Brave Marketing With Colin Scotland

Build Live Give. Mentoring With Paul Higgins

Paul Higgins sits down with Colin Scotland, Marketing coach and consultant.

He shares with us how he helps mission-driven entrepreneurs find clarity and get better results from marketing so they can transform more people’s lives.


Okay. Welcome Colin Scotland from to the Build Live Give podcast. Great to have you here, Colin.


Excited to be here, Paul. Really looking forward to our chat.


Yeah. Well, look, we spoke in preparation for this and I was envious on two fronts. One was just how well you articulate yourself, and then the second was on your setup. And actually today I've had to add a third because I think your website also is brilliant, so we'll definitely have the link to that. You got to check out Colin's, but that's not the only reason Colin's here today. So Colin, I'd love to know who do you help and what problems do you solve for them?


So I help mission driven people, people with a purpose looking to affect a change in the world, to really find their spark, the thing that keeps them going when the flaming arrows come, and then to articulate that to the rest of the world, so that they can enhance and increase that impact.


Great. And any specific types of people that have got that passion, that spark?


Yeah. Typically, it tends to be coaches, consultants, influencers, people who've got skills, people who've done their 10,000 hours in an area, in a field, and then they're looking to expand their reach, their impact, and to really find and take their message to a wider audience.


Great. And what do you know about crafting that message, getting that message heard that many of us miss?


I think one of the most difficult things is focusing on people who get it. So imagine we sell a back remedy that heals back pain and we go shouting in the streets at people, "Hey, we've got this back remedy, it'll heal your back pain," we don't know of that crowd who's actually suffering with back pain. And so we just kind of wildly go out shouting our message in the streets without that focus. Imagine focusing on a pocket of that crowd that are actually hobbling around because their back's aching. The message might not change, but the way that it's received changes entirely.


So I think one of the biggest things I see people doing or not doing is not focusing on speaking to the people who get it, who get what you do already. Otherwise, you spend your time literally banging your head against the wall trying to educate the uneducated in terms of what you do. So I think especially when you're looking to get some traction, that's a huge one, a huge one.


Yeah. And look, we've all been taught so many times that the money's in the niches and the niches and really focused down. And I know for me personally, last year I launched my own personal brand,, and it was really difficult to say, "Well, what am I going to let go of to actually narrow down?" Because I was a business mentor and I've got a lot of corporate experience, also got a lot of business experience, but I felt like the message ... I knew what I did and my clients that I worked with really knew what I did, but people coming to me for the first time didn't. It was like a noisy room and there wasn't any clarity. So I've certainly got some help from someone to do that and it's a continual journey, but is that the type of situation you encounter a lot with these purpose driven people that have got great skills, but it is a noisy room?


So look, we're all, everyone of us, bigger than our work. The work that we do is a very tiny piece of who we are as human beings, so it's always difficult to feel like you are putting a straight jacket on. When we talk about finding a niche and really getting a laser focus on your messaging, it feels like you are putting a straight jacket on and then you're unable to be the fullest human being that you know and you realise that you can be. So you kind of feel like you are saying no to all of these other people that you can help. It's a natural thing, and I think that's what often causes a lot of the blocks to really narrowing down that focus.


But the interesting thing, the interesting thing that just literally knocks me off my feet every time, when we're able to be laser focused and say, "Hey, no, I don't work with that type of person. Hey, I work with this type of person," the world changes. All of a sudden people go, "Oh, that's what you do," and then the conversation's so much easier. It's so much easier. And actually, even the people that you don't say, "Hey, I do this for these people," they resonate with you. It's like a magical thing, it's kind of the opposite of what ... Our instinct tells us that we're closing off opportunity when actually the opposite is true.


Yeah. And I remember back in my corporate days, someone once said to me, "You need to be completely sick to death and bored of what you're saying before you know that other people are actually hearing it." Because you're saying it constantly, so you think, "Well, just because I'm saying it constantly everyone else gets it," but no it doesn't. I was a director and I've always got ideas and I'm thinking, "Well, why can't I move on to the next idea?" But until it actually got right through the business and people absolutely understood what you stood for, you had to keep yourself apart.


