Aligned and Thriving Podcast | Strategies for Work Life Balance

Closing the Gender Pay Gap: How Women Can Build Rejection Resilience Through Pitching with Alice Draper

March 11, 2024 Judith Bowtell | Career Development for Achieving Work-Life Balance Episode 11
Aligned and Thriving Podcast | Strategies for Work Life Balance
Closing the Gender Pay Gap: How Women Can Build Rejection Resilience Through Pitching with Alice Draper
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode of the Aligned and Thriving podcast, host Judith Bowtell is joined by Alice Draper, the founder and chief strategist at Hustling Writers. Alice is on a mission to make publicity easy and accessible for underrepresented women entrepreneurs at all stages of their businesses. They discuss Alice's journey, her approach to building rejection resilience, and the importance of normalising rejection for success, especially for women and marginalised groups.


Podcast Episode Summary

  • Alice shares her background and how she started her career as a struggling writer, pitching herself to publications while learning the art of pitching.
  • She discusses the concept of "rejection resilience" and how gamifying the process of getting rejections can help build confidence and improve pitching skills.
  • Alice highlights the gender gap in risk-taking and how societal norms often make women more risk-averse, leading to fewer opportunities for advancement and success.
  • They explore the economic cost of the gender pay gap and the barriers women face in accessing investment and leadership roles.
  • Alice emphasises the importance of normalising rejection and building a supportive community to overcome mental blocks and put oneself out there.
  • She shares her future plans to evolve Hustling Writers into a strong community that offers support, collaboration, and strategic insights for pitching and self-promotion.



Article reference:
Invest in Women to accelerate progress


 

Alice Draper website link: Hustling Writers


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[00:00:00] Welcome everyone to our next episode of Aligned and Thriving, which is the place where you can learn from experts and people like you about how to find work life balance through living a life of purpose and aligned with your values. And today I am thrilled that we are joined by Alice Draper, who is the founder and chief strategist at Hustling Writers. Hustling Writers, this has to be one of the better website names and business names I've come across. And we're going to find out all about what that means when we speak to Alice. Hello, Alice. How are you today?

[00:00:44] Hey, Judith. It's nice to be here. I'm great today.

[00:00:47] Thank you so much for joining us. I need you to tell us where you're joining us from.

[00:00:52] I'm joining from Dubai, UAE, and I am a South African.

[00:00:57] Fantastic. So another international guest. So it's lovely to be connected with people around the world under the banner of what makes a life, a working life, work worth living. Alice is on a mission to make publicity easy and accessible for underrepresented women entrepreneurs at all stages of their businesses. When Alice started building her business, she knew that publicity in the right places would garner her the authority she needed to position herself as a high end copywriter. And so she started pitching magazines like Vice. Refinery29, HuffPost and Business Insider. This came with an unplanned skill, the art of the pitch which is how she ended up pivoting her business towards publicity. She's been running Hustling Writers for over two years, and in this time she's secured her clients in over 500 podcasts including countless top 1 percent and top 0. 5 percent podcasts. We'll be there one day. A big part of Alice's work looks into normalising rejection and how rejection resilience ties into success. Her weekly newsletter, The Rejection Chronicles, explores topics like living with rejection sensitivity, building sustainable outreach habits, and normalising the rejection steam. Alice grew up in a small town in South Africa, but as her clients know, she's rarely in one place for long. And at the moment, she's with her partner in Dubai. She's also been house sitting in Tbilisi, and sometimes spends time strolling along a seaside boardwalk in Cape Town. So, welcome to Aligned and Thriving, Alice.

[00:02:41] Thank you so much for having me and for so brilliantly reading my bio.

[00:02:44] I could ask you to introduce yourself, but I like reading bios. They're always interesting.

[00:02:49] I prefer you do it. 

[00:02:51] Let's start off as we normally do at here at Aligned and Thriving and ask you, what have you done lately to support your work life balance?

[00:03:00] So I work mostly with American and Canadian clients, and I don't know if you're familiar with this Judith, but that means time zones are wonky. And I work evenings often when I'm doing calls. So to support my work life balance and I've been especially intentional about it this week is I don't work before noon. I exercise, I read. I make myself a cooked breakfast and then I open my laptop at about lunchtime. And that is really important for me to not feel totally zonked out by the evening, if I'm having an evening for the clients and because I've been at it all days, it's actually like, I have to have that time and sometimes I have evenings off, sometimes I get all my work done and I have no meeting scheduled for that evening and so I also. Sit in front of the TV and I have that sense of accomplishment that all my exercise and other things were done in the morning.

