Marketing strategist and event planner, Patsy Kenney, is our guest for the 151st episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Patsy is wrapping up a couple of transitions in her business, including combining her event planning business into an agency with two of her best friends. We asked Patsy about all the changes in her life and…
• how Patsy became a brand and event specialist
• all the things someone needs to know to be an event planner
• how to think about the purpose of your event to magnify your ripple effect
• Patsy’s 4P process for event planning
• the power of being intentional about everything at an event
• how to foster more connection at an event (what we try to do at TCCIRL)
• the part that branding and marketing play in your event
• when copywriters should consider holding their own events
• why retreats and personal gatherings are such a great opportunity
• the mistakes she’s seen others make with their events
• why she decided to fold her business into an agency with friends
• navigating business and growing when life throws you a setback
• what comes next for Patsy and her business(es)
To hear the brilliant things Patsy shared about events and dealing with change, click the play button below, or download this episode to your favorite podcast app. Or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Nikki Groom
The Good Life Project
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes, and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for episode 151 as we chat with branding and events strategist, Patsy Kenney, about celebrating something every day, what it’s like to start an agency with your best friends, how to know if you should have your own event, and what it takes to make an event successful.
Rob: Hey, Patsy.
Patsy: Hey, thank you both so much for having me. I’m really excited about this conversation.
Kira: Yes, we are excited, and we met … I was trying to trace it back, but we met via Nikki Groom, who is also on our show, and we met at the Good Life Project, which is such a nice place to meet you.
Patsy: We did. It was a lovely space, and I just adore that community because it is full of amazing people like yourself who are looking to really get the most out of this human experience that we’re a part of.
Kira: All right, so, Patsy, let’s kick us off with your story. I know you’ve gone through a lot of changes in your business and your life. Let’s just start with how you ended up becoming a brand and event strategist.
Patsy: Awesome. Yeah, so my path has not been a linear one by any means. When I first graduated from high school, I grew up in a small town in Maine, and I knew I wanted to leave the state, at least for those four years of college. I found myself in Rhode Island. When I first started that college pathway, I really didn’t know what I wanted to focus on, and I didn’t really have a great sense of self.
I knew that I loved learning about people, and I was a decent writer. Those two things as my filter, I eventually found myself pursuing a public relations degree, and quickly, after graduation, found myself in a corporate setting in a marketing department for very well-known brands, but in an industry and space that wasn’t exactly what I would call interesting to me. While it was a great foundational place for me to land in terms of learning about how a business works and what it’s like to be out in this sort of corporate world, it was wonderful.
The people I met during that time period were very integral in how I sort of shaped my path forward beyond that, but very quickly into that first six months of “adult” corporate life, I thought, “Gosh, there has to be more to life than this.” I ended up going back to school to pursue something more creative. I was studying graphics, multimedia, and web design in a small college here in Rhode Island, working full-time, going to school at night. That’s where really the time and place that I fell into branding and brand development and the art of that, and finding the deeper meaning behind the messaging, and how you can utilize visuals to tell a story, as well as copywriting to connect as quickly and deeply with your clients or future prospective customers as possible.
That really lit me up, so I found myself over the last decade or so, prior to starting my own business, kind of bouncing from … I would say these were intentional leaps, but bouncing from corporate job to nonprofit setting to different industries, and sort of getting this broad scope of how I could utilize all of this knowledge in a new way to serve different markets, and along the way, event creation came into that. When it finally came time for me to step out onto my own, I launched this blog, and I wanted to form a business around this idea of celebration and events, and that marketing background all started to come into play.
My first anchor clients kind of came into my path by happenstance and said to me, while I still had a corporate job at the time, “I am a business coach. I’m looking to serve other coaches and consultants and help them build their businesses, and I’m planning this live event. It sounds to me like you have all the ingredients to support me with that, from the conception and visuals and experience side to marketing and how do I actually attract people into this experience.” She sort of saw something in me before I even saw it in me and led me into my first opportunity, and I was able to build a successful business in that realm over the last few years.
Rob: Can we talk a little bit about that in-depth? What are all those pieces that come together to make a good event planner?
Patsy: Yeah, oh, gosh.
Rob: Or, event strategist, I guess, is the better word.
Patsy: I think it’s really above anything else knowing what your purpose is for an experience. A lot of times, when I’m first introduced to folks, they’re looking for someone to support them with logistics. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh. Planning an event.” They know enough to know that planning an event is a heck of a lot of work, and it’s a full-time job in and of itself a lot of times, depending on the scale of what you’re looking to create.
