Ep 461: What You Need To Start Building Your Speaking Business | Joe Heaps Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
So speaker, you want to get booked on more stages. So I’m talking to you today that aspiring speaker, that early beginner speaker or even that moderately booked speaker who’s going, I want to make this part-time thing or this dream, my full-time gig. I wanna become a highly paid professional speaker. I wanna speak on stages. This is what I wanna do. This is my dream. How do I do that? All right. And so recently on the influential personal brand podcast, I interviewed Joe Heaps, who is the CMO, and he’s in charge of marketing and sales strategies for e speakers, which is an online speaker matching service with meeting planners. And so we had a conversation around some industry trends of like, what’s working to help get speakers booked in today’s market and today, I mean, 2024, and what do we need to know as speakers that will help us grow our speaking business?
AJV (01:00):
So I wanted to share some of those highlights from that interview and a more condensed recap version for you. So there’s just a few things I thought were really helpful that I wanna share with you to help you build that speaking business this year. So the first thing I thought this was really fascinating Joe mentioned, he goes the number one misstep that I see early beginner speakers make is they make all of their speaker press kits, even their demo videos all about their credentials versus what am I gonna do for you? Right? And I see this all the time too. In fact, I’ve made this mistake before where I start with the very first page of my speaker press Kitt is my bio, and it’s like, Hey, AJ Vaden is a entrepreneur, speaker, author, and it’s all about me.
AJV (01:48):
And it’s like, well, we can get to that, but what this meeting planner needs to know is right up front and that very first line, what are you gonna do for me? Right? So it’s what he calls the audience benefit statements. What are the payoffs? What are the takeaways that my audience is going to leave from your session, right? So you’ve gotta start with the audience in mind as well as the buyer in mind. In this case, the buyer is the meeting planner or the committee or whoever’s gonna book that speaker. But they need to know, it’s like, what are you gonna do for my audience? What are you gonna do for me? Not what are all of your credentials? And then I love what he said, he said. Then the, the second biggest mistake that I see that speakers make is that if they start with that, then there’s no transition.
AJV (02:32):
And they immediately go into, and I’m a, you know, New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, da da da, and there’s a complete disconnect between what were the benefit statements that we were just talking about and who I am as a speaker and as a person. He said, so as that transition happens from the audience benefit statements such as, you know, Hey, I am a engaging speaker who’s going to bring humor to the audience. So if you’re looking for entertainment value, dah, dah, dah, dah dah, then we need that transition statement to go, Hey, as a, you know, 20 year standup comedian, and use your bio as an actual part of the proof process to the benefit statements. Make sure that there is a natural transition of whatever you just said in the benefit statements about what they can expect from you as a speaker.
AJV (03:25):
What are the benefits that they’re gonna get from hiring you as a speaker, right? The takeaways, the what the audience is gonna leave with, make sure that’s the first thing that you talk about when you get to your bio. It’s not, hey and AJ is a, it’s like, no, we need to make sure that the very first things in our bio are giving the proof and the evidence from whatever we just said in the benefit statements of how our experience and our expertise gives us the right to talk about these things. And it’s the proof that I actually know what I’m talking about. Then you can add in all of those other credentializing things. And so the way to do that is just a very, very articulate way of going. We have to start with the audience in mind, the buyer in mind, IE the meeting planner, what do they wanna hear first?
AJV (04:16):
And then use our bio as a way to give proof to every statement that you just set. And that’s what they’re looking for on that very first page of a speaker press kit or the very first thing they see on the, about us on your website. But it’s like, Hey, it’s like, what are you gonna do for me? What’s the very first thing I wanna know? Is what kind of speaker are you and what are the benefits of your, your speech? Not the features. The features are all about you. The benefits are what are you gonna do for my audience? And I thought that was just a very good, simple way of thinking about it. Second thing and we talk about this all the time in different formats, but I loved his little take on demo videos. He said, honestly some, some meeting planners are gonna wanna see 30 minutes of stage footage, some 15 minute, you know, sizzle reel.
AJV (05:04):
You see those popular? He said, but I’ll tell you most often what most people are looking for is some sort of 32nd to two minutes that is so short, y’all 30 seconds, 30 seconds to two minute clips of you on stage. He goes, they’re not looking for testimonials in that two minutes. They’re not looking for where you’ve spoken, what media you’ve been on, there’s no voiceovers. It’s like, Nope, I need you right up front on stage doing the best thing that you do, right? So, and it needs to be on the content. And it’s like when you think about two minutes is not a lot of time, you can’t be fitting in all that other stuff in there. And there are so many different opinions on what makes a great demo video. Other people say it’s like, Hey, five minutes. And we do want that production value.
AJV (05:45):
We do want the credibility and the testimonials that Joe’s take on it. He goes, the very first thing they need to see is you on stage. And he goes, if you wanna add all that stuff after the fact, make sure it’s after the two minutes. But that first 30 seconds to two minutes needs to be you doing your thing with the best content you have. We need to see audience engagement, we need to see audience reactions, and we need to see you doing your craft. And that’s what we want those first two minutes. And then if you wanna extend it past that with testimonials and all the other stuff, that’s fine or make separate videos for that. But just give us two minutes of the best you’ve got on stage. And that’s what meeting planners wanna see. Thought that was super helpful and insightful.
AJV (06:29):
Last thing wanna share is just something about fees. ’cause That’s always coming up. And so I asked him, it’s like, what, what do you, what do you see as the best way to set fees? And there’s a couple of different things that he shared that I thought was really great. And he said, just remember if you’re a beginner, if you’re just starting out, just speak. If you get paid it’s bonus but speak because you wanna speak and you maybe get paid $50, $200, $500, he goes, just say yes. The more you speak, the more you speak, right? We say that all the time at Brand Builders Group, but if you wanna speak and you’re just starting out, you just say yes, you take the gig and then you take it again and then you take it again and you follow basic laws of supply and demand, and the lower the supply, the higher the demand, your fees go up.
AJV (07:16):
So as we’re talking about someone who is getting booked for speed getting booked for fees, and you are doing this, what are those early beginner set fees that you’re seeing most often on e speakers? And he said, what I would consider a beginner speaker who maybe doesn’t even have a demo video yet, but they have just some clips on stage. He said, maybe they’ve been doing this for a year or so. They’re not booked, but they’re getting booked. Sometimes he goes somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000 is where we see most people at a beginner level, regardless of what you set your fees at, I think that’s a, a probably an accurate picture of what it looks like as a beginner. He said, then we start seeing that supply and demand factor. The more you get booked, you know, the more demand you have, then those fees start rising up.
AJV (08:01):
He said, but I would say the average speaker on our site, which they’ve got more than 20,000 speakers, is between 70 $510,000. And those are people who’ve got systems in place. They’re doing this pretty frequently. This has become their full-time thing and those are their average fees. And he goes, and then what we’re seeing for us anyway is anyone above 10,000 is someone who is booked out, right? So they are rather booked out. They have had some sort of a content event. So their content has gone viral. They had a TED Talk, they had a bestselling book, they had some sort of what I would call life event. So they climbed Mount Everest or you know, they survived a plane crash where they have some unique life event, which is rare, or they’ve had some sort of content that has made them available to increase their fees to a certain level. And I just think following
AJV (08:54):
That as the basic guidelines, as you’re, as you’re setting out to build your speaking career and specifically over the next 12 months of just like, where am I at today and where do I wanna be of going? You just start speaking until you can get paid. And then the more you get paid, just know those beginner level fees. It’s very normal to start around $2,500. Even if you know you’re worth more than that you’ll get paid worth more than that. But the more you speak, the more you speak. So just a couple of insights around press Kids demo videos and fees as we set out into the year to help you build your speaking career. Hope that helps. If you wanna check out the full episode, it’s with Joe Heaps from e Speakers on the Influential Personal Brand podcast, and I’ll see you soon.

Ep 459: 5 Steps for Coaches to Help Other People Create Breakthroughs | Michael Bungay Stanier Episode Recap

RV (00:00):

