Influence by Design

With Samantha Riley, an authority positioning strategist, best selling author, speaker, host of the Influence By Design podcast and who has been on the judging panel for the Stevie Awards (Women In Business) for the past two years. She has built multiple businesses over the past 28 years, and grew her first 7-figure business from the ground up before she was 30. 

Samantha grew up in Adelaide, Australia and left her mid-year 11 in high school and moved into the working environment by owning a dance studio at a young age. In 2015, she published a book called “The Heart of Entrepreneurship” where she shares her experiences and insights of life as a business owner and entrepreneur for over 20 years. Currently, Samantha works with coaches and practitioners to sell and deliver their expertise online so they can live their life by design.

Join us for this fun and exciting conversation where Samantha shares her early roots as an entrepreneur, gems that she has learned along the way including in regards to team building, leadership and more, and how she now supports her clients in building businesses by design and establishing greater thought leadership.

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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:

  • “The last two years taught us that we have this whole life and business is just part of it.”
  • “Thought leadership is being able to put your thoughts together in a way that is new, so that you are able to influence and lead others.”
  • Why Samantha does not believe that we should wait to have the “thought leader” label bestowed on us by someone else.
  • What must come first in your business.
  • “I use human design…to help (my clients) really understand who they are, so that they stop having so much friction, because they’re acting out of alignment in who they’re meant to be, and get more into flow.”

“We all want different things. Let’s build a business that matches that.”

-Samantha Riley

Check out these highlights:

  • 04:11 Samantha talks about her first entrepreneurial experience in primary school.
  • 05:19 She started her first real business with a dance studio when she was 20.
  • 09:39 Big takeaways during Samantha’s early work experience at McDonald’s.
  • 25:47 Why most people are reticent to apply the thought leader label to themselves.
  • 26:36 How to take your thought leadership to the next level.
  • 38:26 Samantha discusses the most challenging pieces of the business foundations for her clients (hint: they include numbers & marketing).
  • 47:35 Why cookie cutter systems don’t work.

How to get in touch with Samantha:

On social media:





You may also visit her website here.

Imperfect Show Notes

We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.

GGGB Intro  00:00

Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business™ …

Samantha Riley  00:12

There’s a lot of coaches saying “this is the only way to do it, you do it this way, and you will get results.” And it’s absolutely not true. We’re all unique people with unique wants and desires as well. Some women want to have a business so that they can be at home with their children, and pick them up from school. And some women want to be traveling around the world and not have children and some women, you know, it doesn’t matter what they want. And you know, it’s the same for men. We all want different things. And whether you want a house with a white picket fence, or whether you don’t want a house at all, when you want to travel the world, then who am I to tell you? That’s not the way that it needs to be. I’m very, very passionate about whatever it is that you want to do, let’s build a business that matches that and very against cookie cutter systems.

GGGB Intro  01:02

The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business™ podcast where endurance is required. Now here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:35

Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving entrepreneurs throughout the US and around the world. I am so excited today to welcome you to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business™ with my friend Samantha Riley. Welcome, Samantha.

Samantha Riley  02:00

I’m so excited to be here with you today.

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:02

Oh my gosh, well, I feel so grateful especially knowing that you’re fitting me in between moving – a big move and lots of bad weather. And Samantha’s in Australia, for those of you that don’t know, and we were just literally talking about how you have flooding north, in areas north of where you are, that’s really massive, really, really major flooding. So, man, there are some crazy things happening. But I’m so grateful to have your time this morning. And it’s a Saturday morning for you, which makes it even more special. And I’m just so excited to have you. 

Samantha Riley  02:36

It’s really long. We’ve been trying to do this for a very long time. Now we’re talking years, not months, not days. We’ve been talking about this for years, but we’ve made it happen. We’re here.

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:47

We’ve made it – well Samantha just reminded me that apparently when we first connected, I’ve blocked it out. I joked that it was probably PTSD related or like such low sleep. I think my baby girl was close to a year or something. And she’s a non-sleeper and has been for a long time. But I’m finally over the hump and you know, maybe will be a little bit more sane, we’ll see. Yeah. So for folks that don’t know Samantha, Samantha Riley is an authority positioning strategist, a best selling author, speaker and host of the Influence By Design Podcast, and has been on the judging panel for the Stevie awards, women in business for the past two years. She has built multiple businesses over the past 28 years and grew her first seven figure business from the ground up before the age of 30. Samantha now works with coaches and practitioners to sell and deliver their expertise online so that they can live their life by design. Oh, that’s such a lovely bio. Samantha, nobody else has that bio.

Samantha Riley  03:53

No, it’s very unique, actually.

Heather Pearce Campbell  03:58

I love it. I mean, there’s so much there’s so much to learn about you and your story. So I would love for you to share how you got started.  Where did the interest in business begin?

