For more than a decade, Stacey Copas has been using digital to create the life she wants. From her early days selling products online to now founding and running the Resilience Academy, Stacey shares her experience and insights on how digital marketing tools have helped her set up and grow her businesses to create and support the life she wants.
On Going Digital
Hear out her experience on how she taught herself SQL, Visual Basic, databases, and software development and other available tools to successfully go digital. Stacey derives 90% of her businesses directly from LinkedIn conversations by ensuring that she meet and have a conversation with as many people as possible through LinkedIn. She also discussed the importance of narrowing the gap between whom you represent online and who you really are.
Lastly, listen to her insights on “If you don’t innovate you die.” With the ever updating digital trends, the interview covered on why we must constantly learn and always at be the forefront of what is new and what is changing, invest budget on learning, and having a learning mindset.
About Our Guest
Stacey is an accomplished Author, Speaker and Resilience Expert. She is a leading keynote speaker and facilitator on resilience and turning adversity into an asset, delivering keynote speeches, training, consulting and coaching to organisations such as Telstra, South East Water and CSIRO.
Hello. I’m Serena Dot Ryan and welcome to the See Digital Clearly show. This show is dedicated to inspiring action. Each episode, there is an interview with the forth-later doing great things for digital. They will share their insights and experience to get you inspired and focused to create the life you want thanks to digital.
In this Episode, Stacey Copas of the Academy of Resilience joins me.
S: Thank you so much Stacey Copas. I really, really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to join me today for the podcast. This is one my passions, it’s helping people to see digital clearly and I love your story and how you’ve been able to use digital to achieve the life you want. I want to ask you, what did you want to be when you grew up?
SC: Well its absolute pleasure to be here with you actually nice to actually do this in person which is even more fun. Um, when I was younger from the time I could talk, all I wanted to be was a vet. So a long long way from where I am now, where, I’m a keynote speaker, a trainer, and adviser and all of those things, you know teaching resilience. And yeah all I wanted to is be a vet but unfortunately, you know, twist of fate. Um having a serious injury as a 12 year old which left me unable to follow that dream of being a vet. So you know it took a long time to work up what the next best option was. But I’m, you know, certainly it took a long time to work. Being caught young. And you know we didn’t’ have as many options especially as far as the digital space go. So certainly as time went on there’s more options that you know really meant that the physical limitations that I had ended up being leveled by technology which is amazing.
S: Wow. I see, you wanted to be a vet. Do you by chance, have any animals these days?
SC: Um I do by default. At the moment temporarily living with my parents, so I’ve adopted their dog which I’m loving because all the time when I was living at a mile and I never had pet because I was away so much so I felt it will be a bit cruel to have pets and then neglect them. So I certainly like adopting other people’s pet its like I’m a proud auntie its very similar it’s a matter of you know you get all the fun without the responsibility.
S: Oh I love it! Wow its like, I really enjoyed reading your article last weekend. It was all about your plan B. And you touched on my, you had an unfortunate accident that it actually put you in this situation of, I guess, making the most of plan B.
SC: Yeah and that was leading on for an, Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, yeah “Option B” and about you know how unfortunately her husband passed away and the story is that she said how much she wanted her husband and her friend had said to her well you can’t so now you need to keep the shift out of option B and that it became the premise to this new book. So yeah I shared my story about how I’m living and embracing my option B. Which I look at it now, and it is far more amazing than I think it could have been possible had I just ended up being a vet. I had my heart set on things so you know sometimes when things seem you know unfair or you know we don’t like about how things turn out for us but once you start you will look for the and be grateful for the opportunity being given and you know it’s incredible how you can actually end up having a life far far more extensive and amazing than you ever thought possible when you actually embrace it.
S: That’s just amazing. So when did you first notice the value of digital marketing in the mix of what you’re doing now?
