Janet Murray helps businesses and brands get press coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio and TV. She has 15 years experience writing and editing for national newspapers and magazines. You can find her PR blog at: www.janetmurray.co.uk
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- The One Thing, Janet’s top business book
- Janetmurray.co.uk – Janet’s website.
- Connect with Janet on Twitter at janet_murray
- The Soulful PR Facebook group – another way to connect with Janet
3 Key Points:
- Find what you want to feel and live that life.
- Be a person of value— value ourselves and other people.
- Follow your heart and serve your community.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:07] – Janet started off as a teacher, but always had the ambition to be a journalist.
- [01:34] – She decided to do it freelance.
- [02:01] – She noticed people were terrible at pitching to the media.
- [02:57] – She ended up transitioning from journalism to training.
- [03:20] – She made a deal with herself to have her own podcast.
- [04:38] – How do you generate revenue in your business today? – Coaching programs, consulting, a membership site, and speaking, writing, events.
- [05:26] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: About two/three years ago, she had the idea that she needed an office and staff to run her business.
- [06:10] – She didn’t keep an eye on the figures as well as she should have.
- [06:40] – “You should always pay yourself first”
- [07:09] – Now she’s back to working at home with contractors.
- [07:51] – What did you learn going from an office to not?
- [08:13] – “It was so liberating.”
- [09:43] – Why are you going down the road you’re on right now?
- [10:20] –Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: After she fired her staff, she was scared.
- [11:21] – She taught herself not to focus on the money but to feel good in her business.
- [11:30] – She wanted to feel “creative, abundant and free.”
- [11:49] – Find what you want to feel and live that life.
- [12:10] – “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value”
- [12:41] – Biggest weakness? – Overworking
- [13:10] – Biggest strength? – Relationship building
- [13:24] – She made it her business to get to know everyone.
- [13:52] – What has you most fired up today? Being asked to work for free.
- [14:23] – “We need to value ourselves, but we need to value other people as well.”
- [16:26] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? –Fear of making mistakes and looking stupid.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Do what you love, and love what you do.”
- Share a personal habit that contributes to your success – “Make a pitch every single day.”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Kendly
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The One Thing
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “I would write.”
- Parting piece of guidance and how to connect with you – JanetMurray.co.uk, janet_murray on Twitter, and The Soulful PR Facebook page. “Follow your heart and serve your community.”
Janet Murray: I am ready to ignite.
Interviewer: Yes! Janet helps businesses and brands get press coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio and TV. She has 15 years’ experience writing and editing for national newspapers as well as magazines. You can find her PR blog at janetmurray.co.uk. Janet, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that end show and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Janet Murray: So, I started off as a schoolteacher and I did that for a few years. I grew up in Kent near London, and I didn’t mind it too much. It was quite good fun, but I always had this burning ambition to be a journalist. But, everybody told me that it wasn’t possible, that I’d never make it the nationals, I’d never be able to be in places like The Guardian and the Huffington Post and all that sort of thing. But, I thought, “No, I’m going to do this.” So, off I went and we trained, and then I decided, against everybody’s greatest wishes and ideas that I would go and do this freelance because I’ve always had this kind of entrepreneurial streak, I guess. And I thought, “You know, I can make more money by selling stories to newspapers and magazines.” And everybody was telling me it wasn’t possible, I wouldn’t be able to do it in the national newspapers here in the UK, but I was really determined that I was going to do it. And I did it within about six months. But basically, I noticed something very interesting very early on in my career in journalism. And what I noticed was that people were just terrible at pitching to the media. So, I would just get these dreadful pitches and press releases, and what would really gall me, to be honest, because I’m a small business owner myself, was that a lot of these pitches were from PR companies that were representing small business owners like me.
And I got the point where I started to feel cross because I was like, “No journalist would ever run this in a million years. Somebody is ripping these people off.” And I used to get kind of quite cross about it. So, I thought, okay, if these PR companies that don’t know how to pitch into the media, then maybe I should teach them how. So, I teamed up with another journalist, we started running workshops in London. It was a bit of a kind of side hustle, and they proved to be really popular. And then we started doing bigger kind of conference events. And then, I got to a bit of a turning point, really, where I was spending so much time doing this kind of training that I was having less and less time to do journalism. So, nowadays, I teach business owners, primarily, how to get into the press, and I’ve got an online program, I’ve got a membership community, a blog, a podcast and I absolutely love it. It’s really creative and really fun.
