Interview with Susan Walsh

PDN Hub | Susan Walsh Interview

Jamie Levy 0:00 Good morning, Susan. Welcome to PDN her podcast.

Susan 0:03 Thanks very much for having me.

Jamie Levy 0:06 Nice to meet you. And I know we’ve got a wonderful recording today ready for all the crew out there who are listening. Yeah. And looking forward to hear some of these answers because it’s going to be an interesting one.

Susan 0:19 They’re in for a treat.

Jamie Levy 0:21 So, Susan, let’s start a little bit. Can you just tell everyone a little bit about your background?

Susan 0:27 Yeah, so it’s, it’s, well, I guess nowadays, a lot of people kind of fall into things, which is what happened to me. But I started off and graduated with a degree in commerce, decided to follow a sales path, because that’s what my dad had done. And I also worked in retail, so started out as a merchandiser and then went into telesales, national accounts, account manager roles, and realized pretty quickly that Well, I would say, Not pretty quickly, actually, because it took about eight years to realize that I was doing what I thought I should be doing rather than what I actually wanted to do. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the same time. So I opened a shop in Gilbert for women’s clothes, which was a beautiful shop, and really lovely clothing. But there’s a lot of brand snobbery in Guilford, so nobody came in. And so I lasted about seven months, and then had to close. And of course, typically, just as I was starting to close, everyone’s like, Oh, you’ve got such lovely stuff, you know? Or oh, have you just opened? And like, No, I’ve been here for ages. So unfortunately, that didn’t work out. And I was just desperate for some work. So found an ad online for spending to classification for spend analytics company. And there’s like, well, I’ve worked in a lot of businesses, I know what they spend money on. So yeah, I’m sure I could do that. And that’s where I found my love. For for working with data.

Jamie Levy 2:05 So you went sounds like it’s interesting. Sounds like you went from kind of where you thought your path would be to kind of like a niche, niche consulting, or is it? Was it?

Susan 2:17 Yeah, so when I was at the spend analytics company, I could see that companies were spending an immense amount of money on dashboards and analytics, etc. But the real work behind all of that was the quality of the data, but nobody was talking about that. It’s, it’s almost, because it’s a kind of intangible thing, you can see a dashboard, you can see the analytics, you know, people are happy to pay for that. Even though you can’t have any of that without clean data. So I thought there must be an opportunity to just offer those services. That’s the bit I’m good at. And I don’t know where else I can get a job doing this. So you know, I need to kind of go out on my own, because I’m not happy now after five years where I am. And, and that’s really where the classification guru start. It was I kind of didn’t have any other options. And I didn’t have any connections and procurement or data or anywhere. So, yeah,

Jamie Levy 3:14 you’ve enjoyed this. So you’ve enjoyed this move?

Susan 3:17 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because I got to continue doing what I love. And I mean, I’ve grown so much, and challenged myself so much in the last few years, you know, learning new skills, having to run a business, marketing, the business, marketing myself, coming up with all these ideas around the business. And lots of things that I probably didn’t consider when I started, I just thought, I just want to pay my bills and do the thing I love. Now I’ve got a team, I’ve written a book, I’m all over the place. So yeah, it’s kind of it’s gone a lot better than I could

Jamie Levy 4:04 have hoped for. So how many of you are there?

Susan 4:08 So there’s myself and I’ve got three. And also, I have just been approved to get a Kickstarter, you know, in the UK, so the government will fund them for six months. So I’ll bring them in, I’m going to train them up. And then if it all works out, I’d like to keep them on at the end of that.

Jamie Levy 4:25 Right? And where do you where do you see, you know, where do you see yourself going with this now.

Susan 4:33 So I thought about this a lot and and I want to stay niche and highly experienced and there’s, you know, I can still increase the volume of work without having to massively increase the number of people I work with some data modeling software. So a lot of the projects that I work on, I could start to build models and make the process easier, especially on the cleansing side on the classic occasion site that’s more highly skilled. You need people who who know how to classify data who understand taxonomies. And that, that will will stay kind of like a small, tight team, but it takes normally a good six to 12 months to train up in that area.

