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Liana Fricker, Founder of The Inspiration Space, joins the program to discuss her own diversity story, and lessons that she’s learned along the way about increasing resilience. Discover the need to innovate in a post COVID-19 world, and what business owners and organizations will need to consider once the pandemic is over. Liana also shares the importance of having compassion for ourselves, and how to discover our unique values and strengths.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- Liana’s story and how she came to found The Inspiration Space (18:00)
- The increased importance of DE&I during the COVID-19 pandemic (33:00)
- Liana’s observations that give her hope for the future (36:00)
- A key question to create positive change (43:00)
- What business owners need to consider at this time (46:00)
- The importance of compassion for ourselves and others (53:00)
- An example of how a business pivoted quickly towards virtual services (57:00)
- The changes that we may see after the pandemic is over (58:00)
- How to deal with fear and anxiety (60:00)
Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:
JENNIFER BROWN: Liana, welcome to The Will To Change.
LIANA FRICKER: Hi, thanks for having me, Jennifer.
JENNIFER BROWN: It’s been such a pleasure to get to know you very recently actually. But you are a community builder for aspiring entrepreneurs. And you’re a resident of the UK, but you’re American born. And you have just a really interesting take on what’s going on right now. So, I thought that it would be good timing to bring your voice to our audience, and your wisdom, and your optimism because what I actually really appreciated talking to you lately is that optimism and that choice to look for opportunity.
And so, I found that your energy and your ideas really picked me up a bit or a lot when we’ve gotten to know each other, and plus a really interesting perspective seeing this from the global and the UK side. And being part of a society that has different, I would say, safety net issues particularly at a time of crisis where the U.S is really struggling on some sort of deep issues are coming to the fore here when it comes to inequality and opportunity and economic viability honestly.
So, I welcome you to The Will To Change and please share with us a little bit about your background, which is eclectic like so many guests that I have on The Will To Change. But I know is hugely entrepreneurial and also with a real give back lens. So what would you like to share with our audience?
LIANA FRICKER: So, yes, I’ve been in the UK for 15 years, originally from California, came by way of Boulder, Colorado where I was studying. And I had no idea what my adult life would be like, but I felt compelled to go to the UK because I felt really attracted to the energy. Came, met my husband, got a job and there we go, started my life.
And I worked in grassroots marketing and PR and then I had a burnout. And the burnout was right after the crash in 2008. I was working in the creative industries and you could just feel like something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then Lehman’s went bankrupt. I still had my job. It was one of those moments where everybody was losing employment in advertising and it was one of those things where if you had a job, you weren’t going to leave it. But I was really, really unhappy. And I looked around and I thought to myself, “If I go somewhere else, it will be the same old thing and you will probably lose your job if you find another one or you could do something else.”
And at the time, my frame of reference was so limited that my something else was to move to the countryside and have a baby because I was in my late twenties. Honestly, I think I was so tired and I just did not even want to explore any options. I was like, “Screw it. I’m pulling the escape hatch and that’s what I’m doing.” And so I did. And I took about a year off and I left thinking I will never go back into marketing, any of this again. It’s over.
And that 12 month break caused everything to turn back on again. All of the internal skills, and all of my curiosity, and all of my creativity that had initially attracted me to what I call storytelling, marketing and community building, it turned back on again, but this time it didn’t have any limits and I just ran with it. And over the course of two, three years, I found myself creating a community. Because during that time I was able to work with startups in California because of technology and the time change.
And there were a lot of women around to me because again, I left London, moved to the suburbs and there were a lot of women who previously had incredible careers but remote working wasn’t a thing 10, 12 years ago. And the option was you just become a stay-at-home mom. And I was really fortunate that I found a way to be able to do both and I wanted to bring that to other people, not so much by creating a program to get people employed. It was more being able just to say to people, “There are other options.”
But as I realized, we don’t know what we don’t know. And if I was to go backwards to that point where I was like, “I don’t know what I want to do, and I have no idea what I’m going to do next.” If someone would have said to me, “Well, here all of your options,” I may well have made a different choice. I don’t regret the choice that I made. But it was a choice based on ignorance, not necessarily burning desire, if that makes sense.
