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 brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon.
Hey everybody. And welcome to the influential personal brand. This is AJ Vaden. Here I am one of your co-hosts along with my partner in crime, Rory Vaden. And today I’m always excited because we have such awesome guests, but I’m, I’m especially excited for our guests today because Amber Lee Lago is one of those people that even though we’re on zoom and she and I have never actually got to meet in person, you can feel the joy that just emanates from her being. And it’s like to honestly like your whole aura, just like brightens the room. And even when you’re over zoom, it still does that. And I just, I love to get to spend time with you. I love to get to talk to you. And I’m so excited to introduce you to our audience, but for anyone’s listening, if you ever had a friend or if you’ve ever known anyone that just being around them makes you in a better mood.
That’s what you’re gonna get from Amber Lee today. So wherever you are, here’s why you need to stick around. You’re going to leave the next 45 to 55 minutes in a better place than where you started that I can promise you I don’t know all the amazing things we’re gonna talk about right now. That’s the beauty of the conversations that I get to have with Amber Lee. But what I do know is that you’re gonna be in a better place than where you are right now. So you need to stick around, you need to pay attention get out of pen and paper, right? If you’re driving, don’t do that, but listen intently, right? But this is one of those conversations that you just never know what you’re gonna get. And I feel that way every single time that I talk to you and I’m so excited to introduce you to our audience.
So let me give you a little bit of a formal introduction so that I don’t forget any of the awesomeness that makes up all things, Amber Lee. So a quick, quick recap for all of you listening. If you are new to Amber Lee Lago, she is a peak performance coach. She’s a TEDx speaker. She’s a podcaster. Her podcast is awesome. I love it. She is a leading expert in the field of resilience and transformation, and she’s got a hell of a real life story to back that up. She is the best selling author of true grit and grace. She’s the founder of the unstoppable life mastermind. And I just love that title so much. We’re gonna talk a lot about this mastermind is its launching right now. But I think more than anything, what I love so much about you is you, you have this passion about you and what you’re doing and you have a real life story that goes along with it. And I think there’s a lot of power in having, you know, academic credentials and I’m not downplaying those at all, but for me anyways, in my life journey, people like you who have these real life stories mean so much more. And that is why I’m so excited to introduce you to our audience. So thank you so much for being on the show today.
Oh my goodness. AJ, I just love you. Did you see me kind of grabbing my arms when you started talking? It’s because I had goosebumps because when you were talking, I was thinking the exact same thing about you that when I see you even through zoom, I’m like, oh my goodness, you radiate joy and light. And just so I’m so grateful to be here and connect with you again and with your audience. So thank you for that most amazing introduction.
Well, it’s all true. And I’m honestly, I’m, I’m so excited to introduce you to our audience and for all of you who are listening, you know, that we bring on really special guests that kind of like pull back the veil and kind of give up behind the scenes, real life perspective of how do you build a personal brand? How do you become known for something? How do you tap into that thing that we call personal branding, which, you know, to us is synonymous with reputation, but, and how do you build an audience and how do you find an audience and how do you become known for something that you wanna be known for? And so Amber Lee, this is where I wanna start just in case anyone listening doesn’t really know you. I would love for you to just give people a chance to get to know a little bit of your backstory, a little of your background, and like ultimately today, right? You’ve got this bestselling book, you have this awesome mastermind you’re launching, you’re a TEDx speaker. You’re an amazing podcaster. You’re keynote speaking. You’re doing all these things that you didn’t always do. Those things. Mm-Hmm . So give us a little bit of your backstory leading up to where you are today. Well,
That’s such a great question because I actually just had a conversation with someone who was interested in joining my mastermind yesterday. And she said, yeah, but Amberly, you have all these things because you know, you have this story that you can tell this story. And so, you know, basically it was easy for me to get to where I am. And I just wanna say like five years ago, I didn’t even own a laptop. So when you say you have a bestselling book, you’re a podcaster. I knew nothing about technology. And I remember that
Is there. I wanna make sure people had actually heard that five years ago. Mm-Hmm you did not own a laptop.
Didn’t own a laptop. I had a smartphone. Is that what they even call it now? Like I , well, I’d say I didn’t know about technology. How
Many, how many people truly are listening today? Do you think that truly give themselves the excuse? I’m just too late to the game, right? Mm-Hmm it’s too late for me to get started. I’m too late to the game. I’m I’m too old. I’ve I’ve already done this for too long. Like that’s just too much work or what do I have to say? Or
My story’s not enough my story. And I’m like, we all have a story, you know what I mean? It’s like, we all have something to share an experience to share that could be a roadmap for someone else. And when we get caught up in that comparison or we give ourself, we make start making excuses, you know, I was 37 when my book came out. Yeah. I’m like, no, no, no, wait 37 that’s later. No, I wish I was 37. that’s no, I’m 50. I was 47 when my book came or 46, 46 or 47 when my book came out 48 when I did my Ted talk. And then right after that, I started my podcast. So there there’s a part of me that when I hear you say these things like a podcast or a there it’s like, oh, wow. Yeah, that’s me.
I actually did those things because it wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t even have social media. And it wasn’t until I wrote my book and I had, you know, I hand wrote about 90% of my book on these notepads. I have notepads all over my desk. I love notepads, but I didn’t own a laptop. And I didn’t have a lot of people that also believed in me. And they thought I was crazy for wanting to write a book. You know, I was in the fitness industry for 26 years and they were like, why don’t you just stick to that? You’re the fitness girl. And I’m like, but no, I wanna write this book. And so I hand wrote about 90% of it. And one day was very discouraged when I couldn’t figure out how to send a picture. Like, I didn’t even know.
