Ep 190: How To Accelerate Your Personal Brand Through Strong Visual Identity with Stephen Scoggins

RV (00:00:10):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you. 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 lovph 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 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.
RV (00:00:54):
We love Stephen Scoggins. We love him for a number of reasons. Mostly just out of a pure respect and genuine admiration for his heart and his desire to serve, but we also very much admire what he has done. He is a serial entrepreneur, not just a personal brand, but he has several other businesses in homes and siting and all sorts of real estate and different things that he does. And he’s a, he’s a true entrepreneur and there’s not really another term other than serial entrepreneur that describes him, but w our lives intersected with his a handful of years ago. And since that time he’s become a best-selling author, he’s the podcast host his, his thought leadership has been featured in major media outlets. I mean, several of the big ones, Forbes, entrepreneur thrive, global NBC ABC. Several others he’s been on our pal, John Lee Dumas podcast to entrepreneur on fire.
RV (00:01:56):
And so basically Stephen has helped fortune 500 leaders, professional athletes, entertainers, pretty much anyone with a dream with with a plan and a set of principles to help them exceed their wildest expectations for all that life has to offer. And so he offers education and inspiration and encouragement for anyone looking to make their dreams a reality. And we also have a very unique relationship with Stephen from a professional standpoint that he was a client, is a client is still an active client who became one of our strategists at brand builders group. So he is also certified in teaching stuff at brand builders. And then he is a
New Speaker (00:02:40):
lso one of our brand implementation partners where he does execution for some of our clients, which we don’t do internally. And so we refer that out to him. And so I think he’s like one of the only people ever that we’ve had that relationship. And anyways, that’s, that’s a lot, but there’s, there’s a lot to you brother. So welcome to the show.
SS (00:02:59):
It’s my pleasure. No, I was gonna, I was fixing to say, did I get kicked out of the group? You’re gonna get fired as a client. No, man, I love you guys. You guys, has it been a, a major influence and a major impact or in my own personal brand and we’re changing lives because of it. So I’m grateful to you guys big time.
RV (00:03:13):
Yeah. Well thank you for that. And our team loves you and, and, you know, AIG loves you and AJ doesn’t love everybody, but once she finds someone that is like truly authentic and all about integrity and doing the right thing, like she latches on and, and, you know, I want to talk about how you’ve built your personal brand as an entrepreneur, like in addition to being an entrepreneur. Because I think, you know, a lot of our clients kind of set on the path to go, I’m going to be a coach, a consultant, you know, whatever thought leader expert, and they do that, or they’re in professional services and they’re like, okay, I’m going to X, I’m going to accelerate myself as an accountant, or they’re an executive, you know, kind of, you know, on the path of trying to get promoted or you maybe just create more visibility for their company, but you’re an entrepreneur who has quote unquote real businesses like businesses, separate of not personal and team members and employees. And, and actually let’s start with that. How many employees do you have and give us, like, give us a bit of a sense of the scope of your non-personal brand businesses.
SS (00:04:24):
Yeah, I think the easiest way to do that is to basically say that I’ve been at this game for almost 22 years. I started my first business CHG, where it’s known as custom home exterior siding business, not super sexy, unless you need siding on your house, then it’s super sexy.
RV (00:04:39):
Awesome. I mean, you guys like your house that you just, you did, it was just awesome. Like you guys do some awesome stuff.
SS (00:04:45):
Thanks, man. No, you know, it’s you know, I started that company sleeping car roughly 22 years ago. I grew up but grew up in a very difficult situation growing up was very fortunate to have a mentor that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, what kind of got me going began to kind of change my mindset a little bit, and then quickly grew that business wise, it quickly 20 years, it took me 20 plus years to get that company to be self-sufficient where, you know, I could spend time with you today and kind of share and whatnot and focus on some other business endeavors. But that company is now in three states, I employ about 400 people. Company-Wide on that, on that side of things. And we do with that one business do really high eight figures in revenue in that one business, which then led me to real estate, which then led me to other things.
SS (00:05:26):
And then, you know, I discovered that when I would get up and share my heart at, you know, HBA functions, which is, you know, homeowners association, it’s not, again, not super sexy to the, to the average listener, but it was, you know, it was my industry, right. They would be really drawn in by the simple fact that I had this, the story of overcoming. And then as that resonated, they would come up to me and say, Hey, you know, my, my son is really having a difficult time. If I got him on speaker phone, would you call it? What’d you talk to him? I said, yeah, sure, absolutely. And then over the course of 20 or 30 minutes, you, you would hear tears. She would hear laughter and then that person would then exhibit change. And then, you know, that, that word began to get out a little bit more.
SS (00:06:04):
And I was joking around with you before we hopped on air, but you know, our friend, John ACOF, I just told him recently that it’s all his fault that I even got on this journey because I w my friends and family would say, Hey, you should write a book. You should write a book. You should write a book. Now my ADHD dyslexic kid, right. Writing a book was not something I was concerned about. Right. And you know, and I remember him sitting down, we were, we were at an event together and we were going through some things and he was, and I was like, man, I didn’t pick the telling me to write a book. He like, I dunno, man, it’s really hard. You’ve got editing, you’ve got pillar. You know what we, we call it brand builders group. What you taught us is pillar point points, which I knew nothing about at that time.
SS (00:06:44):
And, you know, and all these different things. And he’s I tell you what, just tell me what one of the stories and, you know, I, and I proceeded to tell him the story of me you know, attempted to become a Navy seal and, and how that almost led to my suicide attempt and some other, just, just some very difficult things to kind of the transitions. And lo and behold, he runs out the door cause he was 30 minutes late for another meeting, slaps the wall and says, you should totally write a book and do it seven a month. I met you for the first time when you guys were training us on infusion soft and that’s how our friendship began.