We get kind of, I think, by nature, get caught up in the details of where’s it going to be, how are people going to get there, what’s it going to look like, the feel, all that kind of stuff. Hosting an event for your business is to take a step back and say, “Okay, from this greater point of view, how could this experience help you propel your business forward in a way you want to go?” How do you want to grow? Five years from now, what do you want to be doing inside of your business? Let’s take that knowledge, that sort of future look ahead, and see what we can do intentionally and strategically now in creating this experience to help you lay the foundation for where you want to go.
Why are we gathering people together? How is the event going to help people? What transformation do you want them to have inside of that container of that experience? And, one of my favorite questions to ask is, how do you want your guests to feel? How are they feeling before they come into this space, and then what are they saying when they leave the space? Who are they calling? Whether it’s their best friend or their partner or business colleague or spouse on the way home, what are they saying about this experience when they leave?
Because really, when it comes down to marketing, and you both know this so well in terms of copywriting, but it’s like how do we evoke a feeling which ignites a memory inside of someone so that you’re creating this word-of-mouth sort of ecosystem for your brand and your business, and people leave the experience talking about you in a way that you want to be talked about. It’s like, I think, through those one-to-one-to-one connections that that’s how the ripple effect grows around your brand, around your business, around how you’re showing up in the world, and how you can continue to help people beyond your own network.
Kira: Can you give us an overview of your process when you’re working with a client? Maybe we can pull some of your ideas and use them as our own so that you can do that so that people do walk away with a certain feeling, and your client achieves the big goal. What’s your process like to make sure that happens?
Patsy: I have sort of four Ps that I work from, and the first being purpose. What is your purpose, your mission, your greater sort of purpose in the world, and what are you trying to say with your brand or your business? Then, we kind of hone in on that specifically for an event because it can be quite daunting to try to jam your entire message into … Say it’s like a three-hour experience, it really kind of depends on context too.
The first phase of any work I do is always around getting clear on what’s the context here. What are our goals? What’s the purpose for gathering? Then, the second P is people, like who is this specifically for? Without those two elements, you can’t really craft an experience without knowing both of those and being really clear on those. Sometimes people come in with sort of broad strokes of what they like to do, and then, through a series of questions, we get even more clear on what that will look like and what that will feel like and what kind of transformation they’ll be able to provide within the container of the event.
Then, we talk about profit. What kind of financial goals do you have if any around this event because a lot of times, the folks that I’ve been working with are a variety … They are typically a service-based entrepreneur, so they have a message. Maybe they’re an author, maybe they’re a coach, maybe they are a consultant of some kind, but they have a greater message to share, and they are teachers at heart I would say. So, they have content they’d like to share with their audience, and they have a path that they’d like to take their audience on beyond the container of the event.
So, we look at the structure and the model that’s available to them based on what their goals are. If they have a dream to, say, fill a group-level coaching program or a mastermind through the engagement of an event, then we look at how do we price out the actual event and this experience to match those goals. That can look different depending on whether this is sort of a cultivation event where you’re starting to just utilize the event for brand exposure, or if you are looking to meet a monetary goal within your business as a result of the event, if that makes sense.
Then, very last on the list is the planning phase. Once we’re clear on all those things upfront, about the purpose, the people, and the profit, then you can start to kind of back into, “Okay, this is what we need to do first. This is the timeline. Here’s how we would pull actual, tangible things to make an event space come to life and evoke those feelings.”
Rob: When I think about some of the events that I’ve been to and maybe even the two events that we’ve produced, the first week or so you remember some of the speakers and maybe even most of the speakers, but after about, say, three or four months, as I look back I remember more a feeling or the excitement that I was there, but not really the specifics. How did the four Ps all come together to leave an attendee with that feeling that you want them to have, so that if somebody’s looking back at, say, our event, The Copywriter Club In Real Life, they want to come back even if they can’t remember the specifics?
