Episode 33 - Ann Hobbs

Everyone has at least one book in them. Have you started yours yet? Making conversations about self-publishing count!

Ann Hobbs – Forward Thinking Publishing

Making Conversations about Self-Publishing Count!

Ann Hobbs Forward thinking publishing

In this episode, we’re making conversations about self-publishing count.

Do you reckon you’ve got a book in you?

This episode’s guest makes it her job to literally coax your book out of you.

There are so many benefits to having your own book out there.

There are far too many to list here, but if you listen to this episode, you’ll quickly realise you need to get in touch with Ann Hobbs from Forward Thinking Publishing.

She’s helped many people transition from busy business owners to authors, and she could do the same for you.

Listen to other episodes on your favourite platform…

Full Episode Transcript


Making Conversations Count – Episode Thirty-Three

Wendy Harris & Ann Hobbs

June 3rd 2021



00:00:00: Introduction
00:03:22: Ann’s hot thought
00:04:23: How Ann helps
00:07:47: Managing real life
00:11:18: Self-publishing
00:13:13: The bigger picture
00:17:47: In your words
00:19:05: Practical mode
00:22:13: Ann’s pivotal conversation
00:27:10: Dealing with moving forward
00:32:56: Final conversation


Wendy Harris: They say everyone has at least one book in them.  I’ve got my book Making Conversations Count: How to use the Telephone on Amazon, I even surprised myself that that became a best seller.  In this episode we’re making conversations about self-publishing count.

What’s new Wendy Woo?  Well, lots of you are still taking the telephone influence test.  You can do that by following the show notes link MakingConversationsCount.studio/podcast.  It’s been really great to be able to send out my tips to those that take the test and start the conversation.

We’ve got some reviews this week and a couple of them have hit me by surprise.  I was in a networking room and one lady just had to tell me all about how one of the episodes had impacted her.  So, Anna B in Cheltenham, thank you so much; you absolutely made my day when you told me that after listening to Steve Judge’s episode that you’d found the Professional Speaking Association and you’ve joined in your area and you’re ready to start creating that talk that will impact people because you’re a health coach.  You’ve got a really, really important message there Anna and I’m so excited.  I predict a TEDx talk one day soon.

Also, I had this email, “Hi Wendy, just found your show after searching for the Vox Conversations Podcast.  Someone had recommended it to me, but I loved the look of your podcast with the chalkboard, and I wasn’t disappointed.  What a great show, Rohan in Adelaide”.  Well, Rohan, I’m so glad you like the chalkboard, that’s another accidental marketing mistake that actually I love too.  Thank you for tuning in, in Adelaide, we’re also still in the charts in Columbia.

Let’s get on with the show, I need to introduce you to today’s guest, it is Ann Hobbs of Forward Thinking Publishing.  She started out back in 2015 after creating her own book that is an Amazon number one best seller repeatedly and it’s called Kick Ass your Life.  Now, you’ve got to stay tuned because not only does Ann talk to us about self-publishing and the self-help that she likes to help people to get their book out there, but you’re really going to want to hear her conversation that counted.  It left me sideways and lost for words, a powerful story indeed.

We met through the lovely Jill Chitty’s Morning Cuppa networking, didn’t we?  You just sort of suddenly got my attention because of the way that you did things.  I’ve got your book which says, “Kick Ass your Life”, with a title like that, who could not buy it and have a look through.  Ann, just tell us, what spurred you to write the book?

Ann Hobbs: I had a bit of a hot sweaty evening, when I woke up a mild panic thinking I had so much information that I needed to let people know about because I’d been coaching for about ten years at that time.  I’d coached so many people and I thought, “Right, if something happened to me, then all that knowledge has gone out the window.  I wrote that in four weeks”.

Wendy Harris: Wow, you were driven.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, I was because I’m like, “How can I die if I don’t get this information out?”  And so that was my motivation.

Wendy Harris: Goodness me, was there any particular reason that you thought you might die?

Ann Hobbs: No, you know when somebody says these stupid coaching questions to you, like, “What would do, if you had limited time to live?”, or something like that and I’m like, “Oh [bleep] I really want to write a book”.

Wendy Harris: So, this was your first book, was it, Ann?

Ann Hobbs: This was my first book, yes.

Wendy Harris: You mentioned your coaching, but that’s not necessarily what you’re doing now is it?  Tell everybody how you help people?

Ann Hobbs: I help other people publish their books.  I’m interested in people that have gone through adversity and they’ve come out the other end basically and that’s what we wrote about, because I really want to help other people.  I’ve done that in the last 20 years through coaching and therapies, but now I help them so they can get the information in the book, so that’s the type of books I publish.  I help people write them and then we publish them.

Wendy Harris: What sort of stories have you been involved with?

Ann Hobbs: If you’ve got the information out there that is going to help other people, so I’ve done a yoga, a journal, we did that.  I’m working with a woman that’s overcome cancer, I think she had like two weeks to live, and she overcome that and that was like ten years ago, so she’s writing about that to help other people.  It’s really a combination of things, it isn’t just one thing.