RV (00:43):
What does it take to be a great coach? How do you coach somebody else to create peak performance? How do you actually help another person have a major breakthrough in their life? That’s what we’re gonna talk about today. I’m gonna share with you my little five step formula for helping somebody else have a massive breakthrough in their life. And this comes from the fact that I have coached hundreds of top producers, top performers, ultra performers, some of the most influential people in the world, right? If you look at some of my one-on-one clients, I have coached people who are like the number one realtor out of 76,000 agents. I’ve coached people to the world championship of public speaking. I’ve coached New York Times bestselling authors, I’ve coached billionaires and, you know, multiple billionaires and several hundred millionaires. I have coached some of, of the elite kind of performers and business professionals on the planet.
RV (01:45):
And one of the things that I’ve learned, and I think a part of why I often get hired by these, you know, elite business performers or people who want to become elite, is because I have really over the years, learned a lot about the psyche of what it takes to create a breakthrough for someone else. And that’s just what I wanna share with you. So it’s really simple. The first thing before I get into the five steps, what you first must know is that the reason why most people don’t have major breakthroughs in their life is not because of logical or technical limitations. It’s because of emotional and mental limitations. Let me say that again. Make sure you get it right. The reason that most people don’t have big breakthroughs in their life is not because of logical or technical limitations. It’s because of emotional and mental limitations.
RV (02:47):
Meaning, if, if somebody is going to become an, an ultra performer, right? That’s my term that we use and take the stairs or a multiplier to use a term from my second book, there is somebody who has an exponential change in their results, an exponential change in their outcome. It usually doesn’t happen from learning a tactic. It’s not that they go, oh, oh, there’s some hack that I just needed to learn, and now all of a sudden my, you know, my results are gonna explode. It’s because of an emotional or a mental breakthrough that must happen. And so I’m gonna walk you through this five step process. I’ve never created a piece of content like this before, so I’m so excited to be sharing this with you because as I, as I, you know, listened to the, the interview with Michael Bungay Stanier, and you know, such a great interview.
RV (03:39):
And he, he’s such a, such a successful guy in the book. His book sells really, really well. And I was thinking going, wow, I’ve never actually talked about what are some of the things that I try to do to help my coaching clients create breakthroughs. And of course, this is something I try to do with myself as I coach myself as well. So, how do you have, how do you help somebody have a huge mental or emotional breakthrough or pivot or change that allows them to have the big breakthrough in their life? So here’s this little five step process. So number one, the first step is you have to listen for their limiting beliefs. Listen for their limiting beliefs. So you know, part of what I loved about this conversation with, with MBS, Michael Bunge Stanier that we had, and part of what I love about coaching in general, right?
RV (04:32):
The premise of coaching is interesting in true coaching. The true coaching model is to believe that not the coach doesn’t have the answer that the, you know, the student has the answer. And it’s sort of like Socratic ma method based on Socrates, which is that a great coach is supposed to ask questions, and that the, the answer is revealed to the student by the student as you sort of ask questions. And part of me really loves that and agrees with that. Part of me also goes, my coaching style’s not that way. You know, I ask a lot of questions and I try to help people get to the answer quickly. And if they’re not getting it, I, I wanna like tell ’em what it is. You know, if, if we can, if we can see it, and if, if we are, if something is revealed through the conversation that points to the answer, not that we have all the answers or that I have all the answers, but that we can see what their answer is.
RV (05:25):
And this is what is so key about coaching, which I don’t think people understand. It’s not that we have a one size fits all answer that we can just go, oh, tell me your problems. I’ll give you the answer. It’s not out of our expertise necessarily. Although in our particular area of personal branding and personal brand strategy, we have a very, very, you know, robust set of curriculum and content. But even inside of that, it’s not that we have the right answer. It’s, it’s all about finding the right answer for the client at that specific moment. And the best way to do that is to listen for their limiting beliefs. So how do you listen for somebody’s limiting beliefs? It’s very simple. First of all, you gotta understand what a limiting belief is. And then I’ll, I’ll share with you some triggers for this, right?
RV (06:15):
So what a limiting belief is, is their quote unquote true story. I’ll call this a true story. It’s not actually true, but in their mind it’s true. You’re listening for their, their true story about why they can’t do something or why they aren’t succeeding, right? Like, somebody, somebody. And, and so now let’s, let’s talk about that, right? So if, if somebody is talking, let’s say you’re coaching them and they say, yeah, you know, gosh, I would, I would love, I’d love to get in better shape this year, but it’s just like, it’s just not possible with a toddler. There’s just no way that can happen. So right there is, is I go, I can, I have this like, mental trigger that goes, ah, that’s their limiting belief. They just spoke it out loud. And people do this all the time. If you listen, you’ll hear when someone you’re talking to says out loud, they won’t hear it.
RV (07:13):
But if you have a keen ear, you have to train your ear for this is, you’ll go, ah, they just spoke their limiting belief. How do I know that? Because they just spoke out something that they believe is true about why they can’t do something else, right? They’ll say, oh, well, I couldn’t do what that person did because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Oh, that’s a limiting belief. Or, you know, I’ve always been taught that you can never, you know, you can, you, you know, I’ll never be rich because I don’t believe in having debt. And, and everybody knows you need to, you need to take on debt to become rich. And it’s like, oh, so you’re listening for it, for you’re listening for their true story. It’s their rationalization, their justification, their explanation for why they can’t have something else. And that’s really key.
RV (08:04):
So you just gotta train your ear to listen for it, right? It’s their story. It’s something they believe to be true about why they can’t achieve something else. So that’s a huge, that’s like half of the battle right there is just being able to train your ear for it. Now, step two, in step two, I want you to call it out without singling them out. So what I mean by that is you want to, once you hear them say it, you wanna draw attention to it, but you don’t wanna make them feel stupid. You don’t wanna make them feel weak. You don’t wanna make them even feel wrong. So the the analogy that I think of for myself as a coach is I don’t wanna be a judge. I wanna be a mirror. I simply wanna hold up a mirror like a a, you know, a judge is determining right or wrong.
RV (09:03):
A judge isn’t a place of power. A judge is telling you you’re out of bounds. You know, you’re inbounds, you’re out of bounds. But a coach shouldn’t be a judge as much as they should just be a mirror to go, ah, let’s pause the conversation. Let me hold up, Amir, and I wanna reflect something back to you that I just heard. I just noticed that you said the reason you can’t do blank is because of blank. And so you just wanna reflect it back to them. And I want you as the coach to also encourage your client and for both of you to suspend whether or not that limiting belief is actually right. It might be true, right? It might be true that, you know, they, they literally go, oh my gosh, I’m involved in so many things. I just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t, you know, I can’t lose weight this year because I’m so busy.
RV (09:55):
‘Cause I have so many things. You know, that might be true, but it might not be true. It might be that they still watch 20, you know, three hours a night of Netflix, and that actually if they carved out 15 minutes from their Netflix routine, they actually could get in better shape. But you’re not in step two, your job isn’t to judge them. Your your job isn’t to render an opinion on whether or not this is right. Your job is to reflect it to them to call it out, but don’t s them out, right? Like singling them out is when you, you know, you, you kind of like embarrass somebody publicly. That’s not what you wanna do. You just wanna call it out to say, Hey, I just heard something interesting about what you said. The reason why you can’t blank is because of blank.
RV (10:39):
That’s a huge, huge important step. Now, number three, step three, step three is I want you to give them a new belief. Give them a new belief. So here again, you don’t necessarily need to tell them that what they believe is wrong, but I would use language like th this, I would say, Hey, I wanna invite you to consider a new way of thinking about this. And I just want you to try on, I love that language. I just want you to try on this idea for a second, try on for a second that it actually is possible to get wealthy without taking on debt. I just want you to try that on. It may or may not be true, but I just want you to try on that thought. I just want you to try on that mindset, I just want you to try on that belief, right?
RV (11:43):
That’s kind of like how you have to think about it is going, I notice you’re wearing an old outfit, and I just want you to try this on. You don’t have to buy it. You don’t have to own it. It doesn’t have to become your favorite thing. You don’t have to commit to wearing this, you know, out in public, but like right now, I just want you to try this on. And I want them to try on the idea to try on the, the the thought. So you want to give them a new belief. It’s basically like install a new operating system, give them a new way of thinking about a, a possibly a new way of thinking about, or just an alternate explanation of, or an alternate perspective for thinking about the thing that they currently think is true and set and defined in some other way, right?
RV (12:31):
So you’re gonna give them a new belief to try on. Then step number four, step number four is to fill them with encouragement. Fill them with encouragement. Here’s how you fill somebody with encouragement. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna take this to a biblical term. Now, you, you may not be a Christian, you may not be in the bli. The you may not believe in the Bible. By the way, if you don’t, I would really encourage you to check out my other, I have a podcast that I created called Eternal Life, seven steps, or excuse me. It’s called Eternal Life. Seven Questions. Every Intelligent Skeptic Should Ask About Jesus of Nazareth, where we look at the historical logical and academic accuracy and scrutiny of the Bible and the story of Jesus. You could check that out, but you know, you don’t have to be a Christian to, to appreciate, I think this concept, which is that the word inspire is actually a biblical term.
RV (13:32):
It means to breathe life into, and the, at least in the, the, the biblical account for the creation of, of humanity, of, of men and women, is that God s spoke the world into existence, and then he breathed life into, into man. So there’s this connection between word and life and breath, right? And so that’s where the, the word inspire comes from. It’s to use your words to breathe life into other beings or into things or into creation. That’s really a huge part of coaching. Again, even if you don’t believe in, you know, the Bible or whatever, hopefully you can, you know, grasp the power of that concept, that your words give life to people. They can give life to people. So how do you fill somebody with encouragement? What does it mean to actually encourage somebody? How do you use your words in a way that makes somebody feel inspired, that makes someone feel alive, that makes someone feel encouraged?
RV (14:36):
Well, it’s super simple. Tell them, like articulate to the person what it is about them that most impresses you. That’s how you inspire someone, articulate, you know, tell them what it is about them that most impresses you. You say, oh, I’m so impressed at how smart you are, or how sharp you are, or how fast, or how good you are at this, or, or how savvy you are at this, or your skills at doing this, or why I, the reason I love being around you is because of your energy, or because you’re funny, or, you know, because you always make me think differently. Or because you are you know, such a challenging you, you, you, you, you’re a critical thinker or whatever. That’s how you breathe life into people. And one of my favorite quotes is that Mark Twain said, each man is my superior in some way, or each woman is my superior in some way.
RV (15:34):
I really believe that. I really believe that all of us have something to learn from every other person. And so those are the things that I’m constantly looking for people. And when you want to breathe life into them, when you wanna fill them with encouragement, all you’re going to do is articulate what it is about that person that most impresses you, or what it is that you have learned from that person, or what it is about that person that inspires you. You inspire me to be a better parent. You inspire me to be, to read more. You inspire me to be a better leader. You inspire me to be better in excel. You inspire me to, to, you know, keep better track of my money. You inspire me to write more handwritten notes. You inspire me to be more spontaneous. You remind me to be more grateful.
RV (16:19):
Like whatever it is about the person, that’s what you articulate, and that’s how you fill somebody with encouragement. The reason that this step four is so important in helping somebody break through their limiting beliefs is that when you establish, when, when you’re helping somebody break a limiting belief, when, when you’re helping somebody break through this limiting belief, the neuroscience of this is that you’re forming a new neural pathway in their brain. Remember what I said about their, their limiting belief in step one? It’s their true story about why they can’t do something or why they aren’t succeeding. Why makes it true? What makes it true is not that it’s actually true. What makes it true is that they have told themselves that again and again, and again and again, and the human brain does not delineate between true and false, right or wrong. The, the human brain does not know right or wrong just by itself.
RV (17:18):
You have to teach it what’s right and wrong through programming. You have to teach it what is true and false through programming. So when somebody has a limiting belief, that’s an operating system that is running. Another metaphor that I sort of use for this is that imagine you’re going on a hike through the woods. Your neural pathways are like the path that’s been formed. The reason that path has been formed is ’cause you have walked that path several times. You have decided that that is true. You’ve reinforced it over and over again. So in your brain, literally there is a physical neural pathway that has been performed. And so it’s easier for your brain to think things that it has always thought, or it is easier for your brain to think things that it has already been thinking because the neural pathway has already formed.
RV (18:06):
When you get to step three in this, where you give them a new belief and you, you know, after you listen for the limiting belief, and then you call it out, and then you give them a new belief to try on. What you’re doing there is, is you’re trying to go off the path that they’re currently on, and you’re trying to form a new path. Literally, that’s what’s happening in the brain. A new neural pathway, a new set of synapses firing, you know, between like these neurons in your brain. And, you know, the illustration here is, think of it as you’re hacking through the forest and you’re, you know, you have like a machete and you’re like having to chop down trees. It’s harder to walk down a new path because the new path isn’t clear yet. The new path isn’t established yet, the new path, it’s also slower to walk down the new path.
RV (18:52):
It’s not as familiar and it’s not as cleared, right? So anytime you’re trying to create a new belief, a new mindset, a new pattern of thinking, it’s slower and it takes more time. That’s why you have to fill them with encouragement. You have to fill them with encouragement. And that gives them the encouragement is what keeps them going down the new pathway. And it’s, it’s saying, I, I believe in you. I know you’re smart enough to figure this out because you’ve inspired me to do blankety blank, right? I, you know, I, I, I know that you’re capable of doing this. And I, I know that you have, you are, you have all the characteristics of other people who have been successful in this journey. I know you have what it takes to do this. There’s evidence in your life that you have it because you impress me and you inspire me, and you want me, make me wanna be better, right?
RV (19:45):
So I’m filling them with that encouragement. And then step five, step five, and this will seem a little bit, counter to what I said earlier, give them what I call the 10% tactical. The 10% tactical. Now remember what I, I said at, at the very start of this, which I will hold true to, which is the reason most people don’t experience breakthroughs is not because of logical or technical issues. It’s because of emotional or mental, you know, limitations. But technical tips give people confidence. Technical tips, give people encouragement. Technical things make people feel like they have a new tool to try. And so that gives them sort of the you know, the, the willpower or the strength or the discipline or the motivation to actually take action and walk down the new neural pathway. So the 10% tactical is just saying, rather than giving them a whole bunch of things to focus on, give them the one thing, right?
RV (20:53):
So this is kinda like a 2080 rule, like the Pareto principle of, you know, focus on the 20% that creates 80% of the results, except it’s even more narrow than that, is I want you to give them the one tactical thing that they should focus on between now and, you know, your next encounter, your next meeting with them to go. If you just do this one thing, I believe that you will, this will create a 90% change in your results. One of the things that I think coaches do is they give people too many action items, too many things to do all at once, right? Give them the 10%, the 10% technical meaning, what’s the one technical thing that is a small, you know, tweak of their current behavior, only a 10% tweak of their current behavior that is likely to be responsible for a 90% change in their behavior.
RV (21:46):
You know, when, when I’m evaluating speakers, one of the things that you know we’re doing is, is I, I coach some of the best speakers, you know, in the world. And when I’m coaching very high profile speakers, it’s like, I don’t give them a hundred things to do. I try to give them like, you know, even in an hour long speech, I’m trying to give them two or three things. And really one big thing to go the next time you go out, I want you to focus on this one thing, because that’s the 10% tactical, the, the, the, the tiny little bit that they can focus on. But if they do that one thing, they’ll have a 90% change in their outcome or their results. So there you go. There you have it. This is my secret, never before shared formula on how to be a great coach and how to create breakthroughs in other people.
RV (22:32):
So step one is listen for limiting beliefs, right? Listen for their story about why they can’t do something. Step two, call them out without singling them out. Be a mirror, not a judge, but reflect back to them, Hey, I just heard you say the reason you can’t X is because of y. You’re reflecting it back to them. Step three, give them a new belief. Give them a new belief system. I just want you to try on for a second. What if you actually could do blank in order to get blank, right? And, and now open their mind up to actually, maybe there is a way to pull it off. Step four, fill them with encouragement. Tell them what it is about them that impresses you most. And then step five, focus on the 10% technical. Give them the one technical tip, the one technique change, the one skill thing, the one pragmatic or practical behavior change that you want them to focus on that will reinforce this new mindset.
RV (23:31):
If you do those five steps again and again and again, you will create breakthroughs in your clients like they’ve never experienced. And as your clients have breakthroughs, that’s gonna build your reputation. And as we know, reputation precedes revenue. That’s why we’re here at Brand Builders Group to help you turn your reputation into revenue. So if you haven’t yet requested a call with our team, I hope you consider doing that. So we could talk about helping you do that and generate more reput or generate more revenue from your reputation. You could do [email protected] slash podcast. That’s all we got for this time around. We’ll catch you next time on the influential Personal Brand podcast.

Ep 457: 3 Simple Steps to Getting More Referrals For Your Business | Barb Betts Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
All right, today we are talking about referrals. And there are three things that I wanna talk about today when it comes to asking for and receiving referrals. Number one, if you wanna get referrals, the number one thing that you have to do is be utterly and undeniably convicted in what it is that you’re offering. Doesn’t matter what product service it is, you have to believe in it so much that it removes all fear, all hesitation, all anxiety. Anything that would prevent you from not telling people about what you do has got to be erased. And that really does come from believing to your core that what it is you’re doing, what it is you’re offering, what it is you’re selling, because that is part of it, is so helpful for the right person, right? For the intended person. You’ve got to be so convicted and believe in what you do so much that you can’t not tell people about it because you, you’ve seen it change lives.
AJV (01:06):
You’ve seen it spark growth, you’ve seen it cause revenue growth, you’ve seen it cause income, growth, whatever it is. But you have to start baseline level one, step one, with going, I believe in what I do so much that I will not, not ask for referrals. It’s like, I believe that for the intended person, right? Your avatar, that this is so helpful, this is so necessary that I will ask because I do believe that the number one reason that people don’t ask for referrals is because they’re afraid, right? I think the second reason is they don’t know how to ask, which we’ll talk about in a minute, but I do believe the first reason is like, people are like, oh, I just wasn’t top of mind. And I’m like, if you believe you have a life changing product or service, how is it not top of mind?
AJV (01:50):
If you believe that you’re the best provider in your industry, or the best provider in town, or the best provider, you know, how is it not top of mind? And so when people go, oh, I just forgot. And it’s like, you forgot that what you do can make a monumental difference in someone’s business or family or relationships, I don’t think so. And so I think a lot of that starts with getting back in touch with what you do, who you do it for, why you do it, and what are the, the, the payoffs of what you do. Like what does it do for people, right? So that’s foundation, that’s step one, because I know that if you don’t have that underlying conviction, the rest of this conversation is just words. It’s not gonna mean anything. And so it’s like, if you’re at that place where it’s like, I’m not asking because I’m not really in love with what I’m doing, it’s like the rest of this little clip is not for you, right?
AJV (02:41):
And it’s like, you gotta start with going like, no, I know that what I do means something. It matters to someone. And if you believe that, then the rest of these steps are really gonna help you. So that’s step one, an efforts and an effort to help you get more referrals and build a referral based business. You’ve got to believe, you’ve got to be convicted that what you do has the power to help someone else. Okay? That’s step one. Number two is you have to know who that intended, who is, right? And I think this is not a reason why people don’t ask, but it’s a reason why people don’t get right. It’s, you’re not clear on exactly who you want to be referred to. So that makes it difficult for you to ask clearly. And it makes it difficult for me on the other end, makes it difficult for me to give you anyone when you go, Hey, anyone who’s in business is a fit for what I do.
AJV (03:32):
I’m like, I don’t know. I know a lot of people in business, and so I don’t know how to narrow it down. Like my brain is going like, well, I know tons of people, right? But if you said, Hey, I work with high growth companies CEOs who are experiencing monumental growth. They’re in their first five years of business who are in this industry and this geographic area, I’m like, binging, binging, binging. It’s like, I’d rather know someone or I don’t, but I’m not left going, let me think about it. Which means I have no idea, and it’s not a priority for me. So it’s like you’ve got to be clear both demographically and psychographically of who it is that you want to be referred to. IE your ideal client, the person that you know, if you refer them to me, I’m going to blow their mind.
AJV (04:16):
I am going to make a difference. I am going to make sure that I take care of them. And they are going to be thanking you for this referral. So step one, you’ve gotta get convicted, right? That your product or service is going to matter to this intended person. The second thing is, you’ve gotta get crystal clear who is that person? What title do they hold or position? Is there an income specification, a GE geographic specification, an industry specification? What are their psychographic challenges? Like, are they high growth? Are they struggling? Is it life? Is it professional? Is it family? Like, whatever it is, is like you’ve got to be clear and you have to be able to articulate that in about a sentence, right? And so it’s like when you go, Hey, I am, I am trying to work with people who blink blank.
AJV (05:00):
I’ve gotta go, I know someone. Yeah, here, here’s who they are. You’ve gotta paint a mental picture for me. So it makes it easy for me to go, I know someone, right? And then that brings it to step three, which is how do you actually get that referral? How do you ask? And I just did this amazing podcast interview with Barb Betts, and I thought this was such a powerful, simple formula of how to ask. So it’s like, if you’re convicted right in what you’re doing and you know exactly who it’s gonna benefit, then step three is, well then how do you actually ask? Because I think that is one of the other fundamental problems of why people don’t ask, is they’re like, I just, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what’s right. I don’t know how to ask. And so this is a very simple formula shared by Barb Betts on the influential personal brand podcast, which is, first thing you wanna do is say, Hey, I was hoping to ask you for a favor, right? So that’s the first thing is ask for help is
AJV (05:56):
Go, Hey, I have a favor to ask, or, I was hoping to ask you of a favor, whatever, whatever verbiage sounds good for you. But it’s, I have a favor to ask. I am really trying to get introduced or connected to people who blank. And that’s where you fill in your avatar. So the key to the first part is I’m asking for a favor, right? I need help. Second part is I’m really trying to, or I want to be introduced to, or I’d like to be introduced to, again, pick your words, but it’s introduced or connected. You’re not saying, Hey, I’d like to get referred to, or I’m trying to do business with, or send me some referrals. Or I’m looking for clients who it’s like, no, I’m really trying to get introduced to, or connected to people who are, and then fill in the criteria of your avatar.
AJV (06:45):
Do you know anyone that would be a good fit for me to be introduced to? Right? So then you actually have to ask, right? You can’t just leave it hanging of, Hey I’m really looking to get introduced to people, so, you know, let me know. It’s like, no. It’s like, Hey, do you know anyone who fits that criteria? ’cause I would love to meet them, right? So let me ask you a favor, right? Ask for help can I be introduced to or connected to? And that’s where you fill in Step two, you fill in your avatar, your ideal criteria, and then you actually have to make the ask, do you know anyone who fits that criteria? Do you know anyone like that that I could be introduced to? Do you know anyone like that that you could introduce me to? Right? So that’s where you get to soften the language and make it yours.
AJV (07:28):
But those are three simple steps that are gonna allow you to have the tools to go out and ask for referrals. Now, a quick other thing that I wanna share before I wrap this up is if you’re really struggling with all of this and you’re going, ah, formulas don’t work for me, steps don’t work. All this stuff is great, but I don’t know, here’s the simplest thing of all. If you want to get a referral, all you have to do is give one, right? And I’m not telling you to give referrals so that you get them, right? This is not a give to get thing. It’s like there is a, but there is a natural law of reciprocity at play that when you give freely, people wanna return it freely. And so if you’re struggling with like this whole process of building a referral-based business, which is the best way to build a business, by the way, then start with going, who do I know that I can refer you to?
AJV (08:19):
And just proactively go, Hey, I was talking to a friend the other day and they said they were looking for X and I immediately thought of you. Would this be a good contact for you? Right? Or just facilitate introductions. And at some pe some point, some the people are gonna say, you know what? Thank you so much. Is there any way I can help you? Is there anyone you’re looking to meet? And that’s when you need to be ready. So if this whole idea of asking proactively just isn’t your thing, I would encourage you to work on that. But if you’re in that boat right now, then the best next thing that you can do is just go, Hey, how do I open up my, my I almost said Rolodex. We don’t have
AJV (08:55):
Rolodexes anymore. I actually have never had a Rolodex. I don’t know why I thought about that, but I’m gonna open up my contacts and go, who do I know that I can start referring people to? How do I start facilitating connections? ’cause If you do that enough, people are gonna do it back to you in return. So again, the best way to get a referral is to be proactive and giving a referral. So here we are in a new year. It is time to build your business. And the best way to do it is through building a referral-based relationship-based business. And that is how you do it. You learn the art of giving referrals and asking for referrals, and it’ll become a business that you love.

