"The Inside Story is the most genuine online business course I have ever taken. While all the others felt like loud megaphones blasting with announcements that I'll never have success online as an introvert, The Inside Story has been like a soothing cup of tea on a cold day." — CAROLINE DONAHUE
Here’s the thing.
I’m a forty-something introvert who finds social activities exhausting and prefers to stay home with a book. I have zero desire to give a TED talk and would die if I had to manage a huge team. And yet, despite ignoring the majority of “expert” advice, I’ve been running a successful six-figure business online for the last TWELVE years.
Along the way I’ve had three books traditionally published, created 16 much-loved and impactful e-courses and built the most loyal and wonderful audience of peeps hailing from over 50 countries around the world. And I’ve done it without trying to be anything other than exactly who I am — proverbial warts and all.
I rely on my heart more than my head when it comes to running my business.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t use my head, it’s just not my only navigation. To me a heart-centred business aligns with your values and genuine expression of your self. It allows you to flow with your energy levels and personality traits to make work less about struggling and more about THRIVING. Heart-centred also makes marketing your work a joy instead of something to feel awkward about.
Everything I’ve created has been born out of experimentation, intuition and consistently showing up for the people I serve — and for myself too. Since creating my first ecourse back in January 2009 my business has grown organically around me, becoming the shape I want it to be, rather than the shape others said I “should” create. Want to know how I do it?
Welcome to The Inside Story.
If you’ve ever wanted to pick my brain about how I run my online business, this refreshingly honest course is for you. From how I got started and (un)structure my day to the tools I use, how I create and run my courses, build community and navigate social media as an introvert, I’ll share everything I’ve learned in 12 years of running a successful heart-centred business. I’ll also help you figure out the shape of YOUR business.
The Inside Story isn’t a blueprint, it’s a permission slip to create the business that fits YOU.
The really fantastic thing about being your own boss is you get to make your own rules! It’s normal to want to get it “right” but the key reframe is to get it “right” for YOU. Your lifestyle, your energy levels, your passions, your purpose.
I don’t have a magic formula because there isn’t one (anyone who says there is should be avoided at all costs!) but if you can see yourself in me — creative, introverted, easily overwhelmed but oh so passionate about what you want to give back to the world — then it’s my honour and pleasure to tell you everything I know about making online business work for YOU.
What We'll Cover
MODULE ONE: FOUNDATIONS
In the first week we’re laying down the foundations. I’ll take you through the evolution of my business, why blogging changed everything for me after my bereavement and how the online business world has changed (for the better!) over the last 12 years. We’ll do a deep dive into creating a business that fits YOU, how to work with your strengths (and figure out what they are) and explore why nurturing a relationship with your inner child will help to strengthen your business confidence.
MODULE TWO: STRUCTURE
In week two I’ll break down the structure of my business, how I plan my year ahead, who’s on my team and exactly what they do, and all the online and offline tools I use in my biz. I’ll also share my all-important numbers, including the metrics I pay attention to (hint: there’s very few), what I’ve invested in and what I regret buying. I’ll take you through the creation of a business journal, help you learn how to trust yourself to make the “right” decisions and deep dive into biz visioning!
MODULE THREE: COMMUNITY
Building community is the cornerstone of a heart-centred business and in the third week I’ll explain exactly what’s worked for me when navigating and staying sane on social media. I’ll share my theories on marketing in ways that feel genuine and natural, dig into how to “be yourself” online (it’s possible without the cringe) and give you lots of ideas on how to find your ideal peeps. We’ll also tackle the dreaded comparison and face our fears about visibility (I’ve got you!).
MODULE FOUR: CREATION
In the fourth module I break down where my ideas for new e-courses come from, the different types of courses and online platforms and what works best for me (and my temperament). We’ll deep dive into how to create an online offering, how to run and maintain courses and communities and I’ll explain my policy on customer service. We’ll also spend time looking at our money mindset and how to value your work, your time and yourself with integrity.
