At The Robora, we encourage women to believe that it's possible.
On the podcast, host Annie Ridout (author, journalist, coach and founder of The Robora) talks business - often online business - wellbeing, woo, creativity and self-development. Everything you need to thrive, in life.
Expect stories, tips and tricks on taking creativity online, launching and selling online courses, starting an online business, growing your profile, PR, social media, building an online community, digital marketing, confidence and work-life balance.
Why do we worry more when lying in bed at night, and what can be done about it?
Annie Ridout has found herself lying in bed, worrying about her life choices. But then she gets up in the morning, drinks a coffee and all feels fine. Or manageable, at least. In this episode, Annie explores the reason we might go over everything we’re worried about when lying in bed – and then find it all a little lighter once we’re up for the day. She asked psychologist Suzy Reading why this happens and shares her thoughts. And there are some tips for getting back to sleep when your mind is having a worry party in the dead of night.
The only way to sell more is to stop selling
If you’re finding it hard to sign up clients or sell products, it’s time to stop selling. Instead, take some time away from it all. Even just a day. Go and be free and creative and inspired. Then return, feeling refreshed, and focus on growing your community. Because when you create a big group of people who feel warm towards you and/or your brand, they will be waiting to hear what it is you’ve got to sell. In this episode, Annie talks through all of this and shares ideas for community-building – with examples of how it’s worked for her, and others.
The Early Hour – theearlyhour.com (Annie’s first platform)
Lucy and Yak (who make dungarees and other clothing)
Don’t Buy Her Flowers (gift boxes)
Leo @ordinary_shapes (collage-maker)
Tamu Thomas – my guru – @livethreesixty
How to make big life changes
As Annie Ridout embarks on a major life change (leaving her hometown of London, staying in the countryside, homeschooling the kids, travelling and then…. who knows), she shares how they got to this stage, what she did when – last week – she had a massive wobble. And how she moved through it and got to a new life plan that felt exciting. If a little unconventional.
– Tamu Thomas on Instagram – @livethreesixty
– What do I want to do with my life? (at therobora.com)
This online course will help you to focus on what you’d like to do more of (eg. daily rituals, the BIG goals and weekly work tasks), how to break down common barriers that may be holding you back (eg. perfectionism, fear of failure, imposter syndrome) – and a method for planning your time efficiently. I’ll teach you how to start ticking more things off, but not at the expense of your wellbeing. It’s a combination of mindset work and clever time management strategies…
Why I don’t work if I’m due on my period
Some weeks, we’re full of energy, ideas and enthusiasm. Others, we’re not. This week, Annie Ridout was in panic mode and due on her period. So she did pretty much no work at all. Here’s what she did instead, why she didn’t feel bad about taking time away from the laptop and what happened at the end of her no-work week… (she also shares the story of her incredibly embarrassing, worst-ever sales pitch from last year),
– To learn more about working with/around your menstrual cycle, check out @_maisiehill_
– Read Ebony Gilbert’s brilliant poetry book – This Skin I’m In
Want your business to succeed? You need to do this
Successful, sustainable businesses are run by people who know that it’s not just hard work that’s required but also balance. After two experiences of burnout, Annie Ridout now knows the warning signs and shares them in this episode, as well as what to do to avoid getting to that stage. She talks about toxic productivity, realistic ways to look after yourself when you’re a mum or caring for someone else as well as running a business, and she gets real about the pressure to earn taking precedence over wellbeing, sometimes.
Why The Robora is no longer just about online business
After a (long) summer off, Annie Ridout is back with new ideas for The Robora. Also, some notes on where Rich has gone. She talks about why she hates the phrase ‘online business’ and can no longer refer to The Robora as a platform for online business. And about moving house. And all the things she wants to do to help women to improve their own lives. Plus there are a few self-publishing tips in there.
