CapsuleCRM, GarageBand, Female Entrepreneur Association and Hobbies with Susan Heaton-Wright of Executive Voice.
What We Recommended:
Tools & Apps
- Google Calendar – Susan uses this to plan out her time and time block for tasks
Entrepreneur’s Planner – we didn’t discuss which planner Sue uses (what an omission!) but I recommend the Ultimate Planner that ‘invented’ by podcast guest you haven’t heard from yet!
- CapsuleCRM – Susan uses this customer relationship management tool with the ‘task option’ to manage work for, and with clients. “I find it a very useful way of tracking where I am with a particular client and the relationship, how far it’s gone if that makes sense.”
- Tip from Jo – In CapsuleCRM you can use the ‘tracks’ functionality where you can set up a list of tasks that need to happens for something, and then you can set it to create those tasks automatically based on the date you’ve put it in or the date that something is due. “So if I’m speaking somewhere I kick off the speaking track for that particular contact and it will put in all the dates for confirming the speaking title and writing the slides and sending them to the people and all that sort of thing which I find useful. I have one for writing guest blogs as well, so if I’ve got a publishing deadline.”
- Asana – a project management tool (used to manage these podcasts) “I use Asana if I’m working with somebody else. we will use that together so that we track where things are going, but now I’ve got this idea of tracker within Capsule. I think that I might change.”
- GarageBand – a music creation studio on a Mac. “I love GarageBand. I’m a Mac fan and I love my GarageBand. In fact for proposals to clients I now do a little mini podcast for them just to say, “I’d love to work with you. Having chatted on the phone about this I think X, Y, and Z would be perfect for you for training.” it just gives a little bit of a personalised touch to the proposal, and because it’s about speaking it marries perfectly with showing what I do. “
- Female Entrepreneur Association – “I love learning. I love finding out more about things. I think that you probably are the same. Always interested in new things, getting more knowledge. I’m a member of the Female Entrepreneur Association. Carrie Green. I don’t know if you’ve come across her.
She’s absolutely wonderful, and she’s got a membership group that part of it is on Facebook, but every month you get what’s called a bundle, and there will be a topic that they focus on and this month it is about creating a membership club which isn’t of particular interest to me, but a previous month was on webinars and another month was on creating systems for your business.”
- The Times – newspaper “I read The Times every morning online and there are usually some good articles in that too.”
- Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed – “There was an article about her this week in The Times anyway, but she wrote the book about the walk that she went on. There was a film made of it earlier this year. Very inspirational.”
- Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There by Cheryl Strayed – “She also did a book that is the answers to questions, sort of agony aunt questions. For a long time she was anonymous, and the way that she answered things was so beautiful because she had real empathy with people that were going through a really hard time, really struggling with some very, very difficult life challenges, and it’s particularly poignant because she’s had a lot of major challenges herself in her life, and yet she was able to share and make people feel better.”
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – “I listen to the Christmas Carol, you know an audio version of that while I’m making Christmas cakes and things like that.”
- April Verch – a folk fiddle player “she collects different sorts of music which is brilliant and talked about the fiddle and everything. She plays the fiddle and dances at the same time which is awesome and didn’t fall over which I would have done. She also sings, but she doesn’t sing and play the fiddle at the same time!”
Films & Theatre
- Farinelli and the King by Claire van Kampen– “We’d wanted to go and see it and there were no tickets, and we kept going into the theatre, no tickets. These two turned up at [9:00] in the morning so we bought them. Went there and it was the most fantastic play with music. There were live musicians there. It was beautiful.”
- Early morning walk – “I get up with my son because he leaves for school at [7:20], so I’m up and around then. What I’ve started to do in the last three months is go for a walk just to get some energy up, and I will do anything from a two thousand step walk to perhaps a half hour walk which gives me about six thousand steps on my fit watch, which is good.”
- Drinking water – “I also have a five hundred millilitre bottle of tap water as soon as I get up because I’m always dehydrated after sleeping.”
- Time Blocking – “There are times when I do time block. I’ve found that if there’s a proposal I need to do for a client or I’m writing a blog or doing my podcast, or even I’ve been creating some online courses, I will switch my phone to my call minder, switch all of my mobile phones and other devices off and just focus for an hour or so and I need to do that. I’ve even got a timer that if I want to do that for a half an hour then I’ll put that timer on and it will ring after thirty minutes, and I know I’ve focused completely on that task which sounds a little bit strict but it works for me.”