Jamie Levy 5:21 I guess I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask one of the questions that seems to be, I guess, you know, historically, some of the things that I’ve done, but, you know, one of the questions I’d probably ask him is kind of seems really logical to ask is, we all spend, you know, a fortune on SAP, Oracle implementations and various other pieces of software that are out there. And we will use the data that comes from that, why, why do they get it so wrong? In terms of the data, and what would you say are the keys to kind of getting it right in reality,

Susan 6:00 so there’s a couple of things there, the first thing is, and actually, I’ve just been speaking to a few potential clients in the last week about this, they, they go ahead with the implementation without cleansing the data first. And then they’re in a whole world of trouble. Because once it’s in this in the new system, it’s in there, and it’s a mess. And it’s very hard to fix once it’s in there. So people are not, people are under estimating the value and power of cleaning that data before you even implement something new. If you are in a situation where you have had this your system for a very long time, then it’s you know, there, there are no quick wins that you can do to fix your data, it’s going to be a laborious manual process. And the thing is that it’s not good enough to just fix it, you have to maintain it. So you have to keep checking that everything’s okay. I often say you don’t make sure your data has it’s caught on. So it’s got to be consistent. It’s got to be organized, it’s got to be accurate. And it’s got to be trustworthy. And consistency is the biggest thing that’s hard to maintain. And then the other thing is, it’s the people inputting the information into the systems, a lot of the time, it’s not data people, it’s just organizational people who work with data. And they’re not being trained, and the importance of data quality, the impacts of incorrect data, and how the impact that has on their colleagues and the rest of the supply chain and the chain of processes, etc. So there’s, there’s definitely a piece there around trying to educate the rest of the organization on the importance of data, because at the end of the day, we’re actually all data people. We’re just all data people to differing degrees.

Jamie Levy 7:57 And do you think I mean, you know, what, why do we get it? I guess, there’s still still queries, in my mind, why do we get it so wrong? When we spend, you know, 2030 40 million implementing even more than that, when we’re implementing global SAP, global Oracle, global ifs all of these wonderful systems that we do, globally, but we get the data, so wrong,

Susan 8:24 people value declines as a skill. So it’s an intangible kind of product or service. That that most decision makers don’t understand the benefit of, you know, I’m all constantly saying, you know, data is an investment, not a cost. And because most of the time is just seen as a cost with no, no benefits, whereas there, there are huge time benefits. And there are all the decisions that you’re making based on bad data that you don’t know about. It’s the consequences of ordering too much, or manufacturing too much there no storage costs associated with that, or buying too much of raw materials or, you know, emailing the wrong people and then being subject to GDPR fine, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s just not valued. And it does take time, patience and some skill to do it properly. Because anybody can cleanse and classify or cleanse data, but to do it properly and efficiently and accurately. You know, you you have to have done it for a while and learn skills over time. But, but nobody sees that, but

Jamie Levy 9:44 so can again coming back to you. So how are you selling it but because if you’re selling this proposition of data cleansing, we’ve got to be a way that you’re selling this proposition of data cleansing so that people understand the value of it. What’s the Big sale for you.

Susan 10:02 So I’m in a very fortunate position that that all my requests come inbound. So it’s already hit the fan, by the time they’ve come to me, they come to me there already is a problem, and they need it fixed. And I’ve positioned myself as the fixer of dirty data. So if there’s anything that they think I might be able to help with, I’ll be the first point of contact. So, because unfortunately, people or organizations will not invest in data quality until something has gone really wrong.

Jamie Levy 10:39 Right? And what do you see as kind of like the, and let’s, let’s, let’s just use manufacturing as the example. Right? Yeah. Because I know we’ve got we’ve got kind of like a manufacturing organization and service organization to get to manufacturing, what are the kind of errors or mistakes that you’re seeing, like, give us give us a couple of examples of some big areas that you see that have gone, right,

Susan 11:01 I’m seeing and hearing about multiple item codes for one product, multiple descriptions for the same product, the wrong description for the product, you know, holes instead of zeros, missing numbers from codes, multiple versions of the same supplier, the addresses are not formatted correctly, sometimes missing multiple versions of one supplier. I mean, it’s there are so many different aspects and even things like you know, when you set up a new item to go to shipping, so I did. I’ve had this discussion on on LinkedIn before, and I’ve seen it happen with TVs where the dimensions were not set up correctly. So it looked like you could get a lot more TVs on a truck than you could. So that in turn will really mess up your delivery plan, you could be found by your customer for late delivery, somebody told me that they once had like 50 inch TVs had a dimension of like one centimeter by one centimeter or something ridiculous like that, you know, someone really hadn’t paid attention when they were putting that information in.