Ep 455: The Secret to Self-Worth | Erwin McManus Episode Recap

RV (00:07):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview. As always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free, and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions, and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to, to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brandbuildersgroup.com slash podcall brand buildersgroup.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon.
RV (00:52):
What a powerful conversation with the legendary Erwin McManus. I mean, this guy is one. He is, I think one of the wisest teachers that we’ve got in on the planet today. And just so honored to get to become his friend, you know, have him become a client, get to interview him here for you. And, and you can just, you can just see that there is a just a level of spiritual wisdom, like spiritual intelligence and, and emotional intelligence from knowing how the world operates and knowing how people operate and how, how we’re wired and what are the things that we do to self-sabotage, and what are the things that we can, we can do to increase the likelihood of our success. And so I wanna, I want to recap and, and extend a couple of the things that I learned from Irwin in that specific interview that are sticking with me.
RV (01:47):
And, and also, you know, when I think of the mindset shifts that need to take place, of course, we, you know, the interview was promoting his, his, his book mind Shift. And when I think of some of the key mindset shifts that need to take place for someone to build a great personal brand, be a great entrepreneur, and, and really maximize and achieve their God-given potential I wanna I wanna share three of those with you today that, that were kind of inspired by Erwin. So first one is, I loved when he was talking about don’t be a prisoner of praise. I really align with that. I think so many of us are playing for the applause of others. And in reality, I think the applause you should be playing for, first of all, for me, it should be your Heavenly Father, right? It should be this idea that when we get to heaven, he, he says, you know, job well done, right?
RV (02:48):
Like, you loved me, you loved others, and that’s it. Now, separate from that, I, I think it’s playing really for yourself and not meaning that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re self-centered in the sense of like, you only care about winning yourself. But I think what, what matters is that you need to be proud of yourself. You need to be proud of yourself. It really shouldn’t make that much difference to you. I don’t think about how other people think of you. And I think some people go their whole lives trying to make like their, their alcoholic parent proud of them. And it’s like, it’s never gonna happen. And it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them. And why are you spending so much energy and time seeking the approval of somebody else who caress about the approval of someone else? You know what?
RV (03:42):
You don’t need to be successful in life. You don’t need the approval of other people. What you need to be is proud of yourself and confident enough to step forward and do the thing that you feel called to do. Like in some places, there are certain requirements. In some places, there are certain prerequisites, you know, for, for steps that you can take seeking having other people’s approval often is not one of them. And specifically, you know, it’s like an ex-boyfriend or, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a bully in high school, or it’s, it’s like these people who we allow to control our lives by allowing their influence that they once had on us to hold us today stagnant and still stuck in a place of mediocrity when we should be pursuing and expanding and achieving our potential. So I want you to focus on being proud of yourself.
RV (04:39):
And part of being proud of yourself is, is why in my first book, take the Stares, right? We say all the time, like, put your self-esteem in your work habits, not in your results. Like, being proud of yourself is not going, oh, you know, I have a million followers, or I made a million dollars. It’s, it’s being proud of the work that you’re putting in. It’s acknowledging yourself for the things that you’re doing that nobody else sees. And that’s why you have to be your number one cheerleader. You’ve gotta be the person who goes, even if the results aren’t there yet, I’m doing the work, right? I mean, I remember when, when I was speaking 304 times for free at the, you know, in these Perkins restaurants and in these like, you know, trashy comedy clubs on a Tuesday night. Nobody was there giving me applause, but I knew that, I said, you know, if I’m doing this one day, I’m gonna be speaking on stages in front of arenas of people, and it’s, I’m paying the price now to earn that, right?
RV (05:39):
Right. Like when I was, you know, creating my first book proposal and I was writing out the manuscript no, nobody was leaving Amazon reviews saying, oh, this life, this book is life changing. Nobody was there cheering me on, right? Like, well, some, some people were right. I’ve been fortunate to have, you know, my wife, my, my family in very supportive environment. So I I, I have had people cheering me on, but the, the person that matters most is you. You gotta be the person cheering yourself on. When I was in college and people were slamming the doors in my face like I was going, well, that’s okay. I know that if I talk to enough people, somebody’s gonna buy, I’m gonna get paid for every door that is slammed in my face. If I just keep going, you gotta be the person cheering you on.
RV (06:21):
And that’s how you need to think about it. When I say put your self-esteem in your work habits, right? Like, one of the things that I did when I was in college was you know, my, my first summer when I was going door to door, I made like $17,000. And I figured out, you know, that I knocked on whatever it was like th like, there was like 3000 doors, you know, that I had knocked on. And there were like 3000 doors that had slammed the door on me, and we used to keep track of them, right? And so what I, what what I found out is like, oh, I made $17,000 and I, I knocked on 3000 doors, or that told me no, what most people do is they think of going, oh, you know, I had however many hundred, a few hundred customers, and those are the people who paid me.
RV (07:03):
But the game that I played, and I actually wrote a song about this so I’ll, I’ll I sing for you, is I figured out that I actually made $4 every time someone slammed the door on me. ’cause I made $17,000 total in the summer. I knocked on 3000 doors of people who told me no. So that is $4. So rather than thinking, oh, I make money when I make a sale in my, my second summer, I played this game, and whenever somebody would slam the door on me, I would sing the song. I would say, I make $4 because you holler at me, baby every time, every time I you holler, I make four more dollar for me rv. I make lots of money because you yell at me. Thank you for slamming the door on me. Woo-Hoo. Like, that was the silly song that I was singing, and I would actually sing it out loud between doors, right?
RV (07:58):
So if, if somebody had been following me, and every time I knocked on a door they handed me that every time someone slammed the door on my face, if someone handed me $4, I’d be like, that’s amazing. I’m gonna go knock on another door and see if they’ll slam the door on me too. And then here’s $4, here’s $4. That is how it was, right? That is how it is. You’re getting paid for every rejection you’re getting paid for every setback you’re getting paid for. Every time you fail, you’re getting paid for every time. It doesn’t work out. The problem is, there’s nobody standing there handing you the four bucks. You gotta be the one, right? You gotta be the person handing yourself $4. You gotta be the one cheering yourself on. You have to be your the number one cheerleader of your own life.
RV (08:41):
You gotta be reminding yourself, I’m getting paid for all of the work that I’m putting in right now that nobody else sees. If you can’t cheer yourself on, then you’re never gonna make it, because no one’s gonna be there to applaud you. No one’s gonna be there to cheer for you when you’re failing. The only person that’s gonna be there is you and God is. So you better learn how to cheer yourself on. You better figure out a way to play a game or have a mindset shift, or use affirmations or have a mental, you know, paradigm that says, I just made four bucks. I just made 20 bucks. Every time someone slams the door on me, every time someone tells me no, every time I don’t get booked for this, I don’t get invited to that. I’m getting paid. Like, and, and you have to be that person going, I don’t care if I’m not winning right now. I’m putting in the work.
RV (09:31):
I’m doing what it takes. And even if the results never come, I’m so proud of myself. I’m so proud of myself for working when nobody’s watching. I’m so proud of myself for hustling when there is no applause, I’m so proud of myself, right? And then, you know, one day I get inducted into the professional speaking hall of fame when I’m 37 and everyone’s clapping going, oh, you know how cute this guy is so young. And it’s like, dude, I’ve been getting, I’ve been getting rejected and slammed for 20 years, so I might be young in age time, but I’m old in stage time. I’m old in rejection, I’m old in setback. I’ve experienced massive failure and I just cheered myself on through it. And that’s what I would hope for you, right? Because at the end of the day, you won’t care about being in the Hall of fame or having millions of dollars, millions of followers, or been invited to this, that, or whatever.
RV (10:24):
What you’ll be, what you have for the rest of your life is you, you will always be there with you. And so how you think of yourself is what matters, what other people think of you that doesn’t matter. But how you think of yourself matters. You need to be your, your your number one cheerleader. You need, you need to be the person that whose praise that you’re seeking. I want you to work so hard that you become proud of yourself. So that’s a mind mental mindset, mindset shift that needs to happen. Number two, you know, I loved when Irwin said this. He said, at first, you always feel like a fake, right? Whenever you start something new, you feel like a fake. Here’s what you need to know. Here’s what you need to understand. If you’re, if you’re new to something, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner, right?
RV (11:17):
The first time you pick up a camera to do a photo shoot or edit a video, and you’re like, man, I don’t know what to do. Like, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. Or maybe you’re the person on the other side of the camera and you’re recording your first reel and you’re like, oh my gosh. Like, I don’t, I don’t look anything like Alex Hormoze or Tony Robbins or you know, Oprah. And I’m like, I feel like such a fake, you’re not a fake, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. That’s it. And you can’t, you can’t look at a master and compare what they’re doing with you as a beginner, but just because you’re not yet a master doesn’t mean you’re a fake. They were that way too. I promise you, I promise. Every, every New York Times bestselling author once felt like a fake, every Hall of fame speaker once felt like a fake, every eight figure entrepreneur once felt like a fake ev.
RV (12:02):
Every actor once felt like a fake. Every celebrity once felt like a fake, especially the bigger the goals you’re pursuing, the more you feel like a fake, because the more impossible it feels, and the fewer people around you there are that have ever done that, right? Like you, you might feel like a fake. You’re not a fake, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. You’re just learning. You’re just starting. Give yourself grace again. Be proud of yourself for trying and keep going and, and, and, and, and celebrate your own wins. Be your own cheerleader. Be proud of yourself. You’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. And then the third thing, you know, Irwin brought this up, which, which I always love when people that are super successful and are like living legends when they talk about this, you know, Irwin said, take the posture of an amateur, take the posture of an amateur.
RV (13:01):
You know, the way, the way that I process that is to go, you have to be willing to always be a beginner. Be willing to always be a beginner. Probably my most famous quote from my first take the Stairs book is, success is never owned. Success is rented, and the rent is due every day. Part of why I said that success is never owned, it’s rented, and the rent is due every day is because it’s true. It’s like, even if you’re a master, you can still be a beginner, right? Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, like you, you hear the stories of how hard they practice. You know, you, you, you of about the amount of energy and time they are Steph Curry shooting free throws and shooting three pointers. Like, yeah, he is a master, and he’s still doing it every single day. He’s paying the rent every single day.
RV (13:50):
You, you, and you, excuse me. You see that behavior modeled by the most successful people in the world in all walks of life. The ones who continue to climb. They allow themselves to always be a beginner, be willing to be a beginner. Most people don’t wanna be a beginner because it makes ’em feel like a fake. That’s why it’s so important to realize you’re not a fake. You’re, you’re just a beginner. And it’s okay to be a beginner, right? When I, when I try to play the piano or the guitar, I feel stupid. I’m like, I don’t know what to do. I’m not, I I don’t get this right? Like, if I’m cooking in the kitchen, I feel stupid. I’m not stupid. I’m just a beginner. I just haven’t done it much. I’ve lent my time and my attention and my energy to other things.
RV (14:38):
And one of my all time famous, not famous quotes, one of my all time favorite quotes, and I believe it was Mark Twain who said this, this is who I attribute to it, is Mark Twain said, every man is my superior in some way. Every man is my superior in some way. That’s so true. And that gives you grace for yourself. And it also puts things in perspective when you meet other people and you go, wow, I really admire, you know, this person, they’re so funny, or they’re such a great leader, they’re a great speaker, or a great mom, or a great dad, or they’re a great cook. Or, or, you know, they’re in super in shape. And it’s like, doesn’t mean that person’s better than you, it just means that they’re, they, they are your, they are your superior in some way, but there’s other ways that they’re not right?
RV (15:26):
Like their marriage might be a mess, or their finances might be a mess, or they might be struggling with self-confidence, or they’re not as spiritually centered as you are, or they just, you know, they have different skill sets there. There’s not like a ranking system where we go one human is better than another in, in all things, but in, in some ways, they are right. Every man is my superior in some way. And you know what that also means? That likely means that you are superior to every other man in some way, right? There’s something that you do. There’s something that you, there’s at least one thing in your life that you know more about or you do a better job of than everybody else, a a around you. And so it creates this unequal, it creates this equal playing field by realizing that we all have unequal talents.
RV (16:12):
We have, we have non proportionately distributed talents. That’s called uniqueness. That’s called God’s divine design for your life. That’s called your, your, your blessing, that you were born to do something that only you can do. So lean into those things and realize, yeah, you, you might become a master, you might become an expert. There are some things where it’s like, I am a master. That there, there are just some things. And that’s why, you know, we try to, we try to teach the things that we’re really good at. And if you wanna build your personal brand, like, gosh, you’re gonna be hard pressed to find anyone better in the world that can teach it to you than us. Like we’re really good at this. Anybody who wants to become a speaker or an author, or a coach, or who wants to speak or write or teach as a way of generating leads for their business, I mean, we spend our whole life doing this, but if you want me to like, change your oil or cook you a meal, or like give you parenting tips, like I’m not the guy, I’m, I’m not the master in that every man is your superior.
RV (17:14):
Every woman, each is, is your superior in some way. So that should both help you put an appropriate level of, of praise on other people and an appropriate level of grace on yourself. And, and have a balance of both confidence and humility to know that each, each man is my superior in, in some way. But if you do those things right, a lot of this comes down to, to going, you gotta be proud of yourself. You gotta find a way to celebrate yourself. You gotta be the person who believes in you. You gotta be the person who cheers you on. You gotta be the person who says when, even when no one else is watching, when no one else is clapping, when no one else is paying attention. You go here by myself in this moment when I’m alone, I’m learning the things and I’m doing the work, and I’m surrounding myself with the people who are gonna help me do the things that I want do that I feel called to do one day.
RV (18:11):
And so if, and if building a personal brand is that thing for you, request a call with us. Will you please talk to our team? This is, this is something that we, we know something about and we’ve got a track record and we’re working with some of the most amazing people in the world, like Erwin McManus, and you know, just go to free brandand call.com/podcast, request a call, talk to someone on our team, and between now and then be cheering yourself on. Find a way to be proud of you. We’ll catch you next time on the Influential Personal Brand Podcast.