- Prioritising Clients – “He (a speaker at a conference) said that he always answers the phone which is a bit scary when you’re in a conference with him, but we’ll move over from that, but he will always take a call and he will always respond, and if somebody says that they want a quote from something, he will drop everything to make sure that quote goes straightaway. If they email him, he’ll pick up the phone and speak to them, and he says that that is a game changer because people think, “Oh, gosh. This person is really interested in having my work.” Rather procrastinating and thinking, “Oh, well they’re probably at lunch now. Oh, it’s a bit late to phone up. I’ll phone up tomorrow.” By which time he has engaged with the client, and is further on in the process, so I think that was a really, really good message to me and other entrepreneurs that actually the client, and actually getting that work, is the priority.”
- Exercise – “I do exercise. I go to the gym three or four times a week in the winter. In the summer I go swimming in a local lido because I love swimming outdoors and go walking, and I go body boarding when I’m down in Wales at our house down there.
- Have Hobbies – “I do lots of sewing and crafty things and cooking. I love reading. I love going to the cinema and the theatre, all things like that, so lots of things.”
- Learning from Challenges -“When you’re an entrepreneur there are challenges, there are things, and you think that you’ve hit a brick wall, or you have got a very difficult client. I had a very difficult situation that was resolved last week. I will say it was two hours before we presented a windup order to the high courts and finally we were paid. That took a lot of strength. I felt that I grew as a person for it because it would have been very easy to just back down from this bully, and we were completely in the right. That’s clearly a strategy that this particular company has to avoid paying which is unacceptable.”
- Getting Past Challenges – “There are occasions when I have just switched everything off and I’ve gone for a swim, or gone for a walk, gone to make a cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
To Contact Susan
- LinkedIn “My full name is Susan Heaton-Wright and you can find me on LinkedIn.”
Jo Dodds: Today I'm interviewing Susan Heaton-Wright of Executive Voice. Hi, Susan. Thanks for joining me.
Susan HW: Thank you very much for inviting me to come on the podcast.
Jo Dodds: Why don't you start by telling us a bit about you, what you do, and where you do it?
Susan HW: I live in Hertfordshire. I live in a little village just north of Welwyn Garden City called Digswell. I am a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur. I've got two businesses. I have a home office, and when I'm not working at home I'm with clients, so I might be in their offices or we might go into a mutual place like a theatre or a studio to do work.
Jo Dodds: Lovely. Do you have an actual office at home or do you tend to work around the house?
Susan HW: I have an actual office, and that's where I am now.
Jo Dodds: Lovely.
Susan HW: Yes.
Jo Dodds: As far as getting organised when you're at home I'm sure it's different when you have to be out of the house as you say for some of the time, but on a sort of normal office day what does that look like in the morning? Do you have a particular routine and way of getting set up for the day?
Susan HW: Yeah. I do. I get up with my son because he leaves for school at 7:20, so I'm up and around then. What I've started to do in the last three months is go for a walk just to get some energy up, and I will do anything from a two thousand step walk to perhaps a half hour walk which gives me about six thousand steps on my fit watch, which is good. I also have a five hundred millilitre bottle of tap water as soon as I get up because I'm always dehydrated after sleeping, and I'll have my breakfast. I will then go through what I'm doing that day and get going with my work.
Jo Dodds: Sounds like a very structured morning. What about when you're leaving the house? Does that vary? It certainly does at my end.
Susan HW: It depends on when I've got meetings or when I've got sessions with clients as to what time it is that I go. I will if I've got an early obviously I won't go for a walk, but I do have a routine obviously putting makeup on and my work clothes as opposed to office clothes, but it's generally the same routine. Do you want me to go into that, those details?
Jo Dodds: If it's generally the same it'll be fine. It's just interesting I think sometimes certainly for me when I'm at home it's quite different to when I'm going somewhere else just because the timings change so much, but one of the things I've tried to do more recently is arrange things to be later so that I'm not having to change that morning routine too much which I'm finding quite helpful. I like the idea of the walk first thing. I used to do that. I used to drop little Doddsy at school and walk home from there which always used to make me feel good, but then I found I was ... The time when I could be really productive, I was out walking, so I try and walk in the afternoon now.
So, how do you then transition from that routine into work? You talked about planning what you need to do? Do you have a particular way of managing the day and your time?
