There are no rules when it comes to being a thought leader and/or influencer in Samantha Riley’s book! Samantha joins our Visionaries podcast from the beautiful Northern Beaches in Sydney, Australia. Samantha has spent the past 9 years helping people turn their expertise into a thriving freedom business using 3 key principles of positioning, profile and leverage to help people to monetize their expertise, and to become known as the influential thought leader in their industry. Due to her extensive business background, she sees each individual in a unique and holistic way, and is able to help them grow a profitable business to create a life that they love.
“So there's no rule that says an influencer needs to have 10,000 followers or 100,000 followers. Have you ever shared a message and influenced someone's decision? If the answer is yes, then you're an influencer. If you're a mom and you've got your two year old to stop having a tantrum on the floor, you are an influencer of the highest regard.” - Samantha Riley
Samantha had me thinking about being unique. Really, anyone can be a thought leader. It comes down to uniqueness; Really tapping into the stories and experiences that you have and bringing all of those together (along with your unique skills and expertise) is what it’s all about. With my video commercial services I focus on my clients uniqueness. Ultimately that’s what attracts clients to their online videos/ads. Samantha said it best, “it's not just about putting content out for the sake of content. We need to be putting out content that we are absolutely living, breathing and doing in our own business, in our own life. Because people will see through the BS.”
In this episode we will discover how Samantha started coaching and creating unique opportunities for thought leaders. She walks us through her own journey in corporate, entrepreneurship and finding love for herself again all while creating passion and a fulfilling life. Samantha doesn’t play by the rules and neither should you!
““No one's going to tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, it's your time!’ You have to give yourself permission and just walk into it.” - Samantha Riley
Helpful programs mentioned in this episode:
So there's no rule that says an influencer needs to have 10,000 followers or 100,000 followers. Have you ever shared a message and influenced someone's, you know, decision even just having a conversation like this? If the answer is yes, then you're an influencer. If you're a mom and you've got your two year old to stop having a tantrum on the floor, you are an influencer of the highest regard.
Welcome to visionaries where we believe having a positive vision for the future and actually sharing it is the best way to build a brand, grow authority and live a meaningful life. The show will explore different stories and strategies of the most visionary people today and what they're doing to inspire and change the world. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the show today. We have on Sam Riley. What's up Sam?
Oh, such a good day here in Sydney, down under!
Good, down under. Well, it's so much fun to get connected. Um, I'm recently, I was on your podcast and now we're switching switching places here and I'm just so excited. I love everything you're doing. Uh, for those who are just meeting you for the first time, introduce yourself a little bit.
Yeah. So I'm Sam obviously, uh, and I work with experts who are feeling unheard and I help them to be seen and heard as influential thought leaders. Uh, that's essentially what I do. My biggest passion around that is helping people to live a life of freedom. Uh, whatever that means to them. And I believe that we're going to get into that a little bit today, but that's, that's what I really, really love to do.
Yes, we are 100%. Uh, so let's break that down. Before we get into any backstory, let's break that down a little bit more. So you mentioned thought leader. Define that. Like, tell us more about that.
Yeah, well a thought leader to me is someone that, that unpacks their own thoughts in a unique way to help others. Um, I'm not in the camp that thinks that you need to, you know, have a, uh, some sort of fancy degree and wear a university, you know, wear one of those fancy university hats and have been, you know, teaching there for 50 years and be, you know, almost on your deathbed, which I think a lot of people do. I think that anyone can be a thought leader. And it's about really tapping into what makes you unique. Really tapping into the stories that you have, the experience you have and bringing all of those together and you know, using your expertise or your skills, but coupling them with, with the experiences you've had in your life to really create something that's, again, unique. I keep saying that word because I think that that's the, the uh, the key there that it has to be something that's unique to you.
Oh, I love that you shared that too. You know, it's funny, I was on a podcast this morning and we are discussing that idea using those same terms like unique and uh, I don't know if we use thought leader, but what, what I, how I kind of dissected it. And I guess how I see it is all of our stories have very similar elements and themes, right? There's only certain stories and types of stories that exist, but what makes them unique to each and every one is what, what makes us unique is our perspective or our thoughts on those stories. Uh, think about like reading your favorite book. If you're reading it with a friend, so you know someone else and you're at the same page, you know where you're going along, you're going to talk about and share insights that are completely different and through your, you know, it's through your own context, your own, um, your own story that you interpret and understand that. And, and so I, I love, I love that term unique. Mmm. So you mentioned serving unheard entrepreneurs. Uh, we're using that word unheard how, how do you become heard and own that title? Of a thought leader?
