You’re not an expert at Y and Z. You’re not. Expert status takes years and years and years. I mean, I think once people would technically become an expert, they would never declare it because, like you, they want to continue to learn and to grow.

Pru:

It’s interesting, I just started reading Flow again, the book, and I’m not even going to try and pronounce his name, but-

Anita Siek:

Right. [crosstalk 00:34:24]

Pru:

Yeah, a big part of being in flow is around having goals but also learning and challenging yourself on the way, and that’s how we activate that flow sense about ourselves. Actually, another thing I just picked up that you said there, which I think is so important, is treating it like an experiment. I mean, you didn’t get into business to go, “This is the way to do it.” You do this, then you do this, then you do this. So many people in their early stages, you and I would both know, are looking for that blueprint. They’re looking for the five-step plan. They’re looking for just, “Tell me how to do it.” It’s like, “It’s not like that kids.”

Pru:

And it’s great that it’s not like that because if there was a simple formula, everyone would have the formula and everyone would do the formula, and everyone would have the same business, which would be so boring. It’s that stepping into the unknown which can be either terrifying or exciting and sometimes a little bit of both, but that’s the beauty of business is you get to make up your own rules as you go along and try things out, launch things without a sales page. Throw the spaghetti at the wall. Have some fun with it.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, and to add on to what you’re saying, Pru, success is also different to everyone. Some people measure the success based on money. Some people measure it based on X, Y, Z, or whatever. Success is definitely to everyone so that, similar what you mentioned, there is no blueprint, “This is exactly how you should run a business. You should definitely first invest in … do this first and then do this, or you need to outsource this, and then maybe consider outsourcing that.” I think at the end of the day, the one thing that you first probably need to articulate is what do you want out of this life that you’re wanting to create for yourself? That was one of probably the first exercises that we did. What do you want out of this life? You get to be the driver in all of this. What do you want the business to look like? Because you get full control, baby. You get to build whatever the heck you want, which is cool.

Pru:

Yeah. And it doesn’t need to look like everyone else’s thing, and that’s the beauty of it. So, throw yourself into that arena. Step up to the plate. However you want to say it, but make it up, and the more out there and the more wild, the more crazy you want to get, probably the more you’re going to stand out. That’s where the secret sauce exists.

Anita Siek:

That’s right. Imagine if Airbnb was like, “Oh, you know what? We probably shouldn’t go down that route because getting people to stay in stranger’s home, that’s weird. Why would we want to do that? It sounds wild.” But they went there. They went there, and so did a brand like Uber, like getting into a stranger’s car, who would have thought that would have been a thing. But you know what? They made it happen. They found another way. Instead of saying, “Find a homeshare or find a couch to crash in,” they focused on something completely different. Like, “If you want to travel like a local, book an Airbnb,” and bam, they targeted travelers, people who want to travel like a local. Now it’s a norm. Yeah, now it’s a norm, so first it’s wild, but then you’re like, “Wow, they’re onto something.”

Pru:

It’s really worked, and they wouldn’t have found it if they didn’t have the willingness to experiment and do something a little bit differently.

Anita Siek:

That’s right. That’s right. Yup.

Pru:

I love it. All right. Well, Anita, I would love to hear, to close us out, you have had an incredible run, like you are strong out of the gates with launching Wordfetti and now Brandfetti. I mean, what have some of your key learnings been over the past few years?

Anita Siek:

Oh, gosh. Okay, I reckon, yeah, three key things. I mean, even when you were just saying that then, I was like, “Oh, it feels weird to have someone else be like, ‘Oh, you’ve had such a good run,'” and all of that, and I think the first thing, the biggest lesson, and I want to share it with the listeners, too, is going back to how we first started the episode is it is not easy. I really want to be really open and transparent. It is not easy. You will get rejected. You will get trolls. You will get people copying your things. You will get setbacks. People will take what you’ve got and treat it as their own. It will happen. It happens whether or not you’re at the beginning stages, whether or not you’re 10 years in, 15 years in, I’m guessing, 20, 30 whatever. Uber’s got Lyft now.

Anita Siek:

So, there will always, always be setbacks, and I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is really heroing on my mindset. Yeah, that has been a big, big element to me and just how much I’ve probably shifted, too, in the last two, three years and being part of HEH and really looking after how I interpret certain situations. Like I said, bad things will happen, but how are you going to react to it? You get to choose how you react to it. Are you going to sit there and be like, “Wow, that really sucked. That is my fault. I shouldn’t be in business,” or are you going to be like, “Wow, that sucked, but you know what? I’m going to journal now and write all the things that I can learn from this to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Anita Siek:

I think it’s taken me, yeah, and I’m still trying to get better at it. It’s not something I’ve perfected, I don’t think. It’s a forever thing, and I think that would be definitely the first session, really honing into your mindset because it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy. There will be setbacks. I think there’s this quote that says, “It’s not businesses that fail. It’s the business owners that quit.” I’m not here to quit. I’m not here to quit, and I think you also need to just look after your mind for that.