[00:03:55] Great. 

[00:03:55] But yeah, I think that's one of them. Another is I limit the number of meetings I take in a, in a week. 

[00:04:00] Yeah.

[00:04:02] Hugely introverted. I'm introverted in the sense that I do my best work when I have enough time alone. Being able to sort of space that out and ensure that there's enough, creative days where I'm not talking to people allows me to do my best work and also feel more balanced in the way that I'm approaching things. Yeah.

[00:04:22] I also limit my number of coaching calls. I tried not to do not more than two but sometimes three is probably more likely if it up to 4, and if it takes over 4, I'm not much use by the end of that. And I'm completely exhausted. And I had a woman speak to me yesterday. Who's actually talking about outreach and how to approach outreach. She says what you want to do is you want to get your calendar booked up. So you've got a day of calls about 9 or 10, you can knock that over in a day. And I'm just sitting there going, oh, okay, she was from America. Lovely woman. And I was like I don't know about 10 calls in a day I don't know what I would be like in the evening. It would not be pushy. I'll just say that. Yeah.

[00:05:10] Yeah, it's remarkable how people do that. I had a very strange last week Monday. So Monday is usually my meeting day, but last week Monday, because of a bunch of things I had about seven calls stretched across the day and none of them were back to back, which helped, it was always like a 30 minute loop. But I was just like a zombie the next day and I was like, how did I do that? How did I talk to so many people in a day?

[00:05:35] Exactly. It was like when you go to a conference or something like that, and you are just talking to people all day long, and then it's like, are you going to see me at the dinner tonight? And you're like, yeah, I guess so, because I just go away for a little bit and just, decompress. I'm just going to go get in the pool or something where no one will talk to me. Yeah, so yes, I also love that you start your day when you need to start your day. I do an exercise with my clients, my career coaching clients about how create your ideal working day. And it starts with the time you wake up. And what you do before work and then note what time you start work, because it's not the same for everybody. And for some people, this may not be your ideal working day, but it might just be for some people actually starting at midday may work really well for them, for their energy levels, etc, or how they organize their life, etc. So try and avoid things like lunch break and make it more like your middle of the day, but they can try and be very neutral about times. So people can have that freedom to say, I start work at four and you go, good on you, mate. That's excellent. And it is. But if somebody says, I'd really like to start my working day about, yeah, 12 and have all that other stuff done. So I can just fall into bed at the end of the day. Perfect. Yeah.

[00:06:58] I don't know if you're familiar with Adam Grant, Yeah. so he shared an infographic on his Instagram. I think someone else created it, but it was a visual representation of when successful people, what their schedule, their daily schedule was like, so when they woke up, when they slept, when they exercised, when they did creative work, when they did admin work, and it was just fascinating because it was completely all over the place. There was no trend, no consistency, like all of them had a different schedule. Some of them slept four hours in the middle of the night and then had a four hour nap in the afternoon and some of them started their days at 6 a. m. and some of them started their days at 12 o'clock and it was, so basically he was saying like, there is no rule. 5 a. m. not necessarily going to work for everyone. 

[00:07:42] No. Yeah. Yeah. oh, it's great. I'll try and find that and share that with everyone. Yeah, I was a bit worried that he might have had the perfect schedule but I doubt he would. So, is there fantastic habits that you've got leaning into the, what your working life offers you in terms of flexibility of schedule, but also and having the freedom and giving yourself permission not to start work at eight. You can start when you need to. I'd like to sort of ask now if we can go back a bit to where it all started. And talk a little bit about what you learned as a child about work or in your early years of working, and how is that different to what you are doing now? 

[00:08:28] I actually think that when I look at my early years of work I can see how much of it played into the way I approach work now. My mother is probably a very good example of work life balance.