SC: Yeah I actually saw why before what I’m doing now, so I’ve been a huge advocate for digital marketing and just checking general. But when I first started in the workforce which was the late 90’s the internet was suddenly very very new, and it was just all about having an email address was a big thing back then. And what I did is, you know, I had an admin job and anytime I’ve finished my work early I just ask permission to surf the net. And I bought like the idiot’s guide for the thing, dummies guide. So I taught myself how to build databases, I taught myself SQL, I taught myself Visual Basic. And I ended up being to a business while I was working and I ended up doing software development all completely self taught.
And so in my work I was starting to do a little bit of that. In my personal life, my first venture into the online world, I was involved in direct selling for while. And I hated just actually going hitting up people with it so I thought I just build a website and sold a product online. So I did that. And I did really, really well I made a lot of money out of it early on cause’ I think I was one of the only people selling its company’s product online. Even if you can buy from the company direct. And so I did that to the point where I got, I ended up being a standard, direct copy of my website page by page. The only difference in the website is that instead of dot au it was dot nz. And they copied my website absolutely everything on it. So I thought I must be onto something here if someone’s trying to copy me. I did pretty well with that until I actually ended up getting a new comer job for a therapeutic food administration here in Australia. Thankfully I wasn’t home because some of the products I was selling had not had TGA approval in Australia so it’s just like breaking the law.
S: So the pros and cons of being online.
SC: It is, it is its like that risk versus rewards. And I kind of know that I just take my chances then so from there obviously I had to re-evaluate what I was doing. But at that time there was a lot of competitors. Seeing that value. I sort of faded out of little bit as far as that goes but it was a really good experience. I just built the website myself, I just googled how to do it and that’s how I taught myself all along. I guess that is just, as needed learning. And so, if I kind of know how to do this now I’ll google it. Um so I ended up being.. But it was brilliant.
S:That is how important it is to continuously learn and innovate. Cause the soon as you find that something is good, other people out there are also going to find it as well. And as they do if you keep staying the same, what I hear from you is that if you don’t innovate you die.
SC: Absolutely. And again, it was like I could’ve done something differently that I sort of thought I can think of, well it was really good learning experience and then I realize you can sell in someone else’s product was always going to be the best thing that I can do. And I was working a day job back then and you know five years ago I left employee land and started my business teaching resilience and sharing my personal story and digital has been a massive part of that, you know, through building up not only just the website but a social presence.
Um you know using YouTube. I actually like to use it better, you know during some tele-seminars but probably the one that’s been biggest piece of the puzzle for me is LinkedIn. And three years ago I decided that I was going to make a commitment to meet or have a conversation with as many people as possible through LinkedIn. Because I think there is a tendency to hide behind technology and digital but really if we use digital to convert into a real person conversation and build relationships then that’s where we really get the value. And I can, you know directly or indirectly attribute probably 90% of my business over the last three years has been from a LinkedIn conversation.
S: That’s brilliant. What an amazing statistic as well. Its something you’d probably be aware that I get very passionate about is we don’t just exist online or in person, we actually have this opportunity to use what is available to us online to extend who we are in person. And then if people don’t leverage that or they try to be something online they’re not, it comes back to them cause they’ll miss out on the opportunity or they find out, so to speak as well. You can’t actually hide behind it.
SC: It is and these chances are much more important and you gotta make sure that the gap between who you’re presenting and who you really are, you know, that needs to be as tiny as possible. The greater the gap is, then the less sustainable it’s going to be. And really it’s like how much effort it takes to be something you’re not. It’s really pointless. And really digital just has this opportunity to really amplify who we are, our message, and amplify our ability to connect and impact other people.
S: Absolutely. I love it. So what have you actually found most challenging?
SC: Um, personally, I guess this is personal and professional thing, and this is common to so many entrepreneurs and self-employed people is the desire to do it all yourself. And I must say, five years on I’ll still do almost everything myself. And just bit by bit really starting to look at what I can let go of. because it’s coming down to what’s my best value. And if I can pay somebody, say $40 an hour to do some of this stuff where I can be going out making you know hundreds or thousands dollars an hour doing what I do best then its letting that go. I think it’s important to know how to do some of these things that you are outsourcing so you know that you’re not getting ripped off or things are being done properly. You can manage things effectively.