RV (00:07:12):
Yeah. I mean, what a story, I mean, just to you, you breeze through a lot of those things, but you were sleeping in a car like living in a car, started a business that now has 400 employees, high eight figures. You know, you’ve turned that into generational wealth through real estate. And this is after being ADHD and dyslexic and, you know, for a moment being suicidal in your life, also your wife your FA your personal life, you’ve, you, you, you’ve had a number of health issues that you guys have had to, to navigate. And so I guess, why did you decide to start a personal brand? I mean, you kind of started to touch on it there, it sounds like it was really about the impacts because you clearly, you, you, you, you, you have the money. The other thing that you didn’t say is that you, you recently bought a building or you, what you have, you have several buildings, but you just bought a conference, a live event center is, is part of, as part of what we’ll talk about later. But, but also there’s a church that operates out of there on the weekends, right? And like, you got all this stuff going on and then you decide I needed, I need you to build a personal brand. Why
SS (00:08:31):
Can, can I be honest with you? I was one of the last
RV (00:08:33):
Ones I actually prefer when people lie and tell us the fake dishonest in authentic story. But if that, if you’d rather just tell us the real story, that’s cool, too.
SS (00:08:49):
Awesome. Awesome. Well, the real story is I didn’t want to build a personal brand. I didn’t, I have fought against that for the last five. You know, Casey, who was, who was with the team, you’re one of your senior strategist flew here to work with me specifically. She probably spent the first entire day of phase one die, dude, you’ve got to be the personal brand. You can’t just folk. You can’t just let the, like, it’s all connected together. And it took me a long time. And then a buddy of mine asked me a very interesting question. He said, Stephen, I don’t think it’s about whether or not you want to be a personal brand or whether or not it should be a business entity or whatever he goes. I think the question you’re really trying to solve is am I worthy of having a voice? Whoa.
SS (00:09:28):
And I started to cry, man. He goes, Stephen you’ve, you’ve overcome, you know, suicide, depression, anxiety dyslexia, ADHD, homelessness, you’ve built a major organization. You have all these different team members that you, that you pour into consistently on a weekly basis. He goes, dude, you’re worthy of having a voice and people gravitate to you because people hope and want more. And it dawned on me to answer your question, Rory, that my first mentor, Steve mark, that gave me the second chance. He’s my father’s employer. You know, I want to be Steve mark to somebody else. I want, I want to be able to give hope and inspiration and a framework and a process and a learning method. And if you look at all the businesses that I own, all of them, you know, from the real estate side to the construction side, to the thought leadership side, to the now the live event side, all of them have one thing in common. All of them, they’re all trying to make people better than they were yesterday, all of them. So I think at the end of the day, the reason I do what I do is not because of money, not because of wealth, not because of things. It’s because I want to be someone who creates a legacy that outlives myself. And the only way you can do that is by making an impact.
RV (00:10:44):
Yeah. That’s power. Am I am I worthy enough to have a voice? What an astute observation from your friend, cause that’s really the issue and you know, what’s so cool about that is going. It’s not about whether or not you’re worthy. It’s about whether or not other people out there can benefit from what you know. And when you shift to that conversation, the legacy conversation, and I know journey principles was part, part of your, your first book and partly of what your courses and stuff are about is when you make that shift off of yourself onto other people, then it’s all about making people better than they were yesterday. It’s not about making Stephen famous or liked or popular lots of followers. It’s about making people better than they were yesterday. I, I love that. So that makes sense to me. And also let that be a lesson for all of us that it’s like, there’s not really amount of money that will ever satisfy you.
RV (00:11:47):
It’s if we ultimately are all drawn to that impact, which is something you can do now with, with little to no, but you have built a personal brand very quickly. Your Instagram, like you, you went, you, you basically grew to a hundred thousand followers on Instagram and like the last 12 months, I know that you guys just crossed 2 million views or you’ve just crossed 2 million views on YouTube. You know, you’re I had a conversation with a very famous seminar promoter Peter Lowe, which he used to promote Zig Ziglar, Zig Ziglar’s to speak at his events. And then it was like, oh, Stephen Scoggins is speaking at my event. And I was like, what? Like, this is amazing. Like you’re growing so fast. So how have you built a personal brand quickly? I mean, you, you, this has happened fast or maybe it hasn’t
SS (00:12:43):
Well, I think it is, you know, for me it doesn’t feel very fast, right. Cause you know, it’s, it’s like that whole bamboo thing where you’re underground, you’re underground, you’re underground, you’re underground. All of a sudden you start to bust to the ground. And I was like, Hey, let’s get Scott to come out of nowhere. You know, I think I actually owe a lot of credit to brand builders group, just being straight up honest. And here’s why when I first went out to go create my first personal brand you know, I tried to mimic all the people that I know and respect that, you know, I had a an acquaintance style relationship with Dave Ramsey and knew Lou Maxwell a little bit and, and all these different people early on, I was like, well, I’m just going to do what they do. Right. I’m going to copy what they copy. And then I, and then I realized there’s this this veil, if you will, of stuff that you can see. And there’s also this, this hard work that goes in behind the scenes, you know, and as a result, I started focusing on getting, well, how do I get through here to here so I can get the information I need to, you know, to then level up. And what I ran into was my lack of clarity was causing a lack of connection.
SS (00:13:42):
So my striving to try to mimic everything that I saw was pushing me away from my authentic self and what brand builder is. One of the things that our brand builders did for me is they helped me get crystal clear, crystal, clear on what it is that I am here to serve who I am, who I’m called to serve what I’m supposed to be doing. And once I did that, I began to say things differently. I began to write things differently. I began to do things differently on camera. And as a result, I think that’s a direct reflection of your authentic self is ultimately your connected self, meaning that’s the self that people are going to connect to. You know, I, for the life, you know, when my team has been on my heinie for the last year about doing more Instagram stories and live, I’m like, dude, you’re really people care that I get up at 5:00 AM.
SS (00:14:28):
I pour myself some pre-workout and I head to the gym and they’re like, yes, I’m like, there’s no way like try it. I’m like fine. So I’ve been getting up and screenshot on my phone and whatever, and doing my stories and heading off to the gym. And lo and behold people identify with it and it blew my mind. And what I realized was people are looking for a beacon of inspiration so they can take a chance on themselves. And I think that’s at the core of what’s caused the rapid growth, but I could not have done it without the clarity that was forged through brand builders, groups, processes,
RV (00:15:01):
Not sure say that, say that again, people are looking for a beacon of inspiration
SS (00:15:07):
To prove to them that they can do it themselves.
