Ep 491: Creating Content for the Next Generation | Eevi Jones Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
Have you ever thought about writing a kid’s book? If you have, then I would encourage you to stick around for the next five minutes. Writing a kid’s book is one of the things that I’ve always had a passion to do. I have not yet done it, but my husband had this spiritual download from the Lord about two years ago. And while we were putting our kids to bed one night, he literally in the middle of putting my two toddlers at that time, two and four down, he said, babe, I have to go. And he just leaves the room disappears. I finished putting my kids down and about 45 minutes later I’m like, where is he? And he emerges out of all places out of the bathroom, right? I guess where it’s for all great things happen for him. And he said, babe, I just wrote a kid’s book.
AJV (00:42):
And I was like, I’m sorry, you just wrote a kid’s book sitting in the bathroom. What are you talking about? And he goes, I want you to read this. And he hands me his phone and I hold up his phone and I start reading this thing that he just wrote. And lo and behold, he was right. And about 30 minutes, he had written an entire kid’s book. Now, the point is not that he did this in 30 minutes, ’cause he didn’t this actually was oh, the, this was the end result of 14 years of talking about his first book, take The Stairs, which is a business book for adults and post children, right? We read a lot of books and they suck. These kid books are not awesome. So if you’ve got great kids book recommendations, tag me, AJ Vaden on Instagram, I’d love to know.
AJV (01:33):
But I have not found a ton of them that are amazing. And while reading to our kids one night, he had this download of the message that he wanted to share with our kids from Take the Stairs. And so he wrote a book called Be the Buffalo, which is one of the signature stories in his first book, take The Stairs. That came out in 2010. And it’s about sometimes difficult choices, although they’re harder in the short term lead to better, you know, results in the long term. And it’s about charging the storm, right? It’s charging into conflict, not running away from it. It’s heading difficult. Things head on, not shying away because the more that you avoid it, the longer you spend time in the storm. But if you be the buffalo, you can charge the storm and get through those things quicker.
AJV (02:22):
And that story, that analogy is a really great thing that we talk about a lot. And what he was doing in the bathroom was figuring out how to, how do you take 250 pages of business words for adults and put them into about a 200 word poem for our kids? And I read this book and I was like, this, this is amazing. This is the best thing I’ve ever read. I’m pretty sure I was like ugly crying. ’cause I was like, this is so beautiful. This is exactly what I wanna share with my kids. And I said, you have to turn this into a kid’s book. Fast forward 18 months later it was still sitting on his phone. Why?
AJV (02:59):
Because we didn’t know how to do it. We knew we wanted to do it. We didn’t know how to do it. And I think this is the important thing. It’s like the reason that I felt so convicted that Rory had to get this book out into the world is as adults, we read a ton of books about how to be better leaders, better communicators, better humans, how to prioritize our time, how to have positive self-talk, self-control, discipline, obedience. How do we find our self-worth? How do we talk to each other? The importance of our words selling, marketing, recruiting, the list goes on and on and on. I read no kids’ book to talk about that, right? And I’m thinking to myself, why did I have to be in my twenties, thirties, and now forties to learn these things? Why are there books like this for kids?
AJV (03:50):
For my 5-year-old, 7-year-old, my 10-year-old niece and nephew, my 15-year-old nephew, right? My 19-year-old niece. Like, why did we have to wait to discover these lessons? To learn these lessons? And answer is because no one had written them . And so I think that there is an amazing abundance of incredibly powerful books for adults. And we need to as authors, as content creators. It doesn’t have to be a book. Perhaps you just have a set of curriculum or a methodology. Maybe it’s a course, maybe right now it’s just a keynote. Maybe it’s a series of blog articles. But you have content that is powerful, but you’re directing it to adults. What if, what if you could take that content and actually equip and inspire the next generation? What if, if you look back for me, I’m just gonna say this, 35 years. What if 35 years ago I had a bookshelf full of books reminding me of my worth and that my value was not in what I did, but it was in who I was.
AJV (05:03):
What if I had a bookshelf that taught me how to have confidence as a leader with also empathy and reflection? But with confidence and, and power? What if I learned how to project, manage and not over commit? What if I learned the value of time at a very early age? And that money is not the end goal? What if I had learned all of these things as a child? What, how would my life been different? And how would have my ability to love and impact others been expedited at a much earlier age? Why did I have to wait to learn those things? And it’s because people who are writing the books aren’t writing them for kids. And so this is a call to arms. This is a challenge to the people
AJV (05:56):
Who have years and years, decades of experience of learning the trials errors and learning the lessons who are decidedly already putting those things into practice in content for adults. Do me a favor. Would you consider also putting those things into words for kids? Would you also consider about what it would’ve been like for you to have learned those things in your youth? And could you just for a moment, think about how could you do that now? How could you take the content that you’ve already created and use it to equip the next generation of leaders and humans, of employees, of moms, of dads, of just humanity to be better so they don’t have to wait like we did? So if you would be interested in learning about this, I would encourage you to check out our good friend Evie Jones. And she was the person that was referred to us that we found who was able to take our business book, take the Stairs, and turn it into a kid’s book, to take the lessons that were learned in the first, you know, 15 years of our career, but also our life.
AJV (07:12):
And put those in a book that would appeal and delight children to help them learn lessons that need to be learned to help establish mantras that you as a parent or an aunt or a friend can to rally behind to help these kids be behind pages of books, not screens, to learn lessons, not watch entertaining videos. Instead of getting into trouble. , they are getting into curiosity and learning how to be better. So would you check it out? So go to evie jones.com/brand builder, right? And there’s, she’s not the only one. It’s just the one that we’ve used. So it’s who I can personally recommend. But this is a truly a just, it’s a request for all of us who have something valuable to share, to not leave out the kids . That’s my request. So think about it and reach out if you have any questions. Evie jones.com/brain builder, here’s to the next generation.

Ep 490: How To Turn Your Business Book Into a Children’s Book with Eevi Jones

AJV (00:02):
E everybody, welcome to the influential Personal Brand podcast, AJ Vaden here. And y’all, I am so excited to get to introduce you to a friend but also a vendor like we are a client of Evie Jones. And when you learn about how we came to know her and what we did through her, I think it’s gonna spark some interest in all of you who have this passion of writing books or you’ve written books and you’re wondering like, how does what I do not just apply to the adult world, but the children’s world? And so I am very excited for this conversation because I know that if it has, if any of our content has application, application to adults, there is probably some sort of uni universal application to kids. And there is a, a really seamless and beautiful way that ev is able to take what we write, what we create for adults, and make it something that has appeal of educational value and and motivation and inspiration for our kids.
AJV (01:07):
And as a mom of two young boys, there is nothing more important than me finding good books for them to read because there’s not a lot of them. So let me also formally introduce you to Edie Jones. She is a USA today and a Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning writer. She’s also the founder of Children’s Book University. She does writing, she does co-writing. She does a lot of this under pin names, so you would never know that it’s her, but she’s authored more than 60 different children’s books. She’s been featured in Forbes, business Insider, Huffington Post, scary Mommy, EO Fire, Kendall Preneur. I could go on and on and on. And she lives in DC and also has two young boys. And I am so excited for this conversation. So, Evie, welcome to the show. Well,
EJ (01:55):
Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me, aj. I’m really so excited to be here.
AJV (02:00):
I mean, and I think this is going to be such a, a cool conversation not just for authors, but for anyone who creates content and who also has kids, nieces, nephews, no kids, like whatever it is. And I just, I love the whole idea that whatever we create for adults why don’t we also think about this? How does it have, you know, universal application and benefit to our kids? And you have done such an amazing job for us. So just for you guys know who are listening, we’ll talk about this later. But Evie was behind the scenes in helping us take Rory’s first book, take the Stairs, and turn it into now my favorite kid’s book, slightly biased, but it’s my favorite kid’s book called Be The Buffalo. And so she was able to help take this one memorable concept of an a book written for adults.
AJV (02:50):
And Rory wrote this kind of poem, right? And then she was able to take that and architect it and found illustrators and printing and publishing and all the things that we didn’t have to do. And we literally went from idea for this book to publication in just a few months. And it has been a dream of a project, and you have been so awesome to work with, so, so excited just to introduce you to our community. But those are all the things I know. So let me have you introduce yourself to our community. And I would just love to know, like, what is your background? How did you get into doing this? And just a little bit about your company so that our audience gets to know you.
EJ (03:31):
Yes. Well, so your introduction was already so amazing. You, you already hit all the main things. So yes, I’m Evie. I am a professional writer and award-winning children’s author and the founder of Children’s Book university, where I teach color aspiring authors how to write and also how to publish their very own children’s book. They always wanted to write and, and share with others. And so over the past few years, as you have already said, I have written and co-authored and ghost written over 60 children’s books for children ranging from pre-K all the way to middle grade, which of course includes, you know, picture books all the way to middle grade chapter books. Hmm. And so the way I got into all this, you know, I wrote my very first children’s book back in 2013 for my then 2-year-old.
EJ (04:19):
He’s my oldest and he just actually turned 14. And so he always, he’s always so embarrassed when I tell this story because my very first children’s book was a a party transition story. So he was already potty trained, but you know, he had a really hard time transitioning from a potty chair to a regular toilet. And yeah, because I, because I couldn’t find any books on this topic, I just decided to write my own. So my first children’s book was really born out of this particular need. And so to this day, my boys are such a huge inspiration to me and my writing. And so the books I wrote throughout the years are truly, you know, a reflection of the interests they had or the struggles they also faced over the years. And so, as for the teaching of other aspiring children’s authors and the ghosts and co-writing especially within the entrepreneurial space, that’s something I really just fell into.
EJ (05:17):
Hmm. So a couple of years ago I read Todd Herman’s Wall Street Journal bestselling book, the Alter Ego Effect. And I know that Todd has been on your podcast before as well. And yeah. So I loved his book so much that I wanted to share it with my two boys. And so I turned a book of nearly 250 pages into a children’s book with about 250 words. And so my boys loved it, and they loved it so much that I actually ended up reaching out to Todd and sharing it with him. And he loved it too. And so much so that we decided to co-author a children’s book version for his book. And he was planning on doing so anyway, so the timing was perfect. And so that’s how his children spoke.
AJV (06:01):
I wanna pause really quick. Yeah. And I wanna make sure everyone heard this, because I think this is really important for all of us when we’re trying to do something and we think somehow that we need to charge for our services before we do them. Like, you’re telling me that your whole business evolved because you saw something that you could do to serve your children, you did it for free, and then because of that you said, Hey, I just want you to know this is something I did. And that was the genesis for this entire business.
EJ (06:39):
It was Yes, absolutely. That’s interest.
AJV (06:42):
Make sure everyone, I make sure everyone heard that. Right. I just wanna, I think that’s important that everyone knows that often your business starts with doing stuff for free and you make it so good. Absolutely. It’s undeniably impossible not to do more with you.
EJ (07:00):
Yes, yes, yes. And so ex that’s how his children’s book, my Super Me was Born. And it’s a story where a little hero puts on his cape and learns to play through the fearless traits of his superhero stuffed animal Captain Storm, and where he finds the courage and resilience to show up in a more brave, more brave way and ultimately unlock his heroic self. And so, yes, through this collaboration, this project, this opened up a whole bunch of new doors and opportunities that I am really just so grateful for because Todd just kept introducing me to new people. So that’s how that got started.
AJV (07:40):
I love that. And, and really just added passion and interest of how do I share this with my kids, and how do I make something that helped me help them? I love that. Yes. I love that. So, so much. So at this point, tell us how you work with authors, right? So I’ll just we’ll use Rory as an example of, yes. Okay. So you’ve got this adult book.
EJ (08:07):
AJV (08:07):
What does it look like to go from this book that was written for a, a business audience in this case to, and now we have something that would be great for a three year-old five-year-old, 10-year-old.
EJ (08:20):
Yes. So in your case, it was, you know, you, you guys, you and Rory reached out last year, and at this point, Rory had already written his beautiful story, which you guys called Be The Buffalo. Right. Which I, I immediately fell into in love with the story, you know, because writing in rhyme and reading stories in rhyme is just my absolute favorite just because reading these types of books to little ones is just so much fun for us grownups as well, right. Because we want to make sure that it’s fun for us also because we have to read these books over and over again to our little ones, , right? Especially if it’s their favorite book . And but those are also always the most difficult ones to write. Too many often don’t realize that even though children’s books are much shorter, it can be quite challenging to write them often, even a lot more challenging than writing a regular book for grownups.
EJ (09:15):
And that’s because, you know, a children’s books are a lot shorter, meaning we only have a few hundred words to share what we want to say. So every single word here counts, and B, even though the concept we want to share in our story may be quite complex, we will need to share it in such a way that it is both interesting to our little readers while telling it in such a way that it is easily understood. And so, I think Be The Buffalo does just that, you know, it’s, it’s so much fun to read it and it’s it, this message is just so powerful. I wanted to actually tell you, you know, my two boys that are now nine and 14 so they’re already a little bit older, but my husband and I both constantly use the phrase, be the Buffalo Now you know, whenever our boys are faced, faced with a decision that might require them to choose between an option that seems easier at the moment and an option that seems harder at the moment, but better for them in the long run, we use that, that phrase now.
EJ (10:15):
And so I know that Rory tells the story of the Buffalo in his book, take the Stairs, and that the story has been shared many, many times over the years, often unfortunately, without attributing it to Rory. Right? So I really just love that it is now that he’s now sharing this valuable lesson with little ones in the form of a children’s book as well. Mm-Hmm. And so, yeah, so the way this usually happens is people often come to me not always, but often they come to me as a, as a fellow entrepreneur, and they already have a book written on the subject of expertise, usually, right? Just like Todd Herman had the book, the Alter Ego Effect that shares how to unlock Most Heroic Your Most Heroic Self. Or Brian Johnson, for example, with this book, Ari Taylor shows us grownups to become the best version of ourselves.
EJ (11:11):
So they either have a book or they have been teaching or coaching a particular topic, you know, using a specific proprietary process that they would now like to also share with children in the form of a story. And so, what many are essentially looking for and asking for is to take the essence of their books or the essence of their teachings, and then convert it into something that we can share with little readers in, in such a way that it is easily understood. And I really love this so much because what we are essentially doing is we are taking all these amazing teaching points that took us grownups, decades to learn, right? And, and internalize, and we make them understandable and ac accessible to little ones so they can learn about them in a fun and creative way, which then in turn helps them create these habits and healthy mindsets early on in life. And yeah, you know, knowing what I know now, I would give anything, if I could have learned about the power of the alter ego early on in life, you know or the power my words can have on others, or knowing that sometimes taking the seemingly harder path often turns out to be the better one, right? So instead of waiting until our twenties or thirties or forties, we can share these incredible nuggets of wisdom early on with our little ones in the form of a children’s book. Yeah. I could
AJV (12:38):
Not not agree more. I could not agree more. Like one of the, honestly, like, just for everyone listening, like one of the reasons I wanted to have Evie on the show is because there is such a void of good kids books. Yes. Like, I literally find myself spending hours sorting through reviews, reading the first few pages, and then putting it back, putting it back. I’m like, Nope, nope, this makes no sense. This has no story, this has no plot. And there’s definitely no lesson that I want my kids to learn. And I love what you just said, and I think this is so important for anyone out there who is a content creator, whether you have a book, wanna have a book, or you never thought about it, but you have a lot of content of why wouldn’t we want to empower our kids the next generation with all of the life lessons we’ve already learned? Why should they wait till they’re 20, 30, 40? I love that you said that, ed, of going, no, look, we have an ability to teach them those things now. Like right now, all the things that we wish we would’ve known and we can do it through actually helpful kids books versus some of the nonsense.
EJ (13:41):
Yes, exactly. Yeah. So
AJV (13:44):
What, so what does it look like? So, okay, so we’ll just use like any book, right? So let’s just say I’m an author and I, I have a, you know, business book about, you know, whatever, it doesn’t matter what it is. And I’m like, yeah, I’d love to figure out how to turn this into a kid’s book. Like what do you do? Like, you have, you do have a gift, you’ve got some magic behind the scenes and, and doing this. And a lot of it’s ’cause you’ve done it for a long time and you’ve done it many times. Yes. Right? But what does that process look like for the person going, yeah, I would love for my book to be a kid’s book.
EJ (14:20):
Yes. So usually what I do when, when people come to me is I actually read this book myself, and I’m very active within the entrepreneurial space. So I, the chances are actually pretty high that I have already read the book. But either way I will read the book and really also have a one-on-one conversation. You know, what is it that you want to get out of this book and what do you want little kids to get out of the children’s book? And so then this will always help me really condense this message down because that’s what we need to do, right? Like I said, we have to turn 250 pages into 250 words. And so yeah. So once we are clear on the main teaching points or the main purpose of the children’s book, we want to figure out what age group we want our book to be for.
EJ (15:06):
That’s really, really important because something most aspiring children’s authors don’t know or don’t realize is that they need to be really clear on their audience, very much like businesses in general, but we need to know who we are writing our book for as well. Right? Many often tell me that they want their children’s book to be written for any child, so that no matter the age, whether they’re two or they’re 12 years old, you know, everyone will enjoy it. But looking at our own kids, right? We know that that’s just not possible. A 2-year-old won’t really enjoy what a 12-year-old is reading and vice versa. And that’s simply because we develop cognitively the most during our childhood. And that’s why, you know, there is such a vast difference in the use of vocabulary and also the word count within children’s books and the number of pages and the number of illustrations and things like that. This is not random, you know, it’s all based on our target audience, the age group. And so that’s why we want to be very clear on what age range we want to be writing for so we can then choose the right length of words or the right length of the story and the right type of story. So
AJV (16:15):
I have a question for you about that. So yes, this is basically figuring out what is your core target audience for your children’s book. And so what would you say are like the age ranges? Does it go from like two to four, five to seven, eight to 10? Or like, because you’re right, like even the books, like my kids grow out of books probably every year, if not every two years. So that is a really interesting insight of like, you’ve gotta be really micro specific of who your book is going after.
EJ (16:47):
Exactly. So that you, the age ranges you gave is exactly that. And so based on each, it’s, you know, you make the story a little bit longer or you can also use a little bit more challenging vocabulary. And so also, do we want to have illustrations on each page, or would it, for older kids, they only have, you know, illustrations, maybe a couple of pages, every couple of pages. How much text do we want to have on each page? Things like that. So yeah, it’s really important. That’s
AJV (17:15):
Really insightful. ’cause You know, what you said in the beginning is probably what I hear most people say is like, I want it for all kids. And it’s like, yes, you are right. A 2-year-old and a 12-year-old are very different and want very different books. Just you know, just thinking about that. I’m sure me and Rory even said that like, we wanted to apply to all kids, and that’s not how it is. Right. That’s really, really insightful of how narrow it must be for children. Mm-Hmm. .
EJ (17:43):
Exactly. Yeah. And so that’s usually, that usually takes part of the story writing part because, you know, I will then usually take it and write something have, first we have a conversation of where I would like to take it based on the book, and then I write something and then, you know, it’s, it’s very much a co collaborative work, right? Where we go back and forth tweaking it and just seeing to seeing where we would like to take it, or, you know, sometimes it’s either spot on or sometimes we need to still tweak it a little bit. And so that’s what we work on there. And so then after that, it’s re really about the visual part. This is what’s so beautiful about children’s books, because it’s not just the story, it’s also the visual, right? The through illustrations, which is always so much fun.
EJ (18:29):
And so most children’s books are passion projects, meaning we usually just start writing and then start envisioning the different illustrations. You know, and the really, that’s really the exciting part for me as well. And so because we are mainly driven by our passion, we don’t really think about the more technical things like, you know, the illustration sizes or the book size that are available to us, or, you know along with the orientation, you know, should we have a landscape or the other way, you know, and things like that. And so I remember wasting so much time with my very first children’s book because I didn’t think about any of these things, you know? And so all illustrations ended up being the wrong size, and I essentially had to start all over again, and I lost so much time. And so before reaching out to an illustrator, we always want to already have these things in mind, you know, know the size we want for our book, or at least have an idea.
EJ (19:26):
Or like, you guys, you, you came and you said, you know, we really like these llama lama books, you know, and so that was really helpful. So that helps. And so we also want to already have an idea of what kind of illustration type we like, you know, where we what we want our children’s book to look like. Because if we start looking for an illustrator without already having some sort of vision, we can get overwhelmed really easily and really quickly, because there are just so many different styles out there. So we first want to get clear on what style we like and then go from there. And that’s really, you already had a vision, so I could you, you know, that you shared with me that was so, that made it so much easier for me. So that was amazing.
AJV (20:08):
But I’ll tell you, as content creators, that was the most challenging part for us. Like, before we found you, which we’re so glad we got referred to you, you know, I don’t know if Rory told you how the Be the Buffalo came to be, but we were literally putting our kids to bed one night, and I was tucking him in, and we always usually do it together. And Rory looks at me and he goes, I have to go. And he just left the room, and I’m like, are you sick? Are you like, what is going on? And he just disappeared. And so I finished putting our two boys down at that point, Liam was probably two, and Jasper was four, and Roy disappeared. So like 30 minutes later I went looking for like, what, what is wrong with you? Where are you? And I couldn’t find him.
AJV (20:51):
And he was downstairs in his office. And so finally he emerges and he goes, babe, I just had a download from God. I just wrote a kid’s book. And I’m like, I’m sorry, what? What you, what whatcha talking about? And he goes, I don’t know what happened, but we were just putting the kids down. And I literally just got this message and I just wrote a kid’s book. And he goes, will you read this? And I was like, if you wrote a kid’s book in the last 30 minutes, what are you talking about? So I pull up his phone and I read it, and I literally, I start crying. I’m like, this is exactly what we wanna teach our kids. This is, this is exactly the heart of the parenting that we want to have with our kids. And I immediately said, this has to be a book.
AJV (21:34):
This cannot stay with us. Fast forward 18 months. Right? So, like, he had written that, and immediately we were like, we need an we, we know we need an illustrator, right? And we, it took forever to find anyone who would even talk to us about it. And then we hired someone paid several thousand dollars, and it was like we would get an image or two every few weeks and not in a book format. And finally we were like, listen, you can keep the deposit, but we had a bail on this. And then Rory was like, babe, we just don’t have time for this. Long story short, we finally got introduced to you. And from the time that we got introduced to you to like a book in hand, it was just a couple of months. And so much of the power of working with someone who knows what they’re doing has a lot to do with like, we didn’t have to think of all the things you said, these are the illustrators I use based on what you told me.
AJV (22:26):
This is what I need from you. Get, fill this, fill this out, fill this out. And I, I share that because I think it’s so important of going, we could have had this book out a long time before because the, the book itself, the poem, right, it came in 30 minutes, but it took us 18 months to finally find someone who knew what the heck they were doing to allow us to create something. And that was you. And it was so much of the guidance and the coaching, and this is what I need from you next. This is what I need from you next. And the, the illustrations was a huge part of it. ’cause We don’t know, we had never written a kid’s book before, right? We just knew that we wanted this for our kids and our friends’ kids and any kid. And I think that’s, that is what is the problem with so much of our businesses. Doesn’t matter if you’re writing for adults or for kids, it’s like what you’re good at is the content, right? But putting it all together, getting it printed, getting it in a course, putting it in a keynote, that’s, that’s what stops a lot of us from getting the message that we feel called to share from actually ever getting out. There are the technical and tactical things. And in this particular case, you take care of all of that. If you wanna put ’em in a kid’s book.
EJ (23:47):
Yes, exactly. Well, I’m just so grateful that you kept nudging Rory to really do turn it into a children’s book.
AJV (23:55):
More like harassing, but , nudging, harassing . Yes. But it was because I felt so convicted, he probably would’ve been like, oh, babe, like someday. But I felt so convicted in it. But we did, we needed a partner. And you were such a great partner in that, and I just share that for anyone who was out there going, oh man, like, this is gonna take a ton of my 10. No, it did not. It really did not. Like, the hardest thing for us was to go through the illustrations and decide, you know, this and that. And I will tell you that too, is like, that also became one of our favorite parts of writing the kids’ book, was being able to help all of the characters in the book be reflective of our children and our family and experiences. And so it’s like, part of this is like, it’s for everyone else, but it’s also a callback to the things that are important to us and experiences Yes. That we’ve been through. And even when my kids now, who are almost five and just turned seven, they will go through the book and they’ll be like, there’s me. And they know that the characters that have been designed represent them. And it’s, it’s a really special process Yes,
AJV (25:08):
Absolutely. To do it for children. Mm-Hmm. like, it, it’s been a very cool thing to not just write something for adults, which is very needed, but also to be able to do it in a way that speaks truth into our children. And so I just I have so many compliments on what you do and how you do it. I think it’s a really unique service. And again, I can’t, I’ll, I cannot say this enough, we cannot withhold all of the lessons that we learn for adults. Just for adults. Yes, absolutely. They have gotta be shared with our children, and you’re a conduit of doing that. So, okay. So here’s my next question. For the people who have content and books, how do they, how do they know when it’s time to do a kid’s book or if they should do a kid’s book? Is there some sort of like, process of going your book is good for translating into kids, or is there a checks and balances of going like, I love it, but it’s it’s not going to work for a kid. Yes. Like, what does that look like? Mm-Hmm.
EJ (26:09):
. So timing wise, I would say it’s, it’s always, it really depends on what your goal is. You know, is it to really further your own brand or is it really just a passion project about something that you always wanted to share? Because if it’s a later then you can start any time. But with, you know, if it’s more for the branding, then I would say it, you, you want to be sure that you already have your own branding of your, of your of your business dialed in so that you know exactly what you want, what you want to share with children. So that’s what I would want to wait for. Not to come too early, because, you know, if you’re still kind of trying to find your way, find your, your direction, your path, then this will also change the children’s story. Right? And so we wouldn’t want that. So we want to wait until we are sure. Without branding.
AJV (27:02):
Yeah. So you wanna be an establ you wanna be established in your
EJ (27:06):
Personal brand. Yes, exactly. Brand.
AJV (27:07):
Mm-Hmm. very clear on your content. You have a direction, you know what you’re going on. It’s consistent. Yes. It’s very well built out. So this is not something you would wanna do in the early stages, right? Probably not something you would wanna do before you even had a published book.
EJ (27:24):
Yes. I mean, but if you have, you know a proprietary system that you’re using that you, that you have in your course, then you can, then you do not necessarily need a book. Okay. Yes. But it always helps me if you have material like a book that always helps me just to draft your story. But I can also, I often also go through my client’s courses. So, you know, if they don’t have a book, I go through their courses and then I just get inspired there. So that also works.
AJV (27:53):
But it’s most important that you’re just clear and established and who you are. Mm-Hmm. what you have to say, how you wanna say it. And there’s well-defined content in some format.
EJ (28:05):
AJV (28:06):
Okay. So that’s all
EJ (28:07):
I need.
AJV (28:07):
So and then, so then kind of my second question is that is how do you determine if the content is suitable to turn into a kid’s book? Or have you ever told someone, I love your content. I don’t think it’s good for kids. ? Yes. Have you never said that?
EJ (28:24):
Yes. I mean, you know, a lot of people think that a, a children’s book about business just has to be really about business. Like, you know, marketing or selling or having a lemonade stand, because I see those books all the time, right? Mm-Hmm. . But there is such a need for children’s books that share values and concepts that are used throughout the entrepreneurial world. You know, for example, ideas like you know, you, you are who you surround yourself with, or you know, how our attitude toward things drives our feelings and actions or, you know, what persistence and consistency means and what, what it can help us achieve. Things like that. And that’s really, this is stuff that is really near and dear to my heart because if little ones, like I already shared, you know, grow up with these concepts and understandings already ingrained the knowledge will be theirs for life.
EJ (29:16):
Just like their language becomes second nature, this knowledge is simply a given. And simply they grow up with this, right? And so if you are asking yourself, is this worth a children’s book? Then I would say, you know, in today’s fast and ever changing world, we all need to be asking ourselves, how am I impacting and supporting others with my life and my energy? How do I leave a lasting positive impact on my little ones that leaves them for the better long after I’m gone? Right? And so my providing of these services is my attempt to help others do just that. So yes, I hopefully that answers your question.
AJV (29:55):
Yeah, I think that’s really good. And I, and I think it’s, it’s what I hear you saying is that there’s an opportunity no matter what your message is Yes. To find an application for it to be meaningful for kids.
EJ (30:07):
Mm-Hmm. . Exactly.
