Stepping into authenticity online with April Hagan

In the age of social media, it can be terrifying showing up as anything less than perfect online.

In today’s episode, I chat with April Hagan from May June Creative about how she has been able to step into her authenticity online and how she is feeling happier and more confident than ever as a result of doing so.

I hope you find this episode inspiring, to show up as the real you!

Guest Bio

April is a ‘new age’ Digital Marketer with a background in Interior Design and a *massive* obsession with content and copywriting.

Starting her career in the corporate sector and ‘accidentally’ landing in a creative role when she moved to London, she rode the Interior Design wave for a number of years before realising she was really *bluddy* good at marketing.

Studying Communications & Creative Writing at Griffith University, it’s clear to April now that she’s been working towards her current role as Social Media Strategist since she was fresh out of school.

Her corporate experience, combined with a creative flare and passion for business means April has a well rounded and thorough understanding of Digital Marketing and the infinite possibilities.

She’s helped numerous businesses *kill it* on Social Media and she takes pride in her down to earth and honest attitude.

When you work with April and the May June Creative team, you’re not just a client but a friend for life!

Transcript

In today’s day and age of social media, it can be terrifying, the thought of showing up as anything less than perfect online. In today’s episode of the podcast, I chat with one of my Masterminders, April from May June Creative about how she has been able to into her authenticity online and is feeling happier and more confident than ever as a result of doing so. I hope you find this episode inspiring to show up more as the real you, when it comes to your business.

 

Hello and welcome to The Clare Wood Podcast, where myself and incredible guests share about money mindset, financial successes, and how to manage your money in a fun and practical way to create wealth and abundance in both your business and your life. I’m your host, Clare Wood. I‘m a business coach and a money mentor. I strongly believe that money has the power to positively change the world. I can’t wait to help you transform your mindset around money, create a love of numbers, and build the business of your dreams so you can live a life of financial freedom, giving, and global impact.

 

CLARE:

I extend warm welcome to the podcast, April, it’s wonderful to have you here. Let’s start with maybe you explaining who you are and what you doing? 

APRIL: 

Well, thank you so much for having me on it. It’s truly an honor to be on this podcast. I listen to it all the time. So to be a guest is so exciting. I am a social media manager and strategist, and I primarily work with interior designers and people in the design field. 

CLARE: 

Fantastic. So maybe let’s go back to the start of our journey together. So you obviously have or had a thriving business, even before we started working together. What made you want to reach out and jump in the mastermind? 

APRIL: 

Yeah, so I guess we’ve spoken about this a little bit before in the past, but I started my business by accident and I experienced, I guess, a lot of growth in the beginning quite easily. And once I realized that I couldn’t really take the business to the next level, without surrounding myself with people who had walked the path before me and who had some incredible advice to give me. So I felt that the Mastermind, being in that group setting and working with you on a regular basis would provide me with that, the information and the support that I needed to really take my business to the next level. 

CLARE: 

Yeah. Awesome. And so you were, at that stage of your business where you’re going, okay, business is going well, but I want to step into the next level. What were some of the other struggles that you were going through at the time? 

APRIL: 

Sure. I was completely booked out client-wise, I mean, stressed in my eyeballs. 

CLARE: 

It’s kind of a good problem to have. 

APRIL: 

It was a great problem to have, but I knew that I couldn’t continue that way. I felt like my appearance, like I just looked bad, I looked stressed, I wasn’t enjoying my life. I loved my business and I loved my clients, but I felt that I was totally overwhelmed and that there was no way I could ever have a day off in the week. I couldn’t take a holiday and in some ways in the past, I glamorized that, I’m so busy and, pause breakfast. I just have to go and take this phone call. But I realized after two years of doing that I really didn’t want a business that I couldn’t step away or have a break from because it was impacting other areas of my life. I was a distracted mother and I was always, social events being the wonder step away and take my important phone calls. So I didn’t want a life like that. 

CLARE: 

So let’s talk about where are you at now with your work life balance and how that’s all traveling? 

APRIL: 

Yeah, so I have had some huge changes recently in that I really learnt what’s important to me. Both professionally and personally, I have made a lot of time in my business for myself and for my children and for my family and for things that really light me up. The same applies to my business. I’ve made space to take on projects that I love and working with clients that inspire me and there’s some absolutely incredible interior designers in this country. And I have been so thankful to work with them, so thankful to just even have conversations with them and so that has made my business exciting again. It makes it a place that I can’t wait in the morning to open my laptop and get started. So there’s been a huge change for me in that sense. 

