In this episode of The Committed Creative podcast, Amanda shares her journey from accidentally starting her own business after her son was born to building a successful career in podcasting, social media training, and teaching creativity.
Amanda speaks about the importance of blogging and content creation for businesses, the challenges of finding work-life balance as a self-employed creative, and the impact of social media on creativity.
Amanda also provides insights into her work with the Creative Schools program and offers advice for those looking to transition from a 9 to 5 job to pursue their creative passions.
If you ever wanted to make the break from the 9 to 5 and pursue your creative passions, then this is the podcast to listen to.
Find out more about Amanda on her Instagram.
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0:00:00 - (Amanda): You.
0:00:02 - (Carmen): Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the Committed Creative Podcast. I'm your host, Carmen Allen Patali. This week on the podcast, I chat with Amanda Kendall, who is a creative that wears many hats. Amanda is an avid podcaster. She's recorded, I think, over 300 episodes for her travel podcast, which she started eight years ago, and now she trains people on podcasting. She also works with companies training their teams in social media.
0:00:30 - (Carmen): She also goes into schools and teaches creativity. She does so many things. They're all brilliant. And I cannot wait to share this conversation with you, because let me tell you, the 45 OD minutes just flew by because chatting with Amanda is pure joy. So without further ado, let's dive in. Hi, Amanda, and welcome to the Committed Creative Podcast.
0:00:53 - (Amanda): Thank you, Carmen. It's lovely to be here.
0:00:55 - (Carmen): It's so great to have you, because to be honest, if it wasn't for you, I don't think I would have a podcast.
0:01:01 - (Amanda): I do remember being there right at the start.
0:01:04 - (Carmen): You were the one who trained me in podcasting, and I think I did, like, a short course with you, Dave, and I did a short course with you to get the podcast off the ground. And it was really the kick in the butt I needed to launch the podcast, because we'd been talking about it for ages and had never got our butts into gear. So thank you so much. I mean, this is like episode 80 or 81. Can't quite remember now.
0:01:29 - (Carmen): Yeah, been going for more than a year, and so thank you. Wouldn't have been able to do it without you.
0:01:35 - (Amanda): It makes me warms my heart immensely to hear that and to see that I've been able to play a little part in getting this great podcast out into the world.
0:01:45 - (Carmen): Thank you. Thank you. So aside from podcasting, though, you wear many hats. Perhaps you can start by just telling our audience, who is Amanda and what is it that you do?
0:01:58 - (Amanda): Yes, a lot of people kind of ask me this, and it's hard to summarize, but I think probably your audience is more likely to understand than most. So I have a background, basically, in writing and education, and those two things mean that I do it's hard to explain. I do a bunch of social media training, so I run workshops both for private people, for organizations like the tourism council, so I get to go out and talk to people about how they can best use social media to promote themselves or their businesses.
0:02:34 - (Amanda): I also am a casual lecturer at Murdoch Uni. So there I teach, for example, social media in the postgrad program, so people in communications degrees and love doing that. I have another hat with the creative schools program, where I go into both primary schools and high schools and run for, like, two terms a year. Some creative schools work with them, which results in fabulous, interesting projects.
0:03:02 - (Amanda): And I do increasing amount of work with podcasting, so I have my own podcast, the Thoughtful Travel podcast, which is turning eight soon, which is crazy and I know I can't believe it, I've never worked anywhere that long, but I've.
0:03:17 - (Carmen): Worked podcasting have been around for eight.
0:03:19 - (Amanda): Years, but there you go. The crazy thing is, when I started, I thought I might have missed the boat and I was starting too late, but as it turns out, it was right in time. So, because I have this blend of teaching and education and podcast, I've been doing podcasting, like workshops in schools and high schools and with the Care Schools program, giving kids a voice. Worked at Scribblers Festival this year, getting kids to interview authors and artists and yeah, all kinds of crazy stuff.
0:03:52 - (Amanda): And I still do freelance writing, so do a bit of magazine writing and few bits like that. And I've probably forgotten something, but that's kind of the main things that spring to mind when I think of where my income comes from.
0:04:06 - (Carmen): I love it. So many different hats. And also creative and diverse. How long have you been working for yourself now? Because I don't think I even know the answer to that.
0:04:15 - (Amanda): Yeah, so I actually started my business accidentally just after my little boy was born. He's not little anymore now he's nearly 14 and taller than me. So about 13 and a half years since I accidentally began having clients.
0:04:32 - (Carmen): I'd always liked flexibility.
0:04:34 - (Amanda): Sorry, partly no, my mum was self employed and that really when I knew I was going to be a parent. I thought I wanted that flexibility. But I had actually, just before he was born, been teaching ESL. I taught ESL, like in a few countries, lived away from Australia for a while and I came back and taught for a little bit here and I kind of thought, oh, once I have a baby, I can teach one or two days a week at the school I was at, that would have been possible.