Interviewer: Do you love the podcast?
Janet Murray: I absolutely love the podcast. It’s only been going since November, but I just feel like I was kind of not like born to do it, but I was really nervous about doing it for ages and I procrastinated and procrastinated. And then actually, I went to the UK podcasting awards last year and I saw all these people running up to get their prizes. And I was like, “They’ve done it, and I haven’t.” And I made a little sort of deal with myself then and I was like, “Right. I’m going to be back here next year and I’m going to have a podcast and I’m also going to be up for one of these awards.” And I am. So, I’m going this month in fact; I’m going to the awards and I’m up for the UK podcast of the year. So, it’s very exciting.
Interviewer: That is killer stuff, and it’s actually an event that Kate and I are really hoping to get out in 2017, because we just love Mike and Isabella. They’re just great people, they put on a great event and they love it. And where is it located at this year, Janet?
Janet Murray: It’s in London. I’m actually speaking at it as well, so that was another little pledge I made to myself. I was like, “I’m going to speak here next year, too.”
Interviewer: And you’re speaking. What’s your topic?
Janet Murray: I’m talking about how to get big media coverage on a small business budget.
Interviewer: So, Janet, you have a lot of things going on right now – the podcast, all these other things that you mentioned. How specifically do you generate revenue in your business today?
Janet Murray: So, I’ve got several streams of income. I’ve got a coaching program, so I’ve got group coaching program which I run several times a year, and I usually have 10 or 12 mainly business owners on that. I do a little bit of consulting with big companies, generally. I’ve got a membership site which is only kind of six weeks old, but that’s doing really, really well. And, I do some speaking as well. I still do a little bit of writing, get a little bit of income from that. But, I’m kind of quite keen to make sure that I’ve got money coming in from different streams. I also run events, actually. I’m running an event in London next month called Soulful PR Live where I’ve got all these national journalists coming along to talk about what they’re looking for in a story, and people really like that. They love to come and meet journalists close up and really grill them about what they’re looking for.
Interviewer: Janet, what is your worst entrepreneurial moment to date? I mean, we’re talking right now about things that are going on in your life, and a lot of good things are happening and you’re setting goals, you’re accomplishing them. But, take us back to what you consider your worst moment. What was that story?
Janet Murray: Oh, my worst moment was about two or three years ago. Now, I think a lot of people go through this when they have a business, and you have this idea that your business should be a certain way. So, I had this idea that if I was going to be an entrepreneur, I had to have an office, I had to have some stuff and there had to be a whole thing going on, when actually, I’m actually a bit of an introvert and I like working on my own. I like having a remote team. But anyway, I thought it was the thing to do, so I had an office, I hired some staff and then, I didn’t really keep an eye on the figures as well as I should do. I had my dad working in the business at the time, and he kept nagging at me and saying, “Well, you need to kind of look at this.” And, we basically just got to one month where it was just like a bit of a cash flow problem. But, I looked and I thought, “I can pay everybody else, but I can’t pay myself this month.” So, I paid everybody else on the team and I did manage to pay myself eventually, but at that moment, I remember reading somewhere or hearing somewhere that you should always pay yourself first and that should be your primary own. Obviously, if you’ve got staff working for you, you can’t just decide not to pay them, but you should be thinking about that first.
So, I paid everybody else, didn’t have any money to pay myself and had this office. I hated working in this office. I used to sneak off at every opportunity to work on my own because I like being on my own. And so, I got rid of the office, got rid of my staff, including my dad who was coming up to retirement anyway, so it worked okay. And now, I’m back to working at home. I’ve got this fancy little shed at the bottom of my garden in work in. They call it a chic shed in the UK. We’ve had quite a lot of press coverage for it, actually, and I’ve just got contractors and that works so much better for me. But, I don’t think I learned a really hard lesson there about how when you’re in business, often you think you should do things a certain way and actually, I think you’ve really got to go with your gut and go with the things that work for you.
Interviewer: Now, did you sneak in there that you fired your father?
Janet Murray: Yeah, yeah I did.
Interviewer: You snuck it right in there. You thought that was going to get by me, but no, no, no. So, I don’t necessarily need to get any more details on that, but what I do want to really focus in on is, when you make that decision to unwind a company, how do you do it? What did you learn, lesson-wise, from going from employees and office to not?