CLARE: 

Yeah and so people might be listening and thinking, I want to do that. I want to be able to because I follow you online and I love watching how you are able to take days off when the kids are sick. And I know that, that was something that you felt like you couldn’t do in the past. So have you got any tips for people about how to start to intentionally create, I guess, space in a work week? 

APRIL: 

Intentionally creating space? So I guess the first step would be to figure out, to really spend some time and I know in the Masterclass, Clare, we do a lot of journaling and that’s been great for me to really dig deep and figure out what is it that I want. And even when I land on something that I think I want, I dig a little bit deeper and say, well, is that what you really want or is there something else underneath that as well? So there’s a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of soul searching and asking yourself the hard questions, because once you know that once you know the type of business that you want, once you know the type of life that you’re trying to create, the rest is easy. I’ve gotten very good at boundaries. I say no to a lot of things, not as before I would’ve said yes to everything, but I know now that I want a certain life and if I want that life, I have to be very clear with my boundaries and what I want to do. 

CLARE: 

And it sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But it’s actually so hard and there’s a reason why a lot of people don’t make the changes in their life that you have done because they’re not willing to do the work. And I’ve found that a lot of people, myself included at times, aren’t really honest with ourselves about what we actually want. And we think, ah, that’s greedy to think that I only want to work that many days a week or I don’t really want that, that doesn’t actually excite. I mean, it’s just because we don’t allow ourselves to actually desire the things that we want because we have a story. If I’m a really present mom, I can’t make the money that I want to make. And it’s really doing that in a work and understanding, well, why do I think that I can’t have that, why do I think that I don’t deserve that? And then being able to take the big scary actions to do it. 

CLARE: 

So speaking about big scary actions, another shift that has happened in your time in the Mastermind is that you have really changed who it is that you serve in your business. So would you like to share a little bit about what that looks like and how you came to that decision? 

APRIL: 

Sure. So immediately prior to starting May June Creative, I had worked in support roles for interior designers, both in the UK and Australia and so my background was in that interior design world. I started May June Creative the last job prior was with an interior designer and I started May June Creative thinking that I would be, originally May June Creative was a support service for interior designers. But at the time there wasn’t the demand for that type of work. So very quickly I started to get inquiries from just any type of business who wanted help on social media. And so I spent the next two years working with businesses, all types of businesses, beauty, e-commerce all types of businesses which was fantastic. I learned so much in that time, but actually what I realized once I started to dive a little bit deeper into the kind of life that I wanted to create, I kept coming back to interior design, anytime an interior designer landed in my inbox or my DMs I would get so excited. 

APRIL: 

So I denied it for a little while. I was like, no, I can’t, I can’t niche down, I don’t want to pigeonhole myself like that because I was afraid of, I was afraid to lose the people that I’d built relationships with, who weren’t interior designers. And I still have those relationships with the people that helped me grow in those early days and I love them to death. However, getting clear on who I really wanted to work with has made my business so much stronger and it has allowed me to provide a service to those clients that fast past anything I’d ever offered before. So I just knew that, that’s what I had to do. I had to service interior designers, that’s my passion. 

CLARE: 

Niching is terrifying- 

APRIL: 

Is terrifying, so scary and I still am scared, it’s not like I niched and I got scared and then it was done. I’m still scared. I still worry that, I don’t know, you just, I think you always worry, right? 

CLARE: 

Oh, absolutely. I remember when I used to, in my early days of my business, I worked with everyone. It was like, you want to coach I’m your coach. And at the time the thought of niching down absolutely terrified me, [inaudible 00:10:20] fear factor, but also I loved working with, because I used to work with product based businesses as well. And I really loved that. My background was actually in product based businesses and I was like, I don’t want them to not like me. I want to be able to help everyone, but ultimately it came down to, well, what do I really want and who do I really love working with? And even now I feel like I want to justify it to the product based businesses that I used to work with. I still love you. 

APRIL: 

I know it is and I do think that you need to go through that period too, in the early stages of figuring out what is the work that lights you up because you don’t know sometimes and these things take time to figure out. I didn’t journal one night and then it just suddenly came to me. This was night after night after night, the word interior, the words interior designer kept popping up. And so it slowly became clear to me that, that was the right decision. 