Follow us on Instagram: @therobora
Executive coach Victoria Smith-Murphy on using tarot, astrology and intuition in business
Victoria Smith-Murphy is a career and leadership coach. She works one-on-one with senior leaders, as well as running workshops on intuition and self-leadership. In this episode, we talk about using tarot cards, astrology and intuition in business. Victoria explains the difference between instinct and intuition, and explains that you don’t have to be spiritual to use tarot or access your sub-conscious thoughts. We also discussing manifesting and law of attraction – why some people are cynical, and how visualising has (and hasn’t) worked for us.
Show (biz) Notes:
Therapist Anjali Mehta talks online therapy and how CBT can help us with anxiety
Anjali Mehta is a CBT therapist, lecturer and the clinical director of Brighter Life Therapy. She launched this online therapy business during the pandemic and in this episode, talks about Zoom therapy vs in-person and shares tools for coping with anxiety and depression. We also discuss how open therapists should be about their own lives on social media, and what it’s like setting up an online business.
Dressmaker Camille Jacquemart on taking creativity online and living as an artist
After graduating in Fashion Design in France, her country of origin, Camille Jacquemart trained with the likes of Threeasfour, Alexander McQueen and Fred Butler. Keen to learn more about the process behind making clothes, she spent a year at a wool farm in Wales, shepherding and learning the process from fleece to cloth. Shortly after, she launched Thimble Studios – her business. It’s been going eight years. She now lives close to nature, still in Wales, teaching people to sew and make their own clothes. Pre-pandemic, this was in-person classes but over the past year, she moved her classes online. In this episode, we talk creativity, lifestyle, inspiration and combining these things with the online world…
What do I want to do with my life?
Many of us have found ourselves post-pandemic asking: what do I want to do with my life? We’re ready for change. For working differently. For prioritising different parts of our lives. There’s a lot of talk around rest and play. Annie has been asking herself this question too, and after taking someone else’s online course (that wasn’t very good) she had a brainwave. We discuss it, in this episode. As well as the usual disagreements/tiffs because, basically, Rich is an eternal pessimist. Though you can listen and make your own mind up about that. And we have a big talk about coaching, as Rich is having coaching to answer that same question.
Can you run an online business in half a day a week?
We’ve been having a break from The Robora (including the podcast). And in this episode, we open up about what’s been going on behind-the-scenes this past year. Well, Annie tries to rose-tint it but Rich pushes for the truth. This is a very honest insight into running an online business, from home, with your husband/wife and three young kids during a pandemic. And then we share our plan for running the business in 1/2-a-day a week, going forward – and how this will work…
Why we’ve decided against membership (again)
Part of running a business is trying things. Some work, some don’t. You learn and move on. Another part is having lots of ideas; innovating. And some of those ideas come to fruition, while others don’t. In this episode, we discuss our recent plans to launch a membership, and why we won’t be going ahead. Plus lots of chat around failure, success and giving ourselves permission to do both with no guilt.
I’m finding it hard to finish and launch my online course
This episode is a bit different. Annie has her ‘coaching hat’ on and gives Rich a session to help him work through his mindset challenges in terms of finishing and launching the online course he’s working on. He talks about what he’s finding hard, and Annie encourages him to set achievable goals to help him to get it finished and launched within a specific time-frame. It’s a bit emotional, pretty revealing – and will give you some tips for finishing and launching your own course.
How all your free content can lead to sales
Sharing loads of posts on Instagram, or devoting time to growing a Facebook group but not sure if it will ever pay? In this episode, we discuss how free content like social media posts, online groups, podcasts and emails help you to grow a community of people who you can eventually offer your product/service to. And if you’re not sure what your product/service is yet – we cover that too. But mainly, this episode will reassure you that what you are doing it very much worthwhile. And in time, you’ll see this.
Get clients lining up to work with you
Whether you’re keen to have a rolling roster of new clients, or to launch a programme and get a bunch of people signed up in one go – this episode will help you to devise a plan. We talk about using Instagram to meet prospective clients (personal brand VS business accounts) and how niche to go. Also, the benefits of growing a Facebook group community, leveraging sign-ups from your email list and the power of podcasts in terms of growing your online profile, and introducing the ‘real you’ to the world. As usual, lots of swearing, jokes and tangents.
