Clare Wood is a fellow numbers geek, a travel lover, a self confessed reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach who works with women to help them create an extraodinary business and an amazing life.

We sat down over Instagram live on Thursday 1 August to chat all things Digital WOW.

Here are the key takeaways;

Clare loves to start her day with a walk with her family [husband and two small boys], which I love – it’s a great way to ensure you get some quality time in early, before the chaos of the day!

Like so many of us, Clare finds her phone to be a massive distraction and has found that physically having your phone in a different room absolutely helps with focus – out of sight, out of mind!

Clare recently experimented with posting images of herself on Instagram [yes, EVERY post] and saw her engagement skyrocket.

Equally, when time has been limited due to busy periods at work, engagement has plummeted when Clare hasn’t had time to spend engaging with her community. If you’re less active in terms of responding to clients, networking and replying to DMs your engagement will suffer.

Clare 100% throws herself into the captions that she writes. She gets most of her clients via Instagram which is amazing for a free platform, so she dedicates time to writing meaningful, value add captions that benefit her followers and dream clients.

A commitment to good content, engagement and patience is what has grown Clare’s account.

We’re so fortunate to live in such a connected time, Clare reaches people with her podcast in places like Bulgaria and Africa. There are no barriers to working with people globally [except for time zones]

There’s no cookie cutter approach to success with digital marketing, you need to keep adapting and evolving – just as the platforms evolve and change. 


Full transcription 

Cat: Hey. Hi Clare. How are you?

Clare: I’m good, how are you?

Cat: I’m very, very good. How is it over in Queensland today?

Clare: Well, it’s lovely. As you can see, I’ve got a tee shirt on so it’s … Yeah, we’ve been having beautiful days at the moment. So-

Cat: So are we.

Clare: You have nice, beautiful warm days as well?

Cat: I think yesterday was 23 and we’re like, hooray.

Clare: That’s so good isn’t it? Isn’t that so cool that we can be chatting across the country like we’re sitting next to each other?

Cat: I know, I love it. It’s just, yeah. I mean Instagram’s amazing for building those connections, but the fact that we can just talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime is just … Blows my mind. That’s… digital wow.

Clare: The thing that I’m finding as well is that these are … Sorry, I’m trying adjust the light here. Is that finding that … You know, we have these digital relationships with people and suddenly I’m like, where do you live? I’ve had someone that I’ve been chatting to online, last night contacted me, and we realized that we’re only a couple of suburbs away from each other. So there you go.

Cat: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy week. I’ve been dying to talk to you because I have started listening, obviously, to your new podcast, which is amazing. It’s just the right mix of a good kick up the bum, some inspo, all of that good coaching stuff. But can you tell us a little bit about your background and what’s been your kind of journey to date?

Clare: Yeah, for sure. So look, I have to say I always wanted to run my own business. I can’t tell you for how long. I had this in my tummy for forever, and whenever I’d meet entrepreneurs, I was always fascinated by them. I’d ask them lots of questions. But I didn’t actually take the leap until I was 35 years old. I had a newborn and that’s kind of when I took the step.

Clare: So I left school, I went to uni, I studied accounting and I worked in a corporate space for 15 years, maybe nearly 20 years. No, it must have been 15 years. And I was doing a similar kind of role to coaching. I was working as a commercial manager in the corporate space. I got made redundant on mat leave and then it was kind of that push to jump in and start my own business. And honestly that was three and a half years ago, I’ve never looked back. I get lit up every day by what I get to do and yeah, I couldn’t be happier.

Cat: So many women find themselves in that situation where they’re just like, you know what, this mat leave period is kind of magical now or never when it comes to pursuing the dream of having your own business. And I guess for a lot of people they’ve perhaps got a safety net of going, okay, well if it doesn’t work, I can always go back to the corporate role. But you know, fo so many us, we just kind of take it and run, which is so awesome.

Clare: Did you know that in Australia, one in four women, or is it one in five? One in four or one in five women lose their job while on mat leave. Isn’t that a shocking stat?

Cat: That’s insane. It’s insane. Absolutely insane. I know that when I was looking at returning to to my corporate role, it’s yeah, I didn’t. I wasn’t made redundant, I did leave of my own accord, but the situation or the conditions that I would’ve been kind of going back to were just not family friendly at all. So that was my push. I was like, you know what, I’m not gonna give 150% to this. I need to give 150% to my baby. That needs to be my focus.