Ep 453: When to Slow Down So You Can Speed Up | Elizabeth Stephens Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
Hey, everybody, AJ Vaden here. I am continuing the conversation that I got to have with the one and only amazing, wonderful, Elizabeth Stephens, who is our VP of Member Experience at Brand Builders Group. And I invited her on to our podcast to have an hour long discussion on customer journeys. And I wanna follow up that conversation here to talk a little bit more in depth about what is a customer journey. And even if you’re not working with us as a client at Brand Builders Group, but you’re, you know, absorbing our content, which is what you’re doing if you’re listening to this, if you’re listening to our podcast, social media email list, you’ve gotten one of our free resources, or you’re just a friend of the company, I think there’s some things that you can really take away that mean a lot as you’re thinking about your brand building journey and how does that fit in alignment with something that has some structure and some process to it.
AJV (01:03):
And so that’s what I wanna talk about today. And at Brand Builders Group we exist to empower Mission-driven messengers to get their message out into the world. Like that’s why we exist. Like little known fact. We did not have a business plan for this company. We did not intend to start this company. We did not have dreams of starting this company. This, this company was created out of a, what I would say, a God orchestrated divine intervention in our lives. And he used people around us. He used Lewis Howes he used our former business partners. He used a lawsuit. He used all different types of things to call us to this work. This was not work that we set out to do. This is work that we were called to do. And when I say that this is a, a missional job and a missional company, I mean it from the depths of my soul that we exist to give a voice to people who have a desire for their voice to be heard. Because we believe deeply, deeply that someone, you who is, who’s listening right now, you have the power to change one person’s life with your message. And that person has the power to do the same for someone else. And that by sharing your message and by giving hope, inspiration a plan a technique, a process, whatever it is, like you can, you can create pivotal change that can truly be the tip of the spear of changing the world. I don’t say that halfheartedly, I don’t say that as marketing language. I believe
Speaker 2 (02:58):
That to the depths of my soul. And when I say that we have spent 20 years doing this work to figure out how to do it more efficiently, how to do it more productively, how to do it, more passion and heart led, I mean it. And our entire team at Brand Builders Group has spent the last five years of figuring out the order and the sequencing and the cadence and how to streamline this and building the right processes and tools and systems to allow somebody else to do it better, faster, and more impactful than we did. That’s why we exist. That’s why these customer journeys are a really big part of our work at Brand Builders Group. And it doesn’t matter if you work with us as a client or not, I believe that these have the ability to help you, to help impact you, and to help you move forward with your desires with your missional work.
Speaker 2 (03:58):
And so, high level, what is a customer journey? A customer journey is a roadmap. And I know there’s lots of different definitions of customer journey out there. So I’m just telling you ours, it’s a, a roadmap. A roadmap of how you’re going to encounter everything that you encounter at Brand Builders Group, right? So that’s content, that’s community, that’s our team. There are different intersection points that happen in this roadmap, this journey that we believe have critical benchmarks. And the way that we built this journey is that it’s built in 90 day increments. And we believe that our curriculum can be the majority of it can be consumed and completed in 90 day sprints. And so that’s how we built it. Now, our, you know, normal track is a three year journey. And I share that not to frighten you , but to inspire you that it takes a minute to lay a solid foundation and a solid framework and infrastructure for something that’s going to be grand.
Speaker 2 (05:10):
It just takes time. And that’s not a lot of time in the overarching scheme of your life or your business, your work. It’s not it’s really a short amount of time. But if you just relate this to architecture and construction for a second, I think this will give you some basis points, right? Like when, when architects and contractors, commercial contractors, industrial contractors are going to build a high rise most of them, depending on the size of the company, are digging and laying the foundation for years before they ever start building up years, not a year, years. That’s with an s. And I think I was, and don’t
Speaker 3 (05:56):
Hold me to this, but when the Burge Khalifa that that was being built in Dubai, I believe that they were building that foundational infrastructure for five, maybe seven years, and maybe 10 years. I could be way off, but I know it was like multiple, multiple years before they ever started doing anything else. Because big things require a solid foundation and a very clear infrastructure, right? That it requires a plan, it requires a team, it requires communication, it requires time, and some things just shouldn’t be rushed. But if you spend the upfront time to build that foundation and to build that infrastructure, it allows you to grow and scale infinitely once it’s built. And so the way that we built these journeys is like, hey, the first three years, it’s not that you won’t have revenue, and it’s not that you’re not gonna get your message out, that starts happening immediately.
Speaker 3 (07:00):
We believe that as soon as you are doing that, you know, what we call your foundational work, finding your brand, DNA, it’s like you, the clearer you get, the bigger your impact automatically happens in conversations and content and creation in your team, in your beliefs, in your passion. Those things start to happen immediately. So dollars are coming in. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying though, is that to complete that foundation, to complete that infrastructure with all the things in place that would, that would allow you to have something that goes beyond you, it takes a minute. And for us, we, we have built in a way that’s about three years to get it all complete. And it’s not that we wanna see you leave after three years. We wanna continue to work with you. But we also, we wanna be realistic of going like building your personal brand.
Speaker 3 (07:50):
It’s, it’s more than even building a business. This is a part of building a legacy. It’s a part of building your ministry. It’s a part of living into your mission, your calling. And that is not to be rushed. It’s not to be rushed. But we also know that looking at something in th in a three year scheme, it could be overwhelming. It’s overwhelming to me. So we broke it down into these 90 day sprints that allows you to have a micro focus on a certain topic, a certain curriculum, 90 days at a time. And at the end of each of those 90 days, there are benchmarks. So, you know, at the end of these 90 days, at each topic, at each curriculum, if I have set, if I have hit these set benchmarks, then it’s like pass, go and monopoly, right? Continue to the next square. If not, go back. You don’t keep moving forward if the initial work has not been completed, right? And so the way that we see this for all of you who are listening who don’t know all of our curriculum pieces, which is fine, and it doesn’t matter what journey you’re on, we have four very distinct customer
Speaker 4 (08:54):
Journeys at Brand Builders Group. We believe that we are most and best well positioned to serve the person who wants to become a highly paid professional speaker. We know that world. We are these people. We, we know we can help you. Number two is that we are best and most well positioned to help people who want to be published authors. Doesn’t matter if it’s self-published, hybrid published, or traditional published. We know that world. We know that space. We have a passion for it. We have a desire to help you in that we can help. The third is we believe that we are the best and most well-positioned people to help you generate new leads for your business, your existing business before anything else, we’re salespeople. That’s our biggest, strongest background. We find sales as an honorable profession. It is one that we admire, we respect and is necessary to all business.
Speaker 4 (09:48):
And if the idea of sales makes you cringe when, then that’s where you need to lean in because you’re thinking about it wrong. Sales is a necessary function of mission, ministry, work, money, all things must master the art of sales and lead generation. Nobody wants to be the world’s best kept secret, and you don’t either. You’ve gotta master that. And last but not least we think we are the best and most well positioned person to help you as you’re building your personal brand. Figure out your new revenue stream right now. I will say that’s the smallest amount of people that we work with, because we believe we need to capitalize on what you have currently, which is for most of you, your existing business. We don’t need to start something new just because you want to. Just because you can’t, doesn’t mean you should.
Speaker 4 (10:38):
But sometimes it’s the right necessary place. And we, we know how to do that. We’ve started a lot of businesses, we enjoy doing that. But we also know how much time at work it takes. So we are discerning with helping you decide those. But I think the thing that we have found amongst all of those is that there are, there are critical elements, no matter what your unique journey is of how our curriculum comes into play, right? And so, no matter what journey you’re on, no matter where you are in your business, no matter where you are in your journey, when you come to Brand Builders Group, our foundation, right? What we do, everything based off of is what we call finding your brand DNA, which is determining these four things. What problem do you solve for the world that only you can solve in the way that you can? How do you solve that problem in your own unique way? Who do you solve that problem for your audience? And how do you make money solving that problem? So what is the problem that you solve for the world? What is your unique way in solving that problem? Who do you solve it for? And how do you make money solving that problem? Now, there’s other components
Speaker 5 (11:53):
To it, but that, that’s, that’s the foundation right? Now at the end of that there’s some things that we need to figure out. Like what’s your message? What’s your uniqueness? What are the payoffs? What what business are you trying to be in? But those are the nitty gritty details. But if you don’t know the answer to those four questions, you cannot, should not move forward. But once you do know the answer to those questions, that would take you into what we would call next, your content creation. So now, if you know what problem, your message, who you solve it for and how you wanna make money, now you start creating what we call your body of work, right? And that’s what you have to say about it. That’s what you have to say to the world. It’s what are your stories? What are the points?
Speaker 5 (12:36):
What are the lessons? What are the frameworks? This is building your original thought leadership, and that happens after that foundational work of what problem, what message, who’s the who and how do you make money? Then it’s content creation, right? So it’s what you have to say about it. The next step is what we call world-class presentation craft. But in normal terms, it’s just how you wanna say it. So the first thing is those four things. What problem, what message, who and how you make money. Part two is your content creation is your body of work. It’s your original thought leadership. So it’s what you have to say. Part three is how you want to say it. It’s the art of the spoken word. I just wanna kind of pause right there, because all of those are pretty much the beginnings of the entire first year, right?
Speaker 5 (13:30):
If each one of those takes 90 days you’re at month nine, right? And yet we have not talked about anything, website anything, brand identity. We haven’t talked about funnels, webinars, checkout processes, CRMs, all of that. Why? Because those first nine months are the things that last the test of time. Those are the things that go beyond a funnel or a website or social media. These are the things that are integral to who you are, who you were built to be, why you’re here, and why you have this calling on your life. And to get all of that in nine months is extremely fast, honestly. But that is that core foundational work that it pretty much doesn’t matter what journey you’re in, we know that that is the work that has to happen before you keep moving forward. Because if you start building and growing on a weak foundation, you’re gonna start finding inconsistencies. And when there’s inconsistencies, there’s wasted time, energy, resources, and money. And we’re not trying to waste anyone’s time. It’s a finite, precious commodity that there’s just not a lot of. And so we take it super seriously. So as you’re just walking through this, as someone who is a, a consumer of this content, I would encourage you to just kind of pause for a second and go,
Speaker 6 (14:51):
Am I rushing things? Or better yet, where am I rushing things? Where do I need to slow down and just let the process be the process? What can I do as other things continue to happen? Where can I carve out time that that needs to happen? And maybe you don’t get to do this full-time. It’s not 40 hour week endeavor for you right now. Maybe it’s a two hour week endeavor. That’s okay. There is a path and a pace for everyone. You just have to find yours. My, my message though, my, my plea to you though is don’t rush the foundation. Don’t rush the infrastructure. ’cause That is what is going to allow you to grow faster and scale better once you set it in place. And as we mentioned on the full call, if you’re going, whoa, whoa, whoa, like something clicks, something dinged I would just encourage you to continue listening to these podcast episodes tons of free resources there.
Speaker 6 (15:51):
You can also go to our website, www brand builders group.com, and click on the button at the top that says, free resources. We got you free resources for days. We can keep you very busy with free resources. But as you go through those, or you’re going, man, I, I, I just, I want a little more than that, then I would encourage you to go to free brand call.com and schedule a free call with our team. That’s the first touch point with all of us. We are not a fit to work with everyone, and not everyone is a fit to work with us in that type of way. This call helps you sample what we do. It helps you get to know our team, and it helps our team to get to know you, to decide if we’re a good partnership. And if not, we wanna support you. So we’re gonna keep sending you free resources, until you say, please stop. That’s enough. So please continue listening to the podcast. Check out our free resources. And if you’re looking for more than that, visit free brand call.com and schedule that free call today. I’ll see you later.

Ep 451: 5 Keys to Using Customer Experience as a Differentiator | Will Guidara Episode Recap