And just quickly, someone once said, like the Coca Cola brand, you think about it as a marketing director, you think about it every minute of the day, where someone that's actually consuming the product might think of it for about two seconds a day. So how do you get that message that's very noisy in your head, but it's got to get through the noise in theirs? So I wonder if you've got some examples where you've worked with some people to really hit that mark?


Yeah, I've got a tonne of examples like that, and really the common ground that it all comes down to is connecting with the purpose. And when we connect with purpose, what happens is we find a meaning that is bigger than ourselves for our existence. And so, Viktor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning, he talks about this finding of our purpose on this planet. And when we connect with a purpose that is bigger than us, all of a sudden the reason that we do what we do and the actions that we take have a greater appeal because they appeal to something that is outside of ourselves. So if we go around in the world focusing on me, me, me, me, me, what can I get, how I can be great, how can I do this, how can I do that, then it's very difficult.


You're almost like you know when water runs off the back of a duck and it just pools and runs away and it disappears and it's never to be seen again, your message is like that to people, it just flows and disappears and disappears. Whereas, when you're able to connect with your actual purpose, the reason that you're on this planet and let that lead how you show up in the world, everything changes. Not because necessarily your messaging changes, often it does but not necessarily that, what actually changes is how you show up.


I work with a number of people who come to me and they say, "Colin, I hate marketing. I don't know how to do marketing. I'm not a marketer. I can't market and I hate all of this blingy, salesy, marketingy type of stuff that I see out in the world," and yet they are rocking it in their business, just by having conversations with people and doing actually what marketing is, and that's forging and making relationships. So when they connect to their why and their vision and then they go on podcasts or they speak at events or they have these conversations with people, they're now not talking about themselves and what they do, they're talking about why they do what they do. They're talking about the thing that drives them forward, about righting the wrongs in society.


So a recruitment consultant looking to pioneer remote recruitment for those that it's not accessible to in the world, looking to make a change, make a million people empowered to work remote. So speaking about that message is so much more powerful. The consequence of that is more business. The consequence of that is a bigger list, a bigger audience, more people interested in what it is that you do, because it resonates on a deep, visceral level with the people that hear that message.

Colin Scotland:

And then another startup that are ... Literally, their mission is to eliminate bad experiences on the web and empower small business, like a David and Goliath, to have access to the tools that are only affordable by the enterprises, by the big boys in the world. And so they're pioneering a change, a cause of justice in the world of user testing. It's a very specific niche, but just by going out and talking about that mission and that passion that the founder of that business has, that's changing the game, because now people are onboard, people are wanting to be part of something that really feels something for them in their emotional centre. And really if we narrow it all down, that's what it's all about. It's about triggering that sense of feeling.


So there's a great quote that says, "People will forget what you say, they'll forget what you do, but they'll never forget how you make them feel." And so really the core of rock solid, laser focused messaging is in making people feel it's moving people towards something. And the best way to do that is have a connection to higher purpose and have something that resonates, because we all feel a sense of injustice, inequity, of anxiety, of all of these things. They're common to all of the, what is it, eight billion of us now on the planet?


Yeah. Well, there'll be a few more soon because China's just extended the policy to three children versus two, but yes. And I suppose the key thing that's going through my head as you're talking is I'm nodding. We normally take it ... You don't see me when you're talking, but for everyone listening or hearing, I'm nodding and probably you're nodding as well, right?


Philosophically we all get it, but where I get a little stuck sometimes when you say purpose, my purpose on a grander scheme is that more people donate organs around the world. That's a higher purpose for me, because I've been hugely fortunate to have a kidney transplant and I know my children will probably ... It's a 50-50 that they'll have to have one, and my mum passed from it, her dad passed from it, so it's something that's real. So that's my purpose, but how do I link that to what I do for people on a day to day basis? So can you have a personal purpose and one that is more related around business?


Here's the thing, they are all one and the same. So we often think this is business me, this is personal me, and never the twain shall meet, but actually they are one and the same. The journey that we're on in this lifetime is to really uncover and unmask and become the truest expression of ourselves, and part of that is embracing who we are fully into what we do fully. So the meaning behind the kidney, all of these things for you, that's baked into who you are as a human being, that's part of your makeup. And so really that then cascades into how you show up in the world.