Clare: Good for you.

Cat: So now you’re a business coach. Tell us a little bit about your coaching practice.

Clare: Yeah, sure. So I work mainly with service based businesses. I can now say across the world, not just in Australia, which is pretty cool. The way my coaching works, I guess, is that people come to me when they’re ready to either up level their businesses. Usually I work with established entrepreneurs who have kind of reached that point … You know, their business is going well, but they’re like, I want to go to that next level. And that’s when people quite often come and want to work with me or their business is thriving and they’re just like, what the hell? How do I do all the things that I need to do? And so I kind of help them get out of that state of overwhelm. But underlying, I guess for me, it’s about growth, that’s my big passion. And helping people to grow in a way that works for them.

Cat: Yeah. And do you find, obviously you kind of specialize in services, is there a particular industry that you’ve attracted in terms of clients?

Clare: I work with lots of creatives actually. So I tend to work with like people in digital marketing, social media managers, graphic designers, copywriters. But in saying that, it’s not just limited to those people. I’ve worked with like healers, chiropractors, psychologists, people in the medical field. Yeah. Massive range of people in a lot of different industries. So, yeah.

Cat: Yeah. Super fun, because you get that variety as well. And I think it’s important with a coach that you’re also great at putting ads, particularly on Instagram, your personality and that really kind of shines through. So people kind of get a sense of what they’re going to kind of get when they do work with you, which is awesome. So yeah, they can be from all walks of life, but still get that same amazing Clare Wood service. I know you’re a busy mum of two boys. What does a typical day look like for you? Are you kind of routine based or you a bit more kind of wing it?

Clare: Oh my gosh. Look you can have the theory of the routine, but then there’s life. Like my kids are pretty good sleepers, but like to be honest, some days like today, my day started at 04:30. Mummy, mummy. And I’m like, dammit, why can’t you say daddy?

Cat: Yeah.

Clare: But you know, you go get up and get the day started. The core thing that we do do every day as a family is we do get up and we go for a walk all together. The two boys, my hubby and the dog. For me, getting exercise in every day is a non negotiable. I’m a quite high energy person and I need to get my exercise in. And then we ship the kids off to childcare, they do three days a week. My husband also self employed, so we both do half days on the Monday and Friday. So we only work four days a week in theory. And, yeah, then we get the day underway. For me, my days are quite heavy coaching and obviously doing some marketing work as well, which we’re going to chat about today.

Cat: Absolutely.

Clare: Then pick the kids out in the afternoon, spend some quality time with the kids, and then usually at the moment, I have to confess, I’m spending most of my nights back on the laptop again. Or in front of the microphone recording for the podcast. But I’m hoping this is just a phase that we’re going through, while I’m going through growth period at the moment.

Cat: Yes, absolutely. I think we’re quite similar, my youngest is in kind of full time … Not full time, so three days a week long daycare, and then my son just started school this year, so I’ve had to adjust to having the shorter truncated school day. But it’s actually quite nice because it forces me to break at quarter to three. I walk down, I pick him up, and it’s actually, now that I’ve worked that into my routine and I’ve structured my day so I can get the most critical stuff done as soon as I’ve dropped him off, and start the day. Then the rest is kind of feels okay. And then, yeah, if there’s that overlap and that overflow, then I just jump on the laptop at night for a little bit of time. But yeah, trying to taper that off as well, because there’s always just something to do.

Clare: Can I ask you a question for me and any mums with young kids that are watching, how the bloody hell does school holidays work? 

Cat: Yeah. We’re fortunate that we have two sets of grandparents here in Perth with us. So for us, or for me specifically, it’s actually been okay. So I tend to try and wind down heaps of client work over that time and just try to … Obviously keeping things going, but I try to not kind of jam too much into those two weeks because I that they’re coming. But then yeah, lots of time with grandparents. This most recent school holidays, we didn’t go away.

Cat: My husband was back in Melbourne for some work, so we were around. But it actually kind of moved quite easily. Like I’d always plan to do something with my son and then planned to have an hour or so to me. My husband works Melbourne hours so I kind of have the kids in the morning and he’s off kind of early [in the morning] but he’s also home early. So I kind of, if I really need to, I’ve got that flexibility to do stuff between kind of 03:30, 04:00, into dinner time. I much prefer to have him around when it’s the witching hour, definitely.