And so, I wanted to bring that conversation to other people. And over the course of two years, I turned it into a commercial entity called the inspiration space. And what we do is we connect small business owners and entrepreneurs to their peers, to specialist support, be it legal advice, that people need an accountant, and to inspiring entrepreneurs who have done phenomenal things on their own terms and have dealt with the good stuff and the bad stuff, have lost it all, have won it all, and can be there to provide that mentorship and steady hand that you really do need especially now when we’re navigating for a lot of us, which is uncharted territory.
When 9/11 happened, I was a sophomore in university. So, I dare say I was like those spring breakers now. I remember our sorority fraternity, kegger got canceled that weekend and we were so mad. We were like, “What!”
JENNIFER BROWN: Oh, I know. We were those people weren’t we?
LIANA FRICKER: Right? I was like, “What?” And when the crash happened in 2008, I was at the age where I had responsibilities but I didn’t have responsibility. So I had friends that were losing their job and like, “Well, I always wanted to go to India,” because we were at that age where that was a viable choice. Now it’s a lot scarier because I’ve got a mortgage, and I’ve got two kids, and I’ve got more to lose. And I think having access to people who have been through, you know, this is not their first time at the economic rodeo, hearing their take on it, it really helps me to breathe. It’s like, “You’re not the only person who’s experiencing this. And this is not the first time that this has happened.”
And it reminds me of the thing that has been obvious the whole time, which is you were never in control. I think for me I felt like I was gut punched last week. I’m like, “This wasn’t supposed to happen.” But it’s like, why not?
JENNIFER BROWN: Why not?
LIANA FRICKER: You never had control over any of this. Now it’s COVID-19, but it could have been any other thing because you were never in control of this. And I really value having that insight now because I think that I will be living my life across the boards in an entirely more gracious way by having what I feel my thoughts would call a universal “pimp slap”.
JENNIFER BROWN: We are getting slapped. Yes, we are.
LIANA FRICKER: Right? The universe is being like, “Nah, get your head in the game, girl.”
JENNIFER BROWN: Yep. Come on. We’re going to challenge you. I love that you’re reminding me of my favorite saying, “why is this happening for me versus to me?”
LIANA FRICKER: Love that.
JENNIFER BROWN: Why is this happening for me? And then the other one I have here in big letters above my desk, “what could go right?”
LIANA FRICKER: Yes!
JENNIFER BROWN: Right?
LIANA FRICKER: Yes!
JENNIFER BROWN: I know you love that. I mean, this is really up your alley. This is how you think. So, tell me a little bit about the opportunity you feel and maybe you can’t articulate it very well, but that’s okay. What could go right for us coming through this, working through this, working through it in community. When you think about the inspiration space or spaces for entrepreneurs or I loved your point about surrounding ourselves with people for whom this is not their first economic rodeo.
I know there’s a lot that’s revealing itself to me because I’ve been stopped in my tracks and I’ve had to organically think about what do I spend every hour doing? Who do I need to connect with? Who do I want to connect with? And really who is my community? Is it a lot of different people? It’s a time full of potential in a strange way because of the constrictions that we have right now. And when you can put the economic pain aside that a lot of us are struggling with and some of us more than others, if you can focus on the potential to innovate right now, it’s pretty amazing.
And maybe you have the time to sit with it like that year you took, it’s funny, we’re being forced to stop in our tracks. It’s not something we might choose, that you chose or maybe you felt like you didn’t have a choice but you said, “I’m going to take this time. I’m not going to have the answers and I’m going to trust that the answers will appear and I’m just going to sit here and keep life incredibly simple and see what emerges.” And often we don’t want to get off the train of our lives pre-pandemic because the discipline of doing that is so difficult and our perception is that if we get off the train, we’re going to lose so much.
LIANA FRICKER: I have to say.
JENNIFER BROWN: We have been forced… Yeah right? And so anyway, I’m curious, what are you finding sitting in this now for a week or two as we have been?
