Episode 10: Becoming Known:

jo gifford

In this solo episode, I talk about why we have been sold a myth about "just following your passions and becoming known".

Whatever you choose to be known for also needs to be something that really sustains you.

Hat tip to Mark Shaefer and his book KNOWN.


Hi, guys. It's Jo Gifford here, and this is episode 10 of the Blow Up the Blueprint Podcast. I'm so glad you're here.
Thank you so much for listening. As always, if you are enjoying my podcast, I would super, super love you if you could pop on over to iTunes, leave me a review, and also share this with anyone you know who might find me being in their ears a useful thing. I hope that you do find it useful. As always, you can pop me an email, I'm jo@jogifford.co, with any feedback, with suggestions for future episodes, and anything that you'd like to hear from me.


Today, I want to talk a little bit about being known and being known for one thing.

This is something which I see so many people struggle with all the time.

I think it's a process, which is part of the problem.

Being known for one particular thing and building your audience and your tribe, and seeing it all take off is something that we are all in this space certainly striving to do.

We want to build the right tribe.
We want to be known for our genius.
We want to see it take off in the right way.
 We want to serve people.
We want to have the audience out there eager to buy our stuff, and the truth is it doesn't always happen overnight.

It doesn't happen that you decide on your thing and you set out to achieve that, and bam, there's your 3.2 million followers on Instagram. There's your list of people waiting for you. There's your buyers eager to hear from you.

In my experience, it happens in waves.

It happens that you start to create a brand, that you start to fill into what you could become known for, that you play around with that and you reach some success.

And then you realise that it's not sustaining you.

I want to really shout out the amazing Mark Schaefer, author of The Content Code and Known, two amazing books, which I am constantly devouring. His blog, BusinessGrow.com, is amazing.

Sustaining yourself with the thing that you want to become known for is key, because if you think about it, this is something that you're going to need to be able to be talking about for a long, long time, and we often don't realise that if you follow all the sort of conventional wisdom of the, "Hey, just follow your dream and pick something that you love and find your passion and it's all going to follow from there."

I'm not sure that it does, guys.

I'm not sure that it does, because that passion might be something that is something you need to keep as a hobby, that you'd like to pick up from time to time. That it's something that you enjoy as part of your personal life, but it's not something that is sustainable day in, day out for you to be podcasting about, writing about, creating products about, talking to your clients about, creating prolific content for, being interviewed about.

All of that stuff.

The good news is we are creatures who have many different aspects to our lives, but when you start to play into what you can be known for, you realise how many options you've actually got.

The first step is to start feeling into them, really. Consider how long you could actually sustain that for. How long could you talk about one particular thing for?

For example, my first career was graphic design, and I absolutely loved it.
I was always on such a big learning curve.
I enjoyed the process of creative thinking, of setting myself the target, because when you're being paid by the hour to be creative and to think of concepts and to nail some briefs, you need to learn that process pretty damn fast.
I loved taking briefs. I loved being part of a team that could synthesise what the clients wanted and to be able to describe that visually.
I loved the interaction between my team and the clients, and I really loved the end result: Creating something which looked really beautiful.

You could say, "Well, I could quite easily position myself as a graphic designer for the online space, or as someone who is an expert in design," because legitimately my degree was design. I had 15 years in the design sector, but actually it's not something that sustains me. It's not something that brings me joy.

I love designing stuff now for myself or for others or as part of my work.

I love sitting down to create something and to solve a brief and a problem with design.

I didn't always love doing it for clients, and that's the bottom line. I loved the creative thinking part of it, and for me it's the creative thinking strand that I bring to all of my work now.

The content creation, the creative thinking, and consultancy, the way that I work smarter, the way that I help my clients to step into content creation to amp up their power and to discover their power.

It's the creative thinking part of that which I always, always loved, and I realised that that was the strand that was threading throughout my portfolio career.


After my graphic design kind of stint, as I said a designer, a new business development manager, which was the kind of end of my agency, which I was scratching for some time to become self-employed, become something that I could no longer ignore, and I went self-employed and carried on doing some design work for a number of years, but I also began to play with different things.

