TCC Podcast #322: How Understanding Yourself Makes You a Better Business Owner with Martha Barnard-Rae - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #322: How Understanding Yourself Makes You a Better Business Owner with Martha Barnard-Rae

Martha Barnard-Rae joins the show for the 322nd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Martha is a copywriter and TEDx speaker who opens up the conversation about how getting to know yourself makes you a better business owner. After an ADHD diagnosis, she’s learned to put a different lens on her business and lean into tools and resources that work for her, and let go of what doesn’t. This episode reframes what we understand about ADHD and self-discovery and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

  • How she ended up an English teacher in the most isolated city in the world.
  • Finding a mentor and providing equal value to each other.
  • Why her business partnership ended and how she ended it.
  • How she stumbled into a diagnosis of ADHD and how it’s affected her business.
  • The importance of learning about yourself and tools you can utilize.
  • Why you need to show yourself compassion.
  • How she became a TEDx speaker and how she continues to seek opportunities.
  • The time management struggle… How to manage your time.
  • How taking a break when you need one can save you and your business.
  • Why you need to have an honest conversation with yourself.
  • How to stay in your lane and focus on things you love.
  • Do you have the right systems in place when things go wrong?

Smash that play button or check out the transcript below.

The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Join The Copywriter Accelerator
The Copywriter Think Tank
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
Martha’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Free month of Brain.FM
Masha’s website


Full Transcript:

Rob Marsh:  Building a successful copywriting business is a challenge even when everything is running smoothly. But that almost never happens as most listeners would know. Several of our guests on the podcast in the past year started their business during the pandemic and worked really hard to overcome the challenges that presented. But there are other challenges to face down things like difficult clients growing your skills and some copywriters even have challenges, like things like ADHD. Today’s guest on The Copywriter Club Podcast is Martha Barnard-Rae and she opened up about what it’s like to run and grow a copywriting business with ADHD. And if you struggled with focus or lack of attention, you may want to stick around for this one. And even if you haven’t, there’s a lot of really good advice that she offers that applies to all copywriter businesses.

And now let me remind you that this podcast is sponsored by the Copywriter Accelerator. That’s our program that helps copywriters, content creators, and other marketers lay a solid foundation for their business. If you are already a good writer, you’re already good at the thing that you do, but you’re still struggling to build a business that supports you, the Copywriter Accelerator is the program that can help you get over the hump from thinking about your business as a CEO instead of as a writer or a service provider to strategies for getting yourself out in front of the right clients, building a great brand, creating packages that people want to buy the Accelerator will help you set up your business for success in the coming year and beyond. Go to the now to join the waitlist so that you get notified as soon as we open up and we will link to that in the show notes just in case you are driving or otherwise occupied and can’t look that up right now.

And before we get to our interview, let me introduce my co-host today. It’s Masha Koyen. Masha is a copywriter and strategist for interior designers and builders. She’s a member of the Copywriter Think Tank and a former Accelerator member. Masha, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Masha Koyen:  Thanks so much for having me Rob. And thanks for the introduction and I’m so honored to be here. I’ve been a loyal listener for over three years and as you mentioned, I’ve been in Accelerator and now in the Think Tank and I absolutely love both communities. They’ve given me such tremendous support and community accountability and weekly trainings, all those things. So thank you so much.

Rob Marsh:  Amazing. So I’m thrilled to have you here and we’re going to chat in just a few minutes, but for now, let’s get to our interview with Martha.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  I was a teacher, I used to be an English teacher. So I live in a place called Denmark, Western Australia, which is on the southwest corner of Western Australia, 450 kilometers south of Perth, which is the most isolated city in the world. And the school that I worked at was 70 kilometers away from my house and my husband is the only paramedic in that place. So his hours are really weird and I was just, “I feel like doing all this driving and all of this stuff is just too hard and I don’t think it’s supposed to be this hard.” So I started looking for something that I could do and I’d always been a writer and I had a friend who was a copywriter and it turned out she was one of the first digital copywriters in Australia. She’s been at it for a while and she was just an amazing mentor to me and gave up her time.

I had Wednesdays off or something and we’d catch up on Wednesdays and talk about copywriting and we ended up being business partners for a couple of years. And it was really great because it meant that I didn’t make all the mistakes that you make in your first year of running a business because she had a template for everything. And she’d quoted for projects like this before and then after it just felt like, because she still had her own business at the same time and my business is called Word Candy and I was really focusing on Word Candy stuff and I just said, “I don’t know, I feel like we’re done here.” And she’s like, “Yeah definitely.” And we just parted ways amicably but we’re still friends. So it was a really, really good way to learn how to run a business as a copywriter.

Rob Marsh:  And forgive me if I’m mistaken, Martha, but you don’t sound like you’re from Western Australia. How did you end up there in the first place?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  So I’m from Toronto, Canada. And I moved here with a man and then I have a lot of friends that moved here with a man and they’re all broken up and so it’s like, “So-and-so moved to Australia with a man and they broke up.” And you’re like, “Yeah, obviously. Of course they’re broken up.” So we split and I stayed because Perth… I don’t know if you’ve been to Perth in Australia, a lot of people don’t make the trek, but Perth is offensively beautiful and it’s always warm and sunny and it’s gorgeous. So I stayed here and then I met my husband David and I stayed forever, which my parents are not happy about.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, sure.

Kira Hug:  Okay. So can you share a rough timeline if you can add any dates as far as when you left teaching, when you started the partnership? Because that just helps me piece it all together.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Yeah. It was at the beginning of 2019 that I was like, “I need to do something else.” I took a copywriting course and then I started that mentorship with my friend Beck and started the business during the beginning of 2019 and then by the end of 2019 because the school year ends in December here. So by the middle of the year I was like, “This is good. This is working, I’m earning money,” not enough to replace my salary. But I was lucky enough that that was okay for a period of time. So I resigned and finished teaching at the end of 2019, the best time to finish teaching in the history of the world.

Kira Hug:  Well, done.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Because obviously of the pandemic. So when everybody at the beginning of 2020 was like, “We’re all learning how to work from home and it’s really hard.” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m learning how to work from home and it’s really hard.” And that was when I started to think, “There’s something going on here with focus and attention and that sort of stuff.” And then that partnership, I think we finished that in 2021. So yeah, we worked together in a partnership from 2019 to 2021 and then I’ve been a sole trader since April of 2021.