Patsy: Well, that is an awesome question. I love that so much because, in all of the investigation upfront around your purpose and your people and your profit, the feelings piece is what’s sort of pulled out of my process. So, we actually come up with a mission statement for the event. In that mission statement, it is very clearly outlined; these are the feelings you want your guests to have. When it comes to the planning side, the implementing and executing upon this vision, we continue to go back to those feeling words to say, “Okay, make the decisions on whether or not to spend, say … ”
I feel like it’s always kind of like a balancing act, right? We have this sort of rough budget, this sort of number we’re working with in terms of producing the event, but when it comes to, say, choosing the food menu, for example, if having people feel very well-taken care of, and well-nourished, and calm and relaxed, and fueled is part of the feeling and the intention behind the event, then, oftentimes, the client will say, “Okay, I’m willing to spend a little bit more on this tiny part of the experience to elevate that feeling in the overall event.”
It’s like a filtering system for every other decision that’s made. But if, say, it was more like the goal was to really activate and inspire and … Not to say that those can’t be done in the same space, but if it was more of an education, rally people up, get people excited about a thing to take action on something within their business within that container of the event, maybe the food part isn’t that important. Maybe it’s more on the type of music you’re … All of these elements make a difference, but it’s like the filtering system is going to help you make the decision in terms of where to spend the money to execute upon or to evoke the feeling.
Kira: Yeah, I’m thinking we had a ton of sugar at our events. I’m thinking the feeling was let’s just make everyone pass out, and numb everyone with sugar.
Patsy: The sugar can work for a little bit, but yeah, the crash does come inevitably.
Kira: Everybody crashed. Can you share a couple more examples because I love this idea of creating a feeling? Some examples from your work and some of your clients like what that feeling was and then what you did to create that.
Patsy: Sure, sure. Okay, so I will draw from a more recent experience, and actually, you may know this client, but Greg Faxon is a business coach. He’s part of the Camp GLP community as well, and how we met. He created an experience last fall for a more intimate group. The goal was to help them feel like rock stars inside their business. The theme of the event was called Foster Your Roster, and it was educating business coaches and consultants around how to keep and nurture their client roster.
His intention there was to help people step into a new level of what it feels like to run a business. They’re sort of graduating beyond getting their business up and off the ground, and now it’s stepping into the new level of ownership around their business and learning to outsource some things, but really creating an extraordinary client experience. What he was kind of teaching was what was emulated inside of the event.
When they first came to the door, they were greeted with a warm welcome. They were given a little packet that showed them a little snapshot of the city and where they were, where to go for lunch and that kind of thing. Then, inside of it was just a very simple RXBAR. Even though that seems like a really silly thing as a giveaway, it was actually super intentional because that represented Greg and his brand. He’s a very clean, no fuss, cares about the ingredients and the intentionality around what he does and what he creates and also how he lives his life.
Some of the feedback we got just in the first day was like, “I’ve not allowed myself to step into feeling like an A-lister until I walked through that door and I was invited to do that.” The other thing that he thought about, and we sort of helped him think about and then execute upon, was an element of surprise and delight. This was a smaller, more intimate gathering, so he was able to say to folks ahead of time, “Please keep the first evening open. We have something special planned,” and he brought the entire group out to dinner at his favorite restaurant and then did a tour of Washington, D.C. at night. We stopped at some of the spots to sightsee and that kind of thing.
People felt extremely well-cared for, and also even more connected to each other because they were outside of this sort of classroom setting. They were seeing a new city. It was an invitation into his world a little bit and some of the things that he really loves. I think all of this to say I really believe that events are one of the most effective ways to deepen your client connections or connections with your potential clients. When we show up fully and authentically as we are and we share a deeper part of ourselves, people really start to see us as the incredible individual humans that we are, and then keep us sort of in the forefront of their mind the next time they go to need a resource or spread the word about Greg or talk about that experience. It says a lot about him as a person and as a brand.
Rob: I think those are really cool examples. As Kira and I have talked about our event, our big event, one of the things that I think we try to foster a lot of is connection between people who are at the event, trying to create friendships, but also just opportunities for people to get to know each other because they’re in the larger community. They listen to the podcast, or they’re in our Facebook group, but seeing people in person is a totally different thing.
Maybe I’m asking for some free consulting here, but what are some ways to foster connection in events so that people really do have those opportunities? They’re not just showing up and sitting in a chair and being all alone. They’re really connecting with the community that’s there.
Patsy: Totally. Well, what I love to do, and this is part of the fun of the curation part in the experience when we’re talking about purpose and people, is getting really creative around what does that threshold look like when they’re coming through the door? How are they being greeted, and even tell me a little bit more context around your big event? Is it a one-day thing, or is it over a long weekend? What does that look like for you guys? I’m just curious, and I’ll share some thoughts I have around it.
