ANGIE: In my business, Garnish Marketing, we’re good at dovetailing the digital with the traditional types of marketing because that still really works in manufacturing, distribution and engineering, where we specialise. We find that the people in those industries are really, really good at doing what they’re doing but don’t really know how to get their message out there.
BEV: We first met in the publishing space. You helped me market my magazine ‘Honestly Woman’ back in about 2006-2007. You were just starting out with Garnish Marketing then, weren’t you?
ANGIE: You were one of my first clients actually. It was so interesting doing all the expo stuff and the magazine stuff and it just opened a completely different doorway for me. Especially speaking to women, who I appear to have been allergic to for most of my prior life. (You’ll have to read my book to find out more about that.)
BEV: Publishing is a really interesting space and not always that easy to market. So we’ll get to that. But first, tell me about a book that has profoundly impacted you.
ANGIE: There is one called ‘The CEO, The Surfer and the Monk’ that I really, really enjoyed. It looks at three people’s psyches and their brains and how they react to situations, and then the guy who meets them realizes that he actually is reflecting some of those parts of that person.
I think that’s true for all of us. And I think that everyone we meet is a bit of a mirror of ourselves. And that connects a little bit of what I’m doing with ‘Unpacking’: as humans we do find something to attach ourselves to with other people and that’s how we create friendships. I find it very interesting that that’s how our brains work.
ANGIE: ‘Unpacking’ is essentially a story of my life from childhood right through to now and I’m 43. It tells the stories of all of the lessons that I’ve learned from the pivotal moments in my life where things change. So we all go through things in our lives and those particular experiences can often change the course of our lives and that can change the way that we behave. And that changes the actions that we take and it actually makes our behaviour the way that it is. So I’ve gone back through my life and worked out what those pivotal moments were and what lesson it was that I learned from that particular moment in time.
And then I’ve left some space and asked a few questions so that you can unpack yourself at the same time, using my lessons and my story as your guide.
It tells the story of childhood and bullying and it goes all the way through teenage years, then into traveling and being Angie the backpacker, then marriage, business, kids, dogs, and all those things that happen.
And it includes some stories that are a little bit rawer, where it talks about depression, marriage problems, infidelity on my part and how the fallout of that has actually affected who I am as a person and how I’ve actually ended up growing as a result of some of those mistakes.
The reviews that I’m getting are that, “Oh my God, I thought it was just me”. Everyone seems to be resonating with these stories and so I’m not alone in my struggle. And it’s nice to see that I’m not getting a slap in the face, a front door slam and being shouted at. It’s actually working. It’s doing its job. People are unpacking.
BEV: During the writing process were you worried about revealing all of this – or did you get to the point of knowing that, “Yep, I’ve got to do it?”
ANGIE: It’s interesting because this book has been written in two parts now. You helped me a couple of years ago when I’d written the book and it was to the point when I was about age 40. I had my ducks in a row, fantastic; life was very happy and I had no issues. And then you reviewed that first draft, and I sent it off to someone who was helping me to get it out into the published world. She said to me, “Angie, it’s a really good book. It’s really well written. I love your stories. I love all the things that you’re talking about. It’s raw, it’s confronting”. She said, “But it’s very safe.”
So I shelved it. I was a little bit self-defeatist about it and then my life turned up on its head. My dog died. And as anyone who’s an animal lover knows that this is devastating. My world sort of fell apart for a little bit there. I ended up having lots and lots of problems with my husband and the fallout was that I ended up having an affair with a married man, which was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done and it basically rocked my world for a lot of time. Probably a good three years. I’m still putting the pieces back together.
Then, going back to reread what I had written earlier made me reflect on what I had written and that actually, I’d learned so much about myself in the process of going through this three year event that I had to rewrite some of the book.
My husband, who is still my husband, and thankfully he was going through the process of forgiving me, said, “Angie, you want to do this unpacking thing? You said you want to be Angie the Unpacker. That’s great. But you cannot unpack unless you tell the entire story. You’re going to have to put it in the book.”
And I said, “You know, you’re right. But I’m fearful of what people will say.” And he said, “Well, you want to get rid of your fear of judgment. This is how you’re going to do it.”
So it was rather confronting. But I actually did put the story in there. So the writing process was quite tumultuous, to be quite honest. And it was done over periods of years as opposed to just banging a book out in 30 days.
BEV: So you lived it and wrote it?
ANGIE: I did, I lived it and I wrote it. Sometimes I’ll talk about how the fact that I’m actually crying in the book and I was; as I was writing, I was crying. It’s sometimes hard to go back and read through those chapters. But the lessons that I learned from that time need to be told. Women and men out there going through this stuff need to know they’re not alone. They need to know there’s a way out and actually, that there is a shining light at the other end of all of this shit that goes on in your life.
