The Sustainable Success Podcast, Episode 017

SSP Ep017 art (1)

What if you could show up in your content like you do in your work—powerfully, and deeply in service?

What if you could experiment in your marketing, in a way that you knew would ultimately work because it was grounded in more than spaghetti throwing? (aka “throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing if something sticks”)

What if you could market your work without being afraid of “giving everything away,” because you knew that it’s truly impossible to “give everything away” in your content?

What if you didn’t fear the unsubscribes or bemoan the so-called freebie seekers?

What if you knew that every day was a new opportunity to play your way into genuine thought leadership and “authority” in your industry?

What if you committed to showing up first, regardless of how many other people show up with you?

What if you could serve your community and clients, regardless of what they are or aren’t paying, without self-abandoning?

What if you could see the place and level you want to be, while allowing yourself to start where you are with what you have right now?

What if you could market your business simply, and still be effective?

Marketing is the thing in online business that tends to get the worst rap.

It’s too hard. It takes too much time. It’s too much work. It doesn’t create results. It’s boring. I hate it. It feels so forced or fake.

I hear these things. I do not make light or diminish the very real lived experience of these things.

And yet, as a close friend reminded me recently: it is an honor and a privilege to run a business.

Therefore it is an honor and a privilege to market our businesses.

To show up every day and “turn the lights on.”

To have real people in the world—doesn’t matter the number, even if it’s just one—who are taking time out of their day, their life really, to take in what you create and have the courage and commitment to share.

I know the algorithms suck.

I know the most surface level content is pushed to the masses while the stuff of real depth and meaning stay hidden.

I know there’s some real sleazy things that happen in the name of “content.”

I know not everyone is as good at delivering as they are at marketing.

And yet.

I know that it is worth it to spread the word about your work. Your powerful work. Your work that is exactly what many someones out there are needing. Your work that you have poured countless hours (and maybe also tears) becoming great at.

It is an honor and a privilege to market our businesses. And when we accept that as true—alongside all of the other truths, too—it becomes so much easier to show up and share about, market, our work.

In todays’ episode of The Sustainable Success Podcast, I’m sharing the mindset behind sustainably successful marketing.​

If you are ready to shift your relationship with marketing so that it can become more easeful, tune in today wherever you listen to podcasts.

This transcript has been automatically created and minimally edited/formatted. As such, there may be some errors in the text.

[Episode preview]

Every single day that you market, your business is all actually compounding to make even more ease and even more efficacy in your marketing. When we allow ourselves to pursue sustainability in marketing, more than easy marketing, that’s when we actually can create that truly extraordinary and effective content marketing that attracts right fit leads directly to our digital doorstep and typically from the audience that you already have.

[Podcast Intro]
Hey, welcome to the Sustainable Success podcast. This is your home for honest conversations about building and running an online business that brings you as much joy as it does revenue. I’m Carly Jo Bell, the Sustainable Success mentor and your guide on this journey with self trust as your North Star and foundations under your feet, you’ll be able to look external for ideas, internal, for answers and build your business your way. Let’s dive in.

[Episode begins]