Wendy Harris: I’m very much one for family, for local community but there are some stories that translate across boundaries and across maps that are truly global for us to learn from and it’s great that you’re able to help people get their story out, because it’s a little bit like the podcasts that we’re doing; it’s those stories that other people can hear and go, “I understand”, “I can resonate with that feeling”, “I needed to hear that today for me to feel better or to know that I can carry on”.

Ann Hobbs: I’ve probably been in that position ten years earlier and I didn’t know how to get out of it, I just didn’t know how to, and it took me probably ten years to figure it out and I didn’t want anybody else to be in that place.  Why would it take you so many years?  Now, I have the information, I can get you out of that in a week because I’ve been through it, I’ve got the t-shirt and I think that’s why people want to share their kind of adversities because of what I’ve got out of it.  It’s took me a long time to work it out, so now I can teach other people and I think that is what I like, is that I can get you out of there, that position I was in, in kind of weeks and months.

Wendy Harris: A lot quicker.  That ties in really with another guest that I spoke to recently, Nik Venios and he was talking about big magic and how an idea comes to you.  The way that you described waking up in a sort of sweaty panic that you really needed to do that, sounds very much like an idea had hit you and said, “You’re the person to deliver this into the world now, and if you don’t sit up and listen, I’m going to go and find somebody else who will”.

Ann Hobbs: The universe works in a funny way because they give you like a little tap, tap and then they give you a bit of slap if you’re not listening and then the sledgehammer comes.  I think I had the sledgehammer because I woke up in a complete panic and I thought, “Oh yeah, I need to start writing”.  Someone else said to me, “Are you going to write anymore books?”  I’m like, “No, never going to write a non-fiction book ever again”, and I’m now in the midst of the third book of feminine power.

Wendy Harris: Do you know, I mean never say never that’s kind of the thing, isn’t it?  You should never say, “No”.

Ann Hobbs: I wanted to write a novel and then I just had this idea about feminine power and what that means.

Wendy Harris: Yeah, there’s lots of stages to being a woman I think, that historically are seen as like the maid, the mother and the crone, aren’t they?  I think people forget that there are transitions between those three states too.  Without going any deeper than that, I know that I’ve done one transition and I think I’m probably going through another.

Everybody that I’ve spoken to that’s in my age group has said that afterwards, they’ve been left feeling menopausal, even though they’re not necessarily menopausal, and that it’s highlighted weaknesses and things like this.  I suppose it’s still good that we’re still talking about the things that affect us, even if we don’t feel that great about it; it makes us feel better having talked about it.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, and it is because people think self-help and self-development is all about thinking positively and being positive all the time and so when somebody says to you, “How are you?”  You go, “I’m fabulous”, but actually you know you’re not.  These are the types of conversation that I want to have.  It’s like if you’re spiritual or in self-help, I’m not positive all the time, I have sadness, I get low sometimes and it’s just your emotions and it’s how you navigate through that, but no one wants to know when you’re feeling a bit [bleep]

Wendy Harris: You can’t be on a high all the while, can you?  That would be impossible.

Ann Hobbs: You don’t learn, yeah, you don’t learn.  When I’m positive I don’t learn anything but when I’m on my knees a little bit you think, “Right, okay, I need to sort this out or I need to change this”.  We don’t do change until we hit the wall.

Wendy Harris: It’s that cycle of wheel, isn’t it, that if you’re at the top that’s great, but you’ve got to go down and work your way back out of that to get to the top again.

Ann Hobbs: You won’t change if your life is going fabulous, will you, like you don’t need to; so you need these kind of “Come on, there’s more out there”, but it’s this perception that you have to be okay, you have to be positive all the time and you don’t, because you won’t learn anything.

Wendy Harris: Of course, if it was that easy, everybody would be doing it, wouldn’t they?  We’ve all learned that —

Ann Hobbs: We’d all be millionaires by now.

Wendy Harris: What is the meaning life really, Ann, you know, it is about those heartbeats, as I see them; the ups and downs that you have to go from chapter to chapter and it’s great that you’re an advocate in helping those stories come to light through the work that you do and the experiences that you’ve been through.

Ann Hobbs: It’s that helping others, I’ve always helped other people.  As a coach I think I’d gone to that level where I couldn’t go anywhere or maybe I hit burnout and I’d had enough of coaching.  Trying to sort out people’s problems all the time, you do get to a certain point where you can’t do it anymore, so I kind of literally threw all my self-development books out the window and I’m like, “That’s it, no more self-development.  I’m not doing anymore!  Take them all to the charity shop!”

Then I just got phone calls from people saying — because they’d known that I’d written a book and they’re like, “Right, you published, didn’t you?  You’ve self-published, can you help me?”  I’ve never pushed it, I’ve never gone out really to seek comments or pushed it at all, this business.  People pick up the phone to me and they say, “Well, you know how to do it don’t you?”  “Yeah”, “Well, can you help me?  I’m still helping people.

Wendy Harris: That’s the point though, isn’t it, is that you’ve obviously left such an impression on people from your previous role in coaching that they would come to you for that help and be able to trust you to help them with that.  Because having gone through the process myself of publishing a book, the writing it for me wasn’t stressful, it was the marketing it afterwards that was hard work.  If you’re stuck with the what to put down and how to format it and all of those different things, then you really do need somebody that’s on your side that understands the processes.