CLARE: 

A hundred percent and something that I remember sharing with you in your journey is how magnetic you become to that client or that area, as soon as you really start to put yourself out there. And as much as it’s scary, it really is a way to refine your marketing in saying, this is who I serve, this is who I love to serve. So I am so proud of you for taking that big brave step. A lot of business owners, firstly never even give themselves permission to say, what do I really want to do? And then actually to take that big, bold step and put a line in the sand and say, this is who I love to work with. And it doesn’t mean walking away from all of your other clients of course, straight away, but I’m really, really proud of you taking that big, brave step. And I know that it’s going to lead to your happiness and a growth in such a big way in your business in the months and years to come. 

APRIL: 

Yeah. I really feel that. I feel like when you approach a project and you are happy and excited and you just feel good about it, your client feels that and the results flow because of that is as well. So, not to say that I didn’t have that same passion working for other projects, but this is me. I feel it, designs everywhere around me might, I’m not a designer. Let me just make that clear. I’m not an interior designer. However, I am obsessed with the industry. So, everything around me is design based. And when I work with designers, it’s like, two pieces of a puzzle coming together and we just get each other. 

CLARE: 

Yeah. And again, one of the stories that I see a lot is that people think I can either do what I love or get paid good money. And the story that I share with people is that actually, when you do what you love, you will make more money. Because you’ve just hit the nail in the head. April people can see when you are absolutely lit up on a soul level. They can see your excitement. They can see your passion and that is magnetic to those dream clients of yours. 

APRIL: 

Yeah, absolutely. And I just love them, have I said that a million times already? 

CLARE: 

Sure. 

APRIL: 

I actually just love it. And now that I’ve made the step, it just feels right, feels good. 

CLARE: 

Good for you. Good for you. So the other thing that I wanted to pat your back today has been your journey to stepping more into your authenticity. This was something I spoke to you about off air, but me following you overall the time that you’ve been inside the Mastermind, I’ve noticed you being more and more you. So was this something that you consciously changed or has this sort of been an evolution in your marketing naturally or was it a intentional? 

APRIL: 

Parts of it were intentional. Sometimes I would look at the content I was creating and the relationships that I was building and they didn’t to me feel authentic. And so I had to do that a number of times to reflect back and realize that it wasn’t, again how I wanted to run my business. I truly believe that everybody is an individual and nobody is me. And the more I can step into that power, the more people will feel connected to me and want to work with me and want me to be on their podcast. Nobody wants fakeness. And so, it’s scary, gosh, it’s scary to be real and authentic and yourself. And I still get scared. Sometimes when I show up, I can feel myself, not being authentic because I feel a little bit, imposter syndrome. But I have to be always conscious to not do that. I have to show up and be myself because that is the only way I can run this business and for it to be sustainable for any period of time. 

CLARE: 

I have loved watching you step more into you. And it’s so interesting how we have these stories isn’t it about what if people think I’ve said too much, I’d love to know. Have you ever had what Brené Brown calls a vulnerability hangover? 

APRIL: 

Ooh, no. I’m actually just getting into all the Brené Brown stuff. So tell what is a hangover? 

CLARE: 

A vulnerability hangover is where you might have shared perhaps a little bit too much. I know this has happened to me multiple times and then because I’m one of those people I sort of just ramble a bit. And then I think later and think, oh my gosh, did I say too much? Is that being too authentic? And you get that sick feeling and they liken it to a hangover, that later you regret it, you’re like, why did I do that? I’m wondering if it’s something you’ve ever experienced yourself. 

APRIL: 

Oh my gosh. I think I experienced that on the daily some days are worse than others, but gosh, yeah. I can think of many examples over, the last couple of years where I’ve gone in with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And, later on has felt very naked. Very wow, that’s I gave my everything in that and will they like me. Was that okay? Did I sound like an [inaudible 00:16:54]? I am a very, very deep thinker. I think constantly and I’m always questioning myself and wondering if I was right in my opinion. And so sometimes when I share those opinions at the same time, I’m thinking, was that right? Am I going to later on realize that I’ve changed my mind and that’s no longer what I think. So, absolutely, I get to think of all the time. 

CLARE: 

And look, I think this is something that’s so refreshing to see online is when people do just bear themselves [inaudible 00:17:28] and the right kind of people are going to be attractive. And that’s the thing that I always remind myself is that if I was constantly showing this beautiful polished version of me and then someone meets up with me and sees that I’ve got tomato sauce on my shirt or that my shoes don’t match or something, they’re going to realize that’s actually not me at all. So people are either going to like me for me or they’re not. And I think that is really wonderful to just start to say, okay, not everyone’s going to love me, but at least the right kind of people will. So, that’s just really wonderful. And how does that in turn affect how you support your own clients with their marketing? 