MODULE FIVE: COMMUNICATION
My mailing list is the most essential asset in my entire business and in Module Five I explain why the realisation that it wasn’t just a newsletter but a way to build a tangible relationship with my audience changed everything. I’ll give you all my “best practices” including what to share and how often and how to get people to sign up in the first place. Plus you’ll get a PDF of newsletters from my archive as we explore the evolution of the Love Letters — learn from my mistakes!
MODULE SIX: DEPTH
In the final week we’ll wrap things up by exploring legacy, future planning and how to stay motivated. I’ll share my policies around scholarships and inclusion, talk about why finding your virtual (in in-person!) teammates is essential and explain exactly what a “biz ponder” is and why you need them regularly! We’ll also dip into how keeping things simple is the key to not burning out, something we all do throughout our entrepreneurial journey, it’s not just you.
Pay in full
The 7-week live course + lifetime access + Blogging from the Heart ebook. PLUS! Immediate access to the Photo Meditations ecourse.
The 7-week live course + lifetime access + Blogging from the Heart ebook. First payment taken immediately, followed by 2 monthly payments.
Sign up for Inside Story
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I’m an author, photographer and teacher who’s been sharing her heart online for well over a decade. I help people know, trust and express themselves better by teaching the tools that helped me heal my own heart and live a self-directed life. I worked as a photographer and journalist for many years but my life as I now know it really began in the spring of 2005 when the man I loved died very suddenly from a heart attack — everything I thought I knew about life changed in that instant.
Walking through the fire of bereavement was the catalyst for my own unraveling, a journey I wrote about in my first book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart. In 2008 I taught an in-person workshop called Unraveling: Ways of Seeing My Self and in 2009 I launched the course online. That course ran for many years and supported thousands of women all around the world. Since then there’s been 15 more courses, three books, an international retreat and lots of workshops!
Running my creative business online for the last 12 years has taught me so much about selling your heart-centred work and putting yourself out there as an introvert and sensitive soul. It’s absolutely possible to do work that’s in alignment with your values and supports your community while also honouring your energy levels and paying your rent. I can’t wait to teach you how I do it.
Questions and Answers
HOW DOES THE COURSE WORK?
The Inside Story runs for six weeks with an integration week in the middle, so seven weeks in total. The weekly modules will go live on our private site on MONDAYS and will contain 3-4 videos (with downloadable transcripts + audio) and written content plus plenty of workbooks to dive into. There will also be two live Zoom calls during the course and a supportive on-going private Facebook group. You don’t have to be online at a certain to work through the course content but obviously the live Zoom calls will have set dates and times (they will be recorded if you can’t participate live). You will have access to the content for the lifetime of the course.
I HAVEN’T STARTED MY ONLINE BUSINESS YET — WILL THIS COURSE HELP ME DO THAT?
Yes and no. I’ll tell you everything I did to get started and how I run my biz today, and you can certainly take inspiration from that path if it makes sense for you, but if you’re looking for a cut-and-paste template of what to do this won’t be the course for you. For example: if you want to know more about VAT in the UK I am NOT the person to ask — I barely understand it myself. So when it comes to “official” biz stuff, I’m not your woman. Heart-centred work that’s created with integrity? YES. Building an online presence that’s truthful and real? YES. Taxes and cut-n-paste “sales funnels”? NO. Ideally you’re already a year or so into your business and looking to expand your online presence and want to pick the brain of someone who’s been doing it every day, full-time, for the last 12 years. That’s where I can help you.
I HAVE AN ESTABLISHED BUSINESS — WILL I GET ANYTHING OUT OF THIS?
I believe so, yes! I enjoy learning from my fellow business owners, so if you are intrigued and want to know how I personally do business I’d love to see you in class. However, it’s important to note that this course is geared towards people who have just started their business journey or are one or two years into it.
WILL THE CLASS TEACH ME HOW TO CREATE AN E-COURSE?