Jamie Levy 12:24 So you see the knock on so the knock on effect happens to the customer, or customers or delivery failures, things like that.

Susan 12:32 Yeah, and if it’s personal data you’ve got. Now you might not necessarily have that in the manufacturing side. But if you are, it’s not just about securely storing that data, you have to have the right incorrect information on people. So and you should only have the information that you need, you shouldn’t have any, like, you know, you’re in my database, I’ve got your email, all I need is your first name, your last name, your email, I don’t need your date of birth, I don’t need your postal address. You know, if I had those things, then potentially that’s a breach of GDPR. So and also ever had your name wrong or something that’s also potential breach as well.

Jamie Levy 13:17 And then then, so let me take one side of one organization. So I’ve worked for the kind of the manufacturing side, I’ve done that piece. And I’ve also worked for service companies. What do you see is the big issue with because obviously there we’re talking about deliveries, we’re really talking about a kind of a manufacturing company. So we go to the service side of the business what what side would you say goes wrong with the beta, their

Susan 13:43 CRM systems a lot, multiple versions of the same customer incorrect if you’re doing me postal mailings. And if you’ve got the wrong address, you could be sending them to the wrong person, or I got some anonymous data horror stories donated to me for my book. One of the stories in there is exactly this. They had sent out a whole range of mailings to people to the right address with the wrong name. And this was pretty GDPR. But yeah, it caused a huge stink. And in this case, actually, it was for a renewal of something. And actually the renewal was still like a 70% renewal rate, even though they did the mailing had the wrong name. It still prompted people to renew.

Jamie Levy 14:42 just it’s it’s so we saying that the issue is that fundamentally, when it system driven, we need to get the data, right especially rather than when it’s manually driven. Because I guess you know, we’ve got to love organizations out there especially in a work of small and medium size. businesses where they don’t have systems, they tend to, you know, run on very, very simple systems and a lot of Yeah, Excel spreadsheets and the search that they’re using, you know, the smaller companies that we’ve deal will deal with, don’t have those systems that they’re going to define issues with the smaller companies as well as the larger ones.

Susan 15:22 Not as much they tend to know their customers and set out, right, the bigger the company, the more clients, suppliers customers, the easier it is to detach from it and lose track and not not knowing what’s going on.

Jamie Levy 15:38 Right, since the detachment from the actual data that you’re saying is probably the biggest Yeah, although

Susan 15:44 I, you know, I have worked in companies where people know things are wrong, and it’s just accepted, it’s wrong, and nobody’s motivated enough to change it. You know, that

Jamie Levy 15:52 happened. Right? Right. Okay. So if you use smaller companies, I’ve seen them using drafting books still and orders manually, manually on a piece of paper.

Susan 16:02 Yeah, well, I wouldn’t recommend that I would recommend having something electronically and back it up. But there, there’s a lot less chance of something going wrong with a smaller business, I think.

Jamie Levy 16:16 The do you find? As an interesting one, I’ve wondered this, do you find people deliberately doing it deliberately, you’re playing with the data, I think

Susan 16:29 people are can be deliberately lazy, and can’t be bothered to populate all the boxes. And I haven’t seen anyone trying to sabotage anything, unless it’s like four in the spend data classification world, if you were trying to kind of hide some fraud or something. So you’ve bought, I don’t know, some some DIY stuff for your house. But you’ve classified it as facilities maintenance for the business or something or, you know, put it under something else, where you might try and try and hide it.

Jamie Levy 17:08 I mean, that’s, I was referring to that, because a number of times I’ve been through data myself and had, you know, colleagues that you know, have worked with before, go through data, and then, you know, looked at it myself and gone, something’s wrong care. I’m not quite sure what’s going wrong here. But, you know, it’s about the smells like a fish, it looks like a fish, but it probably is.