[00:08:42] She throughout having kids still exercised every day. She had her hobbies. She had book club once a month. She went belly dancing on Monday evenings. And she was a working mom she had a full time job. And she took vacations. She booked vacations for us. And so I think that that's set a really good model for me, which was like, What a healthy work life balance looks like. I didn't feel a need to push myself. And I know part of so many ambitious people's career stories is burnout and touch wood, that's not part of my story, but with the way I approach things, I don't foresee it being a part of my story because I. I'm like, I need a vacation. It's been six months and I haven't taken a vacation and it's time for me to take a vacation. And not everyone has that ingrained in them. And I really do think that that's because of the model that my mother set for me. So in terms of like the way I worked I grew up in a house full of books and I was read to and as a small child and then I read the books myself from like the age of six onwards. But that's as far as I remember my parents kind of really pushing me to work was just reading books. They were pretty hands off in other regards. They never really checked that I did my homework. So if I didn't do my homework and pretended to do it. And it worked out fine. But it very much made my work feel like it was mine. When I did, I think when I was like 14 or 15, I started really caring about school and getting ambitious and being like, I want to be top performing students and various things and it, never felt like it was because of my parents, because they really didn't seem to care too much and not in a bad way. I think they were okay because I was doing well enough. Like my grades were fine. My brother's grades were fine. And so they didn't feel the need to sort of micromanage or helicopter. There was one subject and was not great at, which is a South African language called Afrikaans. So that was the only one that they would check in on. They'd be like, have you done your homework? Like, do you need to go see a tutor or something? But for every other subject, they weren't bothered. Yeah. So when I think back to that, I kind of think that that kind of hands off ness made it always feel like my ambition is something I earn and it's not something that's being pushed down my throat or influenced by my parents, because this is what they expect of me.

[00:11:05] That's fantastic a wonderful way to start your learning by reading and having that as a value that your parents obviously so an interest in education and wanting you to be and to read, reading in itself is such a growth opportunity, but also to have the freedom to. Make your own choices, it sounded like about how hard you work too. But there was something that made you pick up the pace for yourself. Do you know where that might come from if you thought about it? Or why that sort of interest in achieving sort of ambition did kick? 

[00:11:42] I think it's because I always want to be a writer?

[00:11:45] So the reading was there and of course, if you're reading a lot of books and that's your favourite thing to do, it's like, well, I want to write these. I want to write one day, I want to, I started writing very young my own stories that got read out in class and I also knew because I had this drive to write. And I also had this drive to bring about social impact. I always remember having that and maybe that was modelled by the people around me and seeing that they were doing good work in the world. But I knew from a very young age that writers don't make money. I heard that over and over again you really struggle to be a writer. And so I had that when I want to be a writer and two, I want to be able to support myself. As a child, if you look back at my diary entries as a child, I kind of had this future envisioned for me that I was going to be this poor struggling writer who couldn't make ends meet. And I think because I was, so focus on these things that I noticed opportunities in a way that not everyone does. So when I went to university, I met someone and she was making a living as a writer. And I was just so curious about what she was doing and how she was doing it. And she introduced me to her network and that continued happening. I continued meeting people and people who were running really successful writing businesses. I knew these things. I think that would be it. Like I knew I was very focused that I want to write and I want to make money and I want to make an impact. And I continually noticed opportunities to do that. And then I was lucky enough to get mentored by a couple of people along the way who opened up many opportunities for me and introduced me to a very worldwide network. And that's how I ended up running my business. Yeah, so I don't know if that answers it.

[00:13:33] No, it's, it's a fantastic so yes, that story, if you're going to be a writer or an artist, exactly, you're going to have to suffer, suffer financially, there's not going to be any money. That's very much a rhetoric we live by. So for you to be, have that interrupted. Is at a young age is great and to be mentored by people who were living a different reality. I think also shows a change and it's very clear that you were looking to do something that had the creativity, the purpose and also things you were passionate about. So, I guess the next question is how did this? Accidental skill that you've had, or how did this all morph into what Hustling Writers is now? How did you get there?

[00:14:17] Yeah, so at the start of my career, I probably was your quote unquote struggling writer. I was trying to make it as a freelance journalist and I continually pitched myself and I took on whatever writing gigs came my way. And I'd say that's also part of it, because I so badly wanted to write, I just wrote. And if you wanted me to be writing about vacuum sealers, I was writing about vacuum sealers. If I was writing for an American legal company about how different ways to get a divorce, I was writing about getting divorces in America. Like, I wrote about an incredibly wide array of subject matter, but that many was fuelling my interest in pitching journalistic stories. So I was writing a lot of pictures and it's a tough industry. It still is a tough industry. It's gotten even tougher because of all the layoffs that have happened, but pitching yourself as a journalist to big publications like HuffPost and Vice and Refinery29 it's not easy and you have to become a great pitcher in order to do that. And so that period of my life. Without realising it, I was so focused on being a journalist and getting these bylines. I was also learning how to be an excellent pitcher and how to distill ideas into a very short format that's very captivating and meets the requirements of the editors what the editor is looking for, for publication. So one of my mentors asked me, she was running an agency at the time, and she asked me if I could help her pitch her clients to podcasts and publications. And this was at the same time that I was pitching myself. And I said, I've never done this before. And she said, well, I'm sure it's quite similar to what you're already doing. And I think you have the most expertise out of everyone I know because of the fact that you're already pitching yourself to these places. So I said, okay I'm gonna try it out. And I did try it out and it went really well. And the clients were very happy. And that mentor ended up actually closing her business because she had some other she decided to pursue some other things career wise, but she referred clients out to me and that's how I got my first referrals and sort of opened up this niche in the markets where I was like, entrepreneurs want to pitch themselves, but they don't know how to pitch themselves. And that's where I'm going to like. Do the pitching for them or teach them how to pitch themselves. And that's how I ended up here.

