Welcome to the second installment of the Promoting with Pride series! This week I've chosen to pick the brain of a very savvy business woman + spiritual entrepreneur. Partly because I think all values-based businesses can learn from her, but also because I wanted to know her secrets to building an authentic brand online!
I discovered Sarah Williams online last year when Earth Events launched Soulpreneurs - a membership only resource/online community for values-based entrepreneurs and business people. It wasn't long before I began to follow her online, checking in at her website The Fifth Element Life, devouring her honest, mystical and candid writings on life, sprituality, tarot, astrology and her business. I was also a huge fan of her content marketing strategy - free tarot readings, which she has since discontinued in favour of a monthly new moon reading which goes out to her email subscriber list. You should definitely sign up!
Describing Sarah is a tough one, because she's truly one of those multi-talented slashies that inspires with her many skills. She's a jewellery designer, a web-savvy designer/coder, an artist, a writer, a light worker, a tarot card reader, a business coach, and a proud mama.
But the fact that Sarah can do so many things and do them well isn't why I chose to interview her. What fascinates me about Sarah's business is her ability to authentically create content that her fans and followers LOVE. By creating free offerings for a community of soulfully creative women, Sarah has grown The Fifth Element Life into a spirited brand.
I knew I just had to have her on the blog, because this woman is a natural when it comes to content marketing. I hope you find her wisdom as insightful as I have!
So Sarah, you’re a one-woman-shop who’s doing multiple things with The Fifth Element Life. How would you describe what you do?
Ah, I love this question. I guess you could say I’m an awake woman wandering the path of her spirit - aka, I am turning my life's journey into a unique or tailored career in ‘being me’. This sees me as currently a designer/creative/business woman/guide/sacred space holder for women who feel connected to the same energy I do.
You have a real natural flair for writing. How did your blogging journey start? Were you blogging before you launched The Fifth Element Life?
Thank you :) It started when I stopped being someone I was not. I had my son, and found (really, it found me) an outlet to share my motherhood stories on a new blog space for mums that my colleague had started. I blogged a few times and something inside me clicked. I discovered I had so much to say, and as an introvert it was my calling to say it best in writing. I was embarking on a journey of self discovery, and then I began to write under my business name via a super basic blog and it organically grew from there.
What makes a good writer?
A ‘good’ writer doesn’t really exist - I see it more as just another outlet for you to creatively express yourself, just like art. What resonates for some is turfed by others.
I guess if you consider yourself a writer and feel it is your calling, you would have to write in a way that whatever came out just felt ‘right’. No matter your writing style, it should make you feel good and authentically resonate with the people who need your art.
I also say to myself "just because you can, doesn’t mean you should", and I feel that with this subject. I could tweak that and say ‘"Just because you're good at something, doesn’t mean you should be it". There can be many a ‘good’ writer - but if the writing doesn’t connect with people, including yourself, then it’s no good.
Do you think the term ‘good writer’ should even exist? I feel like ‘dedicated writer’ or ‘focused writer’ might be better. What are your thoughts?
I think there are many different writers, just like there are artists/designers/speakers etc. They are all too complicated to be boxed as either good or bad. They are just writers. If you write words to express yourself creatively, you are a writer. Then, the style in which you write dictates to which audience will resonate. For example, I write how I talk. I have had lots of feedback on my blog over the year that has mirrored this fact back to me: that I have a writing style that is not that of authority, expertise, or too ‘by the book’. It's more just candid, tangent verbal style musings, like I would communicate to a friend. It’s a chatty, friendly and sometimes excitable style. See - I just went on a tangent then.
You speak a lot about thinking outside of the box on your blog, and you also pay a lot of lip-service to being multi-passionate. You create jewellery, you read tarot, and you also have your blog, of course! How do you promote yourself as all of these things while portraying a consistent image of your brand? It must be very hard!
Definitely not an easy task! Especially in the early days when everything I was learning about the world and myself was taking me on regular journeys, creative explorations and tangents. It wasn’t until I had worn the many hats and tried the many things I thought would be a part of my brand, that I realised what truly belonged and what didn't would just fall away. I am much more confident with my direction these days, and have a greater grasp on my interests and how to integrate them successfully.
The way I came to this point was that I decided to keep the same 3 things that drive me as the foundation or driving force of my brand: creativity + spirituality + entrepreneurship. These all support my philanthropic core desire. So when I share anything - blog posts, social media posts - I always know to check in with these foundations and ask if they are relevant and reflective of these 3 things.
You also work for Earth Events, an event planning company that brings soulful talent to Australia, like Gala Darling and Gabrielle Bernstein. As you have multiple titles, what’s your elevator pitch? How do you clearly communicate what you do when you first meet a person?
There was a stage during the year where I didn’t feel my own brand was at a stage where I could rely solely for income. I then manifested an amazing opportunity to work with some wonderful women in alignment with my brand that I also really admire. It’s funny, because the moment I took this on, things picked up for my business. I found myself quickly jumping back into the driver's seat and rejigged my role with Earth Events to be collaborative, which tied in nicely with my business, too.
