I love love love watching you do your thing in business! It’s obvious that you’re having a ball and that’s awesome to witness. You have undoubtedly inspired so many people to get out there, put reins on the internet and ride it like a sparkly unicorn, so THANK YOU for being a dreamer of dreams.
Joanna: THANK YOU, Kelly-Ann! I love love love watching you do your thing, too! Just more proof that Like really does attract Like... -xo
I have learned quite a lot about you from following your online presence and keeping up with your business. I know where you and your man friend like to go your annual anniversary trip, I recall watching a video about a beloved tree that your neighbours cut down, I feel like I can actually see your past because you describe it in such a delicious, wholesome way in your videos and radio shows.. You are out and proud in your role as a mother too – I think many of us feel like we know The Tan Man! What is the true value of showing your audience who you are when you’re off duty?
Joanna: This is something that has slowly evolved over time, letting my guard down, sharing authentically and basically inviting people into my world. What has been most surprising about that whole experience has been that the more I share the real deal, the more I connect with my tribe. It's one of the many reasons I believe that running your own online biz, and especially having a personal brand -meaning YOU are the brand- is an accelerated spiritual practice. Everything that is true online is true offline and vice versa. If you want to connect with a friend in person, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. If you want to connect with thousands of friends online - the same is true...
Of course, that kind of vulnerability is extremely challenging, because you are risking judgment on a much grander scale. However the reward is equal to or perhaps even greater than the risk. I have found that people are kind more often than not and that they appreciate authenticity, because it gives them permission to let their own hair down. It's a relief.
Obviously, you are your brand – you are the common factor in everything you do. This means that you must go through a decision-making process when it comes to what you share and what you keep back for yourself. How can other biz owners make that same distinction in their own journeys?
Joanna: That is an awesome question! You MUST keep some things for yourself, but that doesn't mean you're not being authentic. For me, the criteria for sharing has to meet 3 standards...
1. It has to serve my tribe in some way, which doesn't mean every post has to change their life. It just means that it at least needs to be worth a smile. I'm big on the smiles! I also really enjoy encouraging people to think in new ways.
2. I have to be ready to share. If something still feels too raw or like a negative reaction has the potential to trigger me, I wait until it no longer feels that way.
3. It must be on brand. My brand is really about creating the kickass life of your dreams, which obviously means different things to different people - but I do keep that in mind when creating content.
To me, you are the Queen of Consistency. Like, you are my role model – when I grow up, I wanna be as consistent as you with my output. Many people, including myself, claim to have a love-hate relationship with the concept of consistency in business. What do you think biz owners might be failing to understand about how to keep showing up and staying the course?
Joanna: I could talk about this all day long! First of all, thank you for the compliment. I'm actually really proud of myself for learning how to be consistent, because I was anything but in my twenties and early thirties. So many people want to create a personal brand online, but they worry about getting pigeon-holed into doing one thing to the point of stagnation or never really getting a foothold, because, as creative, artsy people, their interests tend to bounce around a lot. That is why making yourself your brand can be so valuable. It's not for everyone, but if you're willing to take the risk in exposing yourself that way, there is a lot of wiggle room in terms of content creation.
People are multidimensional. Period. We all have a variety of interests. So, in making yourself your brand, you are forming a kind of contract with your tribe that says, "I am going to keep showing up for you 'as is' on a regular basis, but -because I'm a kickass multifaceted human- there is going to be a lot of flux in how that looks and feels." That -to me- is exciting. It's an adventure for yourself and your tribe, because you never know what you're going to get from day to day. It's fresh... consistently.
So -to answer your question more directly- here's a fun little magick trick I like to share with my coaching clients...
You split your personality into two distinct roles. The masculine, linear, planning side gets to set up a schedule and a social marketing strategy that supports the feminine, receptive, creative side in doing whatever the fuck it wants! It's also really fun to give those two sides names. That way, if the masculine side (let's call him "George") starts to try to horn in on the feminine side's territory (let's call her "Twinkie"), you can break that tension with a bit of humor...
"George! You do NOT get to tell Twinkie what to do! Get back in your lane and shuffle some papers."
The reverse is also true. Twinkie does not get to go messing with George's schedule.
It also really helps to pick one social media platform as your main hub and invest your energy there on a regular basis. Of course- you can still play around on other platforms, but committing to one or maybe two creates consistency for you and your tribe. For the record, my hub is Facebook. I'm also in love with Instagram.