Susan HW: Yes. I use the Google Calendar so I've got some things on there, and also I've got, it sounds really posh, an entrepreneur's planner, so I've got a hard copy of it, and it's got daily, weekly, monthly list making and things like that. At the end of the day I will write up the things I need to do for the next day and incorporate things that are in the calendar, so I can just refer to those and move them forward to the next day, so I'm all prepared for the following day.
Jo Dodds: You're right. That does sound very posh.
Susan HW: It does. Doesn't it?
Jo Dodds: Is that a particular process or something that you've sort of studied with somebody or is it something you've created yourself?
Susan HW: No. Not at all. Being a creative I need to have a little bit of structure in my life because I'll just go following whatever my thoughts are otherwise. I need to have that.
Jo Dodds: Have you always planned at the end of the day for the next day? I've read quite often that that can be a really good thing to do and I occasionally have tried to do it, but to be fair it doesn't really work for me. Is it something you've always done?
Susan HW: No. Not at all, but I was looking into how to work more efficiently and to create some structures around how I worked, and that was one of the things that I read about myself. I can't remember where, and just tried it and found that it worked for me. Also on a Sunday night I will just go through the week, the previous week and see what worked, and then put down in the planner what's due the following week. I've also got a huge whiteboard that I scribble things on.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. Do you use that as a bit of a sort of an inbox for your tasks, the whiteboard, so you scribble stuff and then you transfer it into your system?
Susan HW: I do and also it's a way that I can remember ideas.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. Thinking about the planner, so the daily, weekly, monthly. How do you then make sure that happens? Because sometimes I get quite organised and organise a schedule for the next day and then something happens and I ignore half of it. I still get the things done but I don't do them when I say I'm going to do them. Do you actually time block or is it the list of things?
Susan HW: There are times when I do time block. I've found that if there's a proposal I need to do for a client or I'm writing a blog or doing my podcast, or even I've been creating some online courses, I will switch my phone to my call minder, switch all of my mobile phones and other devices off and just focus for an hour or so and I need to do that. I've even got a timer that if I want to do that for a half an hour then I'll put that timer on and it will ring after thirty minutes, and I know I've focused completely on that task which sounds a little bit strict but it works for me.
Jo Dodds: I use a timer like that sometimes to actually get me to start something that I'm procrastinating on. That big project that seems too difficult. I think, "Okay. I'll do twenty minutes or twenty-five minutes of it and see what happens."
Susan HW: That's a really good idea.
Jo Dodds: Yeah, and [crosstalk 00:07:19]. Sorry. Carry on.
Susan HW: Certainly I do block things off, but having said that with everyday life and with clients contacting you requesting various bits of information that could mean that you get the booking or the work you have to take a deep breath and say, "Right this is the priority." Only I think it was on Monday I was speaking at a mini conference at Hertfordshire University and one of the people there was a really big player in the events world internationally, and he was the key speaker. He said that he always answers the phone which is a bit scary when you're in a conference with him, but we’ll move over from that, but he will always take a call and he will always respond, and if somebody says that they want a quote from something, he will drop everything to make sure that quote goes straightaway.
If they email him, he'll pick up the phone and speak to them, and he says that that is a game changer because people think, "Oh, gosh. This person is really interested in having my work." Rather procrastinating and thinking, "Oh, well they're probably at lunch now. Oh, it's a bit late to phone up. I'll phone up tomorrow." By which time he has engaged with the client, and is further on in the process, so I think that was a really, really good message to me and other entrepreneurs that actually the client, and actually getting that work is the priority.
Jo Dodds: Yes. Yeah. I think that's a really good point as far as prioritising those sorts of actions. I'm not sure myself about answering the phone [crosstalk 00:09:13].
Susan HW: No. I was a bit scared about that. I think there is a time and place when you have to switch off the phone such as when you're delivering training to someone else. The last thing your client wants is you jabbering away to another potential client, but I suppose it's getting a happy medium.
Jo Dodds: Yes. Exactly. Doing that in a pragmatic way. The one thing that I've always struggled with, with the idea of planning for the next day is that sort of finishing work at a certain time thing. I'm not very good at that at the best of times because I do like to have a flexible way of fitting everything into my life anyway, but how does that work for you? Do you have a certain time that you finish and you do the planning and then you sort of close the office door, or is it a bit more flexible?