AJV (30:09):
Yeah. I love that. So then my next question is kind of like, how could this help you built Mm-Hmm, your personal brand? Like for the people that you have helped take their business books or just, you know, books written for adults and turn them into kids, how, what, what are the benefits that you have seen from having a kid’s version of the product?
EJ (30:33):
Yes. So for many of my clients that so for example, Todd Herman, he uses his and Phil Jones. I know that Rory knows Phil Jones, and you maybe also they just take their children’s books anywhere they go because this is just another angle to share your own message. You know, and this is why I was saying earlier, it’s really helpful that if your children’s book you know, shares the same message as your own, as your own brand, right? If it ties together what you are teaching and what your children’s book is teaching, if that ties together, that’s really great. And that you can then later on share your message from different angles, because a lot of our clients have children. So then you can share your children’s book that way and tackle things that way. Or for example, my, my client Brian Johnson with his book Ari Te, for him it is really important to reach as many people as possible.
EJ (31:32):
And so, again, that’s why he, he create, he has this book Ari Tale for regular people then, but then he also has programs that reaches athletes, for example. So, you know, he wants to reach athletes, so he creates material that specifically targets them. And so that’s why we wrote his children’s book series heroic for his heroic brand to reach children. And so that’s, I think how this ties it all together, just being able to share it with a different generation, the same teachings that are important to you to be able to reach other generations with that message.
AJV (32:11):
Yeah. Well, I love it. Well, I’ll tell you, for everyone who’s listening, and for you too, Evie, as a consumer, as a parent, I often buy way more kids books than I do adult books, right? It’s like, absolutely. I, I pretty much am like for every Christmas present for my niece and nephews, it always includes a book for most birthday presents. ’cause I wanna give something that’s not just a toy that’s going to disappear in three weeks. I almost always include a book. Like, that’s just who I am. Maybe not everyone is like that, but I buy way more kids’ books. And when I find a kid’s book I love, I’ll buy like 20 or 30 of ’em. ’cause Then I’m like, I know your kid needs it. I know your kid needs it. I know you want your kid to have it. There’s very few adult books that I’ll do. I’ll recommend ’em, I’ll share them. But like the kids’ books, because kids can’t buy them. I do that. And so for whatever it’s worth to everyone listening out there, people will buy more books for their kids than often they will even for themselves.
EJ (33:17):
Absolutely. I, I absolutely agree. Especially what you were saying with as a gift. Right? I, I very rarely give books. Maybe my husband, I give him books all the time, but friends, not so much. The only time when I do give books to friends and family is when it’s a children’s book.
AJV (33:34):
Yeah. So, so for anyone who’s listening, just going, it’s kind of a big deal. And then I think another thing that we’ve really seen is just doing special times throughout the year of like where we package. You know, you, you buy this book and you’re gonna get the kids’ book with it. Mm-Hmm. , that’s been a also a really unique thing of like, hey, this isn’t just for you. It’s, it’s for you and your family. Here’s the version for you. Here’s the version for you to read to your kids. And it allows you to have a secondary way of processing the information. Yes. Like one of the things that, and I, we have Phil Jones’ books in our kids’ room. And then John Gordon has some kids’ books of his adult books. And one of the things that has been really helpful for me is the way that you help simplify the books.
AJV (34:22):
I I sometimes I’ll just flip through be the buffalo as reminders of things that I won’t necessarily pull out, take the stairs and flip through it, because it doesn’t have pictures. There’s not that emotional visual reminder and there’s a lot of pages and a lot of words, but sometimes I’ll just flip through it for those like quick subtle reminders that Yes. And I think part of it is ’cause I lo it, I love it in a poem version. I know you mentioned you do too, but the simplicity and the, the shortness of how quick you can get through that is a really powerful reminder when the, I can only think of like maybe two books ever that I reread. Like, there’s just not a lot. But with kids’ books, to your point, you’re gonna read them until you’re exhausted of ’em. You’re like, oh my gosh, can we never read this book again? But those reminders really mean a lot when they actually have a plot, a story, and a lesson, and it’s just as impactful for me, the adult, the reader, and in this case, the parent to read it to my kids as it is beneficial for them.
EJ (35:23):
Exactly. Yeah. I love that you say this because that’s what I get a lot about my own books also, that when people read it, and it’s supposed to be for children, but they say, oh my goodness, that was so amazing to just read for myself. So, and you know, if you have a book like this that is really, that’s something special, you know, if if both can get something out of this yeah. I love that.
AJV (35:47):
I love that. So okay, two quick questions left, and I’ll be sensitive to time, but how long does this process take? So if somebody’s like, oh yeah, I’ve been, I’ve been wanting to do this, like what is like a timeline of expectations to get something out into the world?
EJ (36:02):
Yes. So your timeline was super short. Right. And because, and the reason why this is not always the case. The reason why was whenever I send something your way for a thumbs up or you know, your feedback, you were on it. So it really depends on, you know, my client’s feedback, how quickly can they return my calls or my emails and things like that. And so yeah, based on that I don’t remember, but it wasn’t, was it three to six months? Right? Yeah. So it was really quick. It
AJV (36:34):
Was not long. It was not long.
EJ (36:36):
Yes. And so yeah, around that timeframe, I would say. But again, it really depends on how quickly, you know, the client can respond. But I always try to write my story very quickly, thoroughly, but quickly because I know that people are so excited, you know, to get this going and to share it with the world. And so, yeah, so I work as quickly as possible, and then we just always take it from there.
AJV (37:01):
Well, I’ll just tell yer, if you haven’t yet written a book, the idea if you could get a kids book out in three to six months is about 10 x shorter if you’re going to write a traditional book for business or adults. And it was a really seems easy process. But again, it was not until we found the right partner and the right vendor, and that was, that was so much of a blessing of, of your part of the contribution of doing this. All right, Evie, last question. What do you think people need to know through the process of considering or writing a kid’s book? Like what do you think is the most important thing people should know?
EJ (37:44):
Yeah. Well, so I would, I would say as a children’s author is that if you have ever thought about writing a children’s book, whether it is for your brand or as a passion project, I would encourage you to really look into it and just go for it. You know, it’s 90% of the people that hear that I write children’s books, they tell me that they always wanted to write their own. Hmm. But so few actually end up doing so for, for various reasons. But really, it’s never too late to write a children’s book. Something people often are held back by is the thought that they don’t have any experience either in writing children’s books or, you know, in writing in general. Or oftentimes people share with me that they don’t have kids or, you know, that they, that because of that they don’t feel like they are fit to write a children’s book.
EJ (38:32):
But, you know, there are really, there’s no reason to think that having kids or not having kids disqualifies us to write a children’s book. You know, I have worked with many clients that also don’t have children, or where the children are already fully grown and have already moved out. So it isn’t necessarily about having kids or being around kids, it’s about having been a kid, you know, and remembering similar experiences or having overcome similar struggles that kids go through today. That’s what we’ll connect with little ones, not whether or not the author is around children on a daily basis, you know? And yeah, it’s just so funny too, because so many don’t know that some of our most beloved authors we remember from our own childhood also don’t have children, or didn’t have children. For example, Dr. Seuss, he didn’t have any children, you know, and Louis Carroll, the, the author of Alice in Wonderland didn’t either or, or she Silverstein or Marie Sendek, you know, who wrote where the Wild Things are. Or Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, all Without Children. And yet they all have, these are some of our most beloved children’s book authors. So I think that’s something to just keep in mind also.
AJV (39:46):
Yeah, those are iconic books for the most part. Mm-Hmm, . Exactly. Yeah. And I didn’t know that. And what I love about what you said is this, this isn’t about you thinking that this is for kids. It’s what did you need when you were a kid?
EJ (40:00):
AJV (40:01):
And how can you impart that gift to this next generation? That’s so good, so wise, I love that so much. Everyone who’s listening if you are curious about this, if you’re going, I would love to learn more about what it, what it’s like to write a kid’s book or turn my book into a kid’s book. Evie has put together a special link just for our community, for our podcast listeners. So if you wanna check this out, if you wanna learn more, go to Evie Jones. It’s EEVI jones.com/brand builders. So evie jones.com/brand builders. I’ll put that in the show notes. And she’s gonna do a 15 minute call for free with anyone who’s interested. Most of her services are not for free, so this is a very generous offering of just to go like, what’s it about? Could I do it? How would I do it? And what, what’s the process like? So if you wanna learn more, check her out. Evie, if people just wanna connect with you on like, your preferred social platform, where should they go?
EJ (41:06):
They can just go over to Instagram. That’s Evie Jones. That’s where you find me, that’s where I am. And you can also message me there as well.
AJV (41:15):
Awesome. And then one last bonus question for me, but if it’s for me, bet other people would like to know it as well, what is your favorite kid’s book to recommend to other parents?
EJ (41:28):
Well, I have so many because, you know, I, I write and read so often. I read so many, so I would say I absolutely love The Little Blue Truck Series by Ali Shirley and the Lama Lama series, which I know you love so much by Anna Ney because they express so much with so little, you know, so just so few words. And so for older kids, I adore Andrea Beatty’s, the questionnaire series, if you are looking for something for your boys like, you know, she has books like Rosie Revere Engineer, or Iggy Peck Architect. So I’m really drawn as, you know, to rhyming stories because they, they’re my favorite way of writing. And so for older kids, Mary Pope Osborne, you know, her Magic Treehouse series, I absolutely love this one. And then of course, I have to mention my favorite illustrators who are Peter H. Reynolds and Lauren Long. I love them so much. So yes. And then of course, your book. I love it so much. I hope lots of people get it. It’s absolutely adorable. And like I said, the first time I read it, I, I just knew it was something really special. And we use this phrase all the time now. So, you know, when we see a set of stairs or you know, an escalator, and my voice move toward the escalator, say, be the buffalo, and we go up the stairs.
AJV (42:50):
I love it. And I promise I did not ask her to say that I did not . But like, to that, I would tell you, it’s like some of those books you just read are also some of my favorite for my kids to read. Like the Magic Tree House series. Yes. is I very popular book for my 7-year-old. And I think a, a part of what I love about what you’re doing is you’re inspiring the next generation to fall in love with reading and more time in front of pages versus on screens. So I just wanna appreciate all the work that you’re doing. You’re so gifted and I’m so excited to introduce you to our audience. Y’all check it out, learn more. Go to evie jones.com/brand builder, connect with her on social media. I’ll put all the links in the show notes, and then make sure you stick around for the recap episode. That’ll be coming up next. And we will see you next time on the Influential Personal Brand.
EJ (43:41):

Ep 487: Fastest Ways to Grow Your New Business | Sara and Ben Jensen Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
are you trying to figure out how do you turn your mission, your message, your passion, your calling whatever you would like to call it, . But if you’re trying to figure out how to turn that thing that you feel called to do into the thing that makes you money, this is a quick conversation that I would like to have with you. So I was able to interview the founders and also a married couple, Sarah and Ben Jensen, who have founded and started the company, Hugh & Grace, which is a products company, skincare products supplements, as well as household care products that help you keep your hormones in check, right? So clean products that help you with all the things in on and around your body. And I had this conversation with them on the influential Personal Brand podcast around why did they start this?
AJV (00:56):
How did they start this? Where did the idea come from? It’s a very fast growing company. They only founded it three years ago. Although the idea started 14 years ago. And I thought this was a, a, a great inspiration to have a conversation today about how do you do that? Like, how do you take something that you’ve been through in your life that was challenging or scary or traumatic or just painful and go, but there is purpose in this, and I want to help other people who have experienced this, that same thing. I want to help them find a better way, experience a better way of getting through it living, coming out on the other side better. In other words, I feel like I have a message put on my heart that must get out into the world, and I would love to turn that into a business that helps me create an abundant life for me, my family generations beyond me as well as making a huge impact by doing something that I know matters.
AJV (01:59):
And so I, I thought this was like a really great inspiration conversation. So here are a few things that may help you as you figure out the transition between doing what you’re currently doing and doing the thing that you feel called to do, right? And how do you turn your passion into your full-time business? So number one, I thought this was very insightful is success is about making as many mistakes as humanly possible as quickly and as inexpensively as possible so that you can learn, pivot, and grow, right? I, I, I think that’s so powerful for us all to remember that success is not a foundation of our victories. success is built on the foundation of many, many mistakes and failures and not giving up, but instead of taking every mistake and learning from it, taking every failure of going, that wasn’t a failure,
AJV (02:59):
That was a learning experience, that was a growth opportunity. It was learning what not to do again that, that is where growth happens. That’s where success happens. Success is a byproduct of being willing to make a ton of mistakes, but make ’em quickly, make them as inexpensive as possible, and then learn, pivot, and go. And I think that’s just so important for all of us of knowing whatever it is that you think it’s going to be, it likely won’t be what you end up with. , if I can just share the evolution of brand builders group over the last, you know, almost six years that, you know, we’ve formally been an entity and where it started. There’s a lot of the foundational pieces that are still there with our community and membership and intensives. But I will also tell you that we quickly expanded into a lot of things and then very quickly condensed them all back in when we realized we have expanded beyond our capacity beyond our ability to serve in the way that we wanna serve.
AJV (04:03):
And so our offerings grew really quickly, and then they all got cut back just as quickly. And that was a, that was a part of going, it’s like, man, we don’t have capacity to do all of this in the way that we want it. And there are certain areas that had natural momentum that we made a decision of going, although there’s this thing that could get us there, that could be the thing, it’s not right. And it felt very forceful. It felt like we were just pulling it along behind us versus these other things that we’re just taking off without a ton of effort. And our, and the point of that being is like your audience will tell you what it is they need from you, if you’ll just listen. And the way that they tell you is what they buy, what they buy again, what they renew with, what they tell their friends about.
AJV (04:48):
It’s in their feedback. And they’ll also tell you what’s not working by the fact that they don’t buy it again or they don’t renew or they don’t tell their friends about it. And I think a lot of that just has to do with us as business owners, as entrepreneurs, as team members, to slow down enough and pay attention and listen. And that’s really hard to do when you’re doing a hundred different things and you’re pulled in a million different directions. It’s hard to do when you’re distracted and when you’re busy. Yep. B word, busy. ’cause We can get busy and when we’re busy and in a hurry and multitasking, it is hard to see the things right in front of you. You often push them aside and you don’t pay attention because there’s too many other things to get to. And I would encourage you that as you’re figuring this out, if you slow down and you ask and you listen, it’ll become so obviously clear.
AJV (05:44):
People will tell you exactly what it is that they are willing to buy from you, and that they need to buy from you. And that also it gives you confidence and conviction that you’re the right person to offer it to them. Them. If you just slow down and listen intuitively, ask, pay attention and just get into the data, right? That’s a really important part of this right? Now. That leads to the second thing, what you do, right? Your passion, right? And your business, what you do has got to be both logical and emotional, right? It should emotionally move you to go like, I can’t not do this. Like, if I didn’t do this, it would be the biggest regret of my life. Like, I have to do this. That’s the emotional side of like, I feel convicted in this. I can’t not talk about it.
AJV (06:34):
Like it just bubbles out of me regardless. Like this is who I am and it’s what I was put on this earth to do. There’s passion, right? That’s the emotional side. But then there’s also the logical side. And sometimes we let our emotions overtake the logic. And this is a discipline, it’s an obedience of pulling that back in, of going, these are the things I feel called to do, but that’s honestly sometimes a little me centered. And we have to pair that. We have to balance that with, and what are people asking for from me, right? What are people willing to buy from me? What are people willing to learn from me? What are they asking to learn from me? Rather, you know, intrinsically or verbal or verbally that it’s like, where am I most positioned to help and serve people? Passion? And what are people most willing to buy from me?
AJV (07:31):
And how much are they willing to spend with me? Logically, that’s market evaluation, that’s core target audience that’s pairing with what you have to offer versus what the market is saying that they want. And that is both an emotional and logical conversation, and they both have to happen. One is not higher or lower than the other. They are both equally important to figure out a business model that serves both your passion and your calling and create something that is viable and sustainable that can actually make you money. So it is both about your passion and what you want to do and what the market is willing to buy from you and at what price. So it is both things. And so I think a part of that is sometimes you don’t know until you know. And that’s where you gotta be flexible and nimble and be willing to just get out there and make some quick mistakes cheaply, right?
AJV (08:22):
Quickly. and then pivot. I go, wasn’t that wasn’t that. Let’s try it again. Let’s tweak it again. That was too much. That was too low. Whatever it is. And the best way to know those things is not to ideate and it’s not to brainstorm, it’s to do it. . you’re ready right now. If you know you can help someone, then you are ready. And sometimes you just gotta get it out there. And whatever it is, it’s fine. ’cause It will change no matter what it is. Your first launch is going to be a different offering, a a different price point, a different product, a different description and probably less than a year from now. Because once you’re out there doing it, you tweak it and fine tune it, and you make it better as you go. You cannot make it what it is meant to be before you do it.
AJV (09:09):
You just can’t. Nobody knows what they’re doing before they do it. So the best thing you can do is to do it and to adjust accordingly as you go. Okay? That is how you turn your passion into your business at, at a very high level, right? Now three other quick things I wanna share with us is that now how do you get people to buy it? Well, one, you sell it, right? Selling is fast. Marketing is slow. Marketing is the long game. So selling is the short game. So if we think it’s like, okay, now I’ve got this idea. I need to build the website, I need to launch a podcast. I need to do social media, I need da, da, da, da, da. That is the long, expensive route. And many of you don’t have the runway to do it. Some of you do awesome, but most of us don’t.
AJV (09:56):
And what you have to do is you have to get out there and talk to people. You have to tell them your story. Why? ’cause your story is what helps you connect to your audience, not your product. Your story, IE your personal brand. So knowing why you do this, how you do it, what makes it different, what problem you’re solving what message are you delivering, right? And products and services doesn’t matter what makes it unique. And a lot of times it’s you, you are what makes it unique. The struggle, the story is what people connect to and remember why? Because they have similar ones. That’s why they resonate. And so you’ve gotta be willing to get out there. Now, social media is a platform. Podcasts are a platform. But don’t forget the power of proximity. And that is a real thing.
AJV (10:46):
You being live in person in a room, talking to people, explaining it to people, showing it to people, helping people experience it, skin to skin, shoulder to shoulder, like that goes faster. So be willing to get out there and talk about it. Do not let it be the world’s best kept secret secret because you don’t know what to say or how to say it. It’s like that’s, that’s your job. Like you have to know how to explain it because you’ve been through it, you know? And then you’ve got to find anyone anywhere who’s willing to listen for free or not. Like if you get paid, great, but don’t expect to be paid, right? But willing to get out there and speak to any group who’s willing to gather together churches, associations, memberships, masterminds, whatever. Right? there are all types of people who are looking for speakers for free all over the place.
AJV (11:39):
Business journals, chambers of Commerce, rotary Clubs, right? Yeah, that’s old school stuff. But you know what? They need speakers. They have monthly meetings and you know who come to those meetings? People. And that’s what you need. So be willing to talk to anyone about the thing because it matters. It matters to you. ’cause You know it’s gonna matter to the people, right? So just wanna encourage that. Sales is fast, marketing is slow. And the best way for you to sell is to be in front of people, to explain it, to walk people through it, and to share your story, right? And then community is what helps things spread. It is finding a group of people who can rally behind your products and your services and shop them to the rooftops, right? Because why? Because they work, right? . So a part of the prerequisite for all of this is actually having a product or a service that does what it says, right?
AJV (12:31):
It’s undeniable. If you get someone results, it is hard not for that person and for others to talk about it. Make sure you are focused on being better before you focus on being bigger. Make sure that you know how to get people results and you have documented proof of it. You have testimonials of it, you’ve got case studies of it, right? And those don’t have to be formally and designed like I’m talking about on a Word doc, right? A quick iPhone video, but have it have proof. Third party validation that you are who you say you are, and you do what you say you’re gonna do. And that could be in a email from a client, a testimonial. And clients don’t have to be paid clients. FYI don’t be afraid to offer your products and services for free to test it. That’s required. In most cases, any big product that’s having a launch has been tested many, many, many, many times for free before anyone paid for it.
AJV (13:25):
I think about this often. I fly a lot and thank gosh that anytime I am on a new airplane, that is not the first time that pilot has been in the plane. That is not the first time that plane has been the air. Thank the lord. This thing has been up for thousands of miles and this pilot has tens of thousands of miles under their belt. The first time they do it is not with paying customers in the seats. That would be crazy. But yet somehow we think that the very first time we launch our business, launch our products, people should pay for ’em. Why? Why do we think that? I don’t know. Someone said it one time. I don’t know. That’s not true. Be willing to do what you do for free to get market feedback, to get testimonials, to fine tune to tweak before you go live.
AJV (14:09):
Then when you do go live, you do launch. You got all the validation and the conviction and the confidence and the market validation and testimonials that this does what it says it does. This gets results. This helps people. And it, I’m not just saying that all these other people are saying that community is what helps your business spread. So build it, share it, and don’t forget about it. And then last, but not le lightly, I think this is also important, is that many of us see the attraction of entrepreneurship starting our own business because we think it’s gonna allow us to build a lifestyle that caters to our, our family, our personal needs, our our marriages, our kids.
AJV (14:51):
And then you actually get in it and you realize you have less time than you did before, and you are more stressed and more overwhelmed. And that’s because we let the business become the main thing. And so I would just encourage you as you’re thinking about like this passion thing that you have, that you feel called to do and how you could turn it into a business, don’t forget the important part of also talking about like, what is the life that you wanna have while doing this? How much time do you want for your marriage time that you want? Spiritually in my case, it’s like I gotta ti I have to prioritize my time with the Lord first. And then time with my husband, then time with my kids and my family, and then comes, you know, times with friends and community.
AJV (15:38):
But if I make the business first, it sucks up all the time. , right? It’s like if the business comes first, there’s always enough to do where I do not have time to pray, read the Bible. I do not have time to hang out with friends or go to yoga or go on date nights, or I don’t have the time if I let the business come first. My point is the business cannot come first, right? You have to prioritize it. And the business has to fit in around that. I only share that because I did it the wrong way for about 15 years. And I’m only now figuring out the right way, a better way to do it. I’m not saying that I don’t work hard, I work hard. But it fits within the confines of keeping the main thing, the main thing, and the priorities first.
AJV (16:18):
And if I do that, the business works. If I don’t, nothing works. I struggle. My marriage struggles my faith struggles my family struggles. But when I put all those other things, first, business just works. And so make sure that as you’re crafting this, you make sure that you’re crafting your life in addition to your business. Because both matter , right? Your work matters and your life matters. IE your family your faith and yourself and your marriage, those things matter. So keep the priorities first, and you have to set those first, and the business fits in around that. So again, if you’re thinking about how do you go from passion to business a couple of quick things to be thinking about. And I know that if you’ve got that calling on your heart, it’s there for a reason. It’s not there by accident and you’re not crazy. God put it there and you’re meant to do it. So don’t be afraid. Make mistakes. Just keep going. Give it time. Don’t rush it and just stay at it. Because if it’s there, it’s there for a reason and eventually you’ll know why. So build that business. Turn that passion into something that’s gonna create an abundant life for you and those around you. Make an impact and make great money while doing it.

Ep 486: Turning Your Passion Into Your Business with Sara and Ben Jensen

AJV (00:02):
Hey everybody, welcome to the influential Personal Brand podcast, AJ Vaden here, and y’all, I’m so excited to introduce you to two. Yep, you heard me Two new friends. It’s very rare that I get to do another podcast episode with a husband and wife couple, and it’s super sweet and special to me since I’m in business with my husband, Rory, as most of you listening, know that. So to get to introduce you guys to Sarah and Ben today, is this going to be a sweet, sweet story? But before I do a formal introduction to Ben and Sarah, I want you to know why you need to stick around for this episode. So before you decide if this is for you or for not, here’s what I would tell you is number one, if you have been delving into the idea of going full-time into that thing that is tugging at your heart, this is the episode for you.
AJV (00:50):
If you’ve been trying to figure out how do you turn your passion into your business or how do you figure out how to weave your message and this calling that you have on your life into the thing that makes you money, then this is an episode that you want to listen to. ’cause You’re today gonna get to hear from two people who have done and who are doing that right now, taking their life experiences, things that they feel called to do and said, you know what? We’re gonna go all in and we’re not just gonna take this information for ourselves. We’re gonna turn it into a business and we’re gonna make it useful and helpful for other people. So that is why you wanna stick around. Today is one of those unique episodes that doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re at in your journey, you want to stick around and listen.
AJV (01:31):
So without further ado, now, let me give you a quick introduction Ben and Sarah Jensen, and then we will get into having this awesome episode. So Sarah and Ben have founded Human Grace, which is a lifestyle wellness brand that promotes hormone health with life-changing skincare, health and home products. Y’all, I’m already interested in this and I don’t even know what you do. So , I’m so excited you know that it’s gonna be a good episode when you’re like yes. Or maybe I’m just your avatar. So y’all, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you.
BJ (02:04):
Thank you. So excited to be here.
SJ (02:05):
I know this is, this is great. Love your audience.
AJV (02:08):
Well, and I love too that we got introduced by mutual friends ’cause that already carries so much weight and you know, we talk a lot about the power of reputation and personal brand and trust. And when other people are reaching out to me on your behalf, already says a lot about the good work that you do. So help our audience get to know you a little bit. What I’d love to do is just start, is just to hear a little bit about your story. Why don’t you kick us off, Sarah
SJ (02:36):
So, so Ben and I, we’ve, we found our company almost three years ago, but we, it was really, the genesis was a very long personal struggle. So we got married young, we married for almost 22 years. And we, but we spent 14 of those years struggling with unexplained infertility. Got married young. I was 23 and Ben was 26, you know, started trying to get pregnant. I was around 25 and we were very healthy. I think outside looking in, you know, I was an ultra marathoner. Ben was doing CrossFit, you know, didn’t drink smoke, you know, had, you know, all the green drinks and all the, all the protein all did everything quote unquote right. But, but we could not get pregnant and being diagnosed with unexplained, it was like, find something and just wrong and fix it. So we just did a ton of research.
SJ (03:20):
It was after I think my sixth round of IVF where our doctor said like, what chemicals do you spraying around your house? What skincare are you using? What wellness stuff? And that’s what really kind of triggered us going deeper into research. And even, even the thought, like from I, my rounds of IVFI read a hormone cream on my leg, get my blood levels tested the next day and my hormones had spiked. And just not dunno why we didn’t earlier put two and two together that what you put on your body actually can impact your hormones. The amazing part of our story is Ben’s sister volunteered to be our surrogate and gave birth to our little hue. And then when he was almost one, my sister called and said, I wanna try to give Hugh a sibling. And so she volunteered to be our second surrogate. So gave birth for our little grace. The name Hugh means heart, mind, and spirit and grace means goodness, goodness, generosity and love and which the things that brought us our kids. But it was after having our kids and realizing that, so when we were learning about these hormone disrupting chemicals and hormone health topic of hormone health and hormone disruption, we were just thinking of infertility. ’cause That was just our sole focus,
BJ (04:23):
That that was our pain. Yeah.
SJ (04:24):
Yeah. But then looking at the data and looking at the research, these chemicals, they are linked to infertility, but they’re also linked to autoimmunity, diseases and anxiety, depression, cancers, obesity, strokes,
BJ (04:35):
The, and the list goes on. Yeah.
SJ (04:36):
And then the, the then thinking the flip side, what is hormone health? And that’s better sleep, less stress, their skin better like no joint pain. So just thinking like, these are things benefits that everyone needs and wants. And so that’s when we decided that we should create human grace.
BJ (04:54):
So yeah, I, I’ll tell you and, and give it right back to you. But Sarah came to me, we have our two children and I’m finally at peace and I’m holding our, you know, our daughter at this point. She says, Ben, you know, we have to do something about this. I said, what are you talking about? We have our kids. We, we don’t have to do anything. I would hold my kids. You know, we had very comfortable careers. You know, we, we knew the path that we were on and it was, it was, I dunno, easy is the right word, but it was clear like we, we kind of knew what we were doing. And she just felt this passion kept coming back to me. And after she kind of explained to me the, the vision that she had had and, and, and that we could help other people while helping build something meaningful while earning an income on it, it became interesting as, as we dived into the research she talked about, we started looking at the market opportunity instead of focusing specifically on infertility, which is our, you know, you always hear the best businesses are solving pain or solving a problem.