Ann Hobbs: A lot of people ask me, “Am I going to do fiction in my business?”  I’m like, “No, because Forward Thinking Publishing is all about helping other people.  I know you can do that through fiction, but I understand that process people need to go through.  In Kick Ass it was very much about what I’d gone through, through the adversity I had and how I got out of it.

Now, when I published that I had to have a lie down for a week because it’s like everybody’s going to know my story, everybody is going to know about me now, so that is the challenge with your emotions when you’re writing.  So, I need to understand that, and I’ve just had a conversation today and she said she sent her manuscript out to someone else, and they just trashed it, trashed her whole story and she felt violated and I’m like, “Yeah, because they didn’t show that respect to that person”.

Wendy Harris: Yeah, it’s like we all attract our tribe, don’t we?  I didn’t even contemplate sending it to a publisher for review because what they are looking for is going to be different to what I want to deliver.  If it’s on my terms and I don’t sell many, that’s my bag; if it goes down well, it’s because I’ve found the people that need it.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah and that’s why I like the control.  I wanted mine to be published by Hay House; I was actually turned down because I didn’t have 150,000 followers and for me that’s not authentic, because I may have 150,000 followers but one of them may buy it, I don’t know.  I could go on Fiverr, couldn’t you, and get your followers but that’s not authentic for me.

I wanted that control so I self-published that one because I wanted that control, but what I teach people now is that you’re probably not going to make your money back from the book; but if you sell something else, so we had to sell our coaching, it helps us to be that expert in our business that gives people that trust if they’ve read one of your books.  That’s how I get them to get their money back from their book; you have to look at the bigger picture.

Wendy Harris: I agree with you there, Ann, and I’m shocked about the followers’ situation because I mean 150,000 followers, I can’t imagine that.  Followers are fickle anyway because they’re following you, but do they really follow?  I don’t know that they really do.  I think that online engagement is so vast that it’s very difficult to cut through the noise and find those people and get their attention anyway.

But I agree, I mean I didn’t want the book to be my success and I wasn’t relying on the book sales to pay my income and if I had have relied on that I’d have sorely disappointed, just to warn the listeners.  What you can get from that is that initial launch and getting that best seller status, that’s the credibility that you need and certainly from what I’m hearing from your clients and yourself, Ann, it’s from the same value of wanting to pass the knowledge on so that they’d got a starting point.  They can do on their own if that’s their only route; if it is that they can then continue that journey with whoever’s written the book, that’s where the value is not just for the person who’s written the book but the people reading.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, because you’re going to capture all types of clients aren’t you, so when I was coaching, you’d get the clients that weren’t quite ready.  You’d get another one that was really ready, so the book is for the people that aren’t ready, they’ve got the information, but they won’t implement it because you don’t, do you?  So, when I wrote that, I was a bit mindful that I’ve given them all the content, all the information that I had in my head.  They could go away kind of and use it and they wouldn’t need me; but then I got to a point where it’s actually, everybody needs accountability and even I have a coach now.

It’s like I won’t do it and so I won’t do a book unless I have an editor that’s all booked in; you can give them all the content, but they won’t necessarily take it into action.  It’s really for that book, so you’re covering the whole range of clients, aren’t you; people that aren’t ready and the people that are ready, but you’re giving them that information that they give in hope, that they can change it if they want to.

Wendy Harris: That’s it and I was having a conversation similar to that this morning, is that if you say that you haven’t got time it’s because you’re not ready or not willing.  If it’s something you really want to do, you will find the time to do it.

Ann Hobbs: That’s where I got the book title from because one of my clients actually said to me, “I’m a kick ass coach”, though I hated that for many years because every networking event I went in, they went, “Oh here’s Ann.  She’ll kick ass you”, and things like that.  I’m like, “Oh no”, but actually it did sum up my style of coaching and that’s what I do with editing.  It’s like I have to be emphatic towards them because they’ve written about their lives, but my job is also to give them the truth.  If you change it and move this around, we’re going to make a better book.

Wendy Harris: They gave me two changes and I think one was a grammatical sentence that wasn’t right, and the other was the format, and I was not going to bend on the format.  I wanted it that style because I wanted it to be a workbook, I wanted space on the page for people to write in and use it, to be a living book; so I think I did all right.  But it’s interesting, isn’t it, and it all comes down to having conversations around sometimes not necessarily what we want but what we need?

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, and it’s listening to that.  As a publisher and editor, I’m not — it’s kind of my view is my view.  So, when I had Kick Ass, I had a very good editor; I think she did some of the big Hay House names’ editing.  So, when I got the book back she’s like, “Oh change this, change that and change that”, and I’m thinking, “Oh God I’ve got to change it because she said it”, but actually I stepped back and I went, “Well, I’d never say that”, or, “I don’t like that, so no, no, no, no”.  I say to my clients that it’s my opinion and it’s like I’m looking from kind of a different set of eyes, but you can say no if that doesn’t fit in with what you want.

Wendy Harris: It’s got to sit from the heart, hasn’t it?

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, in your words, so if you don’t use those words, don’t say them.

Wendy Harris: Somebody said to me once that having your own book is a little bit like running down the street naked, allowing people to throw whatever they want at you.  You’ve got to be prepared for the feedback, good, bad, ugly, indifferent, because everybody has an opinion.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, they have and you’re not going to speak to everybody.  I won’t because I’m that type of coach that if you want someone to hand hold you and go, “Oh there, there”, I’m not that type of coach.