[00:16:45] This all sounds fantastic. It's like if people know about you, they could avoid some very expensive or at least time consuming mistakes of trying to do this by themselves and just not making it work. Because you just don't know, you don't know what you don't know. And so until somebody tells you that there's a formula or there's ways of researching the pitch, et cetera. You, you do spend a lot of time just sort of wandering in the wilderness, so yeah, 

[00:17:15] quite disheartening when you're putting yourself out there and you're just not getting anything back. You kind of start questioning everything when often it's rooted in the fact that this isn't a good pitch strategy behind your outreach.

[00:17:32] yeah so let's so we delve into that a bit more about how you came up with this concept of resilience or rejection resilience. I guess I'm really interested to have had Alice on the show is one that is fascinating life, but also how she's framed this as a question of gender, a question a feminist question. So in terms of that value set. Yeah, do you want to tell us a little bit more about what you mean by rejection resilience?

[00:18:01] Yeah, so in the context of gender a trend that I've noticed, and then did some research to kind of validate what I'm seeing, but in male entrepreneurial spaces, I have noticed that men are far more abrasively going after what they want. So if that means sending a message to everyone in the network and saying, you need to sign up to my newsletter. You need to buy my product. Do you need to come to my webinar? They will do that. They will hire an assistant to do that. That means pissing off people. They will piss people off. And when you merely encourage a woman to do that, it's often met with a lot more apprehension, fear, doubts. And I think from the gender lens . There's data that shows that women, for instance, wait until they meet 100 percent of requirements before applying for a job opportunity, whereas men would wait, would often apply with very little requirements. And I know people who have worked in HR, they can 100 percent validate that data.

[00:19:03] Oh, yeah. Oh,

[00:19:07] and an HBR, I read that there's research that actually shows that women take less risks than men. And part of that is I think the way we've been socialised. So in one element, if you have been seeing men take risks. Your whole life, you are a man, but feel safer because you have seen men take a risk, fail, and then be okay. And we can see that in like big media that guy that created the fire documentary. The fire festival. So, he created a fire festival, scammed everyone, went to prison. Now he's like coming up with some new festival apparently. Like that's an extreme example, but in less extreme cases, you can see your male CEO really screw up in front of a lot of people and then still show his face and do these things, whereas for women, often that hasn't been the case because we have been occupying spaces of leadership for a lot less time. And the bar not only can seem higher often is higher , if you imagine that a woman is the first CEO in a company, there are a lot of eyes on her. There are a lot of, people in the leadership board and the advisory board who have never had a woman be a CEO in their whole career. And so they're waiting for her to mess up because they don't trust that a woman can do this. And so there isn't enough as much grace or room for her to to make a mistake and recover from that mistake, we'll take a risk, which is why the risk part is so interesting. Like HBR found that women are more risk averse. And part of that is just that women get less support for taking risks. Like there's a society kind of received idea that because women take less risks, we're not going to we support you because we don't trust that you can take these risks and end up with something great. So when it comes to rejection, I think rejection feels like a risk. Putting yourself out there. Outreach feels like a risk. And for all these reasons that I just discussed, that process of putting ourselves out there feels a lot scarier for women because of course it gets more intersectional it's easier for me as a white woman than it would be for a black woman in South Africa or anywhere else in the world. But there's a lot of risk perceived. And so what I really encourage with outreach is that there isn't risk in the same way as there is, if you're the CEO and you are proposing spending half the budget on this new program, and then it fails. And now there's like the investment board all staring at you. Pitching yourself doesn't hold that risk. The worst that can happen is you reject it. And even if you are rejected, the person rejecting you will probably not remember who you are or remember that pitch you sent them. Like bad pitches are very unmemorable. Like from my experience of being in the receiving end of pitches, I don't remember. And this is offensive, unless you're like, said something that offended me, then maybe I'd take a note of it. But if it's just a badly written pitch, I'm not going to remember it. So it's hurting your reputation. It's a great way of building that risk taking muscle, which I think is so important for success and it is a muscle. I can talk about my own story with the rejection, but something that a muscle that I've built, like doing reps of the gym, it becomes easier over time, which I think can play out in lots of ways of our lives. We're taking other risks become easier and risk taking is very important for living a life that is successful on our own terms, I think. 