RV (00:15:12):
That is so powerful. The other thing you said a little bit ago was you said my lack of clarity was causing a lack of connection. And then you follow that up with, you said my striving, something about my striving to be like other people was preventing me from
SS (00:15:30):
Yeah. So my S my striving to be like other people, right? So the mimicking of other people I’m mimicking Ramsey’s organization. So my first live event that I’ve tried to put on was like not, it wasn’t entree leadership, but it had elements of like, what I learned from entree leaders. Not, not the content, because I know I don’t steal content from anybody, but like the, the flow, the feeling kind of thing. Right. Well, I wasn’t being authentic to myself. So when we went to go do it the first time, and this was a few years back, you know, I, I didn’t intentionally do some key things that are in our live events now that are uniquely us. Right. I try to say things how Ramsey would say, well, that Dave’s Dave, like I’m bold, but I’m not, I’m not Dave’s Dave. Right? The more I tried to be like Dave, or the more I tried to be like, John, and the more I tried to be like or ACOF or gosh, any of the people that are in this industry, the more I diluted myself and the more I diluted myself, the more I broke connection with the audience that I was ultimately called to serve.
SS (00:16:27):
And that dilution process, that disconnection, that that unintentional focus on being connected was a major shift with me when I began studying all the content at brand builders, which is another reasons why I was like, AAJ, Rory, let me help, man. I’ve got, you know, I’ve got a window of time, let me, let me help. I gotta help other mission-driven messengers, make it to make it to the market. Like all of these things I learned from you guys, you know? So when you say, how does your brand grow so rapidly? Well, brand builders was the first step for me. Otherwise I was like shooting a shotgun when I should be shooting a sniper rifle. You guys helped me ane the scope.
RV (00:17:05):
Yeah. I love that. And, and, you know, I like to think that we pay our strategists very well, you know, like they, they, they make about a hundred bucks an hour, like which is annualized is, I don’t know if some, some six-figure number. And and yet when I look at how much you make on an hour, I’m like, this makes no financial sense for you whatsoever to be to be a brand builders strategists. And I think that, again, as part of why we were drawn to you is this, like, it wasn’t a financial calculation for you. It was a give back. It was a give back of going, you know, I’ve never actually heard you say this about that, that, that the, the clarity that you got from our process, cause I didn’t work with you directly. You worked with Casey, you worked with our team.
RV (00:17:56):
I worked with the AGA you and I haven’t had all that many touch points as a client. You and I have been more friends and stuff. And that’s, that is so, so powerful. So I want to, so those are some of the things that’s so huge. I mean, that, that part about the more I strive to be like other people, the more I diluted myself and the more disconnection I created with my audience, I mean, that is really profound. And totally true. And so that speaks to what we believe in and teach and promote. And Europe, you’re a great living example of the success that comes when someone becomes more of who they are. But there’s been a lot of frustrating parts of building your personal brand as well. And I’d, I’d, I’d love to hear about that, you know, all sides included and, and that was originally how we met you as we were specifically helping you with building your, your Infusionsoft application, which is now called keep cause that’s, that’s one of the things that we do really, really well.
RV (00:19:02):
It’s an extraordinary internal competency of ours. So what are some of the, the, the most frustrating parts, because you’ve built a lot of these businesses, you’re used to handling problems and challenges, but there’s been some unique ones. I feel like in the, in the journey of personal branding, that even if you’ve built other companies before I mean, obviously clarity is one of them, but, but I, I’m talking more about the mechanics of building a personal brand. What about that has been frustrating or difficult compared to maybe like other stuff that you’ve done?
SS (00:19:36):
Oh gosh there’s a bunch you know, the first one that comes to mind is this problem of creating enough content with the limited time that I have. And that was long before I understood the content diamond. That’s made things so much easier, so much easier, but so that’s, that’s a huge one. The second one content content
RV (00:19:54):
Diamond y’all is where we’re using a little bit of our internal speak that our customers and stuff understand. But the content diamond is is the, the process that we teach clients for taking basically one video and disassembling it into repurposing that all across the web. And it fills one five minute video fills your entire content calendar on every, on every online platform throughout the week. And your team does all of it. And it’s like, basically you do it for five minutes and you’re done and you’re everywhere online. So anyway, sorry to interrupt, but I, we don’t have too, too much internal jargon, but so that’s cool. So content diamond, what else? Yeah.
SS (00:20:34):
Well, I think the other thing too is, you know, when you, when you step out to begin to build your personal brand, I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing, doing what you can with what you have. Like I’m a, I’m a big bootstrap guy clearly, right? Every, every business I’ve, it’s a bootstrap that kind of scenario. And as a result, I learned the hard way that there comes a point in time where you can’t do things by yourself, meaning you can’t necessarily go out and hire all these various subcontractors all over the place and expect them to know your brand, to the essence that you know at yourself and expect them to have consistency across your brand with them. So for example, I had three different website providers, all of them, none of them worked out. I had four different media companies that I tried to partner with to do personal branding for myself, to try to create visual assets and things that I had.
SS (00:21:27):
The, the one biggest problem I had, especially, and in trying to cut through the clutter as becoming a speaker specifically, was I had this essence of not being able to get the speaker footage. I need to create the demo reel that I needed to then sell me more speaker footage. Right. So it was like this, okay, well, I’m a speaker. I know I can speak like I’ve, I’ve been working on this craft and working on it and I’ll continue to work on the rest of my life, but you know, I’ve been doing it, but I can’t really showcase it. And I can’t showcase it because I don’t have an audience. And when I do have an audience, you know, it might be a couple of hundred people and there’s no cameras around there or the there’s cameras around, but the lighting sucks. Or if the lighting sucks, the bike sucks, you know, and it’s just like this combination of problematic behaviors are problematic consistency that comes from a strong visual identity, you know? So when you asked earlier, you know, what do you attribute some of the success of recent success of some of your growth to, you know, on top of the clarity, it’s going to be coming down to consistency. Right? We started doing some things in house. I started, I got so frightened. I don’t recommend this for everybody. I got so frustrated. Right. I just started investing in, building out, building out an organization myself to make it work.
RV (00:22:36):
It’s fine. You couldn’t find reliable vendors to do this stuff. So you’re like, it. I’m just going to buy them. I’m just going to hide it. I’m just going to build my own. I’m going to build a company. I’m going to hire them. And, and, and I’m going to have their full-time attention basically, and make sure that they care about my brand. And you’re, you’re in a very rare and unique position to be able to do that. Like, Hey, let’s buy a building. Let’s buy. I mean, you bought some led screens that were what? A quarter million dollars. Oh
SS (00:23:07):
Yeah. I mean, I’ve got, I’ve got a half a million bucks in the stage alone.
