We were lucky to catch up with Suzanne Boyd recently and have shared our conversation below.
Suzanne, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Too often the media represents innovation as something magical that only high-flying tech billionaires and upstarts engage in – but the truth is almost every business owner has to regularly innovate in small and big ways in order for their businesses to survive and thrive. Can you share a story that highlights something innovative you’ve done over the course of your career?
I quit at the height of my career. Leaving the news business allowed me to innovate in a way that never would have happened if I had stayed. Working for a corporation, typically, will keep you playing by the rules.
Once you have freedom, you can use your skills in a more authentic and creative way. I was able to be more thoughtful about what I was putting out into the world. I created my own TV shows and started a family business. When we work in the corporate world, we believe our skill set is confined to a specific area, but I have realized over the last four years that I didn’t have to “read the news” to use my storytelling skills. I have an innate marketing mind that has allowed me to create profitable businesses pretty quickly.
Leaving the news business has also helped me personally. I have found a much more peaceful way to live. Our minds were never meant to consume so much information. When I was able to take a step back from the day-to-day barrage of information, my quality of life improved drastically. I am a lot more cognizant about what I take in and what I create. I am able to make business and personal decisions from a calmer place.
Suzanne, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I spent 25 years as a TV news reporter and anchor, with the bulk of my career spent at the CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, FL. Several factors led me to leave my career in late 2018. I was the morning anchor, so I was up at 2:30am every morning. I have two children who were growing up very quickly and needed a mom who was present. The news was really starting to impact me. The Parkland school shooting was devastating and I noticed I was getting angry a lot. We don’t realize how much all of this information impacts our mental health. When I left CBS12, I decided I wanted to create my own TV shows, so I started Suzanne Boyd Productions.
In June 2019, with the help of my former TV colleagues, we created the show “Rise+Live with Roby and Suze” – a South Florida talk show with a live audience. We had to shut it down because of COVID, so I quickly pivoted my business. Suzanne Boyd Productions is now a full marketing and media agency. I help my clients get attention to their brand with digital, TV, print, social media and email marketing. I also produce TV commercials for local businesses.
In addition to that business – I am a partner in my family beef business. In October 2020, I helped my dad pivot our cattle farm to a farm-to-table beef business. Cattle farmers were significantly impacted during the pandemic when the supply chain shut down. My family and I started Boyd Farms Fresh – a sustainable beef business which supports our cattle operation. We became part of Florida Cattle Ranchers – a group of farmers who are dedicated to shortening the supply chain and keeping our cattle in Florida. Our cattle are now born, raised and harvested all in Florida. This business has really taken off. We are now shipping our fresh beef to 18 states and just opened a storefront near our farm on the Florida-Georgia line.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
Being “busy” and multi-tasking are not an efficient way to operate in business or in life. When you live in a state of chaos, you get very uncomfortable when there is downtime, but that downtime is what your brain and body need to operate at their highest level. I recognized early on how social media was going to help me build my brand and I went all in. What I now know is that social media is an effective tool and also a huge distraction. When you examine your relationship with technology and information, you might be surprised by what you find.
We are addicted to distractions. The minute we have “free” time, we look at our phone, we scroll, we check email. Our brains need a break. Our brains need space. I have noticed a significant reduction in my anxiety since becoming aware of how technology and information consumption were stealing my peace.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I, like many people during the pandemic, have pivoted so many times in the last few years that my head is spinning. In January 2020, my TV show was on television and I thought it was going to be very successful. But by March 2020, we were shutting down production. I quickly pivoted to producing shows for clients who needed quick content on the air during COVID. For instance, I created a QVC-style art show for a client who wanted to give artists an outlet to sell their work while the festivals were shut down. I also created 13 episodes of an interactive show for a South Florida senior living facility so their residents who were shut-in could learn a new skill during the pandemic and help them feel connected.
As things started to open back up, I pivoted my business again to a full-service marketing and media agency. As I mentioned – I also helped my family pivot our cattle farm to a farm-to-table beef business. That business, Boyd Farms Fresh, has taught me a lot about the retail industry and how to market an actual product.