BJ (05:48):
That’s what led us to do this. It wasn’t wasn’t ’cause I necessarily wanted to start a business ’cause we kind of had to, felt, felt compelled. I
SJ (05:57):
Just felt this huge responsibility because what Ben and I went through nearly broke us, us individuals, us our marriage many, many times. And like, we’re, we’re, we’re strong. Like we, you know, Ben was, Ben’s being modest about his career. He started, he’s very successful. He was operating a multi-billion dollar family office out of Beverly Hills. I had my MBA from USC and I was working with our top alumni, my parents in philanthropy. So raising transformative gifts from the university. And I said, Ben, what we went through nearly broke us. And we’re strong individuals. And I said, and this really impacts everyone and no one really knows about it. And I said, between, like, between our professional networks, we can get to anyone. You know, I’m a professional fundraiser. I can ask for help if I feel like it’s meaningful. And we said, what can, what can we do where we can actually also spend time with our kids? ’cause We were working long hours traveling a ton, and we said, we wanna be with our kids now. So what, what can we do to help? That’s, that’s really meaningful.
AJV (06:50):
Yeah. So this is what I was gonna ask earlier because lots of people discover things, make life changes and then move on. So I need to know like, what was this vision? What was this passion like? What was so convicting about what you went through and what you learned that said, no, we have to do this. We can’t not do it.
BJ (07:15):
Yeah. It’s, it, it, it’s interesting. I think there, there were a few things when we had our family, we, we started looking, put it this way, until we had our children, we were thinking about having children, right? That was the only thing we could do is, is think of that, that thing in the future, right? We weren’t thinking about our lives. We were living our lives. We didn’t sit on our hands. We got graduate degrees, we traveled the world. ’cause We, you know, but we, we always wanted to have a family, even though the two of us rarely talked about that. Like, it was too painful. But when we got to the other side of it, now we have our kids. Now what kinda life do we wanna live, right? How do we want to spend time with our family? And as she was saying, we were working a lot and we were working for other people, which was great.
BJ (07:57):
But, you know, cynically, my, my the definition of my job was to make very wealthy people wealthier. And Sarah’s job was to make a wealthy university wealthier. And we thought we’ve got talent and ability. We, we, you know, I’ve, I’ve operated businesses, had a hundred employees and, but I’ve never done it for, for us. And if we had pain that deep, there’s gotta be other people that are going through it. And maybe we can prevent something. Maybe we can help something. Maybe we can provide community, provide support. And so our whole business is, is built around that concept. It’s actually, when we started talking about how we would go to market is when I got interested in it. ’cause If we could help people, products are one thing, right? Yes. We have great products that work really well, but then there’s education, then there’s community building and then support.
BJ (08:45):
We could put all those things together. We’re creating almost a movement. And that, that was interesting. And then if we could do it in a, in a profitable format where it’s, you know, she talked about fundraising, charity’s amazing. But charities are often not self-sustaining. Almost never are they. And so if we’re creating community and there’s profit built in, that’s a sustainable business model. That means the people that are, that are, are selling our products, the people that are you know, affected by, in a positive way by our products, we could build something that would be built to last. So that, that got interesting.
SJ (09:15):
I think also, you look at your life, we look back at this 14 years of hell. But you look back and like, you know, we were put in this position, we went through, we learned what we did, and it was almost like, this is what we’re supposed to do. I, I couldn’t sleep at night. Not ’cause I daughter was a newborn, but like, I just, just kept me up saying like, we need to do something and we can do something. And just that, I think that drive of, you know, you talked earlier just about like, you feel like there’s a calling in life and what, what we could do and what we could bring together and who we could have help us. Like we, we need to do this. We cannot, we can’t not do it.
AJV (09:50):
I love that. Hasn’t been either
BJ (09:52):
. We can talk about that too.
AJV (09:55):
. What I love
BJ (09:57):
Starting business during a pandemic is awesome.
AJV (09:58):
. Oh yeah. I mean that, I think everyone’s got an interesting story from that. But what I love about what you guys are saying so much is it, it is one of those things like, when you really find your calling, when do you really find it? It’s something that you can’t not do. And if you know anyone is out there listening going, well, I mean maybe I should do this. And it’s like, if it’s a, maybe it’s not. It, it’s gotta be that thing that keeps you up at night. It’s gotta be that thing that’s like, oh, like I have to do this. I can’t not do it. And just to even hear you guys say that is so re it’s such a great reminder and convicting to me, like even in our own business, it’s like that’s how we felt. It was like, God literally showed up and gave us this business and all we had to do is follow him.
AJV (10:43):
And it was like, we couldn’t not do it. We would’ve been stupid to not do it with such clarity of what, you know, like what our giftings were and what we were able to do. And to find other people who have found that is one, it’s really special. So congratulations to you. But it’s also really hard, right? Like starting anything is not easy. So I would love to hear from you, from both of you, because I’d love to hear both perspectives of, for the person who’s listening, who’s going, that’s great. I know this thing that I’m called to do, but what do I do? Like, yes, I, I know that there’s something in my heart, there is something that is calling me, but I’m also like pretty successful. I’m comfortable and doing this over thing, this other thing over here. And to leave that and just like cold Turkey do something else, feels kind of like irresponsible. What would you say to that person of going like, here’s the, the the first step that you should do. Or here’s what you should be asking. Here’s what you should be doing. Here’s what you should be thinking. And I would just love to hear it through what you guys did.
BJ (11:47):
You wanna start or you want me to start? You guys?
BJ (11:53):
I’m gonna speak on her behalf. ’cause She, she, she’s, I think the thing that is probably the most important is whatever you do is not gonna be perfect, but if you do nothing, you’ll get nothing. Right? So the the first step is to take action, right? You, you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a clear path. I think what held me personally back at the beginning was, you know, this idea of, well, I don’t wanna do this unless it’s really, really good. Unless it’s perfect. And what I’ve learned about a startup, the definition of a startup is can you make and learn, make enough mistakes and learn from those mistakes to, to get to profitability before you run outta capital , right? It’s, it’s literally that simple. You’re gonna make mistakes. The whole, the whole process is to make ’em quick, make them inexpensive, and make sure you have enough resources to get through the mistake making process.
BJ (12:45):
And so if you, if you look at that, the definition of success is making those mistakes. And so it’s okay. And that was hard for me to accept. And you know, I remember working on this financial model for weeks and weeks and not being one to, to to, to put it in front of everybody in case it wasn’t right. Well, of course it’s not right. You’re guessing about the future, it’s not gonna be right. But it took many, many months for me to kind of work through that. It took us a few months to figure out how to work together. Unfortunately we have very complimentary strengths. We don’t compete. You know, I I I’m on the operations and the finance and the strategy side, and she’s very much people and passion and community and pr I mean, she’s great at all of those things. And so it works for us. But I, if I had distill it down, it is just move right? Take a step, take another step, take another step, make a mistake, turn a little bit. The word pivot is probably overused, but it’s exactly right. You know, w when we were started looking at doing this business, it was gonna be an infertility support business, but we couldn’t figure out how to make that work.
SJ (13:47):
Not this business business concept.
BJ (13:49):
Correct. But when we started down this path, that’s what we were looking at. And then we started looking into different research and our eyes open. And so I think it’s also good to remember what you think you’re gonna start with is not where you’re gonna end. And that’s okay. Right? Don’t fall in love with something so much that the, the, the numbers and the data and your customers, they tell you what you are if you listen.
AJV (14:09):
Mm-Hmm. That’s wise.
SJ (14:11):
No. And so I was working at a university. I would go and hear amazing speakers. So billionaires come to speak and they, they talk about like your, think of the end of your life, your eulogy, what you want your eulogy to be. And so while we said like we, I made a wealth university of wealthier. Yes. It was fil Phi philanthropic. And I, I got a lot of grad, a lot of meaning from that. Like, we knew we could do better. And I think also the, the more you learn, the better you do. And so we couldn’t unlearn, we couldn’t say like, just keep it to ourselves. We said we, this truly impacts everyone. And so, and we have, we have resources. We, we can do this. And so, but it is taking that first step and then like, write it down, write down what you want and look at it, power of manifestation, say it, and, and then just go for it. And you, people always doubt themselves. We doubt ourselves plenty of times. But it’s that belief daily,
BJ (15:04):
SJ (15:04):
AJV (15:05):
I relate.
SJ (15:06):
But no, it’s the belief and then, and then doing the work. ’cause It is, that is work.
AJV (15:12):
You know, I love what you, I I love that you said that because you said it’s you know, we all doubt ourselves. But you just gotta go. And I, I think a lot of people are stuck. They can’t get beyond their doubting, they can’t get beyond the what ifs. But you did, so how did you do it? Like how did you go like, this is good enough? Like we are good enough, we can figure this out. Like, because I, I don’t think that’s common. An everyday mindset to go, I got this. I can figure it out.
SJ (15:42):
I, I joke. I said, Ben, we were able to figure out how to have two genetic children without us giving birth. Without me giving birth. , . We can figure anything out. .
BJ (15:54):
Yeah. I, you know, in my prior role working in a family office, I did lots of different things. And I always looked at that as a liability. Everybody says, you know, to to, to really be successful, you gotta be specialized deep in one skillset. And that’s true. If you, if you’re a doctor, if you’re, you know, even an attorney, you wanna be, you know, specialized. But if you’re an entrepreneur, being able to do a lot of different things comes in helpful. ’cause You’re not, you don’t quite know. Like, I’m still, I excel models and fortunately I have that skillset and sometimes we have to put together presentations and I can do that myself if I have to. And so I think often what we think are liabilities, if we reframe it can be the asset that you need. And that can give you the confidence.
BJ (16:37):
I, I have all kinds of, you know, doubts. We all have our personal struggles, but I know I’m extremely resourceful. And if I’m put in a situation, I can fix just about anything. I can figure just about anything out. So while I may doubt other things, I know I can figure stuff out if I just give it a little bit of time and then I’d, I’d add a second piece to it. Nobody achieves success on their own. So find yourself either a partner or somebody that’s an accountability person, a partner or or friend, somebody that that’s got your back that that can support you. And that was one of the things too. When we made the decision, it was who are we gonna surround ourselves with to make us better people and to make the world a better place? And it’s gotta be positive people, right?
BJ (17:25):
We need to create a work environment that’s positive and and uplifting. And if, if we don’t have that in our lives, let’s go. Let’s go build it. Let’s build, let’s build the environment that we want. Let’s build the life. And, and that was another thing. We, we decided let’s be intentional about how we live. And now that we have this family, I wanna spend time with them. And if I have to go and I have a desk job and I have certain things that take me away from that family, I, I don’t get to control that. And we worked so hard to have a family. We decided let’s, let’s figure out how to write our own, our own future. And that meant for us, we needed to, to create a business so we could mix our lifestyle with our livelihood.
AJV (18:02):
Mm. All right. So there’s like so many thoughts in my head, right? I have right now. So I’m gonna try to organize them. All right, so my next question, and then I have like three other topics and I’m like, oh my gosh, I wanna know this so much. But my first question is, you guys kind of mentioned like, we kind of started down this whole first concept of, you know, kind of like fertility support, infertility support, education. But eventually you have ended and a very different lane with, you know, hormone products. And so how did you end up there? And then tell us about, tell us about your products. Like how did you come up with this?
BJ (18:38):
I’ll take part one and I she’ll take part two. I think that would be a great setup. So you know, again, in my prior role I did a lot of different things from operating businesses to investing in, in venture capital opportunities to private equity investing to real estate. And so you start seeing patterns and you start seeing things and you start understanding that a key to a successful business is making sure that you have a large enough market. ’cause You’re never gonna own a market. So if you’re gonna get a small slice of something, it better be a big slice. You know, a small piece. Let’s make it a big pie, right? And we had these challenges. We, we knew that the infertility journey and process was, was painful and was confusing and felt helpless. And we thought if we could create a system, if we could create an app, if we could create this, we create that.
BJ (19:25):
All of that sounded good. And it felt good. The problem I was having as I was looking at the market size and saying, wait, if you think about it, you know, only 20 or 30% of the population at any given time is trying to have a family right? Of childbearing age. And then only 20% of that has infertility problems. And then nobody wants to talk about infertility, which means you’re not gonna get a word of mouth recommendation. And as soon as they get pregnant, they’re gonna churn out. So it was that process, and this is a little bit maybe more analytical, but this, this is literally, I went through it and chopped it all the way down. I’m like, man, in order for us to make this a profitable endeavor, we’re gonna have to charge a lot of money, which is the opposite of what we wanna do.
BJ (20:03):
So then it was, well, if we can’t do that, what attached to our problem, our pain, what else could we do? So we flipped it around and started asking a different question. And it was that process. And reading the same studies and the same research with a different lens, instead of just infertility, what other things could we attach to, well, the studies that talked about hormones and hormone disruption and even hormone health next to infertility would be cancers would be weight would be developmental disorders, would be correlations with depression. And, you know, even autoimmune things. And then I was like, wait a second. Those are all of the things that all of us are dealing with one way or another. Either on a first order ourselves or second order our families. So that means this is everyone. When we’re talking about hormones, everybody has an endocrine dis endocrine system.
BJ (20:54):
A hormone system. Hormones are the chemical messengers that tell our bodies what to do and when to do. It tells us when we’re tired, tells us when we’re hungry, tells our muscles to build or for not build, right? The testosterone there bone density, it regulates our temperature, right? All of these things happen through our hormones. And when they are in what’s called homeostasis, when they’re in balance, good things happen. And when they’re out of balance, bad things happen and we don’t feel well, and we don’t look well. Right? And over time, if they happen repeatedly, that’s when you have things like cancer that creeps in. ’cause You’re turning these switches on and off. It’s like, like you flip a light switch enough times, the light will fail. It’s the same kind of thing. You’re turning these, these switches off and on. And then hormone disruptors, this will lead into the products piece.
BJ (21:39):
But hormone disruptors, they’re, they’re chemicals in our environment that can mimic the, the hormones. So think of like a lock and key system. Well, there’s some chemicals that can go and turn open up a door that it shouldn’t, right? Or close it when it shouldn’t. And that, that has un unintended consequences. And so when that happens enough during key developmental times, like in utero, right? If you, if the mother’s exposed to chemicals that can be passed on to the baby mm-Hmm. And if it’s a male baby, there’s too much estrogen. Now you see sperm counts that are declining around the globe. And it can sound scary or it can be hopeful. Like, okay, well I know some of these things, nobody knows about this. If I share that with them, knowledge is power. And if we provide some products that help people make better choices, that’s positive too.
BJ (22:23):
We should have smiles on our faces, not scare people, right? So that, that was once we started looking at that and said, okay, if we can make this a positive thing, not point people and tell ’em, you’re, you’re, you’re making bad choices. No, let’s give you, let’s give you some information so you can make better choices. And then let’s provide some products that help on these, these, these health principles of, of better hydration and better sleep and less stress you know, better nutrients you know, reduction of inflammation. Those are the pillars that we, we build all our products around. Well,
SJ (22:52):
So we read a study that said the average American woman puts on 12 products a day, which is over 160 chemicals a day. Average man puts on over 80 chemicals a day. And then we’re surrounded up to hundreds of chemicals every day in
BJ (23:03):
Our environment. In our
SJ (23:03):
Environment. Yeah. And so we said, if we can really simplify this, and let’s just talk about what was, what goes on, in and around your body. So are three product pillars we can make these are make better choices. We have world renowned doctors on our medical advisory board, and one of our doctors, Kareem, is Dr. . And she founded the very first personalized chemical exposure test is a urine test. And so she can actually, you can actually do urine tests and text your your chemical exposure. And we were saying, how do we go to market? What do we do first? And she said, well, the fastest way is to help reduce your chemical exposure. Promote hormone health is through skincare. Mm-Hmm. . Because your largest organ, you don’t think about what you put on on a daily basis. Well,
BJ (23:42):
Yeah. And this, this was, we don’t think about that. What you put on your skin gets in your bloodstream. She talked about hormone cream, but think about a pain patch, right? Literally put a patch on your, on your lower back and you, it it’s absorbing through your skin a nicotine patch. All of those things, medicine absorb. So the the, the corollary or the alternative to that is also bad things get absorbed into your skin. Right?
SJ (24:05):
And so we, we launched with skincare and Ben’s prior career, he, he ran a, a very big wine company. Large.
BJ (24:12):
And I knew, I knew nothing about wine, but I, yes. And
SJ (24:14):
So, but he was looking, we we didn’t drink alcohol growing up. We didn’t know that wine. It was like the number one wine store on the west coast. And he said, why is there a $5 bottle of grape juice and a $5,000 bottle of grape juice? Like what, what what actually goes in it? It’s, so we,
BJ (24:27):
That’s what happens when you don’t know anything about something . You look at it
SJ (24:30):
Analytically, but then we start learning. It’s, it’s the quality of the products. Yeah. Yeah. Where, where everything’s grown. It’s the soil. It’s, it’s how, how it’s crafted. And so we actually had that mentality when we were saying skincare. So it’s crafted, it’s making sure you have the right quality ingredients, but also the right amount of each ingredient when, when you’re formulating. And so really looked at that process. And so we have incredible skincare. We try to, everything we have is gender neutral, it’s safe for kids, safe for pregnancy. And we looked at that chemical number of people, products, people are putting in their bodies and said, let’s make everything really versatile. So people say they, you know, we have a two step regimen. So our, our more, our J serum people say it replaces their moisturizer, their serum, their eye cream, their vitamin C serum, and their toner all with one product, which is amazing because rate performance, but then also you’re now reducing the number of chemicals you’re putting on your body every day
BJ (25:24):
With us, without us having to preach about it. We just create a product that solves, solves multiple pro problems. ’cause You know, too often products are the result of just marketing efforts, another way to sell things. And if you strip it back, well, can I get the same results with fewer things? Yeah. That does two things. It gives you back time. Oftentimes it gives you back money, right? And it reduces the number of chemicals so that then you, you’re, you’re doing something better for your health. So that was kind of our initial premise.
AJV (25:52):
You know, what I love about what you guys have just said is it’s both a passion focused endeavor, but also with some logical business minded decisions. Which is why, you know, you know, one of the things that we talk a lot about at Brand Builders Group is like, you know, just because you can doesn’t mean you should Mm-Hmm. and not everything that you’re passionate about means people will buy it from you. And so it’s this, this subtle art of figuring out what is my passion and what would people buy from me? What could I sell and what would people buy? And so I think that’s a really important discussion for all of the people listening today of going, there’s gotta be a, you know, kind of a checks and balances with what you feel called to do and what the market is also showing by demand that is needed if you really wanna make it right.
AJV (26:46):
And it’s like, not all passion projects make it. And I think a lot of that is because the business piece of it, which is a part of it doesn’t come into consideration sometimes. It’s like you gotta, you gotta go through the thought process that you guys thought process that you did of how big is this market? And you know, if we zone in here, what’s the tertiary, and, you know, the secondary. And, but I think there’s a really important part of that, of going, it’s one thing to be feel called to do it, which should be like, you know, the act, the activator. But then there’s also gotta be the analysis part to go, is it viable? Right? Will it last? Can I make it? And you guys have done both of those things really successfully because you did both of those things.
BJ (27:30):
I what, what I’m hearing you say is it’s gotta make sense in your heart, but also in your mind. Yeah. If it’s, if it’s one without the other, it’s not gonna work.
AJV (27:38):
Yeah. And I think that’s, it’s, it’s rare, but when it comes together, like magic happens. And so here’s my next question for you guys. You just, you said earlier, you guys started this three years ago. Can you tell us a little bit about the journey from three years ago to today?
BJ (27:54):
Yeah. Our, our three year anniversaries, well our, our 22 year wedding anniversary is May 2nd, but our, our three year business anniversary is May 22nd. So it’s coming up in 23 days. The journey, well, I’ll, I’ll kick us off. It starts with a concept, starts with an idea, and, and then you have an idea of how you’re gonna take it to market. And you fall in love with that idea. And we’re gonna have plenty of resources. We’re gonna have all the money we need, we’re gonna find investors, we’re gonna go to market and it’s gonna work. And we had that all lined up and it was we actually were concepting this a year before we launched, right? So we were trying to get, we were hoping to launch four years ago. So we concepted this thing. We had a partner that was a, a large family office that was gonna back us.
BJ (28:43):
And they said, look, we’ll look programmatic approach, which means I’ll give you a check now at a certain valuation and when you hit these milestones, we’ll give you another check. And then it was ideal. Like we could not have to go out and worry about cash. And we’re getting deeper and deeper into conversations. It’s looking very promising. We’re not looking at any other potential investors. We hire our first two employees and Covid hits, this is March, right? All this stuff in March of 2020 Covid hits. And we are, we have our products that we have figured out, but now the lead time goes from like, you know, six weeks to six months. And what it did it forced us to do a whole bunch of testing. ’cause We didn’t really have product. So we, we, we took us a different approach to get to market.
BJ (29:28):
We had to go hands on. We didn’t have the capital that we thought we would have, so we had to be extremely scrappy. So we, you know, we developed a business model that was really powered by word of mouth, mouth. And then we went out and started building community to support the overall message. And we did a lot of in-person events, you know, even, even even during covid, like we would do it in a safe way. And things got better as, as our products came in. The, the wave had had slowed down. There was a lot more education and, you know, you could start traveling. You just wear a mask and things like that. But it took, it took months to get there. So maybe Sarah could talk about this, like the, the community building element of it. ’cause I think it’s, it’s interesting when you’re doing live events, when we’re talking to people and we’re sharing our brand and our story, we would learn by the response on people’s faces. If we’re saying words, like, we started talking about endocrine disrupting chemicals and toxic load and all these things, and people’s eyes would nod, but their eyes were off. ,
AJV (30:29):
You just got way too fancy from me. . Yeah. And print it down.
BJ (30:32):
Yeah. And then we have a, this kind of affiliate, affiliate plus program where people can sign up and sell our products and they, you know, they get their own links and all this stuff. Well, they’d say, I, I love your story. They love hearing our infertility story. But, and I’m, I’m gonna sign up and sell these products, but I need about two weeks to study all this stuff before I open my mouth. You know? And so that’s the exact opposite. You want it to be so easy that it comes out naturally. So we learned that by testing and our form of testing was in person. Other people you can learn it from doing, you know, you, you, you talk about building a business. How do you do it? Test, test without, you know, make your mistakes, learn what works and what doesn’t. Try not to spend a lot of resources and do it efficiently. We were forced to do that because of you know, what, what would’ve been the worst thing is we thought we had it all figured out. We had all the money that we needed, and we went out and spent a bunch of money going down a path that ultimately wouldn’t have worked. Yeah, you can, you can convince yourself. But when you’re standing in front of people having a conversation, the feedback is live. Like, so we tell ’em, tell her how, how we started. Well, I
AJV (31:30):
Wanna clarify one thing really quickly. These, all these events you were doing with community building, I’m gonna make a big assumption that those events were free, but tell me if they were paid.
BJ (31:40):
No, we, they were free and we would, so
SJ (31:43):
Go ahead. So I’ll tell you what, we chose our business model. So we were learning about these chemicals and just like, I had no hormone, hormone health, but also like the fact, like I had no clue that my products were causing me not to get pregnant. Like, or, or could, could, yes. But like, oh my gosh, I had no clue the importance. And so we said, you know, we are gonna create products, but if we’re just gonna sell them at a store, that doesn’t solve the solution because people don’t know. So we, we need to create awareness, we need education, content, community with products. That’s really the holistic solution. And when I was at graduate school, my favorite Harvard business case study was on a lady named Brownie Weiss. She invented the Tupperware party back in the fifties. And so she created a platform for women back in the fifties when they, no one was working outside the home.
SJ (32:26):
She’d be able to, to have, bring in resources. And at the end of her video, we watched this black and white the case study watched a black and white film of her recognizing woman on stage and seeing these men just cry. They were so imp impacted. And so I actually flew and went to her museum in Orlando after I graduated 15 years ago-ish. But then we were saying, you know, Ben, like our go-to-market strategy, it’s more than just selling products. We need, we need this. And how do we elevate this? How do we modernize it? Where we make it? Where, you know, you’re already asking your friends for product recommendations. I mean, if I’m gonna buy something I, you know, see my friend’s leg. And so like, people are already spending that way. They’re, and they, they’re recommending products already. How do we make this modern?
SJ (33:10):
How do we make it elevated? How do we do it where you can go? And so when we first launched, we had 200 advocates. They have 21. And we, we said, Hey, if you guys get 50 people in a room, we will fly in and support you and we’re gonna show up. And so we gave ’em some budget. She was to help pay, you know, for, you know, some products or charcuterie, whatever it was. But then they were in 60 cities the next few months. And then we, we came back and we said, well, we wanna actually be in this business so we can see our kids .
AJV (33:39):
SJ (33:40):
So how do we do this where we can have our kids go with us? And
BJ (33:43):
We grew really rapidly but we were out hustling. And I think that’s another lesson. Like it doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t just happen. Some people get lucky and those are the stories that everybody wants to hear, but it doesn’t happen, especially if you’re gonna build a brand and you’re gonna build about a topic that’s not, not widely known. You gotta, you gotta really, you know, move the needle yourself.
AJV (34:02):
I wanna, I wanna highlight two things ’cause I think this is so important and it’s what nobody talks about. Because everyone wants to figure out how do you make mailbox money? How do you build it one time and then make money while you sleep? I still don’t know how people do that. . Like, once somebody actually figures it out, let me know. But at the same token, what everything is being promoted is digital. This, digital this, digital this. And at the end of the day, what I know to be true and what you just said is that lives are changed in person. Community is built in rooms, hand to hand, side by side with real lives interacting with real other human lives. And for everyone who is listening, if you think just posting something on social media or just building a website or just building a course is gonna get you to where you wanna be.
AJV (34:52):
I just like to be sharing some honest truth that likely won’t happen. But if you’re willing to get on a plane and go 60 places for free to go, I care about this so much, I’ll be there. And you get other people to come along with you, guess what? It’s gonna work. Maybe not on your timeline, but eventually it’s gonna work. And so I just wanna like one, say kudos to the both of you. ’cause I know what it’s like to be that person along with my husband. And that is not a message you hear from a lot of people today. And so I just, one, thanks for sharing that and calling some spotlight to what you actually did and are doing, because that is actually how business is still built today. And I think it’s really important to highlight in rooms with people building community, sharing it and making it where it’s this human relationship again.
SJ (35:40):
It’s so interesting you’re saying that. So we have our story, our story really enables other people to share their stories. And whether it’s simple swaps, these are, you know, great products or whether, you know, we’ve had an event last summer, this lady had her child had cancer and just saying like, this, these are products I’m already using, but being in there and showing up and then also what you’re talking about, bus building a business that’s makes money while you sleep. So like, all of our products are consumable. So these are products people, like we have over 50% of our, our revenue comes in from subscriptions because people try our products, they love it, and then they just have it every month since them.
BJ (36:16):
Yeah, yeah. But we also build systems to encourage that and to encourage the conversation. And I think one of the rewarding parts though of building a business, we just, so our, our, we call ’em advocates, our human grace product advocates. Our advocates can earn money, but they can also earn, like we set up a point system and they can earn into a, an incentive trip, right? Mm-Hmm. . So we just from Hawaii where we hosted a hundred of our top people.
AJV (36:38):
Awesome. Love that.
BJ (36:40):
It was incredible. Yeah. And they had a, we had an amazing time and came together. And what is is cool is we knew that we wanted to build something. We wanted to be surrounded by people that were good people. And so we needed to build a foundation of community that way. And we have an incredible community of advocates who support each other, cheer each other on, you know, they’re, they’re in theory, they’re in competition trying to outperform, but they’re also, they’re all doing it in a, in, in a positive way. Like, we have such a great culture. And, you know, I think some of that, they, they, our advocates have told us it’s because we have showed up and we didn’t really realize what we were doing. But I think when you lead by example, the, it comes through in your brand and it, it, it bring, brings a brand of, of both authenticity and integrity. Hmm. And that’s that’s something that’s super important.
AJV (37:28):
Yeah. I think one of the other things that you guys mentioned that I, I wanna circle back to is this whole idea of getting to start a business with one, something you’re passionate about and you’re helping people, but also being able to design how you want your family to run is a really important part of that. And then you just mentioned that again, of like, well, after doing 60 events in just a few months, we realized maybe we’d like to see these kids of ours. And so I’d like to hear about what are you guys doing to create a family, right? As a business. And I think that’s why so many people are attracted to entrepreneurship is because there is this idea, this dream of creating your own schedule, designing your life the way you want it. And then unfortunately, if you’re not super intentional about it, all of a sudden that ain’t happening.
