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How to grow your business without spending money on ads with Niki Hutchison
Episode 26020th September 2022 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 00:47:10

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Today’s episode of the podcast is an interview with Niki Hutchison, and we are talking all about content, and how to be seen in as many places as possible, through organic reach; as well as sharing our thoughts around the online world. Niki has spent most of her career creating and implementing marketing strategies to grow businesses. She has helped hundreds of small business owners, as well as large organisations like The NatWest Group, The Scottish Government, The UK Space Agency to improve their marketing strategies and effectiveness. Her goal is for entrepreneurial women to enjoy marketing and the results that it brings. This is such a great episode, and you’ll feel like you’re having a chat with us - so go grab your coffee, sit down, and join us!  


●     The difference between organic marketing and paid marketing ●     Why organic marketing is the solid foundation you need in place ●     The importance of an authentic brand consistency ●     Different ways you can build your audience ●     How getting negative comments can actually help you show up more naturally as yourself ●     Why you need to pay attention to your insights and use them to be a detective in your own business ●     Why purpose is more important than how often you post ●     Why joining a membership isn’t enough, you need to join in too ●     Whether it’s possible to accelerate not caring what people think of you and showing up more authentically  


You are the only person who sees 100% of your content, so never think people will get bored of hearing from you; if they do, they’re not your people!


●     How to grow a business using organic marketing ●     What needs to be in place before you start doing organic marketing ●     How to choose the right place to be, when you’re just starting out  


