Why Strong-Willed Kids Make Great Entrepreneurs with Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm

Episode 34

Kirk Martin is the founder of Celebrate Calm and he has taught over 600,000 parents and teachers around the world to stop defiance, yelling, and power struggles with strong-willed children. Now, I don’t know about you but when somebody wants to have an influence in the world as a leader, I think that a lot of leaders raised these strong-willed children. So we’re going to really benefit from his practical strategies. They are life-changing and laugh-out-loud funny.

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Transcript

Hey, hey! It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast. And today, I have Kirk Martin on the line.

Andrea: So thank you so much for being with us today, Kirk!

Kirk Martin: I’m excited to be here, Andrea, thanks for having me.

Andrea: Well, Kirk, we have actually purchased a number of his CD’s where he gives really practical advice about raising strong-willed kids and those things were so hopeful to us and we ended up even having a phone call with him and consulting with him in our own parenting. So I can’t even begin to tell you how impactful Kirk is in the lives of parents and kids.

So, Kirk, I would love for you to share with the audience, like how did you get started with Celebrate Calm? What was the initiating factor, like what was the origin story?

Kirk Martin: You know, I wasn’t looking for this as probably most people find out in their second careers. I was a corporate business guy and my son, Casey, was struggling in school and he kept actually getting kicked out of schools. So I would go and I volunteer time in his classroom and what I discovered was, I was really good at working with the kids who were alternative learners, who kind of had different learning styles. So I started reading and reading and reading and all about different ways to help these kids and so there was a little bit of a professional transformation as far as learning.

Anyway, I was in his classroom and teachers kept saying “Hey, Mr. Martin, are you gonna come back tomorrow?” And I was like “I have a fulltime job; I can’t come to your class every day.” But I was finding that the little strategies I was coming up with my son were working with other kids. So that was one part of it and then there was personal transformation of realizing, because I always thought that my son was the problem because he was just difficult and obstinate and he just wouldn’t do what I wanted him to do.

I used to spend all of my time trying to change him until I finally realized, I was the one who needed to change, so there’s this whole transformation. And so I was still working a fulltime job and I had an idea that I wanted to work with these kids because these kinds of kids are often labeled…they’re very misunderstood and we often take them to therapy which is fine, but I wanted to have kids in my home.

We actually invited kids. We’d have 8, 10, to 15 kids in our house so I could teach them how to control their emotions and their impulses. Honestly, it started with a passion just for helping kids and I got fired from another job which was kind of my pattern. I remember calling my wife and saying “Hey, guess what, we could work fulltime with the kids now because I don’t have a job.” And I liked it because I was like “Sure, no adventure but wives for some reason really like stability.” She wasn’t a huge fan over the first but anyway it was really, as I guess most of your listeners will find, it was born out of passion more than kind of like a calculated “I’m going to set out to do this.”

Andrea: How did you let people know that you were doing it? Did you just spread it by word of mouth? How did people know?

Kirk Martin: When we started to do these camps, the idea was to have kids in my home where I could control the environment, right? So I want a place where kids felt comfortable so we’d have Legos all over the floor. Most of the kids would come in and right away they’re like “Oh there’s Legos, I feel at home.” It was almost like a version of play therapy in that sense where the kids didn’t know we were working on their behaviors. They were just coming to have fun; I call it a “venture camp, Lego camp.”

We lived in a little subdivision and they had a little community newspaper. I remember very distinctly, it cost me $6. I put a little ad and it said, ADHD Camps and it said “Build confidence and social skills,” and I had my phone number and email address. I told my wife, I was like “Nobody is gonna call. It’s not a big deal,” and we started getting calls and I was like “Oh man, what are we gonna do? Like I don’t really _____ now I have to do it?” So I went online and through a little internet website company, I built my own website one night for $9.99 and I just started replying calls from people and emails saying “Oh yeah, well here’s what we do with the camps.”

Honestly, I was just swinging it and people started showing up at my house and I was like “What am I gonna charge them?” I hate to sound like this but I didn’t have like a well thought out, I just know that if I jump in and started doing it, which is the way that I do things, it would work out and I would figure it out as I went along. I know there are some people who don’t work that way and they will over think it and wait and get like 18 different degrees and certification. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not just my thing. I wanted to jump in.

So one Saturday morning, we ended up having seven kids come to my house; I’m like “OK, so let’s start doing this.” So then after that, it was such a unique concept that no one else was doing that word of mouth spread of like “Oh my son is going on Saturday morning _____ house, he’s teaching him on impulse control and controlling his emotions and this week, we noticed a difference in him.” And the funny thing is in the second summer, because I would do this thing on Saturday morning and then I started doing on Tuesday evenings, so I said “Dinner camps bring your kids, I’m going to eat dinner with them and teach them all kinds of stuff while we’re eating dinner and playing afterwards,” and it was Thursday night.

In the summer, I would take my vacation from my regular job and do weeklong camps. And the second summer, we have kids flying in from Europe and I have kids flying in from all over the country. I didn’t have any qualifications to speak of except that I really get the kids and what I was doing was working so hopefully that doesn’t work by too many people.

Andrea: No, I think that’s really fascinating because you had a solution to a very real and practical problem and it was working. That is the heart of entrepreneurship I think.

Kirk Martin: Right. It’s finding a real need that people had and then a creative solution and part of it was being true to myself because in early days, I fought against “Oh, I don’t have my masters. I don’t have my PhD.” And people were like “Oh do you have masters in psychology or education?” I was like “Nope, international business,” there you go and so I used to be really defensive, you know, as you would expect. But what I found was, I just had to be true to myself and not do things the way everybody else did it because that never works for me.

If you ever come to one of our live events, you will find my speaking style, you would either love it or you’ll absolutely hate it. But I remember going to a Toastmasters to learn how to talk and speak publicly and what I found was it’s _____. Every single person in there spoke the same way and I do the wrong things. I speak really fast and I don’t give breaks for people to process information. And people try to change me for a long time and what I realized was, people like what we do because I’m very authentic even if sometimes it’s a little bit odd and weird.

Andrea: Yeah! I think that’s absolutely true for you and for probably for everybody. Did you know that about yourself? You said you were kind of defensive at first when people would question you, but did you just know that about yourself or did you just feel like “There’s no other way, I just have to be this way. It’s just the way it is.” How did you figure it out?

Kirk Martin: You know when you jump in, you just have to go for it and you just have to say, “OK, I know I can’t answer…” Some people you won’t satisfy because they want to know, you have those qualifications and it’s determining who you are and who you want to help and knowing you can’t please everyone and focusing on your strengths instead of trying _____ the weaknesses. One of my early decisions was, I could go back to school and I could go get my masters, but I kept thinking, I’m not sure I’m actually going to learn that much from books.