Samantha Riley  04:12

I think that I was one of those people that was born with entrepreneurship in my blood, because when I think about it in I would have been in maybe third grade. I remember I used to make these like sticky hard toffees and I used to make them a little patty pan like little cupcake things, and I used to make them and you know, you can tell I’m an I’m a 70s kid because I would never have let my children boil, you know, sugar on a stovetop, but you know I did in the third grade, and I’m here to tell the story. But anyway, I used to take them to school. And I remember people who say Oh my goodness, they look so good. Can we have one? And in my head I’m thinking have one I can sell you on? So I started making these sticky toffees after school every night and selling them then it got to a point where I got so sick of doing this every night that I actually outsource this to my brother and sister. And I would pay them something like 20 cents to make all these sticky toffees that I sold at school the next day. So really, it was, that was kind of my first, my first foray into entrepreneurship. And my first traditional business actual real business was when I was 20. And I opened a dance studio. And by the time I was 21, we’d also opened a retail store that turned into to within a few years. So I’ve been in business all my life. And yeah, done many different types of businesses. So it’s not something my parents were not in business. I don’t know where it came from. But interesting. Yeah, in my first job, I actually my first job was working in a McDonald’s store. And the owner of that store was the owner of four stores. And I used to sort of go in after school, though my little school uniform on and sit on his desk and ask him questions about what he was doing, you know, how do you do those rosters? Or, you know, in those days, he would do his accounting on a on an old journal. And I used to say, how does that work? Can you explain it to me? And thinking back, I’m really, really grateful, because I was only 16 at the time. And he used to explain it all to me. And when I went for my first full time job, I remember going in there and and he was sitting at the desk, and he said, What do you been up to say to him, I said, I just went in for an interview for my first my first full time job. And he said, Oh, who’s that with, and he got on the phone straightaway and said, You need to hire this girl. She’s the most incredible teenager I’ve ever met. So, you know, I had him that I looked up to, I’ve always just had an interest in business.

Heather Pearce Campbell  06:44

I love that. You know, it’s funny, you reminded me that because I one of my first jobs aside from paper route, and like really young, you know, little jobs that I’d pick up here and there to make a few cents. I worked at Wendy’s. And so working in fast food as horrible as it was – right? Having to put on a hot polyester uniform, and get on my bike and ride like in 100 degrees weather across town in the middle of summer, right? Because it was a summer job. Because you couldn’t change you couldn’t like come as a citizen and change in the bathroom. And then, you know, be an employee, you had to show up in uniform, which was awful for me. Anyways, it’s all – the whole thing is systems based, right? Any fast food restaurant, any chain right is entirely based on systems. And that was eye opening. Because, you know, you learn to timelines, and how quickly things are supposed to be done to keep like the drive thru moving at the proper speed. And like how I remember like counting down to the seconds how quickly we were supposed to make a single hamburger, right? I mean, it was, it’s so interesting, because I think a lot of people might take for granted, the really powerful things you can learn inside of a business like that.

Samantha Riley  08:01

Do you know how grateful I am for having my first job at McDonald’s? Because I met my husband at the time also? Well, he wasn’t my husband, you know, not exactly when I was 16. But I met my husband there. And and he worked he was the manager there as well. So I used to see the operating manuals. And I thought that every single business ran like a McDonald’s store. Because that’s all I knew that was the only job I’ve ever had. So I actually thought that every business had systems like that. So when we opened our first retail store, I recreated those systems and as you would know whether the system for what exactly do you say when someone walks in the door? What exactly do you say when someone says they want something? Exactly how does it happen when you’re doing your opening procedures. So I created my first retail store in exactly the same way. And it wasn’t until years later that I was told no, no. This is not how every business runs. And I was like really, I just thought that…

Heather Pearce Campbell  09:00

Flying by the seat of their pants.

Samantha Riley  09:03

Well, I was also flying by the seat of my pants but luckily I did understand what these operating procedures were and I just recreated them all. So I believe that’s why that we were able to grow so quickly without any business experience

Heather Pearce Campbell  09:20

Right. Well, that’s amazing at age 20 starting your first business and then you know growing to multiple locations so soon. What when you look at the the experience inside of McDonald’s aside from systems was there anything else that were big takeaways from that early work experience?

Samantha Riley  09:39

Hmm probably more as I got older and I didn’t see it more so at the time but as I as we grew the business and as we got more staff, I did think back to the the management that that was liked by the staff and the management they wasn’t liked by the staff and the the, like reciprocal behavior of the staff that would come into play. And even the way I used to act if I didn’t really relate to or, you know, look up to a manager, how that would play out in a shift. And it took, but that took me actually quite a long time to get that learning. Because leadership didn’t didn’t really come very naturally to me at the beginning, I didn’t understand leadership, and how to get my team to, to work together. I’m much better at it now.

Heather Pearce Campbell  10:40

I think it was 20, right?

Samantha Riley  10:44

Exactly, yeah. But yeah, but even sort of until I was in my mid 30s, I would still get frustrated, like, you know, we had 35 on our team, and I was still get frustrated, sometimes thinking, wow, like, you know, these guys are complaining, because they didn’t get a shift to this week where, you know, I’ve had to not buy groceries this week, because I had to make payroll, or I had to pay tax or whatever it was. And I used to take that very personally, where now I think, well, what’s actually none of their business. That’s, that’s my business. And you know, just make sure I look after them. So that did take a long time for them to settle in.

Heather Pearce Campbell  11:21

Yeah. At what point? Did you start helping others with their businesses? Where did you make that shift?