RV (00:23:11):
Yeah. So you bought it, you bought it, you actually bought an auditorium. Like you bought a venue, built out an auditorium. I mean we, we were there recently and it was like, I want to say it was, it was like a six camera shoot. So that means you buy six cameras, all the switchers, all the lighting these beautiful, I mean, those LEDs, these led screens are just huge and you know, all the chairs and yada yada yada. So you got, you bought a half million dollar venue. You dumped a half million dollars just into the venue piece alone. Yes. yeah. And it’s interesting. This is an interesting point to me. And, and one of the things that we realized that brand builders group, because about a year, maybe 18 months ago, we started dipping our toe into the idea of helping with the execution for our clients of actually doing the stuff for them.
RV (00:24:05):
And what we’ve found is there’s so much, we couldn’t, we can’t keep up with it. And that our real, our real uniquenesses is personal brand strategy. It is sitting, we’re like the CMO for a personal brand. We guide the overall big picture and we know the right things that need to happen in the right sequence, you know, in the right way. But we don’t have the, we don’t have, I mean, we don’t have a building, we don’t have a hundreds of employees. We don’t have a lot of these things. And so, but we noticed both for ourselves, we’ve had this same story, our entire career can’t get a reliable web designer. Can’t get a consistent graphic designer. They ghost you. They’re, they’re outrageously expensive. They build something within, in some stupid code language that nobody else on the planet earth understands. You, and you know, like you’re saying with the event production, either the lighting is bad or the, they don’t know the video angles that you need, or the microphone sucks, or this, the, the slides look weird in the background.
RV (00:25:17):
And there’s so many X factors. And so we started for those of you that don’t know what we did was we deliberately got out of the execution business at brand builders group. And we said, no, our real magic is, is specialty. And specialty is strategy. It’s helping people get clear on who they are, what they can do that no one else can do. And, and the high level orchestration of all of the vast amount of moving parts. And then we created a vendor network. And I mentioned this earlier in your bio. I said that Stephen has become, which was never part of the vision for either of us, one of our vendor partners, because we have, we realized we have to build a network. So even the, we can’t do the execution. We’re not staffed at the level. We need to support our hundreds and hundreds of clients. We have to find partners to help them do certain things. And so that’s how we solve the problem for our clients. Even though we can’t do it ourselves, we created, okay, here’s a, basically our trusted vendor partner network. And one of the biggest challenges is the speaking footage. Like you, you talk
SS (00:26:28):
To this, it is impossible to get on a stage unless you have proven footage, even TEDx now wants you to have a, some kind of footage of you speaking, just to get, it’s such a, it’s
RV (00:26:37):
Such a chicken and the egg thing. It’s like, yeah, I need, I need to have a video. I need to have a, a demo video of me speaking in order for someone to book me to speak, but I have to get booked to speak, to get enough footage that I need to put together a demo video. It is, it’s like the ultimate frustrating, most painful. This is how do you get around this until you solve this one thing? Your speaking career is zero. Like you, yeah, you can’t. Yeah,
SS (00:27:08):
You can’t do it. I mean, I mean, until I started getting some demo reels and some sizzle reels and speaking footage, I mean, I think I took as many free speaking events as I could get my hands on earlier. Went from that to getting one demo reel was able to go from zero to almost 2,500 bucks in one shot, got an updated version to some other speaking footage. Cause I, you know, obviously I host my own live events here that we do for my brand. And as a result, you know, very quickly
RV (00:27:35):
Again, I just want to say is really unfair. It is really unfair that you just bought a building and like built all this out, but you’re doing something really special with it, which we’re going to talk about here in just a second. But yeah, so, so anyway, so you, you, you reinvested and you upgraded. Cause that’s how I did it too. Was I went and spoke 304 times for free, but here’s something I noticed, even events that you speak at that you have to speak out for free. They usually don’t have a lot of high production value. It’s not as it’s camera shoot. It’s not led screens. It’s not uplighting and, and multiple angles. And it’s usually, I mean, it’s like the back of a Perkins restaurant. I mean, that was my career.
SS (00:28:20):
Yeah. You haven’t even seen the new relation lighting we just put in,
RV (00:28:23):
I don’t even know elation lighting is, but it sounds really cool and awesome. And it isn’t all, all those points. So, so this is a big problem. Getting this, this demo video footage, it is one of the number one problems I faced in my career. When AIJ you know, in our former life, AJ built a speakers bureau, not everybody knows this. One of the, one of the businesses that we sold as part of you know, our roll up of the last company that we sold. There was a speakers bureau inside of that, that AIG built from scratch. One of the biggest problems she always had was getting her, her younger speakers, new video footage, and hard to get the new, the newest, the newest speakers are the hardest to get booked just because nobody knows who they are. And you can’t prove that you’re good because no one can see you because of this whole chicken and the egg thing. And so there used to be a company that did this, that they T tell us about this company. Cause you actually hired them. There was a company that, that did this thing where they, they put on an event and speakers could come and you, they, they had people from the public or how, how did it, how did it work? I never was a customer, but we many of our brand builders customers, including you were a customer. So like what was the, what was the concept of this, of this company? Yeah,
SS (00:29:47):
So, you know, it was a, the original plan for the event was for, to solve the chicken and the egg problem we’ve been talking about for the last couple of minutes. And that was to get aspiring speakers, the video, the video keynote footage they need, you know, so you would do it and do a very short keynote, five to seven minutes, something like that. And as a result, you would get the speaker footage you need. They had people in the audience that were alive event attendees. Some of them were speakers like myself because you’re, you’re watching the other speakers as well. And then you would sit down and you would also have other folks on the audits. And that was folks would go, as soon as you’re done, go do your testimonials. So you had an arc of, you have basket of testimonials from your speaking that you could use. And then that company
RV (00:30:24):
Would then right into your demo video. So people say how awesome you are and it was so inspiring or funny or whatever. Exactly.