What does it take to make marketing sustainable? Well, it takes quite a lot of things. It takes having the foundations of sustainably successful marketing. It takes really being able to self edit and keep things simple rather than for example, trying to be on every single platform, do every single type of content and in addition to all of that, it also takes the right mindset or really the right energy. A lot of times when I talk to clients about marketing, their first kind of idea is like, I just want marketing to be easy. How can marketing be easy? How do I make it easy? And I know that that is an energy that I have brought into marketing so many times throughout my years in business where I’m like, oh, why can’t this just be easy already? And yet that energy of I just want this to be easy or why isn’t it easy yet? Is often actually so counterproductive to creating truly sustainable marketing. And that’s for many reasons. But the biggest is probably that I don’t actually think that marketing really is ever going to be easy. I teach marketing. I have been marketing my own business for many years. At this point, I have marketed other people’s businesses back when I was a social media manager. And yet with all of that, I still do not think, oh, marketing is easy, mostly because the more that I do it, the more that I learn and then the more that I’m challenged to continue doing better and to continue growing and to continue trying things and to continue making everything that I’m doing in my marketing more effective but also of course, even more enjoyable. Now, of course, has marketing become easier? Absolutely. Do I experience more ease like more of a felt ease while I’m doing challenging marketing related things also. Absolutely. But is marketing easy? Not really. And I don’t think it ever will be. And yet so many business owners unconsciously expect themselves to just find some way for marketing, to be easy for it to just start working magically. And they get frustrated sometimes that it takes work to market their business and do so regularly. So I want to first and foremost invite you if you found yourself feeling like, why isn’t this easy or how do I make this easy? Or you know what’s gonna be that like easy way to market my business to maybe actually step outside of that for a moment, step outside of the expectation that marketing is just going to be easy and there’s some magic way do it that maybe you haven’t found yet and that’s going to make it easy. And instead I invite you to step into your marketing with a couple of maybe different energies. But I think actually that these energies are going to be the things that when you bring them to your marketing are actually going to help you find ease even within the challenge of marketing. All right, you ready to talk about what those energies are. The first energy that I invite you to bring into your marketing is really that of a scientist. It’s that of experimentation. And I sometimes like to picture myself as like you know, I don’t know if you all had to do those science fairs back in school. I’m pretty sure it was like seventh grade. Maybe that I had to do a science fair. I don’t really remember when, but I picture myself like being that kind of youthful energy of, I’m gonna try something and I wanna see how this works and it was fun. You know, you have a hypothesis and you’re like, I’m gonna test some things, I’m gonna see how it goes and there’s not that energy or expectation of like this has to go a certain way. It’s, oh, let’s see, you know, let’s try things and let’s see. And this energy of experimentation, honestly, I think is one of the biggest contributors to creating a sense of ease within marketing because you’re not holding so tightly onto, need every single piece of content to quote unquote work. You’re allowed instead to try things, you’re allowed to experiment, you’re allowed to say, oh, you know, I did that and I didn’t really like that or I did that and that didn’t actually work or I did that and I learned this thing from it and in learning that thing, I now can make even more informed experiments moving forward. No, of course, there’s a difference between like throwing spaghetti at the wall and being a scientist in your marketing. I think sometimes people are like experiment like Carly, that’s what I’ve been doing and nothing has been working and this is where I always come back to. Well, in order to make informed decisions about where and how and what to experiment with in your marketing, you need to have your marketing foundations and then you experiment with the strategies without the foundations, you end up at experimenting with strategies, but you don’t really have any kind of framework to base your experiments off of. It’s all just that kind of energy of throwing spaghetti at the wall. That kind of, I guess let’s say we could classify spaghetti at the wall as experimentation. That kind of experimentation is pretty useless. I’ll be honest with you. It’s also really frustrating and I don’t think I have to tell you that of course, building these foundations for your marketing is exactly what we do inside of marketing magnifying. So if you’re like, OK, Carly, I’m so done throwing scar at the wall, but I do actually want to know how to really intentionally bring this energy of experimentation into my marketing. Come check out marketing magnifying the next energy that I invite you to really step into when you move into marketing and that’s like a daily thing, right? It’s not like uh oh I just a moving into marketing for one day out of a whole year or something. No, every single day when you are creating your marketing content, I invite you to bring the energy of authenticity. We kind of talked about this in last week’s episode. But you really do have an opportunity to show up in your content like you do in your work powerfully and deep in service of your right fit people. And I kind of classify that as authenticity in a lot of ways. But I know authenticity can be a little bit of a iffy word for some people. It’s used maybe in a little bit too broad of context sometimes. But that energy of authenticity is one that I really like to see. Like when I’m actually doing work with clients, I am not putting on a show, right? Like when I’m doing work with clients, I am allowing myself to express my own innate gifts. I’m allowing myself to speak from my expertise and from my experience, I’m allowing myself to do the work that I most love doing in the way that I most love doing it with the people I most love working with. And so I can bring that same energy of just kind of allowing myself to be myself within the context of my business. Of course, because I think as humans are much larger than our businesses, but really allowing myself to bring that energy of myself, bring that authenticity into my content. Even