Samantha Riley  11:29

So that happened. So after I sold, my DAZ Studio sold the retail stores. And there was this period in between dance and business where I was in the health and fitness industry. So as a personal trainer, and I opened a Wellness Center. And we used to run retreats, and we used to run retreats, on building your life by design, which is essentially still what I do behind my business. And we used to talk about all of the different sorts of things in your life to be healthy you nutrition and hydration, and sleep and breathing. We used to talk about relationships and love language. And, and one of the pieces that was in this was career, it was just one of the little pieces. And what happened was it at the end of each of these retreats, people would come to me and say that the plate, the part of my life that I’m really unhappy with is my career, how do I make the transition into opening a business? And then I would help them. And it kind of got to this point where I had this, like, quite a large amount of clients that I was teaching that I was working with, with business, but I wasn’t charging them because I hadn’t. The Penny had not dropped.

Heather Pearce Campbell  12:39

You hadn’t made the shift. Yeah,

Samantha Riley  12:41

I hadn’t decided I hadn’t. I hadn’t even noticed sometimes I do some things that are really quite blonde. But anyway, I remember at the time saying to my business coach, like what should I do? I’ve got all you know, we’re doing these retreats, blah, blah, blah, but I’ve got all of these people he’s got. He’s like, how many people? Are you helping with business? Tell me about this again. And you haven’t seen what’s happening, Sam? Watch. And I was like, Well, what should I do? And he looked at me like, Are you kidding me? Like, do I need to spell this out to you. So that was about 2011. He spelled it out to me, I did get the I did get the memo. And I went into into coaching business owners. And I guess really what I hadn’t noticed is, and I think that this is where a lot of people struggle in business, that they don’t see that the their expertise or what they’re actually doing. And business is actually two separate things. And I hadn’t really seen the correlation. So for me, I’d been in business since I was 20. But in my head, I was like, but I was in dance. And then I was in health and wellness, not really seeing that the golden thread underneath all of them was I’d been in business for a very long time. And where, and you know how that played out in my coaching? Was that because I’ve run so many different businesses. And because we’ve had so many things, you know, fail we’ve tried so many things is that I can see things that other people can’t, because I know that to get to 10, you could add seven plus three, or you can add six plus four, you could add five plus five, there’s so many different ways to get to the end result. And I realized that because I’d had so much experience that I was able to help people so, so much easier than some other people that I knew that were in the industry.

Heather Pearce Campbell  14:30

Well, and it is the case. I mean, even that example where you left, like yes, he had to spell it out for me, right? We all have those areas where we’re good at spelling it out for somebody in a different way, like around a unique topic or on a particular pain point, right. But sometimes, it’s so fascinating. We all have those moments where we need that ourselves in our own work and our own business so.

Samantha Riley  14:54

Highly, and don’t you think that the thing that you find the easiest you’re often quite blind to the thing that you’re really, really good at, it comes so easily to you that you don’t even acknowledge it or notice that you’re actually doing it.

Heather Pearce Campbell  15:09

Yes. It’s, you know, it’s after 20 years now of practicing law, right? When I look back at some of my favorite cases, and my favorite work, the solutions did not come from the legal system, the solution, you know, and I tell people like, I don’t approach when a client shows up at my door, even though I’m an attorney, I’m not asking how do I solve this problem within the context of the law? How do I solve this problem? How do I help this client solve this problem? Right? And to your point about the golden thread? Like, it is, like how, how do we view ourselves and our business more holistically, so that we bring all of ourselves in all of our areas of genius to you know, in service to our clients, and I think it’s really easy for us to, it’s a little bit like looking at a piece of pie that are in a pie that’s been cut into all these pieces, like this one lives here, lives here, and this one lives here, right, versus seeing it like a ball of clay with all of these colors mushed together, right?

Samantha Riley  16:15

Oh 100%. Yeah.

Heather Pearce Campbell  16:18

So you now get to bring in, like, you know, we talked about before going live, like the unique way that you approach your work and with your clients and bringing in this other, you know, like, we were talking briefly about human design this whole, like bringing your whole self to your work and in service of your clients. What do you love most about where you are now and what you’re doing now?

Samantha Riley  16:44

I think what I love most is that I finally leaned into who I am authentically, and I’m not a massive fan of the word authentic, purely because I believe that it’s overused. And it’s been taken a little bit out of context. But who I really am that maybe over the years, I’ve hidden little parts, like I’ve got quite a spiritual side where, and I know that you’ve seen it in some of the calls that we’ve had, you know, with other friends of ours, where it’s like, well, you know, I’ll get out the essential oils, and I’ll pull out my tarot cards. And, you know, I will read my daily energy forecasts, what are the planets doing, and I used to keep that very hidden, because I didn’t want people to think that I was flaky, because I’m also at the same time very since systems oriented. I’m always, you know, paying attention to my KPIs, I always know where my numbers are at. I’m always trying to beat percentages. So I’ve got this, I really, I guess, practical side. And because I wanted people to take me seriously, I kept this other more spiritual side, hidden, where now I’m just, I know, I guess I got to that age, you know, I’m over well over 40. Now, I got to that age where I’m just like, you know what this is, this is actually what happens behind the scenes. And by me not sharing the way that I run my business, I’m potentially not giving my clients the full picture that they may need to also embrace all of this. And the most beautiful part of that is that when I did that, the people that I started attracting were people that were, of course, my mirror, they were also very good at what they did amazing experts in their in their niche and in the industry, that also would be like, Sam, what’s the energy doing today? Like, I’m feeling a little bit off, like, what does that mean? And you know, we’ll have a look and say, Well, today is a time where maybe, you know, it’s time to step away, or today, it’s like, well, that’s here to teach you a lesson. Like let’s lean into and see what comes up. So it’s this beautiful, you know, merging of two worlds. And that’s what I love. So that’s what I love in business, and the fact that I’ve built my business out to be online now. So I don’t need to be at my place of work. I don’t, I don’t need to be putting a key in the door and being there. You know, over the years, I’ve had to show up at work when my kids were sick or you know, where I really didn’t want to be there where now I can still do that. And I can work anywhere where I want and I do I work from home and like you said we’re moving. And I went I rang my accountant said, Hey, we’re moving, you know, you can probably the agents gonna ring. He’s like, why would you know, you can work wherever you want. Like, that’s so awesome, Sam. So yeah.