0:05:02 - (Amanda): But then while I was on maternity leave, the school closed down and so that kind of became a non possibility. It was hard to get to like a day a week when it was people who didn't know me. And I started in the meantime, running a blogging, like a one day how to start a blog course through UWA's Extension program, which also doesn't exist anymore. But through that I started to meet people who wanted to hire me to consult to their small businesses and I was just teaching them how to blog, but often during that day they'd say, oh, do you do consulting or can you come and help us do this? And this? And social media hadn't even started then, but blogging started then. Social media really took off and so suddenly I had like a part time business doing this consulting while my little boy was little. And it just grew, it grew with him. So by the time he was at full time school, I had suddenly had a full time job doing this kind of work. So I always wanted to do this kind of thing. I didn't really know what it would look like and I was just ready for it and it came along. So bit of luck and a bit of looking out for something that would work for me and good flexibility.
0:06:14 - (Carmen): Amazing. So did you have your blog then? You say that you were coaching people in blogging. Did you already have your blog?
0:06:22 - (Amanda): Yeah, so my travel blog I started back in 2005, it's an adult, this year it's 18. So I'd started doing that when I was living in Germany, actually, and I was doing a fair bit of travel writing, magazine writing and stuff. And one of my travel one of my magazine editors said, oh, I've got this friend who needs someone to write a daily blog for his website. And I didn't really know what he meant, but he said the magic words of he'll pay you every week. And I was like, okay, all right, I'll do it. So I had a good kind of blogging gig for an American travel website, which actually ended up being bought by condonest. So it must have been okay.
0:07:03 - (Amanda): Yeah, so that was great. And then I thought after I'd started that, or maybe I'd need to have my own blog as well, so I started that and yeah, so 18 years later, I'm still blogging and podcasting now for nearly eight years as well. So all of that kind of gave me that background to be able to start teaching other people how to do something similar.
0:07:24 - (Carmen): Do you think blogs have had their heyday or do you think they're still as popular as they once were?
0:07:33 - (Amanda): I often teach people to call it something else, not a blog anymore because it doesn't seem right. But I think, like, things like Substack are really like, in some areas, substack newsletters are kind of you need to go down the Substac rabbit hole because it's fascinating and it's kind of like what blogging used to be in that people will write. They're kind of like posts and people will leave comments and there's a real community feel to it. So it's kind of like pre social media blogging, but a lot of authors I know and like thought leadery kind of people sorry, is it like Reddit?
0:08:10 - (Amanda): No, it's much more like a blog, really. So a lot of people use substack just to send newsletters and it's easy to get people it's got kind of like a patron kind of element to it. So you can get people to have paid subscriptions, but you don't have to. There's also lots of free ones and they run it through an app now, so it's really easy to have comments and community sort of stuff going because of that. And I've seen how popular some of those accounts have become.
0:08:38 - (Amanda): I feel like there's still an appetite for what blogs do or did, but I think content creation and influencers and stuff using TikTok or Instagram or something have kind of taken over that space that used to be occupied by blogging like ten years ago. So yeah, it's in flux, I would say.
0:09:01 - (Carmen): Yeah. And what about blogging for business, to get more traffic to your website, that kind of thing?
0:09:07 - (Amanda): Yeah, I still think that absolutely works and is still a good idea sometimes I just don't call it blogging, I just say you should have lots of good content on your website rather than necessarily calling it blogging. Necessarily calling it blogging because people seem to think that blogging is done and maybe it is, I don't really know. But the concept of having lots of blog posts or pieces of content on your website about particular topics, I think that's still really useful. You get lots of search engine traffic because of that authority and thought leadership stuff, so I think there's still definitely a place for that.
0:09:44 - (Carmen): So my job is not completely redundant yet then?
0:09:47 - (Amanda): Not even close to redundant. That's good to know. You are very much in need.
0:09:54 - (Carmen): Thank you. So I know there's a lot of people who listen to this podcast who want to step away from the nine to five and do their own thing like you did when your son was born. Did it take you a while to build up a client base?
0:10:06 - (Amanda): At first?
0:10:07 - (Carmen): How did you bridge that gap of full time income to developing your own client list?
0:10:15 - (Amanda): Yeah, so I was super lucky because I accidentally began when my son was really little and so I wasn't ready to be working full time. So it was just really good timing in that sense that in the first couple of years of his life, I would work really only two days a week and he would be in daycare those couple of days and I'd do bits and pieces around it, but not much more than that. And I was able to build up that client base over those first few years as he got older.
0:10:46 - (Amanda): So not everyone has that luxury. But if you are in a nine to five and you can sort of side hustle it for a bit and start to build a client base before you step away, then that's hard work. But it's possible or just time it to when you're going to have a kid and it worked out for me, it's not always as easy as that, but yeah, so I was really lucky because I didn't have to hustle really hard to build up a client list.
0:11:13 - (Amanda): I mean, one thing is there weren't many people doing the kind of work I was doing, so that helped. And so word of mouth sent me lots of clients in those early days and yeah, they kind of just came at the right pace really. So as my son grew and I had more hours available, the work kind of arrived. So I know I'm pretty lucky in that respect.
0:11:35 - (Carmen): And would you ever go back to working for someone else?
0:11:39 - (Amanda): No. 100%? No. I don't think there's any job title or any amount of money or anything in the world that would send me back to be employed by I think I'm unemployable. I love my flexibility, I don't like being told what to do and I'll work really long hours but I want to do them for me, not for someone else. And I want to do them when I want to do them.
