Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast


The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 44: How to do marketing

Jane Hillsdon

Founder Dragonfly Marketing

September 27, 2022
If there's one challenge we hear more than most from our community here at Mums & Co, it’s marketing; how to connect with more customers, even just your next customer, to grow your business.This is far from a surprise with time being such a precious commodity, making space to do marketing can be hard to prioritise and overwhelming to know where to start.Living in Port Macquarie on the north coast of New South Wales, Jane Hillsdon works with small businesses to get their best foot forward in terms of marketing, and champions regional and rural based businesses across Australia.


Dragonfly Marketing


Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Jane Hillsdon

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Episode 44 Transcript

00:01:34:09 - 00:02:11:13

Lucy Kippist

If there's one challenge we hear more than most from our community here at Mums & Co, it’s marketing; how to connect with more customers, even just your next customer, to grow your business. This is far from a surprise with time being such a precious commodity, making space to do marketing can be hard to prioritise and overwhelming to know where to start. But our next guest is here to help.

Carrie Kwan

Living in Port Macquarie on the north coast of New South Wales, Jane especially champions regional and rural based businesses across Australia. Jane, welcome to the Mumbition podcast.

00:02:11:22 - 00:02:15:22

Jane Hillsdon

Thank you so much, Carrie and Lucy, it is so wonderful to be here.

00:02:15:22 - 00:02:42:05

Carrie Kwan

Now you are a specialist in helping small businesses meaningfully connect with their customers. You know that I'm a big advocate of pitching, the power of pitching, and being able to do that confidently and share your story. Now, I would love to hear your elevator pitch. How is it done and what you do, who you are, and ideally emotionally connect? So tell us about yourself!

00:02:42:15 - 00:03:53:23

Jane Hillsdon

Well, there's no pressure quite like having the pitch expert analyse your elevator pitch. It's funny you should mention that Carrie, because your pitch course is on my list of things to complete for this year. Because while I can confidently put pitches together for other people and other businesses, when it comes to putting my own pitch together, I am a terrible overthinker and I'm also someone who gets distracted by shiny new things.

So once I kind of land on the pitch, I then change it. Anyway, let me give it a go. So as you have mentioned, I actually have two businesses. One is called Dragonfly Marketing, and that's an agency where we do marketing for small businesses. The other is the How to Do Marketing Academy, which is where we show how a small business is how to do marketing.

Both businesses, though, are born out of making marketing much more simple for small businesses to do.

00:03:54:01 - 00:04:39:05

Carrie Kwan

That’s great, you’re amazing! You've got some incredible, incredible stories, you’ve got two businesses which I know are fascinating with our community. A lot of women in our community actually run more than one business or have co-founded another business before. So I love it. I love it. And we're going to get into a lot more of the fantastic work that you're doing now,

Lucy and I were recently guests on your podcast, The Light to Return the Favor, and you asked me what my three biggest tips to mums in business are, looking to harmonise their life and career ambitions. I'd love to hear your tips and perhaps even describe the shape of a good life for you.

00:04:39:16 - 00:06:59:12


I love this question! I've had my Dragonfly Marketing business now for 15 years, and the How to do Marketing Academy just sprung up recently, in fact, I started that one last year. For both businesses, these three tips resonate, particularly, as you said. You know, there are people, particularly a lot of budding entrepreneurs who are now founders and CEOs or managing directors of multiple businesses.

I think these tips probably speak to those of us who are on the high achiever personality set and love to say yes to everything and really embrace multiple opportunities.

So tip number one, and it's probably just come to light as something that served me so well throughout my whole career. But now I'm just much more intentional about seeking these people out. That tip is to surround yourself with people that lift you. So people may have heard the advice or the saying, if you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room or other sayings along those lines. I much prefer the notion of being among people that bring diversity, a diverse range of thinking, a diverse range of perspectives, people that can be your cheerleader, people that want to see you succeed, people that you can help as well as they can help you. So there's a notion of reciprocity there. So there's been various people who have kind of contributed to that along the way, and sometimes that evolves, people who help to get you to a certain place may not be the right people to get you to the next place. So I guess I am now more intentional.