Heather Pearce Campbell  19:34

That’s amazing. Well, and as you described, kind of how your work has evolved, and you know, this, this whole thing about like bringing these other parts of you to your work and service to your clients. It’s like what I pictured and I think so often we do this is we think I mean, I’ll take the legal world for example, right? If you go to my you know, my legal website, Warrior website, like I’m so clear you People would not show up to that website and be like, Oh, this is a law office. And for the longest time, I didn’t like my even now like for people that are not watching the video, right, I have like this, I have the whole series of hats that I love that feel adventurous to me like, to me, business is adventure like, like, there, I have a strong connection between nature and like adventure outdoors and my relationship to business, those things are very paralleled. And yet, I think for a long time, like my website, my work did not reflect the fact that that’s how I felt. And that’s the vision that I had for not only my own business, but my clients, businesses as well. Right. And, and then when you’re able to express all of you through your work, and I think in that way, I’ve done a pretty good job of like bringing my creativity to my work, but not necessarily to the vision of who I am online, my website, my marketing, right, there’s all these other ways that you can, I think hide parts of yourself or hold back a little bit. And like when you are describing your work, because you are you’re so you’re so strong in business fundamentals. And it’s kind of like, Alright, cut the fluff, let’s get to what matters, right. And then you have this really beautiful, soft, intuitive, very wise side as well that like, it’s a little bit like the difference between having, you know, this vision that’s very clear, that takes up the mainframe, and then filling it out with all the periphery. Right. And so now I see you like working not only in the mainframe, but like in all of the periphery with your clients. That’s just, that’s the vision that came to mind when you were describing the way that you work now.

Samantha Riley  21:54

It’s really beautiful. And I think that we, I think that the world has changed a bit. And it has made it easier for me to lean into this. And if there’s nothing that the last two years has taught us is that we have the there’s this whole life. And business is just part of it. We’ve got you know, we’ve got relationships, and we’ve got, you know, health and wellness and fitness and finances and, and spirituality and education and career, all of these different pieces. And if if we keep all of these different buckets separate, we’re not actually able to reach our full potential in any area. So if we lean right into it, we can really build out this life that is so filled and, and full, I guess, rather than feeling like is there more? No, what are we here for? And I think that really the last two years, a lot of people have have sort of come to this conclusion, like, maybe I was just coasting along, maybe I don’t want to be doing this anymore. This, you know, maybe I want, you know, I want to be more fulfilled. So, you know, yeah,

Heather Pearce Campbell  23:07

It’s Yeah, so true. Well, in that whole, like, maybe I was just on autopilot or coasting along, or maybe I’ve been sacrificing too much all this time. Right. And now I can make different decisions that that don’t force me into this position of sacrifice, right? Totally. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about your work. Now who your clients are, I know, you have an amazing podcast, I’ve listened to it. For anybody listening, you’re gonna want to hop over and check out Samantha’s podcast at influence by design, which I’m sure you can find on all the channels. And I know you do a lot in the world of thought leadership, right. Talk to us a bit about your clients and your work where What are you up to now? And who do you help? 

Samantha Riley  23:53

Yeah, so the people that I help her coaches, practitioners, experts, course creators, and I help them to stop being the world’s best kept secret and to really lean into being the thought leader that people turn to. And and I’m by being the thought leader, people turn to what I mean is, you’re not the person that people come to for free advice, that you’re the person that when someone’s got a problem that they want solved, and they need it so fast, and they’re willing to pay money to have that problem solved. You are the person that they turn to, because they know that you can, you’re the person to solve that problem. So the people that I work with are super, super smart people. They’ve been working in their area of expertise for a long time. And they generally know so much stuff that they have trouble being able to unpack that or explain it. They have trouble being able to understand how to leverage that. So you know, we’re really trying to help them to move from a one to one model to a one to many model so that they can really make a much bigger might have more influence and make a much bigger impact. So helping them to unpack their IP or their intellectual property, helping them to come on to come into an online model. And then being known as that thought leader.

Heather Pearce Campbell  25:16

I want to talk for a minute even just about the phrase thought leader, right or thought leadership. When I think about it, I think there’s a lot of people who are thought leaders that don’t think of themselves as thought leaders, right? Or are really hesitant. Like, I mean, I there’s like, even in my mind, I’m like, Yeah, you don’t you want to be a thought leader. I think most people are really reticent to apply the label to themselves. Right. Can you talk to us about that phrase?

