Episode 5

full
Published on:

3rd Aug 2023

Running a Business with your Spouse with Hana Montgomery

In this week's podcast episode, Sarah chats with Hana about the benefits and challenges of running a business with a spouse, after they Hana decided to bring their husband into the business.

About Hana:

Founder of Shout Bravo UK, a Digital PR and Content Marketing agency based in Manchester. Hana and her team work with global brands as well as start-ups, helping businesses with their online visibility and reputation. Hana loves experimenting with digital PR tactics, seeking new trends and approaches. She's also a conference speaker, who loves gin & tonic!

Hana on LinkedIn

@Miss_HanaB on Twitter

Hana's Website

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Iona Linktr.ee

Iona on Instagram

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Transcript
Sarah:

Hello, everyone, and thank you very much for joining us for another episode of the SEO Mindset podcast. I have a wonderful guest joining me and this week it is the wonderful Hana Montgomery and they will be talking about running a business with your spouse, so I imagine that's going to be nice and juicy. A really good episode, so can't wait to get into that before I invite her onto the episode. Who is Hana? She's the founder of Shout Bravo UK, a digital PR and content marketing agency based in Manchester. Hana and her team work with global brands as well as startups helping businesses with their online visibility and reputation. There is a link to the website in this episode, Show Notes, so definitely go and check her out. And also, how can you support the podcast? So if you enjoy what me and Tasmin are doing, there are a couple of ways that you can support us. So, first off, you can donate, so you can give us a one off donation. So we're set up on Buy Me A Coffee and you can give us a one off donation. And me and Tasman very appreciative of that. Link in the show notes for that. And you can also follow us on Twitter. I think off the top of my head, our handle is SEO Mindset Pod. Do not quote me on that. Check out the show notes. Basically, your Show Notes are your best friend. Right, Hana, let's get you in. How are you doing?

Hana:

I'm good, thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

Sarah:

I mean it's our pleasure. Thank you very much for putting yourself forward and coming on to the podcast. It just so happens that I was in Manchester yesterday.

Hana:

Were you? Was it raining by any chance?

Sarah:

Well, Manchester is known as Rainy City, isn't?

Hana:

Yeah, it's not mean. I love it quite sunny than people say, I have to say. It's not as bad as that much rain. It's not terrible.

Sarah:

It's weird, isn't it? Because it's like Manchester has its own weather system compared to the rest of the yeah.

Hana:

Yeah, that's true. And I'm from Prague and it's always sunny, so either sunny or snow, so it got some time to getting used to. Yeah.

Sarah:

Prague is a wonderful place of the world. I've been there once a few years ago now, but, yeah, Prague's a wonderful place. Do you get to go back much to visit?

Hana:

Yeah, I try twice a year just to see the family and friends. I think it was a bit more difficult, of course, because of Lockdowns and COVID, but I think we back to traveling twice a year, so it's always enjoyed. It's not a holiday because you're visiting family and friends, so you need a holiday after that afterwards. Yeah.

Sarah:

Whenever COVID or Lockdown is brought up, I'm just like as if that even happened. It's really weird and surreal to think back and like, the different rules that were in place. It's weird. But anyway, let's not get there. Yeah, we're not talking about COVID Do not fret. So at the beginning I said that we have a juicy episode. Well, I said juicy, but yeah, we are talking about running a business with your spouse because you reached out and you suggested a few topics, all amazing topics, but I feel like this one kind of stood out the most. So, yeah, kick us off. Tell us about your business, how long you've been running it, and what made you decide to bring in your husband to help.

Hana:

Yeah, crazy decision, right? Show Bravo is, as you said, so it's a content marketing digital PR agency. I started the agency back in 2019, so we've got our fifth year. It's been great. I think running a business is a hell of an experience, but it's very rewarding. You've got ups and downs, of course. Who doesn't? I think that just is a part of running a business. We had really successful beginning when I started the agency. We got to the third year where it was great. It was so successful that I just started feeling it time wise. It was constant. It kind of started where I was like, I just need help, I can't just do it. And I think admitting that took some time as well, that I just can't do it myself. My husband, I say husband, we got married in September. It's not that far, not long ago. So, yeah, my husband has about 15 years experience in SEO. He's from the industry, worked in agencies and in house. And I kind of always went to him for kind of what was happening, got an opinion, kind of discussed things. So he knew Shao Bravo from day one. He kind know, always helped. So when I started feeling and thinking that I need someone, we looked into what the business looks like, is it the right time for another director to enter? And it was. And it just made sense because skill set, that was more towards SEO and tech SEO, and more kind of hacker SEO and I'm more link building and digital PR and PR overall. So it just really made sense for him to join. And I would always do it again. It just worked really well.