My husband had a, like a, a PC, like a computer. I did not know how to work. And I was, I asked to speak at this event for Lona Jane, which I was really excited about. And still I was a little bit like, okay, a lot imposter syndrome. Like, why do they want me? And I had to send them a picture like of me. And I was trying to find a picture to send. And I asked my husband, well, can you, you know, teach, show me how to send this picture in an email. And he’s like, oh, what do you want now? And I was like, that’s it. I’m just gonna go buy my own computer. And I went to the Mac store and I bought myself a laptop. And then I went to type my whole book up. I got a publisher and I love that you talk so much about the marketing and branding and the personal brand, because I love learning from you.
And so that’s one of the reasons I think so many people love all that. You share, love your podcast so much because we learn so much from you. Okay. I knew nothing. And this publisher was like, we don’t do any marketing or branding for you. So if you wanna get your book out there, it’s up to you to do it. And so I was like, well, I don’t have a big budget. Like I have zero budget. So let me try this social media thing out. And I had like a couple of hundred followers on Instagram. I literally, that were like friends and family. I basically had that account. So I could stalk my oldest daughter. I didn’t even know how to post. And I was like, well, I’m just gonna start sharing. And I started sharing what I had gone through, how I had to completely reinvent myself.
How’d I had to learn how to love myself again. And I started to share like mostly, you know, from a scar and not an open wound. And you I’ll get to the question that you asked, sorry, for this long, I love this cancer, but you know, I had this incredible career and fitness and for 26 years, that’s what I did. And so I had, I was a trainer. I had trainers that worked for me. I taught a trainer certification preparation course. I was like in it, I was sponsored by Nike. I was doing infomercials. If you walked into like a Rite aid or something, you would see vitamin labels. And there would be me right on the vitamin label. And so I, I thought life is good. After a lot of grit to get to where I was, I was like, life is good.
And that all changed. When, you know, one day coming home from work, I got T-boned hit by an SUV, thrown 30 feet on, on my motorcycle and slid across the asphalt. And I remember looking down at my leg and my, one of my first thoughts, AJ was this can’t be good. I might have to train clients on crutches for a while. Like I was already thinking, how am I gonna keep training my clients? I had no idea just how much this was gonna change my life. Rushed to the hospital. And I was putting induced coma. And when I woke up from a coma is when I learned, I had a 1% chance of saving my leg. And to me, it was like my leg. That was my livelihood running was my drug of choice. I mean, that was what I did for happiness. A lot of people would like to, you know, get rid of anxiety by having a drink or something running is what I did.
That was my therapy. And I thought, what am I gonna do? And, and I thought, well, 1%, well then there’s still a chance mm-hmm . And I hung on to that 1%. And that was my glimmer of hope. And that is what got me through 34 surgeries. A lot of grit, a lot of prayer, God was with me. I had family and friends and amazing doctors, and they were to able to piece by piece, put my leg back together. But when I got home from the hospitals, when the real journey began, so it was all the things that, that I always say pain has been my greatest teacher, because it wasn’t just the physical pain and the excruciating, you know, physical therapy and, you know, learning how to walk again. Also being diagnosed with the nerve diseases, a result of the injury, everything that I learned through that and was able to, you know, hit what I call my rock foundation, because that’s where I started to build my life back up.
I thought this can’t have happened for nothing. Like there’s gotta be, you know, I want other people to know that they can hang on to hope that they can. All you need is just a glimmer of that hope to keep moving forward. Because I was in a place where I did not wanna live. I went from surviving this accident and 34 surgeries to really sinking down into despair and depression and went from being this fitness expert to all of a sudden, I was drinking every day to try to cope with the pain. And it was at that moment, there was a turning point where I thought there’s gotta be more to life than this and climbing my way back out of that and rebuilding myself in every way, spiritually, mentally, physically, financially. I mean, we had 2.9 million worth of medical expenses. And so for anybody listening, who is going through a struggle right now, whether it is financially or physically or emotionally, I think there’s been a lot going on in the world, or even you’re in a place in your life where, you know, you don’t, maybe you didn’t get hit by an SUV, but you got hit by something in these last couple of years, that there is a way that you can strategically take steps to rebuild and tap into your resilience, to get through those moments.
And let me tell you if I can do it and completely reinvent myself and learn to love myself, you know, go from being a fitness model to being scarred up from the hip down and doing that all in my late forties. And now I’m 50, then anything’s possible. , you know what I mean? Like anything’s possible.
I mean, there are so many different paths that I could take this conversation from just even this very shortened version of just a tiny part of your story. That, there’s one thing that really sticks out to me that I think applies to probably every single person listening, which is this devaluation of their own story. And like, even to hear you say, it’s like, man, I hear this. I’m a podcast from my speaker and it’s oh yeah. It’s like, I do those things, I think today and every day. Right. I think throughout, you know, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s different today than it was 50 years ago, or it will be in 50 years from now. I, I think that in general, we downplay the significance of our own stories and we forget that we all have a story and that our stories are lives are there for a reason now, regardless of what, you know, anyone’s beliefs are, who’s listening.