[00:22:44] Okay, I think that point about no one remembers a bad pitch that's just eye opener for me . My inbox, mail inbox in particular is full of pitches from people wanting to connect, wanting to sell me something, wanting to mate, et cetera. And 99 percent of them go in the bin because they're just boring, they're spammy. They're not connecting to me on anything. And the few that get through normally being fantastic connection. But you're right. I don't remember any of those people I've thrown in the bin. I don't remember any of them.

[00:23:21] You probably wouldn't remember. 

[00:23:23] Yeah, I tried to think any of them particularly offensive. And I don't know if they are. I don't know if you found this on LinkedIn, but there is a little bit of masculine showboating and hitting on women on LinkedIn, which is a bit offensive, but they go quickly in the bin and get reported. But yeah, so they're probably the ones, but I don't remember the person or the box name that said this stuff. So, yeah. That is eye opening. So building up your rejection muscle. How did you start doing that? What's the beginners 101?

[00:23:53] So at first started pitching myself quite a few years ago when I was still in university and obviously one of the first things you face when you're pitching yourself as a journalist was rejection and that was something that made me doubtful. Normal responses you get to rejection. I was doubtful and insecure and started questioning whether I could write and whether my ideas all sucked and what I should be doing. And I got added to a Facebook group by someone in my network and it was an exclusively women's only writing Facebook group that was focused on rejection and people were setting rejection challenges. And so the kind of overall challenge on the Facebook group was to get a hundred rejections in the year and they created a spreadsheet that, like a template that you could copy and past. And I was like, this is fascinating. 'Cause I was like, it's a game now. I'm not so derailed, I'm not putting all that emotional energy into getting an acceptance. I'm now putting effort at suit, getting rejections. That's a pivotal change in strategy that changed my life for the better even though it sounds so antithetical. So that part of that, and then also the community of the group, I was young, insecure, not sure if I had it, but there were veteran journalists there who had regularly written for the New York Times coming on and celebrating their rejection from the New Yorker or the Paris Review or being like, oh, yay, I just got a rejection from the Huffington Post. And I was like, I was so upset about my rejection from the Huffington Post, but here's a journalist with 40 years on me and she's written two bestselling books and she's celebrating a rejection from the Huffington Post. Like who am I to be upset that I got rejected from the Huffington Post? And it was also just kind of like celebration of an editor taking the time to reject you, because that is a door left ajar if an editor is writing to you with a rejection, that means that your pitch was interesting enough for them to get around to responding to you. So yeah, so I think that was a huge kind of breakthrough. And then really seeing that once I did that, that's when my acceptance started kicking off. That's when I started making breakthroughs. And I actually remember sharing the strategy when I first started it with my brother and he was like that makes no sense like you could just send really bad pitches like and why would you do that and it still worked. And I'd say that it worked because probably the biggest block for me and for so many writers is actually getting the pitches out there. And there's also science that shows all the studies that show that practice is better than than trying to get, do something perfectly. So getting your practice in is so much better than sending a couple of really brilliant pitches. It's better to send a hundred mediocre pitches. You will be a better picture by the end when I saw so many things. So in Atomic Habits, James Kerr uses a study of photography students where one group took as many photos as possible and they didn't have to be about standard or anything like they just were to submit many many photos and the other group was to spend like their three months or whatever it was trying to get the perfect photo and submitting that perfect photo and the results was that the group that did many photos had far far higher standard of photographs than the group that was studying how to take a great photo and then submitted a photo. So I think a similar logic applies. Like you will naturally become a better pitcher if you are doing this. Like, of course, if you're copying, pasting the same thing and continually sending that, that's not a good strategy, but if you are focused on the fact that, okay, I've got this encouraging rejection from this editor, let me play with this pitch a little bit more, tweak it to this. If you're continually evolving your strategy, you get better results. If you're getting those reps. And I think that's what a rejection challenge does.