Sarah:

So I'm picking sort of two main reasons then, why you decided it was a good decision to bring your husband in. One is, like you said, time you needed someone to help and you were going to him anyway, so I suppose that kind of felt quite natural. And after you admitted because, yeah, you have to admit, when you need support, you need help. Because we all want to be little superheroes, don't we? Like, we've got this, we can do it.

Hana:

I can do it. Twenty four seven. I don't mind sleep. Why do you need sleep?

Sarah:

Overrated. But no, that's really key that you like, I suppose that's awareness, isn't it? Self awareness, that you needed support mentally, physically, you were getting to a point where your success was really good, but you needed support, you needed help to maintain, I suppose, or to share the workload.

Hana:

Yeah, the thing is that I think that you've got that point there. It's to maintain the success and allow it to grow because I think you reach your limits. And then if I carried on myself, I don't think we would carry on growing the way we did because you only can do so much. And I think it would maybe stay at certain level. It wouldn't carry on the way it would. So I think it's admitting it. It's definitely so much to do with physical health, mental health as well, and also the fact that if you don't allow someone else to maybe join or don't allow to admit yourself, it's just time to do next step. I might have been stopping the business from growing, if that makes sense, because you would be like, no, I've got it, it's just me, I'll be just fine. Maybe it would actually suffer, not admitting the fact that I need help.

Sarah:

And also, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, okay? And that's another part of self awareness. And it's hard because we want to feel like we've got this and we can do it all, but everyone's got their strengths and weaknesses. And I think knowing that, and you've already identified that you and your husband, you have your different strengths and you have your different where you can lean on each other, I suppose, and help each other. And that is really key and important as well, isn't it?

Hana:

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's bringing the different skill set in and that brings different opinion. So it's nice to have that conversation about I think this and you think that. So it brings the right decisions and also it allows just space to breathe and knowing that there is someone else as well that's helping and bringing different opinions and skill sets and just allowing the whole conversations together. Because running things alone is tough. Anyone who runs the business alone, and I admire everyone who does that because it can be so tough, because then when you have to make that sole decision, it's so much weight on you. So it's nice to kind of like spread that a bit and split the decision making sometimes. And just know that you can bounce ideas and speak to someone and it's not someone completely external or your friend or family member who has got nothing to do with the business and someone knowing that inside out.

Sarah:

Yeah, 100%. And it's having someone else that you can share success with. And then when things don't go to plan because it's business, things happen. Disgruntled clients, projects don't pull off. Like Google does something annoying that affects.

Hana:

You all the time. If Google is listening, cut that out.

Sarah:

We know that Google. You're just there, you're doing your bit for experience and all that jazz.

Hana:

I know.

Sarah:

Cutting out the spam. Anyway, enough on Google. Was there any sort of benefits that surprised you?

Hana:

I think it was the kind of I don't know if it was the you know, the surprise, it's just the honesty that you can go to someone and go, right, I'm struggling with this. I'm doing this, or I'm thinking of this as a decision. I'm considering this and just the fact that you can quickly solve so many issues and it doesn't need to be huge issues or something terrible happening, little decisions, but things got solved so much quicker. We had a conversation about that. We figure out what's the best decision to make, and it just happened. And I think when it was just me or I would get an external help. You get that back and forth. You get a couple of days discussions. You're kind of figuring out what's best to do. And when you've got someone, then, and especially if my husband obviously trusts him completely and I know him and he knows me, and we know where we stand with opinions or what's best for the business, things get sorted so much quicker, which is just nice because you're kind of like, right, sorted next thing.

Sarah:

So is it like being able to be vulnerable, I suppose, for example, your spouse, like your husband, you can be honest with each other. And I suppose it's hard, isn't it? Because especially when you're making decisions or sometimes you just want someone to tell you if you're overthinking something or just being honest and things like that. So I suppose is that kind of what you're saying?

Hana:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think the overthinking you really got there right, because sometimes I don't catch myself and I overthink a lot and I've got him go, you're just overthinking that. Don't worry about that. It's a yes or no. And you go, of course. It's yes or no. What am I doing? It's kind of that nice, where someone just goes, It's okay, it's just little things. It's just yes or no.