Cat: But yeah, school holidays is a bit daunting the first couple of times. I think, particularly when the kids had just started school, because they’re less likely to be keen to go straight into holiday programs and things like that because they’re still only five years old. So, yeah.

Clare: Fun times ahead.

Cat: It’s a juggle. But it’s nice because again, you can look at it as an imposition or you can look at it as an opportunity to have some … For me it’s been great to have the one on one time with him when his sister is still … Because the daycare keeps going through the school holidays, so we’ve also had lots of little adventures and spent that time together which is really nice.

Clare: So nice.

Cat: Yeah, it’s pretty good.

Clare: Hi everyone who’s joining.

Cat: Yay.

Cat: What about any productivity tips or hacks that you use throughout your day or to manage your clients? And how do you keep on top of all of the scheduling and things that you need to?

Clare: Yeah, great question. And truthfully at the moment I’m going through a transition stage. At the moment I’m still juggling it all. Look from me, I have to admit … Hi. I have to admit that my phone is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. I did a post actually today on Instagram, you guys go and jump it and check it out on Clare Wood coach, but just talking about the distractions. And I find that my phone, I’ll be like, right, that’s it. I’m just going to sit down and do something, and then I’ll get a DM or I get a message or I get an email and because we’ve got all these notifications, I’m just like, oh my gosh. I just get so distracted.

Cat: So distracted.

Clare: I used to do this thing where I’d shut down my emails and I’d put my phone in a different room. My husband’d be like, why is your phone out here? And I’m like, because I can’t be trusted with it.

Cat: Yeah.

Clare: So I think I’m going to have to literally get back to that again because I’m finding I’m spending so much time on my phone and getting a bit distracted. I think productivity hack, hide your phone people.

Cat: Yeah, 100% I quite often do that because when it’s out of sight, it’s out of my mind. But I, yeah, I turned off all notifications for basically everything. So I physically have to go in to an app so to see any of the notifications. Normally that’s fine, like sometimes you might kind of miss something but it’s normally not critical anyway. And I also have … I put my phone … I can’t remember exactly what the setting’s called, but basically between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM, I can still access things if I need to, but I need to go through a few steps to kind of reactivate them. So it stops me from-

Clare: Is it on like airplane mode or-

Cat: It’s not on airplane mode, so I can still get urgent text messages or stuff like that. But it’s like your screen time is limited, so you physically need to turn it off to actually see things. And I find that that helps me in the morning particularly because I try to get up and do stuff before I start falling down the rabbit hole again because it’s so easy to just get stuck. And then you’re not really setting yourself up for the best possible day if the first thing that you’re doing is kind of reaching for social media.

Cat: And also I was trying to reduce my screen time, as well. too much screen time. I mean, I always hit the limit that I set for myself, but at least it gives me that reminder and I go, okay, well you’ve had X amount of time on social media today. So at least I’m aware of it and it’s not just a habit that I’m consuming all the time.

Clare: Exactly.

Cat: Alright. So let’s jump into some of the digital marketing stuff. I know that you recently did a bit of a, I guess experiment. I know that you’re kind of really open to kind of trialing new things and really kind of keen to figure out how things work. But is there any, I guess, hacks or tips that you’ve found have really helped in your business? I know that you get a lot of your potential clients or new leads for clients through the Instagram platform. Yeah, so what can you share with us?

Clare: Oh, so much. I’m actually, I’ve got a post coming out all about the Instagram experiment that I did. So keep an eye on my socials because I’ll be sharing the blog, which talks about … Basically if you missed it, I decided to do an Instagram experiment live on my followers.

Cat: So brave.

Clare: What I did was tried out a bunch of different things and one of them was posting just pictures of me because you guys would know that they are always the ones that get all the engagement, they’re always the ones that get all the traction. So I thought, well I’m just going to post all pictures of me, which might sound a little bit … Some people are like, don’t you worry people are going to think you’re up yourself? And I’m like, not really. Don’t care. So if you have a look on my feed on Instagram now, it’s all pictures of me. It’s pretty rare now that I use a stock photo or a filler or anything. So that was definitely a massive hack, and I’ve had people sending me direct messages left, right and center telling me that when when they’ve taken up the same thing themselves, they can’t believe how much their engagement has taken up.