here recording this podcast episode. I actually tried to record this podcast episode yesterday. Obviously, I’m not recording this the day that it’s coming out, but I tried to record this episode yesterday and I was really struggling to record it. And I was like, what is going on here? And I just realized I kind of am struggling to show up here, how I like to show up with my clients. I’m just not in the right mindset in the right headspace today. And so I allowed myself to take a day. I allowed myself to say, all right, I’m gonna sleep on this. I’m gonna come back tomorrow. I’m gonna record this episode because I want to be able to bring this energy of authenticity into my work into my content. I want to be able to show up here in my content like I do in my work powerfully and deeply in service of my right fit people. Now, here’s kind of a nuance to this energy of authenticity. I do totally honor and recognize that in order to show up powerfully and deeply in service of your right fit people. In order to bring this energy of authenticity into our marketing, we have to really intentionally cultivate a feeling of safety with visibility. We have to cultivate our capacity to be visible. I had a really hard time for probably the whole first year of podcasting with actually sitting down and recording episodes because podcasting in and of itself as like a medium felt like really uncontrollable visibility and I did not have the capacity to hold that safety in that uncontrollable visibility. I think I’ve talked about this in other places, but I was just really used to only marketing into my Facebook group and on my email list, which felt like controllable visibility because I knew exactly who could see what I was putting out into the world podcasting. It’s just me kind of talking into a mic here staring at my notes on a Google doc in front of me to make sure that I hit the points I want to hit. I’m not necessarily like conscious of who all is able to listen to this podcast. So again, I do recognize there is an element of really needing to be able to create and really expand. I actually, I think the word I like here is cultivate to cultivate our capacity or increased visibility. Because without that capacity, it’s really hard to show up authentically in our content. It’s really hard to bring our innate gifts, our innate expertise, our experience. It’s really hard to bring any of that into our content. Simply for the fact of marketing content requires visibility and often uncontrollable visibility as well as I’m saying this, I’m like, OK, I think I need to do an episode on this. So watch out for that. I think we will do an episode out of how I have cultivated more safety and visibility. And maybe some, you know, yeah, some goodies like that, we’ll see. Anyway, the next energy that I really invite you to bring into your marketing. I kind of was stuck between two words here, but I’m going to say both of them because I think they bring slightly different energies but very complementary energies. And that is generosity and service. I was talking with a previous client, like, honestly, maybe I don’t even know a very long time ago at this point. Yeah. And we were talking about this word service and she was saying, I don’t like being in service and as we talked about that more, you know, because at first, I was kind of like thinking to myself, well, like we’re literally service providers. We are in the service industry, even as coaches, we are still serving. So if you don’t like being in service, like what’s going on here. So of course, I got curious, right? We had a deeper conversation about that and realized for her that the feeling of service actually was connected to a little bit of a feeling of self abandonment. It was I have to serve at the expense of myself. Now, I bring that story in here today because I do think that more business owners feel this way than business owners that don’t feel this way, especially when we are earlier on in business. It’s really normal to kind of like almost like acquiesce to all of the pressures of, well, I have to do this to make my clients happy and I have to do this in order to be successful and we end up self abandoning, we end up making those compromises, those decisions that are actually compromises to who we truly are to what our values are to what our priorities are all in the name of trying to quote, unquote, be successful. So when I talk about bringing an energy of generosity and, and an energy of service to your marketing, I just need to really clarify. We’re not talking about an energy of self abandonment. Here, we’re not talking about like having to just give, give, give, give, give and expect nothing in return. We’re talking about really intentionally contributing to the day to day life of your audience, of the community that you are cultivating while also being compensated and building structures in your marketing in your lead generation in your sales to be able to be compensated for the contributions that you are making. Now, this does not mean that every single person in your audience needs to buy something from you. We often kind of go into a little bit of this frustration where we are like, I’m putting all this great stuff out and why is nobody doing this? You know, why is nobody buying, why is everybody a freebie seeker and even that language of freebie seeker? I really don’t like I try not to use it although sometimes I do because I’m like, ah it’s good marketing language, that’s what people are using. But I don’t actually like that language of freebie seeker because it diminishes the value of the human beings who have decided like, wow, this person is saying something really valuable, something really helpful. And for whatever reason, I’m not ready to like, invest in it. I’m not ready to pay something for it, but I’m so grateful for this free thing. Ok? I feel like I went on a little bit of a tangent with the freebie seekers. But let’s come back into this energy of generosity and service. I like to look at my marketing as kind of like the way that I turn the lights on in my business every day. It’s the way that I’m like, hey, here’s the open sign and here’s the, I’ve unlocked the door, like come on in, I actually have a very visceral experience of knowing what that feeling is like because when back when I was a barista back in my college days, I was often on the opening shift because I loved that being on the opening shift. That’s a different story. And so that’s really though the energy that I bring in to my marketing, it’s like, hey, I am here opening my business and I am taking that responsibility for the fact of I’m the business owner here. I’m the one who made the decision to start a business. The fact that I made that decision means that I have a responsibility to actually do the things that serve the people that