Ask Better Questions And Be Kind To Yourself Shares Petra Davidson On 'Bring Your Own Awesome'
Dan and Broc have an incredibly insightful conversation with Petra Davidson of Get Spotted in New Zealand. She shares how her unique way of putting herself in the shoes of the consumer helps her be indispensable to her clients.
Ask tons of questions because “You don’t know what you don’t know.” She also talks candidly about doubt existing and how we can translate that into action.
They also discuss being kind to ourselves, how working for yourself can be lonely, and remaining focused when you’re in charge of your own time.
Don’t miss the exclusive, one-time-only webinar on “How to Be Insanely Productive Without Working an Insane Number of Hours” on August 2nd @ 11 AM ET.
Dan: [00:00:01] Hey guys, welcome back to the Bring Your Own Awesome, Awesomeness Bring Your Own Awesomeness, Bring Your Own Awesome podcast. I'm Dan Waldschmidt and it's Broc Edwards. Hey, Broc!
Broc: [00:00:12] Hey, how's it going Dan?
Dan: [00:00:13] It is going well, very well in fact. I'm excited for all of you listening because you've heard from some incredible people. Each episode we really dig into the awesomeness that what seems like ordinary people bring to the game of life and today I'm super excited. A day ahead of us flown in from New Zealand. Well, actually she didn't fly in for this interview but she has flown in before, our good friend Petra. Hey, Petra.
Petra: [00:00:45] Hey Dan, how are you doing?
Dan: [00:00:47] It's great. It's great. I can't share all of that prerecording stuff but drunk bunnies etc., want to say it's great. You and I traded, you guys have gotten to know you like a lot better in the last month. What's interesting as I think about you is you're in New Zealand and you've got this fantastic. Well, let me not introduce you. Why don't you tell us what you do and who you are and then we'll start from there.
Petra: [00:01:19] Okay, so I live in the North Island of New Zealand. I run my own little marketing and web design studio. Working from home and pretty much helping people turn their best ideas into the stuff that other people love to buy. Websites to enter tend to be the lead for most small businesses. It's the most important thing they have but most people don't know how to work that into a tool that lets them communicate with other people well.
Broc: [00:01:51] So digging a little bit there. How do you help them communicate better?
Petra: [00:01:59] Okay, so most people when they come to me and they say, "Look, I need a website", they know they need a Web site. I never really thought about what they're going to do with this Web site. They have this idea that that it's going to go live and a bunch of people are going to find them using a Google search and the inquiries are going to start coming in immediately and they can just sit back and sell whatever they sell or take inquiries, turn it into a service whatever it is that they happen to be doing. They really thought very much past that. One of the main things I find is that most people don't really know how to turn what they're offering into something that really appeals to people. I know they've got a great idea. It is a really cool idea but they just don't look at it from a customer's point of view. They look at it from their point of view and so what I end up doing is grilling them about their entire business. Everything they do. What's cool about it, what's not so cool about it, how is that going to help people in their own lives and then turn that message into something that really appeals and something that really persuades because, if I take one of my recent clients he installs electric gates for example. He's really good at that but he doesn't know the first thing about a Web site or about marketing and so I stayed and have to learn about electric gates and then turn that into something that really appeals to people.
Broc: [00:03:35] So what do you love about that?
Petra: [00:03:36] Honestly, the people I get to meet because so far I've been predominantly dealing with small businesses and that can literally be one man bands up to businesses that just have a few employees. What I do for them ends up directly changing their lives and hopefully for the better because it increases their sales and gives them a profitable bech to work from. So I've done my time at large corporates and love that buzz too but what you do in large corporates doesn't have an impact on individuals the same way that this does.
Dan: [00:04:22] This is fascinating because people have this passion inside them and they have this vision inside them but then, they produce it in a way that's counterproductive. Like your friend who loves gates making these electronic security systems probably has a wonderful passion but without your help, they just found floundering. So what is it? What's that one breakthrough thing that allows you to make it approachable, relatable, interesting?
Petra: [00:04:51] I think that the thing I've always had to do is try and look at it from the customers point of view. It's not really that difficult. I am a consumer even if I don't happen to be a consumer at any given time of what the person I'm speaking to is offering but if I can think about all of the questions that I might have as a consumer, then I might also need to go into a little bit of research about what things other people might want to ask. That actually just becomes clear. As long as the person I'm dealing with is expert enough in their own business and generally speaking they're pretty good at it. Then it's actually really fun to do.
Dan: [00:05:36] Yes, that's pretty awesome, yes. It's helping them basically decode what they say, they want to say and making it in a way that is relatable. So catch me up on something. How did you realize you had this ability, this level of awesome that you can help people with? I mean, did you just wake up one day and you were able to do it or does it like a series of skills you've honed or when did you really realize that you had this incredible gift you could share with others?
