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Creating Your Content Marketing Strategy with Heather Chavin

May 9, 2022
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

As independent consultants, our approach to publishing content is often haphazard and inconsistent: the topic depending on what issues are top of mind, and the schedule based on our client workload. One way to ameliorate that is to create a content marketing plan: some guiderails to help us stay on track.

In this episode,Heather Chavin and Alastair McDermott discuss what a content marketing strategy looks like for an independent consultant, how thinking of it as a funnel can be useful for content ideation, and why time management is key to successful content production.

They also discuss how to dig deeper into your client’s problem and symptoms to create content ideas, how to analyse what’s working in your content strategy, and why being number 1 is so important.

Show Notes

Guest Bio

Heather is Founder & CEO of GoGoDone, a productivity and marketing community for solopreneurs. The community works side-by-side on their own businesses in coworking sessions, sprints, and a premium community for audience-building. She has over 15 years in marketing and coaching.


people, funnel, business, solopreneur, linkedin, management, podcast, social media, marketing, failure, spend, map, build, person, book, coaching, important, clients, money, niche

Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Heather Chavin


Heather Chavin  00:00

Ideating from the bottom means understanding how you can really help people. And then you’ve got to create like moving backwards. How did they get there? And how can you help them understand that you’re worth trusting and that you are able to deliver on your promises.


Voiceover  00:16

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field, so you can increase your reach, have more impact, and work with great clients. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:32

Before we get into today’s episode, I just want to briefly let you know about a free email course that is available at It’s a free seven day email course on how to become a recognized authority, you can subscribe to that just by visiting  So today, my guest is Heather Chavin. And Heather is founder and CEO of GoGoDone, which is a productivity and marketing community for solopreneurs. So my kind of people. And the community works side by side, on their own businesses in co working sessions sprints, and a premium community for audience building, which sounds fascinating. And she has 15 years, over 15 years in marketing and coaching. And I know Heather through, well, through seeing lots of your content on LinkedIn, but you did a brilliant job with. I also know you through Jonathan Baillie Strong as well. So nice to meet you. Thanks for coming on the podcast.