Whilst I've always sought out people who have lifted me because I just find I get so much energy from those people, I'm now more intentional in seeking those people out.

00:07:00:06 - 00:07:26:10

Lucy Kippist

Jane, just on that, what you're touching on there is exactly what I wanted to ask you actually in terms of your Co. So Mums & Co, obviously a key part of our name, when we talk about that, we're referring to the men and women, family, partners, friends, clients, etc. Who is in your Co and how do they support you and the businesses you're running?

00:07:27:16 - 00:08:46:24

Jane Hillsdon
I have quite a few people in my Co. My family is number one, so that's my husband and then I have three children. As we were discussing before the podcast started, I also have a dog and a cat who are in my Co as well because they generally hang out with me throughout the day as well.

I have a lot of groups that I am part of, I have a business minds group that we set up locally in town with a diverse range of business owners and we meet monthly. I'm a member and have been a member of Business Chicks for years. I'm a member of something called The Accountability Circle. I also have another group locally, which is just like marketing professionals and graphic designers, websites, copywriters, etc.

Then another part of my Co, clients, friends, clients generally tend to become in regional areas specifically, tend to become friends and mentors. So to me, often when we're working with the client, particularly in the Dragonfly business, where we might be working with clients over the course of years and years, it's very hard not to actually become good friends and business confidants.

00:08:47:06 - 00:08:54:24

Lucy Kippist

Absolutely. Do you think the fact that you're based in a regional place is helpful to that as well?

00:08:56:03 - 00:10:17:11


100%. That's actually one of the regional advantages that I see. One of the biggest things that I noticed moving from Sydney to Port Macquarie is that business wasn't as anonymous as it was in Sydney. So in Sydney, in corporate life, you kind of see people with your work hat on and then that's really the only time that you would see them.

You might see them in a client meeting, a supplier meeting, a committee meeting or throughout your business week. However, in a regional area, you will see them sitting around the boardroom table in a meeting or whatever function, but then you'll also run into them at Coles that night. You'll also probably see them on the soccer field that Saturday and you turn up to the barbecue on the Sunday and lo and behold, there they are.

You've got mutual friends. So it's so easy to be able to fall into that friendship kind of zone as well as a client. And look, I like to do business with friends. I like to do business with people who I actually get along with. We have a very kind of intimate relationship, I guess, with the way that we plug into a business to get their marketing happening for them.

It's really important that we actually get along. So for us, that's actually a really powerful factor.

00:10:18:00 - 00:11:17:15

Carrie Kwan

I love that when a woman starts a business, she's actually creating this ecosystem of business relationships around her. She's likely to work with them, she's likely to collaborate with them, she's likely to buy from them. There are some sound stats around, I think a female founder is likely to employ two and a half times more women in her company and a small business owner is likely to employ an average of six women in the business.

It's such a strong and compelling narrative, you know, and I'm not sure if we've networked. I know actually we don't quite network like this. Women perhaps don't quite network like this, but it's amazing that there’s this ripple effect for business owners and it's amazing to see that in regional based businesses, it's so much, you do business with people.

00:11:18:01 - 00:12:32:07

Jane Hillsdon

100%, and then that's actually something that we flipped to actually use within these businesses' marketing. So generally because you end up being friends of customers, of certain businesses in town, friends of employees, of certain businesses in town, of suppliers.

If you think of the Co of small business owners in a regional town, there's much less than six degrees of separation, it's probably one or two. When we show up with the people that surround our business, the Co of our business, when we show up in social media channels, in advertising, in the local paper, perhaps even a voice over the radio, people recognize that voice and we know that we're so much more receptive to something that we recognize and feel familiar with.

We've kind of gone through the know, like trust. So this is incredibly powerful as a regional business to be able to really leverage those relationships, not just for the flow on effect as you spoke about, but also leverage those relationships to actually help more people to be able to do business with us in a more trustworthy way.