It’s like things happen for a reason. And a part of that reason I do believe is to help us share it’s to create that community. And so I would just love to hear from you of your take on, like, how did you find the significance of your story in such a way that you’re like, there’s a message in here and I feel so compelled to share it that I’m gonna hand write it, right. And I’m gonna figure this out at 45, 46, 47, because there is something in this that I have to get out in the world. And I think that’s a really important thing because we all have those things. And most of us just don’t find a way to share ’em and it doesn’t matter to me, like you don’t have to be an author or a speaker or a podcaster or anything to go. I have a story that has the ability to shape and even change someone else’s life. So I could share it to a friend, to an employee, to a stranger, to my barista at the coffee shop. But how, how do you find the significance of your story and believe that it has the power to actually make a difference. And so I’ll just start with, how did you do that?
Well, you know what, I think that sometimes you have people around you that help you do that because I did not see the significance in my story or myself. I mean, I, to be completely transparent, I hated myself. I, I really just was very unhappy and I didn’t feel like I was enough. I didn’t feel like I was a good enough mom anymore. I felt broken in every way. And it wasn’t until I think a couple of things happened. And I mean, first of all, I will say that, like you said, we all have a story. We all have things that we’re, we’re really good at. And I would really urge anyone listening today to really think about what is that thing that people tell you that you’re good at, or that people come to you. And they’re always asking you advice on this one thing or this one thing that you could just talk about all day and it lights you up.
It gives you goosebumps. You would talk about it, whether you were paid for it or not, you would fly across the country to talk about it. Like, what is that thing or things, and start writing those things down. But for me, I did not see like I said, I felt really broken and I remember, you know, I was so wanted to get back. I wanted to get back to training clients. And I remember thinking I needed my clients now more than they needed me because I needed a purpose. I needed a reason to, I wanted to get back to work. I wanted to do what I loved again. And so I remember thinking, well, who’s gonna wanna train with me. Like I’m broken, I’m on crutches to my surprise. My business boomed because people saw me going into the gym in my wheelchair and getting up outta my wheelchair to do tricep push downs, getting back in my wheelchair with my leg, all bandaged up.
They saw me coming in after a surgery and having like an I IV in a wire that was going in a cast on my leg. And I was on the row machine doing the row machine with one leg. They saw me on crutches. They saw me back in a wheelchair. They saw me limping. They saw me before I could get my leg all the way up around the bike in the day that I got it all the way up and I could do the bike, like a normal person. Well kind of it wasn’t very pretty, but kind of . And so, yeah, to my surprise, like people were like, wow, like if she can do it, I can do it. And I would have people come up to me at the gym and say, you know, I didn’t feel like working out today. And I was, you know, saying all these excuses to myself, but I thought about you.
And I thought, if Ambery can show up, I can get my button at spin class and I can do it too. And then I would have somebody come up to me and say, Hey, do you mind talking to my aunt? She’s having a real hard time getting off the couch. If you could just call her. And so I’d call her and I’d give her a pep. And so IPEC talk. And I was like going to one person at a time. And I found myself on the bicycle at the gym. And there was a girl riding the bicycle beside me. And she noticed like, all these people were just coming up to me nonstop, like the whole hour that I was there on the bike and they were, would come up and they would tell me their problems. And I would offer solutions or suggestions that had helped me.
And she goes, don’t you get tired of people coming up to you with all your, their problems? And I said, well, no, not if I can help ’em. I said, I, I, I, I like helping people. So there was my first clue that there was something there because, and then it was at the doctor’s office. So I’d had all these surgeries still, like I said, I wasn’t, I had looked down at my leg with kind of discussed, cuz it was all scarred up. And it was given me so much pain. I had tried all these different treatments, ketamine, infusions, spinal stimulator, spinal blocks, Eastern Western medicine. I mean, you name it. I had tried it. I was on 73 homeopathic pills at one time, a day and 11 prescription medications and nothing was helping with this complex regional pain syndrome. And I remember I had this solution. I was like, well, we’ll just amputate. And I went to the doctor who saved my leg and I said, Hey doc, I really appreciate you saving my leg and, and doing all these surgeries. But you know, it’s slowing me down. We just need to amputate it. I can’t live with this pain. And he did something that just changed it for me.
He put my leg in his, you know, usually they’ll put your leg on the table. And I thought, gosh, I can’t believe he’s putting my, my ugly leg on his clean white coat. And he looked at my leg like it was a masterpiece and just something shifted. And I thought, wow, if he can look at my leg like that, maybe I can learn to look at it like that too. And so every day I just started to love my leg for healing the way it did or, you know, enabling me to walk again, enabling me to train clients again. And so I think that sometimes when we have somebody believe in us or look at us differently and they see the significance in us, it allows us to start to look at the significance if we can’t see it yet. And so that’s why I think it’s really important.
You know, I’ve heard the same success leads clues. When I started getting asked more and more to share my story because it was genuinely helping people and inspiring them and giving them hope. I said, well, how can I make myself better? How can I learn more? And I just dove into, you know, getting better and every way, spiritually physically, I already worked really hard on physically trying to get better, but mentally, emotionally. And then I started getting to my surprise, getting asked to speak at like bigger events. And then then I thought, well, I think I wanna do this thing. I think I, you know, somebody said, you know, you should write a book. And I thought, well, maybe I could make a bigger impact. If I wrote a book, it wouldn’t be one person at a time. Maybe just, maybe somebody would read this and I could share how I got through all of the struggles and it would help them get through some adversity they might be going through too.