So what I decided was instead of spending that time in a college classroom just getting a degree to say I had a degree, I begin volunteering my time in different classrooms in schools literally all across the country. And I just contact them and say “You don’t have to pay me but I’d love to come and observe the classroom.” And I would give the teachers some written ideas when I leave about how she can help or he can help. So I always tell people instead of spending time in a classroom and getting masters degree, I spend time in literally hundreds of classrooms getting that very practical experience and stories.

Now, I can’t quantify this but I believe I trained more teachers across the country than anyone else and they’re all more qualified. I don’t have master’s degree or PhD and yet they love it because they can tell I’ve actually been in classrooms.

Andrea: That makes a huge difference knowing that someone has actual real life experience. I’m not against degrees by any means but whoever you are influencer listening, whoever you are and whatever you’re like, listen to this because this is really empowering I think for any of us. And it’s also really important I think your comments, Kirk, about getting into it and when you’re in it then you have to figure it out and taking action. It’s risky to do that but at the same time, if you really care about it, which it sounds like you really cared about it, you just go for it.

Kirk Martin: That’s my personal style, jump in, figuring out. Now, my wife is completely opposite. So she has gotten her master’s degree in social work and counseling but that’s who she is, right? So part of it is knowing who you are and what your risk tolerance is. I had back then a very high risk tolerance. Look, part of this is your personality. I like being different and I don’t want to do things the way other people do it. In fact, one of my weaknesses, and I’ll share this, people always tell me “Oh, you need to check out this guy’s stuff. You need to check out this lady’s stuff. They’re really good. They’re in the same field.”

A lot of times, I will not look at their stuff. Now, I do sometimes because I can learn and I’ll still some of their best ideas which is part of all of this just learning from other people. But what I get really afraid of is I’ll see someone else and think “Oh, I need to do what they’re doing.” And I’m really cautious about that because it has never worked for me when I try to do things the way other people do it. I have to be really authentic and I have to just do what’s right for my kind of learning and teaching style.

Andrea: I personally can really relate to that into your desire to be different and not even the desire, it’s almost like you can’t help it. There’s no way that you’re going to be able to go down the path that everybody else goes down. Yeah, I feel that way too and I think that I actually can relate too. I don’t know if it’s the same thing but I also feel like I can’t fill my mind with other voices because I wouldn’t be able to hear my own. Do you ever feel that way?

Kirk Martin: Yes and I’ve struggled with that honestly because I know I’m continually learning. I read a lot about brain science. I read a lot of brain psychology but I try not to work too much at other people in what they’re doing. I try to learn from them but I’m afraid of getting sucked in to that comparison thing of like “Oh, they do so much better. They’re doing this.” There’s some of it which I think which I think you identified is knowing what your voice is and what your unique message is.

I think we’ve been able to sustain this and grow this for a long time partly because I’ve stuck to what you’ve just said is. I know who I am, I know my voice, I know the people I want to help and I can help, and I do that really, really well but I try to keep things very simple. We fail a lot so we try a lot of ideas. And again, this is probably a different question but it plays to be an entrepreneur. We try things but if we notice right away it’s not working, we move out of it very quickly so that’s part of learning to be yourself and not try to do what other people are doing.

Andrea: That’s awesome! OK, I want to get in to what you teach a little bit too. But before that, I know you have talked so much about you and Casey (Casey is your son), you’ve both been so open about the struggles that you each faced. So my question for you is did you always include personal stories about Casey? And what did he initially think when you started doing that and how did that come about?

Kirk Martin: Hmmm, good question. I think I started with personal stories about myself and my own transformation. You know, part of it was my dad who was military. So I grew up with kind of like the “My way or the highway, who’s gonna do what I’m tell you to do?” So it began with me being vulnerable about my own issues and that continues to this day and I think again that’s one of the things that people like is I’m not a professional in a lab coat telling them what I read about theory. They’re relating to a real parent, not just a dad, but a parent who gets to really irritated when kids don’t do something, and who struggles with issues.

Again, that’s just me. I’m a pretty vulnerable person. I don’t know that I’m anymore secured than anyone else but it’s who I am and I found that people really like those stories. And you know, I would ask Casey in early days, I’m like “Are you OK, if I share this?” And he was like “Sure, dad. It’s fine.” He grew up with this so when we started having kids over to the house; he was a little kids still. You know, kids come over to the house on Saturday morning and he’d be sleeping and kids would run upstairs because they were in a house and it wasn’t a big house.

It’s a little townhouse. They would run up to his bedroom and wake him up and he’d be like “Dad, it’s Saturday. Come on, I’m a teenage, why these little kids? Why all these stupid kids in my room?” And I didn’t mean it like him calling them stupid but of course he thought that. But overtime, he actually started working in the camps partly because he was free labor, but also because it was a family mission, right? They were coming into our home and so he learned all of this firsthand from working with different kids.

When he started going out on the road speaking with me, I think he just followed my lead and started being open about his own struggles. It was just kind of a natural evolution of the way things worked but nothing was really calculated. Whenever I tried to calculate things or really try to like “OK, here’s an opportunity, we need to exploit.” It never really works when I do that. It only works if it’s kind of a natural evolution of who we are as people and our experience.

Andrea: I love that idea of following the experience and letting it play out but at the same time, it’s hard to do. And I think, again, this going to go back again just being able to listen to that inside of you and know when it’s time to do what. I think often we get very confused and we get, I don’t know, like our mind gets clouded. I love that.

Kirk Martin: No, I’ll add this. You know, you run down a little path and eventually find out “OK that’s not working, that’s not me.” So you don’t always have to have a clear answer. It makes a little bit of faith in this; I mean my relationship with God is really important to me. So I ask but I don’t really hear like “Hey, Kirk, here’s what you’re supposed to do tomorrow,” like I don’t hear audible voices. Sometimes, I just run with stuff and then I figure out pretty quickly “OK, there’s nothing there. It’s not resonating with people. It’s not resonating with me.”

I’ve been doing this a long time now so it’s easier to deal with the uncertainty of knowing. There’s still doubt within the past two years. I’ve had times where “Why isn’t anybody asking us to come speak?” I’m 51, like in your 50s it’s like your prime years of influence. I’m really good at what I do. I’m in the most confident I’ve ever been and yet sometimes you go through this dry spells and was like “Doesn’t anybody love me anymore, doesn’t anybody wants me to come speak?” You always have the self doubt and then you just keep plugging on, plugging on, you know going on and then all of a sudden now you get invited too much and you’re like “I’m tired of travelling.” So I think it just comes with the nature of being an entrepreneur.

Andrea: I know that you’ve mentioned before that entrepreneurship can be good for strong-willed kids. What is the connection that you see between being a strong-willed kid and the experience that you’ve had as an entrepreneur?

Kirk Martin: Uh, do you have all day? It’s funny because I think I came up with this idea in between you asked me to be on here. But we’re going to revive those camps again and start doing some entrepreneur camps for kids. It’s not wanting to follow the normal path, right? It’s a strong-willed child who is contrarian and kind of oppositional by nature. If you ask them to do something, their first question is “why?” Because they want to figure out a different way, they want to figure out context. They’re not afraid to break the rules a little bit. They are curious. I think they’re risk takers by nature a little bit because they kind of don’t mind not fitting in. They almost like being a little bit, I don’t know, weird.