Samantha Riley  25:47

Yeah. So this, I love that you bring this up? This is something I’m super passionate about. Because exactly what you said, there’s a few there’s a few parts to this. A lot of people, when I talk about this, they go Oh, but I’m not a thought leader. Yeah, well, no. Okay, maybe you’re not yet. But but you’re an expert. And And it’s funny, because even some people will go oh, I don’t know, I’m not I don’t even want to call myself an expert. And I say, Do you know stuff? I know heaps? Have you been doing this for a long time? Yep. Are you able to solve people’s problems? Oh, yeah, do that with my eyes shut, then you are an expert. And probably with a little bit of help, you can be a thought leader, and you probably already are. Where I get really passionate is when I see people saying you need to have that thought leadership bestowed upon you by someone else. And I’m of the opinion that why should we wait for someone else to tell us who we are and what we’re here to do? Like were in control of our lives. And in actual fact, once we put that thought leader hat on, it’s amazing how it can actually take our own work to the next level. You know, if I’m working on a framework or a visual model, or I’m unpacking, you know, a new, a new piece of work that I’m doing, I’ll look at it, and you know, I’ll get it set, I’ll ask myself, Sam, is that thought leadership? Or is that good enough to be for someone to say you’re a thought leader and a look? No, it’s not. And I will keep working at it. So by me putting on that hat of being a thought leader, it’s actually helping me to push myself further, to really like step up. And I think that we can, we can believe whatever we want, right? But my belief is that we’re all thought leaders, we just need to step into that. And, and I think that if we do that, it’s amazing what I’ve seen people do once they actually embrace that.

Heather Pearce Campbell  27:42

I love it. I’m having goosebumps right now, what it brings to mind for me it because you’ve described it almost like an exercise. If I were a thought leader, is this work product sufficient to meet that level? Right? Like, actively trying that on? There’s, there is actually a gentleman who I just had on my podcast, but I learned of his work years ago, Dr. John Demartini, who has a whole exercise that you do around trying on the great being one of the most powerful exercises you can do within his work, right. And it is about who do we look up to? Right? Yeah, it’s because there’s some part of us that has that in us, right. So when we admire people in the same way that when we look at somebody and go, ooh, that’s really a turn off or bothers me or whatever, right? We haven’t we are repelled by something. It’s also because we have that element in ourselves, and it repels us. Right. So that idea, though, about leadership, I just love the you know, first of all it being displayed, like you just talked about, like as an exercise like, okay, take the thought leader hat, put it on, and act from the place of already assuming or behaving like a thought leader. And I think you’re right in the way that you said like I think so many people want that label bestowed on them by others. Right? How talk to me about your definition of thought leadership.

Samantha Riley  29:15

I think thought leadership is being able to put your thoughts together in a way that is new, so that you are able to influence and lead others. All of us have, you know, even here, there are a few and I had something that we were doing that was identical. The experiences and the expertise and you know, different even different life experiences that have got nothing to do with our work with all of that behind us. The way that we present that work is completely differently. And this really was something that came to me. It was going back probably maybe about eight years ago and I’ve got a really really good friend and his He’s in a different generation to me. And he’s male. He’s younger. And we’re really, really good friends. And we were sitting on the balcony one night, and it’s all good conversation start, it started with a bottle of wine. And we were sitting there and having a conversation. And he’s like, Sam, tell me what you’re up to. And I, and I said, this is what I’m working on. This is what I want to launch. And he went on, and I went, Oh, is that bad? And he went, No, I had the same thought. That’s what I was going to do. And I went, Well, you can do it. I said, an actual fact. And this is where I had a very vulnerable moment, you would do it better than me anyway, because it’s someone that I really look up to. And, and this is where the conversation opened up, where he went, Well, isn’t this interesting? Because I wouldn’t have done it, because I think you would do it better. And it opened up this beautiful conversation where we both realized that we were both holding each other back because we both had each other, you know, we in high regard. But realizing we’re different generations, his mail I I’m female, we can put we attract completely different people into our worlds. And in actual fact, the way that we do things is completely differently, because we’ve both got different experiences, even right back to our schooling, because we’re in different generations. And both of us that night, had the hugest epiphany to realize that no one does, what you do the way that you do it. And I think that we’ve got leadership that that’s what we’re bringing to the table is our unique take on, on what we’re teaching.

Heather Pearce Campbell  31:28

I love that well and accepting that we are all unique, even if we’re in the same area, because I think people do generally get kind of fearful or you know, not always territorial, but a little bit like, oh, you know if even amongst I’ve seen it, even amongst colleagues and my opinion, I’ve always been a little bit of a kind of an open door policy, open book kind of person, right. And even early on in my career, if I didn’t know how to do something, I would say, You know what, this is not in my area of expertise. But I know people who do this, I can either help facilitate an introduction to them, or we can bring them on board and both benefit from the expertise. And even today, I have a client who I just helped set up a business and LLC, he’s going to do some consulting for startups, I work with a lot of consultants, I don’t do a ton of work in the startup community, because my clients are building sustainable businesses as a vehicle for doing really meaningful work themselves, right? They might build a team, they might have all of these other pieces of the business that they need to build out. But they’re generally not looking to like sell it off and make $100 million in five years, right. So I said to my client, you might just connect with this other guy who’s a phenomenal attorney works, you know, a lot more with startups. And so we did he had a phone call with him directly. I just made a direct introduction. I said, I think you should talk about your, you know, your engagement agreement. And he got back to me, and he was like, That was brilliant. He was perfect. He answered these very specific questions. And now will you help me do the rest, right? It wasn’t like this competition of and I didn’t worry whether or not he would go, you know, hire him for all the rest of his business needs or whatever, I just thought, whatever will happen will happen. But I want him to be well served, he still came back. And he was so thrilled to have that new introduction.