Head over to part 2 on the Audience Growth Podcast  


  Hello, and welcome to this episode of the podcast. How are you doing? So we've got a really cool episode today. It's something a bit different. We thought we would try. And I'm really excited about it. Today is an interview with the lovely Niki Hutchison. And we're talking all about content and we're talking all about how to be seen as many places as possible. And we're talking about organic, so things that you don't have to pay for. So it's a great episode, loads of good stuff in it. And we have some cool conversations about being employed and then being, you know, having your own business and what that's like. But what's super cool about this is we decided to do a two-parter. We decided that we would do like a podcast swap where half the episode was on my podcast and then to listen to the rest of the episode, you need to go and listen to her podcast. So we thought that would be a really cool idea. And obviously half of the episode is on hers and hopefully her audience will come and listen to this half and if you are from Niki, Hi, welcome. Nice to have you. So yeah, so we thought we'd do that. We thought it was cool. We had a great chat. We got on so, well, I really, really like her. Uh she's. She came to my September event, which is ACE and yeah, it was just so, so good to have a conversation with her. So many things in common. We loved it. So I'm really excited about this episode. It's a really good conversation. It's definitely a one of like, get your coffee, sit down, or, you know, it's gonna feel like you're having a chat with us. It's really,really cool. So I'm not gonna take up any more time. I am gonna go straight to the interview. Enjoy. Okay. I am really excited today to welcome to this very special podcast Niki Hutchison. Niki, how you doing? Niki: Hi. I'm great. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited about what we're doing today. Teresa: We're kind of, you know, cuz I'm more about honesty. We're kind of winging it if I'm honest. So we've decided that we're gonna do this cool concept of, we both have podcasts. We both wanted to interview each other. So we thought. What if we did like a two parter, one part on mine and one part on Niki's. So good luck listeners. Let's see how this goes. But as we're over on my podcast, let me start by as I always do Niki, please introduce yourself and tell everybody who you are and what you do. Niki: So my name's Niki Hutchison and I am a business and marketing expert. I work with entrepreneurial women who are looking to grow an engaged audience to grow their businesses. Teresa: Amazing. So you and I fit very nicely in terms of what we do. Have you always done this, Niki? What, what's your background? What did you come from? Niki: I haven't, I haven't, I worked as a brand strategist for many years in ad agencies, studied advertising, marketing, and then I had my kids and worked out that, that wasn't really a great environment for a working mother in my experience. And. I actually had, uh, I lost a lot of confidence as an employee. And so when I left, after my second maternity leave, I didn't have the confidence to set up anything related to marketing. So I set up a kid's hip hop dance company, as you do. Teresa: Well, they naturally seem to go from one to the other. Uh, I'm assuming you have some hip hop dance something. Or did you bring in a teacher? Niki: I cannot dance. Teresa: Perfect business. Niki: Yeah, doesn't it. Basically, my kids were young and also when I had been working in the agency, I'd been working on a big research project for the Scottish government into how to reduce antisocial behavior amongst children and young people. And the main findings were that they need a strong role model and an activity that they love. And I thought, "Hey, I could provide both of those with a hiphop dance company." So that's what I did. And I grew that business for eight years until the pandemic. So we were delivering classes all over Scotland in nursery schools, communities. I had a team of up to 40 at one point, and then the pandemic hit. And I quickly decided that actually the business model was not going to be viable for a very long time. And so I closed that down. And a few years prior to the pandemic, I had started this marketing business. Finally feeling that I had enough confidence and know how to run a marketing business. And so I started this business in 2017 and I've been growing it ever since. Teresa: That's so funny, like what was it that made you not have that confidence? Like, because I, I came from marketing as you may or may not know and don't agree in it where my entire life in it. And for me, when I left, it was just the most natural thing. What else was I going to do? Cuz that's all I knew, but my, how I'm helping with marketing has changed over the years of my business. So was there something in particular that made you go, "Do you know, I can't do this." Or was it just the process of having children and being out of it? Niki: No, it was, it was actually a boss. It was actually a male boss who treated his department badly, essentially. You know, in, I dunno if it's the same, you were client side marketing, weren't you? Teresa: Uh, yes. So I was for worked for an agency. Well, no, I worked for an agency and I was client side, so I've got folks. Niki: Oh, okay. Okay. Teresa: Yeah. So the last job I had, I was agency. Niki: So I signed often in agencies. There are people who are promoted because they're incredibly good at their jobs and they're very good with clients and they're great at what they do. And then all of a sudden they find themselves in charge of these departments and they actually haven't had any training in management. Yeah. Yeah. And I actually had an ectopic pregnancy in 2019 and I was off work. I'd lost so much blood. It was it, it ruptured misdiagnosed, bloody blah. I'd lost so much blood. Sorry, I'm saying 2019. That's wrong. 2009. Teresa: I was gonna say that time recent ago. Niki: Yeah. A long time ago. And I'd lost so much blood that I was off work for three months. And when I went back to work. I was pulled up on the work that I had been doing the day that I was hospitalized. Teresa: Oh, wow. Niki: And when I said, are you talking about this brief that I was writing the day that I was hospitalized? I was told everybody has off days. And that was just standards kind of office crap. I realised I like to swear on this podcast. Teresa: We can say crap, that's fine. Like see this, you know, it's something you'd done for all those years. You knew what you were doing. You were obviously good at what you did, cuz you couldn't have stayed in a job that entire time, if you weren't. And just because of some someone's bad management that then knocks your confidence, which then means, you know, And obviously you went into a business, which was great and you loved I'm assuming and was wonderful. But what if you didn't, what if you went into something that you hated or went into something, you know, or tried to get another job or, you know, all because of that one person, like. Just not having a boss is the best thing in the flipping world. Isn't it? Niki: Isn't it just, and I think that's why I'm sure you're the same. That's why I'm so passionate about helping other women particularly to grow their own businesses so that they don't have to have bosses like that. . Teresa: Yeah, absolutely. I dunno about you. One thing that I occasionally see though is because predominantly my audience is women. It's not that I specifically only target women, but I do attract a big women base. And often I see that sometimes those bosses are replaced with partners or husbands or family members that, you know, they're, they're out doing their thing, but they don't have the support from from their people who are immediate to them who are meant to love them and want, you know, cheerlead them regardless. So I think that's where you and I can come in in terms of going, you know, great if you've got that support and it is still great, but I still need support that isn't my husband, because he's not in my business. He doesn't understand what I'm doing at day to day. Sometimes we still need to be that support when they don't have a husband that supports them or isn't particularly kind about their business or doesn't see the vision or the dream. So