And the interesting thing about that is just by you articulating that, you resonate with that pocket of people with back pain, metaphorically, that you resonate with that pocket of people in that crowd with back pain. So never shy away, never hide who you are, because in hiding who you are, you're restricting how your message can resonate with people. So you need to really embrace that and make that unashamedly, unapologetically part of your message, because that's what makes you you, and it's your resonance, it's your energy that resonates with others. Does that make sense?


So a few people are thinking, and to be honest I'm thinking the same, I've got a ceratin positioning then you've said that. This might sound like an obvious question, Colin, but is it something that you really need to get help from someone else to really bring that out of you, or do you find that people tend to be able to see the label from with inside the jar, find it themselves? What works best? You've worked with so many coaches and consultants, what do you find works best?


I guess I'm biassed here, aren't I, Paul, because I'm a coach and this is what I do, this is my jam. So oftentimes you have that saying as a consultant, you can't see the wood for the trees, or a consultant will take your watch off you to tell you the time. So there all of those funny sayings out there, but oftentimes it can be helpful to have an outside-in look, because that reflection of what other people see and what other people hear you say can be the trigger for you. You do it, you always do the work. With a good coach, you always do the work, not the coach. All the coach does is reflect back to allow that beauty and spark and wonder that is already in you, allow that to shine. And so you can do that without a coach, without an external help, you can.


It's a journey. It's a journey of 1,000 miles and we're constantly walking on the journey. The purpose that we have today is and will be different to the purpose that we have in three months time, in a year's time, in five years' time. So I think you have to embark on the journey and then how that journey manifests for you will be different and unique and change. It might be a coach this week, it might be self-development stuff next week, and that's good, and it's all good, it's all part of that journey.


And I know my team are going to probably listen to this one and for me the hardest thing I find on a practical sense is that it's like your purpose. Yes, you get your purpose right, but I find that the message can sometimes change, and once the message change once, we've got a whole now checklist in the sun of all the things that have got to change, but it's a massive, long list. So what do you say to people that their testing that message is not always something, like you said, that stays stable? How do you get that to make sure it's consistent everywhere?


That's a really interesting question. I think when you've got a legacy, when you've got a whole host of things that are out into the wild, then it almost can become an exercise in managing the consistency of messaging. But the interesting thing is the core, what we're talking about here, the core, these are the values, the purpose, the mission, the reason for being for the business, for the brand, for you, and so often what you find is the actual words that we say can and will vary. So there'll be a variable amount of messages out in the wild and that's okay, providing that they measure up to our North star, that they measure up to our why.


So what we can do when we're clear on the why, we can bring all of that messaging into the beam of the North star and say, "Does it fit? Yes, perfect. That's fine. It might not be ideal, but it's okay. It still fits that vision. Does it fit? Nah. Right, so we have to change that." And so very quickly you can have that as a benchmark, as a yardstick for how you show up, for the way that you articulate your message. That doesn't really fit with our core purpose, that needs to change. And so what can feel like a big and overwhelming exercise actually can become quite small and not as daunting as you think.


The other thing as well is this is an iterative process, remember. One my clients, she sent me this wonderful doodle and it was like a Captain Iterative, this superhero with a red cape, like I'm in the air, because I use the word iterative process a lot in my coaching. So you do this, you don't do it and forget it. You're constantly evolving, so therefore it makes sense that your messaging, the things that you say evolve and change just as we do. And so you can do this piece by piece by piece over time, it's not a big,

scary thing to do.


Yeah, great. You've given us some great tips on the message, right? So you've got your message, you've got your purpose right, now, like you said, you don't want to talk to the thousands. So social media's great, and like LinkedIn, I've got over three million views on LinkedIn, so it's a wonderful platform and it's given me and the people I work with lots of clients, but I really want to make sure that I've got my list, so the people that I really connect with, we resonate both ways, are on my list, something that I own. What are some tips where you've seen okay, I've got the message, but how do I get people and foster that through my own marketing list?


