Why I show my knickers online

magnolia bakery NYC
When I first offered Unravelling online in January 2009 I had no idea that I was also creating a creative business that would still be supporting me to this day. I’d only been in Bath a few months, and even though the move had been the right thing to do, I had no proper income, a stalled photography business that I’d just set free (read: closed the doors when I realised I wasn’t cut out for it, personality-wise) and a growing panic that I wouldn’t be able to support myself.

After my love died in 2005 I’d been unable to work and had had to live off credit cards; by the time I felt ready to write again, most of my journalism contacts were out of date. Those years were fraught, as I searched for ways to support myself with the skills I had; there were many job interviews that I was either over- or under-qualified for. I didn’t blog about most of this at the time because, frankly, i was embarrassed. I was (and still am) a single woman in my thirties, and to be in such a mess felt shameful; writing about grief and my emotions was so much easier than sharing about how I couldn’t pay my electricity bill.

I’ve no doubt mentioned how blogging saved me many times here over the years, but it’s so true; I found community, i found my voice again and i refound my camera.  My years as a journalist were good to me, but there was always something missing; blogging not only gave me a way to combine my words and images together, but i found a reason to dig deeper with my words; I didn’t want to write about fashion and “lifestyle” anymore — I wanted to write about what really mattered to me, and as it turned out, my life was about to unravel and help me find out what that was.

Bereavement brought many gifts into my life; that that would even be possible still blows my mind. There was a lot of healing that needed to be done, and by leaving first my love gifted me with the chance to heal and remake my world — and to truly find my place in it (even writing that still makes me teary). I often have moments when i sit on my sofa wondering how it managed to come together so marvellously, because none of this was planned — far from it, in fact. What would have happened if i hadn’t found that first blog and fallen down the rabbit hole? Or I hadn’t taught that first evening class in Bristol? Or Jo hadn’t suggested I share the course online because she couldn’t make it to class on Tuesday nights? (thank you, Jo x)

E-courses and online biz is all the rage these days, but when I started I didn’t know what i was doing and had to figure it out as i went along. Over time I discovered more and more biz and marketing blogs, online gurus and mavens who sold their wisdom in courses and books. Some of the information was useful and seemed quite intuitive…

But not all of it felt right to me.

The reason I’m sharing all this today is to tell you about a live call* I’m taking part in on Monday June 6th with some really excellent people — Fabeku Fatunmise, Alexandra Franzen, Chris Zydel, and Lisa Baldwin. It’s called Transcendent Sales and we’ll be chewing the fat about how to promote your stuff online without the ick. (and we’re not selling anything — it’s just a conversation we wanted to have and put out there. You can join us on the call or download the recording if it’s of interest to you :)

Because my biggest learning curve has been figuring out how to let people know what i’m doing in a way that feels right to me. When I wised up to the fact that YES I have a business and it’s okay to help it grow, I started paying attention to what the “experts” were suggesting I do (cue lots of panic and comparing myself and feeling inadequate). Anything to do with marketing and promotion always looked so sleazy and yuck to me, so I’ve learned to just take the bits that make sense to me, discard the rest and trust that by sharing my knickers online, aka being honest and authentic and as real as i can be, the people that I can most help, and who’ll truly dig what I’m doing, will find me.

So that’s what I’ll be chatting about in Monday’s call — i hope you can join us!

* I’ve never done a live call before, so it should be interesting ;)

31 responses

    Hey it’s my first time posting a comment on your blog but I just wanted to tell you I LOVE your work. The film photos have such a lovely vintage vibe. Awesome creative direction and color vibe!!! Have a beautiful weekend!

  2. Rebecca

    I dig what you’re doing, you helped me, and I’m glad I found you! Unraveling was truly a blessing, and you – an inspiration. I love how looking back, we can often can see the little puzzle pieces coming together – but we never would have guessed what the picture looked like until we have it there, right in front of us.

  3. Amisha

    Oh Susannah! Where do I begin? You inspire by talking about real life and talking about it tactfully (think of the cringe factor from talking about one’s life in a Jerry Springer show way).

    Congratulations on you accomplishments. And do you know that you not only inspire, but spread hope? You show to people that keep dreaming, keep persevering.

    Keep going!


  4. Krista

    Dear Susannah, I’ve been following your blog for a year now, but devotedly the last while. Your honesty and courage have done much to help me through my fear and pain-filled last few months. Thank you. Thank you for being scared and writing anyways. For feeling insecure and writing anyways. For posting what you did today which was JUST what I needed. It’s what a dear friend needed too, and I’m emailing her post haste. :-) Big hugs to you from a stranger in Washington. :-)

  5. Tara

    So beautifully said – and I literally was writing a post this morning about the same thing: learning the dance of taking some of the online biz advice and throwing other parts out – and trusting that it would still all work out okay.
    Just signed up for the call – I’m sure it will be wonderful.

  6. Alisha

    I can’t wait to listen to that call! thank you for sharing and doing what do you.

  7. Zarina Ávila

    Good luck! Thank you for this blog and for sharing your experience on internet business.

  8. Katherine

    I “found” you because I won a photo print of yours on another site, loved what I saw here, and started reading (obsessively & often times tearfully, might I add) backwards to the beginning until I was caught up! Then I signed up for the Winter 2010 Unravelling course, so it would seem that turned out to be a great marketing tool! :)

  9. jane (faerian)

    i for one am very glad about your knickers out way of approaching the world and blogging and your Jo inspired internet course has healed things in my heart which make my eyes leak as i write about it… i am very very glad that you have allowed the magic to work it’s way into your life and that you are being supported so beautifully to continue doing that (yes i am a wanky hippy – sue me) big love to you Susannah and i have joyfully signed up for the call that you and the other lovelies are putting together YAY!