Susan HW: I try to do that. Having said that there are occasions when I have to work later, but I do try to finish at 5:00 when my son gets back from school, but it might be that he just wants to grunt at me because he's a teenager. I might think, "Oh, I'll just do a little bit more." But I really do try to have finished by 5:00 if I can.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. In some ways having that sort of natural end to the day helps [doesn't it? 00:10:39] Certainly at this end as well.
Susan HW: I think it does. Yes. [crosstalk 00:10:43].
Jo Dodds: [crosstalk 00:10:43].
Susan HW: Sorry.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. No. Carry on.
Susan HW: If you're working in an office there would be a natural time when people were leaving. You would look around unless there's a crisis and of course everyone is hands on deck. You would think, "Right. It is time to go home now."
Jo Dodds: Then how does that sort of translate into the evening. You said sometimes you do do some work in the evening, but do you have a particular routine to ensure that you are relaxing and really taking the opportunity to not be working, or is it just quite flexible?
Susan HW: It is flexible but I do like to have downtime. I like my family. I like my husband and my son.
Jo Dodds: That's always a good thing.
Susan HW: Rather than hiding in my office. "Oh, I've got work to do." I want to spend time with them and also with my friends and doing other things, so I've got lots of hobbies, so I suppose because I live in a sort of creative bubble anyway I'm really excited about doing other things in the evening.
Jo Dodds: As far as switching off you know time to go to sleep time, do you have any particular things that you do to enable that to happen?
Susan HW: Yes. I do. I'm always reading a book, and I tend to read fiction at night. I also have a hot chocolate. Not the high carb one. I can ask for hot chocolate in various languages.
Jo Dodds: Very good.
Susan HW: Very important.
Jo Dodds: Yes. Yeah. Interesting it's the fiction. I read before I go to sleep every day and it is funny I find the non-fiction is the stuff that sends me to sleep more quickly. If I read fiction I quite often end up staying up later because I'm trying to read the next thing.
Susan HW: I know. I've got a book like that at the moment.
Jo Dodds: It's finding a fiction book that's not too interesting, not too gripping so that you will go to sleep on time. What about through the day and tools and apps and things that you use to help you to better manage your time. You sound quite organised with your entrepreneur's planner, but are there other tools that you use? You mentioned Google Calendar. What else do you use?
Susan HW: Yeah. I do use Google Calendar. I also have used Capsule CRM. I don't know if you've come across that.
Jo Dodds: I use it too. Yeah.
Susan HW: Right, so you know that there's a task thing, so you can then put something in the task and then get an email the next day nagging you that you need to do certain things and you've got a choice, either you ignore it or you act upon it. I find that very useful and I find it a very useful way of tracking where I am with a particular client and the relationship, how far it's gone if that makes sense.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. Definitely. I use the ... I don't know if you use the tracks where you can set up a sort of list of activity that happens for something, and then you can set that to happen automatically based on the date you've put it in or the date that something is due, so if I'm speaking somewhere I kick off the speaking track for that particular contact and it will put in all the dates for confirming the speaking title and writing the slides and sending them to the people and all that sort of thing which I find useful. I have one for writing guest blogs as well, so if I've got a publishing deadline.
Susan HW: Brilliant idea. That is brilliant. I'm going to have a mooch around my CRM. My Capsule CRM and see how to do that. It's brilliant.
Jo Dodds: It's under cases, so you create a case and then you can add a track and you can preset the tracks with certain timings between them, and you can also have them dependent so if there's certain things that you have to do before you can do the next bit, you can set that to ping off as soon as you've done the thing that has to be done first. Yeah. I find that really, really helpful.
Susan HW: It's very helpful.
Jo Dodds: Until you ignore a load of them and then you've just got too many tasks outstanding.
Susan HW: [inaudible 00:15:23] nagging you every day by email.
Jo Dodds: Yes. Yeah. I turn my notifications off as well.
Susan HW: That's really funny.
Jo Dodds: Capsule. Yeah. Definitely. Yeah. Definitely like that. Any others that you'd recommend?
Susan HW: I have been learning to use Asana.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. I use that too.
Susan HW: Also I love GarageBand. I'm a Mac fan and I love my GarageBand. In fact for proposals to clients I now do a little mini podcast for them just to say, "I'd love to work with you. Having chatted on the phone about this I think X, Y, and Z would be perfect for you for training." it just gives a little bit of a personalized touch to the proposal, and because it's about speaking it marries perfectly with showing what I do.