[00:27:49] Oh, it's fantastic. It totally flips the whole mindset you have about rejection and taking it away from the personal, taking it away from it was ejection of you. It was a rejection of the concept. It was a rejection of whatever it was. And if you're pitching many concepts, you're not going to have that attachment to them as well. So yeah, yeah. So you're easier to kill your darlings as they say, because they're not that precious. Cause there'll be another one coming along the next day. So, yeah I totally support this. And although it's even how many years I've been in my business, it's still a fresh thing for me to go. It's numbers. You just got to go out there and get only 2 or 3 percent of people are willing to buy your product or take your ideas. You've just got to make sure you get all the other ones as well. So you can get that 2 or 3 that are actually going to say yes. Yeah. And they will there are some people who will say yes. Yeah, but not everyone, and if you can get clear that it doesn't matter that it's not everyone, you just need that 1 or 2. As long as you keep going, keep going. Yeah. 

[00:28:55] It's easy to get stuck in our own thought loop, even if we were gamifying it. Gamifying it helped me a lot, but it's easy to kind of look at that and be like, man, I've got like 10 successive rejections here. Clearly I sucked in But having a community of people who maybe have similar goals to you and are doing similar things. Bonding over the rejections you get can help because you're just less lonely and you feel like it's not a you thing. It's an industry thing. It's part of putting yourself out there. I also can help with strategy if you have someone in the community who's been really lucky and has been getting very successful, I wouldn't say lucky. And has been getting a lot of acceptances they can take a look at what you're doing and say, hey maybe you should change the way you address or open it or maybe include some more storytelling here. And that's something I did earlier in my journalism career as I had those people in my network who were also pitching themselves and we would, like, review each other's pitches and share feedback and that was hugely supportive helped a lot with the strategy and also yeah, it made it feel less lonely.

[00:30:00] yeah, yeah, it's hard to do all this by yourself when you've only got the internal support and as kind and as gentle as you're being on yourself and saying it's not you, etc. Yes, human nature will kick in at some point. So I do talk to my clients about that. Yeah, you're going to have internal support is really important, how you talk to yourself and how you manage yourself and your own emotions. But also, you do need other people around you. You need your team. You need your supporters and the honest brokers or whoever it is around you who are going to give you that feedback that you do need. And sometimes it's tough to take, but when it comes from a good place, it's so valuable. Yeah. 

[00:30:37] Yeah. That's why having people with shared goals is often a great way to start. If you're asking for feedback from your husband and he doesn't know what you do and he says, sucks like, You know, provide the value that you're looking for, but if you can find people who are doing this for similar reasons and understand where you're coming from you know that their feedback comes with a lot more empathy and understanding of what you're trying to do than someone who's a complete outsider or somewhat outside.

[00:31:07] Yeah. Either they tell you just suck or they just say you're brilliant darling Yeah, that's that's great. Thanks. When I pitch for leadership clients like CEOs and things and people running teams, running large departments, and I say everyone needs a coach it's not me. You still need one because there's only so much your friends will, your friends will just tell you, you're great. If they're worth being your friends, they're just going to tell you, you're great. There's only so much your husband or partner is going to listen to you before it starts to impact your relationship or and you can't talk to your teams and you can't talk to your bosses and your things like that. You've got to have somebody on your side. Who is there for you, but is going to tell you the truth. Yeah, these sort of long projects of development, it's also great to have that support network. There's nothing like that. Yeah. Yeah. Of people who get it.

[00:32:03] People who get it and have compassion, but a critical eye in back.

[00:32:10] absolutely. Absolutely. So you talk about this being a bit of a women's issue, like women are afraid to take risks, women are not socialised to take risks in the same way that men are, women don't see other women taking risks. Do you think there are any other barriers to women's participation in writing, but any other forms of participation in work as well that comes from the socialisation or other barriers? This whole unspoken, just recently in Australia, the Wage Gender Equity Agency has just released my company. Statistics on the gender pay, the gender wage gap in their company. So every company over, I think, about 100 or 200 employees including not for profit companies have had their numbers put out there. So major accounting firms, major consulting firms supermarkets, all those things we now know. what the gap is. And the average is about, I think Australia's about 14 percent at the moment. It's been coming down a little bit, but some companies have been found, even women owned that sell products to women have been up to 30, 40 percent gender pay gap. So there's a real economic cost to women in not getting that promotion, in not going for that opportunity. And in terms of entrepreneurs, there's also women are missing out on investment. There's a, there's a high, high gender bias towards men investment.

[00:33:51] yeah, yes, yes. I'm not quite sure what figure in Australia is, but I'm sure it's around that. It's not equitable in any way, shape, or form. So, I wonder if this is something else your clients are dealing with in their entrepreneurial journey. And how this rejection resilience may be able to support women in other areas of work as well.