Another great question. So that is really where the rubber meets the road now, isn't it, because you focus on your why, how do you actually put it into action? It was Thomas Edison said that a vision without execution is a hallucination. So if you don't put it into practise then it's worthless, right? So how do you put it into practise and how do you create content that resonates? How do you create lead magnets that allow you to build a list? And again, the answer to that is really rather simple. It's about putting yourself wholly into the shoes of your ideal target audience. And so by that, what that means is you have to genuinely feel what their life feels like, you have to realise and appreciate what their life looks, sounds, and feels like.


I have an exercise that I do with my coaching clients called Prison to Paradise, and I get them to really explore who the ideal client is at a top level basis. In marketing, they talk about segmentation and demographics and all of these things. That's useful information, but it's not the stuff that makes the difference. The stuff that makes the difference is how people feel around what it is that you do and how you transform them from one state of being to another, a solution to a problem. What you do is the solution to a problem, how do you solve people's problems.


And so the way to figure this out whether you've been doing it for 100 years or you're just starting out is to look at who the ideal client is, what their problem state is right now, what do they see when they look on the Internet, what do they hear in the news from friends, from colleagues, from loved ones, and how does it make them feel. We have a finite number of emotions, right? So usually it's things like frustration, it's fear, it's anxiety, it's lying in bed at night in a cold sweat staring at the white ceiling, white ceiling syndrome over the thing that you can solve. And then contrast that with the antithesis, with the paradise state, after they've worked with you, how now do they feel? How does the world look to them? What is that transformation on an emotional level? So fear turns into joy, anxiety turns into peace of mind, calmness, a way of approaching and being the best version of themselves that they can be.


So we've got two polar states here, one of prison, one of paradise, how do you get them there. So I'm your ideal client, you're an expert in what you do, how do you take me to that place of paradise? That becomes your process, that becomes your steps in your programme, your course, your book, your service. That middle piece is the source of the best content, the best lead magnets, the best things that you can do, because they're designed to get that person from prison to paradise. It's not just creating content or lead magnets to build a list, you're creating content with intent. So you're creating content to take somebody on a journey from a place of pain to a place of pleasure, and it's intentional content that helps them on that journey.


So then all of a sudden what you've done is you've stepped into their shoes, you've seen the world as they see the world and you're actually helping them, yet, you're building your list as a by product of helping them. That's why it's so critical for me to work with mission driven people, because when we're just out for us, this doesn't work. You can make a million lead magnets, they won't work. You can make one led magnet that resonates, that genuinely wants to serve, to help, to make a difference in these people's lives and then that's when sparks fly. And yes, you build a big list and you make a lot of money off the back of that, but that's the secondary result of the primary focus.


Yeah. Look, well said. Everyone always says go and ask people these questions, which you've articulated well, but everyone's busy. Have you got any ways of how do you get to those people and ask them those questions? Yes, you've got your own clients, but often you're talking to people that aren't your clients yet. How do you break that down? Have you got any examples or tips there?


Yeah, I've got loads and loads. On a very practical note, if you've got clients, they're your number one source, speak to clients, interview the people that love you, that really have derived benefit from what you do and what you deliver, because they are one of the greatest sources of reflection for you, of that amendment of your messaging, of really finding the words and the things that resonate. And usually, I do interviews with my clients, clients, to bring out these gems of wisdom. And usually, well, not usually, every time the client goes, "I didn't realise that that was how this impacted them." Can I share a really quick story because it was super meaningful.


Yeah, go for it.


I worked with a consultant in London who basically placed nurses and care workers into hospitals and care homes around the UK. And they were pioneering this new way of filling these spaces in hospitals, and their messaging was all about how wonderful they are and how cool their app is. And I spoke to some of the nurses that are actually using the app and I had a conversation with this wonderful human being and she said to me, she said, "Colin, on Christmas day, I went to the staffroom in the ward. I grabbed my coat and I waved goodbye to the staff nurses on the ward and I had the most beautiful Christmas with my family. And so what this app does for me is it gives me control over when I work and the freedom to choose the shifts that I want to do." And so that just made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, because how powerful is that?


So all of a sudden we've now got the genesis of new messaging for that company that talks about freedom, that talks about control. Before it was all about the app and how cool they are, and it was all about them. Now, it's in the eyes of the ideal audience, so now it's like rocket fuel for the business, because now we're taking words from the horses mouth and we're using them to articulate why we exist and what value we bring. So speaking to your clients is a beautiful way to do that.