Things are still in development, but I feel this is definitely just another aspect of my brand's offerings - so when I meet someone I say I have an online store selling my designs. As I've mentioned, I’m introverted with new people, so I’m never really good at selling myself to new people. I don't tell them too much about what I do until they seem genuinely interested in the few key things I tell them. It's definitely all about reading people first and tailoring my answer to mirror that!
One of the first things I noticed about your Facebook activity is that you offer really strong, valuable freebies. I remember you used to offer free tarot card readings on Facebook, and these have now morphed into your monthly New Moon readings. It’s very hard to promote your business without being pushy or too salesy, so what inspired you to offer such valuable content for free?
My family and I have always dabbled in card reading. It is apart of what ties the women in my family together spiritually. When I realigned with my spiritual self, I looked to tarot and oracle cards to gain further insight into my inner and outer world. I soon realised that this was something I would love to bring into my business somehow.
Initially, I was encouraged to offer paid tarot readings as a means to make income to further develop my brand. I soon realised that I was not destined to be a tarot reader, although I do love helping people. I found that 1:1 tarot readings eventually begun to make me feel restricted, so I chose to then offer them on my terms, in a way I felt more flow and ease and less pressure. I feel this is a nice segway that will help me to introduce the oracle card deck I am currently developing.
A big part of The Fifth Element life is the sisterhood you’ve fostered to grow. You’re always posting photos of girls who’ve purchased your rings. It’s a bit like how frank body scrub have influenced thousands of girls worldwide to pose naked with coffee grinds all over them. How have you found community management to be?
I began by honing in on what it really was that I wanted to offer with my brand. Those 3 things were talismans (products with spirit) + guidance (writing + teachings) and community (allowing others the space to connect, inspire and nurture each other throughout their similar journeys). By allowing women to safely enter my online space and share a part of themselves with the community, it really helps them to release and also helps inspire others. We all deserve to be heard, and that’s what my designs are about - they all carry a unique story. Every customer of mine has a reason why they make a mandala ring their own - and I love to nurture that in them. I invite them to share, and empower them to make a difference in their lives and in others - and they do!
You’re quite active across social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. What platform do you think works most for your business? Do you enjoy using that one the most?
Facebook and Instragram are the only ones I really nurture. Instagram is perfect for product based or creative businesses because of the visual aspect. I get the most interaction on images that have been styled to perfection and have a huge ‘share factor’ due to aesthetics. Facebook is a great way to interact with others, tell them more information or to share content: either blogs, websites or other articles I feel they would love.
I love the little teaser trailer videos on Facebook you create just as you’re about to send out your New Moon Tarot readings!. Did you invest in good equipment? What do you use?
Absolutely not! As a mum to a very active toddler, I don’t really have time to fluff around with cameras, uploading, gadgets and set ups. Everything is done on my phone. Most, if not all my photos on social media are made on my iPhone. I record my reading via video on my phone, then just jump into an app called REPLAY and quickly choose the filter, the music and then edit it. Takes all of 5 minutes.
I know that when I started to focus on freelancing professionally, I had severe website shame and I wasn’t even really proud of my business cards (which has changed, now that I engaged an awesome whiz-bang designer re-do them for me). Why do you think women have a tendency to play down their strengths?
We just are so in our own heads as new business women that sometimes we don’t really know how to package ourselves professionally to the outside world. I know my initial online spaces were always very confusing and unprofessional because it was a reflection of how I felt about myself, too. When you realise your strengths and your offerings to the world (and this can take time so it’s, ok if it’s not clear in the beginning), it’s really key for us to nurture it. You need to showcase it bigger and better than how you may actually feel about it yourself, because that projects you up to that level energetically. Soon enough you do actually start to feel how others feel towards you, because you're proud of how you are seen and presented on and off line.
What advice would you give to women who are shy about their talents and strengths? How would you recommend a person to promote their business with pride?
It took about a year for me to find the confidence enough to put myself out there and invest more in having a beautiful online space that complimented and reflected me well. This included better photos, a clearer vision, a clearer message and aesthetics. I would say that it’s ok to start small, you don’t need to get the 10k website made in order to start doing your work in this world. But I do think it’s important to always know that one day that will come and you need to just do it to keep levelling up.
I started really small and just took it a day at a time. It was my vulnerability that guided me to where I am today. The people I attracted, inspired and connected with all gave me the confidence boost to keep wanting to up the anti with my business. They kept me accountable. Eventually, you will just jump right in and won’t care as much about what others think, because you shaped your way over time. Just keep sharing yourself with the world. Keep working on fear busting, healing and learning, and keep inviting people in to join you at that stage of your journey.
I think that if you live and breathe your business and have a sincere passion for what you do, that will radiate through, no matter how crap your website or business cards are. But at some stage, when you are ready to play with the big guys or attract more work, then you need to keep your business and branding evolving, just like you do.