[00:34:09] Yeah, I mean to reiterate your point about the gender the pay gap one of my client’s, she used to work in HR, her name is Kelly Thompson and often talks to how men asked for salary increases, or they negotiated their salary on taking the job, and so many of the women didn't, and that as a person in HR, it's expected that you're going to negotiate your salary. Like it's not personal. She totally expected that to happen. And so she always says it's a both and situation. There's one in the industry that is biased towards men and uplift them because it's been controlled by them for so long, but also there is an individual accountability that comes with us kind of making those asks. And so when I look at rejection resilience, I look at it as one of those micro things you can do to actually increase that muscle to make those asks. So yeah, pitching yourself is not a big ask. It's not a big thing that you're doing. But seeing that go well as a rep and it builds this muscle that makes it a little bit easier to be like what, I'm going to go pitch a VC founder for my company. And when that VC founder flat out rejects me, I have more to fall back on because I've seen how rejections are not the end of the world, actually normalising them helps me achieve what I've now achieved and do what I'm busy doing.

[00:35:38] Oh. Cool.

[00:35:39] So, yeah, I'd look at it in that lens as it's building up those sort of small asks. And one of the things my client always tells her clients to do, who are people in corporate America, is to make those small asks in other areas of their life, like negotiate your capable set of bound, like a small boundary with their neighbour, or do those like micro negotiations. So that when it comes to doing that big negotiation, you've now got the reps and you've seen it actually work in other areas of the world. And it becomes a bit easier. And look at kind of what I try and encourage people to do, which is to push themselves and normalise those rejections in a similar way. It becomes a lot easier to make those big asks and other of their life. 

[00:36:17] Okay, we're testing something. There's going to be rejections. And what do we take on from that data? Similarly with my clients, I say do safe, modest steps when you're trying to change a habit. So as you say, pitching yourself is safe. So do that. It's safe. It's modest. It doesn't take much time, etc, etc. Don't put everything on the line and see what happens. Just see what happens. And you might get a yes. Yeah, great. Fabulous. What did you learn? If you're going to a no, great. Fabulous. What did you learn? it's just about collecting data on you do something, something else happens. Okay. So you tried that thing, but you haven't tried before. What happened? Okay. Let's do it again. Well, let's change a bit of it. So you start, as you say, practicing, practicing, practicing. But I love this way of framing pitching as a very low risk activity. It is quite it's my last.

[00:37:13] and and framing it, practicing if you take just the context of podcasts, for example, like me pitching myself to podcasts, just how I ended up here with you, Judith.

[00:37:23] Absolutely. I said, yes.

[00:37:26] You can pick up. Interesting data from doing that, because let's say you have a couple of different pitches that you're using, you might notice the same idea is getting picked up and the others aren't, which is now like, Oh, okay, this is resonating with people and the other stuff I'm talking about is not resonating with people. And when you actually show up in the podcast and you have conversations, you get to practice your messaging. So if you were talking to some investors, you have now spent time practicing talking about what you're speaking about in front of an audience. Or if you're delivering a keynote, you've practiced it. It's a lot of micro steps that kind of can lead you up to those big things. And you feel like you now have the reps and the confidence to do those bigger things because you've been taking these steps. And in the study of talking on some podcasts, which you can do from your own home often and , it doesn't require as much of you as if you were pitching keynotes and now you've never talked ever, and now you're delivering a speech to an audience of 500 and that's extremely nerve wracking, especially if you don't have a lot of experience with public speaking.

[00:38:32] yeah, yes, yes, exactly. So again, start small. And the same when I, this podcast is pitching to people to come as guests, it's the same thing. It's like, we've got to get the numbers up to we've had great response so far, but that's mostly because the people who know me, but yeah, we want to go wider than that. And I have a wish list of guests and it's the same thing. Many of them will say no. But you've got to ask. You don't ask, you don't get. One of the things I guess resonated with me when I did see your email to me, when I saw it, read your pitch, is that you're specifically interested in working with women who are marginalised, and not just women who are marginalised. I'm wondering where that interest came from. Is that something about Social impact? 