SS (00:30:32):
And then, you know, and then, so you had, you know, basically you dealt with three products, so a testimonial, a speaker demo reel, and a keynote footage. However, it was
RV (00:30:40):
Now, now hold on. It was also in front of a real life audience. It wasn’t a fake that, that was the thing that always got me was, and I’ve I’ve, I have done this several times in my career where I will record early versions of my demo video in a room where no one is actually in the room except me. Like, that’s the, that’s the only thing I could think to do to create a video, a demo, to get video footage, if I couldn’t get it in front of a live audience. And so, you know, I either would like you know, borrow a room or whatever, and go speak somewhere and you just record it. But this was an, this is a real life audience. So they invited, I mean, obviously all the speakers were there at this, but then they open it up to the public and people come, yeah, they
SS (00:31:21):
Have like a, they have like an outreach that they kind of do like an outreach and you know, so in doing so I’ll a friend of the owner, the original creator of that program really, really well. And it just so happens. He decided to come to my venue and shoot a video in the studio. I’m actually in right now doing we have the class whiteboard thing that we can do, like neon markers. And, you know, I said, man, you know, ha ha you know how things go on? When’s the, when’s the next event? And he’s like, man, I, I had to shut it down. And I’m like, well, why like, well, you know, COVID, I’m like, well, dude, you, you know, if you need some help get back on your feet, I’ll be glad to help you with that. He goes, man, I’ve I’ve, I’ve had to pivot my entire business away from it. And he gave me like three key factors that I don’t have permission to share. But the dude had a huge heart and he said, the number one driving factor, preventing him from like relaunching that is simply the the cost of actually putting on a live event. And I got to talking to him. I said, well, I said, dude, I’m standing in a live event center. What if, what about using my place? Like
RV (00:32:20):
You haven’t.
SS (00:32:21):
Yeah. And I was like, dude, I’ll I’ll I won’t charge you a thing. Just like, let’s go. Right. And he said, man, he said, I’d love to, but you know, I’ve already launched this other thing. I’m going to focus my attention over here. I said, well, dude, this is a major problem. Like I, you know, that’s the reason I came to you in the first place. This is a major problem for a lot of people. And it just is a, and it’s just exactly, and I just happened to be doing a live event. AIJ was actually teaching it. I briefly covered that little conversation with AIJ and age. And I was like, I, you know, I’ve got this event. She’s like, dude, so many of my, our clients need like this, you know? And then, so we went from like just really brainstorming really fast. And then a good friend of mine have Carmichael. Who’s been really helping us on, on with, with a lot of our YouTube stuff specifically. He said, he goes, man, I know people that need that. And then I know people that need that. And then I know people that need that. And I’m like, well, the, the building sits, the auditorium sits empty half of the week.
RV (00:33:18):
Right. It’s only there for Stephen to shoot his videos and nobody else is selfish it’s so, so, so anyways, the short of this is, you said I’ve got the space, I’ve got the capacity, I’ve got the team. The other thing that you have, which is really unique is it’s when you have 400 employees, it’s actually quite easy to assemble a real life audience because you go, Hey, guess what? Today it’s personal development day, everyone funnel into the auditorium. And so, so, so what happened? He basically just said, take this business and do it.
SS (00:34:00):
Yeah. I mean, I called him right back after AJ and I had a quick conversation and I was like, dude, can I, are you cool if I do this? He said, man, it would mean a lot to me. If you actually ran with it, to be honest, he said, I always felt bad for the fact that I had to close it. And I said, well, dude, I got you. If any point in time you want to reengage, just let me know. And then that’s how it started and ended. And as a result, we began thinking, okay, well, how do we take now? This is going to sound kind of weird given the fact that we haven’t really told everybody about what’s going on. But I said, well, how do we take that event and amplify it? That was like the question that we were having at our, at our little team
RV (00:34:32):
Meeting. Well, how could you, if you’re going to take it over, how do you, up-level it like, how do you make this even more valuable? Like, you know, what, what could you do to make it better? Sure. So
SS (00:34:42):
I asked Aja, I said, Hey Jay, I’m just curious, what are, what are all the things that you think?
RV (00:34:48):
And sorry, just to clarify, when he says, Hey Jay, he’s talking about our AIG, my AJJ the CEO of this group and the, and the woman I sleep with, right. My wife, she’s my business partner. This is art. So he’s used an ADJ. Cause again, it’s, you know, he, he’s one of our team members, but it’s our AIG that you hear do the recaps. So you two are having a conversation by the way, completely unbeknownst to me, strategizing and scheming and planning and never did either of you think, Hey, we should talk to Rory about this. You guys, you guys plotted this whole thing and then told me, Hey, this is what we’re doing. And by the way, by the way, you’re flying to Raleigh.
SS (00:35:28):
Yeah. I mean, it was, you know, it was, it was one of the situations where I was like, what, what did brands need? And she just rattled off just off the top of her head, the sales letter demo, video, mini courses, webinars, sequences all these different photography. [inaudible]. I said, we can do all of that here. Like all of it. I have, you know, quite a bit of income invested in rhino sliders and jibs and Gimbels and all these different camera devices.
RV (00:35:53):
These are all equipment jargon terms he’s using for fancy equipment stuff. And not only do you have the live event center, which is, that’s probably the hardest, the hardest thing to recreate is that beautiful stage live event experience. It’s like, even if you want to do it, it takes so much money. Like, like this guy was saying, he, it was his full-time business and you can barely, barely do it cause it’s expensive. But then you also have the podcast studio, by the way, I know this because I went there. And I’m going to tell you about my personal experience here in just a second, but, but the podcast studio that you’re sitting in right now, you can see that if you’re watching this on YouTube, you can see or go watch on our YouTube channel. You’ll see this, the beautiful lighting, a soundproof studio that’s there. You’ve got like what, four or five? There’s like five whiteboards. There’s
SS (00:36:47):
All right. So in this one room, so this is the magic of camera, right? If everybody’s watching from home or on YouTube or whatever, they’re going to say, well, he’s in a podcast studio because they see all the podcasting equipment. Okay. What they don’t know is over to my left hand side is another set over the truck and my caddy quarters, another set over there against the walls, another set, and in three other rooms, I’ve got other sets and I’m building two more sets.
RV (00:37:10):
And by the way, if you’re listening, if you go to brand builders, group.com forward slash brand amplifiers, we took a video of this. So there’s a video of all these different sets and layouts that you can, that you can, you can see. And that’s, you know, part of, part of what we’re we’re we, we did is we went on site to understand exactly what Scoggins the visual went on here. Yeah. And we were, we became clients. We went through the whole process ourselves personally. But one of the things that we did was we got a video of all these different sets so that you can see and we also recorded a video course cause that’s another thing that we teach all of our clients is, Hey, you need to build a video funnel, something that is just like sh a mini video course that you give away for free.