Module Four will not only give you the low down on how I create and run my courses but you’ll also get my Course Planning Workbook. This is the kind of workbook I would have loved to have had when I first starting making courses, so that if you have an idea for an e-course — and I know a lot of you do or are planning to make one in the future — you’ll have something concrete you can use to plan the structure, content and delivery of your course. The workbook is epic, if I do say so myself!
WILL I BE ABLE TO ASK YOU QUESTIONS AND GET FEEDBACK?
I’ll be hanging out in our private Facebook group every week and will be available to answer quickie questions then and there. We’ll also have two live Zoom calls during the course — the exact dates and times TBD but I’ll do my best to accommodate as many timezones as possible! The calls will be recorded so if you can’t participate live you’ll be able to watch them back at a time that suits you.
DO YOU ACCEPT PAYMENT IN DOLLARS/EUROS?
Yes! Your currency is automatically converted when you check out using either a credit card or Paypal. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the digital nature of the course I am not able to offer refunds, so please purchase mindfully. If you have any questions about the course and want to figure out if this is the right move for you please do get in touch.
I had taken quite a few business related courses over the years, and had been piecing together the creation of a business from what I love and do best, with very slow progress. For a long time I bought into the idea that there was a certain way to do things, and that when I felt uncomfortable with them it was because I was lacking in some way. I had more or less reached the conclusion that it probably wasn't viable to make it full-time because I didn't identify as an entrepreneur. I started believing I didn't “have what it takes” (that sounds crazy now!). The Inside Story is the first course I've found that is based in genuine, no-holds-barred personal experience. Susannah shares so many fascinating and extremely helpful insights — everything you could want to know, from the day-to-day actions and the “how” of things, to the financials. I loved the way the course is delivered, with in-depth videos that feel like we're having a (very useful!) chat, and various extras including an insanely helpful guide to creating an e-course. The Facebook group is also one of the loveliest I've been in; so supportive and welcoming and non-judgemental. I've already told several people about the course (some of whom signed up!), because it's genuinely shifted what feels possible for me. Finally I feel like I can have success doing it my own unique way, and am even already proving it!
The Inside Story is the most genuine online business course I have ever taken (and I've tried a number of them). While all the others felt like loud megaphones blasting with announcements that I’ll never have success online as an introvert, The Inside Story has been like a soothing cup of tea on a cold day. This course is an absolute gift. It changed the way I approached my newsletter, my website and has given me the confidence that I will thrive online because of my introverted nature, not in spite of it. If you've felt overwhelmed by other courses and think being online just isn't for you, this is the course that will make all the difference in the world. I'm so grateful to have such a complete and honest view behind the scenes in Susannah's business. This has inspired me to keep going and keep growing in this world in a way that is right for me. Thank you thank you, Susannah, for all the hard work and heart that went into the making of this. And thank you for staying in touch so well in the Facebook group so we can all keep sharing. Worth every penny and then some.
Susannah, I cannot tell you how much this course is helping to guide me in creating my course. I'm still in the trenches with building mine, and there have been many moments that I have become frozen, unsure of how to take the next small step forward. Each of those times, I keep returning to the course material and Facebook group, and it helps to fuel and energize me. YOUR energy is contagious, so glad you decided to do this course in video form! I'm reminded I'm not doing this alone. And that it doesn't have to be scary if I break things down. I have guest artists lined up — that sounds SO LEGIT (aka scary but awesome!)! I'm still terrified that whatever I create will be total crap, haha, but at least I know everyone feels that way when they branch out into the new. Just a little note today to say thank you, and that your work is making such a profound difference in my own work right now, and on a daily basis.