Rob: Yeah, our big event is two days for everybody. We do a day before for just our Think Tank members, but two full days. There’s about 150 to 170 people in the room, at least this last year that’s where we were. Some of the things that we like to do, and this was a brilliant idea that Kira had, is the first night, we actually create dinner groups and pair people with each other so that somewhere around six to eight people go out to dinner together. Oftentimes, one of the speakers leads the group, so they’re getting to know one of the speakers or somebody that’s participating in the event.
Yeah, so two days. It’s maybe wall-to-wall information, so there’s a lot going on during the day, but I think we’d like to actually create more opportunities for people to connect next year when we get together.
Patsy: Ah, I love that. I feel like there’s so much opportunity depending on the timing that you have available to you and what you’re creating, but ideas like even when you greet people at the door, whether that’s a pre-night event sort of warm-up or a gathering before the event kicks off, I always think that’s really helpful. I love the dinner group idea because then that even becomes a more intimate experience where people are getting to know each other on a deeper level in groups of eight versus 25 or whatever that may be.
Questions like these sort of engaging … I think of it as sort of an elevated ice breakers sort of activity. When you think about camp or something when you were younger where you’d have a series of ice breakers that kind of help you get more comfortable with each other, you can get really clever and creative based on, again, what is your brand messaging. What do you want people to walk away with and how can you create some sort of mini … I call them micro experience, micro brand experience … to even further drive home your message, but connect people at the same time.
I’m just trying to think of it. This is what’s coming to me. This is not exactly corporate or business-related, but I came across this idea several years ago where it was a friend of mine was hosting a wedding, and she said, “It’s really important to me that both sides of the family and these cousins and friends that we have that have heard about each other know each other before they get on the dance floor.” I was like, “Well, what about … ” If you know the group intimately, what are some of the through lines that people have in common? Whether that’s, they’re from the same state, or they’ve worked with the same niche.
Like in this case, for your audience, if they’ve worked on certain projects that align or industries that make sense, or maybe it’s like everybody who’s ever written a book or everybody who’s … Put them together at the dress rehearsal dinner. Put them in the table and tell them why they’re here, like what brings them together. Then the conversation starts to spark, and there’s this already foundation of that, “Oh, what do I talk … ” I think as humans, we’re always like, “Um, in a new situation, what do I talk about first?” If you can provide people with an opportunity to kind of break that ice … they’re called icebreakers for a reason … then it really helps to ignite a deeper connection upfront.
Kira: How have you’ve seen the event space transform over the last few years as far as what’s working today, what maybe isn’t working today? Even if you want to go into more of the marketing cycle around even sales, like when do you typically get the most sales, we can talk about that too.
Patsy: Yeah, that’s a good topic. I would say that what I’ve noticed is that especially those who have been in the online space for a while, they were on the precipice when this you economy started. They were sort of the frontier folks or business owners that were building their businesses strictly online and built their audiences online. What I find now is that so many of them are, as you’ve done, utilizing in-person events to deepen those connections with the audience that they already have online.
We can have connections, and we all know how valuable technology is and how this virtual conversation is possible with anyone anywhere in the world, and it’s amazing. But I know that there’s something physiological that happens when we step into a room with each other, and we’re out from behind the screens, and we’re connecting on a human-to-human level. We can feel each other’s body language. We can read deeper into our tone of voice and our experience and how we’re holding each other, and get to a more meaningful conversation more quickly.
What I’ve noticed is that as the online market space continues to grow and become almost overwhelming with what content is available to us at our fingertips, it becomes harder to kind of “set ourselves apart” because, I think, so many of us as we’re starting to build an online presence or business, are watching what all of the folks ahead of us have done, and we’re sort of creating or following similar processes. I know you’ve for sure all ran into. This model now becomes, “I can teach you the steps in which I took to create my successful business.”
I think that the challenge and sort of interesting part of that is we are all our own unique individuals. We have our own set of strengths and values that when we are fully aligned with our own inner compass and the way in which we show up in the world, that’s actually the differentiator. I think authenticity has become this buzzword, but we can feel the difference between someone who’s showing up authentically, and someone who may be just following a process and trying to make something work that isn’t quite their style.
That’s where the branding piece is really important too, to be clear on who you are and what your message is and who you’re serving specifically. Then, when it comes to marketing an event, what I find that is always most helpful, if you don’t have a really active online presence and you’re utilizing an even at any stage, those personal connections you have in real life are the ones that are always going to help you activate and share the message more broadly.