Sarah:

Especially if you're so like, you could be so into something, like so into a project, or you've been involved with it from the start and you want it to be perfect, or you're so involved in something going on. And of course, overthinking when it's just like a yes or a no, like you said. And it takes someone, someone that you're close to as well, someone that can be like, do you know what, Hana? Stop overthinking it.

Hana:

Come on.

Sarah:

It's a quick answer.

Hana:

Exactly. That's the thing. And I'm that person who will write that email and reads it a few times and make sure it's fine, kind of like really overthinking the attention to detail and kind of not in a bad way. But like you say, sometimes it's just send. That sort it out. Make a decision.

Sarah:

And I suppose as well, running a business with your spouse or someone that you're close to, I suppose it could be a really close friend or a sibling or someone that you're really close to, you're going to understand each other more and you're going to understand where you're each coming from and you're both going to understand. Okay. For example, with me and my girlfriend, I get her, I understand her. I know. I hope I do. I think I do. And it's the same, isn't it? Because if you spend so much time with someone, and especially with a spouse or someone that you're married to, because typically you're going to have known that person for a while before they get down on one knee sort of thing. So, yeah, I suppose having that level of awareness of each other is going to be helpful as well, isn't it?

Hana:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think whoever that is, like you said, sibling, really good friend. A different family member or spouse. It's the fact that the benefit there is they know you outside work and they know you at work because very often I don't know. I don't think it's that common. But sometimes people can be so different outside work and at work, and it's absolutely fine. They should be different, especially when it's like, let's say very stressful job. They will be different in that job compared to outside. But if that person knows you outside and outside work and at work, it helps as well.

Sarah:

100% right. Time is flying and we have reached the point where we're going to take a short break. So, part two, join us back because Hana will be talking about any challenges that she has faced and she'll be sharing tips as well on starting a company, business, brand, whatever you want to with someone that's really close, like a spouse. So hopefully you've enjoyed our first part and you'll be back in joining us with part two. We are back for part two. So thank you very much for listening to part one. I bet you're on the edge of your seat for part Two. Hana, are you back with us?

Hana:

Are you still there? I am, thank you.

Sarah:

So let's talk challenges, right? The juicy part, I suppose this is challenges specific to wow. Specific that you found or specific to running a business with your spouse or someone close.

Hana:

Yeah. So I think challenges, I have to say I'm very lucky, I guess, because I don't think I came across massive challenge or a lot of challenges or regress to get a struggle out there. This is good. This is the best name. Happy. Yeah. I think it does come back to honesty and having that honest and open conversation. If something does come up, I don't think it's challenged to say, but maybe because whether that's your best friend or family member spouse, you are not afraid to say things. So I think you can be a bit more direct, a bit more honest if you disagree with something or say something. So I think I definitely see that, the honesty. I don't think it never goes too far, but I think you kind of say things quicker than you would if it was a person who you don't know that it's not like you wouldn't know anyone running a business with, but maybe former colleague or someone who's not so close to you would maybe be a bit careful, approach things. So I don't think it's challenged to say, but sometimes you can go, right, no, that's ridiculous, carry on with that. But I have to say that I've not seen a lot within our business with my husband, so I think it does definitely come back to honesty and just not going around things. If you think something and if something's wrong or you think that things should be done different way, just have that conversation, and the quicker it's done, the better the result is. I would say lovely.

Sarah:

I'm glad to hear there are no big challenges with you and your husband, with running your business. So I'm very glad to hear that. Other challenges that kind of spring to mind is, do you reckon it'd be hard to switch off from work? Because that's the only thing that I would think, because it's healthy to have boundaries and say, for example, you're like, right, okay, my working day, and obviously caveat things happen, you end up working earlier later. Right. But you could say, like, my working day starts at half eight and I'm going to log off five latest half five. That's what I'm going to try and stick to. So I suppose a challenge could be that work could sneak and trickle into time where it's just, I don't know, you're on a date night or you're trying to wind down with dinner and you want to do something to take your mind off work. But because you're both in work and you're doing the same stuff, it might be hard. So that could be a challenge, I suppose.