00:12:32:15 - 00:12:51:13

Carrie Kwan

Jane, I love that we’re getting into the crux of business tips as well. We did have a bit of a scenario of could you imagine you're one in one of your businesses, what are your top three tips for her to grow her brand as a solid business owner?

00:12:52:13 - 00:15:01:07

Jane Hillsdon

Great question. The three tips that I've got there, knowing who you are for and who you are not for. This is about knowing who is the ideal customer that is going to value what you do, because there are so many business owners who will probably relate to the fact that you can bark up the tree of the people who are just not interested or just don't value what you do.

You can bark up that tree so enthusiastically, but you are pushing poop uphill essentially, it's a really hard sell. So if you have a really good understanding of who you are, for who your target audience is, who's going to value you, who your low hanging fruit is, and who is fundamentally not, you're going to save yourself a lot of heartache and a lot of time in business.

The second tip is to build community. A lot of people kind of build a perceived idea of building community on social media. One thing that we really like to do, is push and encourage small businesses to think about, is there's a lot more to marketing and small business marketing than social media. Sure, you can build and it's very helpful to build up big communities on your social media channels, but you can also do community building in other ways.

As I was describing before, you can set up groups. So the business minds group that I spoke about, that's very much a mentoring group, it's us getting together and being able to ask each other questions, brainstorm ideas, but you can build your email database. You can build a group of people who want to get together for certain events every now and again.

So it doesn't just have to be community building on social media, because I think there's a lot of pressure for small businesses to get these massive amounts of followers. And as I said, whilst that can be helpful, it's not the only way we can build community.

00:15:01:15 - 00:15:17:02

Lucy Kippist

I love the tip time because I know that that part of building up your social media is so time consuming as well. So for a solo business owner, I just love that you've highlighted that because it's not the route, the path to every success.

00:15:18:01 - 00:16:37:15

Jane Hillsdon

It's not, and take the pressure off yourself, you don't have to have 50,000 followers on Instagram because to have 50,000 followers on Instagram, you are feeding that platform. It is a hungry beast and if you're a lawyer and you don't have much capacity in your business, I do not recommend that you spend your time feeding the beast of Instagram if you don't have the resources to do that just because you think you've got to have 50,000 followers to be there. That's not necessarily the community that you need to build.

The other one is to just show up. The clients that I've worked with, particularly in the How to do Marketing Academy, when they finish the programs that I do, I get so much feedback. The biggest “aha!” moment that I got there was the importance of showing up. We will work on finding a rhythm that will work for them as a small business. As I said, it comes back to making marketing simple for small businesses. Small business owners are busy, they've got a lot going on and the last thing they need is another complicated element added to their day. So find a rhythm that allows you to show up regularly, because as soon as you stop showing up, so do the leads, so do the sales.

00:16:38:10 - 00:17:21:00

Lucy Kippist

Great advice. I can see right there why you’re one of our most popular experts here, Jane, because that simplicity is just so wonderful to hear. Now, to go back on what I just said, because I want to talk about your Instagram account, it's so bright, it's so warm. It's really motivating.

I love the quotes you use and also, I just wanted to bring up your incredibly colorful shoe collection that seems to be showcased there as well. But is there something about you that you would say is innate to yourself that we might not see you on your social media, that you don't share that way as a business owner?

00:17:21:09 - 00:19:05:05

Jane Hillsdon

Yeah, and I think I share this, but it's not apparent from a quick glance through my Instagram feed. Whilst I have a lot of creativity, love for brightness and embrace the energy of bright colors, bright earrings, shoes and lipstick, I'm highly, highly results driven. So my focus is on getting measurements and metrics and I think this comes from working with small businesses as well.

I never, ever want a small business client of mine to feel like they have wasted their marketing spend, I position it always as a marketing investment. If we're going to position marketing as an investment, we need to see a return on that. Now, a return doesn't always come immediately as revenue or leads, because sometimes if you haven't been doing marketing, they're not going to show up in the first week that you decide to show up on Instagram with three posts.