Wendy Harris: I can imagine you ripping the plaster off!

Ann Hobbs: I had one client and she came in with this big story, but it wasn’t serving her and I could see this and you could hear she’d told it like a thousand times and it was getting worse and worse and worse and I sat there I said, “Right, okay, I’ve listened to it and I really understand you are really poorly, but can we do a different story?”  She just sat there, and I thought, “Right, this woman can do one of two things: she can get up and smack me in the face or leave”.  Then she went, “Thank you for that, it’s changed my life.  No one ever has said that to me before”, because I think I was brave enough.  It wasn’t serving her any longer.

Wendy Harris: There are certain things that we don’t say to each other because we don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings, but then we’re not really being true friends, family, business colleagues.  It doesn’t matter the sphere of conversation does it, it’s difficult sometimes to get somebody else to see what everybody else sees.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, and I think I’ve got some really great friends that don’t allow me to do that and they are the wonderful friends.  If I sit there and say to someone, “Oh, yeah that’s really bad, isn’t it?” it’s not helping them because they’re then falling into their pit of crap.  I’m falling in it with them, I’m not serving them and they’re not going to get out of it.

Wendy Harris: Yeah, I have a saying that I didn’t realise that I said so much until you just mentioned that, is that if you’re going to go and do that something — my husband at the moment’s got a bad neck; I came close to booking him into the chiropractor to go and get an initial consultation to see what’s wrong and he said, “No, I’m not going”.  I said, “Well don’t moan about it ever again then”.  He sat on a sofa a bit later and went, “Arrgh, Arrrgh”, and I went, “I told you not to moan about it, because if you’re not prepared to take action, I can’t give you the sympathy that you’re looking for”.

Ann Hobbs: Just seeing you talk to people about it, it doesn’t serve you.  It’s okay to have a moan, so I have a moan and a big of groan, but then you’ve got to change something.

Wendy Harris: Yes.

Ann Hobbs:  You can’t keep moaning like ten years later.

Wendy Harris: Nobody wants to hear that; nobody wants that person in their life that carries on.

Ann Hobbs: But I think there’s few people that will actually say what they’re feeling, although you’ve got to be sensitive, haven’t you?  I wouldn’t tell anybody, but you have to say it in a way that comes across really authentic, and I think that’s what I do.

Wendy Harris: I think you tell a good story there, Ann.  I think you’ve nailed it.  Everybody that I invite on the show, I always ask them to think about a conversation that created a turning point, so that they can share with the listeners because I consider you to be at the top of your field in terms of how you’re helping the customers and people in your business community.  I think it’s important for people to hear the stories of conversations that this happens to everybody, different situations everybody faces adversity or change.  Sometimes it’s that conversation that can really be that pivotal moment, can’t it?

Ann Hobbs: One conversation that completely turned my life around was when my mum rang to say that my sister was killed, so that was like 21 years ago.  I just sat there peeling potatoes, I can remember today peeling potatoes for the kids’ tea and in that moment you kind of think, “Right, okay, how do I deal with that?”  But you don’t and then I just thought, “Right, okay, I can either do –” oh no it was like a few months after that because I’d just had a baby as well, so I had a tiny baby, and it was a conversation that I had with myself.

I was on the floor playing with Harry and I just thought, “I don’t want to be a mum that will bring this tragedy into my kids’ lives”.  So, at that point I made a decision, “Right, I can do two things: I can either let this tragedy take over my life or I can change”, and so I decided to change.

Wendy Harris: I would imagine that just what us mums would consider the normal daily chores of getting the kids’ tea together, it’s no surprise that you jump from peeling the potatoes to a few months later, because it takes that long to process that kind of grief, I think.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, I think we didn’t process it because obviously we had the murder trial, that was five weeks’ trial.  I travelled every day down to Kent so that was like 200 miles a day, about 400 miles there and back every day.  We had that, we couldn’t have the funeral till the year later, so it was kind of — we were on the go the whole time.  We didn’t even — somebody asked me a few weeks ago, “Well, how did you manage in the courtroom?”  I was like, “Because I disassociated myself, it wasn’t my sister, it wasn’t — it was just someone.  I just really disconnected”.  So it wasn’t until about a year later where I found myself — I couldn’t go out the house, I was making excuses up that I couldn’t go shopping, I didn’t want to take Harry out; I took the kids into school.

It wasn’t until about a year later that it actually hit me, this was something tragic, this was a major thing, I tried to hide it, I didn’t let anybody know, because people do change when they know what you’ve gone through.

Wendy Harris: You’ve gone into autopilot, and I can speak from experience when my dad died nearly 13 years ago and I dealt with all the probate and the funeral and everything and it was fairly sudden; we had a couple of months’ notice that was it.  Death, I would say, is one of those things that you’re never prepared, even if you know it’s coming, so when something seriously happens out of the blue that leads to you almost being in a TV show and the drama that’s going on around — processing that as a reality, when you know it as a fiction, is the first layer of trying to cope.