Hana:

Yeah, absolutely. I have to say, I know my very good friend also runs business with her husband, and they have got very strict timelines. So work starts, like you said, at eight, finishes at, let's say, five. And after five, there's zero conversation about work, and they're really strict about that and they stick to it. And it really works for them because they don't want to talk about work during dinner or after hours. And I get it. In our case, I think if I'm really working on something or I actually check my email well, because I do after hours and something happens, I don't hold back. I just say, oh, this has happened, or this is it. And I think we kind of know that it's okay, it's our life, it's fine. Yes. If you literally the only thing you talk about is work that's obviously not healthy, but if you bring it up because I just had a thought and we also work in such a creative industry. I'm watching Netflix and I go, oh my God, that's a great idea for a campaign. And I immediately go to my husband, I just thought of this, and I take a note and we have a conversation about that. It's 09:00 p.m.. But it's okay because it's not constant or it's just like bringing up the more maybe it's because it's positive, because we're thinking about how to improve the business, not kind of sat there going looking at spreadsheet and going, oh, this is really bad. Obviously that's not right. Conversation after hours.

Sarah:

And I suppose as well, it's about listening to each other's needs. So say, for example, like, you say you've both finished for the day and you're out for dinner or, I don't know, you go into the cinema, you're off to see Barbie because yeah, everyone's.

Hana:

Excited about that coming out.

Sarah:

And I suppose it's if something springs to mind or like you're scrolling or you have an idea and stuff and you want to talk about it, but then your spouse or your friend or your sibling says, do you know what, I don't want to talk about this. Make a note and we'll talk about it tomorrow. I think it's about making sure that you listen to your partner's needs, isn't it? So not like pushing it and being like I think that could be a challenge, isn't it? Like not listening to each other's needs?

Hana:

Maybe, yeah, if that person just if it's something to discuss because they're for because work. And I think that comes whether you're running a business with anyone or alone or any work. It's part of our lives. So you will somehow sometimes bringing up oh, I thought of that at work, actually. It's not bad. As long as it's not unhealthy. I guess when it's constant. I think there is that point where and I started doing this thing where if I have late one and I need to do some work and for some reason I do work late, I just tell my husband, Look, I'll be working late tonight. So I'm just going to sit here with my laptop in a corner, and I'm just going to work, and I'll let you know. And dumb. And that's fine. This whole no like that's after hours, we said no to work. It's not even unfortunately, it's part of running a business. You need to look at things sometimes outside hours.

Sarah:

Yeah, 100%. Okay. So I'm just looking at time. Don't you think time goes really fast?

Hana:

We're drawing to the end when you're enjoying yourself.

Sarah:

Yeah, time flies. Time flies when you're having fun. Okay, so one I'm going to squeeze this one in. I'm just going to say it. Right. I don't know why I've built this up now into being this big question, and it's really not. Anyway, is there anything obviously you and your husband have been running this business for how long did you say?

Hana:

So we've got five years, it's the business and I think two and a half years, my husband's in, so around.

Sarah:

That you've been doing it together.

Hana:

Yes.

Sarah:

So is there anything that you wished you knew before getting running a business with your spouse? Is there anything that you wish you knew or someone would have told you at the start or like a golden tip or whatever, anything like that?

Hana:

I think to start with, I would admit I wished I have done it earlier. Definitely I wish that I would have brought him much sooner. And no, it's not because it was bad before or anything like that, but just the benefits and everything that he brought in. I can see enjoying that much sooner than when I did. I think it definitely got some time because of course, you're doing everything yourself and like I said before, you think everything's running perfectly, just listen. If someone's saying that it shouldn't be like this, it should work different way, just because it's fine, this is fine, make that change. I think if someone told me, just allow that change. Change is fine, it's okay, it'll improve the business. Making changes and not being afraid, just getting that someone's opinion suddenly because it's your baby, isn't it? And someone's saying something's not right, you go, oh, excuse me, I think it's perfect. So just letting that happen and letting that change happen. So I think he brought in lots of amazing we've changed ways strategy or how things are done internally, and it's only improved the business. So, yeah, just listen and allow for changes.

Sarah:

Yeah. That's so important, isn't it? And I suppose that could be like, say, for example, it's not just if you have your own business, but if you head up a team or you manage some people, right? There's going to be like, set processes or set things that you do because you're used to it, or this is a way that you've set it up. And like you said, it's my baby, I've set it up. But it's like being open to change because don't be stubborn, don't be stuck in your ways. And just because you've been doing something in a way for the last however long doesn't necessarily mean it's the right thing. And change is good and I think, yeah, it's so important just to take that on, isn't it?

Hana:

Absolutely. And especially for smaller business, things move way too quick around you and you either react in time and you move with it or you suffer. It's tough. It's the one where you really have to and obviously in the industry that we are in, things change really quick, so it's just moving with it and being ahead rather than being surprised.

Sarah:

Yeah, love it. I'm nodding along. Right, a few more questions before we sadly wrap up for this week's episode. Key main key takeaway. If you could sum it up in a sentence, what would that be?

