Forty Eight.

How to celebrate your wins without sounding like a w*nker.

This week Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland have a chat in response to a question from writer and educator Fiona Tapp. She says:

“Congrats on your British Podcast Award!

I won an award in my field last year and I have been wondering how to best market the fact without sounding like a wanker. It’s sometimes hard to shout about your wins (especially as a woman) but if you have been recognised surely you should be able to celebrate?”

• • • • •

This episode is supported by Nutmeg.

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Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.

Here’s what was said in this episode:

Comments on the previous episode:

[00:01:36] – Frankie
Hello. You’re listening to the Doing It For The Kids podcast, where we swear a bit too much and talk a bit too fast about freelance life with kids in the mix. I’m Frankie and this is Steve.

[00:01:46] – Steve
Hello! Yes. Each week we take a question from the Doing It For The Kids community. Do our best to answer it, but of course we start each episode by looking back at the last episode and reading out your comments. The previous episode to this one was…

[00:02:00] – Frankie
…it was about when your partner doesn’t support your business and is, in fact, actively negative about you running your own business.

[00:02:08] – Steve
Oh, yes. Thank you so much for all of your comments.

[00:02:12] – Frankie
I’ve only used first names this week. Hope that’s okay, guys.

So Annalise says,

“Urgh is my initial reaction. Whilst my partner is generally supportive of my freelancing, he has also been known to say I should be ‘maximising my income streams’ instead of writing a blog. So he doesn’t totally get what I do. And to be honest, I don’t completely get what he does either.

What’s helped me is to build my own confidence in my business and really value what I do and the time I need to spend on it, including writing blogs that help with self promotion thank you very much. I realise I don’t need to ask for his permission or approval. That’s probably easier said than done, though.”

[00:02:50] – Steve
Bethany starts with a chant,

“Your needs are important too. Your needs are important too. Your needs are important too. Your needs are important too!

You don’t need permission to do what you need to do in order to feel fulfilled in your life. Take it, own it, protect it fiercely, like you would one of your babies. I realise this is easier said than done and coming from someone with a supportive husband, but remember that you are the boss of your business, nobody else.

If you can afford to, as a family unit, ditch the supermarket job and dedicate all of those hours to building your business. Get ahead of your husband’s objections by suggesting you’re going to give it 6, 12 months. And if you’re not making the same amount or more in your business by then, you’ll get another part-time role.


[00:03:55] – Frankie
Charles says,

“When I quit my job two years ago to start my business, I scared the crap out of my partner. All the obvious worries were shared by both of us nearly two years on, and those fears have been allayed through hard work and passion for what I do. I couldn’t for one second imagine how much harder it would have been without that support.”

[00:04:13] – Steve
And finally Kathy says,

“This is basically why I’m divorced. Soz.”

[00:04:19] – Frankie
See? Just get a new husband!

Pah, don’t listen to me.

Our answer to this week's question:

[00:08:12] – Frankie
This week’s question comes from Fiona Tapp, who is a freelance writer and educator.

She says,

“Congratulations on your British Podcast award.”

[00:08:27] – Steve
Don’t like to talk about it, but thank you.

[00:08:30] – Frankie
She continues,

“I won an award in my field last year, and I’ve been wondering how best to market the fact without sounding like a w*nker. It’s sometimes hard to shout about your wins, especially as a woman, but if you’ve been recognised, surely you should be able to celebrate?”

[00:08:42] – Steve

[00:08:44] – Frankie
So my first feeling is like… I feel like a wanker having chosen this question. We could have very easily not have answered this question, but I think it’s a good question.

[00:08:55] – Steve
You should totally shout about it, Fiona!

Yes. I’m curious about the, you know… she says “as a woman, it’s hard to shout about it”.

[00:09:03] – Frankie
Yeah. So, like, well… I don’t speak for all women and I haven’t done any research in this area, but I’ve been alive for 34 years.