Heather Chavin  01:26

Thanks so much for inviting me to the podcast, Alastair. I’m excited to be here. So I want to talk about what we were just chatting about a minute ago, which is the importance of time management, which sounds on the surface, like such a boring thing. But I think it’s really, really important, I think that you think it’s really important to so like, it’s very easy to get distracted, it’s very hard, hard sometimes know what we should be working on. And our time is extremely limited, particularly as solopreneurs. Can you talk a little bit about time management? Why you think it’s important?  Yes, absolutely. In time management, depending on who you are, what you’re doing can be very sexy. When I see somebody who like knows how to manage their time, I think that’s phenomenal. And I’m paying attention. Time management for me is really about prioritization. So as a solopreneur, you only have so many hours in the day, and you can read an article about what you should be doing for marketing, and you do not have the capacity to do it, quote, unquote, right? There is no way for a solopreneur to do their marketing perfectly and write and all of that there. If you look at any large company, they have a team, a whole entire department dedicated to marketing. So as a solopreneur, you have to be really epically great at prioritizing. And that’s where that time management comes in. If you find yourself spending time on something that’s not a top priority, you’re in trouble. Because you are a marketing team of one or one plus some contractors or some kind of small team with a smaller budget, you really need to be phenomenally like on top of your prioritization on what’s going to hit your business goals, whatever they happen to be. So hand in hand with that prioritization is is strategy and organization and business planning. So they kind of all go hand in hand. So it’s this kind of interconnected little web of time management prioritization business strategy. Okay. I love that epically great. Yeah. And I am certainly not epically great at time management. So can we dig into that a little bit more? Can you, can you start with what you were just talking about, you know, strategy, organization and priorities? Can, can you tell me like, how can somebody like me, who’s trying to create content and also do work on sales and also work on client work? How should I be approaching all of this? Yes. So to, the one of the best approaches to time management, again, is to start with that business strategy. I think the easiest way for a solopreneur to do that is to really look at your marketing funnel. And a marketing funnel is basically a map of the customer touchpoints that takes somebody from from not knowing who you are into spending money with you. So not everybody makes it all the way through your funnel. But, but the people who do become your customers, right, and what journey did they take, and the funnel is a little bit misleading, because the journey is not a straight line down a funnel. But it’s a nice metaphor to have this difference between large at the top and touching a lot of people and narrowing and narrowing and narrowing that people tend to ping pong around in your funnel a lot. But it’s that map of how somebody becomes average Joe out in the world and then comes becomes your customer.  And having a map of that, like, many people will think I posted on social media and nobody’s buying my $6,000 coaching package. Well, there’s a funnel problem, there’s a strategy problem, because I don’t trust you enough to give you $6,000 of coaching because you posted a couple times or you bought a Facebook ad or something along those lines. So we can see if I put all this time into these Facebook ads selling my $6,000 coaching package and I don’t see a return. This is terrible time management because it’s not in alignment with your strategy because it’s not a strategy that’s going to bring you business.  So having this idea of a funnel, and understanding how somebody becomes a customer is the first actually, the first step is who is your target market. But understanding your target market and how they become that customer? Is is where you make your decisions about, am I spending my time wisely? What are the priorities. So when we look at that funnel, I always like to tell my mastermind group, my-my premium group of of people building an audience. So I like to tell the people that I work with specifically on marketing, that you want to ideate your funnel from the bottom up and implement from the top down. If you really need money, you start at the bottom and you convert anybody, you can convert into making the money. But when you think of a long term strategy, you want to know where you want folks to go. But then you start at the top and build down. And the reason you start at the top and built down is that you market test at the top to see what resonates. So my social media posts, which ones perform best will inform what the middle of my funnel will what will be most attractive for the middle of my funnel. So there, you get to do your market testing, because you’re not going to hire a firm or spend all this money or you don’t have all this time, right, we’ve got to be really judicious with our time and get that maximum return on investment.  So we use our top of funnel things like social media, to test our ideas. And then the things that work well, the posts that do well become blog posts, and those blog posts become the worksheets that become a lead magnet that so on and so on, and so on. So that’s why when you have the luxury to do so you build top down. So you might do two things at once you might long term strategy is built top down knowing where you want to be but to get to market test. And short term strategy is build from middle to bottom of funnel because you need to generate revenue. Okay, let’s talk about that a little bit more. And you said, I think you said ideate from bottom up as well. Can you talk a bit about what that actually means what that looks like? Yeah, when you Ida from the bottom of your funnel up, it’s really a process of empathy with your customer. So anybody who’s in the bottom of your funnel is using your services or whatever they’re, they’re bought in, they’re your people, and you have this great opportunity to really be connected with them. And hopefully you know, their pain points, you know, what works for them, what doesn’t, you’re in your zone of genius, right, you’re doing your thing, and you understand how you can help people. And what you want to understand is how they got there. And so you just step it up and step it up and step it up that funnel.  So ideating from the bottom means understanding how you can really help people. And then you’ve got to create, like moving backwards, how did they get there? And how can you help them understand that you’re worth trusting, and that you are able to deliver on your promises.  So, so we start at the we start at that bottom, because that’s where your meat is, like you are, you know, for whatever your your expertise is, it ain’t social media posts, like that’s not your zone of genius, you’re faking it as a marketer and making it happen, so that you can get people down to the bottom of the funnel, but the genius resides there. and translating that up is is how you do marketing as a solopreneur. So are you saying that we work backwards from the problem that we solved that our client is currently experiencing? That we moved back to move back in time through what the causes of that were in our marketing and in marketing materials? Did I got that, right? You can it depends on what your level what your expertise is in. But yes, so if you think about so I work with people who are trying to build an audience on social media, right, so they come in, and then I will look at their funnel and see and then see what their, what their offer is. And so when you let’s let’s take a generic, like a life coach kind of person, let’s take somebody who’s doing some kind of life coaching kind of thing. And so the bottom of the funnel is the $6,000, like, I’m all in coaching package, right and, and if we’re looking and of course, this person will need to specialize a little bit in order to, to have a marketing message that’s not just I’ll make your life better, which nobody is buying that.  But let’s say I work with burnt out CEOs who are entering retirement and don’t know what to do with their time. So that’s who I’m coaching. So I can look at the finished package, which is finding meaning and what to do with your time. That’s really what we want to do with this group of people. And then I back it up, and what are the other questions that they’re asking themselves? What’s the process of them coming to the awareness that this is a problem, and that there might be solutions for it. And when we look at these small forms of content, like social media, or like a blog, a single blog post, or a single podcast episode, there’s like this host of questions and there’s host of things there’s a million different symptoms of the main problem. And so we get to play with all the different little symptoms and just be knocking on doors there. And then take that journey in and we look at our current customers and the journey that they’ve taken emotionally right we make purchase decisions based on emotion. We look at their emotional journey. And then we map that back out and see in what ways we could cut through the noise to get them to pay attention to us.  So one of the things that I often will recommend is like, what are the first three things that you’re working with every single client on? You’re always like, Oh, I gotta get this speech again, Oh, I gotta get this speech again, right, there’s like three things you have to do for everyone. That right there is like juicy, that that’s what you want to build your content around, or one of the things you can build your content around. So that first step that you take with somebody, and maybe that becomes a lead magnet, maybe that becomes something else. But it’s all coming from this current customer in that current customer journey, and understanding the emotional journey and decision making journey that they’ve taken. And then you map that backwards. I love that. That’s, that’s brilliant. Okay, so where should. where should we go from there? I mean, we’re talking about niching. Down. And I do want to talk to you about that. Because while I like talking to everybody about that, but I do want to move away from the time management stuff just yet. Can you talk a little bit about the organization and priorities? Because strategy, organization priorities, what were the three things you said, right?  Yes.


Alastair McDermott  11:06

Can you can you talk a little bit about the organization and the priorities?