Samantha Riley  33:29

And the reason he came back, and this is something that’s not talked about enough, the reason he came back was because there was trust. And this is something that we’ve that I’ve always always done in my business. So back in my dance studio dance store days, we used to fit little, little children with ballet shoes. And as you know, here, there is a number of little ones, they grow really quickly. So they’re coming in, you get to know your customers very well, because they’re constantly coming back from new shoes. Because dancing shoes fit very firmly on a foot they you don’t fit a dance shoe with growing room. But we used to have moms coming in and saying they’d come in with the shoes with their children and say, Can you please just check to see if these shoes fit or not? No, there was other stores that always would say no, they don’t we need to sell you a new pair. Well, we will do the opposite. Obviously, if they were too small, we would say yeah, these are too small. But then sometimes we’ll say actually, you know what, they’re probably going to get another six, eight weeks out of them come back and see us then. And they would always come back because they knew that they could come to us and and trust that we would give them the honest answer. And it’s something that I have always, always the whole way through my business career. I believe that trust is like the very, very first thing before anything else. And really, really, and you know, that’s why that that client came back to you because you’ve built trust.

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:53

Yeah. Well, and it’s a little bit it’s interesting because as somebody who I’ve always done that, you know, it’s always like Client, client needs have to come first, right? And it’s, I’ve never wanted to talk somebody into doing business with me or insist that, you know, I can do everything that they need. Because I don’t I’m really clear on what I do well, and what I don’t do well, but it’s a little bit like that word authentic. Like, I find that I just assume people are trustworthy and that they’re going to be authentic, right. And unfortunately, what you learn in business is there are many people who are not. And as a, you know, somebody on the legal side, I end up hearing all of these horrible stories even about, even about people that are known quantities in industries that you know, you and I operate in that you think like, oh, my gosh, I had no idea and you get a peek behind the curtains. It’s, it is an interesting thing to get to know people’s business practices and understand how many people really need help with the fundamentals, like what you’re talking about. Right? There’s like, for somebody like you, they come naturally, I think for some people out there, they do. And I think for many people, they have to figure it out through trial and error.

Samantha Riley  36:11

We’re not taught this at school, there’s no, there’s, there’s no subject in high school, that’s how to run a business. And as where, you know, times are changing, even with the consulting space, there’s so many more people that are consulting now that then are, you know, maybe that previously would have been in, in an employment situation. So, you know, they still need to do marketing, and they still need to do taxes. And, you know, there’s all sorts of things that they need to work on. So it doesn’t come naturally. We weren’t born understanding how to run a business. And, you know, my fundamentals are good, because I’ve failed and done a lot of things wrong. You know, when you’re playing with your own money, you learn some things real fast.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:59

Well, yes. And as small businesses, we don’t have the room or the budget, or the time to make too many mistakes over and over again, right?

Samantha Riley  37:12

When we opened our very first store, it was in a in an economic and economic crisis, I guess, the interest rates in Australia, and I believe most of the way around the world were sort of 18 to 20%. So there was a lot of people hurting, there was a lot of people losing their homes. And we opened a business in this time, in an area that was a blue collar area. So you know, both parents are working, and they’re working their butts off. And looking back, it was such a beautiful learning, spot to start learning because every cent mattered. So we had to really, really pay attention to where everything was going. And it meant that when the economy started picking up, things, were the foundations were very solid, we were able to grow very quickly from there, because we we knew what worked and what didn’t.

Heather Pearce Campbell  38:07

Yeah. Well, and then looking at business foundations, and I’m sure you have the experience to look at probably 1000s of businesses and their foundations. What do you find? What what for your clients are the most challenging pieces of those foundations?

Samantha Riley  38:26

Yeah, so the first one is understanding their numbers. Most people don’t understand like, what’s the cost of acquiring a customer? Or all sorts of there’s just so many numbers,

Heather Pearce Campbell  38:38

and you’re like, where to begin?

Samantha Riley  38:40

Yeah, exactly. It is those foundations of knowing costs. And and, you know, even projecting, you know, I’ll say to people, okay, what are your projections? Or, you know, where are you going? Or, okay, you want to do that number? That’s really cool. How many clients? Do you need to acquire? How, you know, what’s your average ticket price? How many, you know, how long do people stay with you? So all of these numbers all paint a picture that actually gives you the answers. And also, you know, the data doesn’t lie. But also you can manipulate your numbers not in a in a bad way. But if you if you want to achieve a certain outcome, there are different it’s like a mixing desk, you can actually yeah, to be able to get to that. So to get to that outcome. So I think one of the things that people love when they work with me is I’m able to break those numbers down really quickly. And one of the first things that people say is, Oh, I thought that was like a pie in the sky dream. That actually looks really achievable. Because once you actually see those numbers, it’s like, okay, well, now we can put a plan in place. If it’s that number, then what do we do to get there? So that would be the first one. The second thing that I see and this is definitely more So in the last, in the last 10 years ish, sort of since the internet has been more prevalent is messaging, because messaging now that we’re online needs to be a lot, a lot more focused and easily understood than it did sort of before the internet. So a lot of people struggle with their messaging, that would be the two things that I see that people are challenged with the most.