0:12:03 - (Carmen): Yeah, I don't think I've ever had anyone on the podcast who said, yeah, I want to go. No one's ever said that. Well done for sticking to the trend. How do people find out about you now? Because obviously you've definitely made a name for yourself, certainly in Perth. And did it take a long time for that word of mouth to grow? Because I know that some people get concerned about marketing themselves and whether they're going to have enough income coming in. Did it take a long time to kind of once your son was a bit older to make the business a full time thing?
0:12:43 - (Amanda): Looking back, it felt like a long time at the time because especially once my son was in full time school and then I became a single parent and so I was quite stressed about making sure I had enough income and so I was always, oh, I need a bit more, I need a bit more. But looking back, it was actually fairly organic and although I think I had a couple of things that were lucky. So for example, I was doing the work at UWA Extension and I know that being associated, a lot of my clients told me oh yes, well because you were connected to UWA, I thought it must be know, kind of that reputation rubbed off a little bit. So that was kind of a handy thing like you. I like going to networking events. I don't get to many because it's always been hard with a kid and stuff.
0:13:34 - (Amanda): But I do like those and I can pinpoint a bunch of those instances where I met just the right person who a few years later was know. Oh hey, we've got some lecturing at Murdoch. Would you be interested? Or someone else? And they're like, oh yeah, we've got this work going here. I think networking and genuinely just enjoying meeting people makes a big difference to building that reputation. So I know some people hate that and so that's harder. I think then probably you have to work harder online to really establish it to be more well known.
0:14:08 - (Amanda): And as you know, Perth is not so huge, so once a few people know you, you're kind of connected to everyone and I think that's helpful as well.
0:14:17 - (Carmen): And what about social media? Do you find that's a good marketing tool for getting your name out there?
0:14:23 - (Amanda): So, certainly in the early days I posted heaps on social media and that definitely helped a lot. And that was especially Facebook, I think. And I knew my audience well. I was after small business owners and really small business owners. I did try working in working for some corporates doing social media contracting, and it was awful. So I was like, no, give me the small people, they're much, much nicer to work with.
0:14:48 - (Amanda): And so Facebook worked really well for that. And these days LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn these days. There's always really interesting people posting lots of interesting stuff to engage. I was if I was trying to build up work these days, I would be looking at LinkedIn to do it. At the moment, I don't need too much more work, so I try not to be too much too out there.
0:15:12 - (Carmen): Yeah, exactly. And I feel like Facebook's bit dead for organic traffic these days. It's so hard to get eyeballs on your business through Facebook. I definitely think LinkedIn is the way to go. What would be some good tips for posting on LinkedIn that you would recommend doing?
0:15:28 - (Amanda): I mean, I think it's important to let people know the kind of things you're good at, but without big noting yourself, just demonstrating, oh, I've just done this, run this workshop, and explain what you love about doing it, for example. And also if you've got some issues that you're particularly interested in that are relevant, maybe, I don't know, in content space. If you have an opinion about AI or something, just post about the kinds of issues that establish you as being someone who knows what they're talking about, I think, and engage with other people who are similar or who are your target market, but genuinely engage. Not just go through and leave flippant comments, but just genuinely engage and get to know people. So I think if you're curious about people, like I'm insanely curious and I want to know how everyone ticks, then it's really easy to do that without thinking too hard about it.
0:16:24 - (Carmen): Have you ever done any Cold outreach on LinkedIn? I've never done it myself, but I have heard of people who've done it and been successful.
0:16:32 - (Amanda): No, I actually never have, and I'm not very good at cold anything. I think, like, I feel all of that. Any kind of cold marketing makes me feel a bit nervous and I don't really like being on the receiving end of it either, unless it's really well targeted, so I haven't. But it must work because you get a lot of it. So it must work for some people. And I suppose if you're really careful about targeting the people who could really need your service and you don't sound too spammy about it, then I guess it probably does work.
0:17:05 - (Carmen): Yeah, I remember we had Sandra Chacoli on the podcast. Do you know her? She is like a LinkedIn expert. Anyway, she was saying that a good way to do it is like if your target market is real estate agents, you create a PDF that has useful tips just for them and then you email them that free download or something so they've actually got something useful and then you take the conversation from there. I thought that was a good tip because it's better than just those dry emails.
0:17:34 - (Carmen): I think everyone gets them every day, right, where they're like, hi, do you want to increase the traffic to your website? My SEO services are great.
0:17:43 - (Amanda): Yeah, exactly. I get the daily one is, would you like us to be editing your podcast or getting you more podcast listeners? I'm like, yeah, no, go away.
0:17:55 - (Carmen): Yeah. Do you do all your podcast editing.
0:17:57 - (Amanda): Yourself or do you yes, no, I do all of it myself because I'm very particular, so I didn't used to in the early days, someone else edited it for me, but now I do it all myself and I couldn't imagine outsourcing it because I actually quite enjoy it. It's my downtime when I'm not teaching or talking and stuff. It's a nice quiet activity and I'm really fussy about editing now, so I could not tell someone else what to do.
0:18:26 - (Amanda): No one else would meet my standards.
0:18:30 - (Carmen): I edit mine myself as well. How long does it take you per episode to get out onto the airwaves?