  10. fiona

    Wonderful. You’ve given me something to look forward to on Monday. I was a little disappointed though, your title made me think we were going to see a knickers picture ;)

  11. susannah

    Hee! Next time :-D

  12. susannah

    I love that you’re a wanky hippy, lovely Jane x

  13. susannah

    No way! That’s so cool – I hope you liked the print :)

  14. Gill

    Hi Susannah, the call sounds really interesting, I am all signed up and waiting for Monday. Just to check with you though… what time does the call start UK time? Can never work out these time converters when there is Daylight Saving Time in force somewhere! PS. I’m a neighbour from Bath, looking forward to connecting :)

  15. Ellie Di

    I already signed up for this call, but I wanted to ping you to say thanks for sharing your story and yourself. I’m super looking forward to hearing what you’ve got to say on Monday!

  16. chris zydel

    Dear Susannah,

    I love your voice and your authenticity and your willingness to “show your knickers” by being so vulnerable and real.

    And I am SO looking forward to hanging out with you on Monday as we chat about how those of us that have not had a clue about marketing somehow managed to create businesses that take care of us in both body and soul!!



  17. Melissa Jaine

    Susannah – perhaps my favourite post of yours (and there’s lots of competition for that title :). This call on Monday sounds fantastic and just what I need right now.
    And thank god you found your way to help others unravel. After January’s course, I’ve been on a roller coaster of self-discovery and it continues every.single.day. I’m embarking on something new – but the gift is that it is real and it is true. Thank you.

  18. Lucia

    I think you (among others in the magic online world) found a new way to make business … I think you should teach marketing courses to the old marketing advisers!!! You have discovered new marketing ways just naturally being yourself and also bringing yourself to the others. That´s so cool. I´m happy I found you in my road, you don´t know how much you helped me! And I´m happy to read that we helped you too. Beautiful. Continue following your intuition!

  19. Marija Sagritalo

    I love writing but I have this fear of memory. I feel life slipping away more as a write, because with each day the distance between what I wrote and what the present time is is growing and as much as I know that there is no way out of that how do I let go of the fear?

  20. susannah

    Hi Gill! it will be 7pm here in Blighty :)

  21. Yuki

    Dear Susannah,

    It’s been over a year since I joined you for (both of) the Unravelling courses, and in that time I’ve changed my name (Kiki now :) ), moved to New York, stopped running from my past, started a new life altogether and though you don’t know it, you’ve been there the whole time with me. Thank you. I’ve come a ways from that confused, teary email I sent you after Unravelling 1. Congratulations on your book, your beautiful new blog design, and all that sparkles in your life.

    I’ll be listening to the call!
    So much love, Yuki

  22. susannah

    oh my goodness, honey, i am so freakin proud of you!!!!!!!! xx

  23. amelia Critchlow

    dear susannah, it’s great to hear your story in such frank and honest terms. Inspiring as always, and well done to you for turning the trauma into something so good and positive for you and for others. I really, really get that overwhelming, comparing-oneself-to-others horrible feeling when trying to ‘take advice’ from experts and yet when I do my research, some of the most successful people – including you – i can tell have acted from the heart and it’s led to where you are. The corporate speak from individuals that I see and hear frightens and alienates me at the same time as we are all people at the end of the day and it’s much nicer to hear how YOU did it, rather than how ‘it’s done’. I am getting more and more of a sense that the best success stories are the honest and open ones where it becomes apparent that a passion and a desire were the key . . . hey ho to more! Looking forward to hearing the call and growing my business from the heart :)


  24. Meg Manion Silliker

    i love reading the comments from others – i sit here saying yes me too, me too!! i’ve said it before, you are so amazing and such a treasure – i am so glad that i stumbled upon you – i don’t even remember how but i know i was directed in some way because you just fill my heart and it’s just the way it’s supposed to be. clever girl you. xo

  25. michelle

    you said: “by leaving first my love gifted me with the chance to heal and remake my world — and to truly find my place in it”
    what a beautiful perspective. it brought both tears and a sense of peace to me as i read your words. i feel like there’s more that i want to say, but i’m just blown away by that…

  26. Mellissa

    I love what you have written about your personal journey. I went through a very emotionally painful time a few years ago and I rediscovered my creative self which brings me great joy, it supports me like a good friend and it is now so, so, me. That time made me the person I am now and I wouldn’t have got there without it. xx

  27. Melin

    inspiring post thank Susannah! You honesty is greatly appreciated. It’s hard to believe you’ve had the same doubts I do. Good luck with the call. x

  28. Boo Marshall

    Even though I’ve only ‘known’ you for a little while, I’m very proud of you!!! You really have found your unique place in our world – keep growing it!! You are an inspiration and have shown all of us that when our worlds fall apart we still have our self – and goodness, what a lot we can do with that one special self! Boo xx

  29. Sherri Brannon

    I literally just stumbled upon your blog…what a pleasure! I appreciate how real and honest you are.

  30. Angela

    For some reason, the name Uta Barth popped into my head this morning … years ago from my college days I studied her work and have since begun thinking of picking up my film camera once again. Here I have stumbled upon your blog. A recent heartbreak and not knowing how to express myself at the moment. . . I believe you just saved me. Looking forward to keeping up with your blogging and finding inspiration to express my broken heart through photographs and writing.

    I truly thank you.

  31. Christina

    i was there for that first class. and my friend, let me say- i have never regretted a day of it. your class warmed my soul.

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