191 – Voice of Apple’s Siri, Karen Jacobsen, talks personal branding and how to overcome fear in business.

191 – Voice of Apple’s Siri, Karen Jacobsen, talks personal branding and how to overcome fear in business.

If somebody is the living embodiment of “Feel the fear and do it anyway” it’s Karen Jacobsen. The voice of the world’s most famous text-to-speech recognition program, Apple’s Siri and in-car navigation device TomTom, as well as the founder of her own personal development brand at The GPS Girl, you would never believe that Karen has had to overcome personal anxiety issues and significant debt to get to where she is today.

Karen has certainly reached her destination and she shares exactly how she built her personal brand in this episode.

When she moved to New York in 2002, Karen was all geared up to follow her dream of achieving music success (and she didn’t do too badly at that either, once performing in front of an 80,000 strong crowd) but when the universe tapped her on the shoulder and led her on a path to creating a personal development brand, Karen put her head to the ground, worked hard, believed in herself even when her demons told her not to, and has achieved great, great things.

In this episode, Karen has some great words about personal branding, about overcoming obstacles from outside and internally, and she really demonstrates that with the right spirit and determination, you can achieve great things too.

PLUS, I reveal more details about the LIVE 200th episode. Let’s get started, shall we?


In this session of Small Business Big Marketing, you’ll discover:

  • How Karen Jacobsen became the voice of Siri without even realising it.
  • Why focusing your energies into one content channel (such as podcasting) can be great for your business.
  • Why it’s important to let it all out and express yourself when you are feeling frustrated in the business world.
  • How Karen Jacobsen created her own personal development brand in the face of huge debt.
  • All about The Imposter Syndrome and why it is important to feel deserving of your success.
  • How Karen transitioned from being a full time, professional musician, to the voice of TomTom and Siri.
  • Why personal brands have so much power for connection.
  • How to overcome the feelings of being overwhelmed in business, day to day.
  • How having entrepreneurial parents shaped Karen’s outlook from a young age.

Episode Timeline

  • 2.00 Feedback on Episode 190 – Miss Chu divided the audience.
  • 5.00 All about the 200th episode – a live podcast being recorded on August 14th.
  • 7.20 Remember to send Netregistry your online marketing questions at the Small Business Big Marketing NetRegistry blog.
  • 13.30 I introduce this week’s guest, Karen Jacobsen – the voice of Siri and TomTom, the founder of thegpsgirl.com, and a professional musician.
  • 14.30 Karen reveals why meeting Olivia Newton John meant so much to her.
  • 16.30 Karen describes how seeing her parents start a successful business from scratch inspired her as a kid.
  • 20.00 How does Karen overcome her nerves when she sings in front of a huge stadium of people?
  • 23.45 Karen describes her big move to New York City and the beginnings of her career as one of the world’s most famous voiceover artists.
  • 31.30 From becoming the voice of TomTom and Siri to creating a personal brand.
  • 39.00 When Karen felt that her experiences did not warrant attention and how she overcame this to create a personal development brand.
  • 44.00 Karen and I get to grips with The Imposter Syndrome.
  • 48.00 Talking content: Blog posts, videos, and podcasts on thegpsgirl.com
  • 52.00 I share the benefits I’ve experienced from leaning into one content medium – podcasting.
  • 54.00 Sort out your business’ small design fixes with Swiftly.com.
  • 55.30 My top three takeaways from chatting with Karen.

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode


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Over to you!

Let us know YOUR key takeaways from this episode by leaving a comment below. I personally read and respond to every comment!

10 thoughts on “191 – Voice of Apple’s Siri, Karen Jacobsen, talks personal branding and how to overcome fear in business.”

  1. Thanx Timbo, thanx a …. lot. I am now singing Xanadu while running around the vineyard.

    It is driving me Bonkers!

    (and thank you Dizzy Rascal, no more Olivia)

  2. Love your work, Paul! BTW, Xanadu was a great song ;0) There could be worse songs running around your head. Like … um … mmmm, I’ll get back to you ;0)

  3. Hey Timbo, great episode! Now Karen IS someone I’d love to sit next to on a long flight! Her home town and mine are not far away and although she is a bit younger, I could certainly relate to her story of growing up in that part of the world. Her work ethic was quite inspiring and all in all just a great story!

  4. Totally agree, Laurie. She’s a delightful human being with loads to share about not just marketing, but life in general. It’s nice to know Siri is, well … nice!

  5. Thanks for doing this episode Timbo, very interesting to hear her journey, not really what I expected with the whole voice recognition stuff being for someone

  6. My pleasure,Ben. Sometimes (all the time) we have to be aware of the opportunities that come our way. They’re not always obvious, so we need to keep a vigilant look out. And you’re right, they can send us down paths we never expected. Podcasting has certainly done that for me.

  7. Tristan Lovell

    Loved this episode. Apart from appreciating the great advice I certainly noticed how perfectly she spoke. Several times I paused during the episode to talk to Siri on my phone to compare the likeness. Really enjoyed it. Ha! Thanks again for the great work Timbo.

  8. Thanks Tristan. I did exactly the same, finding myself checking on the real Siri to compare her to well … the real Siri!! #surreal

  9. thefatbadger

    It was great to see Karen make the most of her voice being picked up as Siri. It would have been far easier for karen to whinge and moan about how she was only paid once for something that was ultimately far more valuable than I’m sure she was paid for.
    Life is full of opportunities you simply have to learn to recognise them and have the courage to follow them. As they say, while lying on your deathbed no-one wishes they had spent more time at work…at least not a cubicle anyway.

    Well done Karen!

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