And so that’s what made me decide to write a book. But I think that, you know, if we think about some of the things that we love doing, what brings us joy, I love people being with people, brings me joy, being with people and seeing the transformation in them. Ooh, that’s my favorite thing. And so when we think about what brings us joy, what we’re really good at those questions that people ask us all the time and it doesn’t have to be even people in your real life. What are people on social media asking? Yeah. Like what are people asking you in DMS over and over for me? Because at the time I didn’t have social media, I just went on what people were asking me like in real life at the gym, you know, when I would walk down the street. And then as I got to be on social media, I started really paying attention even more to what people were asking and I’ll never forget AJ.
I had this. So I was doing this big event. Like I was speaking at this event and we all gave away, you know, a, a free gift. Well, I was like, well, I’ve got a gratitude journal. I’m giving away. Like I’m, I’m living large. I’m giving away a gratitude journal and it’s even downloadable . And so a guy after me gave away a house and I was like, whoa, dude, way to one up me, you gave away a house. That’s awesome. And so I didn’t know who this billionaire was, you know? And so he went and researched me and then he contacted me. He’s like, Hey Amberley I just wanna know who you’re using for your marketing branding. We’d like to hire them. And I said, oh no, no, no, that would be me. And he’s like, well, how do you do it? What do you do? And I said, I listen to my audience. Like I pay attention to my audience. And he’s like, no, no, but, but what do you do? And I said, well, I really don’t know what I’m doing. He goes, well, then we wanna hire you to help us. I said, no, no, no. I’ll send you to AJ. That’s what she does.
But but you know, it’s like, he’s like, well, that’s the beauty. You don’t really know what you’re doing. And I still don’t. I think we’re all, I I’m just still trying to figure it out. That’s why I listen to your podcast so I can learn that the latest, you know, tricks and tips, but I think it,
You have it figured out it’s everyone else who doesn’t have it figured out. And I say that sincerely and we, you know, over the last six months our company brand builders group has been going through our own reinvention and we just launched what we call B BG 2.0, because we’ve really spent the better part of this year, 2022 of refocusing on who we wanna serve, who we are as a company. And honestly, what do we think that we’re the best in the world at and as a part of its startup. And when we’re all getting started, it’s just, we do whatever you have to do. And you know, many people just stay on that track. And I really felt through a course of a, a variety of different events this year, that we needed a reentering back on the heart of who we are back on our uniqueness, back on what makes us different back on what’s made us who we are.
And you said something and that I just wanna touch on for a minute, because I think where you have it figured out that truly no one else does is you learned the power of your surroundings. And most of us don’t learn that you see that the challenge that I see with so many people today is what they’re looking for is an audience. And an audience is just another way of saying a collection of individuals. And what we really need to be saying is how do I reach an individual? And people wanna see numbers, not people. And you saw people and people saw you. And for anyone who wants to build their personal brand, you know, build their reputation, grow their business. They need to focus on the people that are already in front of them.
the people at the gym, right? The people in the doctor’s office, the people that you already have access to, that’s where you start. And it’s so weird to me. And we may have talked about this before that most of us and myself included for a long time, we spend more time trying to find and attract strangers on the internet than we do, trying to build relationships with people we see every day
And it’s really them who don’t have it figured out Amber.
Well, you know, I was just at, I spoke at a friend’s mastermind. That was, it was beautiful. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Sundance, but I had never been to Sundance. And it was in Sundance, Utah, AMA beautiful. And when I’m at, at events, I’m, I am there for the people like I am there the whole time. And when I’m speaking at any event, I don’t just go and speak on stage and leave. I am there to meet people because I love people. And I’m there to be all in. Like my schedule’s blocked out. I’m not taking a bunch of call. Like I am there. And even my family knows, like when I’m at an event, I’m there. And unless like, you know, I I’ll talk to him at night, but during the day I’m like, if it’s an emergency, call me twice, you know, otherwise. And so this last event, I was speaking on a panel and my phone rang twice and I answered it and my husband was like, see, I told you she would answer it if you
A test drill. Yes,
But yeah, but I’m, I am there and for the people,
But that quite honestly is what most people are missing today. I really do believe that it’s like, you know, we talk a lot about online marketing and social media and funnels and webinars at brand builders group. But to be really honest and transparent, where we shine is in the offline reputation, everything that we can attest to in our entire business and why brand builders group even exists has nothing to do with podcasting or email lists or social media or websites or design. It has to do with long standing offline relationships that we spent time and years, years nurturing and building and pouring into and giving to give, not to receive. And because of those relationships is how everything else came a lot. And it’s no different than what you’ve done. It’s like you became known in the gym and then they’re like, well, I need you to know other people. And then those people are like, and I need you to know other people. And it’s like the real magic isn’t that
It sure is. And I mean, AJ, that’s how we met. Yeah. I had like three people saying, oh, do you know AJ? You same got to meet AJ. You have, she’s amazing. You just have to meet her. So by the third person, I was like, who is this AJ? But the
Same happened to me. It was like, like, it was like, it was like, just like the, world’s like, you know, colliding of all these different relationships. But I think that’s, that’s the beauty of what I love about this part of your story is it’s people got to know you and it’s through relationships and it’s, you know, it’s through all these things that it’s trust, right? It’s like, it’s like, I know that, you know, know, I love what you said. It’s like my goodness, if she can do it, I can do it. I think about, I have, I have a girlfriend who has quadruplets that are six months older than my oldest. And when she got pregnant with quadruplets, she had an 18 month old and every single day where I have a hard mom day, I’m like, I have two, she has five, I have two, she has five. And it’s like, she can do it. I can figure this out. I’ve only got two. And it doesn’t mean that it’s not hard, but it’s like, that’s what she is for me and motherhood of. But that would never happen if there wasn’t a relationship. Mm-Hmm . And it’s like, people look to finding these big online audiences. Like that means something where really what means something are the lives that you touch and get to know. And that’s what you have figured out. That’s what you do naturally. And that’s why people love you.