I don’t know about you, Ann, but I have blanks in my memory, because I know things happened and when people ask me specifically about certain episodes and moments in time, I’m a blank because I just dealt with it and got it done to move on, than hang onto it.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, I think you just go on autopilot, and I do beat myself up and I feel the guilt that actually I didn’t think about it, even in that courtroom, I didn’t think that she — I saw pictures and everything and I didn’t still associate it and with my beautiful sister as kind of — I just disconnected from everything and I think that’s why I hit quite low.  I went into depression and things like that because I’d disconnected from life.

Wendy Harris: It’s almost a form of denial.

Ann Hobbs: You go into autopilot, don’t you?  You switch everything off, you switch all your emotions off because it’s too much; but where were we ever taught in life how to deal with loss, we weren’t.

Wendy Harris: There’s no help book is there?

Ann Hobbs: No, there was nothing because you get — especially I think when you lose a sibling as like my mum or I don’t know how my parents have got through this, but it’s kind of everybody was focusing on them.  It’s like, “Oh it must be awful to lose your child”, which I think it would be, I’m not saying it isn’t, but for me standing in the sidelines, I almost wanted to shout like, “I’ve lost a sister”.

Wendy Harris: What about me?

Ann Hobbs: Yeah.

Wendy Harris: Yeah.

Ann Hobbs: How do I process my kind of loss?  You can do two things, in that kind of situation.  I could have just accepted it and I didn’t, and I went into helping people, so that was a good thing.

Wendy Harris: I’m going to just ask a quick question of you, Ann.  How do you now celebrate your sister?

Ann Hobbs: On the day she died in November, I normally have a day off.  I go and have a walk; I do remember her.  If I feel sad, I will cry.  A lot of people say to me, “Oh but it’s 20 years ago”, you should feel happy about it and I’m like, “No, I’m still extremely sad”.

Wendy Harris: Gesticulating in the background because that’s rubbish, yeah.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, but it was a very tragic — we live with it every day because the guy’s in prison still, I’ve still got to cope with the prison service every now and again.  They’ll ring up and we need to do stuff to keep him in there, so it just never goes away.  I don’t think any loss does, I think you just learn to live with it.

Wendy Harris: It’s how you carry that forward and I think that was kind of why I asked how you celebrate her.  I’m much the same; my dad’s birthday’s in November, so I always make sure I have the day off and we do something.  He was always the last to leave a party; we lost him on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day I don’t know how I cook dinner because we have a party in honour of my dad.  It’s dreadful really, I mean his timing’s impeccable, but you have to kind of carry them forward in some way and find that positive, even though it is sad.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, but I mean if that’s your emotion on that day, is sadness, then cry.  The amount of times I’ve been told, “Oh you should be happy remember her as she is”.  I’m like, “I do”, but still on that day I’m very sad and that’s fine, so I go by the sea normally.

Wendy Harris: Yeah, it’s normally the things that are happening that you know full well that they would be relishing being involved in that moment, isn’t it?  Those are the moments that catch you out.  I know I’ve learned to just sort of almost acknowledge and go, “Yeah, you would have enjoyed this”; it’s hard.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, it’s really hard to go down to my parents, because I don’t see them very often, probably once or twice a year, but my dad was 80 in August last year.  I didn’t really want to go but I did go down there with my other sisters, and it was a gaping hole, even after 21 years.  We don’t speak about her normally, we don’t do that kind of thing anymore because it just reminds us all of that hole.

I had counselling afterwards; that was a bad choice, I lost my whole family.  It wasn’t just my sister I’d lost, because I didn’t want to put flowers on the grave on her birthday, my mum wouldn’t speak to me for months after that, because she was processing her grief in her way; I want to process it in my way.  My other sisters are processing it in their way, and we just collided, so this thing about the prison, my dad doesn’t want to be involved.  My sister won’t speak to the parole board.  I have to submit something, so she won’t get involved in that, so you’ve got no support because we’re all trying to deal with it in the same way, but we don’t have conversations about her at all.

It was funny my dad was in hospital, really just had an operation, he was whizzed back down, and I think something went wrong, he had complications.  He must have died that day, and then came back and so the next day I saw him, he spoke about Susan the whole time and that was the first time in 20 years that he’d spoken about it.  He would say things like, “I wonder what she would be like now?”  Because, I don’t know about you, but when you lose someone they’re frozen in time, aren’t they?

Wendy Harris: Yeah.

Ann Hobbs: They’re frozen — she was like 30-something when she died, I can’t see her any older than that; that’s weird, isn’t it?

Wendy Harris: Yeah.  I think as well you get to a certain age and you realise something happens so clearly perhaps on that table that day in hospital, something happened, and I think you do realise that you can’t live with regrets, so you’ve got to do the best to address those things.  There are people to speak to, I mean I’ve had all sorts of challenging circumstances and one thing triggered something that went back to my childhood, and I ended up getting a referral and I spoke to a counsellor at Mind who was brilliant, because sometimes the things that you expect to talk about are not really what is the cause of things.

Ann Hobbs: No, and sometimes this trigger of losing someone it triggers off so much more, doesn’t it?

Wendy Harris: If you can honour that person, then you’re doing the best by them in your own way.