Yeah, this is a really good question cause I think there's a, there's a, you know, I talk about unheard experts that they feel like they're the world's best kept secret. And I think a lot of people get confused with their expertise and being known. And there's a lot of people, you know, that are heading into the, what I call the second half of their career. You know, they've done the groundwork, they've done whatever. So usually around the 40 year old mark and people just go, Oh wow, there's gotta be more than the such. I'm sick of sitting in this cubicle under these fluorescent lighting. There's more to life. And they come out thinking, well, I'm an expert. I'm really good at what I do. And get really frustrated that maybe the people that are much younger than them can get their name out, can get their, uh, can get more clients.
And there's a big difference between what they do and how to get their name out there. And that's, that's essentially your, your marketing. It's your content strategy, it's your unique methodologies. So your signature systems. And this is where you're tying in that thought leadership, uh, to create something that's unique, to get your, to be heard above the noise. Cause as you would know, Dallin social media is just, it's so noisy, it's so loud. And if you come out and say the same things that everyone else is saying, then of course you're not going to be heard because you know, we're scrolling through on our phones usually in the, you know, in the line at the grocery store or scrolling through while we're waiting, the kids do their swimming lessons and we're not going to stop unless there's something that makes us go, Oh, that's a little bit different.
So, you know, what, how can you explain what you do differently? Because even though we're all unique that, you know, if you, if you chunk up our skill sets are essentially the same. I talk about marketing for coaches like millions of other people do. So what makes it different? What are our different, um, you know, models. I use models a lot like visual models to help people understand, um, the way that I approach things. So really start to think, how can I share this in a different way using my, uh, the words that are unique to me, which is, you know, part of our authenticity, because I would use words normally different to probably the way you use words Dallin, which is different to the way you know, someone else does. So how can we sound different in our words? How can we look different in our, in our models are our methodologies. How can we share what we need to share so that it does stand out? Um, so it's, it's about consistency. It's about quality and it's about engaging in conversations, not just shouting at people, but more whispering so that people lean in and go, Ooh, that was really interesting. What is that? Tell me more about that.
Yeah. Yeah. And I love that you shared that. And it's interesting by way of us doing this podcast or a lot of those split screen interviews we see on Facebook usually. Uh, I think it's just that where conversations are started. It's not a one sided. Okay. You know, uh, thought vomit fest, huh?
That's exactly, right!
It's funny because I think we all, um, at some point I've fallen victim to that. Um, it still happens, right? But where we just, we have a random shot thought to share and a few people maybe show up to a random live, but it's, uh, but I think creating a platform for others to share their unique ideas and perspectives are, are incredible. And, and that's where, um, you know, we talk about influence or thought leadership and looking of those who have paved, paved the path in the past. Uh, Oprah comes to mind. Um, and, uh, and I've just, she's become fascinating to me, uh, a lot in the last year because her story is how before the internet became what it became, she owned her story, published it, and then created a platform for others to do the same. And by way of doing that, it kind of showed us the path of what we should be doing, especially now that we have so easy tools to do that. And so I think, you know, the podcast interviewing, um, I think it's a great way to create that bridge in that connection.
Yeah. And I think what I took out of that even more is that for people to really, um, know us and Whoa out of the woods of your mouth, you know, know love and trust us, I think we have to make sure, actually, I don't think, I know we need to walk out talk. So it's not just about putting content out for the sake of content. We need to be putting out content that we are absolutely living, breathing, doing in our own business, in our own life. Because people will see through the BS. If your, you know, we've all heard the stories of people hiring a Lamborghini for the day and sending outside of a and doing a bit of a selfie, you know, people know that it's BS, right? So don't do that. Just this is who I am. This is what I believe. And if you're teaching something and you're sharing something, make sure that you've done it.
Yeah. You know, and, and that's, that's, uh, easier said than done. You know, I, I, I think there's, um, there's definitely a balance of those who don't want to come off that way. And so they get stuck into like, well, I don't want to be that imposter, but it's in some ways, um, I think positioning ourselves to an aspirational person would that we want to become, um, is like there. There's a, there's definitely a fine line of, of doing that, right? Like to, to say we're an influencer. Um, when some people define influencers differently than others or to say working on career or when some people are like, no entrepreneurs or, or this, you have to at least hit this kind of revenue, or like have this kind of VC backing or whatever. Um, how do you think, uh, people can silence that negative noise so that way they can move forward without the imposter syndrome, but do it in integrity?
Oh, this is such a good question because I think that that's tapping into other people's rules. But guess what? We can make our own rules. So there's no rule, this is an influencer that needs to have 10,000 followers or 100,000 followers. Have you ever shared a message and influenced someone's, you know, decision? Even just having a conversation like this? If the answer's yes, then you're an influencer. If you're a mom and you've got your two year old to stop having a tantrum on the floor, you are an influencer of the highest regard, you know, so we create our own rules. And it's funny because I was talking about thought leadership a few years ago I was sitting down with my mentor and he said to me, Sam, you have mentioned this one word over and over and over in this, in this, um, well we've been having this chat and you know, I really would love you to own it.