0:18:37 - (Amanda): It's best I try not to think about it too much because sometimes it's way too long because most of my episodes will have an extract from three different interviews and I like the creative part that I love. Each episode has a particular topic and I'm kind of blending them together and finding bits. So, for example, at the moment, I'm editing an episode about giving back on your travel. So I've got three very different people who've been involved with some aspect of giving back on your travel and I'm trying to find the right chunks of their interviews and edit them together and put my bits in between to make it all sound cohesive.
0:19:13 - (Amanda): So it takes like quite a few hours per episode, but really enjoyed doing it. And I started with that format right from the beginning. And yeah, I do also do different episodes that are just sometimes a single interview or when we've been traveling, like a chat with my friend about our trip, that kind of thing, which are obviously much quicker. But the average episode is those pretty long ones. But it's the creative process of it. I really enjoy it, so that's okay.
0:19:44 - (Amanda): It is what it is.
0:19:45 - (Carmen): I love that you do that. It's so professional. There's not many podcasts where it's edited and three people are interviewed. It's awesome. I love that.
0:19:55 - (Amanda): Yeah, I started it that way. Just because back eight years ago, podcast quality was often a bit up and down, because eight years ago there weren't so many podcasts and I would often listen to a few where they would have guests on for the whole episode and they'd be rambly and not well edited, and I would just turn them off if I didn't particularly like that.
0:20:14 - (Carmen): Guest.
0:20:15 - (Amanda): And I just wanted to avoid that, really not really thinking through about how much work it would be. But I'm really glad I've done it because it suits the topics of my podcast. So I'm happy that it's just takes time, but that's okay.
0:20:29 - (Carmen): And has it helped your business? I mean, obviously now you're training kids and adults in podcasting, so in that regard it certainly has. Have you seen many other knock on benefits?
0:20:40 - (Amanda): So there's those two parts. So one is yes, now I'm doing consulting and training in podcasting, and then also, of course, because it's a travel podcast, then I'm being sent on trips and getting writing work based off those trips and stuff like yeah, so the podcast sent me to Thailand and Japan this year, so I don't have time to travel much more than that. So I'm happy about that. It's doing its job nicely there.
0:21:05 - (Amanda): And then I get this other kind of consulting and training work from the generic podcasting skill that I guess that running this podcast demonstrates. It's weird how all of this work sort of intertwines.
0:21:19 - (Carmen): Yeah, I didn't realize those trips were paid for by the podcast.
0:21:23 - (Amanda): Yeah, absolutely. So they were hosted trips. I'm very lucky listening.
0:21:32 - (Carmen): And they want to sponsor the committed.
0:21:33 - (Amanda): Creative I'm always yeah. Where'd you want to go, Carlin?
0:21:38 - (Carmen): Yeah, somewhere I could talk about business anywhere in the world.
0:21:41 - (Amanda): Absolutely need to go on a research trip that's sponsored somewhere.
0:21:47 - (Carmen): Yeah, right, exactly. So tell us about the Creative Schools initiative because my friend Kristen also was working with you on that and I hope to get her on the podcast sometime soon, but it sounds like a really great thing for kids. So could you explain a little bit more about that, please?
0:22:07 - (Amanda): Yes, very gladly. I've been working with them for a couple of years now, so it's actually run through form who do all kinds of creative work across the state, and each year they hire a bunch of creative practitioners, we are called. So a lot of them in the past have been visual artists, but they can also be writers, in my case podcasters or musicians, any kind of creative practice. And we're paired up with a classroom teacher, sometimes in primary, sometimes in high school, and we'll go into those classes for a 90 minutes session a week every week for two terms, term two and term three, usually.
0:22:45 - (Amanda): And we don't teach, we team teach with that teacher. We kind of co teach using these creative schools principles they've got. So kind of the idea is that a lot of kids are taught to study for the test and get things right and let's try and increase their creative abilities because that's going to stand them in good stead for basically everything in life, as I'm sure that anyone listening to the Committed Creative podcast would agree.
0:23:12 - (Amanda): So we get some fabulous training and get out there and do some fabulous projects with these teachers and then we reflect on those a lot, reflect weekly, and then come back all together at the end of those two terms and have a massive reflection session. And yeah, the projects are always amazing. I've done a couple of schools each year, so had a really real variety of topics that we've covered, so we just get one aspect of the curriculum. So this year, for example, in my year five class down in Winthrop primary, we were looking at Hass and moondine Joe, and so the kids ended up creating these kind of choose your own adventure online paths. And they filmed parts, filmed bits of drama, they wrote stories. They have pictures that they painted and put all of this kind of media stuff together to create.
0:24:09 - (Amanda): Know, what if Moondain Joe had not escaped jail? What if Moondain Joe had had six kids and all of these kind of alternative paths to history. And so they learnt their history super well, but they got to have lots of agency and autonomy and having all these other cool ideas that they could put together. So, I mean, I could talk about the program for about ten years, but that's an example and a taste of it. So, yeah, it's just fabulous. The kids get so much out of it. And the idea is also that the teachers that we partner with will go on and use those principles for the rest of their teaching career as well.
0:24:44 - (Carmen): That's amazing. So if someone's listening and they want their kids school to be involved in it, how would you recommend that they reach out to make it happen?
