Season 1, Episode 4
Jo Casey on Seeing a Book as Possible for You
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Notes from this episode:
Jo Casey works with “artisanal business owners” who she describes as people who run a business based on their love of the work and the impact it can have rather than simply the money they can make, though a great income is also important to them.
We talk about how many of the people she works with are people like coaches and healers and makers, and they don’t necessarily see themselves as someone with a book inside them, until she suggests it might be possible. And once they get used to the idea, they see a huge value that a long-form book could offer them and sharing their expertise in a deeper way. So if you’re someone who feels very much called to write your book, but you also struggle with seeing this as a possibility for yourself, this is absolutely the episode for you.
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So I’m Jo Casey, and I live in the north of England, Wales, currently in monks 11 to 12 off lockdown, or so it feels about Yeah, I live in the north of England, and I am a business coach. But I’m not your typical business coach, I’m kind of the business coach of people who hate the idea of having a business but love their work. So I work with a lot of what I would call autism to know business owners, coaches, healers, makers, people who are in it for the craft, and the change and the change that they want to make and for the work, and if they could do that without having to do any of the stinky marketing and business stuff than they would do. But they haven’t found a way of doing that. And no one has helped them to make peak Spaceward and even learn to love the kind of marketing and business side of things.
Vanessa Soto 3:15
I love that description. artisanal business owner because it really brings to mind. Sure, you could think of someone who’s doing a craft an artistic type individual, but I think so many of us, you know, myself included, we really do love engaging with the work that we do, and the people and the process and, and that is very much an an art. And, and so it sounds like you kind of help bridge that that feeling of like loving what you do with having to get out there and make sure people know that you do it.
Jo Casey 3:52
Yeah, because so many of us kind of find our thing, and then kind of go great, I will start doing this thing in exchange for money and it will be fantastic. I will be able to do this thing every day and it will be so gorgeous. And I will enjoy myself so much. And then like no one walks through the door of metal store or nobody’s hiring them. And it’s like oh, so I need to learn to let people know about this thing and sell this thing and market this thing and then it all becomes icky and takes away the love and the you know the thing that brought them to that Protestant in the first place in the first place. Yeah.
Vanessa Soto 4:33
Well and that also really makes me think about so many people who I talked to who want to write a book it’s a lot of it is that same, that nugget of what is the thing that they love so much. And you know you and I both work a lot with people who are coaches and have a particular expertise and they build that expertise but really at the center of that expertise is usually something that they feel Just really passionate about, and that is the thing that they see themselves writing a book about so that there is a lot of similarity in that, that that kind of Article like, like that Uber idea for why they’re doing it in the first place.
Jo Casey 5:16
Yeah. And it’s also this this recognition of I love Nilofer Merchant’s idea of “Onlyness”. So for folks who haven’t come across this idea before she talks about your own leanness as being the space in the universe that only you can occupy, so there may be 700, people who are being I don’t know, helping people to build their resilience, or do dog training or whatever you’re thinking, yeah, so let me be one person who is doing it, from your perspective, from your position with your unique combination of skills and experience and beliefs, and values, your your flavor, if you like, it’s like, you can have 1000 chefs cook an omelet,
Vanessa Soto 6:01
but, you know, they’re all like, a little different, or they have their own special spin on it. So one of the secrets, and I mean, it’s, it’s not that much of a secret, cuz I feel like I talk about it quite a bit, actually, is that when people have a book idea, they actually feel that it has to truly be the one idea that like, no one’s ever presented before. It’s the brand, it’s the, it’s the brand idea. And sometimes that’s how the idea feels like in your head, it’s like this thing. And the reality is, is that world publishing industry really likes to have ideas that are a fresh take on an idea that is, in fact, not brand new, it’s maybe a variation on an idea that we’re familiar with. But it’s, it’s tied to like this moment in time You know, it, you know, it’s something that the, the, that the cultural conversation is really surrounding or like right now, in the pandemic, like, that brings up a lot of topics that have always been important, but are more important now, because people’s lives changing so much, that’s kind of the same, same idea is like, you don’t have to, you’re, you’re never going to be the only one person talking about how to make an omelet, but you have your own particular unique take on that, like your own point of view.