If you've not got clients already, there are tonnes of mechanical, practical things that you can do. You can hang around in groups on Facebook around what you do. You can put your ear to the ground in places like Quora, Reddit. You can do Google searches and look at the related searches that come up in Google. How do I X? How do I Y? What is this? You can look at, you can look at, and find the questions that people are asking around what it is that you do.


Again, one of the things I get my coaching clients to do is to make a word bank of all of the phrases that people use. When somebody comes to you needing help, what do they say. Not what do you say or how do you answer, how do they articulate that help. So working with a bunch of therapists in the States and they're going, "Oh, he doesn't understand me. I love him. I don't ..." and all of this, they're reeling off. There's like eight therapists on this session and they're reeling off. They had a list of hundreds of questions that their clients are asking them when they present. So everybody's the same, we know our field, we know our industry, it's just about casting your mind back and documenting what those questions are, how they articulate them, not how you do.


And then a little known one, have a look on Amazon in your niche. Look at the best selling books in your niche. We don't care about the books, look at the reviews and read the reviews and see how they describe how they solve that problem, what's missing, what did they do well, what did they do not so well. That's the equivalent of doing a customer survey, right? And you can see how and where they're doing things right, so that you can fuel the fire around what messaging you can incorporate.


And then final one is surveying your list. So we're looking to build lists. Survey them, talk to them, ask them questions, invite them to a conversation. There are tonnes and tonnes, they're just reeling a few off the top of my head.


Yeah, no, that's great. And look, we've also used LinkedIn also. LinkedIn outreach done well can provide the same value. So that's brilliant that one.


Yeah, absolutely.


We can talk about this all day, but we do need for everyone else to get on with other things in their day. So just remind you that we're listening to, and it's one L, one T, if you're looking him up. And I highly recommend you look at that website.


But just before we go into the next section, which is the Live section, I'd like to talk to you about are or do you have the sales system to get your next million in revenue? Now, I know the purpose is different from the revenue. So to Colin's point, that's not the whole reason you're in the game, but let's face it, the money fuels what you really want to do in life. And you've got to research and get to that, like Colin said, but what about the system to help do that? And if you just go to, there's nine questions you can answer in three minutes. And then based on your results, you will have a call with me where we'll set up a plan. So


So Colin, the next section is the Live section. So what are some daily habits that help you be successful?


I would feel like I had lost my left arm if I didn't drink water, meditate, journal, do some personal reflection and reading, and take a cold shower. That's my habit-stacked morning routine, Paul. If I don't do any or all of those things, then my day always goes haywire. I'm like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz spinning around in that tornado. The day takes over me, rather than me controlling the day. So in a nutshell-


Yeah well, that's great. The only one I'll add to that is I do a 22 minute nap every day, in the middle of the day days. So very similar-


Oh, I love a nap, I'll have to try that.




Yeah, I love a nap.


And it doesn't have to be like ... I do go to that image of George Costanza under the desk, but now we all work from home it can be in your own bed now. It's a lot easier. But I find that that's brilliant. We talked about the higher purpose, et cetera, but for you, what's success mean to you in your life? What ultimately are you looking to achieve?


So for me personally, it is about having that freedom. Typically, I start work-work with clients at 12 noon and the morning is mine to create, to meditate, to develop, to sharpen the saw as Stephen Covey calls it. So for me it's the freedom to choose how and when I do my work. And it's doing that work that I feel called to do, expanding my domain knowledge and having capacity to serve more people with what I do, but in a way that I control that doesn't control me. So doing more business in less time.


Yeah, great. So the next section is the Give section. So I know that you run your own community, you're definitely helping people that have got this great purpose in life, but where else? Is there's a charity or a community that you personally support and why?


Yeah. So in 2011, I set up a school in my local area, my local community. Education is something that is really at my core, Paul. When I was in school, I was never the bright kid. I was never the guy at the back of the class, but I was always somewhere in the middle. And I thought I wanted to be an author, I wanted to live a great life and I remember my class teacher saying to me, "Colin, university's not for the likes of you."