Kira Hug:  Okay. That’s really helpful. So as a follow-up, I guess, how would you advise other writers to look for a partnership like that? Because I think most of us don’t start off that way working closely, almost like an apprentice with another copywriter. I think that’s a really great way to start. So what would you look into to find an opportunity like that, so it works well for other copywriters?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Listen, it was a complete fluke that that happened. So it wasn’t something that I planned. The interesting thing was that I got onto social media and was doing some social media stuff and my partner Beck, she just doesn’t have any social media channels for her business because she’s all word of mouth because she’s been doing it for so long. So she was the one who was like, “This is cute, but why are you doing it?” And I was like, “Because this is what you do.” So it was interesting because she didn’t know anything about social media and so we were able to help each other back and forth in that way. But I mean I guess you really need to find somebody that you gel with and someone who’s willing to make that investment in you. And I feel really grateful that she did.

And I think too because we were working together and she was earning money as well, it felt a little bit more… I didn’t feel so greedy for asking her for assistance and stuff, but we just had a situation where we would go, “I’ll work on this project, you work on this project.” But everything that went out for the first year and a half, she looked over. So I got a lot of feedback from a professional writer. I was listening to your podcast this afternoon with Mary, I can’t remember her last name.

Rob Marsh:  Atkins.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Atkins, yeah. The writer talked about how you shouldn’t let your friends fly a plane or it wasn’t that, but it was getting advice and feedback from a person who actually knows what they’re talking about is so valuable and that was really valuable. So I think it’s really just luck that I found her and that I knew her. And then I guess I just asked for help and I said, “Hey, can I ask you some questions about copywriting?” And then she was just super generous. So I mean if anybody can swing that, I highly recommend it.

Rob Marsh:  So this might be a hard question to answer, but in these kinds of relationships, obviously somebody is giving you something that experienced the feedback, possibly helping find clients, that sort of thing. But you had to bring something to the table too. Obviously you knew something about social media, but what else did you do to make sure that that partnership worked for both partners for two years and it wasn’t just somebody giving you and giving you and giving you, which obviously is a recipe for failure eventually.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Well, I’m really fun, Rob.

Rob Marsh:  I believe it.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  So we had a spreadsheet where we would put in whatever the project was and then the effort that each of us put into that project. And then it was very clear, we’d never really disagreed about how much effort it was, but it was really clear if I put in 75% of the effort then it would spit out the amount that is owed to me in the end. So we were both earning money commensurate with what we were doing on each project, but then I was doing everything else. So when it came to networking and marketing and all that stuff, I was the engine of the business and she was the one that came in at the end and was like, “I recommend this and I recommend that.” I mean I think it came at a good time for her as well, I think because she had always been super busy and was in her first slow period and she was getting a bit… She has a very fatalistic idea about these things and she was like, “Well, I guess this is it. I’m never going to write another word of copy again.”

So she was like, “I’m going to just work with Martha because maybe my whole business has dried up across all of Australia and maybe I need to focus more on this other type of business.” So it was just I think really good timing for both of us in that way.

Kira Hug:  Yeah, I’d love to hear what you did marketing-wise since you were putting in an effort there, what that looked like and what was working at that time, what pulled in clients and maybe it’s something that you’re doing today as well.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Well, at that time Instagram was a different beast it feels like. So I just was on Instagram and being helpful and learning bits and pieces and sharing them and I targeted at the beginning of the business at the DIY copywriter with tips and tricks and that stuff. And then after a couple of years, I still do a little bit of that DIY stuff, but my target audience is not the DIYers so I’ve focused a little bit more on LinkedIn lately. But yeah, I feel like the whole marketing kettle of fish is a bit up in the air right now. So I don’t really honestly know what I am… Well, I think I’m getting some good leads and stuff from LinkedIn and putting a little bit more effort into that and that is paying off. But yeah, I started off just on Instagram and I really just focused on Instagram and now I’ve moved on to LinkedIn and my email list.

Rob Marsh:  And what does a typical project look like working with you, Martha? Is it generally websites, is it still social media, some combination of all of the things? If I’m hiring you, what am I generally hiring you to do?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  So I don’t do social media anymore because I just don’t enjoy it. Most of my projects at the moment are website copy projects. Because I used to be a teacher, I’ve done quite a bit of work with schools. So at the moment I’m working with a school in New South Wales, which is in another state across the country and they do a semi-annual yearbook that I’m writing all the articles for. So they’ve realized, “These are a bit not great and no one’s really reading them,” and that’s a bit of a retainer thing. So we’ll do that and then we’ll do a website project and then we’ll just work on different things with that client.

And then a lot of website copy and now more and more, because I’ve been promoting my hyper-focus week service, people are realizing the value of email sequences and nurturing the clients that already know about them and that stuff. So I’m doing quite a bit of that as well.

Kira Hug:  So when you left that partnership ended in 2021, what did you do? Did you have to work on your mindset or is there anything that you had to focus on to take that leap or did it just feel really natural and you were ready and you just took off after that?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Yeah. Well, it felt really natural because she and I had a conversation and I said, “I want to do a bunch of stuff and I wanted to invest a bit in the business,” and she just has a very lean business model which has worked for her. So I was really not interested in putting money back into the business. And there was stuff that I knew I wanted to do. I’ve also been doing quite a lot of speaking gigs and that sort of stuff, which is my own thing. And that had nothing to do with her. So it was a matter of there are lots of things that I want to do. And at one point I said, “What do you think?” And she said, “I honestly don’t really think about Word Candy that much.

And I was like, well yeah. And we just both went like, “Yeah, I think it’s time to separate.” And we had a partnership agreement from the beginning where I think we both put in 1500 bucks or something and we had a partnership agreement where we laid out what we each expected and what we had planned to do in the event that we wanted to split up or whatever.

So we just did those things and then it was fine, which was really good. I know that a lot of partnerships can go really badly and the reason why I wanted to separate is because I could feel myself getting resentful about I live and breathe this business and I think I pictured it also being more of us working together and it just didn’t end up being that way because of just the way that we work and her other work and that stuff. But it was really great while it was happening and then we just ended it at just the right time.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. It sounds like it worked out perfectly. So when you were telling us about your transition away from teaching, you hinted at this, at least I picked up on it that you found it difficult to focus as we came into 2020. And I mean looking back, I’m not sure that that wasn’t a pretty common thing for a lot of us because so much going on, but for you, I think it was a little bit more than just the pandemic. Will you talk a little bit about that?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Yeah. So the really interesting thing with teaching is that it’s very regimented. So it’ll be like, “I have 20 minutes to do this thing,” and so you just do it. But when you’re working from home there’s unlimited time. So what I was finding is, I was getting really frustrated by the fact that I would have these three things that I wanted to do and I really wanted to be productive and I just wouldn’t do them. And I was like, “I know that I can do these things, I have the skills to do these things, I want to do these things and I just wouldn’t.”