I have an aversion to anything that’s really popular in pop culture. I will not participate in, even if it’s really cool. I just don’t like it. I don’t like it when everybody else is doing something. I intentionally would not see that movie and it’s because I’m a jerk, although I’m a jerk by nature, a little bit sarcastic, but I like my own path. They often don’t follow social conventions and this is really interesting because they often have an attitude of like “Well, who cares that you don’t do it that way?” And I think in my own experience “I’m not qualified.” I don’t think it’s arrogance, I hope not, because I try to be a humble person but there is a certain amount of like “OK, so I’m not qualified, so what? I think I can do.”

So it’s this borderline like arrogance, but also I found most of these kids also have a great deal of humility and they have big hearts, the ability to hyper focus. So these are kids who if they’re not interested in school work, something that should take 15 minutes, will drag out and take three hours. But if they’re interested in their video games or Legos, they can play for literally hours at a time.

I think in many ways, the way that their brains are wired and the way their personalities are formed just make some very uniquely position to become entrepreneurs. Honestly that’s one of the new big focuses that we’re going to have is instead of joining camps where I’m working on kids behavior and trying to fix the negatives, I wanted to switch and accentuate the gifts, accentuate the strengths that they have and then show them how to use it. All of these qualities make them very difficult to teach and it makes it difficult for them to succeed in school, but ironically it’s the very qualities that make them uniquely qualified or positions to do really well _____ dynamic.

Andrea: OK, so how are you going about this? I’m curious because I have a kid that I think would be a great fit for this kind of a thing. I’m curious, what’s your plan, is it your Saturday camps or is it a weeklong thing? Tell us about the structure of it?

Kirk Martin: Well, this is in the formation, so it’s a little bit odd to be sharing this. I’m not doing it to do like a little commercial for our thing but hopefully it’s interesting for people.

Andrea: I’m curious.

Kirk Martin: I’m curious too to see how it unfolds to be honest because I’ve wanted to do this. I recently read a newsletter that I wrote in 1999, and in it, I mentioned that one day I would like to have a school of entrepreneurship for the kids who don’t fit into the school system and who fall through the cracks. And so for years, everybody was like “When do you starting that school?” I’m not a great process kind of person, so there’s no way I would ever start like a charter school. I don’t do bureaucracy; I’m not doing all of that.

So I kind of let it go and I just read that and I was like “Now, it’s 18 years later and this is coming because in my own personal life where I live, I mentor kids.” I met a kid at a Chic-Fil-A once and I stopped in there to do a little bit of work before I had to do this speaking thing. I saw this kid and I watched them and I listened the way he was speaking to customers. So when there’s a break, I went up and I said “You’re gonna own your own business one day, aren’t you? He was only 17, and he was like “Yes sir, that’s my goal.”

And I said “Oh you’re gonna do it. If I could invest in you right now. Here’s what I see, you’re gonna start your own business. You’re gonna fail at the first one or two just because you’re young and that’s what you need to do. But eventually, you’re going to learn from your failure and you’re going to hit it big. So if I could invest in you like I invest in a stock, I would put a lot of money into you.” I got to meet his parents.

So I started mentoring kids because I’m not good at a lot of things but I’m really good at seeing inside of kids and what they’re capable of. So initial idea that we’re going to kick off is doing some boot camps during the school year with their weekends. So the kids come for Saturday and a Sunday. We’re not going to sit in a classroom. I already have locations scouted where we can do hiking trails and so we can get out and learn nature because these kids don’t like sitting at classrooms and we’re going to meet with local entrepreneurs.

So a lot of cool areas now where you can stay in a hotel that is near walking trails and also like in a little square where there are all these businesses. I want them to meet other entrepreneurs to get a sense of, to feel the passion and what drives them and to see how hard it is to do with. So it’s going to be very experiential and then we’re going to have some diagnostic to identify their gifts talents and passions.

And then honestly, I want kids around each other _____ kids to get together and I want to come up with an action plan. So each of these kids leaves each weekend with “Hey, I’ve got three or four ideas of ways to make money, to do service projects to internships. My son will be teaching them to qualities of successful people and a lot of great books. If you’ve ever read the Millionaire Next Door, it talks about the essential qualities of a millionaire. It’s not really about the money; it’s about the qualities that they have.

Initially, we’re going to do this little weekend boot camp in different parts of the country. And part of it will me training the parents, because when you have a child like this you have to make some really courageous decisions, whether you’re going to try to _____ him into the current school system or whether you’re going to say “Maybe we have to do this a different way because this child is so different.” And then eventually we’ll get into doing longer summer camps.

Honestly, I’m about to announce it probably within the next week or so. It’s kind of cool and it’s really exciting.

Andrea: It super exciting. I love it and I’m so excited for you. So one of the things that I’ve heard you talk about that really resonated with me is the idea of transferring our anxiety onto our kids that definitely resonated with me because a few years ago, I was really struggling with the anxiety and I saw how I was doing that. It just made so sense to me and I hated that. So would you share with us what that concepts means and I think it applies to any relationships whether it’s kids or spouses or people you work with or whatever. So what does it mean to transferring anxiety?

Kirk Martin: I’ll take it as a parent. You look at your child and for most of us especially who have strong-willed kids who aren’t living up to their potential, right? Because you look at this child and you think she’s so bright, she’s so capable, and yet she’s not applying yourself. She’s capable so much more. She’s not living up to her potential and so we get anxiety because we begin to think how will she be able to be successful in life? What’s going to happen? You know, you can take it deeper of like “What’s wrong with me as a parent? Am I doing something wrong? Why is it my child is working harder, what is wrong?

And so all of these anxieties about our child’s future, about our own job as a parent and now we begin to dump that on the child and start to lecture them and we begin to micromanage them. I think people identify with this, the more that you care about something as a parent, the less your kids do and the more they resist. I believe as a parent my number one enemy is my own anxiety over my child’s future because it causes me to literally micromanage their lives for them and get on them so much.

It is anxiety because I don’t know what to do with you and it fills all out of my control. I need you to step up and start caring more about your school because I care about your school and I need you to do well at school. So you’ll be successful so I’ll feel good as a parent like I’ve done a good job and you can feel that weight. And that weight is too cumbersome for me to bear as a parent, because I can’t be responsible for the happiness or success of another human being. I can’t carry that and then when you sense all of that weight of our expectations is now being born by a 7 year old, a 10 year old, or a 15 year old, it’s too much for them to bear and that’s what causes the power struggles. I don’t know if I explained that well.

Andrea: Yeah. I don’t know. I can see how what you’re saying is that they fight back on that. They push back on that especially the strong-willed kids.