I think Seth Godin talks about 1,000 true fans. Thinking about who you have already in your corner right where you are to help you spread the word about your message, your event, your experience, and then if you think about that … Say if you’re just focused on 10 of your own biggest fans, supporters of what you’ve already created, maybe they’re past clients, that kind of thing, they have a network. Each of those individuals have a network. So, we tend to gravitate toward people who share similar values, and that’s where that sort of ripple effect, in terms of spreading the message and the word about your event, helps.
I can talk to you about stats around the sales process and when people actually buy. I don’t know if you’ve had this in your own experience of planning your event, but it tends to be more when the urgency is there, people make the purchase. It’s closer to the deadline of when you need to close those doors on the ticket sales than not, usually. I think that happens for a couple reasons. One is we have to see something nine times before we make a decision. If we know we have a time frame to work on, we don’t always act immediately. I often talk about let’s be intentional around the urgency of those doors closing so that you kind of have a better idea upfront of what those numbers will be going forward.
I also find that a personal approach is super effective. I am a big fan of utilizing systems like Vidyard where you can create a personal invite through email to people. If you can get on the phone or in front of people in person, if you can utilize maybe a smaller workshop to promote a larger event you’re doing, again, anytime you have that opportunity to be in person, or, at least, close to in-person with someone, I think it’s extremely effective.
Rob: Yeah, I think we would agree. I think, at this point, a lot of people who may be listening are thinking, “Well, I’m a copywriter. I don’t have an event, or I’m not really working with events.” Maybe a good question to ask would be, when should people start considering doing events? If I’m a copywriter and I don’t really have a big following, is there an event that I should be thinking about putting together that would help me grow my business, or should I just maybe stick to attending events?
Patsy: Oh, gosh. I love that question. I think you can be doing both, right? I think there’s an amazing opportunity as a copywriter to share your knowledge and your gifts. Again, it depends on what your goals are as a copywriter. Is your immediate need to fill your client roster? If that’s the case, you could host a smaller, maybe a few hour kind of workshop, more intimate gathering, where you’re teaching your audience about copywriting.
Or, you could look out at other events that are interesting to you where your audience already will likely be attending. Knowing who that audience is really important. You could put yourself purposely in the environments where your audience already is and make those in-person connections and talk about what you do. There’s also such an opportunity nowadays to be a speaker or a panelist or a contributor to an event because I’m seeing just the event space grow year after year after year. Larger conferences are happening and popping up everywhere, and niche conference are popping up everywhere too.
Depending on, again, who it is you serve and where you want your business to grow, kind of think about what would be beneficial places to attend or contribute in terms of events. Then as far as hosting your own, it doesn’t have to be a massive production. You can start really small. I think the very first event I did for my own business was around my kitchen table, and there were six people there. Those six people are still probably my top supporters in what I do now today, and they’ve helped me connect me with other people who utilize our services.
That’s what I’m trying to get across around that 1,000 true fans concept, I think, is really poignant. If you are super intentional with just a few number of people, over time your following is going to grow. If people feel really cared for and that they received value from what you’ve delivered, they’re going to remember you, especially in this sea of access to a ton of different courses and content out there today.
Kira: Yeah, just to echo what you said too, I feel like I’ve seen a lot of copywriters step into the event space and host their own events. It isn’t necessarily the big event with hundreds of people, but it could just be as simple as a retreat or workshops. So, it does make sense for us as copywriters not to necessarily turn this off. It’s a really smart option for, like you said, brand awareness, finding clients, building authority, building relationships.
Patsy: I would just add to the retreat aspect. I feel like just in general, we are sort of operating at this frenetic pace, and so we, I think, are craving that unplugged time for us to reboot, to hone our craft, and that kind of thing. I think retreats, especially for those of you who are copywriters, to host that or lead these more intimate gatherings is super powerful and a really deep need that people have.
Kira: All right, so let’s flip this around. I’d love to hear about event mistakes, or what not to do because you’ve been to a ton of events, you’ve worked on your own. So, what is not working today, especially for someone who’s considering, like us, who’s hosting an event, and we want to make sure that we do it well. What do you feel like is not working today that maybe was working a couple years ago?
Rob: The chairs. It’s got to be the chairs, right?
Kira: Well, our chairs, yeah. We have a chair issue that we’re working through, and also a content overload and overwhelm issue, but we’re working on those.