And I was like, what are you talking about? He said, you have mentioned the word thought or the two words thought leader over and over again. I said, really? He's like, yeah, you should own that and say you work with thought leaders. And I was like, Oh, I can't do that. I don't, I don't think that, you know, I'm a thought leader. I don't think I'm at that. You know, I haven't been doing it for 50 years kind of thing. And it, it, you know, he said to me, well, you are, you've been doing this for a long time. You can, you know, can you help people to become thought leaders? Oh yeah, totally. I can well then own it. And he helped me understand that the only person that was holding me back was myself. That I was the one that was, you know, my, my, my worst critic. And I think we all are our own worst critics. So it, you know, owning that. Yeah. You know, well, I'm a thought leader, but also helping other people, you know, empowering other people with the same message. We're all thought leaders. We're all influencers say, make your own rules because no one's going to tap you on the shoulder and say, Hey, it's your time that they're just not, you have to give yourself permission and just walk into it.
Yeah. That, that's, so, that's so powerful. And I think, I, I think it's so tricky too, because you said like those are, um, use, you kind of referenced how other people have created those rules, defines their own lane, um, and what they're charting. So definitely creating our own rules of wa about what means what, um, and the fact that we all need to start from somewhere. And so if we, by taking the first step, then we can, we can chart that path.
Totally, totally. And I think that comparing yourself to someone who's been in a path for 10 years, 20 years, you know, a lot of years before you is not helpful to you at all. Like, sure, aspire, be inspired by them, but don't compare because that will just hold you back in fear for just for ever.
Yeah. That's so powerful. So I want to get more into the freedom, um, aspect, but to do that, let's step back in time a little bit. So for you, Sam, walk us through, uh, your journey of discovering what freedom meant for you.
This is been for me such a long journey. And let me just say up front, I hope that by sharing this that someone doesn't have to walk a journey that took as long as mine did. I hope that this story will give them a bit of a shortcut. Um, so for me, going back, uh, when I was 19, I was in a corporate job in government and that was the, the only corporate job that I ever had. And I wasn't there for very long. I was only there for two or two or three years, probably only two years, to be honest. Um, and I was married at that time. I was married when I was 17. I had two kids by the time I was 18. Super young, super did the thing and just wanted to give my children a life that I guess I wanted as a kid. You know, I came from a family, um, who did it really tough, so wanted to give my children more than that. So I decided to go into business and step away from that, that corporate gig. Um, I opened a dance studio. Within 12 months I had opened, um, a retail store. Within a few years I opened another retail store. So for 20 years I was in traditional business and it didn't give me much freedom at all. Um, it gave me financial freedom cause we did very well financially. But from the perspective of time, there wasn't a lot of freedom there. I was working most days, nine in the morning till nine at night. I was working weekends. I hardly saw my kids. They grew up in the waiting area of the dance studio with other parents, not even with me.
And um, so, you know, that's sort of what life like, and then in 2010, I separated from my, my husband and I lost the businesses. And it was a really tough time for me because I didn't have any income. I had, I had no idea who I was. You know, as a person. I've been married my whole adult life. I've never been on my own. So there was this period of really struggling to just get on with life, let alone, you know, know what business to start. I knew that I couldn't be employed. I was totally unemployable and you know, I knew that. Um, and I did struggle for a few years until I thought, hang on a minute. I actually, I'm in charge of my own story. I can rewrite this chapter however I want because there's nothing left. I have complete free reign over what I wanted.
You know what I can do. Yeah. So what I did was go on a journey of really discovering my core values and what it was that I wanted in life. And my kids were growing up by then. So I was on my own. There was no one to support. I was pretty lucky. And really the things that were important to me was I wanted to be surrounded by friends and family all the time because you love is my highest score. Value freedom is was my second value. And that to me meant a lot of travel. I don't like to n't in one place. Um, and my third value is actually beauty. And I like to be surrounded by beautiful, um, surroundings. You know, I like we can say in my books behind me, I love reading. You know, I love going to the beach and beautiful restaurants and things that look pretty.
So I'm like, well, how can I, how can I do all these? And that's how I wound up on the path that I'm on. So it's, so freedom is really tapping into what's important to you because you know, I've got clients, freedom to them means being at home with their children while their children aren't at school. So they're working 20 hours a week. It might mean to others that they're traveling around the world, just like me to others, it might mean that they can afford the really expensive home by the beach, cause that, you know, that's really important to them. You know, for me, being in one place all the time wouldn't be freedom, but it isn't to other people. So, you know, really tap, I guess the, the biggest part of this is tapping into what's important to you and then design your life around that.