Oh, thank you. Can I just hang out with you all day?
Please feel I like it though. But it’s like, I think that is really important. And then you, and I love what you said and it’s like, then I said, well, you know, if I write a book, I can reach more than just one person mm-hmm . So what I would love to talk about cuz so many of the people in our audience and people listen to this, are people going well, how do I get a book deal? Like how do we, how do I get this into the hands of people? And so I have my,
I love this question.
I have my own thoughts of love, hate relationship with the publishing world. But I would love to hear your take on like okay, for all of you out there, here’s what you need to know. If you wanna write a book and you actually want people to read it. So,
Okay. If you wanna write a book and you actually want people to read it, you actually have to start writing today. Like make a commitment that you’re gonna do it, decide, and then get out your notebook. Look, I didn’t even have a computer when I started and I would get discouraged along the way. And I would have that soundtrack going on in my head. Like who do you think you are? Like, who cares about what you have to say? Like you’re not smart enough. You don’t have a college degree. Like all the things I would tell myself, but then I would focus on this. Isn’t about me. This is about who I can serve. And maybe this is really going to help someone cuz I don’t ever want anybody be to be in that dark place that I was in, where I was thinking, you know, my kids could find another mom.
My husband could, you know, find another wife. I don’t want anybody to ever have to feel that way. But mostly I don’t want anybody to ever feel like they’re they’re alone. You know that they, you know, pain tends to isolate and isolation for me led to addiction. And so whatever I could do, that’s why I wrote my book like that. You can get through hard times, but I would say start writing there. There’s so many ways to do a book. You, whether it’s hybrid, whether it’s self, whether it’s traditional, you have to decide how fast do you want your book to get out there? So talking about, you know, people again, I got my publishing deal through people. I had a friend of mine that invited me to, you know, go to this conference that was all for authors and there was gonna be publishers there and literary agents.
And I’ll just make this a quick story. But this goes back to how you treat people. I thought, well, you know, it was, the ticket was only like I think 50 bucks to go. I’m like, how good can this conference be? Like, you know, but that’s what was my thought? How can it be that good? It’s only $50, you know? So we go, it’s in LA and we get there and I’m getting in the elevator and I see this guy running to the elevator. So I hold the door open for him and he’s in a suit and he’s kind of got a sweaty brow and he goes, oh, thank you so much. I’m running late. And I’m like, sure. And we start talking in the elevator. So I get up to the conference, he’s got a table, he’s a publisher. So I walk up and I’m like, oh, he goes, thanks for holding the door for me.
And I said, you’re welcome. I said, you’re a publisher. He said, are you an author? I said, well I have a manuscript. He goes, well, let me see what it is. So I got my foot in the door by holding the elevator door. I love that story so much. And you know, I, at the end of this conference, you know, if you’re, if you’re writing a book, you can either do a book proposal. You can have a literary agent, you can self-publish and you get your book out there a lot faster. But they had these booths set up and it was like speed dating for authors. And we would go sit in the booth and we would have like a minute to pitch our book. Well, I didn’t even have a title to my manuscript yet. I just, I had some stuff typed out that I had with me, no title.
So it was a long day, 12 hours in, I hadn’t had anything to eat and I’m going to try to pitch this. I’m like, I’m doing it, man. I’m get in front of every publisher. I’m get in front of these literary agents. I’m gonna pitch this thing. Even though I don’t have a title, I get to the very end. It’s that publisher. And I sit down in front of him and I just, I collapse and I’m I’m I got tears in my eyes and he, he said, well, did you bring me something I can read? And I said, no. He said, well, why not? And I said, well, I don’t have a title yet. I don’t feel like it’s good enough. Like I just opened up to him. He said, you know what? Here’s a book. How to write a proposal. He gave me a book on how to write a proposal.
He sent me on his way with his business card. So I had his number and I gave him my business card. My phone rings about a week later. He’s like Amberly. And I see it’s a New York city area code. I’m like, Ooh, this is New York city. I better answer this. That’s awesome. Like hello? And I had told him if he was ever in LA, please let me know. I’d love to have him and his wife over to dinner. So he calls it’s him and I’m like, Hey Terry. I said, oh, I said, are you in town? I said, I I’d love to have you and your wife over for dinner. He said, no Amberly. I wanna read your manuscript. Like, he’s like, no, duh, I inviting him over for dinner. He’s like, no, I wanna read your manuscript. So I ended up sending it to him.
I got the book deal. They weren’t a huge publisher. So I know I knew I needed. Thankfully one of my clients was a, a really, she was an editor, a successful editor. And she said, Amber, you don’t have a great publisher. So you need a really good publicist to vet your book. So there’s two ways of doing it. You can self, I think you can self-publish and you can get your book out in a month. I mean, it’s quick. Get it on Amazon. If you’ve got a huge following on social media with a connected audience, and they’re just waiting for the day that you publish that book, self-publish, you know, you could hire, invest in a publicist and get connected who knows to major media, whether it’s TV show, big podcasts like AJS or you know, or you can do the traditional publishing as or hybrid.