Jo Casey 7:23
Exactly. And I’ve worked with so many, I’ve worked a lot with this concept of feminine conditioning. So what was predominantly women and women identifying folks. And I think a lot of our feminine conditioning, we’re told that you know that there can be only one, it’s like, there can be one, you know, worked in workplaces, that might be just like the queen bee who is either very idealistic, there can be only only one successful woman the prettiest, the the best friend, this idea of that we have to be just so incredibly unique. And because for a lot of us, and if you’ve come from any kind of marginalized identity, we have that experience of it’s so hard, it tends to be so hard to find that that success, it tends to be just the the very, very, very best, you know, the most qualified, as opposed to you know, if you’re a white male that doesn’t necessarily applying the same weight. idea, even when it’s not necessarily true.
Vanessa Soto 8:26
Yeah. Like, yeah, like you have to be that’s that’s where the whole mythology of perfection comes from. Yeah, like only the person who’s perfect, you can accomplish that I’ve been reading the book burnout. And the two sisters who in that book cover a bunch of different themes. But all big core area in that book is all around the whole ideas that we create, or that we’ve all grown up with as women around just what you’re describing, like that all of that kind of maintenance of and, and effort towards being perfect is one of the like, kind of foundational elements that leads people to burn out later just to be just worn down. Because it’s this constant effort that usually I think a lot of us don’t really even notice we don’t pay attention, which is like, that’s just like what you do.
Jo Casey 9:25
headspace as well as a yes, it leads to burnout. But it also distracts us from all the great things that we could be doing that I’m contempt 50 this year, and I have to say there is a real lovely upside to kind of properly been in middle age and that you know, you can no longer compete in the kind of traditional things that women are meant to to do you like being pretty and being skinny. It’s like, I care so much less about so many of those things. It’s like they’re not even options anymore. And it’s like suddenly they’re like, oh, oh, create so much more space now. Spend like three hours planning a night out and getting ready for it.
Vanessa Soto 10:06
Guess mixing the plucking that used to happen? Just the idea of even going for a night out? Right now I can’t even even imagine both. Just the preparation of thinking about going for a night out seems exhausting. I can’t remember the last time I was out after dark. No, that whole like maintenance thing, I think is super exhausting. For sure. So it sounds like when you’re working with your clients, who are coaches and healers and maker type folks, that these are the types of things that you’re working on with them. Do you do you find that there is an interest? Like I’m kind of assuming in for some of them and writing a book? Is that like a thing that that that you see?
Jo Casey 10:50
It’s certainly something that I encourage them to see, is this possible for them? Because I think that’s us. The other thing is that you’re and I say to people regularly code, that’s your book that you know, that’s the subject of the book, I get done, right, but I could never, and and there are so many great ideas and so many great voices and great perspectives out there. And people who have, you know, been spent like 20 years working in a particular area or somebody who’s you know, bringing in a 30 year career into something and maybe as retrained as a coach or is now working as a therapist, there’s so many great stories and great perspectives. And I just don’t think that for a lot of women in particular preferred a lot of people, we think that we have this idea that writing a book is for other people. And absolutely the books that I love to read the nonfiction books are the ones of people who have been in the trenches or have a really fresh, different perspective on something. And you know, that I wish more people would see that for themselves. It’s certainly something that I encourage my clients to see is some
Vanessa Soto 12:02
of them. Yeah, so not the traditional experts. And I think going back to what we were talking about perfectionism, and how maybe if you’re kind of like a typical privileged white male, you might much more readily see yourself as someone who by all means should write a book. But these amazing stories and points of view that exist out there amongst so many other people, maybe? And I see, I definitely see this kind of idea of downplaying it like I have, I’ll have conversations like I have these different days, I don’t think this one’s good enough for a book, what do you think? And I’ll say, I think of these three ideas, I’ll tell you which one I think is the strongest idea for a book. But the minimizing thing is, is different than picking what’s the best idea. It’s kind of, like a default thing, I think, for a lot of people is to not kind of set their heights too large. Right? Like, stick with the blog posts and the what’s working or podcast, nothing’s wrong with those things. But if a book is something that there’s a possibility for, over an excitement for it, that’s another thing I was going to ask you was, what’s the common reaction? Is that, is that the reaction that they Yeah,