Jo Dodds: Yes. Exactly. How do you send that? Is it just a mp3 attachment with your proposal?
Susan HW: No. I store it in Libsyn.
Jo Dodds: Yep. As a proper podcast.
Susan HW: Unpublished.
Jo Dodds: Yeah.
Susan HW: Yeah. As an unpublished podcast.
Jo Dodds: I like that idea. You've just reminded me. I don't think we talked at the beginning about what you actually do with your clients. You talked about going out and meeting them but you didn't say what you did, and you've just alluded to it now, so now is your opportunity. What do you actually do?
Susan HW: My company is Executive Voice and we train people to make an impact in the workplace through speaking, through body language, presence, being great public speakers, making an impact in meetings, stepping up and perhaps being the person that is going to be the spokesperson in the media, all of those sorts of things. On the telephone, but when you use your voice, when you use your body, when you use your body language.
Jo Dodds: I love the idea of sending, as you say, a mini podcast, an audio to potential clients. I might have to steal that one.
Susan HW: Go for it.
Jo Dodds: I'm not a Mac user, so GarageBand what does that actually do?
Susan HW: It's like Audacity.
Jo Dodds: Yep. Which is what I use on my laptop.
Susan HW: Only far, far easier to use.
Jo Dodds: Now you tell me. Excellent.
Susan HW: It's very user friendly and it's great fun.
Jo Dodds: Great. Any other tools or apps or shall we move on?
Susan HW: I use Asana if I'm working with somebody else, we will use that together so that we [inaudible 00:18:20] track where things are going, but now I've got this idea of tracker within Capsule. I think that I might change.
Jo Dodds: You can have other users on Capsule, can't you?
Susan HW: Yes.
Jo Dodds: I haven't used it myself collaboratively but I guess there's a way to do that through that. Asana is, as you say, very much about collaborative working and they've just re-designed themselves as well so it's even better than it was albeit it's very flexible, so it always worries me that people can move things around and delete things collaboratively as well which is sometimes a bit frustrating. Little Doddsy, my co-host, was in our Asana yesterday trying record one of the intros and suddenly thought she'd deleted whole task with all the intro written on it, but she hadn't. She had just clicked on the wrong line. She maybe could have done. It does ask you.
I think in the old days when I used to use it to begin with it used to be that you could delete something without it kicking up much of a fuss, but I think actually now to delete you have to actually specifically agree. It's a two-step process, so it's not as easy to mess it up as it used to be, so there we go.
Susan HW: That's [inaudible 00:19:40].
Jo Dodds: After all this busy work and getting things done what sort of things do you do to relax?
Susan HW: I do exercise. I've got this fit ... What's it called? VitaFit watch that I've been using and that's brilliant because it makes me focus that I need to do ten thousand words, ten thousand steps not words.
Jo Dodds: That would be easy, wouldn't it the words? I could do that.
Susan HW: Do that quite quickly. I do exercise. I go to the gym three or four times a week in the winter. In the summer I go swimming in a local lido because I love swimming outdoors and go walking, and I go body boarding when I'm down in Wales at our house down there. I do lots of sewing and crafty things and cooking. I love reading. I love going to the cinema and the theatre, all things like that, so lots of things. I don't do any music now.
Jo Dodds: You don't do anything.
Susan HW: Don't do any music now.
Jo Dodds: Music. Don't you? People listening won't know but you were an opera singer, so you don't do anything at all. That's interesting. Is that intentional or just because you haven't got time because it sounds like you do do a lot.
Susan HW: It's that I think I don't have time and I'm expressing myself creatively in other ways as some people would say.
Jo Dodds: I guess when you're a professional musician you sort of are giving your all to something. It's quite different to be doing something more socially and not ... Think about professional sports people. They probably still like to do sport but not in the same sort of way, so as you say you're creativity is coming out in perhaps a less pressurized way.
Susan HW: I think that's exactly right that I'm able to do other things and it's still fun.
Jo Dodds: Yes. Excellent. Lots of good exercise by the sound of it and doing some other getting out in the outdoors. What about eating? Do you have any particular dietary things that you do? You said you like cooking.