Mmm. That's so good. You know, I, and I love that you use the word design and um, uh, I, I'm hearing that more and more, but you know, I think traditionally it hasn't been associated like it needs to be, um, in the business and and I mean just hearing design it and obviously hearing your whole story. It's this idea that we can choreograph. to you use, you know, do your bit some of your dance background but uh, to, to choreograph, what we want our life to be, to design it with intention. We have that opportunity.
More so now than what I did back in 90 1992 or so or whatever. When I started my business. I mean the, the most important question I should have asked myself is what sort of business do I need to start? That means I can spend more time with my children. Cause that's what it was all about. Doing two businesses at that time. That meant that I was in a shop all day and then I was teaching all night and all day, you know, on the weekends probably wasn't the smartest move saying freedom is like right up there and the values for me.
So that's why I'm super passionate about teaching at. The very first thing you should be asking yourself is why do you want to be starting this business and what do you want your life to look like? And then let's design that life with a business that supports it rather than just going, Oh, okay. So a great way to get out of this corporate job is to start a business that, you know, it wasn't the right, the right question to ask. However, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I wouldn't have been here with this, you know, without that story. And that's why stories are so important.
100% and so what do you feel like is next in your story with now what you've built and obviously owning this, this thought leadership brand, what's next.
For me what's next is building out there world's largest online platform for thought leaders and experts to connect because we've got this amazing technology at our fingertips that we didn't have a long time ago. It wasn't even that long ago. I don't know why I said long time ago. I'm not that old in the 90s. We didn't ha I wouldn't have connected with you because we wouldn't have had this technology. However, people are feeling less connected than ever. Even though we've, we, you know, we're able to connect with more people. So I want to build this platform, connect people so that we can really have a support network, I guess, and be there for each other. Share stories because a lot of us are working, you know, I'm here in my home office, I do travel a lot and I do meet a lot of people, but still, you know, in the day to day, well I'm grinding away. I'm here on my own, you know, you're probably there on your own. My staff are virtual, so I'm only chatting to them on a screen. Um, but yeah, that that's the big vision is to be, be connecting all these people and then traveling and where around the world and meeting them in person and connecting them with other people and building a real support network and of, you know, really close connection, collaboration, um, coming together and, you know, what can we do to contribute to the planet, to the world, to, to other communities.
Yeah. Uh, you know, and that's, that's so powerful too. And I like that we're able to, Mmm. I mean, you shared breaking down thought leader or influencer, you know, whatever term that many people traditionally have felt is reserved for the 1%, so to speak, made it and, you know, quote unquote made it or hit certain, some sort of level of money or whatnot. And I think, um, well bringing that, the, distributing that that identity to more people is important to do because that opens up the doors to just meeting and connecting with a lot more people virtually and in person. And so I love that idea of being able to, um, connect all of these communities all around the world in one organized place. And that's, you know, I, I've, I've been attending a lot of events in the last few years and a lot of entrepreneur events and it's great to connect with people in the same room with similar thoughts, but, but to get more niche and specialized around, well, are you an aspiring thought leader? Some, not everyone's an aspiring thought leader. Yeah. And some people are just like, Hey, I just want to make enough money to afford, a few extra things in each month. So I'm, I don't want to scale my business into something massive.
Totally. And I love that you say that. Again, it comes back to the rules. Like don't live by other people's rules, whatever you want. That's, that's fine. I think there's a lot of talk around, you know, create the seven figure business, you know, and it's not all about that. It really isn't. If, if that's important to you, great. If it's not, who cares?
Yeah. Yeah, man, that's so good. Well, where can people, um, join your journey and get connected with you?
You can find me at https://samanthariley.global/ Uh, that's my website. All my social media handles are on there. And, uh, we've been talking a bit about freedom. I've got a free resource there called the freedom business matrix, which is the nine strategies that I personally have used over the years of my business to create more freedom of time and also to create more financial freedom in my business. So you can get that at https://samanthariley.global/freedom/
Oh incredible. And I literally just downloaded that this over this last week and started reviewing that. It's, it's powerful cause it's, it's not just another like read and good and you know, you're done with it, but it's, you're actually filling in really inspired and, and insightful questions so you really have to dedicate time to like think and process it. But like the outcome is incredible as far as building like a freedom first division.
Yeah, thank you. I mean really the strategies in there, you can pick any one of those and have it implemented and done within 30 days. Uh, you know, go in and get the quick win and share the story with. Make great shout out, let me know.
Yeah, definitely. Well, Sam, thanks so much for joining. Appreciate it.
Thanks so much for listening. Once again, if you would like to learn more about how you can use your unique message to share with the world through video and create videos that actually are professional and perform, bring you money and all of the results and influence that you want to make, then I invite you to learn more by going to contentsupply.com. Thanks again for listening and we'll talk to you very soon.