Jo Casey 13:28
now, and then, you know, after work, tell them a bit, got some screws out. But after, after a while, once or once folks allow themselves to get used to the idea, and really want a lot more women to start thinking, Well, why not? Because we also have this idea of the expert, the expert looked and sounded a certain way for a long, long, long, long time. And who’s to say that they really were the quote, unquote, experts, you know, if you’ve been a hairdresser for 30 years, you’re an expert in so many things. Yeah. They’re not things that we’ve recognized as being, you know, valued real expertise. You know, it’s like if someone’s an engineer or somebody in the armed forces, or you know, they’re in the the RPF, or the other Marines or something. But there’s a whole host of people who write books about those things. So why not somebody who spent the past 10 years working as a as a carer? Why not somebody who’s, you know, knows how to run a small business whilst juggling kids, whilst, you know, real life stories? Exactly. That is expertise and that needs to be as as as valuable. I I’m excited about the changes that have happened in publishing go for, you know, the past I don’t know how long it’s been since people have been able to really Self Publish effectively. And then I know traditional publishing has kind of caught on to that is that it brought in the fields of Yeah, well, it was assumed people would buy in terms of books.
Vanessa Soto 15:06
Absolutely. I think, while I work with generally people who end up traditional publishing, because that’s the path that’s right for them the whole, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t so many other spaces for people’s books. And I think that there’s also this other kind of interesting world that’s growing. And it sits between self-publishing and traditional publishing. And it’s called hybrid publishing. And it’s, it kind of takes out, it takes out a little of the challenge of traditional publishing, which is, there’s only so many books that can be published every year. And they generally need to be somewhat mass in market. And then self-publishing, which can feel really niche, right, like you can get it like a super tiny market. But traditional publishing are these new companies that have grown out of what you’re describing, they saw was happening in self-publishing, they seen all the changes in traditional publishing, but they still allow someone to publish a book with a, like a brand name publisher and get their book distributed in bookstores get the ability to be like on like, you know, like the top 10 lists and things like that, like kind of like that general kind of marketing kind of piece, which I think is interesting like that, that grew out of that this whole extremes of self publishing. And traditional, because there’s so many people who have stories, and they have different needs and different audiences. And and it just, there’s so many, there’s so many more options now, I think, is what it comes down to, whatever your story is that you want to tell. Yeah, yeah. And I think, also what you are saying about people, particularly women in these kind of areas, where they don’t see themselves as an expert, I really like how you said, it takes some time to get them used to the idea. And so you’re working on them a little bit with that. But what does that look like? Does that look like them? One day, a few months later, when you’re talking to them, they they’re they they’ve just kind of absorbed it, and they’ve and they’ve embraced the idea or like, I’m just curious what that process is like?
Jo Casey 17:29
Well, sometimes even just having the possibility placed in front of them and having somebody else who they trust say, absolutely this could be a book, I would hopefully read that kind of a book and having that that that validation for their ideas and their thoughts. Even that is incredibly powerful. But yeah, we did we do work on things like you know, getting underneath what some of those stories that you know, where you’re telling yourself about why in a way your ideas wouldn’t be valuable? What’s the evidence that you have, while your ideas might be valuable? What kind of work are you doing with people? What kind of responses do you get from from people? And so that they can start to shift that that picture that they have in their in their head around? Well, my rinky dink little ideas wouldn’t be of any interest to people. And to start at it’s a slightly have blinkers on sometimes Yeah,
Vanessa Soto 18:26
it is someone else who you value the opinion of, to see it in you first. And also, I think what you probably are tying that to is that own leanness that they’re developing around themselves, that kind of different is a different word for like, being an expert. It’s it’s a word that I think you can be more comfortable with, possibly as well, this is this is my loneliness, this was what I am, uniquely, this is me versus, you know, and these are all the pieces that make it up. But that’s the same thing as expertise. It’s your own particular unique, special sauce.
