Susan Leigh provides a sensitive, professional and confidential counselling and hypnotherapy service.
Helping individuals and businesses since 1988, she set up Lifestyle Therapy counselling and hypnotherapy with her husband in Altrincham, South Manchester.
She is a highly respected Altrincham, South Manchester based counsellor and hypnotherapist as well as a regular contributor to national and local BBC radio. She has appeared on BBC1 TV and is a highly regarded hypnotherapy trainer with the Academy of Holistic Hypnotherapy.
Today we talk about Susan’s impressive CV of radio and media appearances and how the whole media profile took off
1. We’re going to talk today about your Radio and Media appearances, but first of all I want to set the tone so people get to know you. Tell us a little about Susan Leigh, Counsellor & Hypnotherapist, and your journey
My working life and career was initially with a blue chip company and it was my husband who started the hypnotherapy practice. 25 years ago hypnotherapy was pretty much unheard of but we did the training together, I stayed in my job, but then when he became unwell I took over the practice and it became my full time passion.
2. You’re now on Regional and National Radio several times a week. Do you remember the 1st time? How did your 1st appearance come about?
It must have been about 20 years ago when I received a phone call asking if I knew anyone who was prepared to travel across the country and undertake a series of BBC radio interviews on dream analysis for the BBC for Camelot, the National lottery people. I said ‘Me, I’ll do it!’ Several of the radio stations kept my phone number and that was the beginning of my radio career.
3. How did it snowball from that one radio appearance to several?
After those first interviews on dream analysis I was occasionally contacted by several of the BBC stations to guest contribute and intermittently I travelled to Wrexham, Blackburn and the old Oxford Rd Studios in Manchester. After a few months I was offered a regular weekly slot at BBC Radio Manchester on the afternoon and then on the late evening show. Then I was contacted by BBC Radio Lancashire and guested on their late show approximately once a month.
They quickly discovered that I could discuss a large range of subjects, from sleeping issues, stress, family and relationship issues, health and wellbeing, was a ‘safe pair of hands’ and could answer listeners questions without any preparation, if so required.
4. A lot of small businesses aren’t used to speaking in public or on radio. What confidence building tips do you have for that 1st radio appearance?
Pretend that you’re only talking to the presenter. There’s no one else listening. Relax and enjoy discussing a topic you love and know well, probably better than most of the audience. You’re there because you’re seen as an expert in your field.
5. You’ve been asked to speak on a wider variety of subjects on radio – what is the strangest request to speak on? Has there been anything out of your comfort zone?
The late show at BBC Radio Manchester used to sometimes bring in strange questions, especially on a Friday night! Hypnotherapy and past life regression is a subject that intrigues and fascinates many people. The producer would vet and check questions before putting callers through live on air, but sometimes people would sneak through and have to be handled carefully.
6. I want to talk about blogging as well as that’s played an important part in raising your profile. How long have you been blogging for? How many blogs have you written? And what 1st inspired you to get the blogging bug?
I’ve been blogging for about 6 years. It started when I went to a network meeting and asked the organiser how I could raise my profile. He said to write articles and put them on my website. He gave me the name of the American editor that I still use and now I have approx. 900 articles to my name in 70 different niches.
7. Is there ever such a thing as the perfect blog? Is there one that stands out for you? Is there one blog that changed your life?
I take care over my writing, read and re read several times. Good grammar, spelling and sharing information are all important to me. My first TV appearance on BBC The Big Question came about from an article I wrote about arranged marriages, written after a coffee with an Asian friend. I think only 20 people read that article, but one of those readers was a producer for the show. That’s all it takes!
8. From blogging for yourself, you’ve gone on to write for Huffington Post and publish 2 books. How did those opportunities come about?
My first book, Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain came about after I received a phone call from South Africa asking for 86 copies of my book with that title. At the time there was no book, just the one article with that title. But the caller was insistent, he wanted my book, so I grabbed the opportunity, contacted a publisher I knew and locked myself away to pull it all together. That first book has just been reprinted. It’s a self-help book that covers all kinds of loss and endings, like divorce, loss of health, not ‘just’ death.
My second book, Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact, is a book I’m really excited about. It’s also a self-help book, 8 chapters with tips to handle stress at work, home, with family, in relationships and came about because I wanted to write ‘my’ book.
All the magazines, newspapers and websites that I now write for either approached me, or I approached them. I pride myself on writing quality copy, feel that I’m reliable, consistent and am proud to have had articles published all over the world.
9. They say everyone has a book in them – what advice would you give for someone who wants to write a book, but doesn’t know where to start?
Ask yourself what you’re passionate about. You’ll need that enthusiasm to keep you going, or else you’ll run out of steam. Take your time to outline each section of the book. Even when I’m writing an article I’ll outline the main bullet points and keep each section to one theme, so that by the time I actually sit to write, the job’s almost done.
Keep a notebook handy. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the night with ‘amazing, inspirational’ ideas for an article. If they’re not written down immediately they’ll quickly be forgotten.
10. What impact have all the media appearances had on your career?
I feel that it’s improved my profile and has certainly raised the profile of hypnotherapy, counselling and the importance of us taking responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. I give away a lot of free tips, advice and information, even on my lifestyletherapy.net website. Doing that hopefully provides reassurance to troubled people that help is available, perhaps in ways they had never before considered.
Also I have many clients who travel large distances to my South Manchester practice, some coming from London, Bedford, West Midlands and Shropshire. Some will have been recommended, but all have the opportunity to hear me or read my articles before, after or whilst they’re going through their time in therapy.
11. Lots of people are talking about video becoming ever more important. Are you looking to add to the content mix of voice and words to include video?
I have some videos on my website, some audio recordings from radio interviews and also a video that BBC 5 Live filmed before a radio interview, which they tweeted out and which was added to the BBC website homepage. I’m receptive to video, have several ideas for how to utilise it in the future, but have so many other irons in the fire at the minute, including my own twice a week online radio show with guests, that, yes, at some point I’ll work more with video, but perhaps not actively pursue it at this moment in time.
12. Any unfulfilled ambitions you still have to achieve?
I’ve got lots of ideas, goals and dreams; maybe something in the US where many of my articles are syndicated, maybe another regular slot or even my own show on the BBC, perhaps a little more TV. I did an interview with Prima magazine that’s out in their March 2016 edition; maybe a regular feature in a national magazine. However, with some exciting interest in my 2nd book, 2016 is looking great already.
Every year I set goals and love reviewing what I actually achieve throughout the year each in December.
13. Finally – what is your biggest business tip that helped you grow your business?
When things don’t go to plan enjoy where they take you instead. Speaking personally, so many of my best results came when things didn’t work out how I intended and instead took me in a rather different direction. Yes, like most of us I need to earn money, but being receptive to new opportunities has added a lot of value and satisfaction to my days.