AJV (38:15):
Right? And you’re like, why am I doing this again? This is, I’m working longer hours and seeing my family less than I was before I did this. And it does take some intentionality of working together as a married couple, right? So I’d love to hear about how that’s been the last three years, but also making the decision of like, no, how do we, how do we grow this? How do we commit to this and design a family and a marriage and a life that fits within what we said we wanted? So I’d love to hear both of those things
BJ (38:46):
Start. Mm-Hmm. Talk about rrb. Oh, so it was his idea, Richard. Yeah. We, we did that first summer. And summer summertimes are typically when we, we would go out because in our business we have a, it’s mostly women who sell our products. So o often I’m the only guy in the room actually, . But it’s, it’s, it’s, it, it’s fantastic. They incredible community. But in the summertime, a lot of these are women that have children. They’re home from school, so the summertimes get a little bit busy. So we go out in the summers and that’s helps kind of keep people engaged and excited and activated. Plus, you know, our kids didn’t have school in summer, so so we did it that first summer, mainly because that’s right when we launched the business and it was just taking off and, and we flying, flying around.
BJ (39:27):
But then I, I started thinking, well, what we’re doing is we’re reacting to demand instead of scheduling it, right? So it was too much, I mean, you talk about this, we, we weren’t intentional. We were reacting to what was working right? And trying to do more of that. And then we didn’t think, well, if it’s working, we, we could still do that. But what if we said, we’re going to be here in this city on this date. If you wanna host something, let’s coordinate it there and then just put it out in advance. And if we did that, we still could. And we wanted to bring our kids, well, it doesn’t make sense to have four plane tickets. And then since we work together, we have to have somebody come with us, a help, a babysitter, a nanny. So now you’re talking about five, which means now you got two hotel rooms and, and I just got this idea, maybe we should just buy an RV and just kind of flip it around.
BJ (40:15):
So it was Black Friday of 2021. We looked at RVs one day we came back and we’d figured out a floor plan. Like if we, if we have to travel with some help, we need to set it up. We need two bathrooms, we need this, we need that two hours walk or dryer, . Yeah. We wanna, we wanna be able to do this. So we came back two days later to go look for a second time. We’d only done looked once. As we’re driving in, we get a call from the, this guy, he says Hey, sales agent. Yeah, the sales agent. And he says, you described to me what you’re looking for. And this was, if you remember, during Covid, everybody bought RVs. There was no inventory left in the whole country. Prices went up like crazy if you could get one.
BJ (40:57):
So we we’re, we’re driving in, we’re 15 minutes out from the dealership and he says the RV that you described to me just pulled in from the factory and it, it still got its stickers all over it. You guys want to come take a look? And we said, we’ll be there in 15 minutes. don’t show anybody. Don’t show anybody else. And so we took a look, we had no idea what we’re getting ourselves into, but we bought it right then. And it turned out to be a good investment from a tax perspective. It was a good investment. And we had had some income come in, I could, it actually operates as a second home. You can depreciate it because it’s heavy duty, heavy duty vehicles. So you go back to that, you know, put some logic behind it. So it helped us out in that regard. But then it also put us on, in the driver’s seat, so to speak, of setting it up so that, that summer we went to 32 states I don’t know how many
SJ (41:41):
From LA to Seattle, Boston, DC and back. Oh my gosh.
BJ (41:45):
Yeah. It was too much it nearly killed me. I didn’t, I had no idea what I was doing. They drove this whole time. I, yeah, it was too much. And you learn we learned that you need, you need to have more downtime between your setup and take down is the same whether you’re there for one day or one month. And so we, we decided we need to amortize that setup and take down for longer periods. So now we, we we’re, we’re doing it again right now and we’ve got our kids with us, and we’ve decided, oh, go ahead.
SJ (42:15):
Well, so the topic of hormone health is trending, which is super exciting. And, but, and especially our business grows. But, so in November, Ben and I didn’t get to see our kids for 20 nights. We are housed, the kids are in private school with nanny. But like, we wait, so I came back back, it’s like after Thanksgiving and Ben’s like, okay, you could find a new nanny who will homeschool travel. Oh, be fine. Living an rv, going anywhere we go. And I,
BJ (42:39):
It’s because we work together, we, it’s, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t shift it. Like we we’re cover the mornings
SJ (42:44):
Co CEOs 24 7. And so I started calling universities, universities didn’t wanna have, you know, graduates go to private family. And so put an add out on care.com and found, I found her, but I think it’s, it’s okay. We have,
BJ (42:58):
She had spent, she had spent the prayer year backpacking around the world. So she was fine with it, that she had grown up in a small community. She had been homeschooled, so she knew how to, to homeschool. So, but it’s, we thought let’s test it. Let’s try it. Yeah.
SJ (43:09):
But it’s also love that I think say like, what kind of life do I wanna live? Mm-Hmm. . And then I usually over New Year’s Eve, my, my parents treat the kids and we go flipping a two or three night retreat and we read books. And remember a few years ago we were up in Napa,
BJ (43:23):
This was before we started the business.
SJ (43:24):
Yeah. Went pro walk. And we said, what would our lives look like if we had zero restrictions, no jobs, no house, no. Like what, what
BJ (43:32):
Life do we money is not an issue. What does it, what does it look like? What does it feel like? How, where are we? How, how, you know.
SJ (43:38):
And so it was really that exercise of saying, okay, we want, I wanted to work with him. He didn’t really want work with me originally , but I wanted to spend more time with him. I want, like, we wanna be with our kids, we wanna travel, we wanna have experiences, we wanna make meaningful impact. And what, and you know, ’cause we have a lot of friends who are billionaires and have these lifestyles, but that, that that lifestyle,
BJ (43:59):
We, we are not let’s just No, no,
SJ (44:00):
We we’re not true. Not, but it’s not private jets that make us feel whole, you
BJ (44:06):
Know, it’s, it’s clearly, it’s, it’s an RV , it’s our land
SJ (44:11):
Drugs for different folks.
BJ (44:12):
It’s our, it’s Orlando. There we go. But, but
SJ (44:14):
Truly like, like we’re so much more present and intentional our rv because we’ll go somewhere. We’ll be there for a week. So we wanna go explore all the, the local farmer’s markets and, and show our kids. And so that has been like, and so we’ve had this dream. We wrote it out. We said, this is okay, now how do we backfill this? So we got rid of our house. We, we did different things that, you know, but this, like, we, I’m so much more fulfilled in my life now and like being able to be in Hawaii, we’re Grand Wale, which is incredible hotel.
BJ (44:46):
This is a little plug for my wife. So Grand Wale is a Waldorf Astoria property, and she built a relationship with the executive team and eventually got introduced to the spa. So Grand Wale in their new $55 million spa that just finished a renovation is selling Hu and Grace products, our wellness products. That’s amazing.
SJ (45:06):
Yeah. It was so incredible to go be there with a hundred of our top advocates with our cue and our grace to walk into saw, see the kids. But the very last night we did a white party and we had one of our advocates speak and she said, you know, I, I said, what if she goes, I never thought I could do anything like this. But she goes, I saw Hawaii, I love the products. She goes, what if I could do it? And so I think it’s saying, what if, and then what can I do to get there?
AJV (45:33):
I love that. And I think just the whole concept of actually spending time to go, what kind of life do I want? Right? I, you know, you hear statistics all the time about people spend more time planning their annual vacation than they do their life. Like what would it be like if you actually said, this is the life that we want. So how, how do we get there? How do we build it? And I love, I love hearing stories like that. Now how old are your kids now?
BJ (46:00):
Grace just turned five. Hugh is six, about to turn seven. And my, you
AJV (46:04):
Guys are traveling the country with a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old. Yeah.
SJ (46:08):
And it was started when they were two and four. So Yes. . Yeah. But
BJ (46:12):
We just, we just had some friends over, we’re currently in California, in Malibu, and we, we were from, we lived in LA for 15 years. So this is, this is, you know, home if, if we pick a home that’s not on wheels. But, so we came into town, we’re, we’re, we’ve got a, a ocean view lot in right off the PCH and our kids are out riding their bikes. We invite some friends over, they bring their kids over our kids instantly make friends because they, they’re, I think kids like a schedule, but they also like to be free. Hmm. And so while they’re this age, you only get this shot once. And we’ve, that, that’s what we decide is we’re not gonna wait to be parents and we’re not gonna wait. We’re gonna, we’re gonna just do it now. We’re gonna be here and be present.
BJ (46:50):
So every single morning they have, we have our, our, our master bedroom in the back, you know, a quarter of the, of the rv. It’s got a door and the kids have bunk beds on the other side of that door. And every single morning we wake up before the kids and we just lay in bed and we hear the, the, the door open. ’cause They’re kinda like closet doors. And we hear footsteps. And then our son rushes in through the door, jumps on us laughing, and we hold him every single morning. Mm-Hmm. And it’s the absolute best thing. And when we, we, you know, we have a house in Utah and it’s a good sized place. When we’re there, they kind of get distracted and they go do other things. They don’t come up to the, to the room. But in the rv it’s just, it’s, it’s so small and intimate. So every morning we have that family time. We don’t, you know, and it’s not, it’s not late. We start our days on time, you know, but we, we start with that, that does mean I’m not up exercising. I’m just laying there taking hugs. But that’s, that’s not gonna last. And so we’re just trying to take, take it while we can, how we can.
AJV (47:47):
That’s a great reminder of the, the power of proximity.
BJ (47:50):
AJV (47:51):
Right. For family, for friends, for whatever. But there’s a lot of power in proximity. That’s a great reminder. Sarah, what were you gonna say?
SJ (47:59):
No, you said, you asked how we do marriage and parenting and, and business owners. So mornings are our kids and like we, we go, we’ll do that. We’ll try to go for a walk, you know, be with them in the morning, then we go to work and it’s work time. And then at night we really try to shut it off. I’ll leave my phone in the other room. If I have an idea or need to tell Ben, I’ll actually go send him an email and he can check it the next day. She,
BJ (48:24):
She ping, she pings me all night long. I’m like, why are you doing this?
AJV (48:28):
Spilling up your inbox.
SJ (48:29):
But you need, but you need a mean, we need to have our marriage too.
BJ (48:33):
You know? And, and I think you, you just have to be open. Like this morning we were, we were actually driving in here, we’re at a, a an office building. We were driving from Malibu to, to la and Sarah was on her phone plugging away. And I just said, Hey, can, can I have my wife for a minute? You know, can , you know, and you just say it like, I, I need you. I need my wife. Can you put your phone down? Just be here because we’re all, you know, we’re all doing the best we can. But I think it’s important to vocalize that. Like
AJV (48:59):
BJ (49:00):
Otherwise you build resentment. If you don’t, if you don’t say it, she can’t, she can’t know it. Mm-Hmm. . She doesn’t know it. And I think she should be able to read my mind. Well, that, that doesn’t work. You know?
AJV (49:10):
Well, I, you guys have learned a lot in only three years of working together because my husband,
BJ (49:15):
Well, it was also, there’s
AJV (49:16):
Together for 17 years and it took us way longer than three years to learn those lessons.
BJ (49:21):
Yeah. Way longer. We’re still, we’re still learning them.
AJV (49:25):
Y’all, this is, I I, I have loved all the different assets or facets of this conversation. And one of the things that I wanna make sure we get to before we run outta time is I want people to know about, you know, just the humane and grace products, right? So you mentioned the skincare line. What else do we need to know when it comes to finding high quality products that are, that are healthy and good for you, that don’t do more damage than they do good. And then where should people go to learn more about human grace? So tell us a little bit about what are the products, right? And then where do we go?
SJ (49:58):
So we also have, we have skincare, which is amazing. We just got, actually, we just got picked up in Forbes for Best Bo one Top five Body Butters. We had no clue that you don’t have pr. So kind of cool. And we have an incredible wellness line. And so we have a morning supplement, we have a which helps detoxify your liver, it helps with energy, it helps mental clarity. We have a drink. Our number one selling product is called Hydrate Detox. And Ben actually worked with Formulators who did two really huge brands that everyone knows. That, but you know, one brand’s just all sugar one’s all salts. And we said, we actually wanna create a drink that’s a lot of functional benefits. And so we have the most bioavailable l glutathione on the market. It’s patent prebiotic,
BJ (50:39):
Which, which, which is the Master de detoxifier reduces inflammation.
SJ (50:42):
Patent prebiotic probiotic. There’s magnesium’s fiber, electrolytes. But we said, going back to the premise, excuse me, it’s like all in one mm-Hmm. , we said people need to do simple swaps. They, we don’t wanna say you have to take these five products today. You know? So we actually partnered that. So we have our bestselling products called the Routine. And it’s the morning supplement. You can take an empty stomach, you take our hydrate detox drink, and then we have our collagen that mixes completely clear in water, which is odorless, tasteless, which is great ’cause you can put it in your coffee. You can also put your hydrate detox drink. But you take those three things in the morning and like you feel good for the day. Like, okay, I, I did something good. I, I feel good. There’s mental clarity, there’s reduced stress.
BJ (51:27):
You have more energy. I mean, it’s, it’s natural. None of this is caffeine based. This is natural energy production. So coq 10, which helps your mitochondrial activity. And, and I think part of the premise too was people, we all need to drink water, but we like to drink stuff that tastes good. So if we drink water that tastes good, why wouldn’t we put something in it that’s functional? So we need an electrolyte complex. And if we’re gonna do that, why don’t we put a couple other things in there that we all need. We need a reduction of inflammation. Mm-Hmm. The, the body needs to be detoxified, not on monthly basis, on a daily basis. You, you need to be flushing things outta your system. And to do that, you need hydration. And then you need things that help reduce inflammation. And then our guts need to perform well.
BJ (52:07):
And when our guts perform well, we look better, we feel better, we think clearer. So we put all of that into one product. And that hydrate detox product is become our number one seller. And interestingly, we talked about this. We had a vision of, of what our company would look like and what, you know, initially it was a skincare company. Well, if you look at our numbers, we’re a wellness company. Mm-Hmm. . So we, we have the skincare vertical or, or, or call it our on vertical. The in vertical is, is leading the way right now. And then the around vertical, we have a, a beautiful home care product that makes a ton of sense. ’cause It’s a single concentrate that you can either dilute more with water or dilute less with water to have co higher concentration. So think less water, more concentrate for bathrooms have a deep, clean and multipurpose. Yeah. Deep clean, multipurpose. And
SJ (52:51):
So some of the most toxic chemicals are under your kitchen sink. And so our one house, house clean product replaces every chemical in house. Yeah. Amazing. We been really intentional. We’ve been fortunate through our networks to be able to get introductions to some of the best formulators in the world. Like our home cleaner. They do all of like the top of the line home, clean home cleaners, non toxic cleaners,
BJ (53:12):
Formulation group.
SJ (53:13):
And they now exclusively use our human grace products to clean their lab. So it’s also fun to hear, like, because people, they want, they want to help others. I think even formulators, they, they fall in love with what we’re building. Because it isn’t just Sarah and Ben’s business. These are thousands of people that they’re impacting. And we were able to tell those really cool ingredient stories, product stories, how it’s impactful. It’s, it’s fun. It’s exciting.
AJV (53:38):
Well, and I love the simplification of what you guys have created. It’s like, you don’t need all these products. We need better products that consolidate into one. And so cool. I lo and, and the fact that you guys are not even three years old yet is simply phenomenal. So just a major congratulations on rapid success. And part of that is like, you know that you’re onto the right thing when it can’t help but spread. And so I can’t wait to see what the next three years look like for you guys. I’ll, I’ll probably likely become a customer this afternoon, so I’ll be, I’ll be doing that in my off hours today, .
AJV (54:21):
And then also I just wanna share this with all of our listeners, and this will be in the show notes as well, that Sarah and Ben have been so gracious and so kind. To also give us a very special link just for all the influential personal brand listeners. So if you would like to learn more about these products, if you go to Hugh and grace.com/brand builder, that is where you can learn about these. And if you go to that place, you’re gonna get an opportunity to also get 10% off, which is so generous and so kind. So if you’re looking for cleaner and better products to help you with your skincare in, on and around, you know, that’s good. If I can remember it go to Hugh and grace.com/brand builder, check it out, get some products. And then Sarah, Ben, if they just wanna connect with you as individuals, what’s the best platform for people to go to you
SJ (55:17):
Probably Instagram or LinkedIn, but
BJ (55:19):
We, yeah. Go to our Instagram page and you, what you’ll see if, if you follow the stories, we have our advocate community. We now have 6,000 people who are selling our products or have signed up over time. And you’ll get to see their stories and what they’re doing and things demonstration. RV , you’ll see, you’ll see some of that too.
SJ (55:39):
And, and yeah, HelioScope, HUGH people do ask that question.
BJ (55:42):
Yeah. Hugh and Grace, H-U-G-H-A-N-D-G-R-A-C e.com. Or you can find the same thing on Instagram and
AJV (55:50):
I’ll be sure to put all those in the show notes as well. Yeah. Awesome. Y’all, thank you so much. Such an awesome conversation. And for y’all listening, I’ll put all the links, all the handles on the show notes. So go there, grab ’em, connect with them, check out these products, and then stick around for the recap episode. That will be coming up next. We’ll see you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 478: Small Business Success Secrets with April Garcia

RV (00:02):
It’s always a privilege when I get to introduce you to someone that I’ve known for years and worked with as a friend also as a client. And April Garcia is one of my favorite people that we have ever worked with. She was one of the early BBG members B-B-G-O-G as we like to say. And she comes from a world of big, big business. And she climbed the ladder as a top performer in the financial and telecom industries. She’s got a bachelor’s degree in biology. She built several businesses. She’s advised both US and international corporations all the way from like startup to billion dollar enterprises, right? So she’s an expert in growing revenue, sales, operations, and just kind of like what it takes to scale. But a few years ago, she made a pivot to say, I wanna start working with small businesses to help them succeed. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today, is basically how can small businesses apply the principles of big business to help ’em scale faster? And where should they not try to be, like big businesses so that they can scale faster? So anyways, welcome to the show. April Garcia, it’s great to have you,
AG (01:12):
Rory. It’s so good to be here. I’m so glad that we made this happen, and it has been such a journey with you, with the company I’ve loved working together, and I so appreciate being here today.
RV (01:22):
Well, thanks buddy. So I just wanna start, like, right, what I was just talking about is going, what, you come from the big business world. You’ve been working, helping small businesses. What do small business owners need to know and ex like, what do they need to do, like big businesses? How do, how should they be thinking more like big businesses? Mm-Hmm. , what should they be implementing that big businesses do that like maybe they’re not even aware of and like they’re not doing, but you go, gosh, this is, these are things you, you need to, you need to be doing.
AG (01:57):
Yeah. There’s so many things. I’m gonna try to boil ’em down to just a couple of things. Part of it is that we, we don’t realize when we’re leveling up, we’re a small business owner. We start with zero sales, zero experience. And it’s not like someone comes to you and says, Hey, you just crossed this threshold. Now you need to start doing these things. Or you need to let go of these old habits. And so there’s no kind of this magic moment where someone comes to you and says, it’s time for, for example, processes. And so, one of the first things I will tell you is, when I made this transition from big business to small business, what I found overwhelming was that, well, small business owners were completely overwhelmed. They had way more things than could possibly get done. And so it’s, it’s funny, I did this exercise one time.
AG (02:40):
I was, I was doing a training and I said, okay, if there’s one word that could describe your state, write it down on a piece of paper and I’m gonna gather everyone’s up, and then I’m gonna look at it. And there’s probably 30 business owners in the room, and they ran anywhere from they’re small business owners, you’d say probably about 500 K to about 5 million. And they all wrote down a word. And then I opened it up, and every single one of the words were some iteration of overwhelmed. Wow. Every single one of them. And then I said, okay, we’re gonna take this a little bit farther. I said, if you could have a superpower, what would it be? And now I put a little space between these two questions. And what was very interesting is I was kind of thinking we’d get a couple of, like flying or I don’t know, see-through walls or something like that.
AG (03:24):
Ultimately, it was some version of could I multiply myself like, or slow down time so I could get more things done. And I remember this hitting me like a, a, a ton of bricks. And I thought, gosh, they’re really struggling with overwhelm. And so part of that is when we’re small businesses, we don’t think about things like processes. Processes aren’t fun, processes aren’t sexy. But if you don’t have time for processes, you never have time, right? And so, one of the things that big businesses have, they have processes, they have SOPs, standard operating procedures. Now, this doesn’t have to be a super involved process. This doesn’t have to be someone that, you know, an onset consultant that you bring in to do this. Just capturing what needs to happen to make your business run so that as you staff up, you can convey that information to them will be huge. Now, let me tell you what I see small business owners where, where we mess up, and I’ve done this too in the businesses that I’ve owned. We say things like, well, I need someone who’s quick on their feet. I need someone who’s a fast learner that doesn’t need me to handhold. And when you hear words like that, they need to be red flags of like, oh, so you’re planning on not training that person, right? ? ’cause that’s what we do. That Uhhuh, that’s the translation code. Have you been there? Code?
RV (04:35):
Can you come take care of this mess for me while I pay you, pay you under market value, overload you with work? And can you just like, solve all my problems, , that’s so great.
AG (04:46):
Sometimes I’ll be asking you to work on operations, and other time I’ll ask you to pick up my car. This is, we all do this, right? Like, we all start there. And, you know, I worked with this real estate investor in Ohio for a couple of years, and he always complained about like the job market. And he’d say stuff about the millennials and the job market and what kind of, you know, what kind of talent are they turning out of the universities? And what I continuously had to remind him, as I said, Eric, and we’ll say your name, Eric. Eric, what kind of training program do you have? How are you training these people? Mm-Hmm. He wasn’t. And yet he was continuously disappointed with what they were providing. So when I say training guys, I don’t mean that you have to sit down and you have to write a dissertation on how to do a job.
AG (05:30):
I mean, it could be you turning on Zoom or you know, Google Meet or something like this. And you walking through a process your organization does while you’re doing a screen share. And that does a couple of things. One, it addresses the people that are audio learners who are listening, but it also addresses the people that are visual learners. They actually are watching you walk through the process. So, I mean, this is a very tactical thing I’m jumping into right away. But for example, if you need to know about how to onboard a client or how to send out an invoice, you turn on Zoom, you do a screen share, and someone’s watching your mouse clicks, someone’s watching. As you talk through the process on Zoom, it’s being recorded. And then afterwards, zoom has this nice, and it doesn’t have to be Zoom guys, but it was a nice little transcribed feature.
AG (06:10):
Transcribe it, go back in, take five minutes, just clean up, make sure that the transcription was accurate. Bam. Now you have an SOP. Now you have a process in your organization for onboarding. And this doesn’t, you don’t require tens of thousands of dollars of software or tools or, or consulting fees. There’s value to that. Yes. But if I’m talking to a small business owner right now, they’re already so busy that when you propose more expenses and when you propose more work, it feels overwhelming. You can literally put something together in a Google drive. Now again, big businesses, they’ve got nicer tools for that. But let’s just talk about the scrapper. That’s the up and coming. Mm-Hmm. , you are going to want something like a Google drive. And it could be here’s our sales plan, here’s marketing, here’s how to onboard a client. Things like that are so easy. So I’ll go back to the original question. What’s something they do? Processes? And without processes, A, you’ll never free up your time. But b, you’ll never adequately train teammates. They may stick around, they may stick around ’cause they love you or they love your mission, but you’re gonna burn them out.
RV (07:14):
Mm-Hmm, yeah, I, that, that is what happens, right? I mean, in so many of these small businesses, the hardest thing is they go, well, I can’t, I don’t have the time to hire someone, so I’ll do it myself. And then they get to expert and they go, okay, I’ll hire someone, but I don’t have the time to train ’em. And then the person leaves and they go, see, I don’t have time to hire them. That never works out. And mm-Hmm,
AG (07:34):
, I’ll do it myself.
RV (07:35):
I’ll do it myself. And, and it’s just this sort of vicious cycle. And I think a lot of times a lot of times I think small business owners mislead themselves to thinking, oh, a person is the answer. I’m looking for this magical person. And it’s not. The process is the answer, which is good news. Absolute is because the process is more controllable. The process is mm-hmm, , like, you can sit down and like to find a good person is like, that’s hard and takes time and money. But like, you can sit down and create a process like right now Mm-Hmm, and have it solved forever. Like never have to deal with it again.
AG (08:15):
You can keep doing iterations and it gets better and better. And, and, you know, the other thing is, we, we jumped in the process thing. And, and, and I’ll be honest with you, where no one wants to hear that they need a process, no small business order. They’re like, oh God, not the process thing. Next thing I’m gonna tell ’em to have a morning routine or journal. I get it. I get it. Everybody’s busy and they don’t wanna hear that, even if it’s good for them. But Rory, I’ll tell you another piece that big businesses do fantastic and small businesses overlook. Oftentimes we get into running our own business because we’re very good at our craft, but we are not very good at selling our craft. And what I see small business learners do over and over again is they love a good product development.
AG (08:51):
They love getting better and better and better at their craft. Mm-Hmm, . But they forget that you can have the cure for cancer in your garage, but if nobody knows that you have the cure for cancer, it does you no good. And you have to acknowledge that every organization is a sales organization. I had two calls this morning, two consulting calls with two different nonprofits. And I always ask them about their sales. I always come back to, okay, you know, because the money allows us to staff up the right people, make sure that we can do the TED Talk, make sure we can do all these other things. Every organization is a sales organization. If you are the founder and you think your time is best spent improving upon your craft, you are mistaken. The truth is, there are people half as good as you getting paid, double what you are paying just ’cause they’re better at sales.
AG (09:38):
So get it’s facts and you know, it’s, it’s, it’s facts. And, and that’s, and that’s the thing I see a lot too, is people will go, well, why that person? Why, why is that person, you know, getting the book deal? Why is that person on stage? Why did that person get the big clients? It’s not skillset guys. It’s mindset. It’s confidence. It’s things that you have totally under your control if you just use the tools that help you improve those things. So I have a lot of people that sit in front of me and say, I’m not good at sales. Well, you’re not gonna be good at your craft. You’re not gonna be able to do it for the right people, because there’s someone out there tonight, I want you to imagine that 11 o’clock at night, someone has opened up their laptop and they’re trying to find a solution. They’re googling for answers that are inside your head. And unless you get good at sales, unless you, unless you get a sales plan together or hire someone who’s good at sales, they’re never gonna get that solution. So stop burning the midnight oil, getting better at your craft and get better at sales.
RV (10:34):
Yeah, I think, I think, you know, there’s, there’s something to be said to be for being great at your craft, for sure. Sure. But it, it’s like there’s, there’s so many great artists that are the starving artists and you and Mm-Hmm. , I think marketing is art. Like marketing is part of your art. Half of the art is creating it. The other half is telling people about it. It’s only the, it’s, it’s, it’s the naive artist that thinks, oh, my art is so good. People should find it themselves. And and I think that’s really, it’s really painful. And I think what you’re, I see this a lot with personal brands, right? Mm-Hmm. , obviously the people listening to this is, they go, they spend, they spend years creating the perfect course and, you know, meticulously pouring over everything. They get the course done and mm-Hmm. . And instead of selling it, which they should have done like six months earlier, they go totally and start over. They go, oh, I have a new, I have a new course. I want to create a whole new thing thing all the time.
AG (11:31):
And it’s because product development is fun. It’s fun.
RV (11:33):
Product development is fun. Yep. You don’t have the rejection, you don’t have the, the the, the fear. Totally. And like, it is this, it’s creative avoidance to use a term from take the stairs. Yes. It’s, it’s going, it looks like we’re being productive, but we’re really doing it subconsciously as a defense mechanism to avoid the pain that comes from, like, what, what needs to happen. So I wanna stick on this for a second, and then I want to talk about what small businesses should do different from the big businesses, but to stick on this Mm-Hmm. , a lot of small businesses are good at their craft, right? They started Mm-Hmm. because it’s like, I don’t wanna run a business. I wanna be the baker. I don’t wanna run a business. I want to like, help clients. I want, I don’t wanna run a business like I want be the person painting or recording the music or like, you know, writing the book. They’re not starting a business to go, I wanna like, sell and market the crap out of anything. Totally. So how do you get over that? Like you said, it’s not skillset, it’s mindset. What’s the switch that needs to flip in their head if they’re, if, if, if you’re, if they’re listening right now and they go, oh my gosh, that is me. I, I, I constantly iterate on my product so that I never have to market and sell. What do they need to change to like, stop doing that and get busy selling?