Women just kind of… there’s a bit of impostor syndrome and we find selling stuff quite difficult. Putting ourselves forward quite difficult. Shouting about how great we are doesn’t necessarily come naturally to a lot of women because we’ve been conditioned to kind of just get on with it. And I find it interesting, or maybe I don’t. But I feel like Fiona should have mentioned what her award was in this question. Like, that was an opportunity to plug herself and celebrate that achievement, but she’s left it out. Telling.

[00:09:40] – Steve
So obviously, if you win an award, make the most of it, because for a start — you work bloody hard, you’re good at what you do. Somebody has recognised that. Go for it!

I think there’s certain things that you can do right in the moment when you win, and then there’s other things that you can subtly do over a year or two ahead.

So, for example, in the moment, there’s a chance to immediately announce it. And you know what? You can even say that in a self deprecating, “I feel like a w*nker saying this” way. Maybe not those exact words, but actually I’m really proud of the fact that this has happened and do that wherever you would normally be. Be Instagram or LinkedIn. Yeah, be proud about it.

Then there’s sort of press opportunities and sure, it depends on what it is… But remember, everybody is a contact. So it might be your local FSB, or if you’re a member of some association, maybe it’s your alumni if you went to uni.

And actually when it comes to reaching out and doing all of those things, like Hype Yourself, Lucy Werner’s book has got loads of stuff on that and there’s a big chunk of it which I took away is the fact that actually reaching out to smaller blogs and things which are your target audience is more important than reaching out to the Guardian, let’s say.

And also making sure you create, I think she calls it like a ‘boilerplate’? It’s like a little piece of bio about yourself.

[00:11:10] – Frankie
With award winning at the top!

[00:11:13] – Steve
It’s just the fact that as soon as you start sending out those sort of emails, trying to get those sort of press, they’re all going to ask for the same thing. So do yourself a favour and just create a sheet or a link on your website to send them so that it’s got that little bit of blurb.

[00:11:27] – Frankie
There’s some things to unpack here, right? Because what is the issue?

If you’ve won an award — and I don’t know what the award is, so it’s a bit difficult — but like, you’ve been recognised for the work that you’re doing by an external body, organisation, whatever. Why do we feel — and we feel this, for the record — just mentioning that feels w*nky?! Like, what is it about that that makes us uncomfortable? I don’t know. I’m just talking at you now, Fiona.

[00:11:58] – Steve
It’s often quite a British modesty.

[00:12:01] – Frankie
That’s true.

[00:12:02] – Steve
Like this thing where in general, we don’t shout about ourselves. And I think there’s nothing wrong with modesty. But here is that external validation. And on top of that, something to be proud about! And genuinely, your peers will want to cheer with you. But also your clients, your current clients and potential clients — they like to work with winners.

[00:12:26] – Frankie
That’s true.

[00:12:32] – Steve
Yeah, they’re pleased for you as well. And it’s like this validation that they’ve picked the right person.

So this suggestion will make you feel a bit more like a w*nker than just tweeting about it, but writing an email to your contacts, your clients… Obviously if you have a regular newsletter or blog or whatever, then there’s an obvious channel for it.

I think it’s just a great opportunity to make people feel good about the fact that they work with you.

[00:13:03] – Frankie
I definitely feel like you need to tell those people it’s happened and that could be an email, like you say, a newsletter. There is the slightly problematic post on LinkedIn thing which is quite… I think some people cringe about that kind of stuff specifically on LinkedIn because it can be a bit…

[00:13:21] – Steve
But jeez, why? That is the point of LinkedIn!! Shout about your professional successes on LinkedIn. Where else can you do it?

[00:13:29] – Frankie
It’s true, it’s true. But I do think there are ways and means of doing it. And I think as long as you’re yourself, which — she’s a writer — as long as you write as yourself and in a voice that is like you, it won’t sound w*nky because you’re not a w*nker.

