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Emma poses a question on social media and travel:
“Why is it so much easier to post a photo of you working in a cafe that has a sea view in Malta versus you in a cafe in Tunbridge Wells?”

A self-reflective episode where Sam & Emma talk about building a personal brand and what they could do better.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

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02:05 – Sam speaks about the importance of authenticity in his businesses
04:04 – Considering different approaches to representing oneself in business
05:05 – Considering the lifestyle vs. the presentation of the lifestyle
06:30 – Should you google yourself to take control of your online presence?
07:17 – Strategy for image management on the internet
09:50 – Blog as a long form version of a CV
11:11 – The necessity of instagram for business
13:33 – The consequences of pigeon-holing yourself into a specific type of lifestyle
14:53 – Example of the crying baby in front of the perfect house
17:20 – The brand of a celebrity chef
19:07 – Improving your instagram
21:01 – Sam’s thought process for improving his own instagram
22:57 – How cringy self promotion can be


SAM: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and as normal we’re joined by my lovely wife Emma Priestly.

EMMA: Hello.

SAM: Today I want to talk about a term that I have heard quite a few times in the last few weeks and that is aspirational marketing, which I assume you have quite a strong opinion about.

EMMA: Yeah definitely in terms of from a professional point of view and also consumer.

SAM: Well it’s something I never actually heard before, if I had I’d never really put it together and it made me think. So what I took aspirational marketing to mean is when you’re instead of selling the product itself you’re selling the lifestyle or something else behind it. So a classic example would be you’re selling perfume but in the perfume advert, it’s a beautiful woman. They’re not showing you anything about perfume, they’re showing you this person you want to be yourself, you want to be that person.

EMMA: Yeah the impact that the product has on your, what it transforms you into.

SAM: And it made me think because I see a lot of online gurus, people selling courses and stuff like that and they have videos where they’re sitting on a Ferrari or on a yacht or on a beach telling you how they can make millions and they’re kind of like not really there’s no physical product there they’re saying yes here’s my course and I’ve got these great whatever’s while driving in their car and you see that Ferrari logo or surrounded by beautiful women.

EMMA: Yes you associate taking their course with having their lifestyle.

SAM: Yeah and I’ve always been very rude about people who do that. I thought it was a load of nonsense and I think you do attract a certain type of person with that but I don’t think that is the limit of aspirational marketing. It made me think like am I just being, because up until now with pretty much every business I’ve done, I have been quite careful about being authentic and not over exaggerating the lifestyle that goes along with it, trying to be quite truthful, a bit too truthful in some cases where I come across as quite negative in certain things and am i doing it all wrong?

EMMA: Well I think part of that is that you are an introvert so it’s not really in your day-to-day life to be showing off. Oh look at this new thing I’ve just bought or look at this amazing hotel we’re staying in or whatever the thing is, it’s not really you to be bragging about it.

SAM: I heard something funny the other day, I was listening to another podcast and the guy on it were chatting and they said, oh you need to have a certain strange mix of insecurities in order to be a podcaster. That is where you kind of want to be the center of attention but you really don’t want l people to look at you too much. You don’t want to be the center of attention and I think that’s the same about blogging and there’s podcasting as well. I don’t particularly want to be the center of attention but at the same time I kind of do.

EMMA: So you do in your own way.

SAM: I don’t like everyone showing off, I don’t like bragging but I’m also doing this podcast and I am writing this blog about me isn’t that weird?

EMMA: Also you’re writing a blog about you in terms of how you live your life and how you do your work and you’re trying to encourage other people to do the same. Yeah so you talked a lot about your working hours and the things you’re working on at the moment, the things you’d like to be working on but you don’t talk a lot about your lifestyle around you.

SAM: Yeah which is weird isn’t it because it’s something very linked but it’s also quite braggy, very snobby to be like look at all this stuff I’m doing, I think you should copy me.

EMMA: Yeah and of course that’s not the way that you talk about it.

SAM: But maybe that is the way I should talk about it, maybe I need to be a bit more ballsy with how I portray stuff especially because this podcast is called the lazy entrepreneur, it’s about you know that I’m quite a lazy person more interested in lifestyle and having control of my free time and fitting my work around that and living the life that I want to live. And I have written before about being a digital nomad and stuff like that but I’ve never used that as a way to help promote my stuff and my businesses. They’ve always been kind of as a side, just like I kind of think like oh you should here’s what I’m doing in my free time. Do whatever you want to do.

EMMA: And there is quite a difference in terms of the content. Let’s take your Instagram feed for when we were traveling and being digital nomads versus when we’ve been in Tunbridge Wells which is coming up to two years now. Why is it so much easier to post a photo of you working in a cafe that has a sea view in Malta versus you in a cafe in Tunbridge Wells?