Janet Murray: Well, it was really quite simple in a way. The first thing was to get rid of the office because it was costing me a 1,000 British pounds a month, which is quite a chunk, and I guess it was so liberating. My dad was really just helping me out. He was retired and he was doing a few hours for me a week and he was really kind of helping me out. But, I did have a staff member who was kind of reliant on me and I just sort of learned that what I didn’t really want, and I’ve never wanted, is I never really wanted to be a manager. And I found that I was suddenly kind of involved in talking to staff about their problems or holiday pay and that kind of thing, and I just didn’t really want to do that. So, I made the decision then that I was never going to employ anyone ever again. I was just going to work with contractors. So actually, it sounds like I was kind of unravelling a company, but actually, I said to everybody, “Look, I think in a few months’ time I’m going to want to go back to how things were before and just use contractors.” I said to the lady that was working for me that, “If you wanted to carry on that was fine, but it would be on a freelance basis,” and she decided to go and get another job.
But, I remember just being sat back in my office after I’d shut up the other office and I just felt so relieved and I just kind of thought, “Oh, God, this is lovely.” That’s awful, but I don’t have to talk to anybody, I can just really focus on what I’m doing. I am really quite a sociable person, but actually when I need to get things done, I just love being on my own and really be able to sort of focus. And I just thought, oh, it was just such a nice feeling just to kind of be back and I felt more in control, and it just made me really – I always think if I find myself going down a road where I think I’m doing things because I should be doing them, then I try and pull myself back.
Interviewer: Well, that’s what I wanted to hone in on. I mean, Fire Nation, you might be going down that road right now and are you going down a road because you think you should, or because it’s traditional, or because you parents are proud of you, or because X, Y or Z, or because it sounds good when you’re at the bar talking to your friends? I mean, I did that for the first 32 years of my life and I tell you what. Didn’t work out for me. But, when I actually decided to say, “Hey, I’m going to open my eyes up and be intentional about the road that I’m going down and make sure it’s a meaningful path, a meaningful journey,” everything changed. Now Janet, I want to talk to you about aha moments, and epiphanies and light bulbs, and you’ve had a lot. But, what’s one of your greatest to date? Tell us that story?
Janet Murray: I think my biggest aha moment was just after that period when I fired my dad and all my staff and I suddenly found myself at home in my office, my cash flow was a big tight and I was scared. I felt real fear. And I think when you’re in fear, you can often run around trying to come up with new programs or come up with new ways of making money, and there are things that maybe you don’t necessarily like doing. And, I don’t quite know how I managed to make myself do it, but I kind of taught myself almost to kind of stay in that fear and say, “Look. If you focus on the money, then you’re going to end up unhappy and you’re going to end up…” You know, it got to the point with my newspaper work actually as a journalist where I enjoyed it for years, but I got to the point I said, “Oh, God. If I have to write one more article for the Guardian, I’ve just kind of had enough.” And I didn’t want to feel that way about my business.
So, my aha moment was actually not focused on the money, but just to focus on feeling really good in my business every day. And I used to write down during this period the three feelings that I wanted to have every day, and that was creative, abundant and free. And if I found myself starting to get kind of worked up or fearful or worrying about money, I’d just say, “Look, how do you want to feel today? How do you want to feel in your work?” And I would remind myself of those three words, and that would kind of bring me back to where I needed to be.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, those three words that Janet just shared, really finding what yours are and getting details, and she’s being intentional and meaningful about repeating those words and making sure that you are living that life. I mean, that’s a great, great opportunity for you to really say, “Hey, this is the path that I want to go down.” And Janet, when you were talking, it just came to mind a great quote by Albert Einstein, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather, a person of value.” And to be frank, if you’re chasing money, Fire Nation, if you’re chasing “success,” then you’re on the wrong path. You’re doing the wrong things because if you first and foremost say, “How can I become a person of value and provide value to the world,” and knowing that true value is going to come from stuff that I enjoy and love doing, that is how success will then find you. So, you’ve got to flip that on its head. Don’t become that person of success, become that person of value. Now Janet, what would you say your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur is?