So I actually wasn’t concerned about it really because everybody was like, “Working from home is so hard.” And because at that time everybody was working from home and actually, I had a doctor’s appointment for a completely unrelated thing and this doctor just was asking me about anxiety because I had been diagnosed with anxiety after I had kids, which is very common for women with any issue. They’re like, “You’ve had kids, you must have anxiety.” So I was diagnosed with anxiety and I was talking to this doctor who happened to be a friend’s brother and was happy to have this super long appointment with me, which was just amazing.

And he eventually was like, “So what is your anxiety like?” And I said, “I just get really overwhelmed and overstimulated.” And he was like, “How do you go with grocery shopping?” And I was like, “I cannot grocery shop. What about looking for things?” So he asked me all these questions and finally, I was like, “Do you think I have ADHD or something?” And he was like, “Well, I can’t diagnose you but there is this diagnostic test that you can do,” and you guys, I got a really high score and I got off the Zoom and I went out into the kitchen and my husband was standing there surrounded by every dish and vegetable that I’d used to make my lunch two hours earlier.

And I was like, “John thinks I have ADHD.” And my husband David, he looked around and he’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense.” I used to be a teacher and so I thought that I knew quite a bit about ADHD, but it turned out I didn’t really know very much about it at all and it really manifests differently in women and girls as well. So I learned a lot about it and what I really learned is that like okay, this thing about me, this affects every part of my life. I think a lot of people think that ADHD is just about you can’t focus but it’s not. There are between eight and 12 executive functions that our brains know how to do to some degree.

And people with ADHD can really struggle with some or all of those executive functions. So there are things like task initiation, task completion, metacognition, which is making connections, changing from one task to another, but also emotional regulation. So there are some really significant things that are affected by ADHD. So when I was like I just want to do these three things and I can’t do them, that affects your mindset and why can’t I do… I’m not stupid. And I was like, “Well, maybe this isn’t the right job for me.” You just start questioning everything. But then when I got diagnosed with ADHD and started taking medication to help me with my focus, I was able to feel better throughout the day and have these successes as opposed to “failures” throughout the day.

So that when my kids got home at the end of the day I had more resilience in the tank to deal with that stress if there was stress, if that makes sense. So I describe ADHD as death by a thousand cuts. So when you explain the things, the ways that it affects you, it feels like just really insignificant things. But over time it’s just really draining and you just have to work harder than other people at normal “easy things.” So like grocery shopping. So I hate looking for things and grocery shopping is just an hour of looking for things, I would rather die. So those things that everybody finds so easy, I was like, “Why can’t I not do these things?” And a lot of that is to do with ADHD.

Kira Hug:  Okay. I can relate to the grocery store for sure. How do we know if we’re overwhelmed and just a naturally anxious person or if it is ADHD? I mean definitely, we should get tested. That’s definitely a good step. But I think that’s where I get tripped up because I’m like, “Am I just an overwhelmed person or is this something else?”

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Yeah. So there are reasons why women and girls are not diagnosed. One of them is that the little boy child that you think about when you think about ADHD that is bouncing off the walls and behaving, my youngest son is, that’s stereotypical, but in girls, it manifests in different ways. So it can manifest, like the hyperactivity can be in the mind rather than in the body. So if you’re anxious, if you’re an overthinker, it can lead to stomach aches or muscle pain. And there’s all different kinds of ways that hyperactivity can manifest.

Honestly, I mean I know there’s all this conjecture about people self-diagnosing on TikTok, but that’s actually the democratization of medical care. So it’s actually people sharing their lived experience and other people can go like, “Oh my god, I just thought I was useless. I didn’t realize that I had this neurological condition.” So my doctor said to me, “Girls also work around diagnosis or get looked over because the pressures put on them to be compliant and to be good and to be quiet. They just find ways around people noticing that anything’s wrong.” And my doctor said to me, you put all these things in place to help yourself and then they work until they don’t work anymore. So before I had kids, I was okay, I didn’t really struggle in school and I didn’t really struggle in university, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have ADHD.

People have it in really different manifestations I guess. But when the things that you put in place fall apart, it’s distressing. He said, and he said, but there’s so much we can do to help you. ADHD is the most treatable condition in psychiatry. So if you are resonating with the content that people are dismissive, but the content that people with lived experience are making and you’re going, “Oh my god. Yeah, I really resonate with that,” then go to your doctor and have a conversation with them. There are tests that you can do online and all that stuff, but I don’t know how it works in the states. But in Australia, I went to this GP and then I was referred to a psychiatrist and the GP wrote this letter that was like, “Martha got…” There’s inattentive type ADHD, hyperactive type ADHD, and combined type ADHD. ADD is not a thing.

And I got really high scores on both inattention and hyperactivity. So I have combined type ADHD, and he said something in his letter, “Martha got five out of six on the first half and 10 out of 12 on the second half and she missed one question altogether.” And I was like, “How dare you?” So it was pretty obvious and it was just so affirming to be like oh my god. I couldn’t do all these really difficult things but I just can’t do these normal things because they’re so boring. And my mind is just always after the dopamine. It’s a brain function issue and you can’t get around it by positive thinking or lavender. There’s some real good things that you can do that can help.

Rob Marsh:  And I imagine tracking along with this kind of a thing, the rise of phones and social media and distractions and notifications and all of the things going along just makes it worse. Is that true?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Yeah. I mean it does. For example, the other day I was having a really hard time with… The ADHD was strong in me on Sunday. So I was trying to leave the house with my son and we were going to meet a friend and I was late and this woman that I was late to see was the woman who organized the TEDx event where I did the TED talk and she’s a dear friend and she knows that I have ADHD. And I was like, “I don’t want to tell her because then she’s going to know that it’s because of ADHD and you just get so negative towards yourself.” So I was nervous about being late and I was nervous about telling her. And then I went in and out of the house seven times probably because I forgot the wetsuit and I forgot this thing and I forgot that thing.

But the most ADHD thing that happened that day was I found myself standing in the kitchen with no recollection of why I was in the kitchen because I had forgotten I was hungry. And you’re standing there and you’re like, “I know I must have come here for a reason.” And then you have to think about it and you’re like, “I’m hungry.” So it’s just much more than a distraction. Sometimes it’s like just wading through water and it affects sensory stuff and the way that I hear and process things. And it just is amazing to me now that I know all this stuff. I don’t know how I was living before. I understood this about myself. And yeah, phones are distracting, but I also find looking at the phone and taking a few minutes and just, I find it actually regulates me a little bit.