SAM: I mean part of it is I thought it is a bit more applicable to the business. I was talking about you know the freedom of travel, freedom of time and being able to post a picture of writing or doing my work from a beach. It felt quite relevant, whereas now posting a picture of a lovely flat white and a ham and cheese croissant in the local cafe doesn’t seem very applicable at all but neither is sitting on a Ferrari while you’re talking about online business.

EMMA: Yes so what is your version of it?

SAM: So I do talk a lot about personal branding, in fact I wrote a blog post about personal branding not that long ago in July. Well I was basically saying everybody needs to now take control of their online presence and actually just really think about it. Be specific about what it is they want to show and not just as a way to protect yourself from you know people googling you or potential employers and stuff like that but also as a way of promoting you, as it will help you get bit more industry recognition or find new clients or something like that. Nowadays the old CV we have a very nice one-page resume isn’t all that someone will see of you, they’re probably not gonna ring around the resumes but they will give you a proper google and workout everything you’ve been doing.

EMMA: So what do you mean by take control of your online presence. Would you start with googling yourself and then what would you look at the descriptions of all your profiles and of all your kind of social media, like LinkedIn, Facebook, what’s described, what is their about us on your company pages, how would you take control?

SAM: I think it’s very specific to what it is you want to get out of controlling your online presence. Is it simply that you want when someone Googles your name to have control of every link on the first page. In which case that might be create a little profile on loads of different social networks so that then you create your own your page, make sure your LinkedIn page is looking very good and professional. If on the other hand you’re trying to get more you’re trying to get more clients, maybe you’ve got a look into where they are, which platforms are they looking at and then really target them. It’s really about thinking it through, realizing that your name is inexplicably linked to whatever it is you’re doing and that is true whether you’re making gin like we are or whether you’re an accountant in a massive company. There’s a reason there were top law firms and professional services are named after the founders. That’s not a reward for them, that’s because they are the brand, they are the USP that that company has.

EMMA: They’re putting their name on the line.

SAM: I think this like personal brand stuff is equally important for us doing stuff like the gin, for instance with PR getting information about us into local newspapers, it’s a lot easier to come off an interesting story around the founders than it is to create an interesting story about this random gin. Us as people are the one thing we have unique that’s like truly truly unique around our business. And also there are so many random things because I’ve written blog posts about starting a gin business, I’ve had people who just generally in the industry who generally googled about gin come across my staff and then reach out to me. I got loads of interesting tips off people, talk to other people’s tiny little businesses, if I hadn’t been sort of linking my gin with me as a person, I probably wouldn’t have got. Because they’re not contacting Pipehouse Gin, they’re contacting Sam Priestley. It’s probably a little bit wishy-washy what we’re talking about but this aspirational marketing phrase really made me think, am I doing personal branding correctly? There is more I could do.

EMMA: I think there’s always more you can do.

SAM: I think I can do better because I think that currently I’ve tried to keep everything a bit too separate. They’re not necessarily linked and in some ways I’m very private and I do write like a monthly report I find out and I’m not saying people should write their own personal blog whatever but there are many ways you can kind of get your message out, link yourself as a brand to your business.

EMMA: You always said one one of the reasons for setting up the blog in the first place was your online CV so you could post about all the different businesses that you’ve set up and still do now or sold, whatever and it was a long form a version of your CV.

SAM: That is something that I have spoken about in previous podcast and I say didn’t work and I think it has a word because I haven’t done it properly. When people come across my blog for one I think they assume it is a lot smaller in readership and reach than it is. They probably think it is a lot more amateur than what they are because if you look at other entrepreneurs and stuff like that and their online presences, they’re very pushy about their success. Like Forbes top 50 entrepreneurs under 30 in their bio itself, and I don’t do any of that sort of stuff you know. It’s very much like look at this little thing I did, look at our bottles breaking or whatever.

EMMA: Well it’s real.

SAM: It’s real yeah.

EMMA: You don’t inflate anything.

SAM: I don’t want to do any online branding stuff that isn’t authentic, that isn’t true to me. I was having a little look around, I kind of think now I need to do better when Instagram for one because Instagram seems to be a necessary medium it’s gotten so big now. It’s not a “nice to have” which it was five years ago. Now it is a necessity especially for any business whether it’s the gin or the table tennis or my personal blog. As I was looking around other people who are doing similar things to me, I’m trying to see what they’re doing well and I was really struggling to find people who had the balance right that I kind of liked so on one hand you got people like Jocko Willink who is like this ex Navy SEAL, massive Brazilian jiu-jitsu guy and he like posts a picture every morning at 4 a.m. of him in the gym, of his watch showing the time and like a sweat patch in the background. He’s got millions of followers, so his brand is that get up early, go get a go fight for it. Whereas I’m not that’s, that’s not me. Like I could try and do it but that would be a lie.