Ann Hobbs: I spoke to someone, and her aunt had been murdered or something and she wanted to do something about it, speak up about it, but I don’t think that’s where my place is.  My place is to actually help people to overcome any adversity; it doesn’t matter what it is because you can do one of two things: you can fall over and just not get up again; or you can get up even stronger.  And so, I want people to read my books that I publish that they can get up and they can be stronger and then they can help other people.

Wendy Harris: Yeah.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, so that’s my message.

Wendy Harris: Book number four has got to be about grief somewhere along the line.

Ann Hobbs: I think you’ve got to pick your own fights, haven’t you, because I’m thinking I do actually want to write a film about it.

Wendy Harris: Yes.

Ann Hobbs: I wrote it when I was doing my OU course.

Wendy Harris: It’s one of those things that I think when the timing is right, the opportunity will arise, and you’ll honour her in the best way.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, I think that you’ve got to deal with it in your own way haven’t you and pick your fights that you’re passionate about.

Wendy Harris: Yeah.  What a life you’ve led so far.  Life has kind of thrown itself at you really, hasn’t it, and you’ve carried on?  You’ve picked yourself up, you’ve kicked ass.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, I’ve kicked my ass that’s for sure, but you don’t think many people hear my story or they think, “Oh, God, you’re very courageous”, and I’m like, “No, I’m not.  I’m just a person that has made a decision in that moment, ‘Am I going to let it affect me, am I not?  No’.  It does affect me every day but I’m carrying on”.  I don’t think I’m courageous or brave or anything.  I just made that decision.

Wendy Harris: You’re dealing with the hands that you’ve been dealt.

Ann Hobbs: Yeah, it’s just life, it’s not kind of — when you think people may be going through other things, don’t they, that I wouldn’t experience, but I’ve experienced those things for a reason.  Not sure what they are just yet.

Wendy Harris: I agree with you; adversity, resilience builds and then those experiences are there for you to be able to help others, I truly believe that.  It’s an incredible story, it’s been a great conversation to have with you today.  If the listeners want to pick up the conversation and carry on, we’ve got our website now where we’ll put some of your stuff; but if they’re on their phones or on their PCs listening and they just want to quickly pick up with you, where’s the best place for them to find you?

Ann Hobbs: They can go to my website, which is ForwardThinkingPublisher.com and they’ll find all the information there.

Wendy Harris: Now, I hope you found that really useful, some of the tips that Ann gives you.  Do make sure that you carry the conversation on with Ann after the show.  I know that self-publishing, I did have some help, I have to admit; it was too big a task for me.  I wish I’d met Ann sooner, but of course once you have a conversation with somebody that sticks in your mind, like Ann did, I’ve been able to introduce her to Lewis Ellis, who was in The Apprentice, and I’ve also passed her on to David Parry who is struggling with getting his memoirs written.  So, of course, this is all what we talk about here on the show, which is carrying those conversations on after that first conversation.

Have you got a book that you need to write, or do you know somebody that’s struggling with that idea?  Come on, let’s join it all up, message the show, let me know, or get in touch with Ann, simple.  There is a real benefit to having a book and of course, it’s just great to be able to go, “Let me send you the book in the post”.  You can get it on Amazon, it’s on special offer for the Kindle and what can I say?  I’d be really, really pleased if you read it, if it helps, if it gives you one tip, a review would be wonderful.

It takes for me just really to wrap up and say, if this is the first time you’re listening, please make sure that you go and follow the podcast.  You can do that by clicking the three ellipses at the top of my podcast page; make sure your settings are set to automatic downloads and you’re never ever going to miss an episode.  Of course, once you get there, you can go back and listen to all the episodes that you’ve missed.  And Spotify, they’ve changed it from the green button, it’s now a little square button, who knew?

Don’t forget, you can find out more about my book through the show notes and we have our own website where the guests are leaving you special offers, resources and tips to download.  It’s at makingconversationscount.com.  I do hope you’ve enjoyed the show.



We don’t want the conversation to stop there!

All of our listeners are important to us, so we would love it if you can connect with Wendy on LinkedIn and send her a message with your favourite episode!


paula senior YMCA

Episode 1 – Paula Senior

In our first episode, we speak to Paula Senior from the YMCA. Paula is a fund-raising officer and is currently preparing for the annual Sleepout to raise much needed funds for the night shelter, how covid has stretched them to the limits and how they have risen above the challenges faced by the homeless.

Nat schooler

Episode 2 – Nat Schooler

Can one conversation really influence where you are driven? Nat Schooler

Influence marketeer Nat Schooler joins Wendy as they chat about how important it is to produce strategic content online. Nat spends his time podcasting, writing, and driving across foreign continents for fun. However, their conversation quickly turns to the importance of building relationships with the people you want to work with. Nat places trust as the highest asset everyone should nurture.

Azam Mamujee M Cubed Tax specialist

Episode 3 – Azam Mamujee

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Managing Partner, Azam Mamujee a tax specialist with a voice of velvet.

Azam agrees that conversations count however he explains how numbers can tell a much more powerful story. He has a catchphrase “Give Azam the facts, I’ll save you the Tax”.

Jenny Procter Marketing for introverts bondfield

Episode 4 – Jenny Procter

Jenny Procter – Bondfield Marketing

Making Conversations about Marketing for Introverts Count

Let us introduce you to Jenny Procter, a marketing consultant and self-proclaimed introvert.