Kirk Martin: Well, they need to own it. They want to own their choices and their decisions and they want to do it their way, which is a good thing, right? It’s a good thing; it’s just a very difficult thing. It’s a really hard process.

Andrea: I know you go into such great detail about this with the resources that you have available which will definitely make sure that influencer listening will be able to find this on the show notes. But yeah, they push back and I’ve seen it myself that I am more or less just sort of not worried so much that I let them be who they are, that I let them make their mistakes and let them sense and feel their failures that I don’t have to carry that weight for them either. That it’s OK for them to feel those things and then I can pull back a little bit more and they can make more of their own decisions on it. Definitely, it seems to be going generally better.

 

Kirk Martin: You know, one great _____, Andrea, for me is as a respect issue. So one of our phrases is when we step back as parents, it gives kids space to step up and be responsible for themselves. So the way I look as respect of “I’m going to step back because I respect you enough to believe you’re capable of handling this yourself.” It’s just a great phrase to tell anybody.

Andrea: Would you just say it again because that was so good.

Kirk Martin: I respect you enough to believe that you’re capable of handling this yourself and then you have to walk away from it and let them touch the hot stove and feel and figure it out. Because one of the beautiful parts of that is you’re respecting them as a person, you’re giving them some space to fail and to know it’s OK to struggle. To me there’s a dignity issue.

There are two different ways; “I’m going to ride you and remind you and lecture you and micromanage you because I’m going to make sure that you’re successful, but I’m going to make sure you do it my way because my way is always the right way,” and it never work to a strong-willed child, versus saying “You’re smart, you’re capable, you’re independent, and I know you can handle this on your own and I trust you to learn from the inevitable failures that you make and I’m giving you the dignity of learning this. The dignity of having that satisfaction of knowing I’ve overcome struggles, I’ve overcome challenges and I’ve been successful.”

When we micromanage our kids, we really rob them of that satisfaction because in essence what they’re saying is “Mom, you kind of made me successful. You did this for me.” It’s just really hard as a parent to watch your child struggle and fail but if they’re going to be entrepreneurs, it’s a key part. This business is only successful because I failed really badly, wildly at my previous business kind of self-employed business venture that I did. I owe the success of this to the previous failure and I think that’s how a lot of our kids and a lot of us learn best.

Andrea: OK, now we are in the midst of the holiday bliss, right? It can be the most stressful of the year with all of the pressure that we have to delight our kids, to delight other people, make the season magical, at least that’s how I feel; I definitely want that for my kids. But then there’s also the pressure that can come with all the family expectations and gatherings and if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got the end of the year stuff going on too. So what would you say, Kirk, to the influencer listening who really wants to stay calm over these holidays and actually enjoy it but they’re finding themselves caught up in this pressure? What kind of advice do you have for them as they relate to their kids, spouse or colleagues, or even an audience?

Kirk Martin: I just jotted down three things quickly. Taking care of yourself first and not worrying, because I’m like you, I love kind of like the whole magical thing and I want to be there’s snow in places even now I live on the coast of North Carolina and it’s never going to happen. You want that whole romantic idea of like “Oh, it’s gonna be a wonderful Christmas.” Probably this is for anytime of the year is taking care of myself first and not worrying about trying to make other people happy. I don’t mean that a selfish way, it just means I can’t carry that load.

So if I want people to be happy during the holiday season then I’m going to be happy and I live with joy and I notice the little things and I’m excited by the simplicity of it and the beauty of it and that tends to rob of on people. It’s when we try to get them to enjoy it. You just need to be grateful because you have so much, right? When they don’t react the way we want them to then we get upset at them. You know what, it’s like when you take your kids to Disney, “You guys are going to have a good time at Disney World whether you like it or not.” You know what I mean, all this expectation so much of what we talked about. It’s about controlling myself and not other people.

And so controlling about my own expectations, I’m simplifying. Choose what’s really important during the holidays to you and then you’re just going to have to really focus and say “We’re not going to every party, we’re not going to every single event.” Choose the ones that’s right for your family. Those of us who have strong-willed kids and very emotional kids and get overwhelmed very easily and they can’t do it all. It’s just way too much.

I’d set expectations even before the holidays as much as you can of like what are the three things that are most important for us to enjoy Christmas and the holidays? What are those things? Let’s make sure we do those three things really well and the other things we’ll just say no to. You know what just hit me, just think how great modeling that is for your kids to know you can’t do everything, you can’t please everyone else. You know, learning to be assertive and saying “Hey family member, hey friend I know you invited us to this Christmas party, we really appreciate that and your friendship is really important to us; however, what’s best for our family right now is we need a couple of nights at home.” That’s hard to do, right?

Andrea: Yeah.

Kirk Martin: But that’s being assertive and honest and otherwise “It’s OK kids, we got to go at your Aunt Marge, we have to show up.” And there’s certain amount of that, right that in life you have to do things you don’t want to do. But when you’re doing that continually and you’re exhausted, you end up being resentful at everyone. So I love being able to model being gracious in saying no to people, because I remember my son when he was little, he just couldn’t do it being around a lot of people. And you know how it is there’s always bad food, there’s always a lot of Christmas cookies and so you have a tired kid and he’s hopped up on all the sugar and it’s just didn’t work. And even to this day as an entrepreneur, you have to simplify “No, this is what we’re good at doing. This is what we’re not good at doing and so we’re gonna focus on the main thing.”

Andrea: Such a great information and advice that you have for us today. Thank you so much, Kirk, for your time and you’re doing really good work in the world. So I thank you for your voice of influence.

Kirk Martin: Oh well, thank you for doing what you’re doing in helping other people. I’m glad to help anytime I can.

Andrea: Awesome!

 

END

An Open Letter to Multi-Passionate Creatives Stuck in Creative Chaos

Dear fellow Multi-Passionate Creative,

Creative chaos is how I would describe the ideas bouncing around in our heads. It’s a fun place to play but it’s not very helpful when it’s time to make any kind of decision about what path to take with your life or business, is it? Untended, chaos breeds more chaos and pretty soon intelligent, ambitious people spin their wheels so fast they (and everything around them) turns into a muddy mess.

How are you supposed to build a platform or business around confusion, overwhelm and frustration? You can’t. Not a powerfully sustainable one, anyway. If you can’t make up your mind and decide on an idea to pursue, you’ll keep jumping from one passion to another without gaining traction on any of them.

Compounding the problem are all of the voices out there ready to give you the exact plan for this or the perfect blueprint for that. If you just follow their plan, you’ll end up with the results you want.

It sounds great, but who’s plan should you follow? What “proven” tactics are the ones you should use? Should you follow one or synthesize them all? And what if a better option comes along while you’re in the middle of implementing the one you thought you chose?

Whether you’re spinning your wheels trying to decide on an idea to pursue or you’re spinning in circles trying to decide who to listen to, you’re probably not getting anywhere. Fast.