0:24:54 - (Amanda): There's a lot of schools wanting to be involved, so it's a fairly competitive process, I think. But the Creative Schools website, just Google Creative Schools, has some information for schools to apply. So a parent would have to go into the school and say, hey, we should get onto this, and perhaps the school is already trying to get onto this, we need more and more funding. I think there was 20 or 20 schools in there last year, a couple of classes per school.
0:25:23 - (Carmen): That's great. Kids are so creative and then we hit adulthood and we seem to lose that creativity or we just don't prioritize it. I think that's more what it is. And I've heard so many people say, oh, I'm just not creative, or I don't draw or I don't have a creative bone in my body, all those kinds of things. Why do you think we change like that when we come into adulthood? And how can we tap into our creativity more and do more creative activities and prioritize that in our lives.
0:26:01 - (Amanda): Again, that's a very big question. How do we lose it? I think that starts way back, even in primary school, when we are taught to get results, and that gets much worse through high school. And if you have to get an ATAR or you have to whatever, it's very results oriented. And so that already takes out a lot of the creativity. Like, one of the biggest things I had with this year five class was that they're pretty a really academically strong school, they're really competitive, and they're sure there's one right answer. And of course, when you're being creative, there's not one right answer. There's lots of right answers.
0:26:39 - (Amanda): It's just a completely different way of thinking. And they were terrible at working together because you can't work together because you're my competitor, but we need to work together in lots of ways. So those were the two key things we had to kind of overcome with those year Fives. And it's the same as we get through high school. And university is not much younger already.
0:26:58 - (Carmen): To be so competitive, don't you think?
0:27:01 - (Amanda): Yes, and I think perhaps it's usually a high school thing, but in this particular in Winthrop, it's a really high the demographics are that they're really high academic achievers. And so that gets started really early. Like, when I went into that school, the teacher said to me, the biggest problem is they're all being sent to tutors, but not to catch up on things, to get ahead. Perhaps it's often more in high school where that creativity starts to be thumped out of people.
0:27:34 - (Amanda): But as far as adults go, I think it really hurts my heart when you hear people say, like you said, I don't have a creative bone in my body when you hear people say that, because everyone creativity is so many things. Creativity is definitely not art. I can't draw well. No one can recognize what I draw, but I still like to scribble and doodle away. I'll never be on a wall anywhere. But creativity is a way of thinking, and you can be a creative engineer, and you don't have to be an artist or a musician or something to be creative.
0:28:12 - (Amanda): And yeah, I think it's really sad that people sort of stop giving themselves permission to play. I think a lot of it is to play and just to do something without a necessary purpose. You may not finish something, you may not achieve something, but just to kind of play and let yourself be more creative. I don't know how to make adults do that, but I wish they would a lot more because there's so many benefits in lots of aspects of life.
0:28:42 - (Carmen): I think one of the reasons why we've lost it a bit as well is because of hate to say it, social media, because I know that's your other.
0:28:52 - (Amanda): But you're right.
0:28:53 - (Carmen): Media. But people like that time that we used to spend before we're attached to our phones, I would look out the window or have to fill our time with other things. It would often be creative things like drawing or even reading a book, but.
0:29:05 - (Amanda): Now or crafts and stuff.
0:29:07 - (Carmen): Exactly. I feel like that's all being lost and now our default is to just pull out our phone and scroll and that's how we're spending our time and that is not very creative at all.
0:29:20 - (Amanda): No, exactly. Yeah, no, I totally agree with you and it's really sad. I try really hard to I mean, my phone is still nearby because if I'm doing something like, I'm not really good at any crafty things, but I like doing crafty things. I was brought up like that. My mum and my NAN always did craft stuff with us, so I'll crochet or I'll various bits and pieces and my phone's nearby still because I'm probably listening to a podcast or something while I do it, or an audiobook, but at least I'm not scrolling.
0:29:49 - (Amanda): But I'm quite strict with myself to make sure I do that because I know especially while you're doing those things often it's when your brain wanders and you get cool ideas as well. And it's just nice to be doing something different to what you do all the rest of the day.
0:30:08 - (Carmen): I do think it's important to carve out that time. So tell me about the work you're doing with the tourism body because I know that you're flying around the state and training people in social media. So do you have a common, not a complaint, but a common difficulty that a lot of these people face when they're doing social media for business that comes up time and time again and what is it?
0:30:34 - (Amanda): Yeah, so a few things. The biggest thing is time because they are probably like many of your listeners, small business owners, and if you're in the tourism space, especially when it's peak season, you're really busy, like nonstop, very early till very late often, so it's really hard to find the time. So I'm always trying to train them how to kind of do a little bit of social media on the fly. Just throw up a picture here and don't worry too much about this.
0:31:04 - (Amanda): So time is a big issue and also confidence, I think it might be, especially in rural WA where they haven't had as much, they haven't had people like me come and kind of hold their hand a bit and show them what to do. So a lot of them are like, oh, but I don't know what to post, or I don't know, but that's not good enough, or all that kind of stuff. And so I try and say to them, you've got all this amazing stuff happening, you're out in this beautiful landscape where you've got these great tour guests or these beautiful properties. So the content just makes itself, it's all out there and just be you just be natural. And it shouldn't be like high fluten marketing kind of stuff that sounds all professional.