I have committed to serving. And so that means part of that means anyway, I am going to be generous. That means I am going to create content. I am going to give real value away for free to my audience consistently. And not because I want something from them, but because I love my work because I love the act of being a business owner, not always but most of the time. And because I know that part of my responsibility as a business owner is to be generous, is to be in service. Now again, we’re not saying this in a self abandoning way we’re looking at, yes, I am going to create content that specifically speaks to the version of my ideal client, my right fit client who is actively looking to buy right now, who is physiologically ready to transform. Because I know that when I do that, when I speak specifically to that person, they are going to be more likely to then step into my work and of course, pay me so this is not self abandonment, but it’s really walking a fine line between I am being generous for generosity’s sake, for service sake. I love putting this content out into the world. And I am honored. I cannot say this enough, truly honored that people take their time to listen to my podcast or to read my content or to come to my trainings. I am so deeply honored because I know that I’m not the center of their reality. And you know, the fact that they bring me into their day is a huge thing for me. And I’m going to also be very strategic about the kinds of content that I create, the ways that I serve the things that I am generous with. Because I get to both be generous and strategic. At the same time, I get to both be in service of my right fit people. But actually being in service of my right fit people is also being strategic. At the same time, it’s both and it’s a win win. It’s not just I’m trying to put this out in the world because I need clients right now. And you know, why is nobody paying me? I can’t believe I have all these freebie seekers, but it’s also not, oh I just wanna give everything away and no, you don’t need to pay me and it’s OK like, you know, I I feel uncomfortable selling like, oh just take this for free. Then I have totally been in that energy, by the way, actually, I’ve been in both of those energies. So I do invite you to look at how can you really intentionally cultivate this energy of generosity, this energy of service and do so to bring in a previous energy, I invited you to cultivate, to do so authentically, to do so in a way where you are being deeply in service where you are showing up in your content like you do in your work powerfully deeply in service and yet also doing so in a strategic way. Of course, again, I’m gonna like put a plug here because this is really just is what we do. But this is what we do inside of marketing magnified, there are ways to effectively serve that do not turn you into a perpetual source of unpaid labor. And that is what you learn how to do inside of marketing, magnified the final energy. And I’m sure I could think of even more. But the final energy that I really invite you to intentionally cultivate and to bring into your marketing is a commitment to the journey. And this does kind of go back to experimentation, but I do see it as enough of a separate thing that I want to talk about it here. When you are in business, you are pretty much always learning how to do marketing. Like I told you at the beginning, marketing is not easy for me because I am always learning more. I’m always being stretched. I’m always getting challenged. And again, because of a lot of these energies that I’ve talked about here, I’m able to cultivate a felt experience of ease within marketing, but it’s still not easy. And so one of these energies then that I bring myself into marketing and that I invite you to do is that commitment to the journey. It’s recognizing that every single day that you market, your business is all actually compounding to make even more ease and even more efficacy in your marketing. So I think especially like marketing feels so miserable for a lot of business owners who are earlier on in business. Simply because really at that point, everything is about experimentation and when everything is about experimentation, so much of it is failed experiments. So much of it is oh I tried that and it didn’t work. And so with that, it can be easy to then start hating marketing to start feeling really frustrated, to just start thinking, maybe I’m just bad at marketing. But when you bring this intentional energy of being committed to the journey to your marketing, what you actually find is that even though at the beginning, there’s a ton of quote unquote failed experiments, the more that you continue experimenting, the less failed experiments you will participate in because you are going to with every single experiment, learn something new and then that informs the next experiment. And when I say experiment, I literally mean, like even every single piece of content is an experiment me creating this podcast episode is an experiment. Every single piece of content is an opportunity to experiment and to learn things. And in that process of constant experimentation of continuing to move through this journey, the journey does actually become even more full of ease. Again, you’re always gonna learn more things, there’s always gonna be challenging things, but even the challenges start to have that feeling of ease within them simply for the fact of, you know, that if you just keep trying things and if you just keep learning things and if you just keep moving through this journey, you will learn more. You’re gonna get to the other side of it, some things are gonna work. Some things are not and you’re going to continue getting better and better and better and better at this while also continuing to learn and learn and learn and learn and learn the commitment to the journey I think is actually an energy that I bring to every area of my business that I invite our clients to bring to every area of their business. Because really, I think so often we get into this kind of like rut of wishing that there was going to be some destination. Like I was saying at the beginning, it’s like, you know, why can’t marketing be easy or what is like this missing strategy or risking secret thing that is going to make marketing be easy. And we have this idea that there should be some moment in time where suddenly everything works, suddenly everything is easy. And it’s like I’ve arrived, you know, I am at that destination. But I also trust that if you’re here listening to this podcast episode, you’re not the kind of person who truly believes that there is a destination to pretty much anything. I’m I’m just gonna bet that about you. I don’t think that I attract people who are like truly when they really think about it. Like, oh yeah, there is a destination