Petra: [00:06:03] I had this really odd career progression. It hasn't been so much a progression as a series of stumbles into things that came along. For example, my first marketing role, I had no particular training or skill in marketing. I haven't been the person on the spot who knew a little bit about phone cards, long distance calling cards. Within a corporate, when the product manager had a terrible car accident and was clearly going to be out of action for a very long time. This business division was in a fair bit of strife. It was it was losing money hand over fist. If it hadn't been, you would never give somebody like me an opportunity with that but whatever I did, I could not make it worse, it could not possibly have been any worse. So they just sort of let me stay there in a caretaker role for a little while and it turned out alright. Sometimes, it wasn't very pretty but we managed to increase the sales by three and a half thousand percent. I think it at its height. It went from a business unit that really they would just sort of shut down and try not to think about how much money they'd lost. Turned it into something that was actually really profitable and it's actually still sort of running today that business unit even though the calling card market has really on its last legs. Aside, as far as I learned it, a huge amount then and had a huge amount of help obviously but I think I realize more than anything that I could just look at a problem figure out what it was and find a way to fix it. It wasn't really a marketing skill, it was just a problem to be solved.
Dan: [00:08:04] Yes, problem solving something.
Petra: [00:08:05] Yes, so some things I tried worked really well, others not so well, but that was as instructional as anything else and really everything I've done since then has followed a similar vein, not quite as dramatic as that one.
Dan: [00:08:26] What is the formula that you bring?
Petra: [00:08:27] Suppose it starts with digging as deep as you possibly, possibly can. You've got to know everything and you've got to realize when you walk into a new situation that you don't even know what you don't know. So don't go making any assumptions, you just have to ask a heap of questions not even necessarily take the answers as being correct but go and do your own research, talk to customers, talk to staff, talk to whoever you can find and very often -- Sorry Broc, go on.
Broc: [00:09:03] Oh no, please finish.
Petra: [00:09:06] Very often you realize that the problems are not what people even thought they were, which is a useful thing to know. It's very difficult to solve something if you haven't even identified the problem properly.
Broc: [00:09:21] When you talk about solving problems, I mean, what about within your own life? So you left the corporate world behind you or you said you're working out of your house entrepreneurial. What stumbling blocks did you face as you made that transition?
Petra: [00:09:35] Self-doubt I think, it's a very different thing to work completely by yourself even though, otherwise, it to an extent part time out of hours but suddenly when you don't have a team around you and you have to do everything yourself. It's really easy for that to creep in and it's all good when things are going really well but if you encounter a problem with a client or a problem that isn't as easy to solve as you thought it was going be. It's really easy for that little voice to start to take hold. Honestly, that's been my main challenge and it remains a challenge. I'm getting better at managing it than I have been but it's still there.
Broc: [00:10:22] But you're not alone there, I think self-doubt probably causes more people to stop or more likely, even prevents them from starting. How would you suggest? How can people move beyond the self-doubt? Doubt exists but how do you translate that into action?
Petra: [00:10:40] One of the things I did which was scary but ended up being very valuable is some, I asked a bunch of people whose opinions I really respected to tell me the things that I thought were best about me and the things I thought worst about me. In terms of strength but in terms of anything I could think of. As far as I went into it, thinking geez I can't think of anything they would say that's worse than maybe what I would think about myself. No matter what, this is going to be a useful exercise and it was actually amazingly useful because nobody said anything that was truly terrible which was so nice of them. They came up with words, really cool stuff about how they thought I could hold on fixing problems, all the things I've just talked about. If they could see that in me, then I could accept that it was actually true. It wasn't just something that I invented for myself. It gave me a massive amount of hope.
Dan: [00:11:51] You've been a real blessing to me, a real help to me personally and encouraging me and helping me as I launch courses and new material. One insight you had was, don't put your motivation at the beginning of your course instead of putting at the very end.
Petra: [00:12:07] Yes.
Dan: [00:12:07] Which I thought was really amazing. You and I talked and you made a comment on one of our conversations either digital or in person about Jordan Peterson and his 12, I think 12 Rules for Living. I thought, "I had to go listen to that again", and I think rule number 3 or 4, he talks about, "Treat yourself like you would treat an injured dog", and he said, he talked about how that you will go get medicine for your dog and and make sure the dog takes it but yet most of the people who get a prescription won't fulfill it for themselves and treat yourself. So I think, "I'm in the business of inspiring other people, helping other people and yet I have this doubt and fear and I have to treat myself like I would, like I'm injured, like I'm sick and I'm kind of motivate myself.".