Susan 17:32 And you just raised a really good point there around knowing your data. So when I’m doing training, so it’s really important to maintain your data, not only to keep it up to date, but to know it. Because if you know it, you’ll and you’re familiar with it, things, things that stick out, will become obvious to you quite instantly. Whereas if you don’t look at your data very often, you’re not going to know if something’s right or wrong.

Jamie Levy 17:58 No agreed. And, you know, as somebody that I mean, I looked after direct materials for three years, for one category area across the whole of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, the delights. And I could spot you know, we used to do budgets, where you would go through every line of your data, you have to set the budget for every line of every product that you ordered. And I knew if something was going wrong, I knew my data, I could see things that were just didn’t look right. And then I could say something’s wrong, or orders through the roof, you know, orders? Or does that look like a million? Where you know, your average order size is 50,000? You kind of go and doesn’t look right. Yeah.

Susan 18:37 And also, how many ways can you spell the word screw? Because there’s quite a lot of them. Yeah, so yeah,

Jamie Levy 18:47 that comes back to an interesting one. And probably coding structures is an interesting one, that I’ve had many discussions with many people about this, because we talked earlier about taxonomy. And what taxonomy should we use? Everyone seems to create different structures. I’ve been in enough companies now where we’ve created our own structures. Is there a taxonomy that you would say, hey, you know, use this use the UNs PFC use this use something that, you know, is pretty standard makes life simple? Or would you say, just create your own every time?

Susan 19:22 No, most of the clients I work with will have me build them a customized taxonomy. But what I would say is, don’t do it yourself. Get get an expert in because I worked on a taxonomy rebuild for a client recently, and they had completely left out water utilities. Just because they’re probably so focused on the area that they are managing that they don’t always think about everything else. And so, so I’ll go through the data and actually build a taxonomy based on what’s the data. I think the only way that you could get close to kind of standardized taxonomies. If you do it by sea industry, where we’re at least fit the industry to have something globally, I just don’t think you’re going to miss out the detail in some area. So if you use the un spsc, parade for hardware, loads of options, look at the marketing section. It’s awful. There’s not even a digital marketing, unless they’ve added it in the more recent versions. But, you know, for travel, there’s no toll roads, which, you know, but they’ve got parking in there. So why is toll roads not in there, you know, different things?

Jamie Levy 20:40 And is the benefit? So do you find and forgive me for asking the question. Because just general interest, do you find that the demand you’re getting is coming from procurement or coming from outside of procurement as well, in terms of cleaning data.

Susan 20:55 So there’s a huge demand from procurement for classification cleansing, so and also vendor supplier cleansing, too, for PHP implementations. That’s another area where there’s problems. So if especially if you’ve got a very historical database, you might have 10 versions of that one supplier, you might even have still have the name of the company that it bought five years ago as the supplier even though you know, it’s not called that anymore. So, you know, we’ll help get all the names, the addresses all tidied up, and verify that they’re the right addresses. And then we’ll, we’ll define a golden record that we think is the one that should be because normally, there’s multiple payment terms against one supplier as well, which is crazy. I mean, I’ve literally seen it like, five or six different payment terms against one supplier.

Jamie Levy 21:49 so nobody can track anything from a finance point of view. It’s an interesting one, because, you know, I always ask the question, why are we driving it as procurement? Surely finance want this? Right? You know, surely finance need the data to be correct, because, you know, you’ve got multiple, multiple dates, and who’s matching that often the three way much, is making sure the invoices are going out, right? What Why is procurement leading the charge in your view?

Susan 22:17 I think finance have a different lens, and a different objective. And maybe they’re just like, this is our job, we just make sure the numbers add up. And that’s it. They’re not necessarily looking at the payment terms. And because maybe that’s seen as something that procurement negotiate in their contracts. And that could be why why it falls with them. But again, it’s like who’s setting up all these different payment terms? If you’ve got one contract with one payment term?

Jamie Levy 22:52 Yeah. Then then this and then it’s just appearing on the system a different ones. So you back to the rubbish, in rubbish effect. Getting the

Susan 23:03 right version? Yeah. All right.