like that is the thing that I am arriving at. Because if you look at anything in life, you know that every time you have arrived somewhere, couldn’t quote, arrived somewhere, you’ve realized there’s more to go, you realized that there is more steps on the journey. And so I actually had one of my coaches kind of help me reframe this a little bit recently. And she used the language of, you know, we are both always coming from somewhere and going somewhere else and in that kind of, you know, always go coming from somewhere and going somewhere else. That actually means that we are always arriving. And so if you are like, I do need to arrive in some way, like I need to like, you know, I’m so frustrated that this journey just keeps going. I invite you actually, even in your marketing to take a look at, well, where have I already arrived? You know, like, am I actually feeling more confident in the way that I talk about my work? Have I been more consistently recently than I would have been able to be a year ago or any other time previously? How is how you’re showing up in your marketing today, different or improved even to how you showed up in your marketing when you first started your business, where have you already arrived? And then of course, recognizing, well, where else are you wanting to go? Where is your journey taking you and where are you actually maybe intentionally moving in your journey as well. And I know that’s kind of like a, you know, big philosophical thing, but bringing it back down into the practicalities, being committed to the journey in marketing specifically also means allowing yourself to start where you are with what you have and build from there. So often, you know, we see like these big names in online business doing like they’re on Facebook and they’re doing ads and they’re also on Instagram and they’re creating reels every single day, sometimes even multiple times a day. And they’re on their stories and they have podcast episodes and newsletters and automated funnels and oh my gosh, they’re also doing this free challenge like they’re doing all of these things. And so we start to think, oh, I should be able to do that much as well. And then we get frustrated when with ourselves, when we realize I can’t do that, I have tried to do that and that is exhausting. And this is where I often talk with my clients about this concept of layering, especially my one on one clients when they’re really in that six figure multi six figure stage where they’re trying to now build a business that is bigger than themselves. We look at how can we layer pieces on rather than trying to just like create the whole big marketing machine right now, you know, and so what that comes back to is again looking at, where are you now? What do you have now? And how can we build from here? Maybe that means, hey, I have my marketing kind of consistently going out on my single social media platform. So I feel good about that. Now we’re going to add in a layer of let’s start to like systematize your email marketing. Let’s maybe create a nurture sequence that’s evergreen that then builds. So that way like when someone joins today, they already have like six months of email scheduled out in front of them. OK, great. Maybe that’s the next layer, by the way, this is not everyone’s next layer. So please hear me when I say look external for ideas internal for answers. What I am giving here is purely an example. OK? So we already have our social media that’s going out consistently. We’re gonna layer in now an element of some sort of evergreen email sequence. We’re gonna make that a little bit more strategic. Hey, that’s now set up. What’s the next layer we’re gonna do? Well, you know what we have all of these freebies that you’ve created needed in other moments, maybe now is the time to actually start creating sequences that move people who sign up for that freebie into a desired place or maybe you’re going to move them through a simple welcome sequence and they’re going to then move into the rest of your emails or maybe it’s, they’re going to kind of go through a specific sales sequence. Let’s start layering in even more strategy on top of that. OK. What’s next? Hey, we already have these pieces up social and email getting really, really solid. Are we going to maybe start layering in some sort of evergreen marketing strategy like blogging or podcasting or youtube or something like that? Great. Now, let’s do that. And you see how we really say, where are you now? What do you have now? What literal capacity do you have now as well? And how can we build from right here to where you want to go? And we layer pieces on piece by piece by piece so that you can actually market sustainably so that it is starting from where you are with what you have building from there and building these really intentional really strategic pieces that then you know, you cut to a year from now, let’s say, and you’ve been intentionally layering each of these pieces bit by bit by bit, not all at one time. And now a year from now, you have this beautiful marketing ecosystem where you actually don’t have to consistently do a ton all the time. And yet you’re putting out beautiful amounts of content, really valuable content because you actually allowed yourself the time and space to create really valuable content and doing so in a way that is sustainable for you. So that’s kind of that more practical side of that commitment to the journey. When we know we are on a journey, we’re not trying to like race to the finish line. We’re looking at what do I need in order to succeed on this journey? What is my capacity for like how many steps I can take today? You know, and if I know that ultimately, this kind of place is where I’m going, I want to have a business that looks like this that is bringing in this kind of thing. Then how do I kind of pace myself on that journey and allow myself the time space, energy, et cetera to be able to build each of those things. So I hope what you’re hearing in all of this is that while marketing itself might not ever be easy, it can become sustainable. And when we allow ourselves to pursue sustainability in marketing, more than easy marketing, that’s when we actually can create that truly extraordinary and effective content marketing that attracts right fit leads directly to our digital doorstep. And typically from the audience that you already have. Of course, this is what we do inside of marketing magnified. This is what I invite you to shift into so that you can show up in your content like you do in your work powerfully and deeply in service of your right fit clients and lanes. If you’re ready to market, sustainably, I invite you to learn more about marketing magnified and join us over at HCO Magnified. I’ll put that link in the show notes so you don’t have to remember it. See you there.