Jo Casey 19:08
It’s just the beef before at one point, there would be certain gatekeepers that would say, Oh, no, you have to have taught at Harvard, or you have to have won the Nobel Prize, or you have to have been a white dude in business for a number of years to be classed as an expert. I think what’s what’s happened is that it’s been the removal of some of those those gatekeepers, and that in itself has expanded the possibilities for the people who still are the gatekeepers, like in traditional publishing now, I imagine there’s there’s also this recognition that gives you I remember in the 90s there was this big debate that one time I did pop, my degree was in film studies about how women don’t go to the cinema. And so all the films were for young men. There’s lots and lots of action movies, and I can’t remember what movie it was that came along. It wasn’t thumb on the wrist, but there was a woman that a yoke series of films that kind of stalled women and
Vanessa Soto 20:03
and they were like they did gangbusters. They were huge blockbusters. studio has like, Hmm, well, we just didn’t know there was a market. No, it’s, yeah, it’s the same thing. And I think I’m hearing that, you know, over the last year, especially, the publishing industry has really had a reckoning with broadening their voices. So in traditional publishing, obviously, self-publishing has, has made that available to everybody. But every traditional publisher wants to have a slate of books, that isn’t just a bunch of white men, that is truly representative of the people who are readers just like what you’re saying, readers are not just white men. And, and they’ve really had to had to face that. So it’s women, it’s people of color. And it’s just generally just more kind of complex, or just diverse ideas, rather than kind of simplifying. And I don’t want to say that traditional publishing generally dumbs things down. But I think the similar with what you’re describing with the film industry, there are ideas around like, what is established and what works, other things aren’t risky and scary. So that’s a thing, I think, in our culture. So I
Jo Casey 21:27
think there is something in that the the more people can see other people doing it. So you know, the more women can see, or the interesting, quirky, nuanced books about you know, my areas is business, but you know, about anything, then the more that kind of the field of possibility expands for all us. Yeah, that’s right. That’s really, really
Vanessa Soto 21:56
that’s what you want. I mean, there’s, there’s a literary agent who is who I’ll be interviewing on here, you know, over time, and she published a book with an author who wrote about her about some experiences growing up in like a part of Los Angeles that never gets written about. And I grew up in Los Angeles. So I’m familiar with that part of town. But I just emailed her because I thought that was so cool. Like that representation of a book in that in that area, and everything. And the book did super well. I think it was on like the Reese Witherspoon book club. So I think that’s one of those examples, right? Like, you. I’m just guessing, I’m just guessing that she probably had some challenges with getting that book paid attention to. And that for some of the reasons I’m like, hasn’t been done before, kind of thing. And then when you get a great success, like a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, which is, you know, huge sales kind of goes, Oh, kind of like the Thelma and Louise or whatever, the blockbuster movie, a kind of cat, that whatever the old arguments were like, they don’t work anymore. They don’t reply, Sally. Exactly.
Jo Casey 23:10
So I think that this definitely something in that. But then also, from the business owners perspective, having a book can be one of the poorest, most powerful things you can do in terms of lead generation in terms of building your, your your platform, bringing in new audience,
Vanessa Soto 23:31
presenting yourself as a, for lack of a better word, an expert in that area.
Jo Casey 23:37
Vanessa Soto 23:38
And I think also, you and I have talked about this, it’s, it’s an area that allows you to really go deeper and expand.