Heather Chavin  11:10

So what I would look to do is map out that funnel, and literally map it out. Like I actually provided a worksheet for my group, and you can go to my LinkedIn and get it for free. It’s just actually map it out or google it and find your own path that works for you. Some other companies use flywheel HubSpot, use the flywheel, et cetera, et cetera, how does somebody become a customer, and you look at those customer touch points, every place that that they’re touching your organization, or your marketing materials, everything you and map that out and look for holes, that’s number one, like look for where there’s a glaring hole. And that’s where your priority is. And then you structure your time management around that.  With time management, specifically, the first step is to map out your maintenance activities over the course of a week. And if you actually do that, you may find that you don’t have any time for business development. And then that’s a problem. And then you’ve got to, to get creative, to cut out what’s not working and those kinds of things. So are classic time management, like what’s working, what’s not cut it down, make something work for, you know, make something do double duty. So you know, your blog posts become your transcripts from your podcasts are all the time hacks, right? We look up time management hacks, implement some of those to find some development time on your schedule. Once you have the development time on your schedule, the first thing you look for is that really big gap in your funnel, if there’s any gap. So if we’re going social media to $6,000, coaching contract, we want to map out a couple of steps in between there. Here’s where we follow that customer’s emotional journey. I see a social media post, what am I likely to do spend money or follow you, you’re more likely to follow me, once you follow me, you’re more likely to read more of my posts from those posts, maybe you join my newsletter, maybe you download my worksheet for a lead magnet, maybe right, so we’re mapping all of that out.  So you could do a really simple like four-step funnel like social media to newsletter to less expensive product to big product, right, we can start that simple. But if there’s a hole in there, then that’s where your priority is. And right there like it’s when you’re not doing maintenance to keep your business doors open. Any, any time you have slotted for business development goes to plugging that hole. Once you feel like you have a pretty good funnel, you have all the steps there, then you look at conversion rates for the funnel.  So the benefit of having a funnel, especially for a solopreneur is it’s an automatically generates a list of KPIs or key performance indicators to track for your business. So there’s metrics which are all the numbers, but the key performance indicators are the ones that are like, am I going to make money off of this? And you want to make sure that whatever step one in the funnel is, is my social media posts that supposed to lead to a social media follow, right? That’s my KPI. How many people who see my post was my conversion rates? Well, your conversion rate how many people did what I’m hoping they’ll do? And then from the social media post that points to the worksheet? What’s the conversion rate when I when I do that, right? Those are my KPIs. That’s what you want to track regularly.  So then you look at that list and see where’s your weakest performer, and then your, your, your business development kind of time focus goes there. That’s what we might call a leaky funnel. So you’ve you’ve put the pitch out there, and they’re seeing it and they’re like, No, thanks. Right? The further down the funnel, you get the lower the conversion rates. So you know, if you find something to be different, pat yourself on the back. But that’s, we’re not for everyone. We’re not supposed to be for everyone. And not everybody can afford our premium product, etc, etc. But as you go down that funnel, somebody should be making it through. Otherwise, the time you spend on social media is pointless, right? We want to make that connection. You could be building up it’s not like everybody should go quit social media right now because they’re not making money off of it.  But put it in the context of so many so many of the business people I work with, don’t put social media in the context of how does this create clients for me, and if you don’t have that funnel, that funnel is how you do it. And so when you see that your follower count is going up, it’s not just a vanity metric. You’ve got to look at now what do I do with my followers, and how many of them are converting. And then it makes that whole process makes sense. And it makes the why I should be on social media makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense for your business, not everybody needs to be, but everybody seems to think they should be. And they should be on every channel all the time, which again, for solopreneurs is not an option, you really need to pick one or two and specialize in there. Yeah, 100% agree with with what you’re saying. And, you know, you can start out and add more channels later, I like to have a primary long form content, which for me, is this podcast, and then I add other pieces in. Now, I also do have help in that I have a full time assistant. And I would recommend people do that. I for a very, very long time was of the opinion that I didn’t want to hire anybody full time. And I changed my mind on that last year. And it just makes life so much easier. It gives me time back to spend on the more valuable content creation stuff. And then I can outsource a lot of the delegate, rather a lot of the kind of the more, the more repetitive tasks, the things that just need to get done. But it doesn’t need to be me always doing them. And I think that’s really important. It’s vital. It’s vital. And when we talk about building from the bottom up, right, your expertise is at that bottom of the funnel is of whatever the consulting packages are the coaching package, whatever it is, that’s where you want to maximize your time because you’re not a marketer. But you can’t take a random Joe off the street and say, build my social media account. But you can give them a copy of the podcast every week and the transcript and say, turn this into social media posts. That’s a piece of cake for somebody who’s a pro at social media, and you put your time into that genius zone activity. And then you have somebody else do the other work for you. So that that’s like the first investment you make is not another new fancy this or that or the other thing. It’s like somebody to convert the, the amazing work that you’re doing into that content marketing machine. Yeah. 100%. And so the name of the game for me is creating good content, and then repurposing as much as possible and having somebody else repurpose it for me. And you know, we like we’re now at the point where we’re doing carousels to pull up on LinkedIn, because we were doing the carousels for LinkedIn, I decided, Okay, I’m going to reboot my Instagram account, and start putting them up on there as well. Because it’s not really that much more effort. If you’re making a carousel, it’s not much more effort to put it on two to two platforms as it is on one. I started doing LinkedIn live, and I hooked up with restream and now it goes out on all of the channels. So I have a presence on all of them. I don’t nurture all of them, but it’s a click of a button.


Alastair McDermott  17:38



Heather Chavin  17:39

Yeah, it’s a click of a button beyond all the channels. Yeah, I think that’s that’s kind of, I think that’s a good way of putting it not nurturing all the channels, but but being being present everywhere. But But focusing, you know, your best efforts on a couple and for me, that is LinkedIn, because that’s where most of my clients are. And then Twitter because I like Twitter, so you can shoot me for that, but Liking it is actually a big a big plus, because you’re more likely to play there. And you’re more likely to provide value when while you’re there. The one thing I will say about social media that I think is the boat that most people miss is that it’s not just about putting great content out there, you got to be thinking about the conversation piece of social media to reaching out.  So my premium community people, we have two sessions a week, which you should be doing this every day, if you’re you know, should let’s not use the word shed, it would be to your benefit to to do this as much as you can without going insane to go out to other thought leaders who have your same target market, who are not selling the exact same thing as you and post on their sites, and post fantastic valuable non salesy content. And this is how you do some of that outreach. They get to know your name, maybe at some point, you can co promote anything, maybe maybe there’s partnership opportunities. So it’s very much like digital networking, but you got to go into it without greed, you have to go into it with generosity and trust that positive things will come from it. Doesn’t mean you don’t have some strategy in mind. Like I would love to partner with so and so. So I’m going to put all kinds of great content out there. And then I’m going to see if they’ll connect with me. And then after that, I might pitch and see if they want to come on my podcast or fill in the blank there, right.  But if you’re not doing outreach on social media, if you’re not providing great comments on other people’s posts, go and research who the other thought leaders in your niche, your niche and your sub niche are or close by and look for shoulder industry. So somebody again, who’s not selling exactly the same thing as you and provide value to them because you want access to their audience, commenting on their posts is one way to do it. And then down the road, the people who are the right match for you some kind of partnership, opportunity will present itself or can present itself or you can pitch it when you figure out what it is what’s mutually beneficial to the two of you.  But if you’re on social media and you’re just posting, if that’s all you can do, then definitely do that. But if you’re putting social media into your strategy, and it’s going to you want it to be The revenue generated through the funnel, so push into the middle of that funnel and which will then push into the bottom and making money, then you really need to be thinking about reserving some time for that outreach. The bonus with that is that anything you practice, you get better at from time management, which we’ve been talking about to posting on social media to all this stuff, you will get so much better at it. So the commenting will go faster, you’ll read other people’s content regularly and see if yours sucks or is like cream of the crop right? Or, or somebody tries something new. And you look at what kind of response they got. It’s like a way to benefit your business while learning at the same time.  So really doing that social media outreach, it doesn’t have to be a ton, you pick your people, and you go check their pages. So for LinkedIn, in particular, I have a productivity group and a marketing group. And twice a week, I pop in there, and I look and see, you know, and see if I have anything to say you got to have something to say, and then leave a comment and all that. And that more than anything else, even more than my LinkedIn lives has boosted my followers tremendously compared to all other efforts. Are those actual LinkedIn groups as in the group…  Not the group, the individual.