EMMA: Well no it’ll be the opposite it would be 11 a.m.

SAM: Yeah getting up at midday but then there’s the other side, there’s the whole like the luxury living side, my life is amazing and I feel people get trapped into these, they create an idea of what their life is like that they push on social media and then they get trapped into having to

EMMA: Keep fueling that machine even if it’s not real.

SAM: Kind of constantly living in nice hotels. It started off by it being real and then just that becomes their thing. If you’re a food blogger you have to always be going out and eating food even if you don’t feel like it. We watched a documentary about like YouTube couples so people who’ve made a career for themselves out of being this perfect couple, vlogging on YouTube, being quite funny and silly and quite often when they’re broken up but they were still pretending to be together for the sake of this youtube thing.

EMMA: Which is crazy and it just showed how stressful the documentary was showing how stressful their life was that they’re constantly having to live this specific life for the cameras and for their fans even if they were having a really bad day or having a really big argument or whatever emotions they were going through, they had to channel it all into this kind of performance.


SAM: That’s something that I don’t want to end up doing.

EMMA: It’s not authentic age.

SAM: I don’t want to be this digital nomad always traveling, looking like this perfect life spending hardly any time on my computer working. I don’t want to be tim ferriss suffers from that doesn’t he, it was a the 4-hour workweek but he doesn’t work four hours a week he works hundreds of hours a week, he’s a workaholic and he’s like business you can work four hours a week and you spend the rest of the time doing what you want, which happens to be working. So a lot of people disregard him because of that but also that’s why he got popular in the first place, that kind of viral extreme and I know he suffers quite a lot from depression and mental health and stuff like that but that’s not congruent with his brand.

EMMA: You don’t want to see that side of him.

SAM: But then again, peoples opinions have changed a bit and they do want to see that side. Katie who does the branding for pipehouse gin was talking about this the other day. Saying she’s seen on Instagram this kind of perfect reality so it would be someone holding a crying baby but with perfect decoration behind him.

EMMA: Yeah a perfect house.

SAM: It’s like something real that people relate to but also in a perfect way.

EMMA: But appreciate how tidy and beautifully decorated the house is which is kind of unrealistic if you think about it.

SAM: Yeah I think this kind of personal branding stuff is very important for you given the industry you’re trying to break into is quite food and drink, image focused. Is image focused but also you’re approaching it from many different angles, yeah so you are Emma you make gin, you run the supper clubs, you’re doing some events. The only thing that really crosses all of those things is you, and so when someone Google’s you they’ll come up across your LinkedIn which will have these random things on it but on your Instagram they probably wouldn’t really appreciate that, like how do you build yourself a brand as being Emma the sort of food and drink person in Tunbridge Wells who is doing interesting stuff. You could be like a really famous person locally because you’re doing loads of interesting things that everyone would have heard of and a lot of people would have heard of you now especially people in the food and drink industry but because of one thing, not because of the link.

EMMA: Yeah and at the moment, there isn’t one platform where I speak about all of the different businesses that I do. I do kind of keep them separate.

SAM: But they are all linked. Supper clubs and making gin aren’t that particularly different when people think of you as the gin person or as they should think of you as Emma Priestly who does this. Like when you think of Rosemary Stranger who is the celebrity chef of Tunbridge Wells, I was asking who is she, what does she do? You’re like well she’s famous for these cooking schools and she’s a TV chef and she does this like but she is Rosemary Stranger, like the thing she did before isn’t what she’s defined as, she’s her own brand and because of that her brand is worth a lot.

EMMA: Yeah and she does do a lot of traditional PR so she does a lot of TV stuff, so she’s more of a household name and she does lots of different things on TV like travel stuff, food stuff.

SAM: So she’s kind of this celebrity, she’s a celebrity chef but that is a bracket that has now been quite well understood, can we create something is similar but different? It’s still about you but it’s not TV focused. Because why TV? There’s so many Instagram people who’ve never been on TV.

EMMA: Because we’re talking about Rosemary and she’s 70.