RV (00:37:59):
That adds value. That is kind of your first introduction to people. And so me and Elizabeth Stephens our, you know, our director of events and then Jeremy Webber we went and we’ve filmed. We did, we did the, we did the full experience. We, I recorded a keynote, a new keynote that I’ve been working on my team in front of your team, personal development day with, with Rory Vaden, which, you know, we’re stay loved by the way, which, which they were forced to be at against their will, but I was grateful for it. And then, and then while we were there, so we, we, we, we shot the keynote and then we shot a video course and we shot each video in a different set. And you can see that also, if you go to Bramble, there’s group.com/brand amplifiers, you can actually see what those sets look like.
RV (00:38:52):
And you see screenshots of, of me and Jeremy and Elizabeth. And then we also did a photo shoot. So it was like we were there less than a full day. No, in our case, how much, how much time was it? I think you were four and a half hours. Yeah. Now we had the whole place to ourselves. You didn’t have other other clients there, but we in four hours shot a full video. Course. We shot a keynote demo video. I think I spoke on stage for like 25 minutes. Yeah. And then you guys produced a five minute demo video for me, which again, you can see this demo video, if at that URL, I mentioned brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers. And, and one of the things that we did with this demo video, which is cool is we didn’t use any of my other footage.
RV (00:39:45):
We didn’t use any of my like TV appearances and yada yada, yada, like other stuff we have, we did this as if this was the only footage I had ever had so that anybody who’s brand new can see what you, your team can create. Even if you have zero assets before arrival and the actual full length, it’s like a six minute demo video, five minute demo video is up at the, at that URL. So sorry to interrupt. So I just thought that was the place to interject, like what we did and what happened. But, but basically you’ve got this keynote experience, which is impossible to recreate. You’ve got all these video studios, which lots of people do that they’re not easily accessible, but the cool thing is if you’re there, why not knock it all out at once? And then the other thing was wa again, if you’re there and you’re all in makeup and dressed up and hair dead and like teeth whitened and whatever, you might as well do a photo shoot. And so you, you do all of this in one, one shot, right? Like how does it work? Like in your words?
SS (00:40:57):
Yeah, no, I mean, so, all right. So first of all, everybody’s a little bit different on their journey. So some folks may already have keynote, but then they may need updated photo shoots for social images or for a website, you know, your header bars, your transparent images. Like there’s a lot of color
RV (00:41:11):
Ads, Facebook ads, like all stuff like that. Yeah. Lifestyle shots and yada, yada back book covers for the back cover of your book or whatever.
SS (00:41:20):
Yeah. I mean, all of that. So there’s, there’s so many different places that these assets can be deployed. But one of the things that I feel is really important is that people are, have definitely gone through certain phases of the brand owner process. So they don’t come here and waste time. They come here and they can knock it out and it’s super duper important. Right. but when it comes down to it, we’re going to book off a whole week. Right. We’re only going to allow 20 people. We just, because it, it, when you see the movement of all the people that we’ve got working behind cameras and sound equipment,
RV (00:41:48):
Stuff like that coordination. Yeah. It’s,
SS (00:41:50):
It’s, it’s a, it’s a symphony. I mean, it really is. And as a result, we can only have a max of 20 people on, unfortunately, you know, in a week’s timeframe. And so we’re gonna book off a week. Yeah. Well,
RV (00:42:00):
You guys must have had like 20 people there, just, just taking care of the four of us, three of us, there were three of us for four hours. And you, you guys you, your team, which your team was incredible, you literally rolled out the red carpet for us. And they were young and savvy and sharp and professional and, and, and intelligent and service minded and catering, and just helpful and, and brilliant. And it was like, I, I have been around so many different production teams and this, this was probably the single best experience I’ve ever had. And just being directed, go here, go here, go here. Now this, now this, Hey, change that, tilt your head this way. Look over here. Let’s get, let’s move this camera. And like, I mean, it makes you feel like a celebrity, like you guys directed from the minute we got out of the car door until the minute we left back to the airport, you guys directed this with like first class a first-class experience. It was incredible. Yeah. Yeah.
SS (00:43:06):
And again, it all comes down to treating people how I want to be treated. Right. When I went through this experience that most of my major frustrations came from the fact that everything was disjointed. No one took me seriously. No one really cared about my end product that I was then trying to use to impact other people. Yep. That is a major underlying problem that we have worked really, really hard to solve. We want everybody that comes through those doors to feel like the million dollar brands that they’ll soon be. Hm. That’s what we want. Right. Because we’ve learned that a healthy visual identity is to a personal brand like emotional health is to mind a mental mindset, right? Those you can’t separate your visual identity from the personal brand that you are ultimately trying to become. Right. And there is a time to do it yourself. There is absolutely a time to do it yourself, but there’s also a time to say, enough’s enough. I’m going to make an impact. And I need the assets to get me there.
RV (00:44:03):
And that’s, you know, that is true. I mean, if there is one thing that I wish I would have done sooner, as I wish I would have invested sooner in high quality production of, of these things. We’re talking about video assets, speaking, speaking, real footage and photography. But frankly, you know, the more I’ve thought about that, cause I told you that whatever it was a couple of months ago when I was at your place or when it was like a month ago, a month ago, or two months ago, what I realized, even as I said, you know what? I actually would have made this investment. If I had confidence in the vendor, like if I would have found somebody who I was like these people, first of all, they care like first and foremost, they give a crap. It’s, I’m not just a number they’re cranking through a system.
RV (00:44:49):
And they’re only touching one little piece of my brand. And they’re trying to like spin me out, you know, as, as profitably and as efficiently as possible. So they have to care. And then they have to be extremely con like competent. They have to know what they’re doing. And then they have to be like reliable and, and responsive. And that has been the experience with you, by the way. So brand amplifiers is the name of this, that we’re, we’re, we’re talking about a, and w we’re not going to ask anybody for a credit card or anything today, but if you, if you go to brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers, you can read a little bit about this and you can see the different services that these guys offer. The Quito, you know, demo video experience, the video course experience the photography. And you can just request a call with their team.