And that knocked the wind out of me. That literally sent me on a pathway. I left school at 16, got a job. I did end up going to night school, I got a degree, I got a master's degree. I ended up lecturing in marketing comms for the CIM in the UK, so that's telling you teacher, right? But it's left a bitterness for me around the inequity and the injustice and the accessibility, if you like, the equity in a really powerful education. So in 2011, we created what is now one of the flagship state schools in the UK. Education, Paul, that's where I give my time.


Yeah, brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. I hope people now are getting much better advice than you got back in those days. So the last section's a rapid fire section where I'll ask you some questions, you give me some rapid fire responses. So the first one is what's your favourite piece of technology to run your business?


So many. I'm a bit of a tech nerd. Rapid fire. Zoom.


Zoom? Great. What is your best sales tip?


Stephen Covey quote, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."


Excellent. And for you, where do you look to get help to grow your business? I know you're helping other people, but to grow your own business, where do you go?


So I'm part of accountability groups with peers, with people ahead of me, behind me, and we all help each other. So accountability groups. And I also always have at least one, oftentimes two or three coaches of my own that help me in different areas, not just business either. So it may be acting or presenting or something completely different, because often it's fun, right?


Yeah, great. And the last one is given all the experience and wisdom you've shared today, what's some parting advice? What's something, an action step that someone can take that after listening with this that can help them get closer to their purpose?


So you've really got to take some time to reflect on the things that are important to you, because the things that are important to you aren't the things that are important to the person sat next to you. And so focus on really reflecting on what that is for you, what are you good at, what do you do well, what skills have you got that you could bring to the world, not just in business. And then marry that with, well, who might value that because that's your beginning, that's the steer onto the target audience that you need to be focusing on. And it might be that you've already been doing that, but you'll have a steer as to maybe a slight shift in direction. If you're just starting out, then it'll give you that direction as to where to start to look for all of those things that we talked about earlier.


And then the most important bit is the overlap between the two, what problems could you solve for these people. So I always get my clients to get a piece of paper, draw two circles that are overlapping. In the first circle, right out all of your why questions. In the second circle, right out all of the who questions of who would value that, who would pay for it, who would care, and then in the middle what problem do you solve for people or what problems could you solve for those people. That's the overlap, that's your business, that's what you do, that's how you show up in the world.


Okay, brilliant. Well look, you can find out more about Colin as I said at, and remember one T, or one L and one T. But we'll have all the links in the show notes for Colin. And Colin's also got a fantastic way for you to find out your why. So it's a 20 minute video with a great worksheet. So if you just go to, you can find it there and we'll also have the specific link in the show notes. So Colin, wonderful to have you on the podcast and thanks for sharing your wisdom. And once again, go check out Colin's website. If anything, go check it out for the brilliant design and the way that he lays it out. I think he truly practises what he preaches. Thanks for coming on, Colin.


Been a pleasure. Thanks for having me, Paul.




So I really loved that interview with Colin. It was a little bit longer, but I think the topic that he covered meant that we would. And I apologise, I've got a bit of a cold, so I certainly let Colin do most of the talking in that, which was great. So Colin's got that fantastic resource that you can go to. So you can just go to his homepage on So remember one L, one T. And also we'll have the full link. But it really helps you define your purpose. It's a video for 20 minutes, as he said, and then a great workbook. So I highly recommend that. Also, if you want to find out more about whether you're ... What am I doing?


I really enjoyed that podcast with Colin. He had lots of value and I didn't really want to stop all the value he was sharing, so it's a little bit longer than normal, but with me having a cold, him doing most of the talking it definitely helped. So remember that resource that he's got. You can really work out how you define your purpose or your why. So you can go to his website at Remember one L, one T. And if you want to find out if you've got the sales machine to get to that next million in revenue, please go to Please take action to build, live and give.



Important Links:


About Colin Scotland

Colin Scotland is on a mission to extinguish the myths about marketing.

He runs a marketing coaching business, Marketing Incubator Masterminds, and the Awaken Creator program.

He helps mission-driven entrepreneurs find their spark and never let it go so they can fulfil their potential and change lives doing what they love.


Connect With Paul


Thank You for Tuning In!
If you want to be seen in uncertain times and add value to your Ideal Client so you can build lasting relationships – click here to learn our three secrets