I did hybrid publishing. And it takes longer. I mean, it took a year, but for me that was a good fit. I think we’re all different. And you have to go with, whatever’s a good fit for you for me, because I was so brand new. I, I had not built up my platform at all. And I had one goal. I had a year of the publishing process to when it was like they had the manuscript where it was edited, cover designed and all of that. And a year I thought, well, that was back when you know, you could do a swipe up. And I thought, well, I wanna build my audience on Instagram to like 10,000 so I can do a swipe up. So for one year I did not ask for anything. I provided value, value value, as much as I could. I gave, I created free playbooks workbooks, a free gratitude journal.
I was doing whatever, you know, a resilience challenge, a free webinar, seriously for free for a year. Then when it came time for my book to launch, I was like, I, I took my audience on that journey with me. Yeah. So it wasn’t like they didn’t see the behind the scenes of how freaked out I was or the struggle or whatever. Like they were with me when I opened my box of books for the first time my daughter videoed it and I wasn’t expecting, but I started crying when you’ve worked so hard on the book and you see it for the first time I cried and that’s on video. And so my audience was there with me. And to me it doesn’t feel like audience, to me, it feels like family. Like there are people that I literally connect with every single day. And you know, a lot of people didn’t understand why I was on social media.
They’re like, why are you on social media? Why is it so important? And I had this plan and my big vision was yes, I wanted to be able to swipe up. But I also, and I don’t know really how I thought this out or knew this, but I thought I wanted to build genuine relationships through social media because when it came time to planning my book tour, I wanted to be able to actually meet the people that I connected with in person. And that’s what happened. And it wasn’t until my husband saw that and he saw somebody, I was at the LA conference center and this girl comes running across the conference center with her suitcase, her roll on her carry-on suitcase. And she’s got tears coming down her face. She had read my book. She flew from Australia to come me at this conference. And that was the first time that my husband was like, wow, I guess that whole connecting through social media actually works. And I’m like, yeah, I’ve built some amazing relationships. So that’s when he kind of got it.
But you know what you said there, and you’ve said this a couple of times that I, I think this is like a really good point to like bring up is, I mean, you’ve said earlier, it’s like ask who you can serve. Then you said, when that gentleman said, who does your marketing? You said, no, I just, you need to listen to your audience. And then you just said, my audience is more like family. I connect with them every day. So much of everything that you talk about is about the who. And so, you know, as, as we’re kind of rounding up here and I’m, I’m sensitive to the time, but how did you find your audience? Like how did you know? Cause I think that’s something people really struggle with. And quite honestly, I think people ultimately focus on the, what should I be doing and how do I get more followers? And you know, how do I do this versus going, who do I wanna serve? Who is the ideal audience for my message? Who should I be reaching? And so one, how did you figure out the who for you? And then how would you say other people can do that?
Well, I think that’s such a great question. And for me, I started just, I think that it’s really important to stay true to who you are and not try to be like somebody else that you might see on social media or, or, you know, your neighbor next door, whoever you have to be true to you. And I started just sharing like really, like, I don’t have a lot of things planned out. Like I share what’s actually going on with me, what I’m working through. I, I share the struggles along the way and how I got through it. So maybe it’ll help somebody else. And so on social media, I, I mean, I’ve shared things that my husband’s like, oh my God, like actually when I wrote my book and he read the back of the jacket, he said, oh my God, they wrote on here survivor of sexual abuse. Did you see that? And I’m like, yeah, I write about sexual overcoming sexual abuse in the book. You might wanna read it. Like, sorry I talk about it. So I talk about things and again, sharing from a scar,
Read the book, read the book. Yeah. Yeah.
But you know, sharing from a scar and not an open wound. Yeah. But I think sharing what you know mm.
I think that that’s worth just pausing and let people soak in, share what, you know, anyone who suffers from imposter syndrome, in my opinion, is sharing from a place of where they don’t feel like they know anything. And they feel like you feel like you’re an imposter, cuz you’re sharing from a place that’s not authentic to you. And it’s like share what, you know,
You always go back to your truth. Yeah. If you feel stuck, always go back to your truth. And I mean, that’s something actually my friend when I was, I was feeling like I got this big speaking gig and my friend Henry Amar, I was like, oh man, Henry, do you ever get nervous? And he is like, he goes, yes. You know, but you know what? The best advice I could give you is always go back to your truth. So if you’re ever stuck, you’re ever like, I don’t know what to say. Or even if you’re on stage speak, like always go back to your truth. You know the truth. I always heard that saying the truth will set you free. Well, it’s easy when you’re just honest, then you don’t have to overthink stuff cuz you’re just being you.
Yeah. I love that. And it’s I yeah. And I think too, all of that, it’s like when you share what, you know, it’s like a part of that is you’re finding your audience, but they’re also finding you. Right. Mm-hmm but that’s when you share what you know, and you are authentic to yourself, I think there’s a part of that where you naturally start attracting people. We talk about this a lot. It’s be a magnet, not a megaphone, right? Yeah. And it’s like, or the more authentic you can be, you, you know, it’s like, it’s sometimes it’s good to be a little polarizing. Right. It’s like you attract the right people and you repel the wrong ones at at least the wrong ones for you. Right. Mm-hmm yeah. So though for, yeah, go ahead. What were you,
I was gonna say, yeah, you don’t have to be everybody’s cup of tea, you know, which is kinda hard for, you know, I’m an overcoming people pleaser and I just want, oh, I want everybody to be happy. Well, you, you can’t do, you don’t have to be everybody’s cup of tea. You can be somebody’s, you know, I don’t know, shot of whiskey. I don’t know.