I began to play into, "Well, what if I could copywrite some more?" I had some amazing copyright clients. I worked for Ebay, for LastMinute.com, for Floris, for lots of online travel magazines, and I was like, "Okay, so I could be a writer. That's something that I could focus on. I could turn to blogging," which I did.

Back in 2006, I first began blogging.

I was playing with all of these things, and they all gave me joy to a certain extent, and I don't think that I would be able to be known for any of those particular micro subjects.

I wouldn't want to be known for being a designer, because it's not something that I have such passion for that I can't stop talking about it.

I loved design.

I loved my roles.

I loved my job.

I loved my career, but it's not something that I could talk about nonstop.

I could still nail a brief for you right now. I could still sit down and pretend to love it and to be that person, but it's not something that even if I turned it into an online education, it's not something that I'd be able to do for a long time.

Creative thinking, however, I could. And content creation, I can and I do.

I think that whatever you've done in your life and your career leads you up into what you could become known for, and I think even once you've made the decision that you want to become known for something, it's still a period of exploration.

It's a constant journey of refining and evolving and checking back with yourself and seeing how the work is going with your audience.

Is your market right for this? Have you defined the right tone, the right message?

This is what I work with with my clients, because a lot of the time they're creating amazing stuff but they're just not getting traction.

It's because the messaging needs a tweak.

Often, the first part that comes before that though is stepping into who they really can be, and to really take a stake of ownership into the framework and the way that they work, into the beautiful bespoke blend that they bring to what they do for their clients or to what they teach.

You've got to step into it and then really nail the messaging, and then you become known, because not only are you creating the right stuff, but you believe in it as well.

You really think you can do it because you've stepped into a real zone of confidence with it, and the language becomes more refined, and your readership and your audience and your list grow.

It takes a bit of refining.

It takes some failures, guys.

I think it takes some times to fall flat on your face and to realise that it's not a linear thing.

It's not a case of doing some analysis to work out what you could be known for and hitting it straight on the head the first time.

If you're lucky, that might be the case, but the good news is that once you start, the faster it becomes to get there.

You have to start finding your voice and to start creating in a way that feels really good to you, and to reach people.


I'm a believer that you need to make space for creative thinking, that you need to make space to read and to absorb and to listen and to experience and to take on different stimulus, different environments, different thoughts, and to re-assimilate them in a way that makes sense to you and to share them with people in a way that makes sense to you. To give your translation of it all. To become the synthesiser of that information in a way that brings joy to you and helps others.

That's kind of where the holy grail is I think. That when you can bring joy to yourself and help others, and it's something that really sustains you, you've got a fantastic mix.

You've got something that can be there for the long haul, for the long term, and all of that takes guts to take the first step.

You've got to start sharing your thoughts. You've got to start putting yourself out on the line. You don't suddenly rock up on line as an entrepreneur with a huge following.

It might happen super quickly, and that's amazing, but it's not all prepackaged for you.

I would urge you to play into what can really sustain you, to think about the unique mix of all the stuff you've ever gone, of all of the passions you have, of all the expertise that you have, and think about if there's a thread that runs between it all.


For me, that was creative thinking or content creation.
For me, it's about empowering people to really do what they love doing and to serve others by standing in that power through creating.

Content creation allows us as well to learn as we teach.

It's not just about the inbound marketing and the building of the tribe. It's enabling us to learn and grow as people, and to bring other people along for the ride, and also to learn to digest information and to completely be on a constant learning curve ourselves.

This is a never-ending journey, but one which gets better and better every day.

Look for what sustains you. Look for what lights you up. Think about ways you can join the dots and what you've already done and how you can play into those things more.

I'd love to hear what you guys think, so send me an email, jo@jogifford.co, or find me on Twitter or Instagram or find my website, jogifford.co, and let me know how you're getting on with being known.

What your hurdles have been with becoming known, and how you've fast tracked it, if at all you have, and how you've dealt with those face slump moments when you realise that you've gone completely the wrong way.?

All right. Well, that it's for me now. Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate you, and I'll see you in the next episode.