Susan HW: I like cooking. Virtually all of our food is home prepared which is good. I try and shove as many vegetables in as possible. My son has told people in the past that he's allergic to vegetables, so we have to make sure that the school or any organisation that he goes on trips with knows that he's fully capable of eating vegetables with no problems. We eat five a day fruit and vegetable and make sure that the food is nice and healthy and things like that. I do have a sweet tooth. I put my hand up to that. I'm naughty like that but I like to think in moderation.
Jo Dodds: I use xylitol in my cooking instead of sugar now which always makes me feel a bit better when I'm eating the cakes and bananas and dates and things like that rather than lots of sugar which ...
Susan HW: There are some good alternatives, aren't there? Dates I think is a really good idea.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. It's funny on the vegetable one that reminds me of my friend's daughter. She was going to have tea at a friend's house and afterwards my friend found out that she had told them that she was vegetarian even though she's not because she ...
Susan HW: Little monkeys aren’t they?!
Jo Dodds: ... didn't want to eat any of the meat that they had. I know. So funny. What about learning and development? You sound like you do so much and with the reading as well I'm sure you're probably thinking about self-improvement along the way as well. Do you have any particular strategies or resources or anything that you recommend about learning and improving yourself?
Susan HW: I love learning. I love finding out more about things. I think that you probably are the same. Always interested in new things, getting more knowledge. I'm a member of the Female Entrepreneur Association. Carrie Green. I don't know if you've come across her.
Jo Dodds: No.
Susan HW: She's absolutely wonderful, and she's got a membership group that part of it is on Facebook, but every month you get what's called a bundle, and there will be a topic that they focus on and this month it is about creating a membership club which isn't of particular interest to me, but a previous month was on webinars and another month was on creating systems for your business. Another month was actually on being healthy. Changing the way that you sort out your day so that you do take a walk, that you think about what you eat, that you do have exercise, you do have enough sleep. It's really, really good and I know that in January there will be a bundle on setting your goals for the year, which again, you know really good stuff and I've learned an awful lot.
There's been one on Facebook adverts. Really, really good stuff. Great content. Also I'm a member of a Mastermind group which is a self-running one, and every month one of us trains the others in something. The last two months it's been me training, and I've been doing things on podcasting because I've got a podcast and training them up about how to record and lots of different things about how to structure it. That's been great for me to do but great for them. They're all going to start doing podcasts as well as part of their marketing strategy. We had a couple of months ago one of my colleagues did a whole session on LinkedIn which again was fantastic.
We do share our knowledge in that way. I do listen to a couple of podcasts and read things. There are often things on LinkedIn that are good. I read The Times every morning online and there are usually some good articles in that too.
Jo Dodds: I don't know how you pack all this in. I thought I was busy.
Susan HW: I get up early, and also my son is fifteen now and grunts at me, so he doesn't want me there.
Jo Dodds: I was listening actually to a podcast earlier where they were interviewing Jeff, I can't think of his name, that does the Miracle Morning. Jeff Sanders, isn't it, I think his name is, and they were talking about the getting up at 5:00 thing and I was just thinking, "No." He was saying it's about getting up to suit you, so it may be 6:00 or it may be 7:00, but it's about fitting in things before the day starts and the guy he was talking to said that his children get up at 6:30 so when he decided 6:00 was his time and they get up sometimes a bit earlier, you know he's suddenly got five minutes to himself and so he realized that he really did need to make it a 5:00 start, whereas I fortunately have a daughter who is a night bird. She doesn't get up. Getting her up for school is really hard. For me a 6:30 or 7:00, I've still got plenty of time. What sort of time do you get up?
Susan HW: I get up at 6:50. I get up at the same time as my son because I would not like it if he went out without us being around.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. I suppose that's the equivalent of the other side, the old latch key kid but the opposite way round.
Susan HW: No. I'm always up with him, and we're all night birds in my family, so it's [inaudible 00:28:27] for all of us.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. Sounds like lots of learning and some great resources that you've shared. Thank you. I'll certainly be going and checking them out. I like the idea of a bundle. I just like the word. It just makes you feel like there's lots ...
Susan HW: It's brilliant, isn't it?
Jo Dodds: ... in there to learn.
Susan HW: [inaudible 00:28:43] great stuff.
Jo Dodds: What about any particular books or music of films or anything that you might recommend for learning or even just inspiration or enjoyment?