Jo Casey 23:46
Because especially for for my clients, they do interesting queueing, nuanced work. And sometimes that can be a bit of a struggle. But you know, one of the big things I work with people on as you know, is about well, how can you take this, this kind of these big ideas, these kind of magical strands, and then it’s almost like traditional marketing is telling you to put that in a neat little box that you can then sell and a lot of the work that the folks I I work with do doesn’t fit neatly into a box. And so sometimes they can, they can struggle with the kind of, oh, you need to be doing an Instagram post every day about 10 tips, how to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, because, you know, if you’re a somatic therapist, it’s very difficult to come up with really simple 10 tips how to, you know, or that, that nuance that, that depth, that those shades of gray can get bit flattened out can get lost, like that. It’s gotten lost a bit in this kind of very quick, very short attention span, social media world and so a book allows you that that spacious container to go to go deep To go into the layers of things to talk about things that are maybe not simple and easy, have some complexity to them, and really allows you to do that. And so for my clients and the type of people I work with, can be an amazing vehicle for that. It’s kind
Vanessa Soto 25:19
of like the tip of an iceberg of different types of content that you might put up there, the blog will have Rachael Allen on the podcast, and she will talk about something that’s really similar to that. And it’s that all of your ideas can be laddered, up or down. And so I think that’s what it comes down to is like, the book is the is the full expression of what you have to say and, and, and, and what people who are your readers want to learn about, and all those other content pieces that you’re putting out there, they get there, they’re how you let people get a little taste. But if you don’t ever have that piece that fully expresses your idea, you are kind of probably only doing that in your one on one coaching or your places where you can go really deep. I really love that, that idea. And I think that’s super important for people to think about is it as a piece of all of the different, you know, for lack of a better word kind of marketing tactics that they’re using out there? Right. One of them, you know, in the broader sense of the word. It could be book, it could be, you know, it’s the long form version of their ideas. And that really opens up possibly that possibility idea that you are talking about, oh, well, yeah, I do have a pretty big idea. And, and the big idea fits in a book. Maybe I could write a book. You love it. Okay, Joe. So I think I’m going to start to like wrap us up a little bit. Now. This is so awesome. I love hearing about all these ideas. So I think some folks are going to be interested in learning more about you and how you work with people. What’s the best way for listeners to connect with you?
Jo Casey 27:14
You can go to my website, which is Jo casey.com. That’s Jo Danny Jo Casey calm, and you’ll find information about all my programs and things or you can find me on socials JoCaseyB. So the letter B on Instagram On Facebook on Twitter, although I don’t really engage with Twitter because it’s a horrible place that people just shout out on Instagram – Instagrams, my place, come sit, come say hi, hi.
Vanessa Soto 27:41
Yeah, they’re I think there’s Twitter people. And there’s and there’s not Twitter people.
Jo Casey 27:44
I mean, isn’t it like it like yeah, I don’t know, 10 years ago or something when it was kind of fashion you and you could like, have conversations with pop stars or writers that you like, and they would reply, and now it’s just Yes, swarms of shouty bots. Yeah. And people yelling, and
Vanessa Soto 28:01
then we’ll look for you on Instagram. Okay, I’ll include all of Joe’s links in the show notes too. But to really wrap this up, I love to ask you the three questions that everybody is coming on the show is answering. So what is one common myth that you’d like to debunk about writing?
Jo Casey 28:25
That it’s only something that other people can do? It’s rare anyone? It’s for everyone.
Vanessa Soto 28:32
Yeah. If it’s if it’s something that you that you is calling your name, then that is something to pay attention to? Yes, for sure. Love it. Okay, so how do your parents there in the north of England describe what you do for a living Jo?
Jo Casey 28:50
on the internet, I still have been doing this a long time. I still don’t think they really have a clue or is that I do. I know that about a year ago, my dad had been listening to a radio program on the BBC and had heard somebody who was a blogger, and asked me if I had ever thought of becoming a blogger, because apparently you can make lots of money from it. Being a blogger and I always say that’s not how it works.
Vanessa Soto 29:17
I love it.
Jo Casey 29:19
Not the internet with a potential future as a blogger.
Vanessa Soto 29:22
Yes, yes. Even aspire to that.
I know you love what you do, but if money were no object, what might you be doing all day long.
Jo Casey 29:35
I would still do some of this. I definitely I do love what I do. And I would I would still carry on doing it to an extent. But I would also have a lot more time just pottering and gardening and taking walks on the beach and and things like that.
Vanessa Soto 29:49
Yes. Sounds nice.
Jo Casey 29:50
Maybe it’s just because I’m craving just has been able to be us I would definitely be doing I know I do. I just bought time. More spaciousness more sewing more. Drink. Okay. Well, thank you. So awesome talking to you.