LIANA FRICKER: So, here’s my take, right? In the same way that before 2008 something had felt off, something has felt off for a while. And I had, in my head and I’d been speaking to people in finance and was fortunate enough to talk to a senior economist in January. And there definitely were people who believed that the economy, the global economy was going to be heading to a recession in Q4 this year, Q1 next year, right?
We’d been in a bubble for a while. There had been signs for a while that what we’re doing isn’t sustainable. Now, what was going to trigger that, nobody knew, but there had been signs for a while that what we’re doing isn’t sustainable. We’ve not been as productive as we can be. When you think about how much technology is available and how we all actually work. If you think about our infrastructure in the UK, the U.S, our infrastructure is pretty dated when you consider what’s technologically possible. Right?
JENNIFER BROWN: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
LIANA FRICKER: And so, something was going to push it. And so, when I go and I think about, “Why is this happening for me?” I think that’s the whole thing. This is an opportunity to look at what you’re doing and reassess. I know I’ve been guilty of this, right? The ability because of social media and digital tools and to be able to monetize your personal brand, for lack of a better word, has meant that a lot of us have been producing to produce because we feel like we have to produce, not necessarily taking a step back and be like, “Well, why am I making this? Does the world need this? Maybe the world doesn’t need my version of it. Maybe I can curate a version of it.”
Yeah. We’ve all been able to shout, “Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me,” and monetize it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the market can support all of our voices. So, this is an opportunity to look at what is that unique thing that I do? What is that thing that I’m passionate about? And what I’m seeing, if we can take the grocery store as an example, the grocery store, you can see the stuff that people don’t actually really want because it’s the stuff that’s left.
So, if I had a grocery store, I might use that opportunity to say, “Okay, I’m going to cut everything that’s not sold out. I’m only going to stock the sold-out stuff,” right? Because probably that might well be better for your bottom line when you’ve got to be working lean now because you know people want that wide buy in stock that’s going to sit there, that you’re just going to have to discount. The consumers are telling you what it is that they really, really value.
The other thing is looking back, if you’re at a point with your business or your career and you’re like, “I actually haven’t been happy for a while and I’ve just been doing it because I need the job, I need the money, and I was never really going to jump because it’s big and it’s scary.” And now you’ve almost been pushed over and can think to yourself, “Well, what would I do if I could start over? What skills have I got that I would really love to develop, or build, or an opportunity that I saw before that I couldn’t take advantage of because I was at my job but now I’ve been laid off so I’ve got that time.”
It’s really being able to be quite kind and gentle and compassionate with yourself, but also hold a mirror up to be like, “I’m getting feedback. The market is telling me something.” Does that make sense?
JENNIFER BROWN: Oh, yeah. I mean, I think a lot of us can relate to that way of looking at it that are in the diversity and inclusion space, because it’s been so hard to get even the attention on this topic that so many of us are so passionate about, very difficult to get the attention of those with money and power and influence to legitimize this conversation in a mainstream way. And so, I think a lot of us feel that we’re trying to chip away, take a bite out of it every day or push the boulder up the hill, or whatever tired metaphor you want. But it’s been really difficult. It’s always been really hard work.
So, I think that it’s interesting what you say, it’s like a time to step back and say what is really super critical. It’s a very clarifying moment to say, “Am I that thing that’s left on the shelf that’s not selling?”
LIANA FRICKER: Right.
JENNIFER BROWN: And how might it be re-imagined in order to sell and be a bestseller? Believe me, I think a lot about how to market DNI, all day long that’s what I think of. Because I own a company in the space and we have to constantly be thinking outside the box. What’s going to appeal to people? What’s going to connect into their head, heart, wherever we can get it. It’s like having to be really, really creative. But I think coming out of this, who knows what we’re going to be emerging into. We all agree that inclusiveness will be more important than ever.