SAM: But it’s also TV because TV was the only way people got their personal brands out at the time, now that is not the case anymore. You don’t need to be on TV to be a brand in yourself. What about someone like Joe Wicks? He’s another celebrity chef type person but he didn’t get their through TV, he got there through Instagram and a lot of people creating cookbooks at the moment are doing it because they’re doing it through their instagram profiles, and if you want a cookbook you need to have a big audience you need to have a big personal brand. And that brand can either be around your business, you could be like the Hawks more and that cookery book or it could be around you as a person as a chef.

EMMA: Yeah and there’s definitely space for both and I think it’s pretty difficult to go to a publisher with the idea for a book when you don’t have the following now. I think it used to be about the idea.

SAM: A publisher would hunt out a chef and then say we’ll do all the promotion for you whereas now they’re hunting out people with big audiences.

EMMA: Then they know that they’ve got a captive audience to sell that book to.

SAM: And now it’s almost gone the other way around, they’re saying we’ve got the food photographers, we’ve got the recipe testers, where you can basically do everything for you. We just need your name and your brand to push out there. What a weird world we’re living in. So what sort of actual points are there I should be doing?

EMMA: Well you said you want to post more pictures on Instagram.

SAM: I want something that links my businesses together that has me as like the central linchpin of how do I do that in a way that’s aspirational, that actually people want to see.

EMMA: That is not spammy and authentic.

SAM: And not really American.

EMMA: That was so english.

SAM: I think I am doing it right on my blog, a couple of years ago I changed it from arbing to sam priestley dot com. Focus on my personal brand, I think I’m doing okay there, but I think when people read a blog post and then they’ll look me up on Instagram and I think Instagram is where I’m slightly been let down. So that’s something I need to work on and treat it more like mini blog posts. I should treat it like an extension of my personal brand.

EMMA: Yeah definitely, so what would you post from yesterday, or what would you post from Sunday.

SAM: Well the problem is it’s the photography behind it. Well what did we do?

EMMA: I already know the answer. Pictures of us tasting the gin, tasting the new flavor.

SAM: Oh yeah so tomorrow morning we’re working currently on scaling up our second flavour so we had some gin we’d made, one bottle and then some gin we made at twenty five liter amount and they should have been identical but they’re not because it’s quite hard so we were doing a lot blind taste testing to work out what it is we can improve so that’s quite interesting, so that along with a description of what it was, why we were doing it, I think could be quite interesting.

EMMA: Yep and then the one from Sunday, I’d say would be a picture the roast and talking about how English it is and how we’re enjoying being in Tunbridge Wells and you can’t get a roast like this when you’re in Thailand. Those are the things I would say looking back at the last few days.

SAM: Yeah but then Sunday we also went to church and then we had dinner afterwards. There is some content there that could be created about know community. Saturday night we went out to one of your friends who is a Maldivian and she cooked us some amazing Maldivian food. There’s definitely content around that. I think I’ve just got to really think about what is applicable to my personal brand. Like what what adds to the image I’m trying to cultivate.

EMMA: Yeah not just as you live it but I mean maybe there are four or five different kinds of headlines that you want to promote and if they don’t fit into that.

SAM: I’ve got to be really strategic I think. And what about you, what can you do differently? How are you going to build the Emma Priestley brand. Emma’s supper kitchen, Pipehouse Gin.

EMMA: I mean I can always post more pictures of food, and the making food and me eating food but I always kind of feel that there’s a limit to how much.

SAM: It feels a bit cringy doesn’t it? Yeah that’s the problem, and that’s the problem I have as well. When I first launched my blog, I didn’t tell anyone about it for two or three months.

EMMA: Yeah and you still write blog posts now that you don’t promote on email because you don’t think they’re good enough.

SAM: Yeah and I don’t post on Facebook often because I’m a bit self-conscious.

EMMA: And there’s some other social media channels as well that you don’t regularly post in like LinkedIn which you could, so can your LinkedIn yesterday.

SAM: We just need to get over ourselves.

EMMA: The last blog post you posted was last year, it was March.

SAM: The funny thing is like when I see someone post the sort of stuff I think is a bit cringy, I’ll go that is a bit cringy but then I’ll go and read it. They post about whatever it is, something that they’ve achieved. A picture that’s like look at my team that I’ve grown from one to twenty and then I’ll click on it and have a read. I mean maybe we just need to get over ourselves. Well I think on that note we’ll end this rather thought provoking podcast. Thanks for listening, actually, here’s a good question. If you have any people on Instagram who are kind of doing entrepreneurial stuff and you think you’re doing really well and have a good personal brand, please can you send it to me. You can just instant message me on Instagram or email me at hello at sam priestley dot com.

EMMA: So your Instagram handle is Sam Priestley

SAM: Yeah should I change that?


EMMA: No that is your name!

SAM: Alright yeah on that bombshell, goodbye.