Clare: That’s one hack. The second one, this is a little…let’s just say thing, that I’ve learned in the last few weeks. If you stop engaging on Instagram, chances are your engagement will drop. So for me, I’ve gone through a couple of really busy weeks lately. I haven’t been as active on social media as I have been, in terms of like responding to comments, messaging people, going out and actually like engaging with other accounts and going, hey, I love what you’re doing, messaging. So I’ve just kind of stepped right back from that, which was essential for me. I’ve got to look after myself, I’ve got a young family. So I haven’t been as active, but guess what’s happened, my engagement plummeted off the back of it. So this week I’ve sort of been back, engaging a bit more and I’ve definitely noticed that the algorithm has responded to that. So engaging is super, super important.

Cat: It is.

Clare: The last hack that I’d share is your content. Now people ask me how come I get so much engagement on Instagram and I’m like, I throw myself into my comments. And again, I think that’s been a massive part of A, the engagement, the followers. But also their results, I get most of my clients off the Instagram.

Cat: Amazing.

Clare: It’s a free platform, to be able to advertise for free. So writing really meaningful, value to add, comments that are going to benefit your followers and your dream clients. Those would be my biggest hacks to share.

Cat: Yeah, definitely. And I think on the engagement side of things … I think it was actually Prue Chapman who was discussing this, and she said that she kind of had this barrier and this block to spending time on Instagram because she felt like it was time that potentially could have been better spent elsewhere. And then she decided to look at it and say, okay, well I’m going to schedule half an hour to engage and to be present on the platform.

Cat: It might not be half an hour every day, but whatever the time was, you pop it in your diary and then you don’t need to feel guilty about spending that time on the platform because you’re there and you’re doing that engagement piece. So you’re interacting with your followers, you’re finding new people to follow, you’re networking, you’re doing … And that, particularly for someone like yourself who does get such great attraction and Instagram is a legit source of leads and that then turning to clients. Don’t feel guilty about that time. Just schedule it into your day like you would with any of your other admins. It might be your emails or it might be batching content or things like that. Schedule it in so you don’t feel guilty because it is so important.

Cat: There’s no … I was chatting with a social media manager yesterday and they don’t do the engagement on behalf of the clients that they work with because the clients are like, oh yeah, it’s fine. We’re all over the engagement, it’s fine. But they’re not. They don’t spend the time, because it’s really easy to just forget, and to think, oh, it doesn’t need as much time as it does, but it’s a really critical kind of piece of the puzzle.

Clare: Yeah, definitely. I can vouch for that first hand. My Instagram account, I think it was only maybe a year ago that I had 300 followers. It’s, you know … I don’t have a massive following, I’ve got a couple of thousand moment but it honestly, it was just that commitment, that running good content and just that continually engaging. And patience, it didn’t happen over night. But yeah, it does happen.

Cat: And showing up and being you.

Clare: That’s it. Exactly.

Cat: Being genuine, 100%. Alright. So what’s one thing that brings you wonder every single day?

Clare: Oh, my kids, I think.

Cat: Yeah.

Clare: Some days I wonder how I got so lucky, some days I wonder what the hell, why did I want to have children? I shouldn’t say that. But they are, they’re these little … We find it’s just, it’s the most craziest thing, you kind of reach this stage and then you’re like, this is so hard. And you’re like, I don’t even know how we’re going to do this. And then you’re kind of … We’re going through this most beautiful phase with our children at the moment, they’re just such a delight. We’re just treasuring every moment that we have with them. But they’re definitely these little creatures, they’re their own little universes, aren’t they?

Cat: I would completely agree with that. And I kind of feel like the analogy that a lot of people use about small business ownership, the roller coaster up and down, and all the emotions in one day. It’s like that being a parent, particularly when the kids are little. You just like, you go through all of those emotions, and then when you see them asleep, peacefully in their beds, it’s like, ah, the calm.

Clare: And then I’m like, I miss … Like I seriously some nights, I’m like, eat your dinner, it’s bedtime. And then they’re asleep, and I’m like, I miss them.

Cat: I miss them.

Clare: It’s the weirdest thing.