Before you spend the last of your continuing education budget or eek out one more drop of effort to build your platform, please STOP.

This is me, grabbing you by the shoulders, looking you in the eye, saying:

Friend, you are smarter and more capable of making your own decisions than you think you are. I know what it’s like to feel so lost in your own head that you can’t make sense of the cereal box, let alone Facebook’s newest algorithm. I know what it’s like to know you’ve got more to offer the world but you’re so lost in the chaos of choices before you and the chaos of voices yelling from the Internet to see past your own keyboard. It’s time to lift your head above the fog and listen to your own voice.

It was only a few short years ago that I was so lost in my own creative chaos that I was a bottled up mess of ideas and ambition that I verbally exploded from the internal pressure on a regular basis. It took realizing the pain I was causing others to make me stop saying terrible things to myself about being “crazy,” “scattered,” “a mess,” and “a waste.”

If you’re saying terrible things to yourself, please stop for a minute and look me back in the eye and answer me this:

  1. Who do you say that you are?
  2. What message is on your heart to share with others?
  3. What do you want to offer the world?

If you know the answers to these questions, then write them down in big letters and throw them up on the wall behind your computer and use them as your internal compass when you have decisions to make because if you align what you do and what you say with who you are, you will gain traction and make an impact.

However, if you struggle to answer these three questions, it’s time to take a reflective moment in time and figure it out.

October 23-27th I am offering a free 5 Day Challenge to help you nail down these answers in an elevator pitch. And if you think this is just some simple formula you can Google, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. I know exactly what it’s like to be where you are right now and I do not see your elevator pitch as some simple fill-in-the-blank. You are more beautifully complicated than that. Your multitude of talents, your fierce ambition and your passion to help others deserves to be honored. That’s exactly what we’re going to do in the Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5 Day Challenge. Stop spinning your wheels and sign up NOW (HERE).

You’re talent and message are worth it. I’ll see you inside.

 

Your Voice Matters,

How to Integrate Work and Life as a Visionary Creative with Jeff Goins

Episode 27 with author of Real Artists Don't Starve

Jeff Goins is the author of four books, including the national best seller, The Art of Work and his latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve. He is also a full-time blogger, speaker, and entrepreneur.

Originally from Chicago, Goins graduated from Illinois College and spent the next year on the road with a band. After that, he moved to Nashville to chase a girl and spent the next seven years working at a nonprofit. He now writes and speaks for a living and runs an online business helping writers and creative entrepreneurs chase their dreams.

Jeff’s award-winning blog, GoinsWriter.com, has been visited by over four million people from around the world. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Psychology Today. He and his wife, Ashley, live just outside of Nashville, TN with their son, daughter and dog.

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Full Interview Transcript

Andrea: So Jeff Goins, welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.

Jeff Goins: Hi, Andrea, it’s good to be here.

Andrea: Well Jeff, recently published his fifth book, is that right?

Jeff Goins: Yeah, yeah. I was right too.

Andrea: Real Artists Don’t Starve – and I’m really looking forward digging into that here in a minute. But let’s get the influencer listening a little context. I’ll tell you that I first stumbled on you, Jeff, when I started diving into podcast about three years ago, when I was just trying to grapple with my own creative life, my own creative self and what to do with that. I found that your podcast the Portfolio Life, which it explores the questions what does the creative life looks like. So Jeff, what does your creative life look like?

Jeff Goins: The term, the Portfolio Life, I found in a book by a guy named Charles Handy. And apparently in the UK, it’s widely known in this term but I never heard before it. So a friend of mine who is a poet, who has an affinity for Japanese culture and also works a fulltime job as a marketing director at a medical company. You know, it’s just a bunch of different things, right? I remember asking him few years ago as my platform was growing, my audience was growing, I was writing books, and I was also helping writers online with online courses. And I felt torn because all of my friends whose success I admired it seemed as if they were about one thing and I felt broken. I was like “Am I the author guy? Am I the speaker guy, or am I like the entrepreneur guy?”

And my friend, his name is Keith said “You could be all those things. You’re living a portfolio life and it’s not for everybody but for those who care about multiple things. You can embrace all those interests and all of those different areas of interest and make each part of the portfolio better, you know.”   “So the fact that I read poetry, I’m interested in Japanese culture influences my day job, and my understanding of marketing influences these hobbies.”

So for me, it really became a question of not being a jack of all trade or becoming a master of some. That’s something I become more and more comfortable with. So I think of Portfolio Life is like an investment portfolio. I have just not invested in one company, I’ve got a bunch of different things that I’m putting my time in, but it’s not everything. So for me, my portfolio is like one part author. I’m always working on a book, promoting a book, or talking about a I’ve recently written that’s really important to me.

I love books. I love reading them. Every book I’ve read has been a gift to me from the author and I am honored to be able to try to give gifts to my own readers but also run a business. So I’m an entrepreneur and I like that. I’m good at that and it’s fun for me. And so I wear the hat of entrepreneur-employer-boss visionary you know for a good amount of time throughout my week. I’m also a speaker and coach. I’m having conversations with people on a fairly regular basis helping them kind of breakthrough to the next level.

And you know, I also wear the hats of dad and husband. And for me, it became very important fairly early on to figure how to manage all of this. I don’t believe in work-life balance but I like what Dan Miller calls it work-life in aggression. How does my work feed my life and how does my life feed my work. And Steven King wrote in his book on writing, “I used to think that life was a support system for art and now, I realized that is the other way around.”

He tells a story about becoming an author and buying this really big desk. That was the time he made this huge, you know, expensive oak desk and he put it in the middle of the room upstairs in his attic which became his writing studio. And he shut the door and outside that door, his kids were growing up without him. He was working on the next novel. He was addicted to a multiple substances and his art had consumed his life. Eventually, he got sober. He got rid of that big desk. He opened up the attic and turned it into like a movie room for his kids, who were now teenagers and he got a smaller desk and moved it into the corner of the room.

I just love kind of that word picture of my work used to dominate my life and everybody around me just had to support me. And then I realized, “No, this isn’t how it supposed to be. Work is supposed to feed the life.” So I opened the door and made my work very interruptible by my family because this is whom I’m doing it for. I remember like I was like “Oh I love that.” And two weeks after reading that, it was a Friday afternoon and my wife was like “Hey, do you wanna take the kids to the zoo.” I was like “I can’t, I have to work.”

If you have a day job, you can’t just say, “I gotta go to the zoo.” But here I was just placing these unnecessary arbitrary boundaries around my life because I was kind of addicted to my work. You know, it made me feel good about myself and that wasn’t why I got into this.

I started writing and started a business so that I can have more freedom doing work that I love but also so that I could provide for my family and spend more time with them. So here I was spending more time on this business than I was for the reason that I was supposed to be doing it for. I think that’s a long way of saying, my portfolio it’s very important that the work fits around the life, not the other way around.

Andrea: Yeah, and you talked about wearing a bunch of different hats, I totally want to get into your book but we’re going to keep going with this for now.