So if I am overwhelmed or whatever, I can sit down and watch some talks or read some articles or something. And I find that very calming. I mean, listen, I do get distracted by the phone a lot, but it’s bigger than that kind of, “Look, a butterfly. It’s a real…” Yeah, an all-encompassing thing that’s really difficult to explain. And thankfully, I was diagnosed at a time where a lot of people are at least trying to be understanding, which is lucky.

Rob Marsh:  So we’re about halfway through our interview with Martha. Let’s break you in and talk about a few things that stood out to us. So Masha, I’m going to let you start. Initial thoughts, what these first 30 minutes or so has struck you as being important?

Masha Koyen:  Yeah, I absolutely loved this conversation with Martha, especially about her partnership. I love the idea of having a partner, like she said, someone you gel with. I think there’s not enough conversation about partnership with copywriters just because it’s so hard to find a good one. But it got me thinking for a second. My dad had a partner for over 20 years and he was a very successful businessman. He was an entrepreneur before I even knew what entrepreneurship was. And he was with a partner for 20 years. I think it was such a perfect partnership because you have to be aligned, you have to balance each other out. They were completely polar opposites, but I think that’s why it works.

So it got me thinking that I’d love to maybe consider partnership in the future. I provide website copywriting. I’d love to find maybe a web designer to partner up with, but I don’t know. It’s hard. What about you? What do you think about that?

Rob Marsh:  It’s funny because every time Kira and I are asked to appear on somebody else’s podcast, we tend to get asked about partnerships. So we’ve definitely talked about it quite a bit and we’ve talked about it here on our own podcast a bit. But I think that a lot of us could do more, maybe not even with formal partners, but having other service providers that we can rely on, like you said, connecting with a designer in your business. So if you write sales pages or websites, being able to work with a designer who is familiar with your processes can make it so much smoother for the client. Can be a value add that you can charge for. So rather than just saying, “Hey, here’s all the copy and go find yourself a designer,” or even here’s a couple of designers that I recommend, being able to take that project and say, “Okay. Here’s the copy. If we’re good to go, let’s start working with the designer to put it together.” I think that that can work really well.

Obviously, that’s not the only partnership. You could have a couple of writers who are working together doing different things. You could partner with an office OBM, business manager, those kinds of things. I know copywriters who have partnered with product developers and they’ve done the marketing while the product developer created a supplement or a SaaS product or something like that. So there’s lots of different things that we can do as partners and I think it’s definitely something that more of us should consider.

Masha Koyen:  Yeah, absolutely. I agree with you.

Rob Marsh:  So another thing that really stood out to me is Martha started out by talking about how she got started and the idea of being an apprentice for somebody else. And this is something I think is really underrated and maybe not enough of us do. So if you’re starting out in an agency or even oftentimes you’ll work with a senior copywriter or you’ll work with a creative director or somebody else who can give you that guidance. But a lot of freelancers just tough it out, which I think is why programs like the Accelerator can be really helpful.

But I love that Martha found somebody that could give her direction and advice that she could learn from and that she could then provide something back as part of that partnership. So she said that she was doing social media and she became the engine of the business, so she was giving something back in return for that feedback. So I think that’s another thing that more of us can be doing is just looking for that person for whether it’s an official apprentice relationship or just somebody who can give you that feedback. Really important.

Masha Koyen:  Yeah, I agree. And I think I had an unofficial apprenticeship when I started my business and I’m so happy I didn’t jump into entrepreneurship right away like 17 years ago when I still had so much to learn. I think many of us should be testing waters and trying different things and working with more experienced writers or other service providers just to get that critical experience. Because that’s honestly the only way to… Not the only way, but the best way to get it.

Rob Marsh:  Experience and feedback are I think the two things that will help us grow the most. Okay. So last thing I just want to touch on, while we’re still talking about this first half of the interview, obviously Martha is talking a lot about ADHD and the second half of the interview will go even deeper. I’m not an expert at ADHD or any attention disorders, I don’t think that I have. Sometimes my attention strays or whatever, but I don’t think that I’ve had that experience. So I really appreciate that she’s talking about this because there are clearly others in our community and among entrepreneurs and people who start their own businesses, it’s pretty common. So just being really upfront about some of the struggles.

But she said one thing that I think was really key that just caught my ear. She said that things like mantras, positive thinking is not enough. If you have something like this, you can’t just will yourself out of it. So yeah, if you’re struggling with attention, talk to a doctor, you may have this thing. And if a doctor can diagnose you and help you get treatment, whether that be pharmaceutical or other strategies for managing it, that just will help you not only in your business but in your life. So I’m just glad she shared so much about her struggle with this.

Masha Koyen:  And I’m no expert either in this and I don’t think I have it. However, it’s funny, when Martha was talking about it and she was listing things like jumping from task to task and test completion, I’m like, “Yeah, I have that. I wonder if I have it or not.” So I definitely experienced something like that, but it got me thinking that if something keeps happening in your life, if there is some type of pattern, if something keeps bothering you, maybe it’s worth looking into it and understanding maybe there’s an underlying issue or something that needs to be resolved to have a better life or a more effective working environment. So definitely worth looking into things.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Paying attention to what’s going on, noticing patterns, negative patterns, positive patterns, leaning into the stuff that works, figuring out the stuff that doesn’t, if appropriate, talk to a doctor or a therapist or a counselor of some kind. Really important just to be aware of it because if we don’t read those early signals, we can get a long way down, burnout, struggles, failure, and that’s what we’re all trying to avoid.

Masha Koyen:  All right. Let’s go back to the interview with Martha to hear how she deals with negative thoughts.