I loved listening to all the videos and presentations, it felt like I was having coffee with a friend, chatting about how to run a business from the heart. I’m an introvert and HSP and hearing your story inspired me so much and made me realise that it is indeed possible to run a business “the introvert way”! You are very generous and share all your knowledge and experience in a simple, warm, and friendly way. It was liberating to hear that I don’t have to structure my day and weeks like all the “experts” say, and that it’s possible to have a business that not only provides value for my clients, but also nourishes me — thank you Susannah for the permission slip! Since doing the course I have created and launched a free ebook for my newsletter subscribers, and I just finished writing my first e-course. I wanted to do that for years — share what I know and create e-classes — and The Inside Story gave me the final push I needed to get started. I also love the Facebook group. It’s wonderful to share and support each other in such a safe, nurturing community. So, dear Susannah, a big THANK you from the bottom of my heart!
I’ve taken two or three courses on running online businesses, and I've learnt something useful from all of them, but The Inside Story was the game-changer. Finally, a course that's about running a business tailor-made to suit me and my personality, but which combines the integrity-filled heart-centred approach with lots and lots of practical details about the nitty-gritty of how to make it work, what's helped, what hasn't. Perhaps most importantly, you have given me a step by step guide to how to grow a community. I've been following your advice and it's working - my mailing list is four times as big as it was three months ago. The other big benefit of enrolling for the course has been access to the private Facebook group, which is full of like-minded people who are incredibly helpful and supportive. The money I spent on The Inside Story is, hands down, the best I've invested in my business in the three years I've been working online.
This will sound corny, but since joining The Inside Story and reading your words and listening to the videos (can’t always stream them here!) I’ve remembered something a college professor told us once: ”Be a candle, in a sea of light bulbs.” I’ve been trying to live that out ever since, but don’t always find the support for doing so, especially in the online business world. In your teaching and sharing, though, I do feel supported in being the kind of light I want to be. You nourish my own wisdom and intuition and help me to stay on the path I’ve chosen, instead of being distracted off of it. My words for this year are Deepening and Sufficiency and following the desire I had to join The Inside Story is honoring each of them.
"Heart–centered" is the perfect description for this course, something that feels so nurturing amidst all the noise telling me how I have to be (i.e. NOT in tune with my heart — ugh) in order to have a successful business. Susannah generously opens up about everything (everything!) involved in running her business and offers insights about how to do what feels authentic and right for me. I love that it's not a prescription to follow — she's not telling me to imitate her, she is sharing so deeply about her process and offering so many useful resources that The Inside Story serves as an actionable–inspiration for MY heart–centered business. Everything from organizing software to a simple tarot/oracle spread that I have now incorporated into my morning routine. I hope to offer e–courses as brilliant and powerful as Susannah's (and she includes a kick–ass course planning workbook for that) but I also know that I am a social introvert and people connect well to me in person. A small number of live courses and events actually nurture and sustain me AND those are good for my heart–centered business. The Facebook group for The Inside Story is a supportive community of people also running authentic and meaningful businesses. There's a lot of expertise and experience there and resources are shared, questions are answered, and feedback is offered with care and wisdom.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Inside Story changed my life. When I joined in November 2015 I was in my first year as a Squarespace web designer and even though I was doing well I wanted to explore the feasibility of adding online courses to my services. What I wasn’t prepared for was the true impact Inside Story would have on the trajectory of my business over the following years. Susannah not only offers outstanding guidance and a wealth of information and tools in her class, she has also built an exceptional community of nurturing and supportive business owners around her. We are proud to be Insiders! As an empath and Highly Sensitive Person it is very important to me to act from a place of integrity and substance, I am not a hustler and my approach is more gentle and personable. Which is no doubt why Susannah’s heart-centered philosophy has always spoken to me! My business has grown very organically as a result and three years on my courses have attracted hundreds of students and I am ready to take the leap away from active web design into full-time online education. I would not be where I am without the seeds that were planted and nourished in Susannah’s Inside Story class and community. This is where I found encouragement, inspiration and unwaivering support through the joys and challenges of growing a business, as well as deepening friendships both online and offline. My heart will forever be grateful to you, Susannah, for creating The Inside Story!