There are other metrics that are in place that are highly important to your marketing ecosystem and judging its success. I am obsessed with some of these metrics to understand, a, whether what we're doing is, is working with what the business owner is doing, and b, how we can optimise that. Because even if we think it's actually really good, there's always potential to do better.

You will not know that unless you actually set goals and measure them. So that analytical side, that number side, is something that I'm really passionate about. But when you glance at my bright, colorful branding, you might not get that impression.

00:19:05:05 - 00:19:18:01

Lucy Kippist

I don't think it takes away from it at all, but it's a really great point to make. But they’re two sides of your business personality, they’re both important.

00:19:18:12 - 00:20:08:04

Jane Hillsdon

I think it comes from working with a lot of clients in the financial, and this has made me with a “not enough” syndrome, like I think it's because I've always thought I know what some people's perception is of marketing, that the marketing department can be called the coloring in department.

I've heard from so many small business owners when I talk to them and try to get inside and around their thoughts about marketing, “oh you can't really measure it,” or “you can't,” “it's not something that I know,” “I don't know how it works.” For me, I think I've just gone above and beyond to prove to small business owners that there actually is a way of measuring it and we should be measuring it, that it’s not something that just has to be a bright, colourful experience.

00:20:08:04 - 00:21:11:15

Carrie Kwan

Two things came to mind, I’ll just say it quickly. Please do not connect with my husband, who also has an incredible collection of sneakers. Secondly, it very much resonates. We talk a lot about what are the metrics that matter, then testing, what do we learn from that and reiterating, which is your optimisation phase. So I never send something off and then I think the campaign's going to work. Change it mid-flow, tweak something, tweak copy, tweak spend, tweak targeting or retargeting.

We love talking about the business owning journey and it’s being exposed to the risks on this journey, especially when we bridge both family and business life, especially with COVID, I would say blended even more. What sort of business risk have you been faced with, even across your two businesses, and how do you protect yourself from that?

00:21:12:24 - 00:24:04:05

Jane Hillsdon

Well there’s two things. The biggest risk that I face is that I'm the key person of, not so much the Dragonfly Marketing business anymore, but I have been in the past. I'm certainly the key person at the moment of the How to do Marketing Academy. The risk involved there is that if I go down, or even in terms of when I grow and scale, there comes a point where I have to start letting things go, because otherwise I'm just going to burn out.

So burnout is my biggest risk and I have burnt out a couple of times along the way. It's not pleasant and it's hard to come back from. The way I kind of manage this risk is a., I've become a lot better at processes, systems and documenting information, like sharing my IP and getting that knowledge out and down on paper.

Got to say, I hate that part because I honestly find that it’s the most tedious and boring thing to do ever. But I'm getting better because I know how important it is. I'm actually doing a program with Tina Tower, who is like a ninja on processes and systems and some of the content that I get from her is like, she just gives you all of these incredible pre-done checklists, pre-done to do lists, pre-done on Monday boards, essentially I use Monday to do a lot of this, where she's documented these processes and as a member of of her program, I can just access these, so that's why I'm getting better because I'm literally going, “Tina, you got these, you got that,” and I'll just adapt it to me. So that's one thing.

The other thing, and this was going to be one of my tips from before, was to rest and rejuvenate. I think rest and rejuvenation is something that we underestimate so much, whether you're a business owner or just in business, an employee, or working part time and juggling family. We don't generally tend to prioritise rest. Even just the simple notion that sleep and getting enough sleep keeps your immune system in check. I got COVID at the beginning of the year and it took me three weeks to recover. That to me was a really good lesson to keep my health, mental health and physical health front of mind, because I'm very important to both businesses at this point. If I go down and I can't work at full capacity or even if I go down and I can't work at all, then I'm not going to be achieving anything in business at that time.

00:24:05:10 - 00:24:49:09

Lucy Kippist

Thanks for bringing that to the floor, Jane. Sorry to hear that we have gone through that burnout experience. But I think that does creep up on founders and small business owners as well, we’re so passionate, we just keep going, going, going, and then you realise, okay, you hit this wall.