Cat: It is. I’m 100% the same. 100%. Like you’re really, really testing my patience, and then half an hour later, oh, I miss you. Let’s get up and talk like … That strong biological stuff that keeps us going, I think. Very much so. Nature in play. Alright. So final question from me, I guess, what do you love most about the digital marketing space? Obviously you’re business coach, so there’s probably a lot of digital tactics and strategy that you talk to your clients about. So what do you love most about the space, overall?

Clare: I love the sky’s the limit. It’s just crazy. You know, we were chatting about how crazy it is that we’re talking here across Australia.

Cat: Yeah.

Clare: I’ve now got people downloading my podcast in like Bulgaria and in Africa and I just … To me, I think, that we live in this digital age. How crazy is this, that we connect with people right across the globe? Honestly, it blows my mind. And the fact that it’s ever changing. I think that people think that there’s a cookie cutter, you come and do this and you know like Instagram five years ago … Five years ago? Whenever it was, like it’s a very different platform to what it is now. And you need to keep adapting and evolving to the way that digital marketing platforms are evolving.

Clare: Now video, as you know, is now a massive thing. And again you just kind of have to constantly keep learning and evolving and seeing what’s working. And to me it’s really cool. I get bored of things pretty quickly, but in business you can’t get bored, there’s just so much changing all the time.

Cat: Yeah, you need to keep moving forward. Definitely.

Clare: Definitely.

Cat: To keep the momentum.

Clare: And yeah, like I said, I get excited by the fact that we live in an age with digital marketing where we can connect with people right across the planet. It’s super cool.

Cat: Yeah. There’s almost no barriers, particularly for, I guess, your type of business. You can, other than time zone barriers, you can work with anyone, anywhere in the world. And they might find you through your podcast, through your Instagram, like there’s so many different ways that you can be reaching those people and building that one on one relationship, that 10 years ago it would have blown our minds to even think about it.

Clare: This is not just my profession, honestly, product based businesses, you can ship anywhere in the world now. Other service providers, I recently did like a healing, with someone who’s down in Melbourne and she just energetically connected to me remotely. I’ve worked with people that run health businesses and they serve people right across the world using e-products and things like that. So, we live in a digital age and the fact that you can connect with people and sell to people right across the planet is really, really exciting.

Cat: It’s super exciting. I just kind of wonder like by the time our … Because when we went through school and uni and did all of those things, being an entrepreneur, or unless you came from a family of small business owners, it wasn’t really kind of the done thing. You kind of went to uni and then the thing was you would usually go and work for someone else, or government, or whatever. But now there’s just so much … The barriers to connecting to building a business that is largely online are so low. And I just kind of wonder like, wow, where are our kids going to even end up with all of that? Because they might have five businesses by the time they’re 25. Like who knows?

Clare: It’s crazy. And when you put it in context, I’ve got a baby sister, she’s only 25, and when I was at uni, I didn’t have a mobile phone. So if I wanted to meet someone, I had to go to a phone box and call their mum and tell them, I’ll be waiting at this place for them. I didn’t have a laptop, I didn’t have my own computer. I used to go to the library and get at borrow out books and then I’d photocopy the pages. And she thinks this stuff’s hilarious. But that’s the world I grew up in. So to your point, who knows what will be in the future.

Cat: Exactly. I know my kids are always going on about the olden days and like we’re really talking 20 years ago. It’s all relative though. It’s all relative. Thank you so much Clare.

Clare: Oh, thanks so much for having me.

Cat: It was really fabulous to talk to you and I really love what you’re doing, embracing all of that opportunity that’s out there. You show up, you’re genuine, you produce amazing content. Your podcast is wonderful. I think like six episodes now?

Clare: Yes. Six, thank you. Yeah.

Cat: Awesome. Awesome. I need to tune into the last couple, I haven’t had the chance to do that, but yeah, absolutely loving that. And thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy day. Is it a daycare day today for you?

Clare: Daycare day for me. I’ve had two clients this morning and another one this afternoon.

Cat: Awesome. Got to jam it in.

Clare: So, busy day. That’s it. That’s me.

Cat: Absolutely. Well, enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you so much.

Clare: Thank you so much, lovely. And have a wonderful day everyone, chat to you soon.

Cat: Yeah, thank you so much for joining us guys.