Jeff Goins: Sure, yeah!

Andrea: Is it hard for you to switch hats in the midst of all of these different things that you mentioned including, you know, husband and father? Do you feel like a different person when you have a different hat on or how do you navigate that internally?

Jeff Goins: It’s not hard for me to switch hats because I have a visionary personality. I don’t mean that like a complimentary way like “Hey, look at me I’m the visionary.”   It means I’m always onto the next thing. I’m always imagining the future and struggling to stay in the present.

There’s a book called the Synergist. It’s a business book by Les McKeown and he describes the visionary personality. He basically says, in an organization there are three types of people; visionary, operator, and processor. They’re all kind of in conflict with each other. The visionary says “Let’s go do this. Let’s go climb the mountain.” The operator says “Okay, let’s start marching.” And the processor goes “Hey, what’s our plan. How are we gonna do this?” So one is always going to do work, one is always thinking about the next thing, and the other one is trying to figure out how to build a process around it. And the solution that is the synergist, one who kind of synergistically bridges all these gaps.

So I am the visionary, which means I’m always thinking about the next thing kind of ADD type of personality or I’m just “OK, I’ll do this and let’s do this.” So task switching is easy for me for the most part. I have these friends who would like sit in a locked room and write for eight hours a day and I did that because that’s what I thought a writer was supposed to do. It was actually lonely and depressing and my writing suffered as a result of it.

I am at my peak when I’m juggling a few but not too many things where every day I’m spending sometime doing what Cal Newport calls “deep work,” where I’m spending a couple of hours working on my ideas like “That’s important and I can’t neglect that.” But then another part of my day needs to be spent interacting with people so that I can get feedback on those ideas. Like even this interview was an opportunity for me sort of riff on new ideas and old ideas and work on them and get feedback and see where the conversation goes.

So that’s really important to me going out to lunch with people, talking to my team, friend, whatever, you know, getting that kind of interaction is super important to me. And I used to feel guilty about that like I felt broken. I just realized “This is my personality. I’ve got to be doing a few, but not too many things.”

For me, that breaks down into three activities that I try to compartmentalize. I always need to be doing something to build my craft and to really grow as a writer. I always need to be doing something to build my brand, reaching more people so that, you know, you can continue to grow and I need to be doing something to build my business so that I can get paid so that I can keep doing all the other stuff.

And this kind of this vicious cycle, you build your craft and more people noticed and you build your brand and you build your brand, more people will pay you so you build your business which allows you the freedom to go back to building your craft. So every day, I’m working on all three of those activities in kind of frazzled task-switching kind of way. But I would say, Andrea, that there are these challenges switching from boss/influencer/author to dad or husband.

It’s a weird thing to talk about and the best way I can describe it, you know, with that story. So there’s this documentary about U2, because usually they’re going to this like 200, 300 day tours, right? They’ll be gone from their families for most of the year and gone from home anyway. And then they’ll come back home and Bono will come back home, and it will be a reentry process. It used to be he comes back from tour and when he back to the house, he was miserable and his wife ready to have a divorce.

So what they do now is he comes back to city that he lived in and stays in a hotel for two weeks and then will get together for dinner but then the kids and the wife go home and Bono stays in a hotel. And over the course of two weeks, they spend more and more time together and then eventually gets to come back home. And the reason for this is every night for a year; Bono was standing on stage full of 10,000 people who think he’s a God. They think he’s amazing and to switch from being that a star, where everybody will do literally anything for you to being dad, just dad or the guy who takes the trash out for the family that’s a hard transition to make.

And I don’t say this and like “Oh poor Bono or poor me,” but I know what that feels like psychologically to go from whatever hosting a conference with several hundred people, you know, sending an email to a hundred thousand plus people and getting a lot of really nice thank you notes and then going home and seeing the whole other area of your life, the other part of the portfolio where you know, your wife is going “You didn’t take the trash out,” or “You said you’re going was these dishes and you didn’t do that.” Or “Daddy, can we go play soccer?”

There is this really broken part in me that goes “Wait, don’t you know that I’m important?” I’ve realized that’s not a good voice but I like the very healthy part that Bono does which is life he insisted on. It’s a reentry process. So for me in a very small way, this kind of happens on a daily basis. I used to think that it was this ingenious. Now, I just think that it’s part of the job, like you would never say to a football player, “Why don’t just be yourself out there? Why are you wearing all those pads? And why are you screaming at the top of your lungs pumped full of adrenaline?” You don’t have to be that way at the dinner table. These are different roles, right? And you don’t want whatever the quarterback of Tennessee Titans to act the way that he acts at his job at home, at the dinner table.

So there has to be sort of ramp up period of the performance whatever it is that they’re writing the podcast and then there needs to be kind of a ramp down to reenter this other part of your life. For me, it’s not about balance; it’s about integration, so “How do I be the best dad and the best husband that I can be for my family in a way that also contributes and integrates with being the best writer, best writing coach, and teacher that I can be for my readers and my audience.”

For me, there’s a necessary good tension in those activities. And best way that I know, you know, you asked about sort of switching hats, I think it’s best to think of it sort of as “I’m on one planet all day long and then I get my spaceship and I fly home.” And there’s this reentry process that happens. Reentry is not an easy process, you know, you’re re-entery matters, if you do that the wrong angle, you know, we all remembers from Apollo 13, you could burn up. So having the things that I do at the very beginning of the day to ramp up into work mode and then also having activities that I do at the end of the day to ramp down and go into another mode, super important.

Andrea:   Yes, I totally agree. I think especially for people who are thinking a lot. It can be really, really hard to switch that gear. First of all, let me ask, do you ever find yourself in work mode when you’re with your kids totally distracted and then thinking to yourself “Wait a second, I got to get back. I got to come back to this moment.” I mean, that was something I really struggled with as a mom with little kids.

Before I started writing and doing anything else was that I felt so distracted all of the time because I didn’t have an outlet. You know, I wasn’t doing a podcast. I wasn’t writing. I didn’t have that outlet at a different time a day because I was with my kids 24/7 and that’s one of the things, I think maybe especially for moms, that it would be really nice if I would have taken a little bit more time to be able to get out when I needed to get out in a different setting to be able to use my brain in that different way and then come back to my kids where I could focus. Did you ever find that part very difficult?

Jeff Goins: I do. Yes and the best explanation for this was a book that I read, it’s called 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time, by Jeremie Kubicek. The book is just super practical about how to shift up and get into fifth gear which is like a deep, focus, work mode, and then shift down into the more social interactive time and then eventually you know, solo time. It’s the best analogy with anybody struggles with being present wherever you are, I highly recommend the 5Gear by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram. A very short book too.

But here’s the thing like for me, I totally get the outlet thing and my wife is starting a business now, our kids are 5 and 18 months, and she’s always been the more career oriented between the two of us. I never really cared about success you know, We met in college and she’s very career oriented and graduated and had a job lined up because she had already done two or three internships.