Petra: [00:12:57] Yes, I thought that was an amazing way of putting it.It really helps you, doesn't it? I'm always talking about trying to find a perspective that lets you be a little more dispassionate about what you doing because when you're in the thick of something, it's really difficult to get it all straight in your head. You sometimes get too fixated on something that really isn't very important, you need to be able to step away. For me, that was almost like a mission to stop being quite so hard on myself. I would not talk to somebody else the way that I talk to them. It's just a fact, that would just be rude.
Dan: [00:13:43] Yes, isn't that interesting? I will tell myself, "Man, you screw that up and always screw it up. I don't know when you stop screwing it up. If you were a little more careful, this mistake wouldn't have happened. Like even you and I were talking about the timing of the webinar which was 7 p.m", and I'm like, "Dude, who the hell schedule something for 7 p.m. when it's midnight in Europe and that's your second biggest market. Why would you do that. Are you an idiot. Like are you trying to be stupid?" You have all these conversations and yet I mean every once in a while I might get angry and lash out at somebody else but rarely, I'm usually a little bit more diplomatic than that. I like, "Do better next time. Do better next time." Here I am calling myself a loser and all these names. You hit on something really powerful that if I'm doing it, you're doing it and Broc's doing it from time to time, I'm guessing a lot of people in this group are completely beating themselves up and letting fear and failure just crush you in the face instead of finding a way to work through it.
Petra: [00:14:53] Yes, I think that's very true. When it comes to my clients, when they're entrusting to do some pretty cool stuff for them. They don't want to trust somebody who's feeling frightened, that they can't even do the job properly and yet, I'm not sure I exactly feel that way because generally speaking the stuff that I do works out pretty well. Gosh, if they ever found out that I sometimes would be thinking geez, I don't know if I can do this. They probably won't be impressed and I can't -- and it's not even true. I've yet to have a complete failure and if you ever do, you fix it.
Dan: [00:15:34] What do you do to work through that? You and I talked about this privately but for those that were in the group who say, "I have fear and and I do get paralyzed at times", what's that one thing I do, first step to take to get myself out of that zone?
Petra: [00:15:52] For me, it's a physical thing actually. I literally have to remove myself from the situation. Go for a walk, go and do some mundane task that just lets me stop thinking quite so hard. That's often when I do my best work, when I've switched my brain off and the answer to a problem just sort of drops itself into my head and I'm all good again. If that really doesn't work, then I need to go and talk somebody else, make a social visit. Hopefully, not waste too much time when I'm really supposed to be working but just anything to remove myself for a little while from what I'm feeling, sort of circuit breaker type stuff.
Broc: [00:16:41] I want to switch gears a little bit here Petra and ask you, so you're based in New Zealand. I'm assuming you have clients in more countries than that, obviously you talk to Dan to reach out. What do you notice as being some of the differences in business styles or problems or challenges as you look across the different countries that you work with?
Petra: [00:17:06] If I think about New Zealand, we often tend to be fairly self-deprecating laws and so a huge self promotion doesn't come easily to all of us. It's actually one thing I really love about the states is that I look around and I see a whole lot of people putting their hands up and saying, "Hey, here I am and this is what I do, isn't this cool?", and I really, really love that because it's something that I'm not particularly good at. When it comes to me I need to get better at it. I think it helps me to get better out of my clients. I suppose, another thing I found, and it's not necessarily a complete answer to your question but there are more similarities than there are differences. People are people are people. You might have a different regulatory environment or a trading environment but a lot of the challenges are very similar. It doesn't matter where they are in Bali or Australia or all or the States or Canada or wherever you might be.
Broc: [00:18:20] I've certainly found that to be true in my own travels, while there are certainly some stereotypes to different countries and cultures within them, you see the same range of people, you see the same range of issues. So let me ask this. So you are in a situation where you're able to work from home, be your own boss and this is a question I like to ask a lot of people. There is a real clamor that's applied to that kind of situation, the entrepreneur, worked from home, the freedom that goes with it, but we also know that even the best jobs, the best situations have their downsides. For you, what is the biggest living the dream challenge that you face? What do you wish people knew about working from home, being your own boss?
Petra: [00:19:10] That it's easier to get distracted but in a different way might be if you were working in an office. I used to find, when I did work in an office I would spend half of my day at the very best deal with other stuff, people coming in and chatting and wanting problems resolved. It's different when you're at home, you can sort of suffer from isolation and so your brain is looking for other things to distract you. So focus, you have to be an incredibly dedicated to blocking out your time and just saying, "Okay, from from 10 to 12 here is what I'm doing. I'm going to switch the phone off. I'm actually just not going to do anything else. I'm not going to think about anything else", very easy to let little things creep in, like, "Well, it doesn't matter if I walk to the kitchen and get another coffee. It will take me a minute." All of that sort of stuff can compound until you realize you've gotten through a day and haven't actually achieved what you wanted to achieve. There are some definite drawbacks. The coolest thing about it is my commute is now 10 seconds, it used to be 90 minutes and that's a lot of time to get there in your day, really is a huge amount of time. But once you've been long enough in a situation, you forget about that. Aside, I need to keep reminding myself that I used to get through a day and had at least 90 minutes list to do stuff and therefore really have no excuse for missing a deadline or not getting something completed that I wanted to.