The truth about creating an online course (the highs, the lows)
Once your courses are up and running (and SELLING), it’s amazing. But what does it take to get to that point? In this episode, we talk about getting started on creating an online course – according to Rich, this is the hardest part. And we offer ideas for breaking down the process. Then how it can feel when you’re ‘in it’ and can’t decide if your course is absolutely amazing or utter shite. And onto the launch – selling spaces. Not selling spaces. How to sell more spaces. It’s an honest account of course creation, with a load of tips thrown in.
Join The Online Business Programme before Sunday for a bonus one-hour Facebook ads call with Rich, and a PR story edit from Annie
Is this £5000 online course a scam?
Like most industries, the e-learning world has people who sell with integrity, and people who don’t. So how do you work out whether a course will offer good value for money? In this episode Annie and Rich talk about what you’re paying for when you sign up to an online course; where the value lies, and the importance of transparency when it comes to selling your courses, programmes and consultancy/coaching packages. We include two examples of when we each felt a bit…. scammed.
More from The Robora…
How niche do you really need to go?
We’re told to go niche; to really narrow down what we’re offering, and exactly who it’s for. And of course, this makes sense: when you’re clear on who your product/service is for, you can get it in front of the right people. They see it, and think: this is for me. BUT what if you want to keep your niche a bit broader, so as not to leave people out? In this episode, Annie and Rich discuss their slightly different ideas about how niche to go. With examples. And a bout of hysterical laughter.
– This is our ‘DIY PR’ course – it teaches you how to grow your profile and secure press coverage.
– Want to be more productive, while taking care of your mental/physical needs? This is the course for you.
– If you’d like to launch your own online course, we can teach you how.
– And for those looking for launch a business or go freelance, you want Becoming your own Boss.
Confidence in business: how to stop giving a sh*t about what others think
You know what holds people back from doing Instagram Stories, talking to camera? And putting their prices up? And being the ‘face of the brand’? They’re worried about what their friends and family think. Not the millions of strangers who might notice them. In this episode, Rich and I talk about the times our friends have judged us, and why we’ve ploughed on anyway. We discuss: imposter syndrome – and overcoming it, pricing with confidence and developing an online persona.
Want to start an online course business? Join our signature programme: The Online Business Programme. It’s a banger.
The myth of the evergreen funnel and the psychology of sales
It’s time to call bullsh*t on the promise that setting up an evergreen funnel will get you a certain amount of sales every single month. It won’t. Because that doesn’t take into account changing behaviours, world events, seasons and the general psychology of sales. In this episode, Rich and I have a meeting about the reality of having a launch VS the ‘evergreen’ approach. And disagree on a fair few things. Including whether or not this is actually a meeting.
A marketing strategy for selling spaces on your online course
In this episode, we invite you into our garden office to listen in on mine and Rich’s work meeting. It’s unfiltered, unscripted and we are sharing the first and only take. We talk about what we’re doing with the business – including our current marketing and sales strategy – and what future plans we have. Plus we throw in some office banter because, well, we’re co-workers as well as a married couple.
Growing an online profile with stylist and entrepreneur Yvadney Davis (Mums That Slay, Musingo Bingo)
In this episode, I ask Yvadney Davis – fashion stylist, painter, the woman behind #mumsthatslay and founder of Musingo Bingo – how she’s used Instagram, and blogging, to grow an online profile. We talk about creativity, doing lots of different jobs – alongside motherhood – and she tells us about her productivity planner. Also, Yvadney shares the secret to getting the visuals down on Instagram and building a brand on a hashtag. So much good stuff in here. Enjoy!