Patsy: That is, I would say, to echo that, yeah, less is definitely more. Less is more when it comes to content and creating your agenda. Remember that when you have an active, captive audience, people are going to be engaged and they’re going to want to share, and that’s what kind of enriches the experience. We have a tendency to want to over-deliver so then we over-provide in the content area sometimes.
I’ve been to a few events where I’m just like, “Oh, my goodness. This was the probably opposite effect of what the event team was after,” in that I got super overwhelmed. I wanted to almost shut down instead of raise my hand and be part of it. Then, in that same lane, when it comes to coordination and when it gets to a larger scale, sometimes I think people who are planning these experiences think more people equals greater experience, better experience. That’s not always the case. I think some of the most enriching experiences I’ve been a part of or attended are those that have an intimate feel.
Now, that doesn’t mean that it has to be an intimate number necessarily, but the ones that sort of touch you on an individual level or have systems in place to make you feel really seen and heard and like you’re part of the greater experience, are the ones that are most effective. I think that Jonathan and Stephanie at Camp Good Life Project did an amazing job of that. There was 400-plus people there, right, Kira? But the way that they structured all of that, there was an autonomy in a sense that you get to choose your own adventure, but you had a home base that was set up to cultivate deeper connections within your bunk and your cabin. All those sort of things were, I’m sure, very intentional on their part, and you could feel that leaving the experience.
Rob: I want to change the conversation just a little bit and ask you about your different businesses. We mentioned at the top of the show that you’ve made a few changes in your business, so talk to us a little bit about And Celebrate and what that’s all about today. Then also, what it’s like to create an agency with your friends.
Patsy: Yeah, so And Celebrate launched as a blog back in 2014, and I always had this intention to build a business on my own. I just didn’t know for a really long time what those services were going to look like. When the blog launched, the purpose there was to inspire people to find something to celebrate every day. Kind of in parentheses, I would whisper, “Even in the shitty moments,” because life is not always like sunshine and rainbows.
Also, in terms of celebration, I think we’re sort of wired to celebrate the bigger moments, those things that are societally looked at as a reason to celebrate. Big accomplishments, a graduation, a wedding, buying a first home, those kind of things. The fact of the matter is, we have a lot more regular days than we do those milestone days. So, if life is meant to be lived, I really believe it’s meant to be celebrated. I was sort of blogging around that content, and then it shifted and took form around event services and all of the things we’ve been talking about today.
The more recent months, I realized that the message of And Celebrate is really bigger than event services and event services alone. I have taken event services and put them under the branding edit umbrella. This is the agency you spoke of that I started with two of my best friends a couple of years ago. What we found is that our strengths were so complimentary, we had this chemistry when we were working together on creative projects, that we were better together than we are apart. That sort of started a couple years after the launch of the event services iteration of And Celebrate.
All this to say And Celebrate is going back to its original roots in the coming months, and we’ll continue to be a platform for inspiration around everyday celebration. The services side has expanded even more than events to cover your overall brand experience. A brand is like the series of touchpoints you have with a client or potential client, so what does your presence look like online? What is that story you’re telling it? Where are you telling it? How does you as your brand represent on all of these different platforms that are available to us today? Which ones make the most sense for you? Then carrying that messaging and that visual identity across all those platforms, including in-person events and gatherings.
Kira: What advice do you have around making a partnership work, especially with two other people? That’s not easy, so what should copywriters look out for when they’re thinking about forming a partnership, and what actually makes it work so that everyone’s doing their best work and getting along?
Patsy: Yeah. Well, I think what works really well for us is that we started as friends first, and we were each other’s sort of cheerleaders as we were growing our individual businesses. As you both probably can relate, and I’m sure your audience can relate to as well, if you’re in business for yourself, it can get really lonely. The committee in our heads can sometimes take over and start to tell us things that simply aren’t true, but that kind of keep us stuck or help inertia set in. Having each other really helped us stay on track as we were building our own businesses.
Then, when we saw the opportunity to bring our collective strengths together in a service offering that would benefit a community we were already serving, it just made so much sense. Today, we are still super mindful of the friends first thing. So, it’s a unanimous vote when we go to take on whatever it is or make a decision. We are very mindful of like, “Hey, is this an alignment for you?” Sometimes, we know each other so well it works great because we can say, “Hey, are you hesitant about this because this is out of your comfort zone, and this is not the thing that you really love to do, or are you hesitant about this because it doesn’t align with where you see us going?”