0:31:49 - (Amanda): Just be yourself because that's who your potential customers want to meet so that they know what they're going to get when they get there. So I think, yeah, probably time and confidence are the biggest issues that I've seen from those business owners.
0:32:03 - (Carmen): Yes, absolutely. Good tips there. And if a business approached you and they were like, oh, I'm confused, like, should I be on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok? There's so many platforms, it's so overwhelming. What kind of advice would you give them if they're struggling to choose where to focus?
0:32:22 - (Amanda): So, a couple of things. First of all, where is their audience? So who's their target market and where are they spending a lot of time? So, for example, if your audience was people or your target market was people over the 70, I wouldn't recommend TikTok necessarily, for example, so where's your audience? And also, I always encourage them. Like, where is your interest? It's much easier to do well on a platform that you use yourself.
0:32:45 - (Amanda): So maybe, yes, you should be on Instagram, but you're actually totally non visual and you don't ever take any pictures or whatever, so then maybe LinkedIn will work better for you or whatever. So I think it's a really hard sell to do your own marketing on a platform that you hate or just don't enjoy. So, yeah, where can you imagine spending a bit more time? And so hopefully those two things overlap and then that's where they can play and start promoting better.
0:33:20 - (Carmen): Yes, good advice. And you mentioned previously that something that they struggle with is time as well. Do you have any good tips for do you schedule your social media? What is the best way to save time in terms of social media? I know I feel so good when I've scheduled a lot of content in advance and had like a content day, but sometimes I even struggle to do that. Do you have any tips for batch content creation or anything like that?
0:33:47 - (Amanda): Yeah, I think a bit of a combo is often the best. So there might be like a certain kind of post that you can really easily batch a few weeks ahead. So I was working with a small business yesterday who have a lot of archival photos and stuff. And so they've started doing, like, Throwback Thursday, and their audience loves it. And they'll talk about that old building and this old and so they've kind of scheduled that's easy to schedule. They've got a bunch of content.
0:34:14 - (Amanda): They can sit down one day and schedule a bunch of Throwback Thursdays into the future and then some more of that in the moment, kind of off the cuff stuff, kind of works well. So I think it depends. It's also a bit of a personality thing. Do you really like sitting down and batching a bunch of stuff? If so, do that. Some people just will never do it. And then I say, don't stress about it, just aim that three times a week you're going to post something.
0:34:42 - (Amanda): I think the timing and the regularity is I think it doesn't matter so much these days, exactly what time you get it out or anything like that, but just trying to be consistent enough so that there's regular posts, whatever kind of volume is probably going to work, both for your customers and for you. So, yeah, I used to be really disciplined myself about scheduling everything out, and now I mostly post off the cuff.
0:35:11 - (Amanda): And especially now because it's so much easier from a phone. Like for any of the social media platforms, it all works really well. So I kind of tend to be more oh, I see something or something happens to me and up it goes.
0:35:25 - (Carmen): Yes, that's so good. Yeah. I know that a lot of people struggle with the time factor and I guess it's not just creating the image and designing that, but it's also writing the captions. But I guess chat GPT now can help with that. Have you used AI much in your content creation?
0:35:44 - (Amanda): I don't, because I love writing, so I just write it myself. But what I do use is otter a lot to speak write. So, for example, if I'm driving somewhere, then I will often dictate a post or dictate posts or dictate stuff that needs to be done into otter, so that when I get home, it's there and it's at my computer ready to go.
0:36:07 - (Carmen): Does that just transcribe what you're saying?
0:36:10 - (Amanda): Yeah, so there's lots of tools that do it. I just happen to like otter and it seems to understand me. Well, there's a free version and I think the free version does it. I've got the paid version, but I'm pretty sure the free version still has everything there. So it's otter, like the animal otter. Cool.
0:36:31 - (Carmen): And you were going to say something else as well about I was just.
0:36:34 - (Amanda): Going to say, yeah, obviously I've played around a lot with Chat GPT because I have to, so that I can tell my clients what I think. And I'm still really reluctant to recommend it for anything that you're actually going to publish because it's just really risky that people don't really check it well, or either don't check what it's saying, like, as in, does it make sense? Don't fact check it. I've seen plenty of Chat GPT generated stuff that is got full of errors.
0:37:07 - (Amanda): It depends. It's probably a case for it in some places, but also, as a uni lecturer, I am really sick of having to look at essays that have been written by Chat GPT. I'm probably a little bit more ante than most.
0:37:21 - (Carmen): Can you tell immediately if it's Chat GPT because you know the student.
0:37:27 - (Amanda): And also it's just not the right kind of answer to the kind of stuff. The assessment types we set just don't lend themselves to chat GPT. And also, I know the students and I know what they're going to talk about and how they're going to say it. And if they suddenly sound very different, then that's a bit of a red flag.
0:37:47 - (Carmen): Yeah, I saw an email the other day and you know, when you ask chat GPT something, it says certainly exclamation mark. They had just literally copied and pasted this EDM where it says certainly exclamation mark, and then the email is so chat GPT and it was all Americanized spelling. I'm like, you still need a good writer even if you're going to use chat GPT to go over it and make the content good. I think people just think it's going to replace writers. And I'm like, no, because you still need to make sure it sounds like you.