RV (00:03):
Well, I have done hundreds of podcast interviews over the years, and without a doubt, this is one of my all time favorite podcast interviews. Maybe, maybe my number one all time favorite was this interview I did with Will Guidara on his book and the concept of Unreasonable Hospitality. I love it so much. I agree with it. I believe in it. I underscore it. I, I I, I would add exclamation points to everything he said and say, this is what we want to be. This is what I want to be a student of. This is not only how I want people to think of Brand Builders Group when they do business with us and they talk about us. This is what I want people to think about us as people. And so we’re gonna talk about, I’m gonna share with you here in my, my own little recap of five keys to using customer experience as a differentiator and as a competitive advantage.
RV (01:05):
So this is important, right? Because if you, if you go back, go listen to this interview. If, I mean, if there’s one that you go back and listen to, go back and listen to this interview with Will, it is so good. But if you, if you go, okay, what do we do at Brand Builders Group? Part of what we do is we help people find their uniqueness so that they can exploit it in the service of others, right? That’s a huge part of what we do. That’s based on a quote that I learned from a gentleman named Larry Wingett. Well, finding your uniqueness, one of the benefits of that, one of the byproducts of it is that you separate yourself from all the other people who do something similar to what you do. And here, this, this story Will’s story and his content and his expertise is so relevant because he’s talking about what we typically teach in terms of how to differentiate yourself from the market is basically through your content and through your delivery and through your own stories.
RV (02:06):
But what he’s talking about is separating yourself from everyone through customer experience, meaning by changing the way that your customers interact with you, and more specifically the way that you interact with them, you can make them feel a certain way. And by doing that, that is going to separate you from everybody else that they could refer or do business with, or, you know, come back and, and be a repeat customer of. And so here’s five keys to doing this, and these mostly come directly from Will. So the first thing that he said that really hit me as I went back and reviewed this interview was again, if you, if you haven’t listened to it, go listen to it. But he was the co-owner of 11 Madison Park. So this is this very high end restaurant in New York, but he wanted to be the best restaurant in the world. And what he said was,
RV (02:58):
I decided that we weren’t going to compete by trying to be the best product in the world, meaning we weren’t gonna try to have the best food in the world necessarily. They knew they needed to have world-class food, but he picked a different area of the business customer experience. And he said, I wanted to compete on experience. The way that Will said it was, he didn’t wanna be unreasonable in the product, but he wanted to be unreasonable in how they treated people. And he defined it as unreasonable hospitality is targeting and zeroing in on the human desire for people to feel seen, cared for, and welcome. What a brilliant observation and what an intelligent insight to go. You can compete not only on, on what you do, but how you do it. That’s what customer experience is all about. It’s not just what you do.
RV (04:01):
It’s one thing to be innovative in what you do, which is its own separate conversation and also worth aspiring to. But there’s this whole other conversation, which I think is so often ignored, which is how you do it, how you do what you do, not just the expertise in, in the case of personal brands. This isn’t just about you becoming well known. And it’s not just about you producing insights that are better or more powerful or more poignant, or more sharp or more clear or more actionable than the other people who are in your space. It’s about your customers being made to feel a certain way as they encounter you, as they interact with you, as they exchange commerce with you, as they engage with your, your content or your events, or your products or your services. How do you make your customers feel? And that, to me is amazing to go.
RV (04:58):
I mean, there’s perhaps no more commoditized you know, space in the world than restaurants, right? People who serve food. There’s lots and lots of competition people who do that. So to be the number one restaurant in the world by choosing to not compete on the food now, now, amazing food was like the price of admission, right? So that had to be there. But to find this other point I thought was, was extremely, extremely powerful from a tactical standpoint. So that’s point number one, right? Is, is to be exceptional at making people feel seen, cared, and welcome. That’s how you, that’s the first key to using customer experience as a different, as a differentiator, be exceptional at making people feel seen, cared for. And welcome. Number two is to isolate all of the customer touchpoints, to audit all of your customer touchpoint.
RV (05:55):
So this is the tactical component of how to do this is go through you, your team and audit, and we’re gonna have our team do this at Brand Builders Group like this for us. This is where we’re at. This is perfect for where we’re at is going, how do we get to the next level, right? So part of it is being brilliant at the basics, mastering the fundamentals. Those have to be in place. Once you have those things, you go, okay, how do we go next level? This is, it is go, we need to audit. We need to, meaning, we need to think about, we need to document, we need to transcribe every touchpoint our customers have with us. And this isn’t that. You could do this in your marketing as well, but what I took from this interview from Will specifically is it’s actually once they become a customer, too often personal brands are overly consumed and worried about just getting new customers, attracting new customers, growing their reach, they’re following, signing up new people, and then they work so hard to bring this person in.
RV (06:51):
They make the sale, and then it’s like they basically forget about ’em. And it, they just kinda like, you know, the, it’s just fumes when it comes to delivering to their customers. And so they’re always having to constantly chase new customers and new business because they do such a crappy job of taking care of their past customers and their existing customers. And instead of over-delivering with their existing customers and letting their customers become their sales force to bring them new customers, they’re just focused on new business, then they, they make the sale and they kind of like deliver C minus work with their existing customers. And so they have to do the hard work of finding new customers versus letting their past customers become their sales force. Well, so how do you do that? You have to audit every touchpoint that you have with your past customers.
RV (07:39):
And the way that Will said it was, he said, you want to isolate them and then elevate them. Meaning, okay, let’s look at the list of every single interaction, communication touchpoint we have with a customer, and let’s figure out some of the ones that are, you know, routinely mundane and add creativity to them. So this is really a two-part process, right? It’s audit the steps, and then it is figure out how do we, how do you add creativity to certain ones? And you maybe can’t do all of them, but maybe you can do one or two or three. But to go, where can we take the routine, boring, monotonous experience that customers are used to having in their onboarding or in receiving their, you know, their invoice or in their welcome or, or maybe in their cancellation, or maybe it, it’s in their, their their you know, the first email they get or whatever, whatever it is, and going, how can we add creativity to this moment to make this moment magical? Creativity is what makes the moment magical. And thoughtfulness is what makes this magical. So that is
RV (08:55):
The second key to using customer experience as a differentiate differentiator, is to audit each touchpoint you have with your customers and add creativity where you can. Number three is to be audacious in your ambition, but patient in your pursuit. I loved that quote right from Will Gera in our interview together. And by the way, if you can’t tell, like, I’m so convicted on this, we are, we are sending this interview out to our entire, all of our employees at Brand Builders Group, right? We have dozens employees. This will be a mandatory listen for employees. They will be required to carve time out of their daily work schedule to listen to this interview as a condition of their employment here, because this is a place where we can do a better job. And what Will says is to be add audacious in your ambition, which is to basically, you know, set a high bar, but be patient in your pursuit.
RV (09:56):
And I think that is a key, a key here is to go, okay, I wanna have high goals and I wanna reach for, you know, something that feels maybe impossible or something that’s gonna stretch us, something that’s gonna push us, push us to our limits, and yet I’m gonna allow myself the grace of getting there slowly. I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna focus more on consistency than intensity. That’s one of my mantras from Take the Stairs, that consistency is greater than intensity. And so he’s just applying that same principle to the idea of customer experience to go, okay, one day we wanna be 11 Madison Park, right? Like, one day we wanna be Nordstrom, one day we wanna be, you know, whoever pick your, pick your, your brand that has incredible customer experience right? Now, we might not be able to get there, but let’s choose one touch point with our customers where we can really, really exceed their expectations, where we can surprise them, where we can knock their socks off, right?
RV (10:55):
Where we can really blow it outta the water by simply over-delivering in a very unexpected way on something that is normally trivial and mundane. So be audacious in your ambition, but be patient in your pursuit. Be slow and, and forgiving if it takes time to achieve this, right? You don’t do this overnight. It takes years and, and, and to transform your culture, right? Whether it’s your own personal mentality of service and hospitality, or if it’s, especially if you have a small team or a big team or a huge company, right? It’s gonna take time to transform the culture. And, and, and so you can’t do this overnight. You have to be patient in your pursuit. So I love that. The fourth thing is another principle that I believe in and share a value here with Will. Now, the way that Will said it is one size fits one, one size fits one rather than one size fits all.
RV (11:58):
So this is a key. This is, this is the next key. This is the fourth key to using customer experience as a differentiator. One size fits one. What does he mean by that? He means do something for your customer that is unique to them. Go out of your way to do something for them that is so hyper customized that they know it was only for them. It had to be just for them. It, it’s not something that you can standardize. Although you could maybe standardize the practice. It’s, it’s got to be something specific to them. And I’ll give you an example of this is a place where our team did a great job of this one of our early clients, that Brand Builders group was a gentleman named Kiir Weer, and Kiir was a client of ours for a couple years.
RV (12:47):
And we love Kiir and we, we, we loved working with him. And, and his story was, you know, he has this amazing story a heartbreaking in some ways that, you know, he had a boating accident, he was driving and he went to prison after one of his friends died in a boating accident when, when he was driving. And so when he got out of prison, he couldn’t get a job and he couldn’t get into any you know, like graduate schools. And so then you know, it goes on and years later, he becomes very, very successful and very wealthy. And he got into the graduate school of his dreams, and then he happened to graduate while he was a brand builders group client. And that was a big dream for him that he had sent many years in advance.
RV (13:33):
And our team noticed that. And we sent him a sweatshirt from that university, right? And it was just a special moment for him. He was super grateful because what, because why? He felt seen, he felt heard, he felt cared about. He felt like more than a customer, because he is that he, he he is that to us. He, he’s someone that we, he was one of our very first customers, right? Brand builder. He was one of the very first people who ever took a chance on brand builders group. And so he meant means a lot to us, meant a lot to us. And so we took a, a moment and some budget and some time to pay attention, notice this opportunity, and then to invest those dollars, a few dollars to do something for one of our original clients to make them feel special. That was transformational. We can’t operationalize that for everybody. Not all of our clients are, you know, have that story. Not all of them are graduating, you know, from, from the college of their dreams or the University of their dreams while they’re an active client of ours. So we can’t just operationalize that. And, and that’s the point, right? That’s the point that Will is making, is that one size fits one. The way that that we say it around here is the more specific,
RV (14:50):
The more terrific. If you wanna fe make somebody feel cared about, the more specific, the more terrific. It’s gotta be specific to their circumstance, specific to their timing, specific to, to their unique tastes and preferences. It’s not wrong to send everyone a gift on Christmas. But what’s more powerful is, like in this example of Keir or in the Dirty Water dog , you, you’ve gotta listen to Will Guerra’s dirty water dog story in the, in the interview, right? That dirty water dog story is a perfect example. I, if he served a, a hotdog, a New York City Street hotdog to every one of his customers, it would be a waste of time and it wouldn’t be impactful. But in, in that moment to that one person, it was so powerful, even though it literally cost like $2, it was so powerful. So the more specific, the more terrific one size fits one.
RV (15:46):
John de Julius is another past interview that we had here on this show. And, and he has a, his, his concept here is called Secret Service, and he’s been someone that’s been transformational in our career. Go, that’s another interview you should go back and listen to on this same topic, but the more specific, the more terrific Do something unique to that person is gonna be more powerful than doing the same thing for everybody at the same time. Really, really powerful. But the last thing, okay, so the fifth key to using customer experience as a differentiator is my favorite thing that Will said in the entire interview. And this was about creating an unreasonable hospitality culture. And he said this about his team. He said, our goal wasn’t just to inspire our people to be better at their job. Our goal was to inspire our people to be better human beings.
RV (16:50):
Our goal wasn’t just to inspire our people to be better at their job. Our goal was to inspire our people to be better human beings. Meaning to be better at seeing others, caring for others, making others feel welcome. That’s what hospitality is about. That requires you to be a better human. It requires you to be less self-centered and more service centered, less focused on you, and more, more focused on them. In order to have this moment of unreasonable hospitality, and, and in order to create this magical moment, you first have to be outside of yourself enough to be paying attention and listening. Not not just hearing what they’re saying, but listening for an opportunity to go there it is. Here is a, in this little moment, this, this little opportunity that has shown up that I can go a little bit out my way to make this person feel so special.
RV (17:47):
That’s what Unreasonable Hospitality is all about. And you can do that with a small budget. You can do that with a small team. You can do it with a, with a big budget and a big team. You, you know, will, I asked him that question and he said, well, you know, just the level of hospitality should probably match in some way the size of the bill. Right? And otherwise it’s not gonna be totally sustainable, but go over the top to do it. It’s not the price of the gift that matters, it’s the level of thoughtfulness. It’s the level of customization. It’s the hyper-specific nature of what you’re doing. That’s what makes people feel special. And this is how you do amazing customer experience. This is how you do amazing employee experience. And as a, as a husband and a family man, I can tell you guys, listen up.
RV (18:40):
This is, this is what, this is something I think a AJ does. An amazing job of this for me and for our boys, is she does things like that to make us feel special all the time. Men, we probably need to work a little harder at doing that for our kids and for our spouses, right? And, and for our, you know, the people who are important to us in our life is recognize these moments, these opportunities to do something magical for somebody else. It’s, it’s really, really transformational for them. So that’s what Unreasonable Hospitality is all about. Those are five keys to using customer experience as a different, a differentiator. Be excellent at making people feel seen, cared for, and welcome. Audit the touch points, and then add cre, add creativity. Be audacious in your ambition, but pa patient in your pursuit. Remember the more specific, the more terrific and inspire your people, not just to be better at their job, but to be better at being human beings. I loved it. I’m so inspired. Get the book on Reasonable hospitality. Go listen to the interview, share this recap. Share the interview with somebody who you know, who will appreciate it, and show some love to Will Guera online. If you get a chance, let him know that you heard him right here on the Influential Personal Brand Podcast. We’ll catch you next time.

Ep 449: Celebrate, Save or Cancel: When To Retain and When To Let Go | Shana Lynn Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
Do you have a membership or a community in which retention is a key driver in your business? If you do, this is a I would say a training, a conversation, a recording some tips, whatever you wanna call it. But this is some information, some education that I think will be vitally important to you. So I have a great friend who has a, a community and retention business, and I just had the opportunity to have her on the influential personal brand podcast. And the conversation veered intentionally or unintentionally, I’m not sure, to this conversation of cancellations and retention when it comes to communities and memberships. Now, this applies to any sort of customer, but this is a, a specific conversation for memberships and communities that you must listen to. So here are a couple of things that I think stood out about this idea of cancellations and reputation.
AJV (01:08):
So first and foremost, if someone requests to cancel their program with you, you have likely already lost them. And I know that there are lots of companies out there who require, who mandate a call to cancel. In fact, I was sharing this on the podcast. I am trying to not cancel, but downgrade a service that we subscribe to. I can’t do it. It’s, it’s actually not possible online. You have to email in which the email says, we’ll get back to you in four to five days. Or you have to call a, you know, one 800 number between the hours of nine and four. And it’s like, I, I don’t have time to do that. That’s why, that’s why I’m on this online thing and you’re gonna get back to me in four to five days. Like, that’s insanity. We think that’s helpful. We think that’s a retention effort.
AJV (02:00):
What that is, is that’s a customer satisfaction issue. Just because someone wants to cancel doesn’t mean they’re not willing to refer your business or come back at a later time. And I’m not saying that we should just let everyone cancel. That’s not what I’m saying. But what I am saying is that there’s an opportunity to go if someone is trying to cancel. There has likely been something or a series of some things that have, could have been fixed and prevented. And if it got all the way to, they wanna cancel, the save percentage is probably going to be low because the work should have already been done. The work the preventative measures or us catching it, that should have happened prior to this cancellation request. And at this point, they don’t really wanna have to talk to someone and explain themselves and do whatever else is what we think being helpful in an effort to save can also just be a really big fat annoyance.
AJV (02:59):
And what was a great relationship is now tarnished by a poor ending. So let’s talk about some things when it comes to cancellation. Number one, if you start with the beginning in mind, IE onboarding and what it’s like to be onboarded into your company or to your service or products, that changes everything. And people need to know what they’re buying. So step one this is, I think this is really good, is don’t assume people know what they bought. You have to tell them and then remind them. So don’t think that people know exactly what they bought. They don’t often, or they only know a piece of it. So we have to remind them of what they bought. That’s our job. That’s a part of our onboarding and our communication and our marketing. But that’s the first thing, is they have to know what I’m buying into.
AJV (03:50):
And they should know upfront, if and when this is no longer working for me, what do I do about that? Ideally, they’re reaching out to you in a proactive effort of how do I fix this? How do I change this? Not how do I cancel this? But we need to make that clear upfront, but not just upfront. It needs to be clear throughout the process. So a part of onboarding is helped to ensure that one, they know what they bought. The second piece of onboarding is knowing that you can help them. They need that reminder and that confidence of you’re in the right place that we can help. We have the expertise, the content, the information, the support to help you. The third thing is they need to know that they can do it. That other people have come before them and have done this and that they can do it too.
AJV (04:38):
And then last but not least, they need to know what is the next best step? Or what is the next right step for me in this process for me in this journey? Like, what do I need to do next? And I can think of so many tangible examples of this in so many different ways. So we subscribe to a bookkeeping service for Brain Builder’s group, and I’m constantly sending messages saying, can you just please tell me what is the next thing for me to do here? It’s like, I will send a notice or a letter that I got and they’re like, oh, well, you know, that needs to be, you know, updated in the, you know, portal. And I’m like, what portal? ? Like where your portal, the state portal. Like, can you please just tell me what to do? Like I need clarity.
AJV (05:27):
I need to know my best next step. I can think of other little things of like, and this is, I’m trying to make this applicable to any business, like doctor’s office, right? My six year old got bit by, apparently there’s a bug called a kissing bug that is attracted to your mouth. And he was playing in the leaves and got bit, and the stinger was lodge in his lip, the entire left side of his face, swed up, swelled up, up, swelled up. I’m gonna go with that one. And it was like his mouth was so swollen that he is like, he could hardly talk. And I’m like, on the phone with a doctor and they’re like, yeah, we just want you to wait. I’m like, no, I don’t. I don’t wanna wait. Like I need you to tell me what to do.
AJV (06:11):
And he was like, well, just give him some Benadryl. How often, like, this is serious. Like, I want to bring him in. I want that stinger out. And it’s like, finally I’m like, okay, I need you to give me a plan right now before I go to the ER because I’m that mom. And he was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Give him a Benadryl every five to six hours and put an ice pack on it until the swelling goes down. Thank you. I need to know the best next step. Our customers, our members, our community needs that too. Not just on day one, but on day 30, day 60, day 90. They need it continuously, right? So those things are important. And if we start the membership off correctly, then it’s a higher likelihood for success in the middle, which means we have a higher likelihood of retaining them at the end.
AJV (06:57):
And so those are things that are really important. Now, in the event that someone does say, Hey, I wanna cancel. How should we handle that? How should we treat that? And this is what blew my mind with this conversation with Shannon. And she goes, I want you to think about it in three different ways and and approach this and address it in three different ways. One, you have to make it easy to cancel. You have to make it accessible for your community, for your clients to cancel. But that doesn’t mean you have to give it up on a silver plate either. It’s people need to take responsibility if the program isn’t working for them as much as you need to take responsibility. So think about cancellations in three different ways. Number one it’s a celebration. Meaning you’re canceling because you got every single thing that you needed from this program and that you’re leaving on a victorious high note of, I might come back one day, but even if I don’t, I’ll be sending tons of other people your way.
AJV (07:53):
‘Cause This was a success, this was a victory, and congratulations. We wanna stay in touch. We wish you the best. So the first type of cancel is somebody who’s like, I got everything I needed for now. I might be back one day, but I have to cancel for now. That’s great celebratory, right? That doesn’t mean they won’t still send you business, refer you, recommend you. That’s a win. That’s a win. Two the person who’s going, I’m just not using the program. I’ve given up on myself. I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if it’s for me. That’s the person that we wanna talk about saving. All right? That’s the person who’s going. Like, it’s not that the program isn’t working, it’s not that you don’t like the program, it’s that you have lost confidence in yourself. You have not made it a priority.
AJV (08:39):
You have not scheduled a time, and perhaps you’ve gotten lost, confused, demotivated, or you’re just feeling insecure about what to do, how to do it, and if you can do it, those are the people that we want to encourage to get on a phone call. Those are the people that we wanna go, Hey, like, we can help. Let’s help you get reengaged. Let’s get on a phone call. And let’s get a plan together. Let me reinvigorate you, reinspire you and reinstill a solid plan that you can follow from this day moving forward. That category of people is who you wanna have phone calls with. And then there’s a third category of person who goes, this is not a fit anymore. I’m not using it. Don’t like it, don’t want it. I just don’t want this anymore. And it doesn’t have to be negative.
AJV (09:26):
It’s like, Hey, I have had a life event that is precluding me from participating at this time. I cannot do it. Or, you know, I I’m cha I’ve changed my mind. Like, I don’t want this anymore. And I think there’s a, a fine line between, hey, you made a commitment and you signed an agreement and I don’t wanna do this anymore. Versus I don’t wanna do this anymore because there’s been, you know, a co-occurring trigger or an event in my life that is causing some distance between my ability to do this. And we need to be able to discern that where people are owning their own commitments and accountability. But what we’re also going like, like it tarnishes the community to have people in it that don’t wanna be there, don’t like it, and aren’t happy. It also ruins our opportunity to ever be a place for them to come back to or to tell other people about it.
AJV (10:20):
And I do believe in personal accountability and personal commitment. And if I sign an agreement and give you my word, I’m gonna fulfill it. And at the same time, there is a time and a place where I’m going, this is not what I thought it was. . I thought I was buying this. That’s not this and it’s not working for me and I’m not happy here and I don’t wanna stay begrudgingly, but if you can let me go now there is a time and an opportunity for me to come back or send people that is a fit for them. But there is a, there is a category of people where it’s not ideal to force them to have a call with you. And it’s not that you just, like anyone who wants to cancel, just click here. But it’s like, no, we need to know why.
AJV (11:01):
But we also need to make it as easy to cancel as it was to sign up, right? So there’s these different categories of people who are requesting to cancel that you really need to think about in order to go, how do I utilize the resources on my team, right? How do we utilize the energy of our team? But to do the same thing for your community and for the person who is considering to leave or is ready to leave. And those are very different categories, but to go back to keeping the beginning in mind of if you start right, the likelihood of success is higher and the higher the successes are, the more likely you are to retain them. So is it a person who you are trying to celebrate save or do they need to cancel? And as you look at your retention strategy and your
AJV (11:52):
Cancellation process, consider these things when looking at your ability to create a culture of a community who wants to be there, a team who loves what they do and loves talking to your community, but also members of your community who will tell others about you even when they’re not there. And how they leave is a part of that. If they leave on a high note, that’s what they remember. If they leave on a low note, that’s what they remember. So make sure that when they leave, they leave on a high note.