Jenny writes PR and communications for B2B clients and has her own podcast show, and she discusses issues around running her own business as an entrepreneur.

Andrew Deighton team coaching

Episode 5 – Andrew Deighton

Andrew Deighton – Team Coaching. Making Conversations about Teams Count. We are joined by Andrew Deighton today, who helps build and develop high-performing teams through strategy and processes in today’s remote working world.

Wendy has worked with Andrew in a second business through mentoring and knows firsthand how his advice relates to many aspects of running a business.

Nicky Pattinson sales expert public speaker

Episode 6 – Nicky Pattinson

Nicky Pattinson – Leading Sales Authority & Public Speaker. Making Conversations about Personality Count. Nicky Pattinson speaks the Truth in all she does! A northern lass who traded on the markets at the beginning of her career, similarly to your host. Now, Nicky has a best-selling book “Email: Don’t Get Deleted” and her own YouTube channel NICKYPTV.

Buckso Dhillon Wooley

Episode 7 – Buckso Dhillon-Wooley

Buckso Dhillon-Wooley – Actress, Speaker & Business Coach. Making Conversations about Self-Belief Count. A true diamond, Buckso is very much aligned with herself and the many facets of her own personality.
As an actor, speaker and coach her mission in life is to help people connect with their higher self.
Being aligned with yourself on a spiritual, physical and emotional level allows you to shine brighter in everything you touch.
Buckso Dillon-Whooley is a well known Actress, who has starred in Disney’s recent remake of Aladdin and is a long-standing actor on Coronation Street with appearances on many UK TV shows.

James Daniel Copywriter

Episode 8 – James Daniel

James Daniel – Copywriter
Making Conversations about Copywriting Count
Joining us in this episode is copywriter James Daniel.
He describes himself as ‘That old guy who writes copy – you know, the beardy one with glasses.’
We should point out there could be other old guys with beards and glasses out there!
It’s easy to like James’ style of writing because he’s a conversationalist who realizes that people don’t speak geek or tech.

Henny Maltby Digital marketing agency

Episode 9 – Henny Maltby

Henny Maltby – Digital Marketing Agency, Pink Elephant Media. Making Conversations about Digital Marketing Count. When the Pandemic hit in early 2020, Henny Maltby turned to her husband as they both realised their business was going to change forever. Offering online marketing to large corporate businesses who cut budgets left a hole to fill. By opening the conversation up with local businesses, it was obvious what the next chapter would be for them at Pink Elephant Media…

Kim Walsh Phillips

Episode 10 – Kim Walsh Phillips

Kim Walsh Phillips owns Powerful Professionals, a business that helps empower entrepreneurs to turn clicks into cash and identifying the superpowers in others so they can fly high. Kim is an expert in social selling strategy.

Amelia Thorpe Wellbeing coach

Episode 11 – Amelia Thorpe

Amelia Thorpe – Mental Health Wellbeing Coach. Making Conversations about Mental Wealth Count. Meet Amelia Thorpe, founder of Wellbeing 360, who talks to Wendy about how important it is to give equal priority to our mental and physical health. Listening to Amelia’s story will bring a beacon of hope that we can all take charge of our own conversations which will give us back the control that slips sometimes when times are tough. Amelia is a wellbeing counsellor.

John Attridge capacity business

Episode 12 – John Attridge

John Attridge – Guiding Businesses to Reach their Full Potential by Tapping into Spare Capacity

Making Conversations about Capacity Count. John Attridge, owner of BBX turns spare capacity into value for many businesses. When you listen to John you just know there is a bigger story to this guy as his accent gives it away!
John has successfully built a business network and community to help people fill spare capacity and exchange services. It is a brilliant concept and if you’ve not come across it before yet in touch with me and I’ll tell you more. Using the BBX community helped my own business through the lockdown and has provided such a lot of support and new relationships.

Clara Wilcox return to work coaching for parents

Episode 13 – Clara Wilcox

Clara Wilcox runs The Balance Collective, Specialising in Return to Work Coaching for Parents. Making Conversations about Returning to Work Count! This is a conversation that every Mum will resonate with, juggling home and work is not simply a balancing act but a superpower!

Clara recognized through her own personal journey that the right support for Mum’s returning to work was only available from the employer’s point of view. This causes a biased approach and is not always helpful in an emotive decision-making process.

dr ivan misner bni networking

Episode 14 – Dr Ivan Misner

In this episode, Ivan and Wendy explore how conversation is the foundation of all growth and learning. How times have changed, looking back and also predicting our future generations experiences, yet communication will still be the underpin even it how that looks has changed.

Janine Coombes marketing coach

Episode 15 – Janine Coombes

Google has recognised this lady as the #1 marketing coach and her video series mixes humour with key messages, it is the lovely Janine Coombes. Janine is a marketing coach for personal brands.
In this episode, Janine and Wendy share how using the right language influences the conversations we have and how it affects our results.

Lizzie Butler presentations coach

Episode 16 – Lizzie Butler

Making conversations about presentations count! Delighted to introduce Lizzie Butler, owner of LB Communications, who met Wendy at a local online networking event and immediately hit it off. Lizzie helps you to grow your business through personal development training and how to achieve brilliant communication.