But you know, that’s true. It’s I, I think that it, again, it’s like there’s an audience for anyone and anything, but it’s really hard to attract an authentic audience if you’re not being authentic and that’s really, and
I think you can feel that with, I know I can’t like you can sense when something’s not quite right.
Yeah. I love that. So, so what would you say is like, what’s the one thing that you would suggest for someone to do? Who’s going all right. Well, how do I know who this audience is? Like I don’t, I don’t know. It’s like I, what I hear from people all the time is, well it’s everybody, my message pertains to everybody.
No, you know what I think I focus on, like for, I would say, and I mean, I’m no expert in this, but what I did to really start attracting, you know, my people, my friends is I focus. I’m not all over the place. You know, I focus on, you know, fitness mindset overcoming pain being a mom, like some things like things that other people relate to, maybe when you’re as big as somebody like, you know, Jay Shetty or Mel Robbins, that you can talk about everything under the sun. And I think that’s what a lot of people look to is people that already have millions of followers and yeah, they’ve been doing it for a long time. Yeah. And they have big teams and they may be able to talk about more things. And, but I think that when you get known for one thing, then you can kind open it out and focus on other things. But I think it’s really important to be known for one thing and start getting some traction there that’s at least what I did anyway. I was like, I started getting known for being that girl who you know, was the grit girl. I, then I started paying attention. People were hashing me, resilience queen and grit girl and stuff like that. And I’m like, oh, resilience queen. I kinda like that. You know, grit girl
I like that.
I’ll I’ll take it. You know? And I started paying attention to like what, what people were were saying in meantime, I’m just focusing on sharing what I know, not going too off topic, like sticking to what my truth is being completely authentic. Sometimes my husband’s like, you are way, you’re say like, you’re saying way too much. Like really do you have to share all of that? But , that’s how I have found, like I’ve connected with sober sisters. Like, you know, tomorrow I’m seeing one of my friends in Dallas, we met when I lived in LA and she lived in Dallas. Now we’re friends. We get to see each other in person. And it was, you know, when I started feeling comfortable about sharing, about sobriety, that I started attracting more sober sisters and stuff like that. You know? When I started talking a lot about how I was overcoming CRPS pain, I repelled some people and I attracted some, you know, I repelled the people that are like, you can’t get through pain with your mindset. You know, they didn’t like me at all, which was kind of hard at first to have those like haters come out of the woodwork, you know, it was after I was on the doctor’s TV, I was thinking I was there to help people. And woo. They were
Not your audience.
They were not, I was not their cup of tea.
yes. And that’s, I mean that, I think that is a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people because we wanna be PC. We wanna be so PC that we appeal to everyone. And it’s like, if you’re not rubbing somebody the wrong way, then you’re just not being you. Right. So it’s like, no, not everyone is going to like you. And if you want everyone to like you, then there’s a whole bunch of you that you’re not letting us get to know
Mm-Hmm . Yeah. Actually my husband congratulated me when I got he’s like, congratulations, that’s awesome. And I’m like, no, it’s not. Then I was like, I got over it, you know,
But it’s a sign of being truly authentic. And I think there’s, I think we all need a little bit more of that. I bet one of the biggest conversations that I have with people who who have been really successful in business, but don’t have really big followings and now they really wanna transition into doing something more about sharing a message. They’re like, wow, just, I wanna make sure that, you know, I don’t rub anyone the wrong way. And I’m like, well then you’re not gonna be able to tell 95% of your story. Mm-Hmm because it’s not going to go well with everyone and we have to be okay with that. But the more, you know, who your audience is, the more that you’re okay with who your audience is not
Mm-Hmm , it’s so true. It’s so true.
Alright. Well, okay. So I know that we’re a little bit over, but I have just two, two quick, last things. And before we wrap up, I wanna make sure everyone knows how to connect with you. So for everyone listening, if you love this conversation, I would just highly, highly encourage you guys. You need to get the true grit, grace book. You guys need to check out this podcast. Amber Lee just launched a mastermind called the unstoppable life mastermind. You can find all of those things plus all of her, you know, online platforms that she’s a part [email protected]
Right? So Amber Lee lago.com. I’ll put that in the show notes, we’ll put links for the book. We’ll put links for all the things you can just access ’em really quickly. But just to wrap this up, and this has nothing to do with like a conversation in general, but I just love to ask people just some questions for one to help us get to know you. But also I just find if these things are helpful to me then most definitely they’re gonna be helpful to someone else. So three quick questions, right? And these, I
As shorter, as long as you want, what’s one book that you would recommend universally to any human on the planet,
The four agreements,
The four agreements. Love it. Okay.
That’s a great gift book too. It’s just, yeah. Simple. Good. Yeah.
Okay. Then my next question would be, if there was one lesson that you have learned since really building your personal brand, being an author, podcaster speaker, you know, all the things, what’s the one lesson that you hold closest to your heart.