0:38:17 - (Carmen): They're saying the right thing, they're fact checking it's in the right tone of voice, all that stuff. And chat GPT just can't really master it yet.
0:38:26 - (Amanda): No. Yes. I don't think writers can ever be properly replaced by AI in that sense. I use it for idea generation stuff. So little things like, I'm running into a classroom and I want an activity that's got 30 nouns in it. So instead of racking my brains for it, I'll tell chat GPT to make me a list of 30 everyday objects or whatever. So I use it for that kind of stuff a lot and I think for idea generation, fabulous. But when it comes to really writing stuff, I mean, I'm a writer, I love writing, I don't want to be replaced, so I'm going to write it myself, thanks very much. That's how I feel.
0:39:02 - (Carmen): I feel like the few times I've tried to use it, it's actually made my work take longer because exactly. You're like, no, I don't like this. And then you're trying to nurture the chat GBT into what you want and you're like, I'm just going to write it myself because I know what I want to say.
0:39:17 - (Amanda): Exactly.
0:39:17 - (Carmen): And I'm like, why am I using it?
0:39:19 - (Amanda): Yeah, exactly. If you just started yourself from scratch, you would have been done already.
0:39:24 - (Carmen): And what about I mean, you've touched on it briefly there, about your uni students using chat GPT. Do you think AI has the potential to reduce critical thinking because it's so important to be able to analyze text or just critical thinking everyday life in order to problem solve and to really advance society as a whole? Think AI has the power. I mean, it's a huge question, but to take away some of that aspect of critical thinking, like, if the kids of the future are just like, oh, I just need an answer and I'm not going to even bother to even consider my thoughts, I'm just going to type it into the computer and get an answer.
0:40:04 - (Carmen): Do you think that could take away.
0:40:06 - (Amanda): Some of I think there's lots of parts of technology that are affecting critical thinking. So Chat GPT for sure, but also the way social media silos things. So the algorithms of social media mean, like, for example, with the referendum recently, everyone I knew in the world on social media was voting yes, and yet a majority of the country voted no. So obviously my social media has siloed me into all these like minded people, which is kind of comfortable, but also not great for critical thinking either, because then you're exposed less and less to other viewpoints.
0:40:46 - (Amanda): So that's already a problem. I agree exactly what you said about Chat GPT, kind of, or AI in general. Meaning, oh, you might think less about things because you can just get an answer and throw it in. So I think it's a real problem. For example, in schools, there's lots of ways that teachers can be asking or setting the kinds of assessment tasks or tasks that encourage critical thinking. So if there's more of that, that can help. But yeah, I don't know. Yeah, it's a big question and I think that lots of technology stuff is affecting it. And we really need good critical thinkers more than ever, I think, because we've got plenty of problems facing the world and we really need people to be able to assess knowledge and look at options and figure out different paths forward and compare things. And those skills are really important.
0:41:43 - (Amanda): So, yeah, we need to find ways to nurture that, and technology is perhaps not good at that at all.
0:41:51 - (Carmen): So true. Do you think it's beneficial for teachers to learn more about AI, mainly because they can ask questions in a way that can keep encouraging that critical thinking and set assessments that can't be answered by Chat GPT and everything? But also I know that there are ways that AI can assist in the classroom in terms of lesson planning, like what you said. And I think sometimes teachers don't even know those little tools that might help them. And I know a lot of teachers are overworked at the moment, and perhaps AI is a hidden gem in some ways that could be beneficial to these teachers.
0:42:25 - (Amanda): Yeah, I don't know much about how teachers are using AI. I wonder if there's a bunch of students reports being written by AI this semester, for example, it's report writing or been report writing time. If I was a teacher and I was churning out 100 or 200 reports, I probably would be very tempted. But you're right. Yes, it's the same. I think teachers are so underresourced and overworked in Australia, and it would be great if they were better educated about AI for lots of those reasons.
0:42:57 - (Amanda): But also, yeah, I don't know, we need to pay teachers a lot more. I have a strong opinion about how overworked and underpaid and we don't appreciate them enough underappreciated our teachers are.
0:43:11 - (Carmen): Yeah, so true. And I mean, they have the most important job. It's like educating the future.
0:43:15 - (Amanda): The future generation, exactly, yeah, that's right. The rest of the stuff doesn't happen if we don't get kids through school and turn them into great adults.
0:43:24 - (Carmen): Absolutely agree.
0:43:25 - (Amanda): Crazy.
0:43:25 - (Carmen): Yeah. And so just going back to social media again, do you ever get business owners who are very reluctant to get onto social media and what kind of words of encouragement would you give them to break them in? Slowly, I suppose.
0:43:40 - (Amanda): Yes. I do sometimes get very reluctant social media users who are kind of just maybe in a workshop or in a consulting session with me because sort of someone said they have to I try and accommodate that. There's no point then telling them, all right, well, now you have to post five times a week on Facebook and six times on LinkedIn and blah, blah, blah. So we go slowly, slowly and figure out what one single platform might be that they might be able to kind of feel comfortable, more comfortable with than others.