Jem hills inspirational speaker

Episode 17 – Jem Hills

Making conversations about Bullying count. Jem Hills is an inspirational speaker, trainer & performance coach.
Talking to Wendy in this episode is ex-marine Jem Hills who you might find it hard to believe was affected by bullying and a lack of confidence. As a release Jem discovered Northern dancing and practiced as a bedroom activity that later led to an accidental release of freestyle dancing at a competition. The dancing-built resilience and the foundations for the training to complete the Mud Run and onto his Elite Special Forces career.

Peter howard graphic design

Episode 18 – Peter Howard

Peter Howard runs a design studio that is ranked in the top 100 in the country and was responsible for the WAG brand. Having known Peter and his team for many years, Wendy has heard lots of his stories but knew there would be one she had not heard before.

Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater business coaches

Episode 19 – Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater

Making conversations about partnerships count. In a Making Conversations Count first, we are joined by two dynamic guests in this episode. Both Taz & Asha provide business coach services in different areas. Joining Wendy chatting about all the elements that make up a great debate. You are not going to want to miss the observations with Taz Thornton and Asha Clearwater around questioning, opinions, debate and discernment that makes for wonderful colourful conversations.

Vicki Carroll O'Neill

Episode 20 – Vicki Carroll (formerly O’Neill)

Vicki works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and executive leaders who are stuck in their business and need someone as a partner to coach them to their next level of success. Vicki offers growth marketing consultant advice, strategy plans & also organises in-house marketing teams.

heidi medina business coach

Episode 21 – Heidi Medina

This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
Wendy Harris brings Heidi Medina into the conversation today, who opens up the conversation about abuse she has encountered.
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in person she is the same.

Niraj Kapur online sales coach

Episode 22 – Niraj Kapur

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Online Sales Coach Niraj Kapur from “Everybody works in Sales” a business that helps companies with their sales processes.

Steve Judge paralympian motivational speaking

Episode 23 – Steve Judge

A life-changing accident that almost claimed a life but actually birthed a mindset shift.  Making conversations about speaking count!

Imagine losing your limbs in an accident.

That’s a real human test.

Most people would fall into one of two camps.

Feel the loss, and struggle to overcome it, before essentially accepting your ‘job lot’ and just becoming a bit angry.

Many would. And they’d be forgiven.

Then there are others, who would not let it defeat them, or define them.

Steve Judge is definitely in the latter of the two camps.

Nikolas Venios the ideas agency

Episode 24 – Nik Venios

We reflect on how this business man helped his poorly mother solve a household challenge which led to a career of making conversations about ideas and innovation count. We will all eventually lose our parents. Sadly, it’s a part of life. Not many of us have to suffer that loss at the tender age of just six. We couldn’t think of a nicer guy to help us with our goal of making conversations about ideas count. Truly, if anyone can hold a conversation about ideas, it’s Nik Venios of the Ideas Agency. Did you know that NASA has a genius test? During this episode, you’ll find out all about this, and the fascinating stats surrounding it.

Jonny cooper hates marketing

Episode 25 – Jonny Cooper

Most business owners hate marketing. That’s probably because they don’t understand it. Someone who does get marketing is Jonny Cooper, and even he can’t stand it! In fact, he despises it so much, he built a business around it. Welcome to Jonny Hates Marketing! This week we’re making conversations about messaging count. Messaging is so important to get correct. Your entire marketing voice depends on it. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to Jonny Cooper.

Wendy Harris telephone trainer how to sell over the phone

Episode 26 – Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris is an expert telemarketer, who has years worth of experience in cold-calling and doing it right. Now a podcast host, Wendy shares her story and how she became an advocate for making conversations count!

Will Polston Make it happen

Episode 27 – Will Polston

Making conversations about wealth….and Clubhouse….count! Paying it forward. Acting from a position of generosity and giving within the law of reciprocity. We’re talking to Will Polston.

Ray Blakney Live Lingua

Episode 28 – Ray Blakney

Making conversations about language count… Ray Blakney is the CEO And founder of online language school Live Lingua. Can you speak another language other than your native tongue? Wendy admitted to the “Making Conversations Count” team that she doesn’t, and we can’t help but feel she’s definitely not alone.

Many Ward write my book cuddle monster

Episode 29 – Mandy Ward

Mandy Ward is a book mentor, helping people to write their own books under the company ‘Write my book’. Mandy is also an author herself, including the popular children’s book ‘The Cuddle Monster’.

Sarah Townsend copywriter survival skills for freelancers

Episode 30 – Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend is a freelance copywriter and best-selling author of the book ‘survival skills for freelancers’. In this episode, we discuss the importance of conversations in the freelance world, and how things can lead to many opportunities…

Hear what people are saying about the show

I love this podcast. The guests you have on all bring something new to the conversation and definitely thought-provoking.

Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.

Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.

Paula Senior

I always enjoy listening to Wendy’s Making Conversations Count podcast and admire her talent for drawing out people’s stories and getting to the heart of things for finding out what makes them tick.

We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.

It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.

Heidi Medina

Love this podcast series. It’s a great idea to have a theme of ‘pivotal conversations’ and the variety of guests from massively different backgrounds keeps it fresh and interesting.

Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.

Andrew Deighton

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