AG (12:47):
So we constantly iterate so we don’t have to sell, maybe because we really like it to be perfect, maybe because we’re convincing ourselves that we wanna make the most impact in the end user if we make it really, really good. But I have found time and time again that it’s fear. Because if we get to stay in our workshop and tinker on our craft, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a speak if, if it’s a speech, if it’s a book, it doesn’t matter what the, the particular craft is or the product. And when I say product development product, I mean your service, your product, whatever widget you sell or whatever service you sell, when we get to just stay in our workshop and tinker, we get to stay safe. Mm. And we don’t have to get out in the middle of the arena where people are gonna throw things at us, right?
AG (13:30):
I mean, it’s scary to get your product out there. There’s there’s a famous quote. I’m gonna, I’m gonna paraphrase. But essentially if you know that your product is ready to release it, then you’ve waited too long. I’m paraphrasing. But you have to get your product out messy. You have to get it out and iterate. Product development needs to be an iterative process because you have to get feedback from the marketplace, not feedback from your mom or your brother or your wife. You have to get feedback from the end user. Don’t show it to someone that isn’t the end user. I wanna say end user. I mean, if I am writing a book about how to help real estate agents sell, don’t sell, show it to your sister that runs a bakery. Like that’s not your market. And it won’t resonate with her. And besides she loves you and she’s probably gonna tell you good things.
AG (14:16):
So you have to get it out. Like you have to birth that out in the universe and then let someone throw tomatoes at it. And I see that over and over again. I, I work with a client Ben, who’s a remarkable composer. And he, he said it great. He said, I find that I just over complicate it like it’s a Christmas tree and I keep hanging ornaments on over and over and again until it gets so heavy, it just falls over and I start again. And I thought, what a great way to do that. So small businesses continuously focus on making their craft better, making their product better so that they don’t have to be exposed. I mean, this is why I, I go on a tangent here for a second, Roy, but I hate when social media loves people love to put this out on social media about like hustle and silence and then surprise them with their results.
AG (15:00):
And I think that is absolute garbage. I hate that when I see that on Instagram and Facebook, because people should see you iterate. People should see you get out there and like, well, this didn’t work. Well, that’s okay, I’m gonna try again and I’m gonna try again. Like, don’t only come out when everything is polished and perfect. The only person you are protecting in that instance is you, is your ego. But when someone sees you iterate, they see, hey, that’s available. Or someone like me for someone who’s messy or someone that maybe has a learning disability with someone with, with a DHD, someone with young kids. All those reasons that we tell ourselves. ’cause We, we’ve got that negative narrative well rehearsed as to why that success isn’t available to someone like me. When you actually get it out to the marketplace, when you stop living in product development, that’s when you can also inspire people with your journey.
RV (15:50):
Mm-Hmm. , amen. Now you, you. Amen. No, that, that, that, I mean, it is fear. I mean, that, that mm-Hmm. and it’s totally, it’s weird. And it’s masking itself as productivity, which is the definition of creative avoidance. Like it’s it. And, and so it just perpetuates. It just goes, it goes on and on and on. So I wanna come back to now what sh what should small businesses not be doing? Mm-Hmm. , how should they not be emulating what bus big businesses do? Because I think sometimes they do that also right as they go. Mm-Hmm. like, oh, like, you know, I’m gonna model my two person company after Apple . Mm-Hmm. , yes. You know what? Whatever. So like Sure. Tell me some of that again, just coming back to that you straddled both of these worlds. I have. And I, I, I, I’m curious your perspective.
AG (16:39):
Yeah. So I will start by telling you how I did this wrong, Rory. So I’m glad that you asked this question. So, when I came out of the big business world, I had just finished this we’ll say a very, very popular telecom launch. And it was a hundreds of millions of dollars of a launch. And I was very much a part of the strategy and spearheading this and negotiating all the contracts and the deals and flying over all over the world to make this happen. And then I went and built a personal brand five years ago, which is where we met, right? Mm-Hmm. . And in my mind, I was like, I am building an at and t I’m building a Wells Fargo, a chase Manhattan. So I went about some things wrong in that I was used to a very large budget. I was used to a very large expense account.
AG (17:24):
I was used to being the big dog on campus. Well, when you’re a small business, you aren’t, and you have to be aware of your expenses. And so, one thing I would encourage someone is you are not building a hundred million dollar company. You’ve first gotta build a million dollar company before you can build a hundred million dollar company. So when you’re out there looking at the big guys again, let’s say you’re, you are speaker, if you’re out there looking at someone who’s been speaking for 20 years and they’re, you know, wildly successful at what they’re doing, you cannot fully emulate them. Yes. I say, who are you chasing? You, you should be chasing someone. You should be, you know, have an idea of, okay, I wanna be similar to the speaker we were talking about John Maxwell earlier, or Les Brown. You can have an idea of someone that you’re like, okay, this is someone that I’m, I’m, I’m sort of chasing, but understand you’re chasing the version of them that are finely tuned 40 years down the road.
AG (18:13):
If I am trying to scale a large consulting business, I can’t look at a, a consulting business that’s a billion dollar business and say, I wanna be like them because they were first a million dollar business. So I will say, scale appropriately, watch your expenses. You can’t indulge in expenses like the big guys can. But I’ll, I’ll make it even more tactical than that. Rory. I’m going to say that you’ve got to be very particular who you take on as a client. Oh, large businesses, yeah. This is key. This is key. So large businesses can take on a multitude of clients, and they have lots of customer service people and lots of salespeople and lots of account managers and, and engineers and different people to sort of scale according to the customer demographic. Small businesses, we don’t get that. The problem is, when we are a small business, we kind of have this rule, whether we say it or not, they’re like, well, if it ships, it fits.
AG (19:07):
If they pay, they play. Right? And we take on all these clients that aren’t a good fit for our model, which is one of the reasons why I loved your guys’ program about like the avatar work and primary and secondary audience that is so key. Because what I saw with small businesses is that anybody who could write a check, they would say yes to. Mm-Hmm. . So if I’m a consulting firm and I just started and my revenue’s only 700 k and someone comes along and says, Hey, I’ve got this 250 K contract, you’re gonna go, oh my gosh, my revenue’s only this much. And that would be so much. And wouldn’t it be nice to have that and imagine all the things we could do? And then they say yes to the wrong client. And you see this with small businesses over and over again, it will suck the joy right out of you.
AG (19:47):
We’ve all had those clients. Like we’ve had the client that just made us not love our craft anymore. Big businesses can afford that. Big businesses have the, the latitude to take on different client demographics. If I’m talking to a small business owner right now, like whoever’s listening right now, if you’re running, and, and I’ll say I usually define small businesses under 50 million, but probably for, for who we’re talking to, I’m saying between, you know, 1,000,020 5 million, who you choose to have as clients is everything. Because that will make you and your team love your work or hate your work. And I’ll give you a little, I’ll give you a little insider tip. This is an exercise I do as a business advisor. Your highest maintenance clients will almost always be your lowest profit clients. But they won’t appear like that at f at first. So that same 750, you know, K revenue c client might get a 250 K contract and they go, this is the mo the biggest contract we’ve ever had as a business.
AG (20:46):
This is amazing. This is amazing. But if it’s not the right fit, it will end up costing you in the long run. They might be high maintenance, they might not be a good fit. You might have to add on extra bells and whistles just to meet their demands or meet their needs because they weren’t quite a fit. But you really needed the money. And I, I’ll tell you, I’ve seen so many small business owners grow to dislike what they do. And it wasn’t because they, they don’t like doing it anymore. It’s who they, who they’re doing it with. A lot of times when I talk to small business owners, when they say that they’ve lost that love and feeling like, oh, I just don’t enjoy it as much. I always say, talk to me about your client demographics. Who are you working with? How has that changed through the years?
AG (21:26):
And sometimes it’s, well, I got part of this organization and they were sending me leads and so I just took them. And they aren’t realizing that they’re not loving it anymore ’cause they’re working with the right, wrong kind of clients. So small business owners be very clear, not who you can serve because you are a creative person, you’re a resourceful person, you can help lots of people, but I want you to be very specific on who you should serve, not who you can, you can serve lots of people, but who should I serve? Who am I passionate about serving? But also will light me up too. Because again, you’re resourceful. You can help lots of people, but you help the wrong person and you won’t love your business anymore.
RV (22:03):
Mm-Hmm. , I think that a a lot of this, the mindset here, you know, you said earlier it’s not skillset, it’s mindset. Mm-Hmm. , I think the mindset of a small business owner is, is often like revenue at all costs and going like, I, I gotta take on the revenue. But time is more valuable than money. Especially if you’re small. And whenever you take those, you know, a lot of times you, if you take it on, it’s like now you have to create a whole bunch of new stuff that you didn’t have. Totally. And it pulls you away from the core and what you’re good at. And that the cost of that time is, is more expensive than the gain of that revenue if it’s not like perfectly aligned. Yeah.
AG (22:43):
RV (22:43):
So, you know, that kind of fits with alignment and goals and something in general you talk about. So mm-hmm. , you know, smart Goals is like a thing that everybody has heard. You, you’ve got, you’ve got a special take on smart goals an addendum to it if you will. So I’d love to, I do walk walk us through that. ’cause That’s a framework people are familiar with and I want to, I want everyone to hear your take on it.
AG (23:04):
Absolutely. So smart goals is sort of, well, the gold standard, right? Like they it, and, and there is, there is validity to that. I, I operated off of smart goals for years, but there is a piece that’s missing in the smart growth format that I found has really handicapped a lot of people’s success. Part of what I do, much of what I do, I, I said that people come for skillset, but they stay for mindset. Part of the mindset piece is just getting people out of their own way and making sure they’re truly leveraging all the tools that they have around them, even the ones that they’re overlooking. So I use a framework called the anatomy of goals. And in the anatomy of goals, it’s around identifying the what. That’s, that’s key. But usually when people are setting goals, they move right into the how.
AG (23:45):
The second they say the what, it doesn’t matter what the goal is. It could be, I wanna hit seven figures this year. It can be I wanna run a marathon or write a book. The goal doesn’t matter. And, and that’s a piece that’s important too. Goals are just project management with a bunch of emotions baked in. People try to make goals into this big thing. It’s just project management. It’s, it’s figuring out the what and then chipping away at it a little bit at the time and figuring out a way to keep yourself focused on it until you hit that. But the piece that’s missing with smart goals is the who, like who can help you get ahead. And so what I created in the anatomy of goals is, is it’s a three part. You establish the what, which is very important. Okay? I want a seven figure revenue, for example.
AG (24:25):
Great. We’ve got the what now, resist the temptation to move right into the how, which is where our brain immediately goes. If I say, okay, I’m gonna hit seven figures immediately, it’s like, well, the market’s downturn with the political climate, dah, I’ve got all the reasons why I’ve, I’ve practiced this narrative many times of all the reasons why that’s not feasible, or if it’s I’m gonna run a marathon. Yeah, but you know, my kids are still kind of young and would drop off and now we’re sending so and so to soccer practice. There’s all these reasons why that’s not possible. ’cause We moved into the how, forget the how go from what. And then you immediately go into the who. I break the who into three parts. So regardless of the goal, I want you to be looking for three different parts. The first one is the mentor, which makes sense.
AG (25:06):
Like, who’s done this thing that I’m about to do? I wanna hit seven figures. Who do I know who’s hit seven figures? I want to write a bestselling book. Who do I know who’s written a bestselling book? That’s the mentor, the person who has gone ahead of you. The next is the networker who has the network to support this goal that I want. Sometimes the mentor and the network are the same person. You know, if I want to climb Everest and I have this friend Allison who’s climbed Everest, okay, great. She could be the mentor. Does she have the network? Now here’s how that’s different. Does she know the Sherpas I should use? Does she know the pilot that can fly me in? So who’s got the network, the connections that can help me get to my goal quicker? Here’s the third piece, the buddy.
AG (25:46):
And that is simply the accountability buddy. So again, I want to hit seven figures, so I’ve gotta sell a bunch or I want to climb ever. It doesn’t matter what the goal is. You should have an accountability buddy in there for your goals. The buddy doesn’t need to know anything about your goal. They could never have written a book in their life. But just by virtue of the fact that they text you every morning and ask what your word count was, I mean, I’ve done this before. I have a cousin that knew nothing about the goal that I was doing. She’d understand the intricacies, but I said, here’s the exact words you need to say to me. This was years ago. I said, this is the exact words you need to say to me. You can even set this up that it automatically gets text to me.
AG (26:22):
But by me just knowing I was gonna get that text from my cousin, I tended to perform. So when you’re looking at your goals, a lot of people will go, okay, I’m gonna research this. I’m, I’m gonna run my first marathon. So they’ll research a ton out of how to run a marathon. But if you simply hang out with a bunch of people that have run marathons before, it’s gonna shorten your path to success. If you talk to someone, how did they do it? Who do they know? Do they know? Any races come up? And so when you’re looking at your goals, guys,
RV (26:49):
It’s funny that you talk about this. ’cause I’m literally in Bible study with a bunch of marathon runners, Uhhuh. And I’m actively gonna end up running, trying to repel the idea. It’s not gonna work that I get, that I get recruited into running this. ’cause It’s like, it’s not gonna work. It’s so organically there’s such an organic draw to like, come do this. And I’m like, no. The answer is no. Resistance
AG (27:08):
Is futile. I Rory
RV (27:09):
Given , given I’m not gonna do this.
AG (27:12):
We’re gonna talk to Rory again in six months and he’s gonna tell us how many miles a week he’s doing It just, just, you can’t, you can’t, you gotta give in if, I mean, if you what was it Steve Harvey says, if nine of your friends are broke, you’ll be the 10th. I love that saying, but the truth is, the opposite is true as well. If nine of your friends are rich, you’re likely to be the 10th. Totally. I I, I worked with a guy who was part of a, a I’ll say a men’s group that was amazing. This was a few years back. And he ended up dropping out and I said, man, I thought you really liked that group. And he said, yeah, but he’s like, they were all really, really wealthy and it kind of made me uncomfortable, like their conversation, I didn’t feel like I belonged at that table.
AG (27:46):
And I said, and by you dropping out, you will never belong at that table. Hmm. If you can just withstand the discomfort that you, yourself feel, nobody else needs to feel it. But if you can just withstand the discomfort that you feel because you, you feel that they’re operating at a higher level, you’ll reach their level. This is the power of a network. This is the power of a social circle. Our mamas we’re right. Like we are who the, you know, the people we surround ourselves with, which is why Rory Vaden will become a runner.
RV (28:13):
No, you heard it here first. Not become a, I’ll change Bible studies before that happens. , you’ll get somewhere April, this is so powerful and so tactical. I really appreciate. Where do you want people to go if they want to connect up with you and follow you and stay connected?
AG (28:28):
Absolutely. So the best place is the april garcia.com. I’m the April Garcia on all the platforms as well. And I got a lot of free tools and free resources as well as the the Pivot Me podcast, the April Garcia Pivot Me podcast. I love what I do, I love who I do it with. And I’m happy to answer any questions about what we talked about here or any other topics on the podcast.
RV (28:48):
So cool, friend, well, we’re cheering you on. We’re, we’re so grateful for you and just believe in you more and more friend. I, I know the be the best is ahead for you. So thanks for making time for us and, and keep crushing it.
AG (29:00):
Absolutely. This was amazing. Well done. Thank you so much for having me on Rory. .

Ep 473: How to Know When You Are Ready to Launch | Melanie Ann Layer Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
So the question of today is this. How do you know when you’re ready to launch? And here’s the answer, you know you’re ready to launch when you know that your product or service has the ability to help someone else, the end. You see, so often in life and in business, we complicate things because we think they should be more complicated. We think it should mean more and be more complex and have more steps. And the truth is , that’s not true. The truth is often the simpler it is, then the more true that it is. And it’s definitely that case with this statement of how to know when you’re ready to launch. It’s when you know that your product or service has the ability to help someone else. It is as simple as that. You say you don’t need a fancy website, you can have one.
AJV (00:54):
And at some point it makes sense, but you don’t need it to launch. You don’t need funnels or webinars or a podcast or a big email list. You can have those things and at some point I encourage you that you should, but you don’t need it to launch you. See, you also, you don’t need lots of social media followers or fancy graphics or brand guidelines or fonts and email marketing. You can have those things and one day you should, but you do not have to have them to launch. The only thing that you need to launch is a product or a service that has the ability to help someone else. The end , right? And it’s like sometimes the simpler it is the more deceiving it is because we’re like, it just can’t be that simple. And it’s like, but indeed it can. If you know that you can help someone else and you can help ensure that they get results and whatever it is that you do, then it is your duty.
AJV (01:49):
It is your obligation. It’s your responsibility to launch because you know that someone is out there who needs what you have, they need you and the way that only you can do it and the way that only you can serve them because you’re you and all those other things come with a price and with time and energy and resources and there’s a time and a place for everything. All I’m saying is that those aren’t requirements to launch. They are supplemental, they are ancillary. And at some point they do feel like in order to scale to grow, they become more necessary. They’re just not necessary or essential to launch. The only thing that you need to launch is knowing and believing that your product has the ability to get someone else results in whatever it is that you do. Now, that believing part is really critical.
AJV (02:42):
‘Cause That means you believe it. You believe it enough to talk about it. You believe it enough to tell people about it. You believe it enough to have sales calls and ask for their business. You believe it enough to go speak on stages. And those are stages of one 100 or 1000. It’s to go to the networking meetings. It’s to show up and go, I know this can help you. And that comes with that inner conviction that you know, you can get someone else results ’cause you’ve done it before. You’ve done it for yourself, you’ve done it for someone else, and you know how to help somebody else experience those level those levels of results. That is what is required to launch. If you know that you can help people, then you are ready right now today. Even if you don’t have a way to collect money, even if you don’t have a way to process it, even if you don’t have a fancy course or PDFs, if you know you can help someone, then you are ready right now.
AJV (03:42):
Now that’s not to disvalue or undervalue. The importance of all those other things, systems and processes and technology and having ways to collect money are important. So don’t hear what I’m not saying. What I am saying is that you’re ready today. You don’t need to be perfect. It never will be perfect. And you don’t need fancy websites and lots of followers. All you need is knowing that you have the ability to help someone else. And when you know that you are ready. And you see, here’s the thing. I actually heard this quote and on a conversation I had on the influential personal brand podcast just a couple of weeks ago with Melanie Laer. And I loved what she said and she said, and I don’t know if she came up with this or she heard it somewhere else, but man, it has stuck with me.
AJV (04:27):
And she said, here’s the thing, is you’re gonna wonder how to do it until you wonder how you did it. And that is the beauty of moving forward in conviction and in belief of just knowing like, I don’t have to have all of that stuff. No, you can, but it’s not necessary in order to launch. And sometimes you’re gonna wonder like, how is this ever gonna work? How am I going to do this? Until one day you wake up and you’re like, how did this ever work? How did this happen? Like, how am I here? Like how is it that I am looking at the answered prayers and the hopes and dreams and the goals that were of my past and I’m living them today? ’cause You will ask the question, I wonder how it’s gonna happen. I wonder how I’m gonna figure this out.
AJV (05:09):
I wonder how I’m gonna do it until one day it just changes to I wonder how I did it. I wonder how this all happened. And it’s because you move forward in faith, you move forward in action. You don’t procrastinate, you don’t wait because you know that you are ready. When you know you have the ability to help someone else and you’re not afraid to talk about it, you’re not embarrassed to talk about it. Now, I’m not saying to be prideful and ego ridden and talk about everywhere you go that and be self-promotional. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is though you have a deep unwavering conviction that what you do helps other people and you have proof. And when you feel that you are ready, let’s go. That’s how you know you’re ready. So when
AJV (05:56):
Are you ready to launch? You know you’re ready to launch when you know that your products and service can help other people. So are you ready?

Ep 472: Building a Huge Business without Having a Huge Audience with Melanie Ann Layer

AJV (00:02):
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Influential Personal Brand podcast. This is AJ Vaden, one of your co-hosts, and super excited today to talk about how to build a multimillion dollar business without having to build a huge, multimillion follower brand. So I think for everyone who is listening of going, man, how, how do I continue to grow my business without feeling the pressure of having to grow podcasts and email lists and paid media? And if you fit in that bucket, then this is a conversation that you wanna stick around for, because today we’re gonna talk about how you can explosively grow and build your business without having to do what a lot of people talk about in digital marketing today, which is you know, you gotta have all the things on all the platforms, you gotta have a podcast, gotta have an email list. And it’s like those things aren’t bad, and you can have ’em, but they’re not a necessity to having an amazingly successful business.
AJV (01:01):
So if you fit in that boat where you wanna grow your business without the pressure of having to grow everything else underneath the sun, then this is probably one that you wanna stick around to. Now, let me formally introduce you to my guest today, which is Melanie, Melanie Ann Layer. Sorry, I’ve got tongue tied there. I mean, she’s the founder of Alpha F Brand, which I’ve spent a bunch of time stalking on social media, and I love all the visuals and glamor that is associated with what you see online, but also just really love the concept and the heart around a lot of the conversation that’s gonna happen today. But just so you know, alpha Femme is a global coaching and mentoring company. It launched in the online space in 2017. So to talk about growing a super successful business and not a ton of time that’s one of the things we’re gonna talk about because that was not that long ago. And so one of the reasons I invited Melanie Ann on today is to really talk about how do you do these things in a way that works for you, and how do you weave your story into all the things that you do. And so we’re gonna talk about growing businesses. We’re gonna talk about using your story. We’re gonna talk about how you do it with staying true to yourself and so much more. So welcome to the show,
MAL (02:18):
. That was fun. Hello. Happy to be here,
AJV (02:21):
. Yeah. So since you’re kind of new to our audience, I would love for you just to start with kind of telling people like, how did you get to where you are today? Right? So if you were to do a high level overview of kind of where you started and how you ended up where you are today, what are some of the things that you think our audience should know in order to get to know you a little bit better?
MAL (02:44):
Well, I would probably start by saying I’ve always been a little bit different. And my, my experience of myself is always, I’ve been a little bit different, even, you know, my brother and my sister were really good with the traditional education model, and I just could not get myself to do it. It just, I’d study for a test a minute. The exam would go in front of my face. I’d forget absolutely everything, but I knew every lyric to every song I cared about by heart. It’s like I, my brain just was wired differently. And I came to realize later in life that I have an emotional brain. I have an artist brain. If I care about it, I remember it forever. If I don’t care about it, doesn’t matter how much I repeat it, the minute you add pressure, stress to my life, I forget.
MAL (03:22):
And so, it’s been such an interesting journey for me to not discredit what anybody else is doing, actually, to take a stand and say, let’s not ever discredit what anybody’s doing ever again. Let’s instead look for other ways. What are all the ways we can become successful? What are all the ways that we can highlight our intellect and our creativity and our uniqueness? Because I, I think that a lot of times success is put in a box where if you don’t fit the guidelines, it’s predictable that you won’t get it, or that you’re not deserving of it, or it, it’s just kind of a weird thing where even, even after I achieved a lot of the success that I achieved, I was constantly questioned about my education and why I felt I had the right. And so I think what I love about the conversation we’re gonna have today is the fact that I decided I had the right, and then I built something extraordinary after that.
MAL (04:09):
Nobody told me that I was special or that I deserved it. Nobody gave me a leg up, a hand up, a whatever up to help me do it. I didn’t receive any funding. I didn’t like, there was no help. There was just, I wanted to do it, and then I did it. And I feel like we need more stories like this. Yeah. Now, the other thing I wanna say is, I’m gonna talk about how I built this without any of the traditional stuff, but I’ve helped so many of my clients, whether they have the traditional stuff or not, I think the key is not to say, oh, I, I, you know, I stand against the traditional stuff. It’s more I wanna find my, my perfect recipe that makes it, that I’m not fighting against any part of myself in order to be successful. It’s the opposite.
MAL (04:47):
I’m leaning into every best part of me and finding what are the things that are actually my effortless, we’ll call it a strategy, it’s an energetic strategy. Like, when I do this, I feel good empowered, I feel limitless, I feel magnetic. Like those are the things that are usually the gateway. And so I just followed my own magnetism. Whenever I felt stifled, stuck questioning myself, I was like, is there another way? I just questioned what everybody ever told me was the only way. And I found many alternative ways. And what I wanna say, we’re celebrating now since, you know, I opened my brand in 2017. We’re se we’re celebrating $78 million since 2017 in Alpha Femme. And I can tell you, I have found 78 different ways to make a million dollars. I did not make any of those the same way. They’re all different. And so that’s why I feel like I can help so many different people because not one of those millions was the same. And so it’s just to open your mind, open your heart, start getting curious, ditch whatever you’ve been told that would have felt like limiting. And let’s get into the expansive mindset of what could be. And that’s, that’s who I am. That’s why I’m here.
AJV (05:55):
I love that. You know, and one of the reasons I thought that you would be so great for this particular, you know, time for our audience, is that we get asked all the time, do I have to have this? Do I have to do this? Right? And a lot of that circulates around, do I have to do social media? Do I have to do video content? Do I have to have a podcast? And we’re always like, no, you don’t have to do anything. So I thought this was just really good. So this is where I’d like to start, is how did you build what you’ve built in a relatively short amount of time without any websites, any podcast, no paid ads? So walk us through like, what was the strategy and how did this happen?
MAL (06:41):
So the first thing I wanna say is I was actually good at what I did. So when I first started my business, I started this brand. I had gone bankrupt. My whole life had fallen apart. And I started, I, I took a phone call from a friend that was going through a hard time and she fell in love with my life coaching. And my life coaching was literally just everything I was studying to try to get myself back on track. But my focus at that time was helping people fall in love with their lives, regardless of their circumstances. So I was not selling a dream here. I was, I was like, I felt sitting in the front seat of a car, low on food, gas, heat, everything you could think of in the winter snow storm. If I can find gratitude, I can help anyone find gratitude in their life right now.
MAL (07:26):
And I built this life coaching brand from the front seat of my car. And I hit six figures from the front seat of that Honda Civic, the fir the first year we, I hit six figures. And so what all I cared about at that point was helping people and becoming better at really saying the thing the person had. Like, what was the thing that the person wasn’t seeing? What was the blind spot? How could we create more joy now, more happiness now, more power now? How could we, how could we build on that? So I was not trying to be famous, I was not trying to be successful. All I cared about was being excellent and giving transformation to my clients. And because I was sleeping in the front seat of a car, and I did not feel that any of that was very appealing, I called my brand the Invisible Coach.
MAL (08:09):
And so no social media, no email, no Facebook, no nothing. Everything was word of mouth referral. So if a client loved what I did, they referred a friend, they got 20%, and that’s it. I built my whole business that way. Now, eventually things kind of got bigger because someone asked me if I could come and do this kind of work at their office, and could I help on a bigger scale? Could I coach a team for this kind of mindset stuff? Then some of my past life where I was, I was good in sales, came in and I was, I helped teach high ticket sales to people who felt kind of stressed, especially the dental field when they had to sell big cases like, you know, $60,000 veneer case. And they’re making, you know, 30, $40,000 a year. Like, there’s a gap there. It feels very stressful to sell high ticket when you’re not making a lot of money.
MAL (08:55):
Money. So I started bringing sales training into what I was doing. My business organically expanded. So the first thing that’s so important is I did not start trying to get rich, trying to get famous. I started wanting to be excellent and wanting to be good at my work. That, that’s the first thing I think is very important. The second thing is, I didn’t even use social media when I first started on social media thinking I would become social media famous either. So the first time I ever put my stuff out on, on Facebook, it was like 2015 or 2016, I started posting. 2016 was my first ever live stream. The reason I did this was because I never actually went anywhere. I didn’t buy a house or get an apartment after I went bankrupt and ended up sleeping in the front seat of my car, I actually just became a digital nomad.
MAL (09:38):
So I would drive my car all over the country, all over the, you know, all over the us, wherever, and I would just live wherever I I was. And so as my financial situation got better, the hotels got better, but I just never got another place to live. So I would connect with people everywhere, whether it was by the pool, at the coffee shop, at the grocery store. And in order to stay connected, I had the social media presence. It never crossed my mind that I could meet a person on the internet that would become client. That felt impossible. What did feel possible is someone who I’d had a conversation with, who stayed connected over time could eventually, maybe especially if I went back to that town, become a potential client or a connection, but never ever did I think I would create something on the internet.
MAL (10:26):
So what I think made me very different there as well is I wasn’t doing any kind of strategy. The all I was doing was being the most real version of me because it was like, you’ve met me in person, you know who I am. I’m gonna be the same person online as I am offline. ’cause That’s what it’s gotta be. And by doing that, an audience started to build. And it was the weirdest feeling of my life when someone messaged me that I did not know and said, I’ve been watching your live streams and I’m wondering if you, you do private coaching? And I was like, how did you meet me? And they’re like, I, I saw your live stream. And I was like, what is this? So it was all kind of shocking. It all came from a place of I wanna be excellent, I wanna stay connected to the people I genuinely connect with.