I graduated and found a way to live in a house for the summer while I raised money to go, you know, do this music mission trip and skirted around the country playing music for years. So that’s kind of indication of how we do life differently. So we started having kids, you know, she was able to stay home while I was doing the writing stuff. She’s kind of eventually gotten back because I think it was really a good thing for her to have something to do, you know, have an outlet as you said.

For me and maybe this is a thing or maybe not, but for me I realized, I’ve been working all day and I was sort of addicted to that feeling of being important, people wanting things from me. And then I would be in the doldrums of daily life at home where there isn’t an immediate feedback. I write a blog post and people go “Hey good job, you’re smart.” Or you know, even in my job working for nonprofit. I have an idea, I share it with my boss or my team and they go “Good idea.” And your kids are like not impressed with your ideas, right?

Andrea: No.

Jeff Goins: It’s the opposite. It’s your job to say “That’s amazing, great picture! Good job! My son was playing with magnets and he said “Hey, what should I make?” And I said “You should make a shark.” And he made this thing and he’s like “Here look at the shark.” And I was like “Cool!” He goes “Does it really looks like a shark?’ And I could hear like that was an important moment, and he was like “Is it really good?” And I said “Yes, absolutely. It’s amazing, wild and so creative.” That could drain you as a parent.

Here’s the thing that I realized. I’d be sitting on a couch with my kids trying to be present and I would want to check my phone, “Ahh maybe they need something.” And the reality was this, in that moment that time, I felt like work was more interesting than being at home like I was bored and I was finding some way to appease my boredom. Instead of going “Let’s go do something. Let’s make this fun because this is incredible. I need to not be missing because you’re never to be like this again.” Instead I’m going “I’m kind of bored, I wanna get through this so that I’ll go back to doing the things that feel fun to me.”

I realized this is boring because I’m making it boring and I’m maybe a little bit addicted to that feeling of being important. And that book 5 Gears actually helped me and I realized if you’re going like task, task, task, task, all day long and in five minutes later you’re at home. And it’s like relationship, relationship, relationship, relationship; you’re not going to be present there because you haven’t done a good job of ramping up and ramping down from those experiences.

So having some healthy practices to kind of a immersed yourself into whatever your daily activities like even if that’s being a mom, being a dad, going to work, doing whatever; like that’s an activity where you need to be fully present. And then going back home like that’s an activity where you also need to be fully present and thinking of it sort of like entry and reentry that’s really important.

You know, I mentioned Stephen King thing where like his kids walked in where he was working on novel and he stops and he pitched with them and watches a movie. That’s really cool. I tried that, it didn’t work. It was bad for me. It was bad for my kids. It was bad for my wife and my wife, when we can afford it, said “Leave, you need an office.” And I’m really bad at this. I’m easily distracted. I don’t know that would certainly make me feel better that sort of things that I struggled with. I can’t like be in a place where stuff is happening around me and focus.

Andrea: Yes!

Jeff Goins: And so what would happen is I have my office and my home right next to our nursery when our son was a baby, and I’d like creep through there in the middle of the day to get some work done and I’d wake him up. Or I’d be working you know in the office and he’d wake up and I’d be in a podcast interview and something would be going on in the background. I’d be really distracted. Like right now, we’re talking and you know my wife texted me and I was like “Uhh.” OK, you know, it’s very hard for me to focus when other things are going on.

And if you’re at home and my kids would be knocking on the door saying “Daddy,” like they don’t understand I’m working. They just know I was behind that door, right? So what we realized is when, for the most part, like I tried to make myself interrupt the ball and I like to use the flexibility of being self employed. But for the most part when I network, I’m fully present at work because that’s important to me, that’s important to the people that I’m influencing, and it’s also important to our family for financial standpoint and when I’m at home, I’m at home.

When I was working on this thing on the side and it was a bit of a side hassle, I was working early mornings and late at night, because I had to and it was a season and it was necessary. I can’t remember today, six years later, I can’t remember the last time; I opened up my laptop after 5:00 p.m.   And it’s not because I’m a really good guy or because I have great boundaries, it’s because I have said “When I’m work, I’m fully present at work and so I’m all in.” And so at the end of the day there is no more work to do.

I mean, obviously, I could keep going but I’ve done everything that I wanted to do that day because I would force that activity to fit into a certain container, not I think it’s called Parkinson’s law where like whatever amount of time you have, you’ll find work to fill that time.

So I have intentionally decreased the size of the container as an experiment, like “Can I still get the same amount of work done in say 25 hours a week that I was doing in 50 hours a week?” And I found a way to do that, so I go home most days going “Hey, I’m done, I don’t have anything to do. I’d don’t want to be anywhere else but right here. I’m going to be as present as I possibly can be because I gave everything that I had back there, you know, five hours ago.”

That’s been helpful to me. I don’t say it’s perfect. I don’t say that when I’m in a middle of a project or something, my mind doesn’t occasionally wander, but by disciplining myself to be all in right here, right now during the day however much time that is, sometimes it’s four, five, or six hours sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. Because I would do it like I would be destructed. I would work on something on the side, take notes, text, phone calls, whatever and I’d go “What did I do?” Like not much, you know, I let a few people know I was available. I didn’t accomplish much from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

When I stopped doing that and spend time with my family more and it’s still. We would do a lot. We would do a lot of fun things and create a lot of memories and so the return on investment of that time of being fully present with my family was so much greater than kind of being busy and kind of doing some work.

Andrea: Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard of like Todd Herman, he puts on glasses like he doesn’t need glasses, but he puts on glasses when he’s working.

Jeff Goins: I love that.

Andrea: It’s sort of like a uniform or a persona, really like you’re talking about you’re amping up for the performance. I like that. I think that finding tools and finding a system or a set of practices that you do to ramp up and then ramp down. I mean those are so important. I’ve often thought that somebody who is going away to work like when they come home, I live in Nebraska so where I’m at is a pretty small town it’s not very far from work to home.

And I’ve often thought, you know, somebody who is driving home like why not just go around the block two or three more times to sort of just settle in and be prepared when you walk in the door for family instead of still kind of coming down from that work day or whatever. But yeah, I love all that. It’s really interesting. You talked about a “leaky filter” in your book and you’ve mentioned before “Do I have ADHD” or whatever. Have you heard of the concept of sensitivity like neurological sensitivity?

Jeff Goins: Yeah, yeah.

Andrea: Have you heard of the concept of sensitivity? Eileen Aron has done a lot of research on that. I think that helped me to grapple with all that just realizing that I’m just taking in so much information. I’m a sponge and I have to have a way to get that stuff back out again too, which I think, again is that like creative expression. If you’re taking all of this data, this information, all these ideas, and these experiences and you’re making all these connections in your head, especially if you’re like an intuition person like I believed you’re ENTJ, if I remember.

Jeff Goins: Yeah, yeah – good job.