Permission from all of us here is to pause. If you need to pause, take it as a good pause. I've had that reminder from my chief of staff, Sarah, as well. You need someone to actually give you permission to go, “have a break, it's okay, you can come back to this.”

00:24:49:09 - 00:25:43:24

Jane Hillsdon

When you're like an achiever, one of my strengths in the Gallup strength is achiever, or if you're familiar with the DISC profile, it's off the chart D. So for me, I'm incredibly impatient and incredibly focused on goals and the delivery of those goals. I'm the type of person that puts the to-do list together for the week on Monday and then I want to achieve every one of those things by Monday afternoon. It's a self-paced thing, it's me that's creating this problem. It's nobody else but me. I have the power and the choice to manage people's expectations. I have now come to a point where I just physically actually have to tell myself, “slow down.

It doesn't have to be done by today. That's you putting the pressure to be done by today. Nobody else.”

00:25:44:05 - 00:26:11:06

Lucy Kippist

Such a valuable reminder. It's kind of segways to the next thing that I was going to ask you in terms of, as Carrie mentioned, we have a great chief of staff here at Mums & Co who regularly encourages us to have the permission to stop. But if you could ask for anything right now in your business or your life, what would it be?

00:26:11:06 - 00:27:34:09


For me, it's mindset and that's what I'm really focusing on at the moment. In particular, an abundant mindset that allows abundance. I think one of the things that I took out of last year was that sometimes I have a scarcity mindset. I think it's starting a new business and starting it from scratch. Like Dragonfly grew so organically and accidentally, and now I'm really intentional and purposefully building products and marketing this new business, which is going to grow at a much, much more accelerated rate than Dragonfly.

So me showing up in that space, all of a sudden this scarcity mindset has been exposed. I know now that I need to embrace the mindset of abundance, but it's not like you just turn up and go, “right, I need to put it on the list.” You know, checklist for Monday morning - get an abundant mindset. When you've had that mindset for a good portion of your life, when you've had the not enough ness or the imposter syndrome and all of that stuff, when you're trying to reverse that, that's a big job.

So if I could ask for one thing, if someone could just fix that up for me in 10 seconds, is there a switch somewhere in my brain where I can turn it on?

00:27:34:14 - 00:27:37:00

Lucy Kippist

I think it's called meditation. Have you tried those?

00:27:37:07 - 00:27:45:10

Jane Hillsdon

Yeah, I have. But how many meditations do I need to do? Can I just get them all over and done on Monday and have that mode by Tuesday?

00:27:45:19 - 00:28:05:13

Lucy Kippist

I will throw it out to the community for you, Jane. On that note, as you know, here at Mums & CO, we are absolutely passionate about women supporting women. So who are the mumbitious, the mums running businesses in your community and network that you've got to say hello to today.

00:28:05:13 - 00:28:43:15


I'm going to throw out a hello to all of the fellow Mums & Co members because again, that's on my list to to actually lean in and have more connection within that group.  I'm a big fan of networking and I really love the Mums and Co network. I've got to make it a priority for me to connect with those members because I know from the connections I've already had, we've had some great relationships spark up. So a big hello and a shout out to them!

00:28:44:20 - 00:29:19:18

Carrie Kwan

Jane, thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for your company. We hope you enjoyed today's podcast. If you'd like to follow Jane Hillsdon, you can find her at How to do Marketing Academy. If you're keen to hear more from Jane about how to grow your business, head over to get our Get Advice tab and book in a 1 to 1 expert session.

If you haven't already come, please do join our mumbitious supportive movement of thousands of Australian business owning women just like you at mumsandco.com.au. What's your most favorite moment of the day?

00:29:20:20 - 00:29:44:14

Jane Hillsdon

My most favorite moment of the day is when I go out and do my morning exercise. That could be a walk on the beach with the dog. It could be a swim, I swim in a squad twice a week. It could be my yin yoga. But that is by far my favorite me-time moment of the day.