Dan: [00:21:00] And as much as you hate your job or not even that you hate your job, those listening are like, "I'm happy", when you're distracted and you have a job, your boss pays for that. He happily pays for that distraction or unhappily he still pays you regardless. When You're distracted and you are on your own, you pay for that because you're the boss which means, you're either pay yourself a salary to be on Facebook.
Petra: [00:21:27] Yes.
Dan: [00:21:27] Or to go read a novel because you don't feel or get that cup of coffee and it's interesting, great question by Broc, you can have this like real sexy sort of like, "I'm not going to have a boss. I'm going to be my own boss", great. So your boss pays for you to screw around right now. Now you're paying for it, your boss pays you to gossip, now you're doing it on Facebook and your boss pays you to be unmotivated, now you're paying for that. I think this real world impact, that's really, it's incredible.
Petra: [00:21:55] Yes, absolutely.
Broc: [00:21:55] What advice would you give? What advice do you wish you had when you were kind of starting out in this transition to being on your own?
Petra: [00:22:06] I suppose, I would love for somebody to have told me, "Here are all the things you are going to go through and it's all mental." It's all about, "Okay, I'm going to doubt myself", or, "Geez, I kind of -- I've had a bit of a slow period. What zm I going to do next?" It would've been cool if I'd gotten my head around that to start with and I knew that it might happen but I hadn't really faced up to it in a way that --.
Dan: [00:22:40] I always think if someone would have told me what I was going to go through, I wouldn't have gone through it. I know, look, is as tough as I think I am. Even the last two years have been massive change. It's been almost uncalculable or incalculable and it's not because I'm a little bit like you, I'm very driven, right? I don't like screwing up. It feels like a lot of days because you don't know and you're right, no one's given you the owner's manual. You feel like, "Oh my gosh! Another day, another screw up." My older brother and I from time to time, we live 1.01 miles apart but we often are so busy, we don't get to see each other, he sold his company to Microsoft. Anyway, he said, "Lets go, have a beer." So I was hanging out with him and he said, "You know, I feel like I'm running a marathon. I just don't know which mile I'm on.".
Petra: [00:23:38] Yes.
Dan: [00:23:39] And I was like yeah, "That's it", I like, "I get it. I Get it. Tell me please, if I'm on mile 25, I'll get it out. If you tell me that the last three years have been mild to, hoo", "OK sure.".
Dan: [00:23:51] But at least you know you can gear up for it. It's the not knowing that it can be tough there.
Petra: [00:23:59] Yes, that's Right.
Broc: [00:24:02] Let me ask this, if given some advice, what advice would you ask for from others? When we think about folks in the Edgy Empire, what could they tell you? How could they help you out? How could they help you move forward with what you're trying to do now?
Petra: [00:24:22] One of the things I love about on what's already happening and that empire is that people are often posting the answers to stuff that they've just discovered and the number of times does resonate with me is just crazy. This morning as I woke up, I saw somebody had mentioned something about overcoming fear. Well, that's a handy thing to wake up to when you've got a jump on a podcast that you've never done before. That was super cool. I think the main thing I need from other people, were two things probably, one is encouragement and the other is their perspectives. It's the sort of thing that I do for others but I can't do for myself. My own marketing material I think has inferior to anything that I've done to others simply because I can't get far enough away from it to do a really good job. Perspective and encouragement and I think people are already doing a fantastic job encouraging which I really appreciate. Even though they don't necessarily know who's consuming, it has consumed.
Broc: [00:25:42] Nice, yes it's definitely very difficult to edit your own work.
Petra: [00:25:46] Yes, sure. It's taken me a very long time. It's getting closer and closer to being where I'm happy with it. I think that's going to be an ongoing task.
Dan: [00:26:02] We probably need to come back and do another webinar with you or another podcast on just the practical lessons that I know I'm lucky enough to have spent some time with you both in person and over the phone and just chatting about some of these real world, sort of like implementation strategies but this has been great and thank you for spending some time with us today just to kind of like and it's top of the morning for you but you've had a whole day of awesomeness ahead. Thank you for sharing kind of these your awesomeness because if we had encouragement, we had other people's perspectives. I bet you're right, that's pretty much all you need to take your game to the next level.
Petra: [00:26:44] Yes, I hope sond thank you both for having me. I am honored and I'm touched.
Theme music ("Runaway") by Shadow of Whales: https://www.facebook.com/shadowofwhales