Mm. I would say to, to really listen to your gut I know that’s probably so weird and you’ve probably not had anybody say that before, like, but to listen to your gut, because I think, you know, as my brand kind of grew a lot of distractions come along with that and a lot of amazing opportunities come sometimes and some that are not so amazing, some that they really want to use your brand to build their audience, which is, which is normal, you know, like that, that happens. And there’s one thing that I did like early on that I started getting some traction and, you know, getting some followers and I had this, this brand of like teeth whitening thing that they sent me the teeth whitening and they wanted me to advertise it on my Instagram. And I was like, oh, never done that, but send me the kit and I’ll try it.
If it works, you know, I’ll share about it. And it wasn’t something that I did a lot and I wasn’t known for like promoting things ever. Like I don’t, I was not known. I mean, it took a year for me to promote my book. Like I was just, not that I wasn’t like that typical like person that was just like, buy this, buy that that’s just not me. And so I advertised the teeth whitening, but I tried to play it all into like, you know, how important smile is? I don’t know, blah, blah, blah. I lost so many followers that day. Like people were just like, oh God really she’s gonna do that. Now she’s getting paid to, so that was a very valuable lesson to me because now even like with my podcast, I committed to like going all in for like, gosh, almost two years with no advertisements.
I was like, I just, I’m gonna add value. So people start to listen and they know I’m serious about showing up and giving ’em value. And I just had somebody reach out for a sponsorship and I was like you know, I have to try this and I have to really love the products. And if I really love it, then we’ll talk about a sponsorship. Well, I really love the product, but I’m still kind of like, I did the advertisement and I genuinely love the products, but is that the route I want to go? So I think it’s important to listen to your gut and know that you
Can know your audience,
Know your audience. Yeah. And, and how important it is to like stick to, you know, like your brand and your audience and not be distracted by some shiny object, or this would be good. It’s like it’s for the long haul, like think of it for the long haul. And so that’s what I think about is like, listen to my gut and think of it for the long
Haul. Yeah. It’s like, don’t get distracted by the shiny things that you can take you off the path. That’s good. Love that last one. Amber, do you want to be known for,
I want to be known really as someone who is I, this, the first thing that came to mind is like you know, compassionate and a connector. I love connecting people. I think that sometimes we don’t kind of know sometimes that we have a gift at doing something until it keeps showing up in our life. And for some reason I love connecting people. Like I have an eye for going, oh my gosh, you would be awesome meeting this person. And so I’ve whether it’s, you know, a group of sober sisters or a group of badass, you know, female entrepreneurs, that’s one of the reasons I started my mastermind is cuz I love connecting people. And I think that when we connect with one another, that’s how we both, we all grow, you know, when we do things to together. And so I believe in abundance and there’s so much for us to, to have, you know, such a life of success and that we can all thrive. And so I guess I would like to be known as the kind connector how’s that
Take it. I love it. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for being on the show. This has been such a delight. There’s so many nuggets. Like I literally wrote down like 10 different like one liners and just little nuggets.
This is okay. I have to ask you a quick question. Just a quick question. When I talk to you, like y’all I love talking to AJ, but when I see you online, it’s like your eyes are these piercing. Like it’s so much fun to look at you online. Are you looking at the, this is a branding question, like an event question. Are you looking through the camera or are you looking in the screen
At the camera?
there’s so good. See, I learned something just in this episode right now. Okay. I’m
I’m gonna take a sticky note and I’m gonna put it on my computer that I need to okay. See the difference.
How are you? And I do, and this is a little tip for anyone who’s does a lot of camera where it’s like, it can be really annoying sometimes to look at this little dot when I see like your face, like kind of off to the side. So I make your picture really small and I put it right underneath the camera.
And so it’s like, I’m I can always see you and your facial expressions right below. And so, although I’m, it’s so good exactly. At the camera. You’re right in my peripheral. So I can see your facial expressions. I can see you move. But that’s always really important to me because I wanna make sure that I’m making eye contact with whoever’s be block’s
So good. Okay. I’m looking at you now. And I have to say you were incredible when you came to speak at, at the mastermind, people are still talking about all you shared. That was the best presentation by far I’ve ever had in the mastermind. You’re slides, everything. You’re just such a pro and I’m so grateful for you and even doing this podcast interview, I’m like, okay, Ambery I’m doing a virtual event tonight. And thank goodness we did this interview cuz I’m looking at the camera now
So I love that. Cause that’s cause it’s a really important thing. It’s like I noticed too when other people it’s like, I know that they’re not looking at me. And when you know, I watch videos, I wanted to feel like you’re looking at me.
Yeah, yeah. I
Have that connection. But it’s it can be really distracting. And I was also like, why does she look so good? Why is her hair and makeup so good today? So you’re doing a virtual event tonight. It’s like part of it is like, I can’t look at myself cause I’m like, oh God, like she looks like she’s all like dressed up. You look. So you look so good. Thank you.
I have on my workout pants on the bottom.
wow. For those of you who can’t see, you’ll have to go watch the video on YouTube that she is dressed out to. She’s dressed to the nines right now. She looks awesome.
It’s so sweet. Oh my
Gosh. We love you. We are such a fan of you and y’all if this is your first introduction to Amber Lee Lago, y’all need to go follow her. Subscribe to this podcast again. Amber Lee lago.com. Check her out, check out the book. It is just it’s nonstop. Awesome. So we’re so grateful for you on this show. Thank you so much. And for everyone listening, we love you. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand. We’ll see you later.