As a business owner, as a professional, it’s going to be challenging for some of us, I think, to be gracious with ourselves, to be honest with ourselves in terms of, what have I been fighting for? Can I re-articulate that perhaps in a different way that makes it more of a bestseller? I don’t know. I mean, I thought we were doing pretty well before all of this happened. I thought things were turning a bit, I don’t know if you agree with that, but there just seemed to be so much need and desire for… that was starting to really awaken for this conversation. Yeah?
LIANA FRICKER: I think in the DNI space this is going to be a great opportunity because something that has, I don’t know. A thought that I keep coming back to is, would we be making the same choices? Would the way that we’re dealing with this global pandemic look the same if we had more diversity involved in the decision-making process? Because the impact that this, in the UK at least, we’re not quite on lock-down, but there is a shutdown, the impact that this will particularly have on mental health, nutrition, education, all of these things. I don’t know how much it’s being considered and that worries me.
But as soon as I mentioned that to a woman, they were like, “Yeah.” I think there’s maybe a softer sides to this or a softer part of the conversation that’s not being present. And I think that’s because there aren’t enough people with different experiences, different life experiences making the decisions pretty much unilaterally. It’s the same types of people coming up with the solutions, from the scientist to the government. And that’s across the board, you know?
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, they bring their biases. We say if it had been Lehman Sisters, or sisters and brothers would the same thing have happened? Right?
LIANA FRICKER: Or like it’s the communication, the ability to collaborate. I always say jokingly, I’m like, “Anybody who’s got kids will know that a school and moms could shut down headlights in a hot minute.” A note goes out and everybody does what they’re supposed to do and get your phone tree and you get to it. You don’t even miss a beat. You don’t even miss a beat.
And what I’ve been really impressed with is the community spirit that I’m seeing in the UK with people coming out and offering their skills and their services without expecting what I would call their market rates, they’re prepared to say, “Pay what you can.” The number of people that are like, “I’m here to listen,” people who, especially in the events industry, they’ve really pulled together. Because I mean, that was like, I do do live events, but it’s not the pure part of my business. And even I was like, “Geez,” because immediately I can’t work.
And there was no heads up, nothing. And I feel for event hospitality, that frontline where you don’t do your job digitally, that’s not what it is that you do. And to have no warning of that, and to see the way that the industries have come together to support one another from inside, I’m like, “That’s amazing. That’s really amazing.” And I think it just shows you that no matter what happens, people are good because if people’s natural instinct when they’re losing their jobs and things are getting scary is to help other people and to instinctively think we’re stronger together so let’s create a space somewhere online where we can at least all scream in the room together, that’s incredible.
And it does, again, give me hope of like, we will be okay. What if we could translate all of this energy into action on the other side? And I think that’s what the DNI space is really, really going to come to the fore because you’re all bringing years, years and years of experience, results and you’ve managed to make headway against that rock. And maybe this is that last time you hit it and that whole thing will crack open, I think.
JENNIFER BROWN: What a visual. I love it.
LIANA FRICKER: It’s true.
JENNIFER BROWN: And you wouldn’t even think this is the moment that cracks it open. But I foresee virtual teams really not knowing how to work virtually effectively. Right? It’s going to come to the fore that we have to build trust with each other. We have to get things done and really listen to each other with limited inputs because many of us will be deprived of that water cooler chat and who knows if the office as we’ve conceived of it will return? But we do know that we’ll be getting more and more of our work done virtually.
I mean, this has been the way I’ve lived for over a decade. So, this is so comfortable for me already. But you and I were talking earlier that it’s actually not comfortable for most people. It might be comfortable for us. So those of us who’ve been existing and getting work done with virtual teams, we have a really interesting perspective and needed perspective to contribute to ensure that companies support, I think their employees with whatever it is. Like training programs, whatever support to teach the new skills, but to identify, what does create cohesion in a virtual environment.