Alastair McDermott  21:02

This is just a collection of people that you follow on LinkedIn?


Heather Chavin  21:05

I have bookmarked. I’ve researched and bookmarked.


Alastair McDermott  21:07

You’ve categorized them.


Heather Chavin  21:08



Alastair McDermott  21:08

Okay. Yeah. Just wanted to clarify that. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, that sounds really smart. I like that approach. And, you know, for me, doing the podcast has been a version of that. I’ve got coaching clients, for my business, from having guests on the podcast, who, when the guests promoted their episode, one of my clients said, you know, now he was super fast. He heard the episode, booked a call with me and was signed up as a client the next week, I know that that’s going to take a bit longer for some people. But I think having a body of work out there, like a podcast or something for people to consume. I also think that podcast in particular, because they’re this audio format, I think there’s some sort of superpower that podcasts have for trust building, that that other media doesn’t have even video. I think sometimes, because people are consuming your podcast while they’re doing other things. They’re able to concentrate like they’re at the gym, or they’re doing chores or driving or something. Anyway, that’s a bit of a digression. But yeah, this so that came directly from what you’re talking about. Somebody else who has a similar audience, not exactly the same offering and coming into, into the, into the marketing funnel in that way.


Heather Chavin  22:16

Yes, absolutely. And podcast is on my list. I started the LinkedIn lives and I’m like, Nope, this is, you know, I will keep doing those. But it’s a repurposing thing. I like to use the 80-20 principle for create, spend 20% of your time creating an 80% of your time having your assistant promoted, hopefully. But I think podcasting, I’m with you on that one. I think it’s an I’m sad to be a late adapter. But I think it is really a great way to and I think you hit the nail on the head with the big word there, which is trust, especially for anybody who is selling anything high end, trust is required for, for getting gaining customers, and this is a great way to do it. It’s a way to show you’re not a flash in the pan, the person who you know, has five episodes and quits or something along those lines. We don’t trust them. There’s no, there’s no reassurance that they’ll be there that they’re an expert that they’ve continued their business. Like we assume they’re in bankruptcy and backwards and for corporate or something like that. So… Yeah, really cool. I’m, so I know, I do want to get on to the niche, the niche thing, but I do want to kind of wrap up the time management productivity side. Can you just talk me through like, when you’re talking to somebody, what do you see what problems or mistakes do you see them making? Like what do you work with them on first? The first thing is to stop and step back and do an analysis of what’s working and what’s not. And when we look at what’s working and what’s not, that’s answering the question, which business goal, like what are your business goals? And so, it depending on what part of your funnel, you’re working on, what have you so that you can step back as far as you need to step back. If you don’t have a clear like mission and vision for why you’re you went out on your own or while you’re doing your whatever you’re doing. Of course, you might need to go back that far.  But in the context of time management, what I would look at is what are your business goals? And how specifically, are you spending your time and we don’t have to get super nerdy and do the 15 minutes write down what you were doing, because I hate doing that it really is really beneficial exercise, but I quit after about 30 minutes.  So you look at how you’re spending your time. And I think I mentioned before, take a look at even if you don’t use Google Calendar, or whatever your calendar program is on the regular, just find a blank spot on there and map out how you believe you spend your time and you got a reality check it because you think like I think I spent an hour and a half on my newsletter, but depends on the week. And sometimes you know, you have a rough week or sometimes I can’t find the right content that I was worth curating, et cetera, et cetera. So we oftentimes perceive ourselves in our best possible like when I’m a rock star, this is what I get done.  Well, how am i You’re not You’re not a rock star every day. You’re actually more often than not the opposite of that because, welcome to COVID Folks, everybody’s dealing with like emotion. She’ll strain and kids are home kids are at school masks are required baskets aren’t required, like life is nuts right now. So everything takes longer. And hopefully we’re doing more in terms of rest and recovery. If we’re not, or even if we are, efficiency is just is way further down the pike. So what we have to do is look at how much time things are taking and reality check, Is that for real? And once you map out what you need to do to maintain your business, and its current status, your weeks, probably really full.  So that tells us two things. Number one, you got to look for some efficiencies and reprioritize. So there’s, here’s the what’s working and what’s not working, let’s find, let’s clear up some things on that calendar. But the other little silver lining to this is the next time somebody says, Can you do this for me, you might actually be able to say no, we have a hard time saying no, especially if you’re a woman in business, we are people pleasers, we’re socialized to be that way. Or if you’ve grown up in a way where you’re socialized to save people, or sometimes we have some Hero complexes, etc. Like it’s really hard to say no. And I could do like 15 shows on saying no. It’s really a hard, hard thing to do. So don’t beat yourself up for not saying no, but it’s because it’s hard to do when you look at that calendar and see it’s obliterated with just maintenance and not business development, then you’re like, the reality is, I cannot help you with that. Or we have to have a more complex conversation about I’m gonna have to drop something, am I going to work a weekend, but if you work a weekend, then you need downtime to recover from that, etc. We have the more complex conversation of what a yes is that you have a better conversation about, about what YES or NO is.  So we look and see what our business goals are, we actually map out the maintenance tasks and find those business development blocks, where we can then look at the funnel, and decide what we want to work on. First, look at the funnel and your KPIs and decide what we want to work on first, but I think it’s really helpful. And if you’re an analog person, draw it out, like whatever you need to do to get a visual representation in front of yourself, to see what time you actually have. One of the things that one of the offerings that GoGoDone hat has had in the past, and we’re bringing back it’s called GoGo Sprint, which is just a two week sprint two hours a day to take a project and let’s get moving on it right. So this would be a business development thing, and you carve out time to do it and the whole thing. And we have a goal setting process that I take people through, which is a worksheet I take people through. And having worked with people long enough, here’s my math is map it out, see how long you think it will take if it you put it down for more than two hours, you have to break that task up.  