Jamie Levy 23:08 So let me just take a step back, because we’ve got into talks a good bit about data and got into the data. But obviously, it’s worth was taken a step back in terms of you and looking at your business, and what’s going on and how you’ve changed. You know. And probably one of the questions I always ask people, is, tell us about something that you you failed at. And it could be the example of like, set up your clothes business or something else. And what you really learn from it that you think people out there really could learn from you in terms of that experience?

Susan 23:41 Yeah, definitely the shop. I couldn’t even afford to go bankrupt, I had to save up for six months to pay to go bankrupt. And, you know, it was a really tough time, I had to wind up the limited company myself, I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do it. So I had to write all the letters to all my my debtors. I had to deal with all the calls or threats of you know, debt collectors coming around. But what I learned from the whole experience was, how strong I learned how to set up a business, I learned how to run a business, what to do and what not to do when you run a closed shop. So hen for anyone who wants to open a closed shop, don’t spend all your budget for all the codes for opening the shop. Like I wanted to fill out the shop and make it look full but actually what I should have done was kept some budget back so that I could order and more of the stuff that was really popular. Right. So so that was a learn, lesson learn and working with staff is a nightmare. And I don’t know Like, it’s it’s no. And it’s slightly different but not quite like nobody will love your business as much as you do, you have to expect that they’re not going to be invested in it as you. They’re there to take money home and do some work. So you really have to let that one go and accept that nobody’s gonna do anything like you. Because it’s your business. Yeah. So what else did I learn? I? Yeah, I guess I learned I should have I should have given up sooner. But I was I didn’t want to.

Jamie Levy 25:42 Okay, so that that’s interesting, because that leads me back on to your TED talk that you just done. Yeah. On resilience. Yeah. And no, not meaning no. So and everyone out here can listen to the TED Talk. If you want to go and listen to it, then suggest listen to TEDx is there? Again, you know, the question for me question that’s interesting to me is, and I meet a lot of people who talked about this, it’s, it is resilient, it’s about how do you you know, at the time, the times are bad, sometimes we all have those days where we get out of bed and go, now, am I doing the right thing? What, what, what’s driven you? What do you say the three key things are that that driven you forwards? When you kind of went when your body naturally went? Well? No means?

Susan 26:35 Yeah. So I mean, definitely with the shop. I mean, there were, I was doing six, seven days a week, and there were some days that nobody was coming in the shop. And it was just, it was exhausting mentally. And so either were the were the days where I just took a day off, because I just needed to. But what kept me going was you know, I still saw an opportunity. You know, it’s people did that did come into the shop really loved the clothes, it’s just that couldn’t get a wide enough audience, or the attention for it. And this was really before a lot of Facebook, Instagram, I don’t even think existed. I was advertising on the back of the parking tickets at the parking machine. Right, see if that would attract some people. So it, it was a lot of kind of, I mean, it was a nice business. But the overheads were just too much. It was, you know, this business, I have very few overheads, it’s much easier to make profit. And so what, you don’t spend it all on animated videos?

Jamie Levy 28:01 No, now. Now I know you, I know you’ve moved on, you’re moving to and you’ve moved into another business. So, you know, I kind of tend to wonder, you know, there are a lot of entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to, and I know, you know, a whole host of them. The question is, is what keeps you going? What keeps you moving?

Susan 28:21 I just realized this, answer your question, to be successful, to be happy. And to keep challenging myself, like I get bored easily. I think most jobs, I almost stayed one or two years. This just constantly challenges me in new ways. I never get bored.

Jamie Levy 28:47 That’s an interesting one. I’m here. So more people I’ve spoken to and I’ve spoken to Oliver recently and see Griffin recently. And that seems to becoming a constant theme. And I’m not. I’m not hearing whether it’s young or old. I don’t know the difference. But I’m hearing this constant theme of boredom.

Susan 29:08 Of I’ve always been like that, it’s always been like that. That’s not a new thing. I just I found something to to challenge the boredom. Right? No, two days are the same.

Jamie Levy 29:22 And what happens in those times where your head goes? Am I doing the right thing? Is this the right thing? For me? It’s getting a bit difficult now.