RV (00:45:42):
And they’ve got, I mean, I’ll say this, I don’t have all your prices memorized, but they’re extremely reasonable. They are for what you get, especially, but it’s like, you’re getting a top tier experience, like a top, top tier experience for what I would consider a very low to reasonable price range, which, you know, it costs something because you can’t do all this for nothing, but it’s much less than what you could, you could be charging. The other thing is at that URL brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers. Again, you can see this cause you can cause we went through the experience. So you can see samples of the pictures that your photographers took. You can see the demo video that y’all produce just from that one visit. You can see the video of course, that we knocked out in a couple hours. And, and so anyways, the way that this happens for you guys is you have the venue, but you got to get all the staff there. And so it all happens inside of a week. And so you’re saying there’s there’s room for 20 people. They, they have to fly to Raleigh. So, so they, they, they got to pay their expenses and on top of whatever, they invest with you, they fly to Raleigh and there they’re there for how many, how many days. Yeah.
SS (00:47:04):
So it depends on what product they need. The reason we coordinated a full week is because with 20 folks, we’re going to have keynote day. So we’re going to do all the keynotes in one single day. But then on the other days, most people can get most of what they need done filmed within a two day window, possibly a three-day window, because we’re going to put the keynote day in the center. That way you have time to get your mini courses, sales letters, all the photography and everything else. You,
RV (00:47:30):
The other thing we’d even talk about the sales videos. We, we, we actually recorded one of those, which is also on that page, that the brand builders group.com/brain fires at the top is a, is an example of a sales video that we recorded. So you can see that as well. I totally forgot about that one. That’s a huge one. Yeah.
SS (00:47:48):
I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s, there’s so much, they’re going to get from a content and strategy side of things. You guys did a wonderful job in, in creating the strategy environment. You got to have the assets to deploy it. You know, one of the things that common questions I used to get as a strategist repeatedly is how come I can’t go faster? How come I can’t go faster? How come I can’t go faster? How come I can’t go faster? And I’m like, take it from me. I literally wasted millions of dollars, millions of dollars in the last five years, because I was unclear and I was deploying capital at a rate that was just straight up foolish, get clear and then put the assets together. And when you actually have those to deploy on a regular basis, literally you could turn on the faucet, you call it the revenue engine. You, you turn on the revenue. Right. But you can, you can’t scale what you don’t have to sale. Right. You got to get it filmed.
RV (00:48:37):
Yeah. So one of the other things that’s really awesome about this y’all and, and, you know, we want you to at least look at it and it’s, it’s like you said, it’s, if you’re, if you’re flat, flat broke and you have no choice, you might be where I was, where it’s like your first demo video, you’re recording in the public library in some back room with a, with a camera. You just start there, but you, at some point you got to go, I’m going to level up. Because I was embarrassed about my visual identity for years, for years in my career, I was like, you know, I have to do this, but I kind of don’t want anyone to see it because I don’t think the production level matches my expertise level. And there was always this gap. But you know, when you’re ready to level up and go, I need to get my first true set of quality assets.
RV (00:49:28):
And I’m actually going to hire you guys to do my next full production demo video, where I give you all of my assets and we do a real one. Cause I want to see what your team can do. If we like go all in on, like, let’s create something awesome. That’s going to be a project. But you got to do this. I mean, it’s super affordable. You knock it out all at once. You guys know what you’re doing, it’s a real life audience. It’s not a fake, it’s not like a fake simulated thing. It’s it’s a real experience. You meet other speakers and personal brands. And then the other thing is, you know, Stephen, you mentioned this, this has basically become, even though this is not technically a brand builders group offering, this is basically become a brand builders group guided experience because we created some tools exclusively for this that are available for our clients and anybody who finds out about this.
RV (00:50:21):
You know, even if you’re not yet one of our brand builders group clients, but you, you, you think you could use Stephen services. If you, if you come through our, our page brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers we will give you some tools. We have a tool called the demo video template. We also have the brand builders group guide to photo shoots specifically for personal brands, all the different looks that you need. And we’re giving you these tools to make sure, in addition to what you guys provide, anyone who comes from us that comes to you is going to be dialed in. They’re going to know I’m coming to knock out this and this and this and this. I know where I’m going, what I’m doing, it’s aligned with my brand positioning statement. So, you know, and by the way that that URL that I keep mentioning, it’s just a free call.
RV (00:51:10):
So if you, if you go there, you’re just going to see samples of these assets, and then you request a free call with Stephen’s team. So this is, this is not a brand builder group offering officially, but you, as I mentioned at the very beginning of the show, because of your journey, because of our relationship with you as, as a customer, a strategist, you also, now through brand amplifiers have become one of our preferred vendor partners. Frankly, we don’t even know anyone else like after 25 years of being in this business. Well, how long? No, I guess more like 20 years we’ve been in the business for 20 years. I don’t even know anyone else who does what you, what you guys have put together here.
SS (00:51:56):
Yeah. It comes down to, what did I need to get to where I’m at today? What did I learn from that experience? What are the problems that we can solve? Which is something that is very clearly taught at brand builders. And as a result, we have tried to think through every facet of not only the experience for the personal brand, that’s going through the experience, but everything that they could possibly need to launch, right? You can’t, you’ve got to launch, excuse me, you’ve got to launch you’ve you’ve, you’ve got out there, you’ve got to get yourself out there. And you know, and we simply want to treat people how we want to be treated. We’ve kept that as close to cost as possible, because I knew how expensive it was to kind of get stuff going and it’s even more expensive and stuff’s disjointed. So we we’ve done everything in our power to put together a, a process and a program that helps messenger. Mission-Driven messengers, man, get to get to market. Right. That’s what you call a mission-driven messenger. So I’m happy to be one of them.
RV (00:52:47):
Yeah, absolutely. So anyways, the, I hope you’ve gotten, you know, just value from this conversation in general. I mean, Stephen did this because it’s a cautionary tale as well, that you can spend so much money. So fast trying to piece together, different things from different places. That’s why brain builders group we’ve created our, our what we call them, our brand implementation partners. It’s our trusted vendor network, which you’re one of because we just see our clients spending money left and right with people that have no idea, really what they’re doing, it’s totally disjointed. It’s, it’s, it’s falling down, but also going, even if it’s not with, with brand amplifiers and Stephen’s team, at some point you have to do this, you have to one of my favorite pieces of advice that I received from a mentor was a guy named Randy gage.