It was harder for Kev at first because he needed to forgive me and I just wanted to put it all away and put it in the box – but actually the best way of dealing with it was getting it out there and admitting it, saying “I was wrong. I was really stupid and I’m sorry” as opposed to, “Yeah, that didn’t happen. No, that didn’t happen. I didn’t do that”. Actually I did do that and I regret it for all of my years left as Angie, in this show, on this earth. I will regret those times, but I can’t change it.
But what I can do is change my reaction. I can change my behaviour and I can change my thought patterns and I’m the only one that can do that. So if I choose to sit there and let the guilt consume me, then it will. I just refuse to let that happen, I will not do it. So I unpacked it, I put it on the table. Everyone now knows, and judge me the way you want, because quite frankly, the only person whose opinion I really care about is his.
BEV: So for people who are writing or thinking about writing a book, the key is that you have to be truthful, don’t you?
ANGIE: Absolutely. I think that if you start to create a character, then you’re writing a fiction book. And if you’re trying to write a non-fiction book where you’re talking about your beliefs and who you are and what you genuinely believe in, then making it up doesn’t help anyone. Actually, if you’re going to then take your non-fiction book out to the stage and speak, how can you possibly speak from your heart? How can you possibly speak with passion if you don’t actually talk about what’s true to you?
BEV: What’s your key advice to people as they’re writing?
ANGIE: If you are going to talk about yourself, have some form of outline of what it is that you want to say and the outcome that you want the person reading it to have. For me, it was to help people to understand that there’s better ways of looking at things. I asked myself what I wanted other people to unravel as a result of my story. It’s a case of reflecting upon what you’re going to write and why you’re going to write it before you vomit onto the page.
BEV: Your book, ‘Unpacking’, seems to be separate to your business, which is, is marketing. What do you hope your book will do for you in terms of your career or your profile?
ANGIE: I’ve spent a lot of years talking to marketing clients and over the years I’ve ended up doing mentoring for the government and mentoring in different panels. And what I find is that when I meet a new customer these days, we do something called a discovery session. And it takes a good two or three hours to go through this process. Now the first, almost first full hour, is where they divulge all of their information about who they are, what they want, why they get out of bed in the morning, their family, their problems. And I become counsellor for a session. So whilst my company is about marketing their business, it’s very, very important to understand the person running that business.
So because I have unpacked myself, that allows me to be able to unpack others, which allows me to repack and package them as the best version of themselves for both their partner, for their children, for their staff and for their customers. So it’s an all-encompassing unpacking and repackaging process. And that’s marketing.
My next book will be ‘Unpacking Business’ and it’s underway.
BEV: How have you found the process of marketing a book as opposed to marketing in engineering companies?
ANGIER: Well, marketing a book for all those aspiring offers out there, let me tell you, it’s a very slow burn and that’s okay. I have a website. I use Instagram and Facebook to market my business. That again is a slow burn. And what you’ll find is that suddenly people like you and they like your posts and then they don’t like you. And it’s like, well I had this many people yesterday and now I only got this many people and you kind of can’t look at it too much because it drives you mad.
BEV: So I think that marketing is just taking steps, continual steps and some will kind of fizzle and other things there’ll be, “Oh, okay. So that that worked well. Let’s keep going with that one”. I always recommend a guy called Tim Grahl, I think he’s Canadian and his whole business is based on book marketing and he just does some really good stuff.
ANGIE: I love writing and it’s my freedom. It’s where my energy goes to. It’s my Sunday afternoon, it’s what I do for fun. There are two things I really like doing. I really like exercise and I really like the creativity of writing. When I run, my brain relaxes, and the moment that you relax is the moment when all the really great ideas come. So you have to do something that makes the ideas come so that the two go hand in hand for me.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Big Magic’ says that ideas attach themselves to this embodied thing as they float around. If you are the right person that idea will attach itself to you and you can run with it. And if you don’t take that idea up, that idea will probably find someone else who will manifest it as the idea wants to live.
If you don’t have the energy, if you don’t have the time, if you don’t pay it any mind, an idea won’t come to you. It’s not going to happen. But the moment that you relax, that idea goes, “Oh it’s not a prickly place anymore. It’s nice and smooth”, and it goes up, attaches itself to you and then all those light bulb moments happen and the tingles happen and your gut feeling happens and you know it’s a real cracker.
That’s what I really, really feel with ‘Unpacking’. Actually it often felt like it was not me writing it. Sometimes when I talk to my clients it feels like it’s not me talking. So I do sometimes feel, and it sounds really spiritual and a bit wishy washy, that I’m a bit of a channel and I love that because then I have all these moments of tingles all over my body where I know that what I’ve just said and what I’ve delivered, was right.
If you’ve got an idea that just lights you up, but you haven’t started writing with that idea yet, you better get to it.
Angie Hammond lives at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and is author of the new book ‘Unpacking’. She’s also the Director at Garnish Marketing, which is niche marketing business, working with companies in manufacturing, distribution and engineering. Angie can be found at www.unpacking.com.au and www.garnish.com.au.