Susan 29:32 I mean, I’ll be totally honest, like nobody has paid my invoices. I can’t pay my contractors right now because other people haven’t paid me. And you know, I’m constantly thinking oh, but you know, you know, it gets better. You know, they have to pay at some point and you know, of course born find some way to pay them. You know, but you know, I’ve got a ton of outstanding invoices coming in. You know, on paper. I look very cash rich, but the reality is No buggers pin me. So, you know, that happens all the time. And actually, it’s that’s even more stressful now because I have people relying on me when it was just me it was like, why just have to worry about me, that’s fine. But now I’ve got other people who rely on me too. So that’s frustrating, because I don’t want to let them

Jamie Levy 30:21 it’s an interesting one, because we were going into, we’re going to some elements of mindset, which is kind of interesting, and, and understanding the why, why you’re doing this, what’s the reason for it? You know, and that that’s kind of, you know, PDN hubs fairly new for those of you out there, you know, when we’ve not been around for 20 years, like, you know, used to work for the big consultancies, and we’ve been around for 2030. even longer than that those years, and everyone knows about them. And it’s the mindset of trying to understand, number one, what’s the why, why are you doing it? You know, where’s your goal? What are you trying to achieve out of it, but also being able to constantly and, you know, for those who those of you might have seen some of the Tony Robbins stuff? You know, one of the things he talks about, it’s about mindset shift, it’s about being able to shift your mindset. And that’s what I’m really interested, because you’ve obviously clicked onto something that’s worked for you. And it’s about being able to say, when those dark times come, you know, Tony talks about it, he talks about 92nd shift now. Yeah, he can do in 90 seconds, he can shift himself from, I’m in this, I call it a hedge fund, where you know, you’re in the downward spiral. And in 90 seconds, you can shift now, we all have longer term, so that Yeah,

Susan 31:38 I mean, sometimes it’s like a day, but I always know that I’ll feel better tomorrow or the next day, you know, I know that things will get better. I’ve been in this position many times, because nobody ever pays on time, you know, so it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. So I just have to keep on trundling through.

Jamie Levy 31:57 So do you plan for that now you planning for the new

Susan 32:03 birth? Yeah, I’m trying to build up a buffer now. But I mean, even when I have had buffers in the past, I’ve still had to use those to get me out of a hole, you know. Unknown Speaker 32:15 But it’s all part of the fun.

Jamie Levy 32:20 One way of looking at, if you were giving, if you’re, you know, we all talk to people who are younger than us now who’s starting out in the world. And you know, you were to give, and I would say, Give somebody younger, but actually say give it give it to yourself. If you look at yourself at 20 years old or 18 years old, what three pieces of advice would you give to yourself?

Susan 32:45 And said, try try more things, try more jobs and see what you like. Find, find what you’re good at and find something like Go follow more what you love doing rather than what you think you should be doing? Okay. Don’t Don’t be so impatient. Unknown Speaker 33:10 And Susan 33:15 just number three, what would I say?

Jamie Levy 33:20 It’s why I was asked for three.

Susan 33:22 You’re gonna really love Prosecco. I don’t even think that existed when I was my younger self.

Jamie Levy 33:33 In the last few months, what would you say is the biggest surprise you’ve had? And why did you have it? Why was it surprise?

Susan 33:39 Oh, that’s a good one. I think I think during the TED Talk, that really terrified me. absolutely terrified me.

Jamie Levy 33:51 Why was this surprise to you? Unknown Speaker 33:52 Um,

Susan 33:54 because I do a lot of talking. I talk about data all the time. So I can talk about with my eyes closed. But this I had to learn. I didn’t have a scripts. I had to just go out there. And the first time we got to speak on the stage was when we were on the stage speaking. So there is no practice from the stage wasn’t, we’d kind of been told we’re going to Well, the impression I got was you’re going to be in a room with a camera. There’ll be no audience. There was an audience there was multiple cameras. And so whereas I practice talking to a single camera, and then had to switch instantly from that to looking around, trying to engage in the audience and all that kind of stuff, so Right. And I guess I haven’t been that nervous. I don’t think ever, and like, yeah, the impact that nerves have on you really surprised me.