You have nurtured my online presence from the very beginning, offering me tonnes of encouragement and support. I know that you have done this for so many people in the online woo woo business world! Competitiveness and toxic comparison are still an issue for many people though. I’m curious to know what you think is the root cause of this and how we can strive to get over it and have each other’s backs more in business.
Joanna: I do that because I genuinely enjoy watching other people succeed. I don't really put that kind of energy into everyone - just the people who have a certain shine, the people who I KNOW are meant to be in this biz and have a great service to offer the world. As far as competitiveness and toxic comparison go, I think that issue is complex. There are a number of factors at play there, a poverty mentality, a lack of self worth and an ancient survival instinct that says there is not enough to go around. Of course, when it comes to healing, inspiring and loving it up every witch way, there is MORE than enough to go around, but I do think that the reptilian part of our brain has not yet caught up with that reality. It actually thinks it's protecting us by stockpiling all the nuts & berries and refusing to share.
So yeah - it's complicated that way.
I will say though that my experience has been that many people love to share and have great big beautiful hearts. Those are the people I connect with and many of them are women. Women helping women is such a thing!
Do you see any worrying trends in the world of spiritual online business? Anything you’d like to speak out against or just feel bored of seeing everywhere?
Joanna: I go through phases with what I am interested in and who I am listening to. Something that really resonated with me a couple of years ago might feel like total bullshit now, and I'm okay with that. Every step on the path serves its purpose. So I try not to judge other people for where they're at on their journey and figure that the people they are attracting with their message need that particular message at that particular time and will move on once it no longer serves.
Although, I do have one long-standing pet peeve in this arena that I am happy to share, and that is charismatic, attractive people presenting themselves as gurus. These people are shameless in placing themselves at the top of a kind of spiritual hierarchy that looks anything but spiritual to me. From my perspective, it looks like straight up narcissism with a heaping side of self-delusion, and I am always amazed at how well it works! These people have hundreds of thousands of followers who start to think and behave like groupies. Their most fervent followers have surrendered their own innate connection to the divine and handed their power over to a complete stranger. To that I say... BE. YOUR. OWN. GURU.
Who is inspiring you lately? Give us some links – old favourites or new finds!
Joanna: So many people. You! Gloria Steinem - always. I just saw her live and, at 81 years old, she is witty, thoughtful, sexy as hell and totally rock & roll. I'm also big on Elizabeth Gilbert (her Facebook page is a treasure in & of itself). Molly Roberts from HerSpeak has brought some much-needed fresh air into the online witchy community. Oh - and Sarah Ann Lawless! She's great.
I also love me some Erick Silvermoon, Crystal Starshine and all The Witches Of The Four Quarters, as well as my two best buddies, Lenora Henson of Psyche's Circle and Dawn Champine of The Goddess Diaries.
Can I also include a magazine here? Witches & Pagans is so well done. Oh - and Deer Dollheart. She's young & new but sooo interesting. I definitely think she is one to watch!
How do you feel that your message has evolved and/or expanded since the beginning of your business journey?
Joanna: I started my first online biz in 2004, so I have seen a huge evolution not only in myself but in online biz in general. For me personally, I think that journey has been about what we were talking about earlier - an evolving authenticity.
Once I started incorporating my ideas about psychology and spirituality into my biz, things really started to click into place. That was the piece that had been missing all those years that I focused solely on my art. It was always a part of who I am, but learning that I could blend the two was nothing short of revolutionary.
Lots of budding business owners worry about crossing the line between being inspired by their role models and straight up copying them. What is your advice on this seemingly common concern?
Joanna: My advice is to be yourself as wholly and completely as you can. If you're worried that you're copying someone by doing this, that or the other, err on the side of respect and don't do it. I have experienced a few copy cats that so directly mimicked what I was doing that it didn't feel like flattery. It felt like identity theft. And let me just add, too, that when I say "respect", I mean respect for yourself. Honor who you are and trust that it is enough. You are worthy. You are enough. Your ideas are yours to share. They are Source expressing itself through the unique channel that is you. Anything less is an assault on Spirit.
Thank you thank you thank you for being a total legend, Joanna, and for giving me and so many other heart-centred biz types the high vibe inspiration which makes all the difference!
All images for this interview were taken from Joanna's lovely Instagram account. You can also follow her on Facebook and visit her over at joannadevoe.com where she will keep you in the loop so that you never miss a video, Hippie Witch radio show or Weekly Witch Review. Lucky you!