Follow Yvadney for her styling work
Check out Mums that Slay
Sign up for Musingo Bingo
And if you want to learn more about online business from The Robora…
Follow us on Instagram: @therobora
Sign up for our emails (The Robora Recommends)
Join the Facebook group to meet other female founders and freelancers
Check out our online programme, teaching you how to launch a course
Have a read of our Q&As, and online business tips on the blog
Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s how to manage it
To work through feelings of overwhelm, firstly we need to recognise what it is causing us to feel overwhelmed. Being overworked? Under-supported? Ummm… a pandemic? Whatever it is, once the root of the overwhelm is clear, we can look at gently navigating the trigger, and then creating a plan for moving forward. This involves breaking everything down into manageable tasks. And weaving lovely little things into our days. I can help you with that…
How to be more productive in 2021
Whether you’d like to schedule in more rest time next year, write a novel or earn £100,000 – you need to plan this. In this episode, I share the three-step productivity process I’ve designed that will help you to work out what you want, what’s stopping you from making it happen and how to plan for success. Success, of course, means different things for all of us – for me, there’s an element of work-life balance in there, as well as realising my dreams. And I share news of a recent REJECTION too, as it’s relevant to this episode.
How to be more productive (my new online course)
PR: How do you get featured in a magazine?
On a PR push for your business? If you’re asking yourself: how do I get my business featured in a magazine? I’m here to help. As a journalist for national press and women’s magazines, as well as an editor (of my own digital platform), I know about pitching for press from both sides – I’ve pitched, and I’ve been pitched to. So I explain why press releases are no longer the done thing, and what you should be doing instead. With a guest appearance from my three-year-old son, and a little treat if you listen to the end.
Here’s the ‘DIY PR’ course I mention: DIY PR: Secure press coverage and grow your profile.
How and when to launch your online course
When it comes to making online course sales, timing is so important. And right now, we’re in the middle of a rapid launch, as we’ve opened doors to our Online Business Programme for two days only. So while we’re ‘in it’, I wanted to share exactly how we do it. Because in realtime, I can better explain both the marketing and the mindset. In this episode I’ll cover a three-week launch – which is our usual approach – but also the two-day launch. Because both can work well for different reasons. Let’s go.
The Online Business Programme (for those ready to take their skills online, with our support)
How to make money from online content
If you’ve been blogging for ages and are yet to make a penny. Or you’ve launched a digital platform and still can’t work out how to monetise it. Or you’d love to start a podcast, but you’re not sure it’s worth it – this episode will talk you through what content is, and how to make MONEY from it. Because I’ve churned out thousands of blog posts without making a penny. But then I discovered ways to get brands to pay me for sponsored posts. And now I have a six-figure online business that is based on online content.
And the stats:
According to Buzzsprout – ‘there are at least 600 million blogs, 23 million YouTube channels, but only 800,000 podcasts in Apple Podcasts.’
And population figures: London – 8.9m, UK – 67.8m, – The world – 7.8b.
How to deal with mental load as a woman in business
Women do more of the caring. More of the planning. More of the (boring) domestic duties. And sometimes, it gets too much. That’s what happened to me, so I decided share my three-step plan for getting back-on-track. The first step is acknowledgement and taking responsibility: what are you finding hard? Why? Do you owe anyone an apology? The second is around self-care: right now, what you can do to feel better. And the third is PRACTICAL. I’m talking: downloading an app to help you manage the load.
Brene Brown’s podcast interview with Harriet Lerner. ‘I’m Sorry: How To Apologize & Why It Matters’
Money: How to price up your digital products and TIME
Some people tell me I charge too much. Other people tell me I don’t charge enough. So I’ve stopped listening, and worked out my own method for pricing up my products (online courses) and services (one-to-one time). For anyone else wondering how to set their prices and fees, this episode will give you both practical advice and confidence-boosting tips. Because as women, we massively undervalue ourselves in the workplace and it’s time that changed.
Books and a blog post mentioned in the episode:
– Otegha’s Uwagba’s We Need to Talk About Money
– Real Life Money by Clare Seal
– Money: A User’s Guide by Laura Whately.
– Keri Jarvis’ blog on the price of coaching.