Hana:

I would say, don't be afraid of conversations with whoever you're running a business. Be honest. Have a chat that you need to have and it's only going to improve the way things are on. As we just said, don't be afraid of changes and make sure that you're having the open conversation with your business partner and get things done.

Sarah:

Wonderful. Another thing that I'm going to ask you to sum up in a sentence, best career advice.

Hana:

I think there's so much going on around whether it's people being at work or going freelance or starting a business. I think there's a lot where you say, oh, just do it. I think my advice would be, honestly, it's okay if it's not for everyone. If you enjoy and love your job and you love your career, work on your career and get amazing at where you are just because. And if you want to go freelance, go freelance and have a go. And if you want to start a business, start a business and have a go. But if it's not for you, it's okay. It's fine.

Sarah:

I love that.

Hana:

Thank you.

Sarah:

I love that because well, no, I just think that we can compare ourselves, can't we? And running a business isn't for everyone. Being a business founder, CEO isn't for everyone. Okay. And just because you're seeing lots of people and it's great, right. When people share their successes and they share all the wonderful stuff that they're doing, it can make you think, I'm not doing that. Do I need to do that?

Hana:

Yeah.

Sarah:

But it's not exactly everyone.

Hana:

No.

Sarah:

You can absolutely boss your career however you want to. Side hustles, do bits on the side if you have time and you want to, or get really good at what you do or the businesses that you work for. There's loads of ways that you can have success, isn't there?

Hana:

Yeah, absolutely. And it's your own success. And if you love it, that's yours. No one can take that away from you because it's what you chosen to do and you love it. And you should carry on. So it's okay not to do what everyone else is doing if it's not for everyone?

Sarah:

Yes. Don't feel like you just have don't follow other people. Have self awareness. Know what you want out of life. What do you want? What will make you happy? Okay, bit of a hard question because I know that there's lots of wonderful SEO people out there. But I am going to be mute and ask you, one person, people should be following in SEO right now.

Hana:

That's very tough question, but I have to say I know. I think Iona Tarsley, who's also got amazing newsletter, The Grapevine, which is all about content and campaign newsletter, she just started her own business. She shares great tips on social media. Also love her Twitter because she travels a lot. So great pictures of where she's at. Very creative. Yeah, I think definitely give her a follow because she's amazing.

Sarah:

Amazing. I'll make sure that I include Iona in the episode. Show notes. I think I met Iona at a Women in Tech SEO festival and she's a lovely human being as well. So, yeah, she's a good egg to follow on all accounts. Where can people find you if people want to reach out, chat to you? Pick your brain about PR, want the work. How can they do that?

Hana:

So I'm still on Twitter. Me, too. So it's at Miss Underscore. Hana B on Twitter. I am, of course, on me, actually, I had to write this down because it's connected to my Insta, isn't it? So it's Miss underscore full stop. B LinkedIn, Hana Montgomery. And then, of course, if you check out our website, Shabravo.com, you can reach out there as well.

Sarah:

Wonderful. Wonderful. Yeah, it's a stranger time at the moment with social and Twitter threads and.

Hana:

Going on, but you have to be there, right?

Sarah:

Well, yes, this is true. This is true. Wonderful. Right, I'm very, very sorry. I will make sure that your links and everything are in the Show Notes as well, so people can find you there. I'm very sorry, Hana, but that is it. That is us. We have finished this week's episode.

Hana:

I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for having me again. It's been blast. Thank you.

Sarah:

Yeah, because a bit of context, Hannah was on a previous podcast that I used to run with my good friend Hannah Bryce called SEO S-A-S. So, yeah, it's good to have you back and talking about another topic and I was like, Your name has changed.

Hana:

Yeah, it's been great. Thank you so much.

Sarah:

I really enjoy wonderful, wonderful. And just a reminder of what I said earlier, so if you want to support me and Tasmin and the podcast, you can give us a one off donation with our Buy Me A Coffee page. Link in the Show Notes and follow us on Twitter because we're still there as well. So, yeah, link in, show notes. Don't know how long Twitter's still going to be a thing. Hopefully for a bit longer, who knows? But, yeah, that's a whole different Ketle of fish. And another conversation for another time. Shall we say goodbye, Hana?

Hana:

Thanks so much again and speak to everyone. See you, everyone, soon and reach out if you need anything.

Sarah:

Wonderful. Yes, thank you very much for tuning in. And until next week, everyone, take care. When.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.