MAL (11:06):
It all came from a very real place. I think that’s another important thing to to know. My first brand that I ever made, my first company name was my name Melanie Layer, incorporated. That was it, MLI. But then people started asking me what it meant and I felt a little weird, but that’s what it meant, . So I, I said, okay, it means making a lasting impact. So for a while my company was called Making a Lasting Impact, but it, it’s never really meant anything to me. I just thought MLI needed a meaning. Then eventually I started thinking of other names. ’cause People were like, what’s your name? The name of the company? And making a lasting impact didn’t work. So I, I created this other company name called The Boss Vibe. And that was the thing for a little while, the actual name Alpha Femme came to me.
MAL (11:52):
I didn’t look for it. It, I didn’t work hard to find it. I didn’t hire someone to tell me what I should call my company. I didn’t wait until I had a good name before I made money. I didn’t wait until I had a good name in order to become successful. I called it whatever I wanted to call it until one day Alpha Femme came outta my mouth and I was like, oh my God, that’s it. And I, I could not believe it when I was looking for it on the internet and no one had it. I was like, how does this not already exist meant to be, meant to be? So when I claimed Alpha Femme, the next thing that happened is I realized this is a really good brand. I’ve gotta raise the bar. There was a moment where I realized this is not just about me making money. Mm-Hmm. . This is like, I represent something. This is, this is a brand that could be for the world. And I started opening my mind up where instead of it being about me and my business, it was about the brand and the people. And that started really moving things in a very amazing way. I made my first million dollars with 284 clients. We didn’t even have 10,000 followers on Instagram. I had
AJV (12:58):
One thing, I wanna pause there and talk about this just for a second. So one of the things that you said earlier, which I, I jotted down because I think it’s so good, it’s, you know, let your results speak for themselves. Right. And it’s like, kind of like that’s what I heard you say. I don’t know if that’s exactly what you said, but it’s along these lines of just be so good. People can’t not tell other people.
MAL (13:17):
AJV (13:17):
Exactly. It’s like they can’t not, and so I just would love for you to talk about that for a second of like, what was the mentality that you had around? It’s like, if I just focused on the people who I have right in front of me and changing their life, I know that by the nature of doing awesome work, more business is gonna come. ’cause One of the things that I feel like I’m constantly hearing from friends, family, and our Brain Builders group community is like, well, how do I get more clients? How do I get more clients? How what our constant message back to them is just focus on the ones you have.
MAL (13:49):
AJV (13:50):
And so that’s such a mentality shift. It’s such a, a redirecting of abundance versus scarcity. And so I’d love just to hear like what your message would be to anyone who’s out there going, yeah, I’d love to have a word of mouth referral business where everyone is just sending me business. How do I do that?
MAL (14:08):
When your intention is being excellent for your clients, they feel that when your intention is growing your business, they feel that it’s a different energy. And sometimes it is hard to pivot it when you’re like, okay, that sounds great, but I really do wanna build my business. And it’s like, I know, but is there something else inside of you? Is there something bigger inside of you? Can you actually see that your business, if it, if it were to grow the people, it would help that that’s good for the world. Like, can you actually get behind that? Can you see the ripple? Like I remember early on in my career when one of my first clients was telling me, she’s like, my, my marriage was on the rocks when we started. And I, I’ve, my husband is completely different. You know, another client with her daughter, she’d had, she’d been on the rocks with their daughter and things were just turning around.
MAL (14:56):
Another client’s sister reached out from, for, you know, years ago that hadn’t talked to her sister in years, you know, promotions. And I’m like, I’m speaking to one person. But the the wor their work is changing their, their, you know, sister, their mother, their partner, their everything’s changing. And I was like, the ripple effect of this is spectacular. I’m making such a difference. Mm-Hmm. And that was the thing that really drove me was like, this is helping. This is working. And I think especially in businesses where people have this profession, obviously it depends what profession you have in your life. I, for me, ha being a, a coach, that meant I have to be good at, at having people change their lives. That’s my job. Yeah. You know, I think a lot of people get caught up in being marketers and then the job is secondary.
MAL (15:45):
But really it’s, you’ve gotta be good at your job and then you’ve gotta market how, you’ve gotta market that you’re good at your job if you are a good marketer, but you’re not good at your job. It’s like, hmm. So the first thing is be good at your job, then the marketing is easy. Is it word of mouth? You know, is it through live streams? Is it through a beautiful brand? Is it through this? Now you’re adding things to support this amazing career that you have. And it, and it’s never do I have to, it’s like what are the channels that are gonna help me expand this? But nothing’s gonna make you good. You know, you, you can’t just market. I mean you can, but eventually your reputation will catch up with you and it won’t work. You know, it is gotta come from I’m excellent at this and then I market my excellence from that. The sky isn’t even the limit.
AJV (16:27):
Yeah. I love that so much. ’cause I think that is, that is just such a heart change of going, the marketing will come, the sales will come. But right now I just have to be the best in the world out of what I’m doing or
MAL (16:39):
The best therapist I can be right now. Because this is another thing is every single industry has nuances. Mm-Hmm. , you know, you can be the best in the world at one thing. Like, let’s say, okay, the best French cook in the world, the best cook in the world, but he cooks French cuisine. Mm-Hmm. . But you’re like, but my favorite food is Italian. Yeah. And so my favorite chef, she’s been cooking for x amount of years, she doesn’t have any awards, but she’s the best to me. Yeah. I love that. And so I didn’t even care about being the best in the world. This is another thing I saw a lot of people do along my career. Like, I wanna be the next Tony Robbins. I wanna be the best this I wanna be the next this I wanna be. And I was like, I I wanna be me. Mm-Hmm.
AJV (17:19):
MAL (17:20):
I really only thought when I first started this work that there was me, Tony Robbins and Esther Hicks. I thought that was it. Like we, we were the only people in the world that knew about this profession. I wasn’t trying to beat anybody. I thought the world was in need of more people like me. That’s another perspective shift. I don’t need to be the best. I wanna be one of the greats.
AJV (17:38):
Yeah. That’s so good. That’s such a good, you know, just even verbiage reminder to me it’s like, it’s not about being the best in the world. It’s about being the best you, which somebody needs that somebody needs the best you. And so, so, okay, so here’s my second question that kind of popped up through all the things that you were ta talking about in my notes, is this whole idea of figuring out what feels most aligned with you. And you said, you know, it’s like made $78 million done at 78, you know, different ways. So what, what advice would you have or any sort of tips around, like, how do you just figure out what that combination is?
MAL (18:20):
So what I love about marketing and also coaching, what I love about the whole thing is it feels to me like a scientific experiment. I think a lot of people do marketing and do business like math. I sucked at math, but I love, like, why is it that when you add milk and vinegar, it, it does this weird thing? Like why? And that’s a lot of times what business is. It’s like, why did that work? How did that work? Why did that work? It’s not one plus one equals two, it’s milk plus vinegar equals like why? And so I love it so much because I always tell my clients, you’re gonna wonder how to do it until you wonder how you did it. Mm-Hmm. It’s not this like recipe that you do it once, then you nail it forever. You’re gonna have to pivot course correct.
MAL (19:08):
You’re gonna have to innovate. It’s gonna work once in the second time. It won’t work again. You’re gonna have to change. Like, you’ve gotta be a mad scientist. It’s gotta be this like, let me explore myself, my clients, the world, the market. Like it’s, everything’s changing. So if you’re trying to find the one ticket to success, the one ticket to fame, the one, it’s like, it’s very rarely gonna be an energetic match for you to succeed long term. But if you’re like, sky isn’t even the limit. Give me everything you’ve got. I’m a mad scientist. I’ll make anything work. I’ll make 1 million, I’ll make it 1,000,078 ways I’ll do it so differently. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t need to be the same. I don’t need to do it like her or like him or like them. I do not need to beat anyone.
MAL (19:45):
I wanna be one of the greats. I respect the people I walk with. I walk with giants. I love this moment that we’re in, in this planet. I love that I get to be in business in this modern time. I love that there’s so many different ways I can market what I do. Let me do this this month and if I’m sick of this next year, I’ll find something new. Like I’m in the game evolution and growth over a lifetime. Let’s figure this thing out. That energy is so magnetic, so playful, so fun. And you’ll just end up making money. And it is like, money’s the byproduct of the entrepreneur you become. Yeah.
AJV (20:16):
And I think I, and I love what you said, it’s like don’t be afraid to just try it. Yeah. And if you hand it, stop, pivot, do something else. And I think that’s a lot of people just kind of feel like if I start it, I have to just keep doing it. And that’s not true.
MAL (20:29):
No. You get to say, okay, well look, and, and you can see it through, you know, you can say, okay, so we did this and here, what’s the outcome? Well, the outcome is this. Okay. So now we know we won’t do that again. Like, you track it without meaning. Yeah. Kind of like Einstein, who found 3000 ways not to build a light bulb
AJV (20:45):
. Yeah.
MAL (20:46):
You can’t get defeated. It’s like, okay, so this is not the way for me not, and this is not the way for me. And it’ll just make you wiser. Mm-Hmm. more supportive of any person that you work with in the future that might be going through a harder time or people that are not making things work. And you’re like, I’ve tried that. I tried 17 times before my thing work. Don’t worry about it. It gives you more like, who wants to work with a person who’s like, yes, I succeeded on the first shot. I have no idea what failure feels like. Learn from me . You know, we wanna know that the people that we’re modeling with and who we’re learning from know what failure feels like and they survived and they’re okay and they’re not afraid for us. ’cause They know what it’s like.
MAL (21:20):
Like get your hands dirty. Go in, leave your ego aside and just go in the sandbox. Be like, let me get my hands dirty. Let me build something fun here. Let me figure out what I’ve got, what my tools are, what my skills are, where I need to get better. What results can I produce with what I’ve got? Because it’s not gonna, it might not be a million, but it could be a few tens of thousands. And that’s celebrate something to celebrate. Like, you’re gonna get good stuff on the way, and then you’ll learn to celebrate those little things and build off of those. And it really is, it’s a scientific experiment. And the people who are able to play like a mad scientist at this, they have fun for way longer.
AJV (21:57):
And that’s a key word in all of this is you wanna have fun. Yes. It should be fun. It shouldn’t be, I think
MAL (22:04):
Before we all decided to be entrepreneurs because we imagined it would be, yeah. We thought, can you imagine not having to wake up at a certain time? Imagine being able to go to lunch at the restaurant in the middle of the afternoon. Imagine not having to work till 5, 6, 7 every night. Imagine not being stuck in traffic. Imagine. Oh my gosh, I could work from wherever in the world. Oh my gosh. Then you get this opportunity and you make it, you, you forget a job. I
AJV (22:28):
Think . Yeah. You make it a job. Yeah. Yeah. So at some point there was clearly a pivot where you said even earlier it’s like it was time to kind of like up level. Yeah. And so, you know, I’ve gotten to know you at, you know, the ends of all this, you know, creation you’ve been doing. And so what did that pivot look like to go, okay, now I’m really going to create my online presence? Because I feel like you’re, you have a great online presence and you have a really awesome following now and Eve. Like I said earlier, it’s like it’s, it’s, it’s got a very strong vibe, right? And it’s like just even like following you on social a little bit, getting to know you, it’s like, no, there’s like a very strong presence there. So what made you decide to do that pivot? And what has it looked like since then from going to like only a couple hundred followers to now you really have a great digital brand?
MAL (23:22):
Yeah, so there’s a, there was a few pivots. It happened a few times along the way. The first really important pivot was the Alpha Femme brand. When I said, I have a brand, like this is my brand, this is what I, it’s like I, I felt the brand had so much potential that I had to raise the bar of who Melanie was to fit Alpha Femme. Mm. And that was amazing because instead of trying to build the business, instead of having Melanie and Laer try to build a business that would be successful so that I could feel like I had done it, you know, that feeling we sometimes have where it’s like I’m trying to build a business so that I won’t have to worry about money. And so that I will feel like I have done something with my life. I, I I I, mm-Hmm it went from that to, whoa, if I end up being, if it’s in my life in hindsight at the end of my life that I’m the one that founded Alpha Femme, what will that have meant?
MAL (24:14):
Who do I need to be? Do, am I even an energetic match for this brand and what it could be? And so that made me raise the bar in even who, who I was. And it was like, I’m the founder of this brand that represents the world. There was like a, an uplevel there, but the real huge uplevel that happened for me that changed everything. And this is quite interesting because the story starts in 2020 or the story starts, pardon me, in 2013 when I went bankrupt and I was sleeping in my car, IWI had, I was working a commission only sales job. So if I made nothing in one day, no money came. There was no minimum wage. It was just whatever money I made. And there were days and days and days that I made absolutely no money whatsoever. I’m sleeping in the front seat of this car.
MAL (24:55):
I sometimes I have money for a night at the hotel. Most nights I’m just sleeping directly in the car. Some days I can eat, some days I can’t. Like it’s, it, there’s just no consistency in my life whatsoever. And I have this like really traumatic experience while I’m sleeping in the front seat of a car and there’s first responders on site and they, one woman comes, psychologist sits in the car with me and starts talking to me and she’s like, I don’t know why, but I keep having this, this feeling to give you this business card of this person. I feel like you need to speak to this person. And it was this super like spiritual, like a person, like a, that could see into the future kind of thing. And I’d never done this stuff before at all. So I’m, I, I’m like, okay, thank you.
MAL (25:36):
But I have no money for this whatsoever. I have no money. And so I keep the card in my car and I keep looking at it and it’s burning the image in my head of this person. Like, I, I need to call, I need to do it, but I don’t have the money to do it. So I chose to not, I slept in the my car for cup for like, nonstop, nonstop, nonstop. Even when I had the money not eat, even if I had the money to save up to buy this one session for a hundred dollars. And I drove up to this person’s condo and she was moving, there were boxes everywhere when I walked in. She said, I’m sorry, the place is a mess. We’re moving. You know, I’ll have to have you sit in my bedroom. I sat on her bed, I was like, I’m gonna die.
MAL (26:13):
This is how the story ends, . And so she does this session with me and the worst thing is like, I didn’t get it the session. Like, I just remember leaving there feeling so mad. I tore the card up. I was so upset because the things she was telling me were just so out there, like, I’m hoping for answers. And she’s like, I see you change the world where the mountains meet the ocean and all this stuff. And I’m like, oh my God, what have I done? You know? And so for years I thought that was a bunch of baloney. But in 2020 I was in Hawaii when the pandemic hit and they shut down Hawaii and they wouldn’t let us leave. My brother was about to have his first baby. And my sister, my fiance and I were in this one house in Hawaii.
MAL (26:58):
We were, we had only rented it for a few days to do content creation. They shut the country down. We couldn’t leave. They had no other Airbnbs, no other hotels. Like we either stayed there, we lived in the street and it was way above our budget. It was the craziest thing. And we were having this like meeting the three of us, what are we going to do? And my sister, obviously, I had told her the story about the this woman in the card and all the things, but she just has this look on her face. Like she just saw a ghost. And I said, what, what? Like, what? And she, she said, just look. Oh, because that’s the craziest thing. Like I was, I was in a town where there is no ocean. Like I don’t, there she says to me, you’re gonna change the world where the mountain meets the ocean. There is no ocean. Like I am in Quebec, Canada. There is no ocean anywhere. And so I said to her, which ocean? And she said, oh, I can’t tell you that. Of course you can’t. Okay, how do I even get there? And she said, you’ll be there when it happens.
MAL (28:01):
. I’m like very detailed, very detailed. Like this is, I’m so glad I I I forfeited food in shelter for this conversation. But later on my sister says like, look where we are. And we were literally right where this huge mountain and the ocean collided and she’s like, we’re where the mountain meets the ocean and you’re there when it happened. And I just got chills everywhere and I was just like, oh my God, we could make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like I could decide that this happens and then the whole thing would be true. Like this would be the greatest story in the world. And we just did this like let’s do it kind of thing. We ended up there for over two months and my business went from six figure months to million dollar months like that. Wow. But we, it stopped being about Melanie Ann layer.
MAL (28:53):
It stopped being about alpha femme and it started being about changing the world where the mountain meets the ocean. Hmm. It started being about helping people through a pandemic. It started being about having a mission, feeling like there was a reason that I was alive to serve the planet. Like I, I took it out of my, am I good enough? Am I worthy? Do I have what it takes? Do I, blah, blah, blah. All the little chatter. And I expanded my vision outside into like my impact on the world as it stands. And my entire business changed. And I just kept myself in that mindset. This isn’t about my worthiness and my deserving. Every single thing I touch helps people. Every dollar in my business is a person who’s expanding every Yes. Is a person who’s working on their life, their purpose, their their marriage, their their business is helping people.
MAL (29:43):
It’s like, I’m a funnel now. Mm-Hmm. Everything that goes through me comes to other people. Whoever’s distributing the funds up there is going, okay, pass it through her hands. Money in her hands is good for the world. Power in her hands is good for the world. Influence in her hands is good for the world. And so my message to people is like, get out of the little smallness of your fear that you somehow are inadequate because that, that’s like you are just hoping everything that’s funnels towards you is just gonna come to you and die there.
AJV (30:13):
Yeah. So good. Cut
MAL (30:14):
The floor. Cut the floor and make sure that things go through you, not just to you make sure that you amplify everything you receive and you’ll never have to get blocked about worthiness again. And actually it becomes about the world. And you can stop being all stuck in your ego and we can actually start doing something.
AJV (30:31):
You know what I love most about everything that you just said is that whole thing of like, stop worrying about what comes to you and pay attention of what’s going through you. Because I think that is, it is such a limiting belief of going, like everything I’m doing is just so that money comes into the account or a client comes into the account or followers show up or emails show up. It’s like, that’s really small thinking.
MAL (30:57):
AJV (30:58):
I love that about this. Like, no, don’t think about what comes to you. Think about how it comes through you of just like, whatever comes through you needs to go right back out.
MAL (31:07):
Yeah. And, and it’ll, that’s
AJV (31:09):
An abundant mindset and
MAL (31:11):
It’ll, and it’ll create so much beauty on the way through. But everything is temporary. You know, even the money you think you want, you want it so you can spend it on something
AJV (31:21):

MAL (31:22):
You know, it’s like everything, if it comes through you, if there’s something that passes through, joy is temporary, sadness is temporary. Just let it pass through. Let just let yourself be the biggest conduit you can be and don’t shut yourself off and shut down the channels when you’re afraid of losing. You know, don’t hang on too tight to things ’cause you’re afraid if you lose them, you lose them forever. Just be confident that things through you are good for the world and amplify how much can pass through you.
AJV (31:50):
Yes. I love that. And you said something earlier, I wanna go back to really quick, and I’m, I’m cognizant of the time because I think there’s so much richen richness in the conversation. But one of the things that you said earlier, and again, this is again how I perceived it, is like, don’t wait until it’s perfect to get going. Like, don’t wait to get going. And I think a lot of people wait to get going ’cause it’s like, oh, it has to look a certain way or I have to have this lined up a certain way. So I’d love to just hear like, what would your 2 cents be to the people here out there listening? Well that’s sounds great for you Melanie. I’m so glad you did that, but I don’t have this, this or this or that. And then it’s like, and I love that you come from a Yeah, don’t give me any, I don’t have that. I was making calls from my car, living in my car. So we’re good there. And, and still people really get stuck with like, I just can’t do it yet. Right. I can’t sell it yet. I can’t teach it yet ’cause my website’s not live or whatever limiting belief they’ve come up with. And so for those people listening who going, yeah, but it’s not ready.
MAL (32:56):
Yeah. I think the most important thing is it’s not about what it looks like. It’s about what it is. So if it’s good, it’s ready. The only time I would say, okay, get like, take the time is if you’re like, I don’t know how to do it. You know, I wanna, I wanna do a coaching business, but I’m terrible at coaching. I want, I wanna be an art, I wanna sell my paintings, but I’ve never painted a painting and I’m no good at painting. I wanna be an a singer. But I I, I haven’t taken lessons. I don’t know how to sing. I’ve never s sang a song. Like that’s when I’m like, okay, well then get good at your craft. Mm-Hmm . But don’t wait to market something that’s already good because you don’t think it looks good. It’s not about what it looks like.
MAL (33:34):
It’s about what it is. How many hole in the wall spots do people line up at the door outside and it’s like, don’t let this fool you. This is the best pizza. Yeah. This is the best coffee, this is the best. You know what, whatever it is. Like there’s a lineup. You can’t even get in the best tacos. And it’s like this place, this place , it’s, it’s, it’s insane. It’s not about what it looks like. It’s about what it is. And that is such an important thing because what it is is the truth. What it looks like is what you manage to make the truth represent. You know, you get, you represent the truth as best as possible, but it doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. If it’s the truth, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. It will always work.
AJV (34:17):
And back to what you said earlier, it’s like if you’re so good at your craft that you’re helping your clients get results, everything else will work.
MAL (34:28):
AJV (34:28):
And I don’t have to have all the things. Okay. I have one more category, so I’m bouncing around a little bit. ’cause I think there’s so many good nuggets here. You mentioned this earlier, which I think is a really good takeaway for a lot of people who are listening. And so I didn’t wanna just skip over it and not come back to it. It’s incentivize your customers to help you grow your business. It’s the, you know, the difference of like, hey, whether I’m gonna pay you or I’m gonna pay marketing agencies or Facebook ads or whatever. So being selective of like, how am I gonna spend the funds that I have to help grow my business and why not market and create some incentive to my clients to refer me business. So you wanna talk about that for a sec?
MAL (35:07):
Well, the most beautiful frequency I’ve ever found for my business is for me, for you, for us, for me, for you, for us. If I have it be all about me, there is no us. And if there’s no us, there’s no long-term business. If I make it everything about you, there’s also no us . So there’s no long-term business. So what really makes relationships work is I’m invested. You’re invested and we care. And I feel like if you care about your clients, but you also love your business and you’re dedicated to your business being excellent and your clients can tell you love your business and you’re so dedicated and you’re excellent at what you do and you wanna invite them to help you grow it, there’s something about that where it’s like, this is not just helping you get rich. This is like, you love what you do, people are genuinely helped by your work. I wanna be a part of that. Plus I get rewarded for that. Like, that’s amazing. And I, I think it’s just remembering if it’s only good for you, it will have a limit to how big it can be.
AJV (36:07):
Mm-Hmm. that’s good. And I love that too. So I, this is something we talk a lot about on different interviews on the show is, you know, different ways of growing your business that are in alignment with you. And I just like, you know, we, we also come from, we started Brand Builders group, our company with no podcasts, no email list, no social media we had nta, we had nil. It was word of mouth and a pretty decent reputation with a small group of people who said, we’ll tell people. And then, you know, that’s how this started and how it grew. And what I love is, you know, very similar to you, it’s like how we have grown our business organically for the last five years is we pay everyone 10% lifetime referral fees on gross revenue. And it’s like we made a decided decision where they’re gonna pay marketing companies and website developers and Mark Zuckerberg, or we’re gonna pay the people that we know like trust and who believe in us.
MAL (37:05):
That’s incredible.
AJV (37:07):
Anyone can do that, right? It’s like, it’s just choosing on where you invest the funds, right? And it’s like, that’s your choice. So make your choice. Don’t be mad about it. But you get to make your choice. And I think that’s a really solid, great way of going, Hey, I win, you win, we win. I love my business and this is a great way for you to spread something that you love and get paid for it. I win. You win. Thus, I think that’s such a good reminder to everyone. And back to, there’s many different ways to build something that you love. Don’t be afraid to try things. Don’t be afraid to pivot. Don’t be afraid to change and adapt through the process. It is a part of finding your niche. It’s a part of finding your groove.
MAL (37:49):
AJV (37:51):
I love that. Where should people go if they want to stay in touch with you? Like where would be like the central place that you would wanna say, Hey, if you run a, a real feel of what I talk about and, and here’s what I, I loved this conversation today. I thought, I mean I probably have like 10 bullet points that I wrote down and I usually have like five . I think there’s so much richness in business tactics and strategies are an important part of business. And at the same token, sometimes you just need to set those aside and just be like, am I good at my craft? Is my craft ready to share? And if it is, start doing it.
MAL (38:29):
And the wild thing is like all the strategies work.
AJV (38:32):
MAL (38:33):
All of them. So it’s just none of them work for a not good product. Yeah. All of them work. When you’re in alignment, it’s just about what do you like? So even if it’s a good strategy, if you hate it, it’s not good for you. If it’s a good strategy and you love it, it’s good for you. And you tell people that’s the best way because it’s good for you. They try. It’s not good for them. So I love, I love strategy, I love trying different strategies, but from the place of if the energetics are aligned to all the strategies work. Yeah.
AJV (38:59):
And I love that too. It’s like anyone who says this is what you have to do and this is how you have to do it, it’s like, well not really. There’s a way
MAL (39:07):
For my scientific mind comes in and is like, really, let me see if I can find another way. Yeah.
AJV (39:13):
, because this is not true. It’s like there’s always a new way. Like, you know, we forget that only 15 years ago there was no social media. So it’s impossible that it’s the only way to get business today. It did not exist for most of yeah. History. So anyways, back to where should people go if they want more of this?
MAL (39:33):
So at this stage still, I don’t have a website. So the way is Facebook and Instagram. So you’ll either be my friend on Facebook or you follow, I have two accounts on Instagram, Melanie n Layer and Alpha Fme. And if you follow that, you’ll know when I have free masterclasses, you’ll know what programs are running. You’ll be able to read my posts that are masterclasses within themselves, watch my live streams. Like I’m, that’s where I connect with people and that’s the way to do it.
AJV (39:58):
And I will make sure to put all of the different links in the show notes ’cause she’s got her personal and Alpha F for Facebook and Instagram. So just go to the show notes and you can grab those. Connect with Melanie directly. Melanie, this was awesome. Really, really awesome, rich conversation. I’ll say that probably five more times today. totally unexpected highlight of my day. So, so enjoyed this time together. Thank you so much for being on the show and for everyone else who is listening, please stay tuned for the recap episode and we will see you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 469: How To Cultivate Your Community | Lindsey Schwartz Episode Recap

AJV (00:00):
One thing that we can never talk enough about is the importance of building community, right? And that’s not just in our personal lives, like building community through our church or our gym, or for me, like bar three class but building community as a part of our business. And I just had the coolest conversation with Lindsay Shortz, who’s the founder, how founder of Powerhouse Women. And I thought this conversation was worthy enough to share just a couple of quick highlights around the importance of community and the difference between an audience and community. So I would just like for you to settle in, and I want you to think about this in, I guess really three different formats. One is just community in general, right? That could be in your personal life, in your professional life, in your family life, whatever. It’s just in general, like the importance of how do you establish good, authentic lasting community, right?
AJV (01:04):
The second one, I want you to think about it in terms of client relationships, right? So these are the people who are paying for your products and services. These are your customers, right? And how do we think about community in that realm? And then the third category is I want you to think about community in terms of your team. And these could be full-time employees. These could be part-time contractors, and anywhere between, but community also happens within your company, within your organization. And I want you to think about it and those three different formats, because it doesn’t matter where you are. One of those fits . And that’s my point is we might be talking about community in relation to something specific with building a more engaged community online. But that happens in your personal life. It happens with your customers, and it happens with your team.
AJV (01:56):
So it doesn’t matter. So I just want you to think about this as you head into this conversation of which of those buckets am I gonna filter through with this information, right? And maybe it’s all three but I would encourage you to pick one for this first round lesson of which of these is this most closely apply to me? And where I am right now? Is it my overarching just community in general that would be more personal? Is it my clients, my customers, or is it my team? Right? Whether contractors or employees, doesn’t really matter. So first highlight is knowing the difference between audience and community. And I thought this was so wise. And so right on where Lindsay said that you have to think about your audience is all about connecting with you, but community is about helping your audience members connect with each other. And that really is so powerful because when you, when anyone thinks about how do you grow a scalable business, it’s you have to remove yourself from the center of
AJV (02:58):
It, right? And at some point it’s gotta grow beyond you. And that means that people are now connecting and communing and collaborating with and without you. And that could be, again, personally, professionally, and in terms of your team or your customer base. So that’s the first thing, is just knowing that an audience, you know, in this regard is thinking about your customers, right? This could be online followers, offline customers, doesn’t matter. But an audience is that one-to-one relationship. Whereas a community is how do we take all of our customer or potential customer relationships and start connecting them with each other so it’ll go so much further beyond you. You’re just the conduit of these relationships. You’re the host of the party, right? You’re the person who’s just sending out the invitations. But you’re not expected to entertain or talk to every single person the entire time at a party, right?