Kira Hug:  Yeah. No, I mean it all sounds very relatable. I find myself in many places in my life where I’m like, “What am I doing? Why am I here? What was I doing?” I’m wondering how you have moved your way through that negative thinking that still might be with you, where it can be a downward spiral. Or even just the shift now that you know you have ADHD, is it easier to not beat yourself up? I mean, how do you deal with that? Because it can be a constant just like, “Why am I distracted? Why can’t I get stuff done?” And maybe you still deal with that today. It sounds like you were dealing with that maybe even Saturday. What are some of your go-to activities or not tricks, but to navigate through that so you don’t beat yourself up all the time?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  I’m in therapy and that is helpful. I am so self-critical that I didn’t even realize that I was self-critical at all. So that’s a thing that I’m working on. But what I noticed was in the beginning when I first realized that I had ADHD, I was actually a lot more compassionate to myself because I was like, “Oh my god, you aren’t just like shit, there’s actually a reason.” So that made me feel better for a little bit of time. So I’m the chairperson of my kid’s school board somehow, and I had a big day of work this day. This was a couple months ago, and I’ve got these two dogs and I was like, “I’m going to take the dogs out. I’ll get all the things done.” And I had a folder with all the papers for the board meeting, this is related to your question, and I took the dogs out and one of the dogs rolled in a… There’s dead kangaroos up in this paddock near our house, and it rolled in a dead kangaroo and he got it on its harness.

And I took the harness  off the dog and I was like, “I’m just going to put this in a bucket of soapy water and then I’m going to go to this meeting.” And I put it in a bucket of soapy water. And then I left the house and the water was full blast running into the bucket, into the sink, but there’s a kid’s pair of pants in the sink. So it is fully flooded.

So I go to the meeting and it was great. I was super impressed and all the board felt really validated and we did a really good job and we did really important work. And then after one of the women who’s on the board, who’s a friend of mine, was like, “How’s it going?” And I was like, “I am a (beep). I am a mess if you want to…” And I was like, “I’m overwhelmed and I’m overstimulated and I just feel crazy.” And she’s like, “Well, you were amazing in the meeting.” And I was like, “Yeah, I was pretending.” That’s what masking is, is where you act what you think you have to act like. And she was like, “Well, you’re really good at it.” And I said, “Well, yeah. I think I’ve been doing it for my whole life,” and what I found… So I went home that night and my husband, who is just such a darling, was panicking because he knew that I would be really hard on myself for flooding the laundry room.

So he had cleaned it all up and he was just really worried about how upset I would be about it. But I actually found that being honest with my friend and saying, “I feel awful and I’ve been faking this whole time and I’ve been masking,” that honesty filled me up. I call it the resilience bowl. It filled up this little bowl of resilience for me that day so that when I got home and David was like, “The laundry room is completely flooded.” Instead of going into this shame spiral because he’d already cleaned most of it up, I was like, “The laundry room is flooded.” And I was like that doesn’t say anything bad about me as a person. It’s just a fact. The laundry room was flooded. And David was like, “Who is this woman?” And I was just like, “I don’t know,” and then I just went read my book and I really think that having had that moment of honesty and acknowledgment helped a lot to regulate my overreaction or reaction to that thing.

So that’s not a hack, but I think that just having a better understanding of why I have the reactions that I have can make me more compassionate. And then also I do have to, and I’m not good at this, but I do have to go, you need to just take a break now. Now I can feel my body when I need to take a break. There’s this thing called ADHD burnout, which is when you’re just really… Well for me, I’m really sensitive to noise and I’m really exhausted and really irritable and everyone becomes my enemy and it’s just rough. And that’s when I’m like, “I need to take some time off. I need to have a big sleep and I need to just do less.” And that’s very hard to do.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah.

Kira Hug:  Rob, I have to interrupt you. Are you going to ask the question? I think you’re going to ask, I hope you’re going to ask about the kangaroo?

Rob Marsh:  Probably not. I’d say the kangaroos to the end. Well, let me ask my question first, then we can come back to the kangaroo. So Martha, I’m really curious, you’ve talked about how this has all impacted your life, your personal life, but how have you changed your business or the projects that you work on in order to make this work for your business? Which, I’m guessing, there may be quite a few people who are listening and, okay, this is resonating and maybe I need to make some changes in the way that I work with clients in order to make this work.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  People with ADHD are a huge percentage more likely to be entrepreneurs. So Rob, I think that you are definitely right. I think in terms of my business, I feel like for the past probably a year, I’ve really been at a stage where I can say no to stuff that I don’t want to do or that I’m not particularly interested in. So that has been really good because if I’m not interested in something… I mean, it’s like if anybody’s not interested in something, it’s difficult. But if a person with ADHD isn’t interested in that thing, it’s just painful. So there’s that. And then I’ve really had a hard time understanding until when I was booked. So I would take on projects with really no, and I would always be like, “Yeah, I can do that in two weeks. I can do that in two weeks.”

Sometimes I was like, “I cannot do all of these things in two weeks.” So it’s taken a really long time to get a system that really helps me to go… When I’m on a call with somebody, I’ll be like, “I can do that at the end of November.” And then because I have the system, I can make that judgment and then not overbook. But the really important thing that I just realized in the past few months is when it’s Monday and you’re like, “Okay. I’m going to get this done this week and I’m going to get this and this and this done this week,” and then I’m just going to be killing it.

I would get to the end of the week and I wouldn’t have done some of those things and I would’ve done some of those things and then I would feel really bad about having not done all of them. But I’ve done 17 other things that also need to be done. So what I’ve realized is that my brain is smart and it knows what the real deadline is. So even if I try to trick it and go like, “We’re going to get this done by Friday,” my brain’s like, “Girl, no, we are not. It is not due until whenever and that we work better under pressure.” So I’ve gotten a lot better at trusting what my brain wants to work on at a given time and my brain, when that thing is imminently due, my brain is suddenly like, “Okay, let’s do it.”

But if I try to force it when my brain is not interested, it just takes three times as much time. So yeah, those things have helped. I have a virtual assistant to do admin stuff, but that’s not really an ADHD hack. But yeah, just that understanding of it doesn’t mean that I’m bad at this if I haven’t done these six things. If I’ve done three of them and I’ve done three other things that need to be done and none of the clients are mad and no one’s calling me to say, “Where is this thing?” Business is going well. Just trusting your brain is the biggest thing I think that I’ve learned in terms of my business.

Kira Hug:  But have you changed the way that you work as far as the packages you offer where you might not do a long-term website package is going to take six weeks. You might do more of a day rate, or I think you mentioned some other package that’s more of a speed, more about focus.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Yeah. So I do the hyper-focus week service, which is, and I chose that because it’s urgent. So I do a lot more of that now. And that was as a result of going through these long projects and even the monthly retainer client that maybe I do two blogs a month for them. And that’s always the thing that I leave till last and it’s always the thing that I’m stressed about. Yeah, I’ve been a bit more choosy about do I want to do that? Do I want to write about this topic for two blogs every month or don’t I, and have switched around maybe some of the clients that I would choose and have been more feeling like that’s a thing that I can do at this stage of the business.