APRIL: 

Yeah, I think once you realize that authenticity is everything that is easy then for me. I have clients who say to me, well, I saw your post last week. Thank you for being so vulnerable. I didn’t know that you were feeling that way. It’s so nice to know that you are a human and then I can then use that as an example to show them it worked for me, people feel connected to me and we can also do the same for your business. So it’s been great in showing my clients the power of vulnerability and creating those connections, because I didn’t have many examples before. I could show them examples of other work, but it’s such a big ask. It’s a huge ask to say to people, please bear your soul online on this. Instagram is the main platform that I work on and we know how brutal that space can be at times. And so I’m asking a lot of my clients, but if I can show them how it’s done first, then I think that takes a lot of the worry away from them. 

CLARE: 

A hundred percent. A couple of things to say while you’re on this. I mean, I’m the same. I’ve been sharing things recently about moving past perfectionism and I’m publishing real sort of full of editing mistakes and saying, look, at least I’m still creating content. I’m living, breathing it, putting it out there imperfectly, but at least done is better than me not posting for another couple of days until I get it perfect. But the other thing that I want to share about vulnerability and authenticity is that people feel like they have to share everything. And I am sure that there are parts of you that you treat like vulnerability and authenticity, isn’t sharing every single thing that’s ever happened to you in every area of your life, isn’t it? 

APRIL: 

No, absolutely not. I mean, you don’t want to know everything. 

CLARE: 

Yeah. It’s just deciding what you feel comfortable sharing. And I know everyone’s also going to have a different line in this end. There are some things that I share on other people like, whoa, I can’t believe that you shared that. And then on the flip side, there are a lot of parts of my life that people don’t see and that I really don’t feel comfortable sharing. So it’s really about saying, is this something I feel comfortable sharing? Will people connect with it and then choosing to allow people into that space. So, yeah, I love that. 

APRIL: 

The way I like to think about it is I always keep my audience at the forefront of the things I’m sharing. Like, I might think of a story or an event that I could be vulnerable about and share. But I always, before I post anything, ask myself, is this helping anybody? Is this mostly helping me by sharing and venting or is this actually going to help somebody else? So that’s my gatekeeper. Does this help other of people, if not, then I don’t share. 

CLARE: 

Yeah. I love that. It’s such a good way of thinking of it. Because sometimes I feel like I’m going to share something and I’m like, is this just me dumping my stuff? Because it feels better to have a rant or am I sharing this to allow my audience to connect, to allow my audience to know that I have struggles to, because it’s easy to sometimes look at other people online and think, oh wow, everything’s going well for them and not see that the challenging side as well. But this is actually a beautiful way of combining back your niching with authenticity because you actually niching down is a really beautiful way of you saying, this is what I really want and this is the real me and I desire and I’m going to share it with my audience, even though it’s scary as hell. 

APRIL: 

Absolutely. And the clearer that I got on who I was, that’s what it is really, like who am I? And what do I want? And what I want is to work with interior designers. So yeah, they go hand in hand for sure, authenticity and niching down. There’s no way to know what your niche is until you get really clear with yourself and honest and willing to ask yourself some tough questions. 

CLARE: 

I love that. I love that. So if people are listening and wondering, what’s next for you, what can they expect? And how can people reach out and connect with you if they would like their help with their interior design business? 

APRIL: 

So you can find me, I primarily hang out on Instagram. So I am at May June Creative and my website is www.mayjunecreative.com.au. What’s coming next from me is interior design. I love it. I am excited to help more people. I am going to have a business that lights me up. I’m going to be present for my kids and have a life that I love while also running a business that helps other people achieve their goals as well. 

CLARE: 

Beautiful April. Well, thank you for coming on and sharing your message. It’s been such a pleasure working with you in our time in the Mastermind together. And I can’t wait to watch you in your new niche and your new industry. Thank you for coming on the podcast today. 

APRIL: 

Thank you so much, Clare. 

CLARE: 

Thanks so much for listening. If you love this episode, please share it with your audience and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at clare_wood_coach and also make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. Have an abundant week. And I look forward to talking to you again next week. 

 

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