Susan HW: Do you know recently I've read a couple of books by Cheryl [inaudible 00:28:58] and I don't know if I've pronounced her correctly. There was an article about her this week in The Times anyway, but she wrote the book about the walk that she went on. There was a film made of it earlier this year. She also did a book that is the answers to questions, sort of agony aunt questions. For a long time she was anonymous, and the way that she answered things was so beautiful because she had real empathy with people that were going through a really hard time, really struggling with some very, very difficult life challenges, and it's particularly poignant because she's had a lot of major challenges herself in her life, and yet she was able to share and make people feel better.
It's just a beautiful read and humbling reading it, and helps you to realize that if you can really show that you understand what the other person is going through without being patronizing, it can be a real help.
Jo Dodds: That sounds really interesting. We'll have to put those in the show note. You said there were a couple of books that you've read.
Susan HW: Yes. If you like I'll email them.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. That would be lovely. Thank you. Yeah. Definitely. What about music with your music background?
Susan HW: I just love listening to music. I was beside myself last Thursday because Jeff Lynne from ELO was broadcasting live on Radio 2, and when I was a little girl ... I come from Birmingham, and ELO comes from Birmingham and there was a violinist who played a blue violin in ELO and I wanted to be that person. I also wanted to be in the Love Temptation Orchestra with Barry White at the same age.
Susan HW: Of course I did. I was already learning the violin. I was ready to go to Villa Park to play in the orchestra with Barry White.
Jo Dodds: Tell me, did you learn the violin in the end?
Jo Dodds: Brilliant. I went to see Bellowhead this week who I have never followed but my friend really liked them and I went to see the singer singing with a string quartet earlier in the year locally and just loved his voice and his style and so on, so, yeah. We went to see Bellowhead and absolutely it was just amazing, and I'm gutted that it was their farewell tour now I've just discovered them.
Susan HW: They'll come back. They'll have a revival. Five years’ time.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. I'm hoping so, but eleven musicians on the stage each of them playing, most of them playing at least two instruments and singing. As I said to my husband who is not so into music, I said, "With that many people on the stage it will just be interesting to watch what they're doing as well as listen obviously, but it will be interesting even if you don't really get what's going on because you will just have so much to look at." That was so true.
Susan HW: Definitely. Yes. I love listening to different styles of music and of course we're coming up to Christmas and I love cheesy music as well as the more traditional music, and I have moved to the Twelve Days of Christmas that had become a little bit legendary but lots of people now have learned them and are sharing, sharing those moves with more people.
Jo Dodds: I don't know what you're talking about. What's that? Tell me.
Susan HW: You know the Twelve Days of Christmas?
Jo Dodds: Yes.
Susan HW: On the first day of Christmas. I've learnt all of the moves. There are these little moves that you do to the first day of Christmas. Five gold rings and the three calling birds, all of that stuff. Yeah. It's a bit of a party thing.
Jo Dodds: Who knew? I didn't know about that. I'm going to have to pay attention to that. I do set off the Christmas carols in the house on the 1st of December because I think there's never enough time to listen to them so you've got to do it as soon as you can, but I can't do it before December.
Susan HW: Right. I also listen to the Christmas Carol, you know an audio version of that while I'm making cakes and things like that. Other music. I'm beginning to get into folk which is really interesting. I think that the narrative about it and the way that it's shared is really interesting, and I went to see a folk fiddle player called April Verch at the beginning of the month and she was over from Canada, and she collects different sorts of music which is brilliant and talked about the fiddle and everything. She plays the fiddle and dances at the same time which is awesome and didn't fall over which I would have done. She also sings, but she doesn't sing and play the fiddle at the same time.
Jo Dodds: Jon Boden does in Bellowhead, and I have to say, which did impress me, and he danced as well at one stage - all three.
Susan HW: At the same time?
Jo Dodds: Yeah. All three.
Susan HW: Epic. I would have loved to have seen that.
Jo Dodds: Brilliant. Lovely. Thank you. That was really, really inspiring and varied, which I like. I like variety. What about on a day if things don't go right? How do you deal with that?
Susan HW: Do you know sometimes the whatever hits the fan, doesn't it?
Jo Dodds: Yes.
Susan HW: When you're an entrepreneur there are challenges, there are things, and you think that you've hit a brick wall, or you have got a very difficult client. I had a very difficult situation that was resolved last week. I will say it was two hours before we presented a windup order to the high courts and finally we were paid. That took a lot of strength. I felt that I grew as a person for it because it would have been very easy to just back down from this bully, and we were completely in the right. That's clearly a strategy that this particular company has to avoid paying which is unacceptable.