RV (00:53:39):
And he told me this early in my career, he said, Rory, you have to be the number one investor in your own dream. Yep. Like at some point you have to be the one that says I’m going to, I’m not going to put my money on a, on a house or a car or into someone else’s business or into like via stock or angel investment. Like at some point I’m going to take my money and I’m going to place a bet on me. And I’m going to say, I feel called to do this. And there are certain tools and assets that I need to do this. And I’m going to invest that money as a bet on who I am and what I feel called to do. And, you know, if you trust brand builders group we’re extending that trust to Stephen’s team and brand amplifiers because he, even though brand amplifiers, technically is not a brand builders group offering.
RV (00:54:37):
It is one of our trusted vendors. And Stephen is a strategist of ours. Like he is in this all the time. Like he knows the stuff that we teach and we know him. And if something goes wrong here, this is our reputation at stake too. And we care about this cause we want to see this work. Not, not so much because we love Stephen, not so much because we get a small referral fee from this, if you do do it. But because we know you need this to succeed that sooner or later, you’re going to have to solve this problem of photography and, and video funnels and sales videos, and, and most rare and difficult of all that speaker demo video. And we think this is a rare opportunity in a, in a very rare chance. Like I said, I don’t even know anyone else who does do this.
RV (00:55:26):
And so we need this to work. We want this to work because we care about Stephen, but, but more because we care about you and because we’ve been there before, and Stephen has been there before we’ve experienced this, this problem, this massive frustration that I can’t get new subscribers because I don’t have a quality video funnel. I can’t get conversions on my sales page because I don’t have a great sales sales letter video. I can’t get hired to speak because I don’t have a demo video that shows people what I can do for them. And we’re working together to try to solve this problem for you in as fast as a way as possible. So, so the, the net, the net result of that question was, you said, this is like two to three days.
SS (00:56:08):
Yeah. Yeah. Give me, you know, give us, give us three days. If you need everything, go ahead and come for the week. Be part of the experience, share in it. You know, that way you can hopefully go home and tell your friends and family about the experience that you had, you know, but more importantly, come get, you need, let us serve. You, let us help you, let us help, help you make you the million dollar brand that you are.
RV (00:56:29):
Yeah. And you feel that way when you go. So anyways I hope this episode was valuable for you. I mean, just hearing Stephen’s story and how, you know, he’s become an entrepreneur and the power of clarity first, right? Like I hear that as a, as a consistent theme here is don’t start producing assets until you’re clear, right. And if you’re not clear, come to brand builders group and get clear, then go to Stephen and produce, produce these, these visual assets. So I, I hear that you know, I hear very powerfully this idea of that. You gotta be a beacon of inspiration for other people because that proves to themselves that they can do it. And just believing that you’re worthy of a voice and then B, and then being willing to invest in your own dream. But if you are interested in this, then go to brand builders, group.com forward slash brand amplifiers.
RV (00:57:19):
It’s, there’s, there’s nothing, there’s no credit card or anything there. You’re just going to see samples of the work of the experience that we actually went through. You’ll see me there, our team there, you can read about it. And then if you’re more interested, then you can request a call with someone on Stephen’s team and they will help customize, customize a package for people you’ll help them. And it depends on what you need. Not everybody needs a photo shoot. Not everybody needs a demo video. Not everybody needs a video funnel, but those are things that you will need at some point. And you might be able to knock them all at once or upgrade what you have or just, you know, make contact with these guys. So we’ll link up to that, obviously in the show notes, brand builders, group.com/brand amplifiers Stephen, you have such a great story. We feel so lucky to attract people like you as clients and strategists. Again, like, you know, I think we pay our strategies really well, and we strive to always like, be able to pay them more. But you know, clearly for you, it’s, it’s not about the money. It’s just about this desire and this whole business of brand amplifiers, basically as, I mean, not basically it legitimately came out of a frustration, a problem you struggled to solve for yourself that you said, Hey, I, I I’m in a position. I can help other people solve this.
SS (00:58:34):
Yeah. I mean, I, you know what, it’s one of the greatest things that you guys have taught me and I’ve heard of repeatedly is if you see a problem in the world and you have the capacity to solve it, don’t let a night go by until you try something, you know? And that’s at the heart of everything we’re doing. A lot of the folks that I’ve worked with as a, as a strategist they had the same, the same concerns, the same means, okay, well, I got my clarity down now, what do I do? You know? And, and, and they’re in my heart and my mind, as we were thinking through this thing, man, it’s going to be special. I firmly believe it.
RV (00:59:03):
Yeah. I mean, I’m excited about it. We have total confidence in you. And you know, the other thing was is that this episode, you know, whether you’re interested in doing this now or later with Stephen’s team or not is just going at some point, people have to be able to sample you. Like they have to be able to see you. I call it chicken on a stick. I’ve been using that phrase a lot chicken on a stick. Cause like when you go to the whole foods or Costco or the food court, they give you a free piece of chicken on a stick because they know once you taste it, you’re going to go, Ooh, that was awesome. I want to buy the whole, I want to buy a bag of that. We’re the same way as personal brands. We’re like basically our marketing assets is just chicken on a stick.
RV (00:59:44):
It’s like, here’s a chance to sample me. And if people aren’t buying from you, there’s a good chance. It’s because you haven’t, you either don’t have a sample available or you haven’t spent enough time in care crafting and preparing that sample in the same way that you would craft and prepare an entire meal. And, and so you need to, you need to give them a chance to sample. You need to put out something that you’re proud of. You need, you need for the viewer of that video to get to S to experience a small taste of what it’s like to do business with you. This is a chance to do it. And whether you do it with brand amplifiers, or you do it on your own, you, you need to do this at some point and be willing to invest in your own dream. Stephen, thanks for sharing your story. So much of this. I think emulates our story. And so many of our, our values are aligned. And so anyways, man, I hope that a few of our people will take you up on it. We’re going to take you up on it again. I’m going to be investing money with y’all to, to produce my next demo video. I want to see what you could do at full, full strength. And we just, we just wish you all the best for your continued inspiration,
SS (01:00:56):
Dude. I, I, I firmly enjoyed law or love being part of this community. And so grateful. You gave me a chance to share my heart today. Thank you, Man!