For us, the foundation of friends and really knowing each other deeply has helped tremendously. I think sometimes I share, “I have this agency with two of my best friends,” and people’s reaction is, “Oo, don’t you want to be careful of that? Don’t you know want to mix friendship and business?” So far, all I can say is it’s been a really powerful experience because it’s been super supportive from the start. I think we’ve been intentional about honoring each other’s voices too. That’s kind of been a challenge, a creative challenge in terms of copywriting. How do we share our voice as a collective when we are three very unique individuals?
So, you may notice that on our website, we actually wrote each other’s bios. We’re starting to illustrate the way we see each other to our audience as well.
Kira: Rob and I were best friends before we became partners too. Right, Rob? You and I BFF?
Rob: Yes. As best friends can be 3,000 miles away from each other, never seeing each other.
Kira: Best friends who never see each other. It’s great. Okay, so this more of a personal question, but you said we could go there, so how do you continue to grow your business, stay focused, serve clients, build these platforms, and celebrate moments when you’re dealing with real life? I know from our exchanges offline that you’ve dealt with a lot of personal changes and shifts, so how have you navigated through that, and what advice would you give to someone else who’s dealing with a lot of personal stuff and is still trying to grow a business? What would you say to them?
Patsy: Yeah, that’s a great question. I would say remember your humanity, give yourself some grace, and be really honest with people. My life right now doesn’t look a single thing like it did a year ago, not a single … If you look at life wheel in the pie or whatever, not a single piece of the pie is the same. With that has been just an emotional component that you don’t think about when you’re managing all these things, but that has certainly been an undercurrent of all of the work I’ve done and the way I’ve shifted my business and all of that.
I’ve been just super honest with my clients and showing up in a way that I’m not delivering all … They don’t necessarily need to know every single detail, but I’m doing it in a way that feels really good to me, but it’s truly honoring where I’m at. The resounding level of love and support I’ve received on the other end has just been tremendous, and I would say that the client relationships are even deeper now as a result of showing up fully and saying, “Hey, this is where I’m at.”
A current client that we’re working on a large event for actually went as far as to push their event date back a few works to sort of accommodate some of the personal things I had going on in my business, or in my life, I should say. That blew me away. I think if I were to kind of extract some of the themes or the undertone of our conversation today, for me, it has always been about really building relationships with people, listening, and honoring where each other are at. The clients and the relationships I’ve formed with my clients have been deeper partnerships more than outsourcing for a certain execution on a thing.
We’re all here having a human experience, and change and loss and unexpected things happen in life. So, when we honor that and show up honestly, it’s amazing to see what sort of reaction you’ll get.
Rob: As you’ve come out of this year of amazing change, what would you say, as you look into your crystal ball, the future looks like for you, for your business and maybe even for events in general?
Patsy: It’s funny. It’s like I’m extracting, I think, the key lessons I’ve learned from all of that change. Right now, I’m in the process of that. What excites me about shifting the And Celebrate platform back to this inspirational place where people can come for resources and reminders to celebrate the little moments is I could see that taking on a life of its own and becoming an event in and of itself down the line, a place for people to gather who are sort of seeking that more deep relationship with themselves and with those in their community and are looking to be part of something greater.
It’s just a thought. It’s a seedling. It hadn’t quite formed. The crystal ball isn’t quite clear. The image inside the crystal ball isn’t quite clear yet, but the potential for that really excites me. Then, right now, I would say I’m focused on having fun and saying yes to projects that are new and exciting and maybe a little off-topic or genre from what I’ve done before in terms of the agency side of things. We’ve got a couple of really exciting new projects in line, and I think it may take us in a direction we haven’t been yet. That feels really good.
Kira: If any of the copywriters listening want to work with you or just learn more about your services, where should they go?
Patsy: Yeah, you can find us at the thebrandingedit.com. On Instagram, it is thebrandingedit as well. Then, Patsy Kenney, you can find my handle over on Instagram, and I will have the links for both The Branding Edit and And Celebrate under my personal profile there. Yeah, the And Celebrate sort of platform will be relaunching on Instagram, so I would say come say hi over there.
Rob: Thanks, Patsy, for being so open about changes and also what you’ve been doing in your business and giving us some ideas for our event coming up in March. We’re thrilled that you were able to give us the time.
Patsy: Awesome. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive available at iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.
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