So build a landing page, some people can copy their old one, and that could take two hours or less. But if you’ve never built one before, there might be some research and might be all that right. And you’re thinking oh, I can do that in about four hours. Good. Nope, got to break that down two hours for research or one hour for research or what you break it down into two hours or less, because humans are terrible at time management. So you break it down to two hours or less, and then make your time estimate and schedule it and then multiply it by three, and everybody fights me on this. But you multiply your estimate by three because number one, we suck at time management anyway, number two, it’s not going to be our best day. That’s part of the reason we we promise our future self will be a rockstar and that we’ll get it done and we won’t.  The other, this is another kind of silver lining thing. Let’s say you multiply your one hour task by three and you set aside three hours for it. When you finish in two hours. How delicious is that moment, you can either spend an extra hour taking it from competent to excellent. Or you can pull something that’s next on the to do list and get a head start on it. And if you think about the emotional state, any of us are in when we’re behind, and we have a giant to do list. And we’re never going to catch up and we feel helpless. We are a jerk to be around. But when you think about your emotional state, and you’re like I’m ahead of the game, I checked everything off my list, I will take the dog for a walk and I will make dinner for my partner.  So it’s really important for us to get better at time management because I think poor time management makes us really unpleasant people to be around and unpleasant people to be to sit with ourselves and to feel that way all the time. And we deserve to feel better than that. But you’ve got to get realistic about how that how time actually works for you. And it is really demoralizing, because reality is our imagination versus reality like I can so imagine myself being so productive. It’s just not true. So we have to go through the demoralizing like I am human it turns out, but it unless you do that, you’ll continue to have unrealistic expectations and a miserable life. But with you realize that then you have more realistic expectations, even though you might be disappointed, but it might be the kind of thing that pushes you into okay, I do need an assistant. Because I need to do more than this. This isn’t enough for my business. So what does it look like? What steps do I need to take in order to get an assistant right? So it pushes us into these problem solving decisions. Instead of keeping us stuck in this self pity or delusional kind of place of like, I’ll try harder and that will work. If you ever tell yourself I’m just going to try harder next week. You need to stop immediately and take a step back because that is BS. You are already trying hard enough. You are human. Start problem solving. Stop being delusional. I’ve been chuckling away while you’ve been been saying all of that, because I’m such a hopeless optimist, when it comes to time management, and the weird thing, and I sometimes wonder, you know, this is something that I haven’t really got a gauge, I’ve been working with myself for 15 years now. And I don’t really have a gauge as to how productive am I now, like, compared to a normal person in a normal job? And sometimes I think, you know, I’m probably I’m probably doing maybe 10 times what I would do, if I was hired to do this job for somebody else, you know, I still want to feel like, like, I’m being super productive. And then I have those other days, where, you know, it’s kind of feel like you’re kind of crawling out of a pit, and you’re just getting nothing done. So yeah, totally with you. And one thing I needed to do when I was working on time management, which I’ve worked on a bit, the last year or so, was to get real, and, and to say, okay, you know, this is, this is just not going to happen. I’m gonna I’m being way over optimistic here with what I’m trying to do. And, and the other thing that I did, which was like I live and die by my calendar, is I started blocking days on my calendar for I think Amy Porterfield calls it CEO days. And so I just blocked I just call it CEO day, because I have that on my calendar. You know, I’ve got by three or four of them in a month. We’re not always one one a week, but it’ll be a half day here, a full day there. And that will be days where I don’t do calls or anything else. It’s just purely business development work. Yeah, that’s really smart. I think that’s really smart. Because it’s a lot easier for us to make a yes, no decision than a partial decision or some is okay, but not all right. So when we have that day where we’re like, I’m going to do business development today. Well, somebody did just email on it’s kind of it’s not a full fire, but maybe I should address this. And I could do it really quick, right? It’s like, oh, it just becomes a big mess. And then and then you, you get to the end of the day, your day, and you’re like, how did I just answer emails for eight hours today? Right? Like, that’s the ultimate nightmare.  So I think having that yes, no, and that blocking that protected time, it’s just much easier to know if you’re on track or not, you know, if you’re on your email, during your business development time, or your CEO day, like you’re off track, and you need to, you know, problem solve at that point. So, but it’s smart. And I think it’s really necessary if you want to grow your business, and not just be reactive all the time. You gotta have those step back moments. And those are the moments. So there’s so much that’s not hard to figure out if you ask the right question. So in order to ask the right question, you have to stop and step back and who am I? What business Am I in? What’s it for? Oh, what’s working? What’s not? It’s not hard to figure out where to start, or to figure out what you need in order to be able to figure it out, right? You’re not you don’t have a funnel, and you’re not tracking any metrics, right? You don’t have all the data there. Then you’re like, Okay, I need to track my metrics, right? But it’s no one piece of the puzzle is rocket science. But the ability to craft the time to stop and reflect and move into problem solving mode or move into development mode is really important. Otherwise, you’re just gonna just expect more in the same tomorrow will be just like today. Yeah, cuz, because that’s when you’re on that hamster wheel. And you just you feel like you just gotta keep moving, you can’t get off. So yeah, okay, I want to ask about the other thing that we talked about, which was niching down. And I asked you, in the pre show, what’s the number one tip that you’d give to somebody who wants to build their authority and personal brand. I love your answer is it’s about the difference between number one and number two, can you can you talk with us? Yes, when you look, and you can see this actually repeated, like everywhere, the difference between number one and number two, anywhere is huge. Everybody wants number one. And number two, it’s nice that they’re there, you have a couple of brands that maybe are competing for that number one spot. So there’s a little exception to the rule, but we’re looking at one and two, and nothing below that, right, like Pepsi and Coke. And what’s number three, I don’t even know what number three is after that. So we really want to see where how far we need to niche down in order to be number one in our niche. And the benefits come from everybody wants number one. Number one gets all the opportunities.  