0:44:11 - (Amanda): And I also really demonstrate to them the value to their business and explain, if you did this, these are the consequences, and these people would see you. So try and kind of get them over that hurdle as well. So, yeah, gently, gently, because it's better to do like one post a week than none. So start slow and persuade them and hopefully over time, the results persuade them that it is worthwhile and then they're okay.
0:44:41 - (Carmen): Yeah. Speaking of results, have you ever worked with a tourism company that's seen some great results from their social media strategy that they've implemented? And what kind of techniques did they use?
0:44:52 - (Amanda): I can't think of one single example off the top of my head, but if I think of a bunch of different businesses I've worked with, I mean, tourism is a pretty easy area to promote on. Social media got to be like the easiest, right? It's one of the easiest because it's like a happy thing. The barrier is that it can be really expensive and you can be talking to a lot of people who are actually never going to come to especially in Western Australia, they're never going to come to your part of the world, so you can get a lot of reach and engagement really easily. But are they the people who are actually going to convert and actually spend thousands of dollars to be near you and then take part in your tour or whatever?
0:45:31 - (Amanda): But I think the most successful campaigns I've seen with them, often lots of video, because these days video really works beautifully and often they're really small businesses and they've thought, oh, video is too much, I can't do it. And so when we talk about ways to make really simple reels or TikTok or whatever they're doing, but make them really simple, but really just show exactly what's happening and add their personality into it. And I think those have often been the most successful ones, because people are much more inclined to buy from people, and beautiful landscapes are wonderful and everyone's enticed to come, but if they're going to spend money, they want to think, oh, well, I know this nice bloke who's doing these tours or this woman who runs these whale watching. She seems so lovely. And I think that the personality plus showing the experience helps a lot.
0:46:22 - (Carmen): Yes, because everyone's seen those super polished tourism videos and not just from tourism WA, but from travel bloggers now when they've got the fancy drones and they're really polished videos. But I guess what you're saying is that it doesn't have to be super polished to get a good reach, I think.
0:46:40 - (Amanda): Yeah, absolutely. And I think those the influencers and the tourism boards, they're great for that dreaming phase. But a small business needs people to buy. They don't need millions of people to watch their video of dolphins. They need 1000 people to sign up for a dolphin tour or whatever. And then it doesn't have to be amazing, perfect stuff. People like seeing just the everyday. This is what we did today. We went on the boat and look what we saw and just imagining what it would be like to be there. Because when you see that beautiful drone photography and all that stuff, you can't imagine yourself in that picture.
0:47:15 - (Amanda): It's just something you see on a screen. Whereas if you can sort of feel like, okay, so if I went there, this is what it would be like, then that's much more enticing to actually get you to pull out your credit card or whatever.
0:47:28 - (Carmen): Yes, good point. It's like all those behind the scenes videos, people love a sneak peek at what it's really like. That's a great point.
0:47:35 - (Amanda): Absolutely. Yeah.
0:47:38 - (Carmen): I can't believe that's like our time already really fast. But if you met someone who was perhaps in a corporate nine to five and they were hating their job and wanted to quit and go all in on their creative pursuits, what kind of tidbit of advice would you give them?
0:47:55 - (Amanda): Perhaps we can okay. It's such a good question.
0:48:00 - (Carmen): I know questions in advance.
0:48:03 - (Amanda): Maybe I should I feel like I want to say something really profound here because I just think people should do this. I've got lots and lots of things I would say and start small or start on the side or whatever, but I think one of the most important things I would say is kind of reimagine your future. And I think lots of people in corporate jobs nine to five s and stuff, they've kind of got used to having a certain income level or certain things and certain habits that they do.
0:48:34 - (Amanda): And they're doing it just because that's part of earning X dollars or going into the city to work every day or whatever, and I would encourage them to kind of dream differently. And my life is not at all like anyone who works a nine to five. And in some ways, it's very simple. I have a really old car and I don't care because it gets me around most days. I don't even drive it anywhere because I'm working here or I'm traveling or whatever, and I don't care. So that's great.
0:49:03 - (Amanda): And I don't aim for a huge salary because I would rather that I got to travel several times a year and work less. So I think sometimes that can be a barrier because people are trying to convert into the same lifestyle but not working for someone. And so perhaps just completely throwing that out and starting, what would they really like their life to be like? And seeing how they can find a way to work for themselves in that kind of context, perhaps is one important way to look at it.
0:49:39 - (Carmen): Yes. Great advice. Really good advice. Thank you so much, Amanda. This has been awesome. I can't believe it took me this long to get you on the podcast, seeing as you're the reason I have the podcast in the first place.
0:49:49 - (Amanda): It's all right. It's been lovely to chat and, yeah, it's been a wide ranging conversation, so I love being able to talk about all the different things I do. So thank you so much. Awesome.
0:49:58 - (Carmen): And well done for your business, because you're doing a great job, even if you're wearing a million hats, it's great to see it's.
0:50:05 - (Amanda): Okay. I love the million hats.
0:50:09 - (Carmen): Thank you for listening to the Committed creative podcast. I would be ever so appreciative if you could head on over and subscribe to the pod or leave me a review. Or if you're so inclined, head on over to my website, redplatypuscreative.com, and send me an email with some feedback. I'm all ears. Until next time, here's to going all in on your creative pursuit.