I mean, who’s good at that right now? I know, like I just said, a lot of us business owners are because we’ve had to be, and I’ve never had physical offices. I don’t know about you, but we’ve always run this way and I feel like we do have really good team spirit, and we’re always in touch, and we’re always checking in on each other in very creative ways and always trying to give people a ton of autonomy, which I think is so much a part of this way of working, which requires trust, which requires us to check our biases even more effectively to say, “What does somebody need from me as a colleague or a manager? What do they want to be working on? What gives them life and energy? How can we gear work more towards what people really want to do versus I think the old, we’re going to look at the old ways and really tick them off one by one, I think, after this.
LIANA FRICKER: Oh, 100%.
JENNIFER BROWN: Right? We’re going to realize how many ill-conceived ways we ran business and why they didn’t work and you said this has been building for a long time. I have thought that the workplace is really broken in so many ways and I’ve been saying that forever. So, this is that crack it open moment, right? Maybe we have an opportunity to reinvent it.
LIANA FRICKER: Right. Exactly. Exactly. And I think what I find so cool is that, if you’ve got the time and you’re an experienced entrepreneur who’s been working with an online business model or using technology and remote teams to run your business, think about how you might be able to go to main street and add that value into what they’ve been doing. I know I’ve really taken it for granted the fact that I’ve always used Skype, or Zoom, or Slack to conduct my business. But I’m seeing my husband at home and he’s taken to it like a duck to water, but this is not normal for him.
And over time, there will start to become pain points where it’s like, “Well, how do we have culture and community spirit and all of these things that you would get when you’re walking around a physical water cooler, when everyone is all over the place?” I think work will have to become a lot more playful, corporates will have to become more playful. They will have to treat their employees like adults. And I think from the U.S there are some amazing business models that have that, Patagonia, Zappos, or is it Zig Freed, is it the Deli? Gosh, I can’t remember the name of it now. Sorry.
JENNIFER BROWN: It’s okay, don’t worry.
LIANA FRICKER: Right? But there are really good models of businesses that have been doing this. This is part of their DNA, this way of working, which is around trust and building a culture. So it’s not just beanbags and pool tables, but it’s something more meaningful and authentic than that. And this is an opportunity to infuse that in this new way of working because there’s a cost saving to a reduction in corporate air travel.
And I’m not trying to minimize what’s happening in the airline industry because it sucks and there are a lot of people losing their jobs and I do really feel for them. But at the same time, this is a big, long, antiquated supply chain. And because of the environmental effects of it, people have been saying for a while we need to reduce air travel. Obviously no one was really going to voluntarily do it and everyone kept saying, “We need leadership from above. It has to be the government that imposes taxes, this, that and the other,” because the supply chains are so long that it didn’t really make sense because no one wants to put people out of a job. Well, the universe has now said otherwise.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes, it has.
LIANA FRICKER: And this just happened, right? The universe stepped in and said, “Hold my beer, I’ll do it.”
JENNIFER BROWN: Hold my beer, indeed.
LIANA FRICKER: Hold my beer. Hold my beer, I’ve got this one. And yeah, we got it, right?
JENNIFER BROWN: Why is this happening for us? It’s literally the shock to the system that as humans, we don’t have the will, and the discipline, and the courage to give us our own shock. Right? We don’t take the medicine. We don’t do the thing that we should, right? We run our businesses not as lean as they could be, right? We have tons of redundancy or fat or whatever. I know. And these times are very, they force you to look at, well, what do I really, really need at the end of the day to do what I do? That’s what I’m sitting with.
LIANA FRICKER: Exactly. And it’s like, let’s lean it out. And I think what I’m seeing more and more is people going back to, “Well, this is the core service that I offer.” So instead of saying, “Well, I could this and I could do that and I can do that and I could do that.” And I think our generation in particular, it’s like a new phenomenon because we are multi-hyphenate, right? We’ve all had a few jobs before we’ve landed on whatever it is we’re doing now and we will probably do more things.
And so, a default in some ways is to throw all your skills out on the table. And what I’m always saying to people is, I’m like, “You don’t have to bring all your guns to the gunfight, pick one. You can have them all.” Gosh, it’s America, okay, I don’t actually mean…
JENNIFER BROWN: I was going to say.
LIANA FRICKER: Real guns.
JENNIFER BROWN: A cultural reference.