Rob Marsh:  Okay. I’m still not going to ask about the kangaroo, but I do want to ask about how you’re getting on stage. So it seems to me that living in a very place that’s very far away from everything, getting on a stage would not be easy. And yet you’ve been a TEDx speaker, I think you’re speaking on other stages as well. Tell us about how you’re doing that. How are you making contacts? What does the pitch look like, and how are you landing the spots on stage that so many of us like to do?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  So when I first moved to Perth, I worked as a training manager for a not-for-profit organization. And I have always really liked public speaking. And I think as a teacher, that was a very natural thing. I think for this business, it started with small local businesses that wanted to learn about whatever I was talking about. So social media or writing, a lot of them want to learn about conversational writing because they just don’t understand because, as it goes against all the things we learned when we did our English degrees. So it started with like, “Would you come to our business network thing and teach the people about conversational writing? Or would you come and teach us how to…” One of them was like, how to write appropriately in business emails. So I don’t use these emojis.

So there was a bit of that. And then I think the TEDx thing was when a friend of mine applied for the TEDx license and I just thought, “I’ve had this ADHD experience and I think it’s an important thing.” So for that I obviously pitched and you have to write basically an outline of what you want to talk about and why it’s important and so that’s how I pitched that. But the other things have just been organic in terms of people will have seen me speaking about something and then ask if I’ll come and speak at their thing. I’m speaking at the ADHD WA. So WA is Western Australia, that’s the name of the state that we live in. So ADHD WA is having a conference, and they saw my TED talk and they thought, “Can you come and talk to us?”

And then another time somebody called and asked me if I was a graphic designer, and I was like, I am not a graphic designer. And she was like, “Well we’re having a conference and da da da.” And I was like, “Well, do you need an MC?” And she was like, “Yes, we do.” And I was like, “I’ll do it.” So it’s just about, I think seeing the opportunities and letting people know that you can do that thing. And I think even just the act of putting a speaking page on my website was a significant thing for me, I think because it’s like, well, I mean, am I this thing if I just say this thing? And that is how I’ve gone through this business is; I’ve found things that I really like and that I’m good at, and then I throw away the things that I don’t like, like writing for social media and no shade on anybody who does that. I just don’t like it. So I don’t do those things.

And that’s I think, the privilege that comes along with owning your own business and you’re like, “I don’t want to do that thing.” And if there is a thing, you just tell people that you’re good at it. And you know what? People in Australia do not toot their own horns. So the minute you have this accent and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m great at that thing.” Everyone’s like well, crikey or whatever. And then it’s not as easy as that. But it’s I think a matter of putting yourself in situations where you can tell people that I’ll give it a go. And then you get good at it and then people are willing to pay you money to do it.

Rob Marsh:  And I’ve heard other people talk about tall poppy syndrome in Australia. It’s like if you raise your head, if you say I’m good at something, people cut you down, which sounds like an opportunity for those who are brave enough to maybe stick out a little bit. But I guess you’re going to have to take some of the criticism that comes with that occasionally.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Well, yeah. The tall poppy thing is really interesting and I think it’s an English thing, but there’s another phrase that I learned and I’ve lived here for 15 years, so I’ve picked up a lot of the vernacular. But they’ll say that guy’s got tickets on himself, which is, he thinks he’s pretty amazing. And I was like-

Kira Hug:  I love that one.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  … It’s such a good phrase. There’s some really good language isms in this country.

Kira Hug:  Okay. So listening to you talk about how your business has grown and how you’ve moved through the business over the last few years in a really short period of time, it just sounds like you’ve got it going on, you know what you’re doing, you’ve got it all figured out. So I’m just curious, and I know that’s never true. So what is something that’s a struggle today in your business that you’re like, this is the next thing, and I can’t quite figure it out?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  I think I’m at a stage where because I really object to the idea that we constantly have to be growing and looking and reaching and striving. So I’m at a stage where I’m like, “I just want to enjoy what is working right now.” I mean, I always struggle with the money stuff, and I don’t know how much money I have. I mean, I know how much money I have, but I’m just like I don’t even… That’s financy, I’m not interested in that. A bookkeeper does that stuff. But yeah, I’m really just focusing on the stuff that I do like and I’m just trying not to obviously see what everybody else is doing and go like, “Maybe I need to do a course. Maybe I need to da da da da.”

So yeah, what am I struggling with? I mean, I’m always struggling with time management, which is a big ADHD thing. One of the executive function issues is time blindness. We just don’t feel the passage of time. And it happened before I got on this call. I’m at my friend’s house, it’s like night time here. And we had finished dinner and the people that I’m staying with, they all have ADHD too. And I was like, “Guys, I have this thing at 9:00 PM. At 8:30, I need to set up the mic, I need to da da da.” And we’re just having a great time chatting and chatting, and then my friend’s like, “Martha, it’s quartered at nine.” And we’re like go. So we rushed around and we got it all set up. So it’s that just like, you do need to have routines and all of this stuff, but we really push against that. So it would probably work really well for me if I was from 8:00 to 8:30 every day. I’m going to do X, but I just cannot. So that is just always a struggle.

Rob Marsh:  So Martha, as you look back at this journey you’ve been on since late 2019, building this business for yourself, if you could go back and maybe advise yourself from a couple years ago, is there anything you do differently? Is there advice you give yourself and something that you should do that maybe you didn’t do or something you shouldn’t do that maybe you did?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  This is going to sound like a really awful response, but I’m really happy with what happened with my business partner. That is the thing that allowed this business to grow and be sustainable at the rate that it has. I’m not great at, “I wish I had done this,” because honestly, I don’t remember a lot of stuff.

Rob Marsh:  I think I wouldn’t change a thing as a perfectly good answer.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Okay. Yeah, no, I wouldn’t. I am so happy in this business and I’m like, “Oh my God, people are paying me to write and I love to write.” And I’ve also started doing some personal essay writing, and it’s just like I’m doing this thing that I love. And I remember years ago when blogs… I used to read this young House Love blog, which was about these people that lived in the States and renovated their house or something. And I was reading the stuff that they were writing and I was like, “I could do this. I could do it,” but I didn’t even know it was a thing.

So I’m just so satisfied with the fact that I can work at my house doing a thing that I enjoy and I don’t have to drive 70 kilometers and deal with parents. It’s just great.