Jamie Levy 34:52 Okay, interesting. Yeah, it’s an it’s an interesting one. Yeah. I’ve been through a few of them now. So Yeah, it’s interesting when you do the two buildings.

Susan 35:03 I spoke at big data London just the other week, and I loved it. Absolutely loved it.

Jamie Levy 35:09 So you find it easier talking about sub your subject as opposed to talking about you.

Susan 35:16 Yeah, could be I mean, it was quite a personal talk. So, and I knew my family are watching and they didn’t know what I was going to be talking about. So there was a lot of other aspects going on in that as well. And yeah, just I chose to not have any slides. Right. I didn’t want to distract from the talk itself. So I could have used slides as prompts. Right. And I chose just to do a talk. So you know, depending on if I did it again, and I what I was talking about, then maybe I would use slides, which would help prompt things.

Jamie Levy 35:50 Right. Okay. That’s interesting. Yes. I mean, I have not done a TED talk. So I don’t know. I’m doing these, I would

Susan 35:57 highly recommend anybody just applying to do it.

Jamie Levy 36:00 Okay, maybe that’ll be my next one.

Susan 36:03 Even just the process. You know, I went to a couple of auditions. It was it was applied in the January and then it was filmed in the May.

Jamie Levy 36:13 Well, so yeah, it took some time to get through to the final piece. That’s interest is definitely interesting. I’ve watched it. It’s definitely interesting and want to listen to, especially somebody speaking from, well, it’s good. You speaking from the heart. It’s not a rehearsed regurgitation, that it feels like some of them, you see them, and you know, the regurgitation.

Susan 36:36 Yeah, they’ve memorized it. Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s

Jamie Levy 36:39 great. And it’s really interesting. So what are the next challenges for you, in your career?

Susan 36:45 Definitely, handling the growth of the business. And I found this year to be extremely challenging. And, you know, struggling through the first couple of years was really hard. And everyone tells you, it’s going to be hard. So you expect that, but very few people tell you how hard growth is managing cash flow, having to find staff training them up. I had a whole range of contractors last summer, but I let them all go, because because of the very thing we spoke about where, you know, they just the it wasn’t the skill, that was the problem. It was the attitude. You can you can upskill people, but you it’s very hard to change someone’s attitude. And so I felt like they let me down. So I got rid of all of those and then started fresh in January with some new ones. People that I knew, knew less well. So the people before I had known quite well, they had worked for me before, but it’s so different when it’s your own business. Jamie Levy 37:48 Yeah, it’s an interesting one, I spoke to a person not long ago who actually had a very, very successful business got bought out. And he had a huge problem with his staff that they carried on working in the way that his old business ran. And his business, he got bought out and he was rebuilding a new business. And he said, the one thing if I could have done anything was just get rid of all the staff because they carried on working the way that I was a multi million multi million pound turnover business. Yeah. And it wasn’t anymore. I was in growth phase. And I needed people to work in a very different way. And he said, you know, some of them were loyal. And it was great, he said, but some of them just had got used to that element where we had the extra ability. Yeah, yeah, we don’t have that anymore. We’re a very small company. And that was an interesting comment from somebody that’s very successful. sell that for millions. Yeah. And was trying to rebuild and

Susan 38:46 scratch. Yeah, that is that’s really interesting. different mindsets, I guess, are needed

Jamie Levy 38:51 completely, completely. Before we go into a quick fire round, because thanks for everything. Is there anything that didn’t ask that you think would be really useful people to know outside?

Susan 39:07 if you’re starting out, whether it’s a new job or a new business

Susan 39:15 get as much like experience as you can, like so when I first started out with this business, I took on loads of crappy jobs from people per hour and Upwork you know, just to get experience, I made absolutely no money from them. But But suddenly, I started to gain new skills that I can offer through my business just by you know, taking on these jobs. So so, you know, if you’re looking for a job and they say you need experience in this, that the next thing, do a couple of projects on people per hour, you know, and then you can say you’ve done it, you know, you don’t have to be like super great at it, but you’ve at least done it

Jamie Levy 40:00 That’s great. That’s great. It’s it’s, you know, this is all useful information for people out there. You know, we’ve got a lot of people who listen who are younger, who want to start in different businesses, we all know people fall into procurement and not