Cross-Cultural collaboration in Sweden with Leanne Stewart and Ideations


Who do you follow on social media and what have you stumbled across lately that makes you STOP AND THINK?

Is there a person that always triggers introspection and reflection?

I’ve got a few people in my own world who do this for me but I’m looking for who makes you think.

Send me an email at and me know.

I’d like to expand my intellect by tapping into who expands yours.

Woman whiteboard business strategy plan


You just came back from the best training conference ever. You’re mind is so full of thoughts and things to start implementing to build your business that you don’t know whether to take a break and let your body and brain recover or you to push through so you don’t lose momentum.


Get a piece of paper – the bigger the better – and write down EVERYTHING that you can think of.  Think of this as a massive brain dump where you list or scribble or write down •every •single •thing that is in your head.

  • Write what you learned.
  • Write what you liked.
  • Write what you are wanting to implement for your business.
  • Write what you think you need and want to do now.

If something comes up that seems unrelated (stressors, grocery lists, people you miss, etc.) add that to the sheet of paper, too.

The goal of this exercise is to get your mind clear. Once you’ve got everything you can think of that’s been swimming around in your head down on paper (or a whiteboard if your as lucky as this woman in the photo) then I want you to allow yourself time to SWITCH OFF.

  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Take a walk.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Phone a friend and arrange a meet up.
  • Take a nap.

Your brain will thank you and your body will welcome the rest. A day or two later, go back to what you wrote down and see it with fresh eyes.

What still works? What can be crossed off? Where does it make the most sense to start?

From this frame of mind comes clarity and focus.

This is where true strategy and execution are found.

But first, WRITE IT DOWN.

Stop reading newsletters and digital marketing strategies to build your mailing list

Stop & Think Before You Create a Newsletter

Newsletters. Who really reads them, anyway, right?

And, why, as business owners, do we keep telling people to “build their list!” by having newsletters when we know people rarely read them?

The answer is because we’re scared.

We’re afraid if we don’t capture someone’s email, we won’t be able to SELL them something once we “win their trust”.

*shaking head and trying not to throw up*

I don’t know about you, but I do sign up for and read newsletters. There’s always a reason but they pretty much fall into three categories. Are you ready to read more?

Three Reasons I Subscribe to Newsletters.

1) Competitive Analysis: I want to see what people who are in my field are doing with their newsletters.

2) Continuing Education: I want to stay up to date on research and information from people who work both in and outside of my industry.

3) Prospecting: I want to see how potential clients are using newsletters/mailing lists and if there are ways I can help them do it better.

Newsletters aren’t evil.

If you’re a business owner, though, and you’ve decided to have a newsletter, may I gently recommend that you examine carefully your reason behind it?

If it’s to build your list, that’s not always the bad thing I alluded it to be.

For specific types of businesses, a newsletter can be a great way to connect with your supporters, grow your community, and share your services with more people.

Women shop on cell phones to find social media and content marketing ideas

To be clear, wanting to sell to people isn’t an evil thing.

The whole reason you’re in business is that you have something to provide that others – hopefully – need and want to buy.

Where I get slightly sick about the whole “build your list” thing is that it feels a bit backward, motive-wise. It puts our need as business owners ahead of the needs of our customers and clients.

I know the reason for this.

Telling people that they can’t count on social media platforms to always be around (so true!) and that if “Instagram were to disappear tomorrow, so would all your contact with your followers”, is very, very valid reason to have a newsletter and/or build your mailing list.

Except… I want us to start looking at how we create our connections online and how we use things like newsletters a bit differently.

Are we pushing sign-ups because we fear our connections aren’t strong enough?

Do we send out weekly newsletters because we think if we’re not constantly being seen in people’s inboxes they’ll forget about us and give their business to someone else?

Have we told ourselves the lie that if we’re not constantly pumping out content we’ll lose people’s attention?

I want us to rise above.

I want us to get smart and crazy strategic.

I want us to realize that every single piece of content we produce, every single part of our interactions with others, is not a one size fits all thing. We have to make it work for the people we seek to serve.

Woman reading content in library for customer connection and social media information

One way to do it that works.

One way to do it is to look at the wildly successful Joanna Gaines and the Magnolia brand. Do you know of her/it?

She doesn’t post every single day. She doesn’t send out weekly newsletters. She isn’t constantly asking people to sign up or pushing her products.

Instead, when she has something of quality to share, she does.

She OFFERS instead of SELLS and the results are that people respond.

Every. Single. Time.

women with mobile phones reading custom content that converts sales

Now, you might say, “but Leanne, I don’t have the audience she has and I don’t have the team or the budget to create the type of content that she does. How can MY posts get seen when I’m competing against an algorithm that seems to bury me in people’s feed?”

Hang tight. I’m going to be testing some things in the coming days/weeks and sharing them with you.

If you want to watch how I do this in real-time, follow me on Instagram. It’s my current “testing ground”.

In the meantime, where does this post hit you the hardest? Are you thinking I’m insane and full of it or are you nodding your head in agreement? Let me know either by commenting or by shooting me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Picture Perfect

I’ve just read an article from Andrew McDermott with who says that now more than ever, people are judging you on the quality of your content and the photos attached to them.

In fact, McDermott says there are five things customers evaluate – automatically – when they come across one of your photos. Are you curious to know what they are and how you stack up?

1. Ingroup/outgroup.
Simply put, customers ask themselves the question, “Are you like me?” If the answer is
yes, the conversation continues.

2. Social class.
Sadly, classism is viewed by many as the last acceptable prejudice
in the world today. Customers use this to vet/validate the social standing of
those they associate with.

3. Ethos and values.
Every group has its own culture, its own set of values and norms.
Customers expect your Ethos and values to align with theirs and the ethos and
values of the group to earn their business.

4. Trustworthiness. “Will you hurt me?” Customers want to know they’re safe with you. They’re looking to decrease risk, pain, and suffering.

5. Social status.
Businesses with high social status and high social capital command a considerable amount of respect and prestige. As people, we’re drawn to those around us who are exceptional in some way.

So, when it comes to you, your business, and the photos you’re using to represent yourself is what you’re doing hitting or missing the mark? I wish I could say that all you need to
worry about is quality but as Andrew points out, there is a ton of backstory to
be applied to the selection of photos you post.

Creating Content

Do you create or do you regurgitate?

When it comes to content marketing, there’s a growing trend in making more meaningful content for customers that incorporates custom crafted messages delivered thoughtfully, rather than inundating people with a steady stream of crap.

Personally, creating custom content is what I prefer but just because I like it doesn’t mean that’s what the people I’m working with need.

Meaning, sometimes people need the same message – in different forms of delivery (blog, IG, video, podcast, ebook, email, etc.) consistently dripped and shipped.

Partly because people don’t have the same attention span they used to and partly because the amount of content is so vast and the level of noise so high that regurgitating the same message is the only way (for now) to gain their attention and attract them to your product/service.

It’s something my inner artist is in active discussions with my inner pragmatist about.

Artist Sarah Graham in her London studio. Photo from Material Girl