If you look at I think it was one of Malcolm Gladwell books, and he talked about this young woman who went managed to make it to Harvard or Yale or something like that it was very middle of the road and the whole thing. And then this other young person went to a smaller school, but was number one across the board, got all the scholarship offers, got all the research gigs, got all that, right. We look at how we treat number ones everywhere. And it’s just heads and shoulders above the rest. If you have the opportunity to you look at Google searches, right? There’s one, two and three like we do this and we ranked number one is higher. So we’re willing to pay more for number one, we’re, we’re willing to trust number one more because other people have told us number one is number one, right? So the social proof built into it.  So if you want to, if you want to have any kind of presence or be able to cut through the noise of the massive amount of chatter that’s out there, whatever way you’re doing in content marketing, or whatever way you’re doing marketing, you need to be number one for the person who’s looking for you.  So this is a really hard thing to do. And it’s actually, some of my own advice I haven’t finished taking, I am working very hard on it, because I really enjoy I have an online community, the more diverse the group of people, the better and I’ve started to narrow it down to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, all of that, but it’s like, I want people in all the different countries and, you know, I don’t want to say no to anyone. So that’s a really common thing, when you’re a small operation. Selecting a target market, or multiple target markets, you can have more than one, it’s, it feels like you’re gonna say no to people, but you don’t ever, ever, ever have to say no to people, you just craft your marketing message for that group. And you strive to become number one in that niche. So you can, so what happens is that you become the best in that niche. And then you can jump out from there and have a second niche and then have a third niche, right? So, so other companies might talk about having three personas or three target markets, right. So you don’t, you’re not, you don’t ever have to say no to somebody, and you don’t have to be stuck with this one group forever. But most, most solopreneurs like they like their group, their people or their people, and they really enjoy them. So it’s, it’s not this like terrible sentence. But so when you’re especially if you’re new, and you’re starting, don’t think of it as saying, no, just think of it as gaining clarity in your message about who you’re for, and who you are best suited to work with.  If you think about a client mismatch, you’re not doing your best work for them. So we don’t want to put time and energy into getting more of those will pick up our paycheck will provide a service that’s worthwhile. But if they’re not in our wheelhouse, then we’re not giving them the absolute top of service, because they’re not in our you know, they’re not our one chosen group or handful of chosen groups that we are uniquely qualified to serve. So the idea of, of bringing it down to a target market, or really knowing your target market is you just get so much resistance because it sounds like you’re saying no to money, but I would look at your funnel and see how much money is coming through it from advertising your life coaching services to the world, like ain’t nothing come in there.  But think about my retiree, my CEO loaded with money, don’t know what to do with it retiree, that person is going to see a message that says, you retired and you have enough money to do anything you want. But you don’t know what you want to do. Like boom, like that person, like, Oh, you’re for me, boom, I’m in, right. And then that person’s testimonials on your website, and their friends are coming to you. And whatever you see how it grows out from there, you can see this difference between I’m a life coach and I will help you figure out what to do in retirement, and how to spend your money in retirement is two totally different messages. One’s not going to get heard, the other one’s not going to get heard by a lot of people, they’re going to skim right past that and be like, Yeah, I wish I had your problem, right. But you don’t want everybody you want the people who are going to pay you money and you want the people who are a match for you that you’re going to be ecstatically happy, because you have exactly what they need. So until you figure out who that is, you’re the life coach who’s going to make everybody’s life better, and nobody’s going to pay attention to you. So that difference between being the right person is the difference between making money and not making any money and spending all your time. Just, you know, urinating in the wind, I could say pissing in the wind. Yes, you can. And you and I are on the same page here because I agree 100%. With with everything that you said, and I think you know, in the world that we have now, with search engines, and in a global market, being number one is huge. And when you’re specialized, and you can be number one, even in a tiny, tiny marketplace, when you are number one that can be plenty of business to keep you going for the rest of your life. And I think that, you know, we get into this scarcity mindset where we think you know, we’re leaving money on the table, or, you know, we’re going from swimming in the ocean to swimming in a small pond. Somebody said to me earlier on today, they said it’s like trying to boil the ocean, you know, he just can’t can never do it. So yeah, I’m with you 100%.  There are plenty of fish in that small pond to keep you fed for life. It’s a big world. And it’s a big digital world. If what you offer is digital, like, don’t think about get rid of that scarcity mindset immediately and start talking to your people figure out who your people are and start speaking directly to them. Yeah, and you will also be able to talk to them in their language, because they’ll they’ll still see that it’ll resonate with them.  Yes.