I think even though we don't have bosses, so therefore we don't have to put up with that anymore, which is amazing. I think sometimes there are still people out there who, who are causing that for people who have their own businesses. Niki: Yeah. And I think that's where it's our job to try and show them that there is another possibility and that they can have that freedom. But yeah, they might have to talk a few people around. Teresa: Yeah. And I think as well, the boss thing was interesting cuz one of the reasons I left was because, uh, and it's funny cuz I get on with my boss very well now and she's lovely. And I loved her to bits then, but it got to the point where I was being managed so carefully. And I remember going to, I was going through a divorce and I didn't have a day off. I, you know, I went in and subbed a couple of times, but I didn't have a day off. I'd got my three four year old at the time and I'd show up and I'd do stuff. And I worked so hard and I worked so many hours and I'd go to breakfast meetings for, and I'd stay late and I would do stuff on the weekends. And I remember once going in and saying, "I've got a doctor's appointment, can I leave early?" And she said, "Yeah, as long as you make your hours up." And I was like, I'm sorry, like, and it's little stuff like that, that you're like, you've just treated me like an idiot and I've done all this stuff. And it just got to the point where I thought, do you know what? Like, I'd been through divorce, I've done all this stuff. I can't do it. I can't, I'm not, you know, and like I said, we are very good friends now. I really love her to bits. She's great. But I just couldn't stand that anymore. I just couldn't be that employee anymore. So tell me about starting the business then did you start in this guys? Has it always been that way or did you start and it changed. Niki: So this business, I started just doing one-to-one coaching with local women in person. And I set up my own networking event. So I ran a monthly in person networking event. And obviously I still had the dance company at this point. So that was all, that was all that I had space for. Really. And I kept things going. And I did a bit of consultancy for marketing agencies and just really kept my hand in with the marketing scene until the pandemic. And then when the pandemic hit, obviously it takes, somebody said to me, it takes three months to close a business and I thought nonsense, I'll have this done in a few weeks. Trust me, it takes three months to close up this stairs. Teresa: Seriously. Even in a pandemic when, technically in a pandemic like that. Like that is hilarious. Niki: So all of that was going on and at the same time, I was suddenly inundated with people who'd maybe been lurking following me for a while who were contacting me saying "I need to take my business online. I need to grow my online profile. Can you help me?" So it just all went mad. Teresa: Yeah. Niki: Did you find that in your business? Teresa: Oh, so much. It was really funny. Cause I remember when it first hit and I was like, oh, I suppose I've just put my feet up for a bit that would be ACE. And genuinely thought, like, you know, This is it's gonna be tough, but you know, I'll rest. It'll be nice. And then I got on a call with an old client who has an online business. And weirdly we had got, like, he had signed up for so many calls with me, one to one, and he, this one hour had just sat there for ages and he's like, and I'd reminded him months and months before. Anyway, he messaged me going, I've got an hour. I was like, yeah, yeah, get on a call, he's like, "I have to earn money." I think he was the main earner in his family. And he was, "I forgot to earn money. What can I do?" So I was like, "Right. Do this, do this, do this, do this." And I, and I got off that call and I was like, "What am I doing? I've just told him what to do." And yet I'm sat here going, oh, I'll probably just rest up for a bit. So I, I found. And it'd be interesting to hear what you think about this, actually, cuz I found that first year was amazing. Like best that I've had in a long while I was doing, although I wasn't speaking in person, which I miss dreadfully, I was speaking online constantly, you know, this whole like people in their pajamas permanently and I haven't washed me out for 20 days. None of that for me, full face of makeup, fully dressed every single day. Cause I'm on camera, but then I've noticed a dip in the last year or so. I've noticed that, and I've tried to tweak and change how I'm doing things, but I have noticed that it suddenly shot up cuz everybody needed it exactly the same. I've got people that I'd had conversations with years before going "I need it now." And it's like, "You know, it doesn't work like that, don't you, but let's do see what we can do." and, but then I found about a year and a half after the pandemic. I found it starting to change again, and I'm not sure how or where it's going and I'm trying to move with it, but I have found a change of you. Niki: A hundred percent. So during the, about a year into the pandemic, I think, no, that's not right. About six months in, I decided I was gonna start a mastermind program. So I ran a pilot that went brilliantly and then I decided, right. I'm gonna up my game here and I'm going to run instead of one group of eight, I'm gonna have three groups of eight and I'm gonna run an online challenge and I'm gonna bring people in. So that's what we did. And that was about a year in. So March 2021.Ran the challenge had nearly a thousand people involved. Teresa: Whoa. Niki: It was mad. I've got a free Facebook community. Every that was going off, everybody was loving this challenge and I filled the three groups. Really easily. Ran that program and then said, right. I'm just gonna rinse and repeat. So that was maybe October last year and wow it was hard work to get people into that challenge. So where we had, obviously iOS 14 had happened. All the changes to, uh, Facebook ads. And I had to bring in, I had to bring in all of my organic marketing methods and work a ton harder to get the same number of people into that challenge. So, yeah. I totally hear what you're saying. Teresa: Yeah. And I'm not sure. I don't know if we're there yet. I don't don't think we're definitely not there yet. We don't know what, what is happening because it's interesting. So I try to interact the the difficulty with the online. Cause I think people, people were all for it and then they just got so fed up of it. And no one wanted to do a flipping zoom party anymore and no one wanted to do whatever, whatever. So I think that like, and as the world started to open up, of course, people wanted to go out and do things and see people. And so then I tried to counteract it with an, with an in person event, which went fine was great. Didn't fill it the first time. The second time I got the numbers I wanted, but I made it smaller. And now I've just announced my event in September by the time this goes out, it might have already been for me anyway. But, but again, that, those sales aren't going as well as I would like because I just think generally coming off the back of a pandemic, everything that's happening and not that, you know, this is not a, uh, news podcast by any stretch of the imagination. I have definitely no extra that, like, you know, we went into the whole Russia thing and now we're going into, and the Brexit thing, and then we're going into all these things. And I think. What's really difficult is that in itself is having an impact on everyone's business, which is then having an impact on our businesses. But actually now's the time to, or I feel like now's the time to shift, change, learn, network, move, do something because if I didn't. My business would go. Like if, if I don't move with the times the same as the pandemic, if we didn't all shift to the way we needed to, excuse me, it would, it would go. Whereas now we've gotta do the same. We've gotta make sure we're doing the same. Whereas I think what happens is everyone pulls in and when they pull in, they cancel everything, they stop doing everything, but then all they're doing is sitting there and waiting for that, that wave to go. And it's like, well, you're gonna drown while you're waiting. So for me, even though it's




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