When people criticise your marketing approach
Running a business isn’t just about your product or service. It’s also about getting those things out to the right people. AKA: marketing. And sometimes you’ll do a brilliant job, and other times you won’t. But whether or not the sales are flowing, there will always be people who find your tone or delivery grating. And who want to tell you. So here’s how I’d recommend dealing with those comments – including my reaction to two recent ‘real life’ complaints I’ve received. Thank you, complainers, for supplying me with the content for this episode.
Tamu Thomas on wellbeing in the workplace
In this episode, Annie interviews Tamu Thomas, founder of Live Three Sixty wellness brand and JOY expert, on wellbeing in the workplace. They discuss taking time for yourself while running a business – even if you only have a few minutes a day to spare – listening to your body, and respecting your essential needs. Also: working at 80% rather than 100% to avoid burnout, scheduling a staged return to work after time out – and how Beyonce, basically, has all the answers.
Tamu supports women approaching their 40s via her award-winning podcast Three Sixty Conversations, and she runs an excellent membership group. Follow Tamu on Instagram: @livethreesixty, visit her website: livethreesixty.com.
When someone copies your idea in business
You may have had someone steal your business or creative ideas. You may have stolen – or been accused of stealing – other people’s. In this episode, Annie Ridout talks through the concept of sharing ideas, and copying what others are doing. She shares her own experience of being accused of copying, and of people ‘borrowing’ ideas from her – both with and without permission.
How to run a business as a sleep-deprived mum
Annie Ridout launched her first business – The Early Hour – while looking after her one-year-old daughter full-time. As in: no weekday help with childcare. She has since had two more children and now runs The Robora around her three kids (aged six, three and 11-months). Fortunately, her husband Rich shares both the business workload and the childcare/domestic duties. But the baby still keeps Annie up at night so in this episode, she shares some truths about being a sleep-deprived mother and running a business. Along with tips for coping. And a few anecdotes about being a former thief.
Why isn’t my online course selling?
You might have a fantastic online course but unless you also have a marketing and sales strategy, it just won’t sell. In this episode, Annie Ridout and Richard Ridout discuss why some courses sell and others don’t, and offer a whole load of ideas for getting people to buy your online course. Including: testing the market, NOT being original, Facebook ads, brief ‘funnels’ chat, pricing and more. Plus, there’s a rather endearing childhood anecdote from Richard, relayed in a West Country accent. Here’s the online course we reference: Sell more spaces on your online course.
SQ and bringing the ‘woo’ into the workplace
We all know about IQ as a measure of intelligence. Some will have heard of EQ (emotional quotient). But the new intelligence metric is SQ: spiritual intelligence. This is a measure of how spiritually connected you are. And it’s what some of the world’s most successful business leaders use to up their game: Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg. In this episode, Annie Ridout explains what it means to be spiritually intelligent and offers tools for incorporating spiritual practices into your work-life. By raising her own SQ, Annie has managed to secure two book deals, commissions from the Guardian, Grazia, Telegraph, Stylist and more. She’s spoken on Woman’s Hour and sat alongside celebrities on live panels. She’s also grown a six-figure online business from scratch, in a year, while raising three young children. She leads a fulfilling, exciting life – and this is down to the spiritual practices she incorporates into her every working day. Now, she’s ready to share them with you…
How to write emails people actually want to read
Growing a mailing list may be important. But not as important as the emails you send out. In this episode, Annie Ridout talks subject lines that will make people open the email, then content that will be exciting, not annoying, for people to receive.Once you’ve nailed your email content, this is such a good way to convert customers. So it’s worth getting it right.Recommended email lists to sign up to: Sophia Matveeva, Otegha Uwagba and Harriet Minter. Plus any others you come across that cover your areas of interest.
How I launched a six-figure business in a year
In the first ever episode of The Robora podcast, host Annie Ridout discusses going from being a 10-year-old window cleaner to freelance mum (not, initially, her choice) and on to running a six-figure online business with her husband, Rich.