the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

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

Listen to the episode below

Building a strong foundation for your personal brand, and your business, is essential.

But how do you go about building that foundation? And how do you determine the amount of time you should be spending on it?

In today’s special recap episode, AJ uses her conversation with Elizabeth Stephens as a springboard to give listeners a comprehensive breakdown of how to tackle these questions, why it’s so important, and why you should never rush this process.

Tuning in you’ll learn about Brand Builders Group’s mission-driven approach, the deeply-held beliefs that underpin their work, and how they help clients build a solid foundation that will pay off in the long term.

AJ provides a breakdown of the Brand Builders Group curriculum, their four core customer journeys, and the key questions every personal brand must be able to answer before growing their business.

Today’s episode is jam-packed with indispensable advice that you won’t want to miss out on.

Tune in to learn more about Brand Builders Group, establishing your personal brand, and building a rock-solid foundation! 

Key takeaways from this episode

  • The story behind Brand Builders Group (BBG) and its founding.
  • Why BBG is a mission-driven company.
  • The deeply-held beliefs that underpin our work.
  • Unpacking our definition of a customer journey.
  • Our curriculum and how we use 90-day sprints.
  • The importance of dedicating time and energy to building a robust foundation.
  • A breakdown of our four core customer journeys.
  • Why we are best positioned to serve them.
  • The Finding Your Brand DNA course and how it helps you build a solid foundation.
  • Free resources you can use to learn more!

Tweetable Moments

“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 move forward with your desires [and] with your missional work.” — @aj_vaden [0:05:29]

“As someone who is a consumer of this content, I would encourage you to pause for a second go ‘Am I rushing things?’ Or better yet, ‘Where am I rushing things? Where do I need to slow down and let the process be the process?’” — @aj_vaden [0:17:04]

“Maybe you don’t get to do this full-time. [Maybe] it’s not a 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.” — @aj_vaden [0:17:29]

“Don’t rush the foundation. Don’t rush the infrastructure, because that is what is going to allow you to grow faster, and scale better once you set it in place.” — @aj_vaden [0:17:44]

About Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth is the Director of Events and a Personal Brand Strategist at the Brand Builders Group.  She has worked with clients ranging from 8-figure entrepreneurs, NYT Bestselling authors, Top Ranked Podcast Hosts to Reality TV stars and Politicians to build their influence, impact, and income.  

She has been integral in planning NYT bestselling books, social media, and personal brand launches largely due to the fact that she connects and streamlines goals, dreams, and business models for the greatest long-term effect.  

A naturally gifted speaker, she has shared the stage with bestselling authors and hall-of-fame speakers in front of hundreds.  

She is a sought-after personal brand strategist who leverages quick wins with the long game in mind. Elizabeth has helped craft TED talks, written expert bios that both resulted in 5X original speaking fees and closed business deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Always looking to make as much impact as she can in the shortest amount of time, she cofounded a nonprofit that serves medically fragile children and their families in south and central Texas and has raised over half a million dollars in a 4 year time span.  

Links Mentioned

Elizabeth Stephens on LinkedIn

Elizabeth Stephens on Instagram

Finding Your Brand DNA

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

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, 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 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 and schedule that free call today. I’ll see you later.

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