LIANA FRICKER: In the UK something like that it’s lighter. But there is this, you don’t have to bring everything out there. Focus on the core skills that you’ve got that are adding value in this market. And it’s not a failure because you can’t deliver this as well. My mom was telling me, we were talking on the phone yesterday, she was like, “Well, what about someone who’s selling bagels to office workers?” I’m like, “Well, if you were selling bagels to office workers, you can still sell bagels to office workers. They don’t have to come into your shop. Your shop could be your place of production and then you delivered the bagels to the office workers.” Right?
It doesn’t have to be fixed? It doesn’t have to be fixed, you have to innovate with the time. If you think about when big change in technologies come, like when the car came, there were some blacksmiths who had to start thinking on their feet. People who made carriages had to start thinking and like… Otherwise, they didn’t exist anymore. And I’m not trying to come off as being flippant, but I think that it is really important to keep perspective and to remember that none of us ever had control. All we’ve got is the circumstance that we’re in now and the skills that we have. It’s like Oregon Trail. If you used to play Oregon Trail, you’re always like, I always chose the blacksmith or it was the baker. The teacher was always kind of… Right, I was like, Hmm.
But it is one of those things, right? And so, you have to look at the skills that you have, the situation that we’re in now and you have to get on with it. You have to get on with it. And I think, for me, it’s really got me to think about my money mindset and it’s allowed me to shed another layer of attachment to material things. Because a lot of us, we spend what we earn, we spend what we earn. And the whole idea, “Well, if I get another client or if I get a pay rise.”
It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be more money in your pocket. Usually what it means, it means I’m going to take on another expense. And now when we’re facing, you could be losing clients, having to shut down businesses, losing jobs. You do have to think about, “Well, what is my attachment to physical stuff? How much do I actually need to live and to be happy? What is happiness for me? What do I really value?” For me, it’s being able to physically move around. I really value that. I value my mental health. And I think it’s trying to stay connected to those things and to lose any fear around losing the stuff as a way of building up your resilience.
JENNIFER BROWN: It’s getting back to basics. I think our ego can drive us to like, I think you’ve been referring to, build and build and build, right? And maybe you want to build, right? Maybe that’s something you really enjoy. But I do think that how well can you function in a really lean time? I love interrogating the idea of questioning what do I need and what do I really love and not bringing the 15 guns, but the one. How can I be of service? I think it’s such an important question to start with, right? At least right now. Always. I mean, that’s always a fundamental question for me, but particularly now and in being of service and having no attachment, we can really be present to listening right now.
And for people in a services business like you and me, it’s thinking about being of service and ultimately down the road, what could I do and what could I eventually market and sell that would be most urgent to buyers? But that may not be apparent for a lot of us right now, particularly business owners who are facing devastation and being erased. It’s a pretty harsh time. And like you said, yeah, the universe has come down on everyone collectively and said, “You’re going about this all wrong. And I’m going to just bring a stop to it. And maybe what we will be doing is rebuilding a lot of the things that were just, we were incrementally trying to address that didn’t work for a lot of us.
But those were incremental solutions when we really need big, big changes. I mean, this is going to cause big changes and within big changes, I know you agree there’s a lot of opportunity, but what we have to be nimble and really present and really listening and almost… For me, it feels like a very intuitive process to sense what’s ahead. And it’s difficult. I don’t think I can do that. A lot of us are just stuck here with a very limited view.
But how do we stay open to that? You mentioned being unhappy in our jobs. I wondered if you had any advice for those folks who are really stuck, grateful for what they have right now, given the changes that are happening but still very miserable. What would you say? I mean, I like what you said, we have more time to invest. We could be building a parallel path for ourselves and laying the groundwork for something to come to fruition when we have the freedom and the capacity and the agency and the finances to make it happen. But in the meantime, do you have, because I know there’s a lot of unhappy people in their job jobs and this is a really weird time for everyone, for all of us, but it’s also weird to just be many wanting to take a leap towards your passion but feeling that you are now truly immobilized.