[00:13:44] – Steve
That’s such a crucial phrase. There you go. It won’t sound w*nky because you’re not a w*nker.

Do you know what, speaking of email… really subtle thing you can do is to add it to your email signature.

[00:13:56] – Frankie

[00:13:56.480] – Steve
Like having the little trade body logo. Some organisations that give out awards will probably give you like a little badge to put on your emails and stuff like that, because they want you to promote their organisation as well, after all. So if it’s got that ‘blah blah winning’ thing at the bottom, why not leave that on there for a few years?

And as well as email signatures, of course, make sure it’s in your social bios. Isn’t that what they call it?

And like on LinkedIn, for example, add it to your headline bio. So it will say Steve Folland and what I do right beneath my name including this award that I’ve won. So if I’m replying to somebody’s comment and people haven’t ever seen me before, they’ll know exactly what I do and that I’m award-winning!

[00:14:47.420] – Frankie
That’s a really good tip, Steve, I should have done that.

But, yeah, on that point, I feel like a lot of us, myself included, are very guilty of writing that bio once and then leaving it alone, whether that’s on LinkedIn or Instagram or Twitter, whatever. You hone it and it does what it needs to do — great. But, yeah, I’m trying to make more effort to go back and look at that stuff on a more regular basis, because things do shift and change and how you talk about what you do can be quite different over time. And, yeah, you won an award, mate! Add that to that information!

[00:15:21.260] – Steve
I remember a few years ago I was up for IPSE Freelancer of the Year type thing, and I put it in my Twitter bio, but I also took an image of it and put it in like the Twitter header thing. So it was in the image as well. Because actually, Twitter image — you’ve got quite a lot of real estate to play with. So I had it in there as well and I didn’t even bloody win!

Yeah, like, make the most of it, because it could be the difference between someone choosing to hire you or not. Let’s face it, winning an award could open doors for you as well, depending on what the award is. Depending on what the door is. But if there’s certain conversations with certain people that you’ve wanted to have, it can be a good ‘in’.

Also, I think it gives you that extra edge to your ‘authority’ in quotation marks.

[00:16:21.370] – Frankie
What a w*nky phrase.

[00:16:22.910] – Steve
Yeah, but that can be important depending on what you want to do. So if you want to raise your profile by getting more speaking engagements — if you can imagine being on a stage in front of people ever again in the future! — the fact that you’ve won that award again gives you that edge.

[00:16:43.570] – Steve
The fact is, you have bloody won it. You did make the effort to enter it, you’ve clearly done the work which deserves to win the award. And the fact is, it will give you an edge.

There’s a list of people in front of them and they’re trying to figure out who to put on their conference list. Well, the award winning copywriter or graphic designer or whoever is surely going to leap out of them, but it’s only going to leap out at them if you state it.

[00:17:17.210] – Frankie
I think it’s worth saying that in the age of social media, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… everybody else is shouting about their wins. That’s all social media is for a lot of the time! If you’ve won this thing and you’re not shouting about it, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

[00:17:35.520] – Steve
And when the certificate comes through the post, tweet it again.

[00:17:38.820] – Frankie
Certificate? What certificate?

[00:17:41.410] – Steve
Whatever it might be. You know, a trophy.

[00:17:44.180] – Frankie
Is this a swimming gala?

[00:17:46.710] – Steve
A rosette?

But there can be various stages to it.

Oh, I was shortlisted. Oh, I won. Oh, I got this.

[00:17:54.810] – Frankie
I totally agree with that. Like you were saying earlier, even if you’re just nominated or shortlisted, that is definitely worth shouting about.

[00:18:01.420] – Steve
It’s all opportunity, isn’t it? And when you’re your own business, if you don’t shout about your successes, nobody else will. If you don’t celebrate them, nobody else will. So you’ve just got to. You’ve got to push yourself forward.

Honestly, you’re not a w*nker. The fact that you’re thinking about it shows that you’re not a w*nker. Okay?


What would your advice be?

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