As an entrepreneur particularly if you're working on your own, that's pretty tough to deal with because it's part of you, the business, isn't it?
Jo Dodds: Yes.
Susan HW: What I've learned from it is that there are people out there that can support you and give you advice and perhaps do the dirty work for you because the people that I had to do the work for me are used to dealing with very, very aggressive confrontational people.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. It's that's sort of, as you say, having people around you, resources, and people to support where you need that sort of thing.
Susan HW: Yes. Over the years I'd realised that it's okay to ask for help whether it's putting something in ... It depends. The nature of the help, but putting a post up on Facebook saying, "Look, is there anyone that knows this?" Can be very, very helpful when you don't have colleagues around you or you don't have a department in your organisation that can answer those questions. There are occasions when I have just switched everything off and I've gone for a swim, or gone for a walk, gone to make a cup of coffee. There's nothing wrong with that.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. Definitely. Just removing yourself from a situation, calming down, and things always look different, don't they later?
Susan HW: They do. They really do.
Jo Dodds: Yeah. Yeah, so what about ...
Susan HW: There's nothing ...
Jo Dodds: Sorry.
Susan HW: Nothing wrong with something going wrong. It happens to everybody. It's no reflection on you, the way that you run your business, or how good you are. It's just sometimes things happen or very occasionally there's a very naughty client.
Jo Dodds: I like that. A naughty client.
Susan HW: [inaudible 00:37:57].
Jo Dodds: That's helps ...
Susan HW: That's a very polite way of saying ...
Jo Dodds: Yes. I think it positions it nicely anyway when you're describing them as that because it puts them in their place, doesn't it?
Susan HW: Yes.
Jo Dodds: What about a day when you end the day knowing that you've had the chance to live more as I term, so meaning you've done the things that you want to do rather than the things that you feel like you should do or that you have to do. What will you have done?
Susan HW: Say last Saturday I had one of those days where I've really lived to the limit. It was a fantastic day. We took my son to a choir retreat, so we got rid of him. He was going off doing something that he really wanted to do, and, yes, he could have been with us and it would have been just as good, and then we went into London and we'd managed to get at the last moment tickets for Farinelli and the King. We'd wanted to go and see it and there were no tickets, and we kept going into the theatre, no tickets. These two turned up at 9:00 in the morning so we bought them. Went there and it was the most fantastic play with music. There were live musicians there. It was beautiful.
Then we wandered around the streets doing some window shopping as you do, and walked all the way to the RAC Club in Pall Mall where my husband had booked a table for us to dine in the evening in the beautiful 1920s ballroom which is where they have their restaurant, and so we enjoyed that. We loved the food. We chatted to the waiters. They gave us more food. They gave us more wine. "We thought you might be interested. Could you taste this wine? What do you think? What do you ... " Now, of course, we're not going to turn down any alchy like that. I'm sure it was because we were interested and enjoying it.
Then we sort of trotted home. Came back on the train and just had a good sigh and thought, "Wow. That was a great day."
Jo Dodds: Lovely, and you didn't mention work once. That's brilliant.
Susan HW: We didn't mention work once. No.
Jo Dodds: Lovely. Lovely. I like that.
Susan HW: [inaudible 00:40:30] my husband saying, "We've worked hard. We deserve this."
Jo Dodds: Yes. It's great. Lovely. We've come to the end of our interview. It's gone quick as ever, so tell people how they can find more about you and connect with you.
Susan HW: Yeah. I thank you very much for that. My full name is Susan Heaton-Wright and you can find me on LinkedIn. There are no other Susan Heaton-Wrights on LinkedIn. There is a Susan Heaton who I'm connected to, but also my website is ExecutiveVoice.co.uk. I'd be delighted to talk to you or if you want to subscribe to my newsletter, one goes out every fortnight with lots of tips, and always happy to have a chat.
Jo Dodds: But not if you're in the middle of training one of your clients.
Susan HW: Absolutely. Yes. The mobile will be switched off then.
Jo Dodds: Brilliant. Thank you so much, Susan. It's been a real pleasure interviewing you. Really enjoyed sharing your resources and thoughts and ideas and inspirational books and music and so on. I'm going to go and check out some of those links now. Thank you.
Susan HW: Great. Thank you very much for having me.