I think also just dealing with the flaws of being an entrepreneur, self employed, um that you know, we try and get the same amount of money coming in to our bank account on a weekly basis that we used to in employee land. And knowing that normally everything is our responsibilities. So I’m fortunate that my expertise is resilience so I actually live and breathe it. And I think that resilience has taught me something that’s so so important. The people that I’ve known in this journey particularly in digital. Because again as I learned early on when I was selling products online, what is working really well isn’t going to last forever. We’ve seen that with people that were you know killing it with Google AdWords and then they changed that. And it’s like some people we know making millions of dollars a year and suddenly they make nothing. So we have to be constantly learning as you touch on and like what you shared so much is always be at the forefront of what’s new whats changing while being connected with why you do what you do. What service you deliver, value you deliver in the relationship you’re making with other people.
S: So true. You’re right I find people get surprised when I say I invest 20 hours awake in my own learning and 30,000 in my calculation in the last couple of weeks where I’ve gone an average of 12,000 a year in my own earning learning annually as an investment in my budget. And I ask people what their learning budget is. Not because I want to sell what or that’s what I can necessarily charge but I actually want to see that they’re allocating a budget towards their learning. Because you’re right, I’ve seen it firsthand. I am being brutally honest in my working life as an employee, I’ve been, maybe done it three times. So while people want to say that that’s the safer place to be as an employee, it’s actually not necessarily the case.
Regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you have to be aware that we are in environment where changes happen so rapidly that if we aren’t continuously looking to innovate, we don’t actually set ourselves up for success. We have to have a learning mindset. And when say I’ve learned how to innovate, what resonates really strong, maybe your story, with me is the understanding of resilience. So when I can talk about being redundant, that immediately fits your ego and your ability to stay good at something. But what I’ve been out to adjust with understanding resilience also from reading your book as well is to remind myself that my skills are transferable. And when I can see my skills are transferable, it opens up so many more doors of opportunity. And I just love that. And I love seeing how you bring that all together. Thank you. Thank you for sharing more of your story.
SC: No my pleasure, my pleasure. And again, similarly, I’ve invested heavily in my own development and a lot of people are horrified I would say in the past six years I’m probably at around 70-80 thousand mark on what I’ve invested in my own personal and professional development not to mention our say, similarly, to yourself I would say I am spending around 20 hours a week. Still, I still invest in coaching, I still invest in being part of entrepreneur and business networks. I even, last night again I was in leadership groups and again it’s the whole thing what isn’t growing is dying. And the current environment as you see people have this illusion that there’s some sense of security in having a permanent job.
The only difference is that yeah you like it two-weeks pay for every time you’ve been there. That’s the only difference. It’s no more or less secure. So it is really important. And it is important to always be ready for what might come next. And to have a sense of curiosity about it I think this is a big thing where there is so much fear around change. There is so much fear. And about its personal and also these things happening to me it’s also personal. We know its not, its just the way the world and if you can actually have that growth mindset and element of curiosity you’ll also be always interested in growing yourself but also how growing yourself impacts the business your working the company you’re working for the people around you, the society as a whole and take that responsibility for paying someone that has influence and impact in a positive way. And love the process. Its amazing if we have more people doing that, that help things get to change if they could.
S: Love it. Thank you so much for your time Stacey. Really, I appreciate it, I’ve got so much out of today and I hope that everyone listening here as well is doing likewise. I look forward to be out in touch with you again soon and more of your insights.
SC: Absolutely, it’s been a pleasure to be on here with you Serena.
Thanks for listening. The best time for you to take action is now. Get out there and use digital for what it’s intended for. To make your life a better one.