Kira Hug:  Wait, but aren’t you in charge of this school and the whole parent association?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Well, that’s just–

Kira Hug:  Parents.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  My kids go to this school. Oh my god, it’s in the woods. It’s amazing. So there’s only 80 kids at the school and it’s this beautiful little place where they’re just outside all the time and they learn stuff, but you can see the ocean from their school. It’s obscene. It’s a governance role. So I’m not actually dealing with parents. We organize the school and then the teachers and the principals do all the things.

Kira Hug:  Okay. We are going to do a lightning round. We’re not great at it. So we’re just still trying to get better. My lightning round question, just can you tell us about the… Okay, this is not a lightning round. Can you just tell us about the kangaroo? Because I don’t understand why they’re dead kangaroos laying around.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Because somebody shot them. It’s fine. Okay, Kira, I was driving last year and I’ve got a really big car and I was driving 100 kilometers an hour, which is a normal speed for driving on a highway and a kangaroo… They’re so dumb. It jumped right in front of the car and I smashed it and I was like, “Oh my God.” So you have this thing on the front of your car called a bullbar, which is a big metal thing because you’re going to hit a kangaroo for sure. And this bullbar it was… Anyway, So yeah, this kangaroo… We live in this very, very, a small town. There’s like 5,000 people. And then at the top of our street there’s like a paddock, which sometimes I forget what words we use in North America, I guess it would be called a field.

So there’s forest up there and there’s lots of kangaroos up there. And people shoot them because they’re a nuisance and they mess with people’s crops and stuff, but this one might have just died, but for ages there’s a dead kangaroo up there and you forget and let the dog go up there and it comes back just so stinky. But I mean, there’s good things about kangaroos too, I guess. They’re quite cute. And I still get excited when we pass them, because they hang out in kangaroo places. So where you might see them and then they’re just like, “There they are.” And there’s a little Joey hanging out. So that’s quite cute.

But yeah, they’re also enormous. And I have a Labradoodle who wants to be best friends with everyone. So there’s these red kangaroos and they’re massive. They look like Chris Hemsworth, they’re massly like a human. And my dog went up to this kangaroo and the kangaroos, they stand and they’re pretty tall. And then when they’re trying to be scary, they stand. And I was like, “This dog is dead,” because they just kick them. And my dog was like, “No worries man. See you later.” So they are intimidating and you can see them sometimes and I’m a bit scared of you because they are big, some of them.

Rob Marsh:  Yikes. And-

Martha Barnard-Rae:  The only other thing I should probably tell you is that we were well at the beach a couple of weeks ago and my two sons were with me and they had gone up the steps back to the car and then I was behind them with my friend and then there was a two-meter tiger snake, which is one of the world’s most venomous snakes just on the side of the path. So people were like, “What do we do?” So eventually we just walked past it. And then I said to Henry, my older son, when we got to the top. I was like, “Did you see the tiger snake?’ And he’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “What did you do?” So here they tell kids to say good day and walk away. So he is like I said good day and walked away. And I was like, “What about Will? What did Will do?” Who’s six? Who’s my younger son? And he was like, “I wasn’t with Will.” And I was like, “The next time you see a tiger snake, could you please just go find him?” And he was like, “Yeah, sure.”

Kira Hug:  You just gave me some severe anxiety right now.

Rob Marsh:  A minute ago I was thinking, “I should live in Western Australia. Beach is so nice.” And then you said, tiger snakes. I’m like, “Well, maybe not.

Kira Hug:  You lost both of us. Can’t handle it.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  I had these spiders living on our roof called, what are they called? Redbacks. So they have very venomous bites. And I looked up and there was this mother of a Redback and she had four egg sacs in my roof. I was like, “We got to call the spider guy.” So the spider guy comes, this is a job, the spider guy sprays and then they all die. So they’re all just coming down from the roof.

Rob Marsh:  Starting to see why people stick to the eastern side of Australia. Maybe don’t go to Perth so much.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  They still have this stuff there. There’s more dangerous animals in this country than anywhere else. The people in New Zealand are like, “We’re way all the way down here too, bro. And we don’t have any of these things.”

Rob Marsh:  Yikes. So a real lightning round question. I’ve heard you’re a sore loser when it comes to board games. What’s your favorite board game?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  I like taboo, which isn’t a board game. And then another game I really like is called mancala, which is this stone game. But yeah, I like those two.

Rob Marsh:  Nice.

Kira Hug:  I’m just playing with the buzzer. The taboo. I’m just annoying.

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Because if people are rude, you can just be like…

Rob Marsh:  Yeah, exactly.

Kira Hug:  You just need that all the time.

Rob Marsh:  We should actually have the buzzer on the podcast, Kira. That might be a good addition>

Kira Hug:  We should have it on all of our calls and team meetings and all that. My lightning round question is what are you most excited about right now, looking forward to in your business? What project, what is it?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  Well, I guess I’m excited about the hyper-focused week service and I’m excited about it, people are picking up what I’m putting down I guess. And then the other day I got a thing on my website from a guy who is a speaker scout or something, and I’m doing a one-hour keynote speech for one of the big four accounting firms in the States. And I was like, “Yeah, sure. I’ll do that.” So I’m excited about that side of my business, which is growing, but I’m just excited because it’s happening. It’s good. I feel on top of things and I’m excited about that.

Rob Marsh:  That sounds amazing. So Martha, let’s say somebody wants to connect with you, find out more about Word Candy, we’ll definitely link to your TED talk in the show notes so they can check that out. But where should they go to find out more about you?

Martha Barnard-Rae:  So I’m on Instagram and my Instagram handle is @WordCandyComms, C-O-M-M-S. My website is I’m on LinkedIn, which is under Martha Barnard-Rae. And I also write on Medium under Martha Barnard-Rae. But that’s just my own yelling about issues like Britney Spears’s conservatorship.

Rob Marsh:  Yikes. Okay. So I’m going to check that out too. We’ll try to link to all of those things in the show notes. But thank you so much for joining us and sharing so much about ADHD, which I personally don’t know a lot about and it’s been fascinating, but I think also enlightening in a lot of ways. So thank you for that.

That’s the end of our interview with Martha Barnard-Rae. Before we wrap, let’s just talk about a couple of more things that stood out. And again, not being an expert at ADHD or that kind of thing. I think that a lot of what Martha was sharing applies to businesses across the board and maybe more applicable if you struggle with something like attention deficit. But when Martha’s talking about how she’s got these things that she does to make sure she’s not beating up on herself about not being able to do the things or accomplish tasks or having her attention pulled one way or another. Specifically things like being compassionate to yourself, being honest with what’s going on. So if you’re masking or if you’re faking and just realizing what’s happening, having somebody to talk to as she does with her spouse, a therapist, doctors. One other thing that’s really stuck out to me is she talked a little bit about removing the morality from the stuff that goes wrong.