LIANA FRICKER: So, one of my favorite things to do is to think about what I don’t want to do. So I write a list of what I don’t want to do and then I say to myself, “Right. Now choose from there.” So, because then you can see. Anything that’s not on this list is an option. Brilliant. Someone who gets decision paralysis, I find that that’s always really helpful. For someone who is in a job and they’re not happy, another thing that’s really good is to think about it as like I’m going into my senior year. I don’t like my high school, it’s my senior year and I need to go to an awesome college or I’m going to travel the world.
And so, you show up and do your classes every day, but you’re so removed from it because you’re almost like you’re focusing on that goal of getting out that it doesn’t hurt so much to be in there every day and you can almost become numb to it. And anytime that you’re not in it delivering it, you’re thinking about what you’re going to do when you’re out of it. You’re plotting, you’re planning, you’re exploring, you’re reading, you’re playing, you’re really letting your mind go to that space, but keeping in mind the things that you said you didn’t want to do.
And it’s really helpful to actually write it down so you can see it. So, anytime you’re like, “Oh, okay, I know what I’m not going to do.” Because you can’t expect yourself to have the answers. You won’t have the answers. What you have to be able to do is compartmentalize. You’ve got to be able to tune out from that day-to-day thing that you hate and you’ve got to be able to embrace, individualize this new opportunity. And then hopefully what will happen is, there will be a circumstance, it might be a phone call, it could be a thought that pops in your head at the shower. It could be anything and it will push you to make that leap.
I stood on the sidelines for ages before I actually decided to create something external, not be a consultant, just create a product as it were. And the thing that pushed me was I had said it out loud to one person and then I was like, “Right.” And told one person, “You have to buy the URL.” And once I had bought the URL… I think the URL is like five pounds or something. And once I’d bought the URL I was like, “Right, you’re as good as started.” Right? It was like, “You’re as good as started now. Just take another step, another step.”
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah.
LIANA FRICKER: And I had no idea. I had a rough plan and I knew the feeling that I wanted to create. I had no idea how I was going to monetize it. I didn’t even care about any of that because it was literally more like create, you said you wanted to create, you’ve never actually created for yourself. You’ve created for other people, but you’ve never created your own thing and stood behind it and said, “This is mine.” Just do that and then do one more thing and then do one more thing.
And every time I did one more thing, I became more and more comfortable. And then, before I know it, I’ve created two, three communities now. And that’s all you can do. And it does go back to being really gentle with yourself. It’s so easy to beat yourself up. And I think it’s something that I noticed a lot in the States compared to in the UK. I don’t know if it’s part of the “American dream” and this whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes and yes.
LIANA FRICKER: But there’s always this kind of, if you’re not taking one more step, you’re quitting. And sometimes it’s like, “Nah, I just got to catch my breath.” You know?
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. We don’t know how to do that. We just don’t.
LIANA FRICKER: And sometimes you take a nap under the tree and then all of a sudden your greatest idea comes. We’ve got to get out of this discourse of like more, bigger, faster, better, stronger. I like words like lean, collaborative, opportunistic, flexible, agile. That’s the language that I personally want to start using more around business and life.
JENNIFER BROWN: Here to that, yes.
LIANA FRICKER: You know?
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes, I do.
LIANA FRICKER: We put so much pressure on ourselves. And on a day when I’m looking out my window and the sun is shining and if I was to look online right now it would feel like the world is burning, but the sun is shining. It’s a beautiful spring day, I’m healthy, my kids are healthy. I can sell my car, I can sell my house, I can learn how to grow food, but I’m not going to get today back. And what I’m not going to do while everything is great, is sit there freaking out, losing time, losing energy and losing confidence in my own ability to survive and thrive because of a circumstance that I don’t have any control over.
JENNIFER BROWN: And we’re really not believing in ourselves enough when we have that attitude, right? Because we actually are more resilient.
LIANA FRICKER: 100%.
JENNIFER BROWN: And we do know how to make this work with much less. Yeah, and I love that. I love that to remember you have that.