AJV (03:53):
You bring people together who are going to talk amongst themselves, who are going to connect and network, interact among themselves. Same thing happens in our personal life. Same thing happens within our team. And the same thing happens in our customer base. That’s the first thing. Second thing, create the culture of people that you actually want to attract. You know, tons of much smarter people than I am talk about culture, but one thing that I believe is that culture should attract or repel people , right? If you have a well-defined culture, people are attracted to it like a magnet, or they are repelled by it, like a horrible odor . So you want to be, in some regard, just enough polarizing where people can go, I didn’t know a group of people like this exact existed. This is what I’ve been looking for. Or it’s like, oh, you are not my people.
AJV (04:49):
But you want people to resonate with that. And the best way you can do that is you have a well established and a firm foundation of the culture of people that you want to attract. And so I, in my conversation with Lindsay Short, she said, so how do you do that? There’s two thi two quick things that I would love to share that she shared. Number one is ask yourself, what do you want to unify people around, right? So when you think about rallying the troops, what is that? You know, mor cry, right? That rallying mission that everyone is coming together because they all believe in the same thing. They all want the same thing. That would be the first thing. Second thing is ask yourself, who is the aspirational person that my community wants to become, right? So is it they’re all trying to become better at wealth management. Maybe you’re a financial advisor. Maybe they’re, they’re trying to become better moms. Maybe you you are very much in the business of helping support moms or working moms or parents or dads, whatever, right? Maybe it’s for the aspiring entrepreneur, maybe it’s for the established entrepreneur, whatever.
AJV (05:57):
Just decide who it is, right? In order for you to attract these people, you have to know who they are and then where to find them, right? And that, that’s a huge part of just establishing like, this is the culture of the people that we wanna attract. It’s like, you know, at Brand Builders Group, we say that we serve mission driven messengers. We want to attract a culture of people who are unified around this idea of mission over money, and that you make money as a byproduct of serving people well, of living out this mission, of having a message that is worth sharing and having the courage to share it, right? That is what we’re trying to unify people around. And the aspirational person that our community wants to become is they want to become that person who is a conduit of good change in the world.
AJV (06:49):
They believe that their message has the power to change someone’s life, right? That is who we want to attract. And if we do a good job at that, then people will come into our community and go, wow, I’m so happy I found you. Or they’ll go, whoa, y’all are whack. I’m outta here. And that’s okay. And we have to be okay with that because we have well defined bound. We have well-defined boundaries of who we are trying to track attract, because we know the culture of who we are. And I can just speak personally, the same thing goes for the people on our team. The people that we are attracting to work at Brand Builders Group also go, man, I wanna, I wanna be about something that’s not just about money in my banking account. I wanna be about something that is bigger than me.
AJV (07:31):
I wanna be a, a play a small part in something huge. That’s who we’re attracting, right? And I can say that part is working great. Our people are amazing. I feel utterly blessed and ignorant of how we are attracting such awesome people other than they are aligned with the same things that we believe, right? So we are attracting them in that sense. I wish I had some great recruiting tactic. I could tell you I don’t. I complete completely dumbfounded by that other than we are culturally aligned. And you can tell it from the first five minute conversation, right? All right, last thing. Find creative and tactically sufficient ways for people to connect with each other. So that’s a tactically sufficient way. So what I mean by that is easy to implement, right? So they had, you’ve got to tell people what to do in order to connect with each other, and they have to be able to do it in the moment, not make a checklist.
AJV (08:27):
And, okay, I’ll go do that on LinkedIn later. It’s like, no. Like right now, what are creative ways, and not even just creative ways, what are ways, , what are ways that you can establish for people to connect with one another within your community? Again, your family, your friends, your customers, your team members. So step one is have a place where people can find their people, right? And so internally, like as a company, we use teams. And something that we’ve integrated this year that has been amazing for connection is, Hey, taco, and hey Taco allows our teams to reward each other for a job well done, and to congratulate them and connect. And we are a virtual team for the most part. And that’s been amazing. The other thing we’ve done is we’ve got, we’ve set up two to three different coworking places around Nashville.
AJV (09:11):
So our people have physical locations since we’re virtual to go and connect and brainstorm and ideate. We’re having quarterly social events. And these are just ideas with our team within our client community, right? Brain Builders Group community. Who is the best community in the whole world? Shout out to all of you. It’s, we spent an entire year building an app in an integrated way, a one place, you know, stop for you to ask questions get on live trainings, network, have chats, have a social feed have topic specific forums, all these different things. And it’s like within this one place, they have tons of ways of connecting. They can hop on virtual training calls, they can hop on networking calls. They can be a part of meetups. They can do forum conversations, which are again, like vertical conversations around certain topics.
AJV (10:00):
They can just chat with each other in the social feed, kind of like a Facebook group. They can have one-on-one chat conversations right in the app. And this was a huge undertaking because we said there’s so many different ways for people to connect If we don’t figure out how to consolidate, and that was the word for us, consolidate these ways, we’re gonna lose people, right? They’re gonna be so confused and so overwhelmed. They’re not gonna do anything. And that’s what I mean by tactically sufficient, right? So it’s one thing to go, you can, you know, hop on this zoom call, you can go to the Facebook group, you can go to, it’s like you can, but most don’t . It’s too much. And so we have found ways to consolidate all of these different options into one platform. That’s not gonna work for everyone. But what we found for us is that the consolidation into many things in one place was a way that we could create ways for our community to connect with each other.
AJV (10:51):
Now that’s all digital. We also do 48 different virtual events. That’s not gonna work for everybody. We do six in person, not gonna work for everyone. So you just have to take some of these ideas and go, how could I implement something that would help my community connect with each other? It could be a free Facebook group, it could be Zoom meetups, it could be client appreciation events. It could be virtual. That could be virtual or in person. You could do a variety of things. You could also just go through your client Rolodex and go, who should meet each other? It could be as free and as manual as that, or have an app, right? So there’s all different things. The point is, is what are you doing to help your community connect with more than just you, but help them to connect with each other? And that’s what turns an audience into a fully alive and engaged community.

Ep 468: 3 Steps To Help Turn Your Audience Into Your Community with Lindsey Schwartz

AJV (00:02):
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Influential Personal Brand podcast, AJ Vaden here, and I’m so excited to introduce a new friend and I say a new friend because although we have dozens and dozens of mutual friends, somehow Lindsey and I have just now gotten to meet. But I believe it was God’s timing and super serendipitous because it’s super in alignment with what we’ve been hearing from the Brand Builders Group community, and all of our listeners on the influential Personal Brand podcast. So, I’m so excited to introduce you to Lindsey Schwartz. I’m going to give her a formal introduction in just a second. But first and foremost, I wanna tell you why you need to stick around for this podcast and how you know if this episode is for you. Number one, if you are in a season of trying to figure out how to build engaged community around your personal brand and your business.
AJV (00:52):
Well, this is, this is a custom designed episode for you. Number two, if you’re figuring out how to get more engagement from your community online and or offline, this would be an episode for you to episode for you. Number three, if you’ve been thinking to yourself, I wanna create live event experiences, and you’re wondering, should I do that? Why would I wanna do that? How would I do that? And are you crazy enough? Do you do that ? And these would all be good things that we’re gonna talk about on today’s episodes. It was really about building engaged community. How does it begin? How do you continue it? How, how does it end? But then also weaving in some conversations around how do we do that on, on offline environment with this idea of events and experiences, but also in the digital ecosystem with social media?
AJV (01:45):
And how do we stay in touch with our community when we don’t live nearby and we don’t see you all the time? So that is what we’re gonna talk about today. And if that sounds appealing to you, then don’t miss a second. Stick around to the very end, and you are going to be glad that you did. Now, with all of that said let me introduce you to Lindsey Schwartz. I will read you an official bio, but I know just even by reading this, there are millions of things that she has left off in this because I know, ’cause I’ve heard so many amazing things about her for so long that she is very much downplaying all of her awesomeness in this bio. But I’ll tell you that she is an author, she is an investor, she is a master community builder, and the founder of Powerhouse Women, which is fiercely committed to supporting other women, which I love. But she also invests her time in mentoring women and girls of all ages. And I think that’s amazing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student or a, you know, powerhouse entrepreneur, the power of just mentorship and leadership is ever present and all things that you’re doing. And I’m so excited to learn from you today and to ask you questions, and most importantly, introduce you to our awesome community. So, Lindsey, welcome to the show.
LS (03:01):
I am so thrilled to be here. I’m a longtime listener of the podcast, so this just feels super fun.
AJV (03:07):
I am so excited. And one of the things that I would love to do before we get into the nitty gritty details, since we are newer friends and you’re new to our audience, I would love for you to just kind of give a high level background of where you started and how you got to where you are and what you’re doing today.
LS (03:26):
Mm. I am so grateful that you asked this part of the story because the further removed I get from it, I think people see what powerhouse women is today. And it’s easy to forget that everybody has that day one. Everybody has that season where you’re figuring it out as you go. And powerhouse women really started when I decided to do something that challenged me, probably for the first time in my adult life. And when I tell you that I had lived a very safe life, I had lived a life that didn’t involve much risk, it didn’t involve getting outta my comfort zone. And it was tricky because I am the person that can give 60, 70% of my full potential, and I can create results that look really shiny on the outside. But I think you get to a point where you realize that personal growth is such a fundamental need.
LS (04:20):
Our own evolution is such a fundamental need that that life starts to feel really small if you’re not stepping into things that really challenge you. For me, this season really came to a head about seven years into building a, a little network marketing business that I built. And, and it was really successful. So I shouldn’t really even call it little, but I was in this season of restlessness, just praying for direction, praying for an answer. And, and, you know, I think we, we often pray prayers that we’re not ready for the answer for Mm-Hmm. , we’re not ready to get the answer. And that, that prayer led me down a journey of saying yes to writing a book, a self-published book. And that was the last thing I really thought I had any business doing. I was not a writer. I always tell my audience at our events, I had this little blog called Love Lindsey.
LS (05:07):
And I published consistently one article per year because I was just so afraid of putting myself out there. You know, they say publish consistent content. So every year I would put out one blog , and then I wondered why I wasn’t being discovered, why my personal brand wasn’t taking off. And I, I just had to really come to terms with the fact that I, I was what was holding myself back. So I, I said yes to writing this book, never, ever in my wildest dreams intending for it to become something more. And that journey of writing for an entire year change changed my life. It had me really face where I was playing small and stopping myself. And the moment that fear would show up, I would do this kind of cute quit where I would, I would just choose comfort and all of that to say, I finished the book, spoiler alert, I named it Powerhouse Woman because I really wanted to, I was speaking to myself just as much as I was speaking to the brilliant women around me, that we don’t, we don’t need to achieve something more to become this powerhouse.
LS (06:05):
It really is already within us. It’s within the seeds of these dreams and visions that are put on our heart for a reason. And the book was released, and my, I had some support in, in the publishing process. My editor and publisher now, good friend, said, you should do a book launch event. That’s, that’s what people do to promote their book. And I said, okay. So the very first Powerhouse Women event was really just a day supposed to be about celebrating this book and this message. And I’ll never forget, you know, and we’re gonna dig into what a big production it’s become. Now. I’ll never forget at the end, women said, okay, well, what’s next? And I was just kinda like, goodbye . You know, I had nothing else. I had not even thought through what this could become, but it all really started with the seed of getting out of my own way, really deciding to challenge the limits of what I knew myself to be capable of.
LS (06:58):
And realizing that there were so many others who were in a similar season. They just knew they were meant for more, but they were stopping themselves because of fear, or self-doubt, or all the things that now we know are so normal. That is actually the price of admission. That’s how, you know you’re pursuing something that’s, that’s worth pursuing. So, fast forward, here we are seven years later. I know we’re gonna get into all of that, but the beginnings of the story are very humble. I had no clue what I was doing. I was really operating on faith and on this, this knowing that I couldn’t keep playing small and hiding my gifts anymore.
AJV (07:37):
Hmm. I love that. One of my favorite quotes that I keep getting fed to by the Instagram algorithm is let this year be a God did a year. And I love stories like yours ’cause it’s like, you can take no credit. And it’s like, it’s like to give him all the glory of, if we just step back and step into faith, it’s amazing what he’ll do without us . As long as, as long as we’re willing participants of going, Hey, I’ll step out and I’ll take that next step. And God, I just show me the way, show me what to do. Yeah. And it’s amazing how, and you have enough courage to just go, I don’t know, but I’m going to move forward in faith what amazingness comes from this. So that was seven years ago. What would you say is like the biggest thing that you’ve learned from, Hey, I’m gonna do this book launch event too. Oh no. This is way more than just a book launch event. This is a whole event series. What would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learned in the last seven years? Yeah.
LS (08:38):
Well, I think on the heels of what you just shared, I thought I was living my life by faith up until that point, but I, I realized that faith doesn’t actually enter the picture until you step beyond what you know yourself to be capable of. So here I was operating within what I could control and what I, I wanted to control the outcome. I wanted to control people’s perception of me. I wanted to control so many variables of it. And I had this tight grip on my story and my purpose and my life. And it wasn’t until I opened that up and I said, okay, I’m gonna step way out, way beyond what I know myself to be capable of. And now the lesson I learned in that is that that was where all the magic lies. That’s where the miracles lie. You don’t actually start to scratch, scratch the surface of what you’re capable of until you step into that feeling of, can I really do this?
LS (09:34):
So even still now, I know that my next miracle, my next breakthrough is waiting for me. Just beyond, like, if you imagine kinda like looking over the horizon, it’s, it’s just over what we can see. Mm-Hmm. And that’s easy to say, and it sounds really cute, and we’ll probably all be fed a quote like that on Instagram this week. But it’s a whole other thing. Let, let’s just be real. It’s a whole other thing when like, your heart is pounding and your palms are sweating and you’re like, am I really about to do this? Which kind of brings us to, I know we’re gonna get into the just the community element today. I think that’s why community is absolutely essential, because I’m not strong enough to do this on my own. And I, I don’t know many people who are, I just think we’re, we’re really designed to create in community.
AJV (10:18):
I love that. So that’s such a good transition to talk about community. And so I would love to know, it’s like, what would you say is the difference? Because people always talk about my audience, my audience, but an audience and a community are really different. Yeah. And so how would you define like, here’s my audience versus here’s my community.
LS (10:39):
It’s, it’s such a important distinction to make, and I’m sure other people would have their own definitions, but I remember when I started to be asked to teach on this, and I really had to sit step back and go, well, I don’t know, we’re just do, I’m just doing what I’m doing. I couldn’t even tell you what it is. But the moment I sat down, it really kind of just downloaded right there in that moment that I think we, we confuse an audience with a community, and both are necessary. And I have strategies for building both in my business, but building our audience is really step one. It’s really it. When I think about building my audience, I’m, I’m answering the question for myself. How can I get more people to connect with me? Whether that’s me as a personal brand or me as a business brand?
LS (11:23):
And that’s important. We want people to know about you and know about how amazing you are and how you can serve them. But most people are stopping there. They think, okay, I’m just gonna get that attention and convert that into sales. And you can do that. That, that’s beautiful. It’s a, you know, that’s a whole strategy. But what I predict and what I know from my own personal experience is when you take it a level deeper and you start to ask a better question, once you have that attention, you have a way to bring new people into your world. It’s asking a question of not how can I get them to connect with me? Now they’ve done that. How can you get more of those people to connect with each other? And that’s where community really starts to form. And it’s, I mean, it is the most valuable thing that you can build for your brand is a connected, engaged community.
LS (12:13):
And even when people hear engaged community, I think they imagine, oh, when I post something on Instagram, they’re talking back to me. No, no, no. What I talk about when I say engaged community is I’ll use, you know, my own story as a, just a mini example. We will launch, you know, event tickets. And I’m actually not really selling that event. It’s the people in our community saying, Hey, five friends, you have to come with me. Yes, buy your ticket. I’m gonna send you the link. But it’s taken a lot of intentional cultivating to get to that point. So when you have an engaged community, you know, because you have these, it’s just like this natural built in almost affiliate marketing channel. You have these referrals coming in, you have this brand loyalty that actually can’t be taken away and it can’t be matched. It’s so deep. Community is just so much deeper. But it really starts with that question, how do I get more of the people who are following me to connect with each other?
AJV (13:13):
I love that. And it’s so true. But I love that distinction of building an audience is helping people connect with you. Building a community is helping them connect to each other. And that’s awesome. So I would love for you to talk about how do you do both of those mm-Hmm. How do you, in all that you’re doing, build your audience, right? Because it’s like, first you kind of have to start there. And then how do you, today between all the different mediums build a truly engaged community? How do you facilitate that?
LS (13:48):
Well, it’s interesting having you ask that question in that way, because what I realize is we, we actually focus primarily on building the community element. And that inherently has helped to also grow our audience. I think audience growth, and you have so many amazing resources even on this podcast to really dive deep into that. You know, it’s as simple as really knowing who is the person you’re speaking to, what, what works in terms of getting them to come, you know, and, and wanna engage with your account to listen to your podcast. So we just pay a lot of it. It’s kind of boring. We pay attention to metrics and numbers and we’re like, oh, wow. When we do a podcast about this topic, we tend to have more downloads. Or when we post quotes on our social media, those are actually what get us new eyeballs, new followers.
LS (14:34):
So there’s, I, I think the strategies for how to build an audience are, you know, there’s so many different resources out there, but for us, just really paying attention to numbers, metrics, what works. I’m most excited to talk a little bit about like, the strategy behind the community. ’cause I think this is kind of where it’s, there’s not many people really teaching this. Hmm. But when we, when I really sat down, like I said, to kind of put it into a formula that I could gift people, that I could help them have the success that we’ve had, I realized that there’s, there’s these three crucial elements. But if you skip the first one, the other two don’t matter. Okay. So the first one is, there’s this culture, there’s an energy and a magnetism. And even if you, you know, go to the powerhouse Women page today, or you, you meet someone, I, I always say that the true test of culture is if you meet someone who’s associated with that brand.
LS (15:26):
So if I were at a party and I meet someone who I know has worked with Rory and aj, because I follow their brand, I love their brand, I immediately assume some things about that person. That’s the culture. Whether you’ve intentionally created that. And if you haven’t, then now is the perfect time to start. Or if you haven’t, it’s, it’s really what do people know about your brand, whether or not you’re telling them that, what are your customers, the people who engage with you, what are they saying about your brand? But it starts with the, the easiest place to start. So if this is kind of like, woo, okay, that sounds deep. And where do I even begin to really cultivate that culture? I think the most important question any of us can ask if we’re really serious about building community is the question of, well, what do I want to unify people around?
LS (16:18):
What’s gonna be the connective tissue that brings people together? Because you can unify people around all sorts of things. You can unify them against, we all dislike this thing, this topic, this person, people unify around that you watch it happen all the time, or you can unify people around a common mission, a common cause. But what I found, I’ll just give you the cheat sheet for what I believe is the most, the most powerful thing to unify people around, especially those of you that are building more personal brands, is who do they wanna become? What’s the aspirational identity that they wanna become? And that, that’s essentially what we’ve done within powerhouse women is, you know, there’s this, people would probably use all different words to define it, but there is this mission-driven, heart-centered, collaborative version of ourselves and, you know, kind of like this future higher self that we’re all on this, this journey to step into. And so defining that culture, what you’re unifying people around is number one. Then there’s a whole strategy around,
AJV (17:30):
Before you go on, ’cause I wanna, okay, , I wanna just stop you for a second because I think this is the part that people so often skip over. Yes.
LS (17:38):
AJV (17:39):
It’s so focused on where do I get the people? Where do I find the people that they forget? It’s like if you don’t know who you’re trying to attract and why you’re trying to attract them and why they would stay, right? It’s like you’re missing the core element of what really builds community. And so Mm-Hmm, , I just wanna reiterate what you say ’cause I think it’s so powerful. It’s number one, what do I want to unify people around? And I think that is such a defining part of a business, a personal brand, but even just a, a life statement of what do I wanna be about? Like when, you know, we always say brand builders group, when people think of you, what do you want them to think of?
LS (18:17):
Yes ex, it’s exactly what you guys teach.
AJV (18:20):
And that is so true. It’s like if you met somebody that was associated with brand builders group, like we know, like hopefully they have this, this, this and this, because that would be an extension of the culture that we’re trying to create. And hopefully they wouldn’t have X, Y, and Z and there’s nothing wrong with X, Y, and Z. It’s just not what we represent. It’s, there’s a, there’s a community for that person. It’s just not here. And I think a huge part of that is knowing you gotta know who you are and who you’re trying to attract, so that when you find them, you’re like, that’s you. And they know that too. So I love that. Yeah. And then the second piece is, who is the aspirational pers the aspirational person they want to become. And if you have a whole bunch of people going after the same thing in the right direction, it will multiply.
AJV (19:08):
Because then it’s like they become your sales force, which is kind of what you said earlier. And I love that. And I don’t wanna skip over that. ’cause I think these are the types of things that people skip over and the plight of urgency to get it done. Mm-Hmm. and to be done. Yeah. And this is the hard work that is worth it. And it is the hard work that no one talks about, but it is the secret sauce. And so I love that you talked about that. Would you mind telling us those two things for you and powerhouse women? Like what is it that you’re unifying people around? I could take my guesses, but and then who is the aspirational person they wanna become? I would love to know what that is for you.
LS (19:47):
Yes. So from the very beginning, the motto within powerhouse women is we’re not meant to do business or life alone. So what we’re unifying people around is this belief that we are better together and not just as like a platitude of women supporting women, which is beautiful. There’s something wrong with that. But I, and, and this is very much the truth today. I want people to feel that when they walk in the room, I want them to feel it when they engage with someone that they meet from the community. It’s, it’s different and people feel it. So it, you know, what you’re unifying people around is, is so much more than words. It, it’s, it’s something that it takes time to, to really cultivate this, but the depth of it should be felt Mm-Hmm. Before you even have to say the words. So really that connection and true collaboration almost just seems like, not a strong enough word, but the belief that we’re better together.
LS (20:45):
And, and the aspirational identity is, is kind of what I described before of this woman who knows she’s meant for more and wants a space that it’s safe to be just as unapologetic about how big her dreams are and whatever size big really means for her. ’cause We all have different, different callings in life. But she, she feels the sense that she’s meant for more. She wants a place that it’s safe to be unapologetic about the big dreams, but equally safe to be really honest about the parts that are challenging and hard. There can be space for both. ’cause I believe when we’re, when we give ourselves the freedom to be just as honest about both and really open and unapologetic sharing both, that’s where our true power lies and where we really see that connection and multiplication of sharing in each other’s gifts really, really comes to life. So that would be my answer today. And there’s, you know, I think that’s important to know too. I’m constantly getting to know my own community. And my community is constantly evolving. So this isn’t something that you write down day one of starting your business. This, this should be something that evolves as your mission and your purpose evolves. And mine has,
AJV (21:58):
I love that so much. And I think too, just knowing that it does evolve and so whatever you said it as today, it’s like, let it organically change and evolve as things grow and progress. And that’s okay. ’cause It makes different, likely will look different, you know, from where you are today, seven years ahead, which I’m positively sure all of the things we’re gonna talk about have gone through an evolution process. Okay. So that’s number one I love. I just thought that was so powerful. I wanted to stop to make sure everyone got that. Yes. Okay. So that’s number two.
LS (22:29):
Well, and I, and I definitely wasn’t trying to steamroll and, and jump into number two because what I, what I said at the beginning is give yourself time to sit with and marinate in this first piece. And, and I think that’s the other thing I just wanna make sure to mention is I wasn’t clear about those things in the first couple of years, but what I was really dedicated to was constantly gathering feedback. And I would, I mean, I, I would set up one-on-one Zoom calls with, with women who would come to our events and, and just for 15 minutes and like really hear their heart. So the way that this started to form was by getting together, like, just communing with the people who, who were in, in some way or another really resonating with, with the message. So it, it took me some time to even get really clear.
LS (23:21):
I would say I remember so vividly it was, it was our third annual event. So first one was in 2017. In 2019, all of a sudden I felt like something clicked in. And that was after two years of building this community, listening to people not even really monetizing it yet, other than the event which was essentially just, you know, paying for itself barely. It was two years of cultivating this. So I want, I wanna make sure to, to state that piece. The, the second part, the second pillar of, of what it really takes to build not just an engaged community, but a profitable one, is that connection piece. And, and that’s the connection where you intentionally create ways for people to connect with each other. And, and this goes like to such a deep human need this. And, and if you look at the, the hierarchy of needs right above food, shelter, and water, like things that are actually necessary for our survival is a feeling of belonging.
LS (24:19):
Mm-Hmm. . So if your brand becomes a place where people know they can find their people, and this is so much of what I feel about Brand Builders Group and what you and a, what you and AJ, you and Rory have done is, is you know that you’re gonna find like-minded people there and then translating that into ways people can connect. And usually the pushback I get here is, but I hate Facebook groups and so do my, so do my people. And I never said anything about a Facebook group because the truth is connection has nothing to do, or community has nothing to do with the container, meaning the place where community happens, it’s the connection. So we build community and connection via our podcast by interacting directly with our listeners. We do have a Facebook group where people can connect, but we have a tech, we use text messaging to allow people to send us their questions and they feel very much engaged.
LS (25:17):
Like it’s a direct conversation between us and them. We do this on our social media channels. And my favorite little tip to give is, you know, do you use your Instagram captions to encourage connection between each other? Or do you use your captions to encourage connection with you? Now we use both, right? So a call to action if I want someone to engage with me is, you know, tell me what you think about this. Or we’ll post about a podcast and say, you know, have you ever experienced this? We’re asking them to talk back to us, but take in another step further and instead create captions maybe once a week that in call people to engage with each other. So we’ll do things like, hey, our motto here is, you’re not meant to do business or life alone. And we believe that the answer to anything you need is just one or two, you know, introductions away, or one or two bold asks away.
LS (26:08):
So in the comments, you know, comment below one need that you have in your business right now, and then go through the comments and see if there’s someone else that you could be the answer to their need. And we get people to engage with each other. A even simpler way to do this, this is like one of my favorite things to do it either in Instagram comments, or you can do this on Zoom calls, is we’ll just say, Hey, we’re gonna have everybody drop, you know, an emoji in the comments below. And all I want you to do is go and follow and DM the person who commented right above you. We’re gonna use this thread for you to make two new friends right away. You just send one message, you’re gonna receive one message. Little things like that, all of a sudden start to position you as sort of this, this place where people know they can come to your brand and they’re gonna meet like-minded people.
LS (26:56):
It’s no longer just about you and connecting with you as the brand. That’s gonna happen anyway. If I know that I’m gonna get a core human need met when I am interacting with your brand, I don’t even need to worry about people falling in love with the brand. That’s just gonna happen by default. So that connection piece, those are just two really easy examples for how you can start to build connection. Now, of course once you’ve gotten really clear, like, well, what do you wanna build connection around? ’cause It’s gonna be a different, different conversation. If I’m building co connection around business and entrepreneurship and, you know, supporting one another than it is if I’m building connection around gluten-free living and, and healthy eating or clean, you know, a clean lifestyle. So I think, again, starting with that most important piece, but connection is an action word. So how are you encouraging people and telling them to take the action that you wanna help them take?
AJV (27:55):
That’s so good. Because the truth is, as much as people say, I want community, they truly do need to be told how to build it. Yes. How to involved, what to do. It’s like, just give me some steps. Right? And so the easier you make it, it’s more likely they are to follow through on it. It’s like whoever’s above you, this is what you do. And it’s like, oh, okay, I can do that. Mm-Hmm. . But it’s like I hear, I hear so many people in my personal life and also in our professional life where it’s like, man, they’re lonely. They’re lonely because they’re doing something that their friends and family don’t agree with or think it’s crazy or they’re alone because this is a new venture and they don’t know anyone else who’s doing this or they’re lonely because they aren’t reaching out, they’re not asking for help, they’re trying to do it on their own.