So just because you struggle with something does not make you a bad person, or if you don’t struggle with something, doesn’t make you a good person. I’ve heard this thing with exercise or a diet, you’re not a bad person if you skip a workout or if you eat a donut. There’s no morality attached to those kinds of things. But we do that to ourselves all the time. And I think, you know what? We do it when we work. I wasn’t focused today or I didn’t get enough done. That’s not a moral judge. There’s nothing moral about it. Just some days are not as effective as others. So removing that and just things like taking a break when you need one, all of that advice I think is really applicable to all of us and not just to anybody with ADHD.

Masha Koyen:  Yeah, I absolutely agree. When she talks about having a moment of honesty of how you’re feeling, I think it’s so important. I loved her moment in the laundry room, how she just was like, “Yeah, okay, that happened.” I think it’s such a reminder to us all that we just need sometimes to pause and acknowledge how we’re feeling and we should do more of that. Earlier this week I was driving my kids to gymnastics and just before I hopped into the car, I got a bad email from a client and then two other things happened and I kept marinating in that with my kids in the car. And I kept just beating myself up how bad I’m feeling right now.

And then out of character, I just stopped for a second. I’m like, “Okay. Why am I feeling what I’m feeling right now? Is it really bad or am I really overreacting?” Just such a tiny exercise. But if I didn’t do that, I would be spiraling out of control. So I’m so happy I did that and I should do more of that. I don’t do nearly enough of that. Just pause and think, what am I feeling? Is it okay? It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. So I definitely love that part of the conversation.

Rob Marsh:  I think that’s a really good way to frame it too. Just like you said, stop, what’s going on? Why am I feeling the way I’m feeling? Like you said when Martha said, that happened, that’s a great reaction. Client just ended the relationship. Well, that happened or I didn’t hit the mark on the copy that I wrote that happened. Okay, what do we do to fix it? What do we do to move on? And I think it’s a really mature way of looking at your business.

So a couple of other things that Martha shared just around how ADHD has impacted your business, that she’s learned to lean into things that work well and let go of the stuff that doesn’t. That may apply to the kinds of clients that you work with. The kinds of projects that you do. And again, this applies to all of us, but if websites don’t work for you, and I have to admit, I don’t love writing websites, lean into something that you do love to write. And for me, that happens to be sales pages and emails, those kinds of things.

If certain niches don’t work, then don’t deal with those niches. Find the ones that do work. Create systems that… She talked about how she will overbook and not always be aware of the time constraints that she has, which again is something I think a lot of us struggle with. And just having systems that accommodate that, trusting that what’s going on, listening to yourself, which goes back to what you were sharing Masha, just about taking a moment to stop and think about what’s going on.

Masha Koyen:  Yeah, I really laughed out loud when I heard her talking about overbooking and making promises. I can deliver that in two weeks and then 17 other things in two weeks. And how she said that your brain is so much smarter that you can’t actually do that. I tend to do this all the time, promising things. Even looking at my calendar, I was like, “Yeah, I can do that. I can still do that.” Because you have this feeling that you still have so much time, but you have to be realistic about things.

And I absolutely love the point about not doing the things that we love. Obviously, there are things that we don’t love and we still do, but making that conscious decision and intentional decision. I love working on website copy. That’s my ultimate favorite project, but I would not take on a sales page. Well, I shouldn’t say I’m not good at it, but I know what I like and it’s equally important to know what you don’t like doing.

Rob Marsh:  Yeah. I mean the way that I figured it out is when I would take on website projects and I would start to procrastinate and I would push it back and push it back and I just did not want to work on it. And after that happening three or four times, I realized it’s because I just don’t enjoy it. It’s not even the client necessarily, I just don’t like that writing. Whereas unlike you, but me, sales, like I get jazzed about it. I love writing sales pages. So focusing on the things that you love, staying in your lane. Another thing that Martha shared, and I think it’s really apropos.

We talked just briefly about speaking. Martha was on the TEDx stage and she mentioned creating a speaker’s page, a speaking page on her website. And this is another thing I think more copywriters should be doing. Kira and I have one on The Copywriter Club page that talks about some of the stuff that we would do, but I think that this is an opportunity for a lot of us just saying, “Hey, we are available to talk about.” And then whatever it is you might want to talk about how do you assemble a great web page or a website or how do you architect something like that.

Or maybe you do something in your niche, so you can go talk at a conference in your niche about marketing, about how to get in front of the right clients, how to connect all the things that we do as copywriters is in the background, but there’s a lot of opportunities out there. The speaking page is maybe a starting point for a lot of us just to say, “Hey, we’re available,” before we even start pitching or going out looking for those opportunities.

Masha Koyen:  That’s such a great idea, having that page on your website. And I just love how Martha just agrees to think, without even getting exposed to that or agreeing to doing something new. I think more of us, or maybe speaking for myself, I should definitely do more of that. Just agreeing to think. Agreeing to co-host a podcast when I’ve never even been on one and it petrifies the hell out of me. So I absolutely love that. Agreeing to new things before fully thinking it through, because I think it helps you grow and it helps you get uncomfortable. And I love being uncomfortable by the way. And it just helps you get into the spaces and things that would get you somewhere. And I think it’s good for your business, for your personal growth, for everything.

Rob Marsh:  It’s definitely good for business. I don’t love being uncomfortable. I like being perfectly comfortable. But like you, when you say yes to things, when you look at new opportunities, it does help you grow. It helps you do more things, better things. And that experience reflects back on the other stuff that you do in your work. So doing something like speaking on stage can actually make you a better copywriter, a better communicator because of the feedback that you get and the experience of putting together a speech. It all works together in one greater hole. The end of the podcast, we talked a little bit about kangaroos and spiders and snakes. I’m not sure that I want to-

Masha Koyen:  I’m not going there.

Rob Marsh:  … too much into it, but having been to Australia once before, maybe we think who knows? I’m actually looking forward to going back. Maybe we get to hang out with Martha at some point, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for all of the things down there that will kill me.

Masha Koyen:  Sounds fun.

Rob Marsh:  We want to thank Martha Bernard-Rae for joining us on the podcast today. If you want to connect with her, you can head over to It’s Australia, so not, which we will also link to in the show notes just in case you want to find her. And you’re again, out driving or doing something, you can’t write that down right now.

Masha Koyen:  And that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcast to leave your review of the show. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.








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