[Podcast Outro]
Thanks for listening to the Sustainable Success podcast. You’re home for honest conversations about building and running an online business that brings you as much joy as it does revenue. I truly believe that these are the conversations we need to be having more of in our online business community. If you know too, would you leave me a review and/or share this episode with the friends?
While the review or share would absolutely be a cherry on top, I am already so beyond grateful for you tuning into these episodes, which is why I would love to gift you 25 self trust bucks. These are a dollar to dollar discount to all things WholeCo. All you need to do to claim them is head over to and drop your name and email in the form. You can see our terms for more details.
I know that so many of you are ready to take your next step in your journey of sustainable success, and I’d love to invite you to work with us using self trust as your North Star and foundations as your path. Me and my team are here ready to support you in getting paid really freaking well to do the work that you most love doing in the way you most love doing it, with the people you most love working with. We have freebies courses, group programs and even occasionally private coaching all set up to meet you where you’re at in business and with what you’re looking for. Head over to to take your next step on this journey of sustainable success.

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Carly Jo Bell of WholeCo Media - Headshot@2x


I’m Carly Jo Bell.

(Though you can just call me Carly.)

Carly Jo Bell is a business strategist and mentor, and fonder of Whole Co media. Through her courses and programs, podcast, and one on one coaching, Carly helps pulled-in-every-direction entrepreneurs create a business that brings in as much joy as it does revenue — by cultivating deep self trust, and solid foundations as the first step.

For more from Carly, and to learn about her signature “looking external for inspiration, and internal for answers” approach, join the conversation by signing up for her weekly email series, Carly's Couch.


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