Alastair McDermott  39:22

Okay, I have to move on because, because I’m just watching the time. Another question like to ask people you had a great answer for this earlier when we discussed in the pre show. I like to ask people if there’s a business mistake or failure that you’ve experienced that you can tell us about what you learned from it.


Heather Chavin  39:34

Yes. So my answer to this is I am just a constant freight train of failures. One after the next after the next. That’s actually by design. I like to be always be experimenting and iterating and trying something new. So I have had to redefine my relationship with failure as a learning tool. We have a very at least in like the Western world we have this very like if If I fail, I’m a failure. If I fail, I’m not good at what I do, if I fail, fill in the blank negative. But if we look at how humans actually operate, think about how when you’re a kid, you’re supposed to screw up, you’re supposed to fall down. When your toddler trips over their own feet and falls down, you’re like, Oh, you’re such a failure. You’re like, Oh, you’re learning to walk, right? Let’s translate that into the rest of our lives. So we’re learning to walk here, I’m trying something new, I’m gonna screwed up a bunch of times. So I can either sit safe and never make another mistake again, and stay exactly where I’m at. Or I can start screwing things up.  That said, you don’t put all your money in all once you don’t put all of your credibility in all at once you don’t go all in. We want to gamble what we can afford to lose. So I like to look at wherever I’m looking at doing business development. So for example, right now, it’s with my premium community, I really want to push that and get a lot more people in there but I haven’t quite got the secret sauce there. I have a couple little pieces missing. And so we’ve just made it. So we just made another schedule change to really emphasize going out and commenting on other people’s social media posts, right, because we’re audience building. So because that’s so important. I doubled down the amount of time we’re doing on that. I moved the, the feedback section to being ng strictness, and I moved this in the right, right, so I did like three or four little mini changes to the schedule.  So if we look at the schedule, as it stands now versus the schedule I started with, with my beta group, wildly different, wildly different. So in theory, let’s say I got it right this time, which I have no illusions that I got it right this time. But let’s say I got it right. This time, it’s now been a year and a half of running, listening to my group, understanding what their needs are looking at their results, trying something seeing if it works, right. It’s a series of failures, if now I’m getting it right, then the entire time that we’ve had a premium community, it’s been a series of failures of getting that schedule, right?  Fine, fine, that was about providing value the whole time. So I feel, you know, morally okay with the fact that I wasn’t doing, you know, absolutely the best. And the beta team knew they were a beta team, and so on and so forth. But if you’re not failing, if you’re iterating, and failing, testing, you know, iterate, test, test implies failure. So if you’re not failing, you’re not, you’re not growing, you’re not learning. So you’ve got to think about what’s a test, I can run that it’s okay if it totally fails miserably. So one of my people just ran like an online course and only got one signup, but talk to the person who signed up and got all this amazing, valuable feedback, right? Is that a failure? Thanks. So that was a beta test. And so there, you know, failure elements of it, it didn’t make her like a billion dollars, you know, but customer research was invaluable there.  So I feel like everything that I’ve done with GoGoDone, which has been a solopreneur, bootstrap adventure, if you’re a solopreneur who’s bootstrapping, you are familiar with failure. And if you’re not, you got to pick, you got to get familiar with failure, or you got to pick another job, because it’s part and parcel is surviving in this in this realm, because there’s no one right way to, there’s nothing Google that’s gonna give you the right answer for an operation that’s small, and in a changing environment like ours, like COVID itself has changed so many things, but the next, the next algorithm change in LinkedIn might change a bunch of things for a bunch of us. So being in that mindset of everything, I should always be testing, like, I should always be iterating. And failure is part of that package. And if you’re failing, it’s a sign that you are strong, strategic, and courageous. And, and you’re the kind of person that I want to work with, right? Who wants who wants to play it safe person, their places for plate safe people, absolutely. And you’re probably your assistant is one of like, perfect people to be like, let’s not take a risk. I’m going to do what I’m told, like, this is this is my craft. But for those of us that are in the leadership position, that’s got to be part of woven into your DNA. Otherwise, there’s no innovation and there’s no ability to compete as time marches on. Yeah, yeah, I’m so with you. And the always be testing is something that was, was was driven home for me, I worked in software. And then in web development, and it was just the the way that we approached it is always be testing all the time. And it’s kind of like, you know, your course correcting as you go, like airplanes don’t fly in a straight line, they make all these series of adjustments and boats do the same. And it’s, that’s that’s what you’re doing. You’re, you’re adjusting. And just to, to call back to to one of the things we talked about niching down and picking a specialization earlier on. And a lot of people are terrified of that, because of the fear of picking the wrong thing. And I actually know two people who both picked the wrong thing. And both who what happened was they tested that, that that wrong specialization, they did a U turn, they went and pick something else, and are now very successful in it. And that’s possible. So, you know, it’s, you know, tests aren’t aren’t permanent or you know, failure is not permanent. It’s just you got to pick yourself up and choose another direction. So I think that’s really important to do. So yeah, thank you for you know, I think that’s a really important point, you know, the whole, always be testing and what we do as solopreneurs or as independents is, is we’re always going through that process, I think it’s really, really crucial. Well, and that’s what your top of funnel stuff is for. That’s where you test it. You don’t ditch all your current clients and bring on a whole new set, right? You start posting on social for on something different and see if it resonates and see, you know, and then you can work it down the funnel if it, if it works. So, only test and only gamble with what you can afford to lose, right, and a couple weeks worth of social media posts is not going to make or break your business. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Okay, I gotta wrap this up. I want to ask you about books. And is there a business book or resource that’s been important for you that you’d recommend? One of my favorite books is, and I feel like I needed to read it in response to James Clear’s “Atomic Habits”. And the book is called “Willpower Doesn’t Work”. And it’s by, I think, is a researcher named Benjamin Hardy. And it has not taken the world by storm like, like Atomic Habits has. But I think the message in there is so key and it is a little fatalistic. But because we are so sure that if we try harder, we’ll make it happen. If we have a new tactic, we’ll make it happen. I think the message in this book gets overlooked. And that is, the biggest determinant of our behavior is the environment that we’re in. It’s the people around us and what they’re doing. It’s our identity. It’s the physical environment that we’re in. It’s the appointments on our calendar. These are all environmental things.  So I personally, I love you don’t have to read the book. But Gretchen Rubin has “The Four Tendencies Quiz”, you can just Google for tendencies quiz, and it comes up. And this is not science, this part of it isn’t science. But she has done a lot of lots of surveys. And she’s just such a great observer. And she came up with a little quiz for how we respond to expectations, both internal and external. And there’s four different ways to do that, you respond well to both poorly to both or a mix. And I’m one of the obliger types. And that obliger responds really well to external expectations, and really poorly internal expectations. So if my boss asked me for something, I was rockstart delivering it, if I have an appointment to hit, I make it to that appointment, etc. If I set a goal for myself, I end up on the couch with a glass of wine being like, I guess I’ll do that yoga tomorrow. Like I just can’t do it. Forever was like stuck on I’m a bad person. I’m lazy. I don’t actually want my goals, like none of that, right? Like I have all this garbage self talk happening. And once I really embrace like, if I want to do something, I need to get other people involved. And if you look at like, I have an online community where we come together and co working sessions, who do you think that’s for? That was for me, I was like, I’m not gonna get anything done unless I do this.  And that’s where this willpower doesn’t work kind of comes in. It’s like, how can you craft it? How can you? How can you craft an environment in which you cannot fail? Right, or maybe you of course, can fail if we work hard enough at it, of course, we can fail. But if I show up to a work session, especially from hosting it, and we’re sitting down to work, and we state our goals in front of our peers, like I’ve got all the research like in how the session is structured, but it ain’t rocket science. Anybody can do this with a little accountability group. stature is the time the times block state which are going to work on checking what you’re going to work on all of that stuff. All of that was built around that environmental peace. And so the Benjamin Hardy book does a really nice job of laying out how much more powerful it is to craft an environment in which success can’t help that happen, then is to work your butt off to build a new habit, which is worth doing. But it’s a lot of time and energy and effort. And me I just scheduled to go vote on session, and I know it’s gonna get done right. And my, my friends or my community they are will cheer me on if I if I can confess, I can use the power of confession. I just checked email the whole time. They’re like, we’re going to ask you again and 25 minutes if you did it, like all those just environmental things that do it.  So I think whatever your goals are that you feel like you’re not achieving, taking some time with that book and translating it. So yes, atomic habits has all great stuff in there. Hard work to build a habit, it’s much easier to have somebody take you there or an environment kind of take you there. If you want to stop eating sugar, there should not be any cookies in your home. Like, it’s that kind of stuff. But I think it’s really for me, it was this really important. I was I was finding my own way to that. And he just slammed it right down in front of me all in one book and was like, Yep, you’re on the right track. Guess what the research says, Guess what’s going on there? And I’m like, yes, for me, especially as a person who responds well to external expectations, and not well to internal expectations. That this was, this was kind of the key for me to how to craft my environment to support my success.