LIANA FRICKER: Right. I’ve seen businesses over here, I have been so impressed with the people in my community and in our area, how quickly they’ve pivoted. My gym… once we got the announcement that basically it’s a wrap on gyms… they rented out all the bikes from their spinning studio to whoever wanted them, delivered them, and now they’re doing online classes. And I’m like, “That is a brilliant use of resource.” Restaurants, all of a sudden they’re like, “Right, we’re delivery.” A brilliant use of resource.
And I think what’s so incredible about it is that you could almost say you’ve always had that power and you might find you could run a more profitable business having less turnover because you’ve got less costs. You don’t have your studio, you’ve rented out your bikes, and you’re now able to continue to pay your instructors and stream the classes from the comfort of people’s homes. That’s awesome. And what I love about it is you don’t have to be Peloton to do that.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yes. Love it.
LIANA FRICKER: You know?
JENNIFER BROWN: I love that. Yes, I know. This is going to be so productive for us.
LIANA FRICKER: You can take the stuff that the bigger players are doing and do it on a local level because people love their community businesses. We will eventually be able to go outside again and we want to go back to our businesses, but maybe instead of having the Italian restaurant, and the Mexican restaurant, and the this restaurant, and the that, maybe they find a way to do popups in one space. So you have one set of staff and different rotating chefs, different menus, one premise, everybody brings in their own food, you still get the variety, less overheads.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, Liana, this has been so what we needed today to hear. I’m going to get this episode out right away as soon as I can to our audience because you’re just a shot in the arm of energy, and optimism, and positivity, and innovation, and the flexibility, and the openness to all the possibilities. And I think what you’ve done for me is said, “Look at that fear you might be feeling right now that you won’t know how to, you somehow won’t be resourceful in pivoting, and not giving yourself enough credit that you will pivot actually. And we will pivot together.
LIANA FRICKER: Because it’s not the first pivot.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah exactly, we do it all the time.
LIANA FRICKER: This is not your first time. Right. And you have to embrace the fear and do it anyways because I have days where I’m literally like, “Oh my God, my guts are about to fall out of my insides.”
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, been there.
LIANA FRICKER: It is scary. Uncertainty is scary. When you’ve built something that you’re proud of and you know that it could just be taken away from you in a minute through no fault of your own. Yes, it’s scary and you’ve got to embrace the fear. You’ve got to cry those tears. You’ve got to feel all of the feels and then you got to get up.
JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. You got to get up because you’ve done this, you’ve got the goods you need to navigate through this.
LIANA FRICKER: A hundred percent.
JENNIFER BROWN: You and we, I think, with the strength of each other. Yeah.
LIANA FRICKER: A hundred percent.
JENNIFER BROWN: I love it. Thank you Liana for joining me today.
LIANA FRICKER: Thank you.
JENNIFER BROWN: Where can people tune into more of your thought leadership or connect into inspiration and space? Much of my audience is US-based, but is there a way for us to cheer you on?
LIANA FRICKER: Yeah. Well, I mean, the community is, it’s digital so it is open to all. So, people are welcome to come and check us out. It’s theinspirationspace.co. And we’ve got lots of conversations that are always happening. It’s all about peer-to-peer support, sharing what you know and diversity of thought. And I think one thing is international borders no longer exist. And I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities for Americans and the British to potentially start collaborating in the future.
You can find us on Instagram, theinspirationspace.co and you’ll find me @LianaFricker on Instagram. And there you will find some of my favorite memes and tweets that generally sum up how I feel about things in a way that’s much better than me. I’m a stoic person and very sarcastic, so it is a bit dry and rye.
JENNIFER BROWN: I love it. Whatever it is, I’m buying it. I love it. Liana, thank you so much and keep on directing us to what’s important and directing your communities towards what’s most important right now for all of us to remember. We’ve got what it takes, we are resourceful enough, we can do more with less, and we can actually perhaps find even greater happiness and satisfaction in doing so. So I really, really appreciated that message today. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
LIANA FRICKER: Thanks for having me, I really enjoyed it.
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