Ep 447: 5 Keys to Being Financially Secure as an Entrepreneur | Rob Luna Episode Recap

RV (00:02):
Well, I always love a good chat around tax strategy and investing in financial stuff and just learning about money in general, because I don’t think there’s enough conversation and enough knowledge that is transferred around making money, saving money, keeping money, investing money, spending money wisely, and just in overall generating more, more money. And so I’m always looking forward to those opportunities. And I enjoyed that chat with Rob Luna. I wanted to share with you as part of that go, I just wanted to off the top of my head, grab five keys to being financially secure as an entrepreneur. So as I look back over like my career and mine and AJ’s journey as entrepreneurs to go, what are some things that have, have really led to our financial security, at least to the level that we have at now? And I just thought, man, let’s rattle these off ’cause these are good.
RV (01:01):
And, and, and I would’ve wanted to have known these or, or heard them over and over again as an entrepreneur. So here they are, five keys to being financially secure as an entrepreneur. Number one, get debt free to own your freedom. Get debt free to own your freedom. And this is one that I just, I will be forever grateful to Dave Ramsey because he has the program that teaches people how to get debt free. And we followed that thing to a t Now, I don’t know, it was coming up on 20 years ago when I went through financial piece, but those principles became a part of my financial psyche that I adapted and adopted that are ingrained still to me today that have, I think, set me up in a completely different financial capacity from several of my friends and colleagues and clients and, you know, even mentors and people I look up to.
RV (02:00):
And a huge part of it is just being debt free, because people try to make mathematical arguments for why maybe you shouldn’t be debt free, right? They try to make mathemat mathematical arguments for like, well, think of all the money you have tied up in your house, right? And going, if you took that money out of your house and instead had a, you know, debt on your house, you could be investing that money in other places and making more money. And sometimes, and in some markets, that’s sometimes true. But here’s what’s always true. When you don’t have debt, you are free. I mean, the Bible says this, right? The borrower is slave to the lender. And what’s, what is more powerful in your life than having millions of dollars is just being free to do whatever you want to do. And
RV (02:58):
That comes, that’s a mental thing. And it’s a spirit that’s a spiritual condition. And that has more to do with not owing people money than it does to do with how much you make. And one of the things that you’ll realize as you make more money, and hopefully you realize this, this is one of the things that AJ and I learned over the years, is that we don’t need more money. We need less stress. We don’t need more money. We need less, less complexity. Peace is the new profit. It’s not about going, oh, I have some number in my account. And then that number’s bigger and bigger and bigger. Like it’s just a number in an account. What really matters is your peace of mind. How do, how are you feeling? How secure are you? How stable are you? Versus how worried are you that if a change in the interest rates in the are, are gonna completely, you know, tank your business?
RV (03:55):
Or are you worried that if you don’t get a customer to pay in time, you’re not gonna have a chance to pay your vendor and you won’t make payroll. And like all of the stress that comes from leverage, which is like basically playing arbitrage with money, that is risky business. And it’s not that it can’t ever work, sometimes it does, but more often than not, it all nets out to be about the same as just doing it the simple way anyways. And regardless of it, it’s just when you come to a decision to go, I don’t need more money, I just need less stress, that is powerful. And that’s buying your own freedom. When you, when you’re debt free to go, once you’re debt free, you can buy whatever you want as long as you can pay cash for it. Like it, everything becomes simple.
RV (04:42):
But when you’ve got multiple investments and multiple, you, you know, loans from different people at different rates and some are variable and some are fixed, and like, it’s all of this stress to manage, even if you’re healthy, it’s like you have to keep an eye on all of these different things. It’s stressful. So get debt free and buy your own freedom. And I just go start small. Be willing to go start small and be willing to go slow. And over time, it adds up to be something that’ll be far more than you ever need and you won’t have the stress along the way. So that’s number one. Number two is invest in yourself First. Invest in yourself first. If there are, when, when you, when people think of investments, what they, they tend to think of like, ooh, buy real estate or invest in the market, or maybe do non-traditional investments, right?
RV (05:32):
Like, you know, artwork or crypto or you know, wine or like whatever. There’s all these different things. You, you, you know, currencies, there’s all these things you can invest your money into, but the number one thing you should invest your money into is yourself, your own mind, your own personal development. The, the, the greatest return on your money that you will ever get is strengthening your mind, your education, your knowledge, your, your mental capacity, and just you’re building your own confidence and your own strength and your ability to create wealth and create opportunity for yourself and those around you. And we just don’t hear about it. And people don’t think about investing in themself in enough of a literal way of like, if I could put money into the stock market that might grow at, you know, maybe 7%, maybe 8%, maybe 10% over years.
RV (06:25):
But if I put that money into myself, I go, I could grow my income exponentially over time, like in a, in a short order. If, if I learn how to do it and I learn and I’m, and I’m, I get in environments where I’m around other successful people. So invest in yourself first. Then the second thing I would invest in is invest in your business, right? Before I’d be looking at investing in the markets and all these things that you may or may not understand, and maybe you understand it better than I do. Like, you know, I consider myself reasonably smart, but there’s a whole lot of investment stuff that I don’t understand. I don’t understand all these fancy terms. And I have an MBA, like I have a, I have an MBA from a private university like I was a millionaire by the time I was 30 years old.
RV (07:08):
I have, I have, you know, been the, an entrepreneur now for a couple decades and there’s a whole bunch of this like speak this, this financial speak, I don’t understand. And all these, you know, you know, just weird terms. And I go, when I look around the people who have a lot of wealth and a lot of security, the big, the best investment is into yourself and then into your business. Because if you think about, like, you know, even trying to find, try to find a company that is gonna give you a 20% return, would, would be outrageous. It’d be so difficult. But if you can grow your profit margin as a business to 20% of profits a year, then that means every dollar you invest in that business is gonna give you back 20 cents. So if you can build your own business, that can, that can, can, can grow over time.
RV (07:54):
And maybe it’s, you know, it’s not a lot at first. You might, you know, break even, hopefully and make a little bit of money, 1%, 3%, 5%. But that business starts to grow. You inch it up and you’re gonna start, you build a business that clocks 15% a year, 20% a year, every single year for the rest of your life. Like you’ve built the greatest investment machine you have for yourself. Now, you don’t wanna have all your wealth tied up in your business ’cause then you don’t have diversity. ’cause If something happens and you get sick or you lose key employees or customers or vendors, or the market changes or regulation or competitor kills you, like, there’s, there’s risk right there. But, but a lot of that risk is a much more in your control than investing in some other asset that you have nothing to do with its performance.
RV (08:38):
So I always, you know, think, invest in yourself, invest in your business, then invest in your retirement. So that’s how I would think about investing. And I would go, okay, I wanna get debt free first. That’s simple. Then I wanna invest, but I wanna invest in myself and then I wanna invest in my own business, the things that I’m controlling. Like if I have, if I have a choice between place and money with some outside person or entity, or a real estate investment or some project or investing into the business that I run and operate and control every day, I’m gonna invest in that one, the one that I have control over, the one that I understand, the one that I can influence, the one that I can shape. And so we just don’t think of investing enough with just invest in yourself, invest in your own business.
RV (09:21):
So that’s investment number three. Okay, so talking about real investments. I’m gonna just say this and, and you know, maybe some of y’all will disagree. Have a boring investment strategy, have a boring investment strategy. You know, you heard Rob talk about buy, buy boring businesses. You know, Cody Sanchez is one of my favorite people to follow online. I’ve developed a little relationship with her recently and that she talks about buying boring businesses all the time. Like, your investment strategy should be boring. And I don’t, I think buying businesses is not boring. I think buying businesses is like scary and risky. And half the time that go, more than half the time that investment probably goes to zero. You know, just doing single, like, you know, investing in startups and stuff is that is not for the faint of heart. That is, that is, you know, typically very risky.
RV (10:12):
I’m talking about growth stock mutual funds like the, the, the s and p 500 in here in the us. These are, you know, the, the big large, stable enterprises that they’re not gonna make you millionaire overnight, but they’re gonna grow steady and consistently. And if something happens to those, if those all go under, that means the world is like, the world is in such dire straits. It doesn’t matter what your money is because you’re probably like you, you know, fighting for candles and, and water and stuff. Like these companies, the big companies, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’ve been around a long time. They’re stable. They’re not typically going anywhere. Y you know, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon or easily, right? And so it’s a boring investment strategy if you, if you don’t understand the investments, don’t make them. And, and if it feels like a lot of work to understand what it is, again, I would say don’t make it if it, if it, if it seems complicated or complex.
RV (11:12):
Like if you can’t explain what it is to someone else, don’t do it. And you know, if, if you’re doing it just because you saw someone on the internet telling you it was a good idea, man, be careful. I mean, just be careful. The, the people that I know that are the most happy, right? If peace is the new profit, that’s something I’ve been saying so much lately. Peace is the new profit. The people who are peaceful are not the people I know that make a a the most money. I know lots of people who make lots of money that aren’t peaceful, they’re constantly stressed because they’re constantly managing chaos. The people who I know are the most peaceful have simple plans, simple strategies, simple savings is they do simple things that they can understand and explain and, and that make sense to them. And they don’t do things because they wanna look smart or look sophisticated or to feel like they’re caught up at the crowd.
RV (12:12):
They, they do things that they actually understand. So have a boring investment strategy. Number four, choose abundance over scarcity. Choose abundance over scarcity. I think one of the most costly things that we have in the world today is a scarcity mentality. Simply stated. I think a scarcity mentality is, is often like an is is an an an either or thing. Either you can win or I can win. Abundance is going, we can both win, right? Abundance is going, there’s a, there’s a way to figure it out where everybody wins. Scarcity make feels like, well, if, if I help this person, that’s gonna take, if I help this person succeed, it’s gonna take something away from me. Abundance is thinking as I, if I help this person succeed, it’s gonna come back to me. And I think that too many people hold on too tightly to their money because they have scarcity.
RV (13:17):
They’re afraid that if they let that money go, it won’t come back to ’em. And so they don’t invest it, right? So what they do is they just hang on to it and, and they go, I don’t want anyone to steal it. I don’t wanna do anything with it. I just have to hold onto it. ’cause I’m not, I’m afraid if I let it go, it won’t ever come back. Well, one of the things that wealthy people do is, is they’re using their money. See, ironically, I think a lot of times people think that rich people have, are, are, are overly focused on money, or they’re like overly like, consumed with money and they go, oh, that’s why they have money, is because they just, all, they, they must love money. And that’s like their whole life. It’s their whole focus. That’s what people think.
RV (13:57):
That’s what I used to think, right? Coming up from, you know, a lower class family financially and, and not having much financial education until I self-educated. And in like my, you know, late teens and early twenties, what I have actually learned is that wealthy people, not all of ’em, right? Some wealthy people are not this way, but most of the wealthy people I know, they actually have the most healthy detachment from money because they know if they lose it, they’ll get it back. They’re not, they, they’re, they’re not hanging onto it for their, their own survival. They’re not so scared that going, oh, all of my security is in money. They’re going, no, I’m gonna invest in myself. I’m gonna invest in my business. I’m gonna invest in growth. I’m, I’m willing to take risks. I’m, I’m willing to. And, and I’m willing to invest in investments, whether it be real estate or it be the stock market or, you know, I I there’s not that many non-traditional investments that I am a fan of, at least unless you’re, unless you’re like a professional investor and investing’s all you do all the time and it’s all you think about and talk about.
RV (14:57):
But you, you have to be willing to think of money as a tool, right? The, the analogy I use is don’t think of your money as like a shield. Think of it as a tool. Like, like, don’t, don’t, don’t think of it as like, don’t depend on it, just for your safety. Think of it as like something you use to build something with. And that’s abundance is going. No, I, I, I I use money to, to make money. I mean, one of the things that we’ve done our whole life, we hire people to do everything. Like the number, probably the number one thing we spend money on even more than ourselves per se, is hiring other people around us to help us. We have lots of work that we need done. We need lots of help and going, part of why we do that is we don’t even make a lot of money, but we get more peace back because all the stuff there is to do, we hire, help people to help us do it.
RV (15:50):
And so even if we make no money, we go, well, at least we have help and we don’t have stress. And that’s the idea is, is is being willing to choose abundance over scarcity and, and be willing to invest. And, and by the way, that’s the risk of being an entrepreneur, right? Is you pay yourself last, right? The, the potential upside is one day you would make a lot of money, but it’s, it’s like we always pay ourselves last. Everyone else on our team gets paid whether there’s a good month or not. Like we have to pay them. That’s the commitment. And so that’s the risk. But you go, gosh, if we have, you know, there’s good months and bad months, and even if there’s bad months, I trust that like over time it’s gonna work out. That’s abundance, right? And it’s, it’s, it’s thinking long term.
RV (16:32):
And then number five this is another thing that I think this is related to abundance, and I don’t think enough people talk about this. And I think this is something that’s like maybe is kind of rare about me and aj. And I think this is something, I think part of what, how God blesses people with money. And part of how I think part of how other people bless people with their money and they wanna see people succeed is because of this. So number five is become great at helping other people make money, become great at helping other people make money. If you become great at helping other people make money, you will make a lot of money because people love being around people who help them make a lot of money. Like, and this is just something we do like, again, in the abundance mindset, our goal is to, is our goal is never to pay people the least amount possible.
RV (17:30):
Our goal is to pay people as much as we can. We wanna always pay at the top of the market. We don’t always have the money to do that, especially when we’re starting something new, right? So Brand Builder’s group is still only five years old. Like we’ve, we’re still, you know, we just coming outta startup mode. But like over time, we want to pay more money. We wanna pay our, our team the most we want. We wanna help make money for our clients. We wanna help our clients succeed. Why? Not because we need their money, but because we want to help them make money. We know if we help them make money, they’ll return it, they’ll help us make money. We, we really focus on trying to help our affiliates make more money to go, ah, how can we help our affiliates make more money?
RV (18:08):
If our affiliates make more money, they’re gonna wanna help us make more money. But I think if you focus on just going, how can I make more money for myself and all I care about is how do I make more money, then it’s like you’re taking money from other people. And so other people close off to you. But if you figure out how can I help the people around me make more money, then you’re opening a, you’re like opening the door, you’re opening a relationship, a connection between people to help you make more money. And you know, a lot of the people who are around who have been around us, they make more money because it’s a rising tide raises all ships, is we try to help them make more money. They’re working hard to take stuff off of our plate and make us free us up to be more productive and more efficient.
RV (18:55):
As we’re more productive and more efficient, we make more money and then we share that back with them. So this is, this is, again, is, is a difference and mentality. Most people are thinking just about themselves. How do I make more money? You know, who could I find that would just pay me the most? Versus going, what can I do to help the people around me make more money or help them have more time so that they can be more efficient, so that they can make more money trusting that it will flow back to them. And that’s what happens is I think money cascades down to the people who, who help. And, and that always happens. You know, and they say proximity is power. I would also say proximity is profit. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, right? Proximity is power. I, I think Tony Robbins said that.
RV (19:35):
I mean, I, that’s who I heard say it. I that lots of people have said it, but I, that’s who I think it was like the original source of it. I don’t know if it was him or not, but that proximity is power. But I would, I would adapt that to say proximity isn’t just power. Proximity is profit, right? And if you’re around, if you are literally in proximity to people who have the ability to create income and create revenue and build businesses, I promise you, if you help those people succeed, it will cascade back to you. We always want to reward the people who are helping us grow, right? And, and I’m saying that we like in a general sense and in a and in a literal sense of like me and aj, I mean, wouldn’t you right where you go, aren’t you going to reward the people who are most critical to like helping you grow?
RV (20:24):
Yes. If, if they’re really helping you and they really, you really have that mindset of like, it’s an effort, it’s a partnership, it’s a collaboration. We’re growing together. And so I’m constantly trying to find my, I’m constantly trying to find ways to add value to the people around me. I mean, just today, so I was on a call, I was on two different calls today with Ed Millet, some of you know, ed Millet you know, he’s, he’s one of our, our more well-known clients. And we’ve gotten know Ed a lot over the last few years ’cause we helped him with his book launch and we’ve done a number of things together. He’s one of our top affiliates. And I’m trying to figure out ways to make Ed more money, not just with us, but this other deal. And, and I brought Ed an opportunity that this is a, is an equity opportunity.
RV (21:06):
And I’m going, I mean, ed makes lots of money, right? But I’m going, how can I help him make more money knowing that if I can add value to Ed’s life, there’s a good chance that some of that value rolls back to me somehow. And I don’t always have to know how. I just have to trust that if, if I become great at helping other people make money, they’re gonna want to help me make money, they’re gonna want to reward me back. And, and, and that is true. I have found that to be true. And you, you align with people who are that way. And I know that’s true about me. If there’s, if there’s people around me who are helping me make money, I want to return and go as I make more money, I want to return it back to them. It’s a rising tide raises all ships.
RV (21:49):
And so proximity isn’t just power, proximity is profit. So pay attention to the people you’re around in your life to go, who, who has a capacity here to make a lot of money and how can I support them and, you know, be around them and partner with them and, and, you know, serve them and align with them and add value to their life. You’re likely going to win because of that. I mean, I have been the, the, the, the beneficiary of that, the recipient of that, and the benefactor of that also to other people. So there you have it. Five keys to being financially secure as an entrepreneur. First of all, get debt free to buy your own freedom. Number two, invest in yourself and your business first before you invest in other stuff. Number three, when it comes to inve outside investments, have a boring investment strategy.
RV (22:37):
Number four, choose abundance over scarcity. And number five, become great at helping other people make money. And you will make money with all of that. Just remember, peace is the new profit. You don’t need more money. You need less stress. You don’t need more money. You need as much as you need less complexity. I mean, we do want more money. You do, you, you should go for more money. You’re creating wealth for the people around you. But in reality, for most of us, we don’t need more money as much as we need less stress. And as we don’t need more money, as much as we need less complexity. So go out and create value in the world and watch the money flow back to you. Hopefully we’re helping you do that every time you listen to this show. So thanks for being here. Share this episode with someone who needs it. Keep coming back. If you haven’t yet, please go leave a rating for us on iTunes so that other people can see what our show is all about. We’re so grateful for you. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 445: What To Know If You Want To Be a Highly Paid Professional Speaker | Shawn Hanks Episode Recap