Alastair McDermott  49:36

Love it. Love it. What about fiction? Do you read fiction at all?


Heather Chavin  49:40

I do. I am an avid audiobook listener. So as a somebody who values her time very preciously. If I can hear a great story while pulling weeds in the yard or cooking dinner. I’m a big fan of that. So I have just started “The Expanse series”. And I’m blanking on the name of the author. I think it’s called Leviathan Wakes is like number one in the series. So I had some friends recommend that.


Alastair McDermott  50:02

Yeah, I’ll link to everything that you’ve mentioned in the show notes and including the quiz from The four Tendencies quiz from Gretchen. The Expanse I should know this I’ve read. James SA Corey is the name of the author, but it’s actually a pseudonym for a partnership between two science fiction writers. I think. So, yeah. So but an amazing TV series as well. I think they did a brilliant job on it. One of the hardest things to do is do science fiction. Well on TV. I think they’ve done a brilliant job with that. Yeah. So I’m, I’m a sci fi geek, so…


Heather Chavin  50:37

I grew up on Star Trek, so I was like, it doesn’t have to be done. Well, that science fiction Oh, watch it. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So, Heather, okay. So if anybody’s interested in following up with you in finding you online, where should they go? is a great place to find me. And then you can also just search my name on LinkedIn. And I’m big, big on networking and connecting and very light on selling. Don’t worry, I won’t sell you anything unless you want me to. But because you get a lot of sales pitches on LinkedIn. So…


Alastair McDermott  51:05

Can you spell your name for anybody to suddenly know how to spell your surname.


Heather Chavin  51:07

So Heather. H-E-A-T-H-E-R. Last name Chavin. C-H-A-V-I-N.


Alastair McDermott  51:14

Cool and that silent hates got me before, which is like we recorded the intro. And Heather Chavin, thank you so much for being on the show.


Heather Chavin  51:22

Thank you so much, Alastair. It’s been a pleasure.


Alastair McDermott  51:28

Thanks for listening. If you gained any insights or tips from this episode, please leave a review. It would really help us out. And it’s very easy to do. Just click on the review link in the show notes on your device and it will bring you straight to a page with options for the device that you’re listening on. Thanks. It really helps. It’s much appreciated.


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