Anita Siek:

I think that kind of goes into my next point, which is the fact that when you pause and recharge, I think even probably two, three years in, I would work six, seven days a week, even though I had left my corporate job. I was so used to working on the weekends that I just continued working on the weekends, and I think there was this element of guilt, too, that if I were to go on holidays or if I’m to take a certain weekend off, even though it sounds silly, right? Everyone else has got their weekends off. Why do you have to keep working? Again, it wasn’t until I, again, re-shifted how I saw rest from if you don’t rest, then you’re not going to be able to give the best to your client. And just because you’re pausing or taking the time to pause and reassess, reevaluate, it does not mean you’re going backwards. I think, again, that was a really big block that I had, where I was like, “Okay, if you’re not working at a million miles per hour, it means you’re not working hard enough.”

Anita Siek:

It sounds silly, but it wasn’t until I just took that weekend off, shut the social media, emails, all of that off that I was able to actually feel even better. I think there’s definitely a line between just being busy and actually percentage productive, and you’ll probably find if you just let even a nap or even just let yourself recharge that that is going to propel you forward. So, that is probably the second thing.

Anita Siek:

And I think third was what we were talking about, really surrounding yourself with good like-minded humans, people who not only just lift you up, but also challenge you in a good way, will be the one that will give you the hard truth, will be the one that will be like, “I know you’re not going to like this, but I want to say this because …” Will not just say things like, “Auntie Patricia, yes, of course that’s a great idea.” Like, “Yes, Auntie Patricia, that’s nice,” but I want the hard truths. People who are excited to see you grow and will lift you up but will also challenge you in a good way. Yeah, those are the three things I reckon, the three biggest lessons.

Pru:

Oh, I love that. So, as a recap, everyone, number one, it’s not going to be easy, so hone in on your mindset. You had a wonderful quote there that I’ll definitely pull out for everyone because what was it? “It’s not businesses that fail, but it’s business owners who [crosstalk 00:43:12].”

Anita Siek:

Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s not business … Yes.

Pru:

I love that. I haven’t heard that before. I really, really like that.

Anita Siek:

Yeah.

Pru:

Number two, the power in the pause and to recharge. I could not agree with you more. I have to say all my best ideas have come away from a computer screen.

Anita Siek:

Yes.

Pru:

When it’s like you clear the subconscious, you clear the conscious, that’s when the good stuff.

Anita Siek:

Yeah, mine’s usually on the plane, but obviously, we can’t be on the plane at the moment. But mine’s usually on the plane when literally you can’t be on any form of social media. The amount of work I get done on a plane, holy crap, people are sleeping around me, and I’m like, “It is time to get shit done.”

Pru:

It’s so funny. KJ is exactly the same. She’s like, “You just need to fly me around Australia, to continue to fly. So much comes out.” We can arrange that.

Anita Siek:

No, it’s true, though, so true.

Pru:

And then finally, it’s surrounding yourself with the right people, and the people who will not only cheer you on but will also challenge you when you need it because they want the best for you. I think that’s really important, and that’s I think when you know you’ve got true camaraderie around you. It’s when people are willing to call you on your crap, when people are willing to show you your blind spots, when people are willing to have challenging conversations with you as well. They’re the people that really, I think, care the most.

Anita Siek:

That’s right, like deep conversations. I’m all for the deep.

Pru:

All for the deep. Anita, it has been amazing chatting, and I feel like we just went deep right in there. So starting a business without knowing anyone in the industry, but really much more than that was really my key takeaway is that real human-to-human connection, like the commitment, the showing up, and not being an expert, but using it as an experiment and being willing to do things differently and try things differently. At the same time, be willing to learn, be willing to be like that sponge and surround yourself with the right kind of people. So, that has been an absolute cracker of an episode, so if people want to hear more, how can they connect with you?

Anita Siek:

Oh, I was just going to say I could talk to you for ages. But, yeah, you guys could find us at Wordfetti. W-O-R-D-fetti, or on my personal brand, which is Anita Siek, S-I-E-K. It is spelt a little bit weird. It’s not Siek or what else have I gotten? Sike? It’s Siek. So, A-N-I-T-A-S-I-E-K, and I’d love to connect and exchange voice notes.

Pru:

Perfect. Perfect. Anita, thank you so much for joining me today. It has been an absolute treat as always.

Anita Siek:

Thank you so much, Pru.

 

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