Heather Pearce Campbell  40:25

Oh, yeah. Well, if you think about even the last handful of years, and the changes on the internet, and with online messaging, generally all the platforms, like there’s just so much noise, right? Every day, there’s more and more people and businesses coming online. And so you have to be clear, you have to be more competitive, like you have to really have clarity, whereas I think in the early days of the internet, you just had to be there.

Samantha Riley  40:55

That’s exactly right. In the wild, wild west of the internet, you could say anything and do anything, and you were okay. It’s different now.

Heather Pearce Campbell  41:04

Yeah. So. So you got I mean, you I’m sure you spend a lot of time on business fundamentals with people, but share a little bit, this topic of like, you know, looking at the periphery and these other ways that you support your clients on their journey, are you willing to share some client examples?

Samantha Riley  41:23

Of course, so one of the one of the modalities that I use with my clients is a modality called Human Design. And Human Design is our unique blueprint. It’s exactly who we were what’s in our DNA, what makes us unique, and it’s, like I said, it’s in our DNA. So it’s how we were birth, before conditioning, and all these limiting beliefs, and all of these things that that, you know, are layered on top of us today in our life, got in the way, and helped us to start to not be ourselves. So human design is looking at who we were at the time of birth, how we’re designed to move through the world, how we’re designed to make decisions, how we’re designed to do all sorts of different things. And we use I use human design with my clients to help them really understand who they are, so that they stop having so much friction, because they’re acting out of alignment in who they’re meant to be, and get more into flow. And as soon as, as soon as we’re more in flow, we attract more of what we want. So human design has been amazing, bringing it into the business. And it just my clients, when I first bought it in, I was like, Well, how are they going to be with this, but the second everyone learns their human design and certain things about them, every single one of them say, Wow, I feel like I’ve just been given a, like a, a special note, or an invitation to be who I always knew I wanted to be, but always felt afraid to be. So it’s pretty incredible.

Heather Pearce Campbell  43:10

Well, and it’s, you know, some of these systems, and I know human design is like quite complex, we’ve talked about it and you’re like, well, there’s not really even the shallow overview of human design. There’s a lot there. I know a little bit about it, like I’ve waited my toes into it, but my sister has gotten quite into it. And she’s like, you know, Heather is spot on, like the way that I have to use my energy around my work you like it, you know, she is she needs to just allow things to show up and she can’t be pushing, she can’t be pushing, pushing. She doesn’t even need to manifest. It’s like she needs to bring the manifestos into her life, you know, and she’s really clear on it now. And it really does shape the way she’s in sales really does shape the way that she approaches her work.

Samantha Riley  43:58

Well, in sales, understanding human design is so perfect, because then you don’t just understand how you are. But you understand that other people do things different ways. And like I said, with human design, we’ve all got different ways that we make decisions. The way that I make decisions is through my gut, and I make them very instantly. My husband is an emotional authority, which means that he has to sort of wait for this emotional wave. Sometimes it might be 24 hours, sometimes it might be longer. But when we first met and because my husband is in business with me, he used to think that I was really flippant, because I made decisions really quickly. And I used to think he was a bit on the slow side because he couldn’t make decisions and and he would force himself to make decisions quickly because he was trying to keep up with me. And when he did that things would always go wrong. And then, you know, we would sort of blame each other. Not in a bad way. We never argued about it. But you know, there was that that friction between us. Now we both understand that we’re different so He allows me to make a decision, or he doesn’t allow me. But he understands that I make a decision really quickly, I just give him the space to make it. And now everything is just so much more in flow, where things don’t go wrong down the track, because when you make decisions out of alignment, it never ends, well, you know, someone’s going to be unhappy. So this understanding that and where I was going with this is with your sister in sales, understanding the way other people make their decisions is very, very, very valuable.

Heather Pearce Campbell  45:32

Right? It’s like, well, it just puts this whole additional layer of context, that just helps us be more strategic better, just better decision makers, right? That’s how I see it, like, you’re just going to be even better at making the right decisions.

Samantha Riley  45:47


Heather Pearce Campbell  45:49

What do you see in your clients like, because you you’ve worked on the very, and I’m not gonna say cut and dry, but very practical side for so long, right? When you started to layer this other stuff in, did you notice things changing with your clients, or the way that they responded to you or the work? Talk to us a little bit about that.

Samantha Riley  46:10

So where I thought that there would be people that would be sort of pushing back from that, and I, in my head, I had this story that people might leave or be like, ah, Sam, I don’t want this, the absolute opposite happened. People went, tell me more, oh, my goodness, I tried that. And it works or, you know, even on our our weekly calls, often I’ll start the weekly call with an energy forecast of what’s happening with the planets. And you know, even for a little while, I was like, oh, people aren’t going to want to hear this. But people would was starting to come to the call on time instead of late, because they knew if they didn’t come on time, they would miss the energy forecast. So what I’ve actually noticed is that my clients understand the way that it all comes together. And they understand that it’s really helped them in business. And, and just like, I went through my own experiment, they’ve gone through their own experiment and, and realize how much easier they’re getting their results as they lean into this. So and I guess over time, as people talk about it more and what I’m doing, I’m obviously attracting people that are more open to that as well.