[00:39:14] Yeah I think all the things that I spoke about earlier in terms of noticing trends but I'm looking at working with marginalised people. So if it's a man who is running a business from Nigeria and he can't access financial services and he's never seen people like him showing up in the media. It's that too. I think it is also partly like I started this in South Africa when I went to journalism school, I was never told that I could write for international media. They were training us to go work at a newspaper in South Africa. And I knew that I did not want to work at a newspaper in South Africa because I knew that there was no career progression, like they were all going to find the gyms, they were miserable and earning peanuts. And that's not a career path that I saw for myself. And it was modelled for me from my mentor to be ambitious and to go for bigger fish than what I was trained to do. And so I think that that's really kind of where it comes into is I've seen that particularly marginalised people are the less likely people to put themselves out there. And I've seen this with my clients, I've seen more marginalised clients go, well, that's a stretch. Like I don't want to pitch Essence or Fast Company, or I don't want to pitch that podcast, it's too big. And I'm like but I trust your message. I trust your work. Like I think it's going to work. Like as a publicist, I can see potential and they get an acceptance and they'd be like, Oh my God. I've deceived them and I'm like, no, like I told you that there's an interesting story here. There's interesting value you bring to the table and that's what they want. So I think that that's where the work is most needed. Is that all marginalised you are often the more kind of mental blocks there are to actually putting yourself out there, because it hasn't been modelled as easily. Just as we spoke about, for men, it's often seems easier for them to just aggressively jump in everyone's inbox and invite them to their events or whatever.

[00:41:17] I've previously run a program for women with disability, women and non binary people with disability, and I had one amazing participant in the program and she wrote or spoke in a case study and she said, whenever you start talking about disability, ableism comes up. Mostly from yourself. So the ableism is self generated. It's not saying it's not there, but the internalised ableism is as self generated. It's much of a barrier as it can be in some people because of the way society works around the issue of disability and how it devalues people who are physically different. And I just love that idea of as soon as you start to talk about gender inequality. Patriarchy comes up, misogyny comes up it just comes up and sometimes it's coming from yourself. So, having somebody to support you and identify that and work with you to move past that and see that path more clearly than you can see it at this point is so important. Yeah, yeah. 

[00:42:20] And to encourage, take those steps, put yourself out there, because I think it's both a society element, but it's also us putting ourselves out there in spite of that.

[00:42:31] And you too could have a job where you can start your working day at 12 and work into the evening and travel and live in all sorts of exotic and wonderful places. So don't say it's not possible because you don't know if it's possible until you try. Okay, so Alice, we're coming up to the end, but I just want to know what's next for you. What's your future plan or dream or where you're heading to?

[00:42:56] That's a great question. I want to say I can say what's on my future plan for the medium term, but future plan for the long term, I don't know. It's a whole life ahead of me. I'll do something completely different. But I envision evolving hassling writers into Something that really is, offers a strong community talk about all of that community element of putting yourself out there I want this to be the place where people come to, to get that support and to get that collaboration and that feedback the strategy insights. So I have a signature program called Pitch Your Power, which is teaching the insides of the exact strategies of how I pitch myself to podcasts and how I pitch clients to podcasts. And it's very short videos and exercises and screen shares of exactly what I do and how I find emails. And that's, something that I kicked off last year and then there's a small Slack community. So that's something that is next, I guess, we're going at. 

[00:43:56] Terrific, terrific. So yeah, so the community building and the actual step by steps of how to do it. And look, it worked. You're here today on the ever growing Aligned and Thriving podcast. So, thank you so much for being here today. If anyone is interested in checking out Hustling Writers and Alice's Signature Program, we'll have all those links below. So, you can go directly there and check them out for yourself. I encourage you to do so if it's something that interests you. Or you just want to build that muscle. It's a fun way to build the muscle. Being going on a podcast I hope is a fun activity for people as it is for me to host. So thank you so much for your time. Any final words of wisdom you've got for our community here?

[00:44:47] Start small and stay consistent, I guess, I don't know if that's too generic. That's what came to mind, thank you it so was so fun, really appreciate you having me here. Thank you.

[00:44:59] Oh, thank you. Check out the links and we'll be back next week with another exciting visitor to talk about other ways that people have found work-life balance by following their passion and aligning with their values. Take care and see you next week. Bye. 

Work-Life Balance Discussion
Alice's childhood and early influences around work
How Alice accidentally developed pitching skills as a writer
The concept of "rejection resilience" and overcoming fear of rejection
Practical strategies for building rejection resilience
Gender differences in risk-taking abilities
Alice highlights the value of practising messaging by observing which ideas resonate with people as a way to build confidence gradually.
Emphasising the significance of starting small and gradually expanding outreach efforts to gain confidence and increase opportunities for success.
Discussing the importance of reaching out to a wider audience, even if faced with potential rejections, as part of the process to grow and expand one's
Future Plans for Hustling Writers and Community Building