AJV (00:03):
You need three things to become a highly paid professional speaker. And we’re gonna talk about each of those three things right now. First and foremost, you need amazing content and an amazing speech. That’s the barrier to entry. It is no longer about just having great assets and a great sizzle and you know, we assume that because you’re well known or that you know it’s a hot topic, that you’re going to be good. Now it’s like we need proof that you have amazing content and that you’re an amazing speaker and some of the assets we’re gonna talk about that will help support that. But we live in a day and age that people can go online, on YouTube, on Instagram, on TikTok, just go to Google and find clips of you speaking. They better be good. And the content needs to beuh powerful and engaging and innovative and original.
AJV (00:56):
So let’s just stop with that. You have to have amazing content. It needs to be clear and it needs to be actionable. And you’ve gotta be great on stage just because you have great content. Making videos behind a camera like this doesn’t always mean you’re a great presenter on stage. That’s an art, that’s a craft, and it needs to be honed. So let’s just start with this, that you must have amazing content and you must be a great presenter on stage. Those are two things that are a given in order to become a highly paid professional speaker. Now, assuming that you have those two things, ’cause you’ve been working on your content for years, and that you have been honing this craft and you’ve been speaking, which you don’t become a great speaker the first time you speak FYI that is something that happens over the course of time.
AJV (01:41):
So speak as much as you can. Speak for free, speak for money, just speak, speak for speak. For groups of three, speak for groups of 3000. You need the practice. You need to figure out what what parts of your story do people remember? What makes them laugh, what makes them think? Where do you need pauses? Where do you need a little bit more humor? Where do you need a little bit more seriousness? Where do you need slides? That only comes with practice. And so the more you do it, the better you get always. Now, second to that the prerequisite is you got to have an amazing speech and you have to have amazing content. There are some other things that help you enhance your ability to become a highly paid professional speaker. First of all, you have to know, categorically speaking, what topics are evergreen topics that are naturally going to allow you to increase your fees over the course of time. And what I mean by evergreen topics is it does not matter what market we’re in, what economy we’re in, what company it is, what industry it is, that there are some categories that are always going to be requested when someone is looking for a speaker. Some of those,
Speaker 2 (02:58):
This is not all of them, but some of those categories that are evergreen that also allow for highly paid speak speeches would be leadership. There is always going to be a need in associations, education, government, corporations, for there to be a discussion around how do you become a better leader of people. Now, within that category of leadership, there’s communication, there’s management, there’s all other types of things, but just think about leadership is a category. Another one would be culture. No matter what culture is always gonna be a part of a conversation. Teamwork. How do we work with others as leaders, but also as employees? That’s top down, bottom up. But teamwork would be another one. So if you think about like large, widespread, categorically speaking, those are three categories. And like I said, they’re not the only ones, but those are three categories that are always going to be requested that allow for your fees to grow without you ever leaving that category.
Speaker 2 (04:04):
If you think of some of the most high pay professional speakers out there like the, the Mel Robbins of the world, it’s like there are components of what she is talking about where it is, you know, overcoming, you know, fear, right? But a little bit of that is overcoming fear to do something right, to be a leader, to make the sale, to ask for the thing. You’ve got people like Tony Robbins, right? And his is about empowerment. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a leader or a frontline employee, but there are some general conversation topics that are always going to allow for you to grow within that vertical and increase your fees. There are other evergreen categories of speeches that will always be needed and requested, but doesn’t allow for the same fee intensity for it to grow as exponential.
Speaker 2 (05:01):
And I’ll give you a quick example. Can you tell me 10 different social media speakers who have fees of $40,000 a keynote, maybe likely not. That is a, a topic that is considered, you know, important, but it’s probably more considered of like a 5,000, $10,000 speaker, not a $40,000 speaker on social media versus I could list you 30, $40,000 speakers right now in leadership. Tons of them. Now, it’s not saying that the content for social media isn’t important, it’s just that it doesn’t allow for that same fee exponential increase as some of these other categories. So social media that would be an example. But other evergreen categories that are important, that are always going to be important would be sales
Speaker 3 (05:57):
Customer experience what we used to refer to as customer service, branding, marketing. Now again these are high level categories and those are evergreen categories, but don’t allow for the same fee growth as maybe a leadership, a culture a teamwork type of topic. So the first thing you wanna look at is how does my content that I believe in that is unique and niche to me, fit within one of these categories that are gonna allow me to have fee increases over time? And whatever it is, it’s like, how do I weave in components of culture, leadership, and teamwork into what I’m doing so that I fit within that request as those are always going to be highly requested topics for events. Doesn’t matter what the event is. So how can what you do also weave in some of those elements so that you fit into those categories outside of that video is the silver bullet.
Speaker 3 (06:56):
You have to have amazing video, a demo video. So I’m gonna just talk about some of the key bullet points of what you need here. One you’ve got to have a five to seven minute speaker demo video. If you’ve got some, something really original, something unique, maybe 10 minutes, but five to seven is the sweet spot that event planners are looking for today. It needs to be short and punchy. You cannot have a one camera shoot, right? So you’re looking for a two or three camera shoot minimum to get the different angles. What angles do you need? You need closeups on your intimate stories. You need wide screen so you can see the power of the stage. You have to have audience shots. People need to see audience reactions in your footage. If you are telling a joke and no one is laughing and there’s no footage of the laughing, how are we supposed to know if it’s funny?
Speaker 3 (07:48):
Maybe we didn’t think it was funny until that the, we like, oh, okay, the audience loved that meeting. Planners need to know the audience loved that. How do they know that? You show the audience in your footage. Audio quality is key. You’ve got to be clear and concise. Same thing with video quality. You won’t, you don’t want shaky footage, blurry footage, those you can’t use that. You can’t use that. You need to have three to four different speeches in your demo video. It cannot be you on one stage in one outfit. So you need at least three to four different stages with you in at least three to four different outfits. So don’t wear the same outfit on every stage. And then you’ve got to answer the question, why are you the expert that I should spend money on to bring to our event?
Speaker 3 (08:31):
And that needs to be answered in the first 15 to 20 seconds. That’s that I need that credible validation that I know what I’m talking about and I’m worth the investment that I’m asking for. Then needs to immediately jump to stage footage. So that’s the video. A speaker press kit. Here’s some of the key things that you need in a speaker press kit. A great headshot, a high rise headshot that really shows you today, not 10 years ago, not five years ago today. Make sure it’s eye catching, original, really enhances who you are and make sure it’s high res your bio. This is your unique positioning. Again, you’ve got to say, why am I the expert? Why am I different? Why should you hire me? And that needs to be in your, your speaker bio. Then you need your keynote description. Think about it like this.
Speaker 3 (09:24):
What you’re trying to describe in this keynote description is what are people buying when they buy this program, when they pay you whatever, you know, $15,000, what they’re paying for is what you have written on that page in your video. It’s this is what you’re buying, right? And then it’s how are you going to deliver that? Some of that is just bullet point takeaways, right? It’s like, here’s what the program is about. Here’s what your audience is going to leave with. And that’s, they’re people are making a 15 to $50,000 decision on a five minute video and a one page description. Think about that. It needs to sell and it needs to be really well positioned. It needs to reach the heart and the core of who this is for, what it is for and how we’re going to achieve it. Right? That is your keynote description.
Speaker 3 (10:16):
Then you need reviews or testimonials. If you can organize them by industry. So if you are being submitted to speak at an insurance association, make sure you have lots of insurance testimonials. If it’s a, a real estate right event, make sure you’ve got real estate testimonials. So try to customize and, and organize those by industry if you can. But what’s most important is we need to know these are real people. So what’s their headshot? What’s their name? What was their position and what did they say? AJ was the best speaker, not as impactful. AJ was the best speaker we have hired in the last 10 years. I have never had so many people request that we bring her back as I have had with this event. Right? That’s the type of thing that you’re looking for. So be really intentional about what you’re trying to get across with your reviews and testimonials. And the last thing I would say when it comes to becoming a highly paid professional speaker is at the end of the day, you have to be so good at what you do, your craft, that other speakers are willing to tell meeting planners and bureaus about you. So be so good at what you do, that other people tell others about what you do. And that is how you become a highly paid professional speaker.