AJV (28:41):
And it’s like, man, this is hard enough to do with other people. , you don’t, you don’t wanna isolate yourself and try to do it all alone. And I just hear from so many people, I just, I just don’t know where to go. I just don’t know what to do. You know, one of my favorite books is Find Your People by Jenny Allen. And like, the practical, I always tell people to me it’s like how to make friends as an adult. This is what this book is about. And I think it’s the same in business, it’s the same thing you’re doing. It’s like, man, you just need practical steps. It’s like, oh, I can do that. Mm-Hmm. . So I love that of just like telling people what to do, giving them short, easy, actionable steps, but then creating a variety of ways for people to get engaged with whatever fits their vibe.
LS (29:23):
Mm. It’s so, it’s, it’s so simple that it’s easy to overlook
AJV (29:29):
. Yeah. I mean it’s like just, I, I was like literally thinking to myself, I’m gonna have our community team mandatorily watch this interview. Yeah. Because there’s so many things of like, ’cause we do, I think, I don’t know, 48 v virtual events every year and what an easy thing for us to do with everyone. Put something in the comments, whoever was above you now go follow them. It’s like those are super tactical, easy to implement things that could revolutionize our community and the lives of the people in our community. And it’s like, I’m just like, mandatory. So they have to listen to this interview
LS (30:05):
. Well, and that was honestly AJ where I came up with it because I used to host a lot of Zoom calls for our community and you know, there’s like that, that period of time when you’re allowing people to log on and it’s a little bit awkward. Like, well, what do I say? I’m not diving into the content yet. I just, one day I, I just said it and I was like, oh, that was actually brilliant. And it so reinforces what we want people to know, powerhouse women as is. I just said, okay, we’re gonna do a quick little exercise, so no matter what, you’re gonna walk away tonight with two new friends. Yeah. And even just the way that I position it is further reinforcing that, hey, even if you’re brand new here now you kind of know that’s what this community is about. And so it’s, it’s not just doing these, these easy to implement things, it’s also how can you make sure you’re telling people the story of how this relates back to your brand and what you want people to know about your brand. Mm-Hmm. . So yeah, I could nerd out on this all day.
AJV (31:02):
I love that. I think that’s so good. So another question I have, wait, was there anything else? Were you gonna add anything else? So there
LS (31:09):
The third piece, and we won’t even really dive into this because unless you’re doing the first two, the third one doesn’t matter. But because like I said, there’s, there’s this journey. You’re essentially invi inviting people on. You’re inviting them to grow with you. So the third piece, because I love a good alliteration and I needed a C word, is the climb, which is do people see a clear way for them to continue to grow with you? Mm,
AJV (31:32):
That’s good.
LS (31:32):
And that there’s a whole other strategy to that, but I really want people to not, again, ’cause I think people jump to that and they’re like, oh, great, this is where I sell offers. No, not necessarily this, this is such an important piece, but if you aren’t mastering the first two, the third one is gonna fall flat. So we’ll kind of leave that there. We can always do a part two if we need to in the future at some point. But just asking yourself the question, do people see a clear path to grow with you? And I think the self rele reflection question is how are you modeling that as an aspirational leader? Are you constantly growing? Do your people see you evolving? Because that is, that sets the tone, especially if there’s a personal brand element to your business.
AJV (32:13):
Mm. I love this. One of the things that just like registered as you were talking about this is, although we’re talking about, you know, a community centric conversation today, my mind also just went to this is mutually applicable to all things company culture with recruiting, hiring and employee retention. It’s like there’s, that is your community. Yes. So don’t think this is just for, you know, your customers. This is for your so true and so true. This is equally as important for any of you who are maybe I don’t wanna build a huge community per se, but the truth is, is you do have a community, it’s your team, it’s all the people around you. So how are you instilling these things within your community so you have less turnover and better retention and happier employees and because they too are your best, you know, recruiting grounds. So you never have to go out and recruit like they’re doing it for you. So,
LS (33:11):
So well said.
AJV (33:12):
So many of those things are just very much the same. Now, one of the things that I wanna make sure we get to before we do run Outta time is one of the, you know, choices that you have made is to create this experiential component with live events. And I know that is no light undertaking. And so I would love for you to kind of just as much as you’re willing, pull back that dark black curtain and say like, this is what it’s actually like to run big events. And big again, is totally up to you to decide what’s big, but it’s like, I think an any, any size of event can be considered a big event because there is so much planning and orchestration and doesn’t matter if you’re talking about 50 people or 5,000 people. So what would you have to share with us about what it takes to sell out an event? In your case you’re, you know, 500, 600, 700 plus P person events, but what are the mechanics to pull that off? ?
LS (34:16):
Well, this has again been m many years of, I wouldn’t even say trial and error, it’s more dedication to building the community. Just knowing that, because I have always, and we haven’t even really touched on this, but let me just pull back the curtain all the way. We’ve always had a very small audience. We sold a 600 plus person event last year with an email list of under 10,000 or right around 10,000 and our social media falling now we’re starting to grow and get some traction. So anyone who’s coming to the brand now is like, you don’t have that small of an audience, but, but it, it really started very small. I didn’t even start an email list until mid 2018, almost two years into the business. Really wish I would could go back and change that. But so when I say I have always had a small audience, I think there’s so many of us that use that as an excuse.
LS (35:09):
Mm-Hmm. . And I never saw it as something that held me back. I just saw it as a reason why I had to think a little bit differently. And without realizing that this is what I was doing, I started to really focus on the connection and realizing that, okay, my first event, I remember my vision, it was so small, I actually at first thought I was gonna have the very beginning event in someone’s living room. That’s how small my vision was. But if someone could just, you know, re loan us their, their home, we could have, you know, 30 to 50 people. We eventually did expand that had a hundred women in the first event. And I remember having this moment again, just like so humbly in prayer going, God, why did you gimme this vision? If I am so ill-equipped to fulfill on it.
LS (35:51):
And just in something in my spirit kind of just said, okay, Lindsey, you’re thinking about this. Like you’re doing it by yourself. You don’t need to know 50 women, you just need to know 10. Who would all be willing to invite five friends? And so I think that was always the way that I look at, I look at my events that way now, is how can we provide such an incredible experience and make it feel like something that you wouldn’t wanna come to this alone, you wanna invite, like even that, that cool girl that you haven’t really talked to in your Pilates class, but you just sense that like she’s got, she’s into the same things and maybe you two could connect and go to this event together. So it’s just built into our culture that you don’t, yes, you can come to this event if you don’t have a community and you can find your community, but once you’re in, it’s kind of like, okay, who are you bringing with you next year?
LS (36:43):
Because you wouldn’t wanna keep this to yourself. So in the early, early days, you know, we’ve we’ve also never run ads. So it’s all completely organic, small audience. So anyone who wants to come at me and say, Lindsey, here’s my excuse for why this won’t work, , I mean, I would challenge you on that with so much love because it’s, it’s been, it hasn’t been an overnight success. It’s been a slow build, a very intentional build. But because I’ve prioritized the connection, building that culture in big and small ways, and then also just really creating this environment at the events where people want to come back and they want to bring others because they see a continual way to keep growing. We have been able to, you know, now we can post a Black Friday sale. We did this this year in a week and we sold 350 tickets, which, you know, is kind of like unheard of in the event space.
LS (37:43):
But it’s not just because I woke up one day and had this huge email list. It’s seven years of creating the connection, listening. There’s no one who’s more in touch with her community maybe than me. And still to this day, individually answering dms and messages and, and really creating the experience that this isn’t my community, it’s theirs, and I’m just the one who’s gonna throw the party for all of us to come together. So I know that that’s a little, I I can just hear the people who are more left brained, like, but give us a strategy, . So I’ll give you, I’ll give you some actual strategies. Okay. But you had to hear my heart first because this is far more of the conversation we’ve had up until this point than it is send these three emails. Okay. Mm-Hmm. , something tangible that has actually really worked for us is creating urgency through deadlines.
LS (38:34):
So in the past we would do like an early bird ticket sale, and then we would do, you know, just then from however long you have until the event, you’re just trying to get butts in seats, right? We’ve realized, again, data and numbers, which I have the most brilliant business partner, my COO, who is brilliant at this. And she really helps to bring, bring these numbers together. We noticed everyone buys tickets right before a deadline. So if you notice this trend within your own event promotion, just create more deadlines. So we create deadlines that are ticket price increases. That’s kind of like the mower conventional approach. So we’ll do, when we launch tickets in March, there will be a one week flash sale. You have seven days to get the best possible price. So it’s condensed into a really, really short timeframe. And we typically will sell 30% of our tickets in that one week.
LS (39:25):
Then it goes to our early bird, and that’s kind of like the longest stretch of time. It’s kind of like the Sahara Desert where you see a tumbleweed coming in that’s like one ticket sale every couple of days and you can’t freak out in this period time period. There’s just no urgency for people to buy. So until we have another price increase that we can really push toward, we create other deadlines. So one example of this is we host a speaker contest where two women get chosen to do like a five minute head talk, if you will. We call it my powerhouse moment. And you have to be a ticket holder in order to submit. And we, we realized that that was one of the biggest questions we would get asked from our, from our audience, from our community, was how do I become one of the speakers?
LS (40:10):
I would, my dream would be to speak on stage one day. So we, we gave them the opportunity and we built that into a reason why they, they should have their ticket earlier than maybe they were planning to purchase it. So yes, there are strategies, but it all really comes down to building that community and creating something that people can’t miss. It is, we actually now relate to it as our New Year’s Eve. That’s like the start of our year. And then we come back around and we celebrate the growth we’ve had in the previous year, you know, at the next event. That’s, that’s just kind of how we roll now. But,
AJV (40:42):
You know, part of that is, and I love that because I do think it’s like we’re just trained, our human brains are trained to go like, you know, fomo, right? It’s like, I want this good deal, don’t wanna miss this deadline. It’s like our brain thinks in those types of tranches. And, but what I love is that you’ve also incorporated some of the things that your community wants as incentives. Yeah. And you can only do that if you’re in touch with your community. You’re getting feedback from your community, you’re listening to your community, and you’re going, Hey, like let’s weave this in as an incentive to get people to move to action. ’cause We all need that. We all need some reason to get a, to move to action so that we don’t miss out on the things that we said we wanted. So I love that you’re also using the things that you already know about your community as a way of getting them to take action and in a, in a schedule that works for you, right? Because in the event business , there are deadlines that you have to meet too, right? So,
LS (41:42):
Oh my goodness.
AJV (41:43):
You know, I love it.
LS (41:44):
Once you, once you become an event host, you realize, oh, okay, I was the jerk that was always waiting last minute to buy my ticket. And then you’re hosting an event realizing you have to pay all of those deposits months in advance. So if you, if you really wanna get on an event hosts good side, buy your ticket early
AJV (42:04):
. But I have a, a good friend who I was asking her one day, like, what’s your pricing strategy? And she was like, oh, well I have my favorite client pricing and my pain in the butt .
LS (42:17):
That is so
AJV (42:18):
Genius. I was like, yeah, that’s true. And it’s like, yeah, you are gonna pay more if you wait till the last minute because it’s stresses everyone else out. So yeah, you’re gonna pay more if you pay. Yeah. You have less stress, it’s easier. But I think there’s a lot of those just nuances of going, like, I gotta get you to move to action so that we can move to action on the backend. And so how do we dually incentivize that? And I love that deadlines and discounts and speak on stage incentives. That’s like probably like a, a favorite that you mentioned of giving something to people that they’re asking for. And, you know, for so many people, what a cool life changing moment for them to like fulfill a dream that, you know, I love that. I think that’s so cool. I, I love all of this.
AJV (43:02):
And I know that you have your big events coming up and it’s in August and tickets are going to go on sale any day. So as this is being released, as, as you were listening to this right now we are timing the release of this also with your tickets going on sale for your 2024 Powerhouse Women event, which is going to be in Scottsdale on August 9th and 10th. What can you tell us about this event? So, I, I just, I’m an advocate of abundance mentality. Everyone who’s listening, if you wanna just go and watch how it’s done, right, like this would be like a great opportunity to do that. But tell us about this event and what, what should people expect?
LS (43:46):
Oh, you’re so kind. I I’m biased. So I always tell people this upfront. I am very biased. So I will tell you it is, it is the best day of my year. And it’s, it’s truly, it’s a culmination of everything we talked about today. If you are someone, if who is listening and you’re like, yeah, I, I wanna be more unapologetic about how big my dreams are and be in a space where that’s celebrated and where people aren’t intimidated or trying to talk me into a smaller vision, but I also wanna have real conversations about the challenges that come along the way. And I wanna meet my people. I wanna meet people who are on that same journey. Then we’ve brought them all together in a room for you. And it is happening August 9th and 10th. The 10th is the full day event. And then the ninth, we have a kickoff party, which is a pajama. It’s a big pajama party. We call it pajamas and Prosecco. And really, that even that’s intentional. It’s, it’s, it can be intimidating to walk into a room of powerful women, but it’s a little less intimidating if you get to meet them Friday night in fuzzy slippers. So, and they’re pajamas.
AJV (44:49):
We do
LS (44:49):
That in pajamas,
AJV (44:51):
In your pajamas. I love
LS (44:52):
It. It’s a little less intimidating. So it’s, it’s just the most beautiful celebration of ambition and authenticity. And we bring in amazing speakers, some who you’ve probably had on the podcast, Amy Porterfield, Jasmine Star has spoken on stage, Lori Harder, Patrice, Washington. We do have, I guess I can share it here. Jamie Kern Lima is coming this year, which I know you guys are helping That’s
AJV (45:16):
LS (45:16):
With her book launch. So we have a lot in store and I’m, I’m just so excited for it. Yeah. And the tickets will go on sale any day now. But like you said, even if you’re just listening to this and you just wanna take like a masterclass in how we are promoting this event, you know, tap into our email list, watch our social, you’ll see actively how we’re doing this. And I’m just so excited to pay it forward.
AJV (45:40):
I’m so excited for you and for this event and for this episode. So much goodness in this. And I love your heart behind everything and I love too, that you can appeal to the right brain and the left brain . That’s good, good self-awareness of that. I love that. It’s so good. But y’all, just like Lindsey said, if you just wanna just follow the process, worst case scenario, just learning by experiencing, I want you to go to powerhouse women event.com, powerhouse women event.com, and perhaps just by watching the process, you understand why you should be at this event, and then you can go ahead and click and buy your ticket, right, . So again, I’m a super advocate of this. I think this is amazing. I’m actually gonna check my schedule. I think this sounds so awesome to be, again, back to being in a room where you feel like I found my people.
AJV (46:30):
Mm-Hmm. , right? And that’s what we all want. So as you’re listening to this, this is one way, if you’re looking for your people, then again, go to powerhouse women event.com, the events August 9th and 10th, tickets on sale, like we set any day now. But then also if you’re just trying to learn the process of going like, how did, how are we doing this? And just go check it out. Get in the email sequence, follow , all the things they’re doing on social media. We’ll pull all of that on the show notes. So you can just click and go check ’em out on Instagram the different websites. But the primary one is powerhouse women event.com. Lindsey, thank you so much. This was so awesome. Loved every second of it. And for everyone else who is listening, make sure you stick around for the recap episode and we will see you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 463: 3 Copywriting Secrets | Dr. JJ Peterson Episode Recap

RV (00:03):
I want to share with you the three biggest secrets for writing. Great copy. Not just writing great copy, but writing a copy that converts, that performs. So what do I mean by converts and performs? I mean, coming up with the words that go on a page and that when you use these words, they cause the reader to take action to to actually engage in a certain behavior, which would be like where, where they are where they’re buying something or opting in for something or filling out a form and requesting information or downloading something, right? This is persuasive copy. So these are three of the most important secrets of writing. Great copy. Now, I wanna let you know that one of the things that we teach at Brand Builders Group is part of our formal curriculum is something called the 15 Ps of copywriting.
RV (01:01):
The 15 Ps is our proprietary unique methodology for how to write great sales pages specifically full offer sales pages when you’re trying to collect a credit card and all the elements that, that are needed. So I’m gonna cover two of those Ps here, which I think are two of the most important. And but before I do that, so let me just share with you, here’s the first secret of writing. Great copy. It is learning how to sell the destination, not the vehicle. So what do I mean by that? Well, if you think of going on a journey, right? There’s a starting point. You know, wherever you, wherever you leave from, let’s say San F let’s say San Francisco, you, and then you go, where do you end? That’s the destination. It’s New York. So there’s a starting point and an ending point, and then there’s a vehicle, right?
RV (01:49):
There’s some vehicle that transport you, it’s bike a car, and you know, a, a plane or whatever. Well, when you think about copywriting specifically for the purpose of generating sales, specifically for the purpose of creating conversions, inspiring behavior, you know, as if you’ve been following me for any amount of time, right? I explain it roy vaden.com, the four levels of influence, which is what I consider my actual personal expertise to be about is the stu the study of the psychology of influence. How do I define influence? Influence is the ability to move people to action. That’s it. So when we have to move people to action through the written word, that’s copywriting sometimes sometimes we describe this at Brand Builders Group that copywriting is selling through the written word instead of through the spoken word, okay? So whenever you’re doing copywriting, like for the purpose of influence and for selling, you gotta sell the destination, not the vehicle. And I’ll use a great example with my first book, take the Stairs, right? So my first book, take the Stairs is a book that’s all
RV (02:59):
About self-discipline, okay? And it’s basically teaching people how to use self-discipline to overcome procrastination so that they can achieve success in any part of their life. So therein in that phrase that I just said, are the three elements that matter that you have to like consciously be aware of, that you have to consciously bucket when it comes to marketing, right? Or selling through the written word. My book, take the stairs, or selling it as a speech, right? So I, I often do that program as a speech, right? Companies will hire me to come talk about that message, and I go, okay, how do I, how do I market my speech to meeting planners and companies to get them to book me to come speak at their national sales meeting or their leadership meeting, or their kickoff meeting or their customer service, like whatever, and talk about, you know, this, take the stairs methodology.
RV (03:53):
So what are the three parts that I’m talking about? Okay? Again, there is the starting, you know, there’s the, there’s the starting point then there’s the destination, and then there’s the vehicle. So if you just look at, take the stairs, my, my book and content, okay? Procrastination is the starting point. So the problem is the starting point. The destination is the payoff. So what’s the payoff? Success, right? Like, be be having anything you want in life. I mean, the, the subtitle of Take the Stairs is Seven Steps to Achieving True Success. So then we’ve got the starting point of procrastination. We have the destination, which is success, and then we have the vehicle, which is self-discipline. And if you were to read the My Take the Stairs book, or if you were to hire me to come speak to your group and, and you saw me speak at your event, you would see that I teach the psychology of how self-discipline isn’t as hard as we all think.
RV (04:53):
Once we know how to think about it the right way. And I talk about neuroscience and rewiring your brain so that you can make decisions in the way that ultra performers make. It’s all about self-discipline. But one of the biggest mistakes I ever made when I started my personal brain and when I started my company. So when I very first started my company my very first website was discipline dynamic.com, because I knew that my, my personal brand was gonna be all about, like, my early work I knew was gonna be all about helping people develop discipline. And so it was like discipline dynamic. And then there was this huge lightning crash and it said discipline dynamic. And that was a mistake. What was great about it was that I had clarity about what I knew would transform lives self-discipline, right? And as we later proved with the success of, you know, the Take the Stairs book, you know, becoming an international bestseller, is that it works and it does change lives.
RV (05:53):
And it is super duper powerful. The issue is that early on, nobody would book me and nobody would buy my stuff because nobody wants discipline. And this is a problem that mission-driven messengers make all the time. You have some secret, you have some, you know, discovery, you have transformed your own life through some methodology and, and you’re so passionate about it, right? And, and you’re like, oh my gosh, like I figured out how to lose weight just like walking or, or you know, I have this nutrition secret or something, something. And what you do if you’re like me, and if you’re like many, many of the clients that we work with at Brand Builders Group, when they first come to us, you’re so passionate about the vehicle that you’re marketing, the vehicle, you’re trying to sell people, the vehicle, you’re trying to say discipline will change your life.
RV (06:42):
Discipline is the key. Discipline is the secret. Discipline will transform you. And that’s exactly what I did. And that’s what most mission-driven messengers do because we are like these bleeding hearts. We wanna change the world. And so we were just like telling people like, this will change your life. The problem is nobody wants to buy it because people don’t really buy the vehicle, they buy the destination. And this is the, the, the, the first and perhaps the greatest secret of all copywriting is you have to market and sell the destination, not the vehicle. So what you should not write about, if I, if I were writing a sales page to get people to buy, take the stairs, or if I was writing a program, you know, description to get people to come to my, my speech I should not really mention self-discipline. ’cause Nobody wants that.
RV (07:34):
And it’s not exciting, even though it is the truth, right? That’s why the vehicle is the truth. The, the vehicle is what will actually change lives. But it’s not the thing that people, it’s not the thing that you market to promote. ’cause Nobody wants to buy it, right? What they wanna buy is the destination. So what I really would wanna do is I would wanna talk about what happens in your life if you incorporate discipline without even saying incorporate discipline, just going, if you follow the principles in this book, you will make more money, you will lose weight, you’ll have better relationships, you’ll have more free time, like et cetera, et cetera. That is the destination. Whatever success looks like. We’ll talk about this more in a second. That’s what I should be marketing and writing about and talking about. I should be promoting both the, the, the starting point and the ending point, but not the vehicle, right?
RV (08:24):
So I should be talking about the problem that people currently have and in my marketing and in my copywriting, and then where I can take them, what they can end up with. But I shouldn’t spend that much time marketing the vehicle. Part of the reason why is because in order to get, if that’s the case, in order to get someone to buy, they have to not only sign off and agree that they want the destination that you’re promoting, they have to buy off that they, they agree with and that they like the vehicle of your plan of how to get there. And that’s not really necessary, right? What, what changes lives is saying, here’s the transformation I can provide, I can help you with, and I have a way to do that. And I, you know, it’s a seven step process or whatever. They don’t have to know the nitty gritty of what it is in order, in order to buy it, right?
RV (09:09):
Like when I go to a restaurant and I order a meal, I don’t have to know every ingredient that’s in there. I don’t even have to know the recipe for how they make it. I just want the meal, right? Just bring me, just bring me the meal. And that’s kind of what this is. Okay? So that’s copywriting secret number one. Copywriting secret number two, you have to get great at writing what we call pain copy. What is, what is, what is pain copy. Okay? Pain copy is super simple. Again, this is one of our, so this is one of our 15 Ps of copywriting, one of our proprietary you know trade secrets if you will, of one of the, the, the techniques that we teach. But one of the 15 ps is P two, or excuse me, P three in the 15 Ps is called pain.
RV (10:00):
You have to write great pain copy. How do you write great pain? Copy is so simple to write great pain copy. All you have to do is describe a frustrating day in the life of your prospect as they currently have it now related to the thing you’re selling. So basically you just describe a day in their life as they have it now because of the absence of your solution. So let me go back to my trip metaphor. Remember we said, you know, there’s a starting point. There’s a destination and there’s a vehicle. Great pain copy is all about marketing and talking about and describing the starting point. Ironically, what is more likely to make somebody buy is not the vehicle. Even if you gave someone the secrets for free about how to change their life, that that’s not what’s gonna attract them and entice them to buy.
RV (10:58):
What is going to attract them is to describe the frustrations they’re currently experiencing in their life. How do you do this? This is pain copy. You simply have to describe what their life looks like now. So let’s say there’s somebody again, I’m just, I’m sticking with take the stairs ’cause it’s sort of ubiquitous and it’s simple and applies to me, right? So rather, if I wanted someone to buy the take the stairs book, rather than telling ’em how amazing all of these self discipline secrets are, what I want to do is spend time talking about the issue that they have. And so, for example, I do this in the opening of the book because I want people to actually read the whole book. And that’s part of why the book sells really well, is in the opening of the book, I talk about the three different types of procrastination.
RV (11:42):
There’s classic procrastination, which is consciously delaying the things you know you should be doing. Then I invented two new terms. There’s creative avoidance, which is unconsciously creating busy work for yourself to do as a way of avoiding, as a way of, you know, giving yourself an out where you can do that. And then the neuroscience of your, of the brain, right? The brain releases dopamine. And so you feel good because you accomplish something trivial even though it’s not the thing you needed to do. That’s creative avoidance. And then there’s priority dilution, which is the chronic overachievers procrastination, which is procrastinating, not because you’re lazy, but because of you allow interruptions to happen in your life, right? So if I am trying to get someone to hire me to speak, or I’m trying to get someone to buy the book, I don’t talk about how amazing discipline is.
RV (12:29):
I’m gonna talk about that when I’m there. That’s how I’m gonna change their life. Or that’s what you’re gonna read about in the book. None of you’re gonna buy the book now because I’ve told you, I’ve told you the vehicle and you’re not gonna be attracted to it even though you should. ’cause It will change your life. As you can see from Amazon reviews from Take the Stairs. But what I’m gonna market is procrastination. I’m gonna sell procrastination. I’m gonna be an ambassador of procrastination. I’m gonna say, if you struggle with distraction, if you struggle with interruption, if there’s things you know you should be doing that you don’t, but you don’t feel like doing, you can’t get yourself to do them. If you’ve ever set a goal and not followed through, if you’ve ever made a commitment and not been able to, to keep it longer than, you know, a week if, if you, if you know you’re capable of more things in your life, but you haven’t been able to achieve that potential, right?
RV (13:15):
That’s compelling. And what am I doing there? I’m not describing the vehicle, I’m describing the problem. More specifically, the pain, the way to write great pain copy is to describe a day in their life as it currently exists because of the absence of your solution, right? So if I describe that life, and then I say, but you know, if you, if you buy, take the stairs or if you bring me to speak, if I was gonna try to, you know, sell myself to, for a company to book me to speak, right? I just changed the narrative a little bit. I say, do your, do your employees ever struggle with procrastination? Do you think that people are struggling with a lack of productivity? Do they get discouraged? Do they deal with reject rejection? Do they, do they, do you think they waste time online or they waste too much time in meetings or they, they, they, they spend too much of their time on things that are trivial and insignificant.
RV (14:05):
If so, you should bring me in and I’m gonna be able to help them. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, which we’ll talk about in a second. And that’s why you need to book me and my signature program take the stairs, seven Steps to Achieving True Success, right? So I’m not selling discipline, I’m selling the problem, the starting point. And, you know, talking about the great pain copy, which leads me to the third greatest secret of writing all great copy. I can’t, I can’t even believe I’m giving these away for free. But he, here’s what it is. It’s called payoff copy. You have to be able to write great payoff. Copy. payoff is one of the other 15 Ps, right? So there’s 15 Ps. Two, two of them, I’m, I’m giving you here, pay is P three and then payoff is P six out of the 15 Ps.
RV (14:53):
So how do you write great payoff, copy? Well, simple payoff copy is the inverse of pain. Copy. If pain is describing a day in their life currently, as it exists in the absence of your solution, payoff copy is describing a day in their future life as it will exist once they have the presence of your solution, right? So if you struggle with procrastination, create avoidance, distraction, you know, time management, you’re, you’re busy, you’re burnt out, you’re overwhelmed. I have a, if you, if if you buy the take the stairs book or you bring me into your company to talk about, take the stairs methodology, I will help you be more productive, you’ll have more peace, you’ll, you’ll be more efficient, you’ll have more energy, you’ll have better relationships, you’ll make more money. And that is what this system teaches. So notice how the payoff is the in is the inverse of the pain.
RV (15:47):
Pain is the starting point. Payoffs are the destination, and then the vehicle, which is what we call the uniqueness or the message. But the, the, the, the, the message or the uniqueness is what I don’t wanna talk about or, you know, I might reference to it or talk about it quickly or briefly, but I don’t wanna talk about that in marketing or in my copywriting because that is not the thing that people buy. People buy the fact that you understand where I’m at, which is the pain, and you have a methodology or a vehicle or a system to get me to where I want to go, which is the payoff, which is the destination. If you want a great, if you want to write great copy, write more about the problems and pain of where they’re starting, the payoffs, the destinations and transformations of where you’re gonna go in them, take them where you’re going to take them, and stop talking about the vehicle and the thing that which, which you’re passionate about, right?
RV (16:41):
You’re gonna get to talk about what you’re passionate about once they hire you, once they book you to speak, once they buy your book, once they get into your coaching program. But if you don’t do these three things, you cannot have successful copy without these three things. If you do these three things right, even if you get the other 13 Ps wrong, you’re gonna be in a good spot. Now, hopefully, you’ll, you’ll request a free call with our team. We do free calls with everybody. You can request a free call at some point. We’ll do a free call with everybody, request a call, and hopefully we’ll be able to teach you how to do all 15 Ps. If you do ’em well, you’re gonna see increased conversions. But if you at least get these two right, that’s gonna get you started.