Janet Murray: A biggest weakness is overworking. I just love what I do so much that I could literally work every hour of the day. And when I’m really focused on a launch or I’ve got something coming up that I’m really enjoying, I just can’t stop. And, I get so intense, I get so involved in what I’m doing that I actually kind of have to pull myself back. So, I think I have a real tendency to overwork.
Interviewer: What’s your biggest strength?
Janet Murray: I think my biggest strength is my relationship building. I think whatever I’ve been doing in my life, whatever job I’ve been doing, I’ve always taken the trouble to try and make great relationships wherever I’ve been. So, for example, when I was very much working newspapers and I was working a lot of the Guardian and I would just make it my business to kind of get to know everybody and to talk to everybody. And some of those relationships are still working for me now, and I think it’s just that I’m just treating everybody like an individual and listening to them. And I’m not saying I get it perfect all the time, but it’s community. I really like to try and build relationships with people, and all the successes that I’ve had in my business have been about building relationships with people.
Interviewer: What’s the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Janet Murray: One thing that gets me fired up a lot is being asked to work for free. I’ve written quite a bit about this and it’s a really tricky one when you’re an entrepreneur. I think when you get to a certain level of success, I guess, you get that thing where people are kind of like, “Hey, can I just grab you for coffee?” or “Hey, can I just jump in a scout car with you?” And the speaking things as well. People will come and ask you to speak at an event and then they’ll say, “Oh, I just thought you’d do it for the exposure.” And that’s something that gets me quite fired up because I really feel that we need to value ourselves, but also we need to value other people as well. So, when I’m running events, I pay all my speakers; so, if somebody comes to me and says, “Oh, we’d like you to speak but we can’t pay you,” then I can say, “Well, I pay all my speakers.” And so, I think there’s this kind of business about trading in exposure and I think that’s something that gets me quite fired up; and get me on the subject, and I’ll be off.
Interviewer: Well, Fire Nation, we’re going to get her even more fired up in the lightning round so don’t you go anywhere. We’re going to take a quick minute first to thank our sponsors. Janet, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Janet Murray: I’m prepared.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Janet Murray: Total fear of making mistakes, of doing the wrong thing, or looking stupid – all those kind of emotions.
Interviewer: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Janet Murray: Do what you love and love what you do.
Interviewer: Can you share a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Janet Murray: Make a pitch every single day. I’ve even got a hashtag, actually.
Janet Murray: Daily pitch. Yeah, daily pitch is I make a pitch every day. So, that might be not necessarily the traditional media, but just kind pitch an idea to somebody – a podcast interview, a guest post, pitch somebody to speak at my event. I do a pitch every single day.
Interviewer: Can you share an internet resource like Evernote with Fire Nation?
Janet Murray: Calendly, actually; that’s getting me organized. So, the outfit that helps you book in your speakers of my podcasts and interview and clients.
Interviewer: If you could recommend just one book, what would it be and why?
Janet Murray: The One Thing. I’ve dried up. Who’s the author again? I’ve totally dried up. Who’s the –
Interviewer: Jay Papasan and Gary Keller.
Janet Murray: That is it, yeah. I just love that book because every time I find myself going off track – I’ve been very busy over the last few days – I will pull myself back with that, and I’ll go, “Right. What’s the one thing that you could do right now that would make all of the other things that you could do completely unnecessary?” That’s what they say, isn’t it? And I use it to pull myself back when I find myself getting a little bit overwrought.
Interviewer: So, Janet, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge that you currently have, your food and shelter’s taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next seven days?
Janet Murray: I would write. Everything that I’ve done, everything I’ve achieved has all been down to writing and being able to communicate in the written world.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you need to go back to the core. You need to go back at what makes sense for you. It’s writing for Janet, it’s speaking for me, it’s talking for me. What is your thing? Now, Janet, I want to end today on Fire with a parting piece of guidance – the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say, “Bye-bye.”
Janet Murray: You can find me on janetmurray.co.uk. I’m also on Twitter on jan_murray and I’ve got this amazing Facebook community, which is called the Soulful PR Facebook Community, and you can come and hang out with me there.
Interviewer: And a parting piece of guidance.
Janet Murray: I just think follow your heart and serve your community. Whenever I’m just serving my community and just providing with great value, that’s when all the magic in my business happens.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you’re that average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with JM and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type “Janet” in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. Everything. These are the best show notes in the biz – time-stamped, links galore. And, Janet, I just want to say thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Janet Murray: Thank you.
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