Ep 443: Using Speed as a Competitive Advantage | Jay Baer Episode Recap

RV (00:02):
Growing up with very little money. I’ve spent a decent part of my professional career studying money and learning about money. And one of the principles that I’ve heard consistently from different places about how do you make money and who makes a lot of money, is this principle. There’s, there’s a principle about making money that says money loves speed. Money loves speed, money follows speed. And, and I have really found that to be true, right? I mean, people are paying, they’re willing to pay for results faster. That’s what people are, are, are willing to pay for. And you know, this interview with Jay Baer blew my mind as it always does. And I, you know, Jay’s one of my best buddies and mentor and a friend, and like we’ve, we’ve helped him through the years. He’s helped us a ton. And every time this guy writes a book, it’s a paradigm shifting book.
RV (01:06):
It’s one of the things I love about Jay Baer books. And, and you know, he’s written on some different subjects over the years, but it’s like every time it’s like a new big idea every single time. And this I think is brilliant, right? His whole premise is speed as a competitive advantage. Speed as a competitive advantage going, I am not, what if you focus just on being faster? And I think that this is one of the most powerful questions that you can ask for, to make more money and to get more referrals and to break through Sheehan’s Wall and become more well known. It’s to say, how can I help my customers succeed faster? How can I help my customers succeed faster? That is like the whole mission of Brand Builders group that we’re on right now, right? Like when we first started the company, it was sort of like survival mode, getting it off the ground.
RV (02:06):
Then it was sort of like, you know, scaling up our, our operations and infrastructure. Then it was streamlining and, and really clarifying and, and distilling down what it is that we do. And, and you know, we had a one year that was basically like creating all the curriculum. And now we’re, we’re entering this era where all we’re doing everything that we’re focused on is how do we help our clients succeed faster? And I didn’t really think of that as a competitive advantage ’cause we don’t really compete with people. Like, we don’t make strategic decisions based on like, what other people in the market are doing, but just as an advantage, right? Or just, just, just as a, you know, as a, as a differentiator, right? Speed as a differentiator, or speed as a reason for people to choose you. And that the, the, the stat that blew my mind was when Jay said, two
RV (02:58):
Thirds of people say that speed is as important as price, right? So this is from Jay’s book, the Time to Win, which is obviously what we were talking about. Get it, it’s a great little book. I mean, it’s super quick read. And two thirds of people say that speed is as important as price. Like we live in this era. You know, this is where, what he said, where people interpret speed as caring and responsiveness as respect. That’s so good. And that that is so true. Like that aj you know, there’s the, there’s the five love languages, whatever it is, like gifts of the heart and acts of service and all that. AJ’s love language is responsiveness. , like, at least in the professional setting, that is her love language is responsiveness. She wants people to be communicative with her. Where are we at on the project?
RV (03:54):
What’s the delay? When’s it gonna be finished? What, you know, what’s the deadline? What do you need? Who’s the bottleneck? Da dah, dah, dah, dah. Like, what’s the, what’s the plan? And when she sends a message, it’s like she wants an answer immediately. And, you know, for, for A-C-E-O-I think she’s, she’s insanely responsive. Like most CEOs are not all that responsive. You know, they’re pulled in all these directions, but she just values it so much. And she interprets responsiveness as respect. If you’re, if you don’t respond to her quickly, it’s a sign of disrespect. And I, I’m, I’m starting to see this, right? This whole conversation with Jay opened up my eyes because I go, this is me. I care more about, as a consumer, I care more about speed than price. I go, yeah, I’m, I’m willing to pay more, to move faster.
RV (04:43):
And, and that’s part of what, you know, the era we’re in at Brand Builders Group is like, we’ve always, you know, we’ve been a, we are a strategy firm. Like at our core, we’re a strategy firm. We’re not an agency. But we, we are creating more tools and templates to help clients succeed faster and to always create better strategies, more customized strategies to help them access what they need so that they can get results faster and faster and faster to get things deployed. And here’s a, here’s another line that I love from Jay. When he said this, he said, it’s okay to be a little bit wrong if you’re a lot, a bit fast, it’s okay to be a little bit wrong if you’re a lot, a bit fast. And, and many times, you know, you think of like search engine optimization, like demand driven marketing.
RV (05:31):
When people are searching a term, it’s like they want something, they want it. Now, a huge part of whether or not you make that sale is like, who can get to that person first? Who can return their phone call first? And so I just, I thought this was really, really cool. One of the tactical things that I just wanted to come back and underscore and highlight to the, you know, for everybody is, is the idea of a fast pass, right? The idea of a fast pass is that people will pay to be able to skip the line to people will pay, people will pay, people will always pay to be able to go to the front of the queue, right? I mean, this is like the VIP line. This is any anything VIP or, or you know, Disney has the, the fast pass or all the amusement parks, right?
RV (06:20):
If, if you go to Universal Studios or whatever. And that’s one of the things that we have started offering, right? Is, is we have created opportunities for people to coach with me directly. And it’s, it’s a higher investment because I can help people get to results faster. Just ’cause I got the most experience doing this personally and the most experienced coaching other people to do it, right? So historically, I’ve, I’ve never been available like formally to do private coaching with our clients, right? I, I mean, I, and, and I coach everybody. I’m at, I’m at our events and I do two group coaching calls a month. So like, we have different tiers in our membership, right? And so there’s, depending on what tier you’re in you know, you get to come to our live events. Well, we do, I think we’re doing 32 live events next year.
RV (07:13):
And so four of ’em that are two days, I’m, I’m at and AJ’s at personally, those are, so in-person event not all of our events are in person. And then twice a month for all of our members, I lead group coaching where people can ask me questions and, you know, we do like rapid fire, but doing private one-on-one coaching is, is not something that historically that we have offered until recently. We, we have created something called Brand mastery, which is when people can work with me directly in a, in a very small group, right? It’s still a small, a small group, but they can work with me directly as their strategist. And there’s a higher level of investment. And that’s ’cause we go really fast, right? And we have an, we have an annual pass of that where people are able to spend up to 10 days with me a year and we can crank.
RV (08:01):
I mean, if I get 10 days in a room with someone, I can, we typically, like we can transform their personal brand quickly. So that’s an example of a fast pass. We’re also working on a for years we’ve been developing something that we’re just, just now rolling out called Instant Automation Toolkit. Instant Automation Toolkit is something that’s only available for brand builders members, right? So you have to be one of our strategy clients. ’cause You have to have the education, you have to understand how it all works together. You have to know what a brand positioning statement and, and the 15 Ps and the content diamond and webinar funnels. And like you, you know how all of these, the, the, the modular content method, like how it all fits together. But then we, we took all of our six core campaigns for our, our web, our, our high converting webinar funnels, selling high dollar offers, booking keynotes, doing book launches, building websites, the six most important core campaigns.
RV (08:57):
And we templatized all of them. And now we make it available to members. They can either buy ’em and own ’em out outright, or they can just rent them for like a much lower fee so that we can get them live quickly. That’s why instant automation toolkit is everything about going, okay, now you’ve learned the strategy. The next era of Brand Builders group is going, how can we help you execute faster and, and cheaper? Because if you have to go source and hire all these people, whether they’re employees or vendors, it’s slow, it’s painstaking, it’s expensive, and you’re likely to make mistakes that cost you money because you don’t really know how to coach them. Well, instant automation toolkit is going, what if we just give you ours? And so we’ve been developing this for years and it’s, it’s amazing. We’re, we’re just about to roll it out.
RV (09:43):
We just, we’ve already rolled out our copywriting templates. So half of it is copywriting templates. The other half is the actual technology where we build the, we build the funnels and build the websites for you using our, using our actual one. So we take our exact funnels and then we swap out our stuff, put your stuff in there. So the copywriting templates have been available and it’s like we’ve got people cranking out entire pipelines in a few hours or a few days. Like it’s, it’s amazing. And going, yeah, people will pay for that because there’s, there’s value to that. ’cause, ’cause Money loves speed. You know, the other thing is, is when you think about money in relation to time, time multiplies money, right? Compounding interest. If I, if I take money and I invest it today, you know, it, it money invested over time is it grows and grows and grows.
RV (10:34):
So the earlier I can, the earlier I can have access to money, the earlier I have access to cashflow, the longer amount of time I get to benefit from interest, right? From compounding interest. So it, there’s value to having money today versus having money in the future. This is another thing that we do. We, we started in Brand Builders group about a year and a half ago we rolled out a pay in full feature. And so what happens is, you know, we have our, our programs are annual memberships, and we’ve got, you know, now, now counting brand mastery, we’ve got three different levels of, of membership. Well, there’s a, there’s a discount for paying in full where we give, we give people two months free if they pay in full today, because even though it costs us money, right? We lose money on that.
RV (11:26):
And we still have all the costs of delivering those last two months of service. But there’s value to having all the cash in hand now because we can deploy, we can reinvest that cash into growing the business versus having to wait for it and not seeing it for 10 months. There’s also value in the certainty of collecting it, right? And so we, we share in that with our customers to go, Hey, if you’re willing to, if you’re willing to commit for 12 months and pay us now and go, we’re in this together, we’ll give you a discount. And so that’s the first time we’ve, we, we don’t, other than that we don’t discount, we never discount, we don’t change our prices. You know, people can buy a lower thing and get a lesser price, but we don’t sell the same thing to two people for lesser prices.
RV (12:07):
We, we just, we don’t discount. So, but, but we have offered this fast pass and it’s been massive. C clients love it. They also get to accelerate the deduction on their taxes, right? So like right now, as an example or, or when you get to the end of the year or the end of a fiscal year, you know, they, they can pay us for a year in full and they can accelerate that deduction on like this year’s taxes. So we see a lot of that happen at the, at the end of the people’s calendar year, the end of their fiscal year. So think about how can you incorporate a fast pass concept into your business model? Because this really, I think this really, really is true. My third big idea or takeaway from Jay in this interview was when he said, give your customers a clue of what to expect as it relates to time, absence of any guidance.
RV (13:01):
They’ll expect it instantly. And I thought, wow, that, that, that really is powerful. And so make a time promise the way he said it was, make a time, pro promise, but make one that you can overdeliver on. And I think that’s really key, right? It’s, it’s, it’s not, you know, if you don’t tell me when I’m gonna get it, my brain defaults to, oh, I want it tomorrow, right? Even if it’s like building a website, right? You go, okay, well I’m hiring you to build me a website. Like why can’t I have it tomorrow? Like, why can’t I have it next week? Like, what’s the big deal? Right? Part of the reason, and and I think that’s a natural default that people have because part of the reason why they’re hiring someone else is they don’t have the wherewithal to do it themselves. So they often aren’t knowledgeable about all of the details and the steps and the processes and the things that go into doing something, and that’s why they’re hiring someone in the first place.
RV (13:51):
So we tend to, we tend to underestimate how long it takes other people to do things. We tend to underestimate how long it takes other people to do things. And that’s because we don’t know how to do them. And so we’re not aware of all of the steps, and absent that, absent that awareness, we don’t have the ability to calculate the time or really appreciate even sometimes everything that they’re doing. So what happens is, if someone communicates though and they say, oh, no problem, we’ll have your, we’ll have your website done in two months. Well, I don’t love that, but it’s better than them not saying anything. And like, after the end of month one, I’m going, well, I was thinking this would take a week. Like, why is it taking four weeks? Like, what, what’s the deal here? And now I’m annoyed. Versus if you say, oh, it’s gonna take three months and you actually deliver it in eight to 10 weeks.
RV (14:44):
Now I’m ecstatic. ’cause I go, oh, you know, while I would love for it to be done tomorrow, you set the expectation for me that it wasn’t gonna be done for three months. And then you, and then you over-delivered and you beat that. So now I’m ecstatic. So this is a really important conceptual point to understand that it’s not really how long something takes that annoys people or makes them happy, it’s how long it takes in proportion to their expectation of how long they thought it would take, right? So if it takes six months, that’s neither long or short. It’s only relative. So this is very similar to how we teach we teach our members when they’re selling high dollar offers, there’s no such thing, there’s no such thing as expensive or inexpensive. There’s only such a thing as relative, right? So if somebody’s gonna pay me a hundred thousand dollars to spend two days with me, you go, well, that feels expensive.
RV (15:44):
And it’s not nothing. But I go, well, yeah, but if I can help someone land a half a million dollar book advance, if I can help someone become a New York Times bestseller, if I can help them get speaking engagements where they’re gonna, they’re gonna do, you know, half a million to a million dollars a year in speaking fees for the rest of their career. If I can help them save a hundred thousand dollars on their taxes every year for the rest of their life, if I can teach them, you know, how to build a sales team that will grow millions of dollars. Like, it’s, it’s not, it’s not much relative to that. So, so it’s always relative, right? Well, this is the same thing. Time is never really long or short. It’s always relative. And, and in this case, it’s the, for your customers, it’s relative to their expectation of how long it was gonna take, right?
RV (16:27):
So give them a time promise and, and make it one that you can overdeliver on. Because if you tell me it’s gonna take four months and it takes six months, now I’m upset. But if you tell me it’s gonna take eight months or 10 months or a year, and you’re done in six months, man, now, now I’m ecstatic. It still took six months, it took the same amount of time, right? Like, it, it, it takes whatever time it takes to do something. So of course, hopefully you can operate more efficiently. But, but I think what you wanna do is you wanna, what people don’t allow for the, and part of the reason why we underestimate how long everything takes is because what people never allow for, they never account for is they never account for unplanned expenses of time or money. They ne they never account for emergencies.
RV (17:15):
They never account for extraordinary items, unforeseen thing, unforeseen delays. I, I remember early in my career as an entrepreneur, I had a, a financial mentor, you know, and I, and and I, we were looking at financial statements and I was saying, well, gosh, you know, I feel like we’re being punished because there’s this one unusual item that, you know, we didn’t have in the budget. And I go, well, how is that our fault? Like, none of us saw it coming. It’s not like it was poor management of the company. And and his response to me was, he says, well, you have to create a budget that always has margin in it for things like that. Because while it’s unexpected, you can always expect the unexpected. You can always plan for the unplanned. You can always assume that something is gonna happen that you weren’t assuming was gonna happen.
RV (18:06):
And that is a radical mind shift as it relates to your personal finances, right? And not spending every dollar you have, but saving to go, I can’t spend every dollar because what happens when my, I get a flat tire or when the, you know, the water heater breaks or, or, you know, I have to take a sudden flight somewhere that I wasn’t planning on. You know, like you have to be able to, to do that. You wanna, you wanna have margin, margin, you wanna have margin in your planning margin, in your budgeting, budgeting of money and budgeting of time. And so understanding all of this and, and realizing that time is, I mean, in this case, according to Jay’s research, right, this is empirically validated. Now, two thirds of people say that speed is as important as price. And I’m in that two thirds, right?
RV (18:54):
I go, man, if one person you know is gonna charge me 10% more, but they can get it to me, you know, 30% faster, I’m in every time, every time. So minding people’s time, treating it as sacred you know, making a time promise overdelivering on it, giving them an opportunity for a fast pass to pay extra to, to, to move things faster. And, and just realizing that, that people interpret this is right from Jay speed as caring and responsiveness, as respect. That is from a man, Jay Bearer, his new book the Time to Win. Go by the book, y’all. It’s not even a full-size book. It’s a little tiny book. Like you could, you can read it in an hour. And it is life changing, paradigm altering, you know this idea of using speed as a competitive advantage. So thanks for tuning in.
RV (19:53):
Hopefully listening to this podcast is helping you accelerate on your journey. And I hope we get a chance to move you at some point from being you know, a, a free consumer of our content to working with us and watching how we can accelerate your dream, coming true faster and faster, faster, to help you drive more leads to your business, launch a new revenue stream, you know, write books, be a speaker, grow your audience, grow your impact. Whatever your dream is for building your personal brand, hopefully we get a chance to partner with you to make that dream come true faster. That’s a big part of our wish. Until next time, we will you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll sign off for now. Have a great one. We’ll catch you here. Next episode, influential Personal Brand podcast. Share this with someone who needs it. See you then.