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:25

Right? Well, it’s, you know, even your, your whole, you know, title, which I think you’ve used for years in various ways in your business, influenced by the design life by design, right, I think it is an actual demonstration of bringing that level of intention to your work and to your clients and opening the door for them to do the same.

Samantha Riley  47:48

Totally, like, the whole time. Through every single industry that I’ve ever been involved in, I’ve always been really passionate about people doing, what feels right to them, and what makes them happy. And when I went into, into business coaching, you know, I was very passionate about people not getting caught up in cookie cutter systems, there’s a lot of coaches saying, this is the only way to do it, you do it this way, and you will get results. And it’s absolutely not true. We’re all unique people with unique wants and desires as well. Some, some women want to have a business so that they can be at home with their children, and pick them up from school. And some women want to be traveling around the world and not have children and some women, you know, it doesn’t matter what they want. And you know, it’s the same for men, we all want different things. And whether you want a house with a white picket fence, or whether you don’t want a house at all, when you want to travel the world, then who am I to tell you, that’s not the way that it needs to be I’m very, very passionate about whatever it is that you want to do. Let’s build a business that matches that. And very against cookie cutter systems.

Heather Pearce Campbell  49:00

That’s so refreshing to hear. I think that I think a lot gets lost for people in the business building process when they’re learning from people that are like, Look, don’t recreate the wheel. Just do it this way. Do it my way. Right. It’s I agree with you that like your business should not look exactly like anybody else’s business because you have to infuse yourself into it in order to really maximize not only what’s going to make you happy in your business, but what is going to draw in and attract the right clients for you is different than some right it’s like I just it is the missing piece like your uniqueness and doing things your particular way and actually refusing to imitate everybody else is what is going to make it, right? 

Samantha Riley  49:58

100%. It can be a scary place to be, you know, because you have to really lean into a lot of vulnerability to do that. But when you do if you give yourself permission to do that, that’s when the magic happens.

Heather Pearce Campbell  50:14

Yeah, well, and it’s like even personally like having gone through a big website redesign splash

Samantha Riley  50:21

For anyone who’s not watching, the look on his face.

Heather Pearce Campbell  50:25

Right, it was a big reason was like, oh, it’s done. But it literally was a project that took a year and a half start, like massive right it because I started it right after COVID. And it was just I had to table it, I had to like, stop and start multiple times anyways. But the fun part is now that it’s live, because it you know, it happened in November, finally, last year, is I’ve had calls with people who actually said to me, and I’ll be like, my, my previous website was not bad. I never disliked it, I built it myself. And I was actually pretty proud of it. Like it got the job done. But it wasn’t all of me, it wasn’t really infused with you know, parts of me that it needed to be infused with and, and now I have conversation with potential clients. And the difference is obvious. Like I had a call with a woman on the East Coast, he was like, I’ve really been needed. And it took several weeks for us to get a call scheduled, like it took a while. But she’s like, I’ve been so excited to meet with you, because I spent time on your website. And I really feel like you are different than so many other attorneys that I’ve been talking to. It was just it was such a breath of fresh air, because there was still a little piece of me that was worried about like, Oh, my website does not look like a law office website, it’s not going to have that same feeling. It’s a very different feeling. It was intentional. But you know, there’s some small part of me that still worried about that, like, would people expect that showing up and getting legal services? Right? No, the answer is no. Is that that is what made her feel really, like excited and refreshed about meeting with me. So you know, that was one obvious example in my life, where it’s like, oh, I should have done this. Wow. But so Well, Sam, I you know, I’m such a fan of your work. I know you are brilliant, and you’ve built multiple businesses, and you make things look easy, that are not easy to accomplish. For folks that are like, gosh, I need to go connect with Sam, I need to learn more about where she’s at and what she’s up to. Where do you like to connect online.

Samantha Riley  52:46

So the best place is to go to my website, I’ve actually got a a plan called the million dollar plan where you discover the nine key growth areas for your business, so that you can make more money have more freedom and have more impact. You can go to to get a copy of that. We’ve talked lots about business fundamentals today. And that has got the the nine areas really to start to understand what you need to be looking at to build a profitable business.

Heather Pearce Campbell  53:17

I love that. So we will include that link in the show notes page. So obviously, if you’re listening, you can pop over to the show notes at, we will share that and then of course, you know any other social media links or anything you want us to share. Sam it’s so I’m just so happy to see you and get to connect with you. What final thought would you like to leave our listeners with?

Samantha Riley  53:43

I want to leave people with Are you really super duper excited about getting up in your booth and to do your business every day? And if you’re not frothing to jump into it every day, what is it that you can embrace so that you can be what is it that you need to to lean into? And stop pretending that you’re not so that you can just really just love what you do every single day? 

Heather Pearce Campbell  54:14

Oh, I love that. And if you don’t love all of it, right? I know there are days where I don’t love all of my business, but what parts can you love enough that you’re getting excited about it right and reconnecting to those parts. I love that. Thank you, Sam. It’s such a pleasure to have you I can’t wait to connect with you again.

Samantha Riley  54:34

Thanks so much for having me.

GGGB Intro  54:38

Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business™ podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup, and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at  Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.