Andrea: I know. I know, I’m totally creepy with stuff like that but that internal intuition were constantly like putting all these ideas together in our heads and making these connections and all that building schemes and then it’s like “I gotto get it out somehow.” I’m kind of interested in hearing your take on this, but one of my struggles and especially I used to be that I felt like I had so many different points of reference in my head. All these different ideas, thoughts, and experiences, they were all connected with this. They’re just all just connected.

My struggle was, and still sometimes is, if I want to take one of those out and talk about it, it is very, very difficult because I pulled it out and outcome with a strings of other things and it’s very difficult for me to separate it from everything else unless I’m in a conversation with somebody else. If I’m in conversation then I can meet them right where they’re at with whatever I got. But if I’m trying to create a speech or write something that is totally self-directed, it’s really hard. Do you have any tips or any thoughts about that experience?

Jeff Goins: Yeah, I do relate the quote, it’s a writing quote about I don’t know anything about something until I read what I say, and I think that’s true. I think calling a verbal processor or kind of works. And there are advantages and disadvantages to that book that I mentioned, The Synergist.

Andrea: Yeah.

Jeff Goins: What you’re describing is the visionary personality. It’s somebody has a high threshold for ambiguity, lots of ideas, you can hold two opposing ideas in tension for as long possible. So you have to absolutely pick one of them. On the services, it can look like not being able to make up your mind or being flaky, and you know, there can be some of it if you’re not harnessing it. But there are some advantages to it where you can literally see solutions that other people can’t see because you can navigate the nuance and seeming contradictions of certain situations.

That’s always been surprising to me. Somebody will present a problem and they go “We don’t know what to do here. I don’t know what to do here.” And I go “Really? Just really this?” “Will that will work.” “Yes it will if you do it like this, this and this.” “What about that, I don’t know about that.” “That’s a detail but it’s okay,” like “It’s not an important one.”

The downside is when I have a conversation with my wife, I’ll see stuff like an argument that I don’t necessarily 100% mean, but I’s how I feel in the moment and she remembers all of it. And 30 minutes later, I’ll finally arrive with a thing and I was trying to say, I was like “Oh you know what, this is how I feel about this and I’m sorry about all the other stuff.” She’s “What do you mean you’re sorry about all that stuff? That hurts.”

Andrea: It still came out.

Jeff Goins: Yes, it still came out and I’m responsible for that and you know navigating that is challenging. But I’ve realized that there are some like this is how I made and I can harness this but there are some inherent advantages to being this way. I mean, that book is really interesting you know. He talks about how visionaries, basically, the traits of visionaries are they waffle from one extreme of commitments to another being super over committed to being way under committed.

And I’ll just go “Yeah, I wanna do that. Why am I doing this? Why am I doing a book signing?” “Well, because three months ago you said you wanted to do a bunch of book signing.” “When did the book came out?” And that’s what I’m excited about. And you get bored with the details. You talk to think and I think that’s an interesting way of thinking about it.

When I sit to think in a room, I kind of come up with an idea but then when I talk it out and I share and I get feedback on it that’s when I’m really forced to figure out how this works. You know visionaries also want to own what they’re working on. They don’t want to pursue somebody else’s vision, they want to do their own even if it’s not as good, the fact that they get to own it is important. They don’t like structures to kind of abhor that. Yeah, it can be a challenge, but I’m realizing there are some advantages.

So it’s like helping people that I worked with and people that love me, you know, I can harness these advantages and disadvantages and ways that better serves them. But I can also communicate with them why I am this way. I do like that concept of the leaky filter. I heard of a researcher named, _____ talked about it. And it is this idea that if you’re in hyper focused mood, you are missing other opportunities that come along. And at the same time, you could be so distracted that all of this input is coming and you’re not filtering it. So what I’m not saying is like being in a state of destruction is a good thing, it’s not. That’s no filter at all. It is good to have a filter for your inputs.

I have realized that having a Facebook app in my phone is mostly a horrible idea because it’s so much input all the time and it’s not good for me, it’s so distracting. I would spend hours on it literally doing nothing, “What am I scrolling to see? I don’t know.” And so you’ve got to have a filter but there has to be ways to penetrate. It has to be leaky and all I know is that every great opportunity that’s come my way, pretty much any significant accomplishment I can think of that was an idea that came to me while I was doing something else.

And so being open to opportunities, especially an entrepreneur is very, very important. But I’d say for any kind of creative, being open to inputs while you’re working on something else is super important. Don’t miss those opportunities, but I also think you’ve got to know what to do with it. So for me, my best ideas for my next book come when I’m working on my current book about at 51% mark of the book, right I’m over halfway through. It’s no longer fun. It’s no longer new, now it’s just work.

I mean, it’s kind of fun but it’s not as fan as it was when it was in the first 10% and this could be anything. Now, this is something. I’ve got a show up every day and now I’ve got a deadline and it’s a commitment. So I will get an idea for my next book at that point. The two extremes that I would do, “OK, forget this. Now, I wanna do this, right?” But you’re already finished anything doing that.

Andrea: Exactly.

Jeff Goins: I’m interested in finishing things including work that’s going to make an impact not just teasing the next idea but never completing anything. The other extreme would be “Nope, put your head down. Forget about everything. Shot the door or close out everything and work on this. And the work itself would suffer as a result because I was completely cutting out inputs and I was losing esteem. I was not being stimulated from other ideas.

So what I will do now is that I’ll be working on the book, I’ll get an idea. I’ll read an article. I’ll kind of tease the tangent for a few minutes and I’ll just write it down. I’ll put it in Evernote, I’ll say “Hey, I love you. I will come back.” And you know probably 90% of the time; the idea is not as good as it felt in the moment when I was simply procrastinating.

But here’s the thing, every single book that I’ve written, as you’ve mentioned I’ve written five, except for the first one obviously, but every single, you know that the next four books that idea came to me while in the middle of another book. So I would have missed that idea if I didn’t have a leaky filter and wasn’t allowing some inputs at that time when I was supposed to be hyper focusing on something. So I just let them in, I write it down, and I set them aside and I say, “I’ll come back to you later.”

Andrea: Yeah, yeah that’s so important. Do you find that it’s just more fun to think and it’s harder to finish the book because now it’s the, I don’t know…

Jeff Goins: I think it’s scary to finish. I mean, yeah it’s fun to dream up on new things but there’s also… I don’t know for me, I like committing to things. It’s easy and I’m happy to do that and then as I’m realizing the cost of that commitment, I’m going…like for example, last week I did a book signing at a local Barnes & Noble and I committed to like three months beforehand because I got a schedule and I’ve got do all that.

I wake up Monday morning and I go “Oh crap, I got a book signing today.” That means I got to get shower before my son gets up. I got to iron my shirt because I got to wear something other than a t-shirt. That’s means, I got to do this and I’ve got to get a lunch at this time and that also means that maybe nobody will show up. And I would have wasted an hour and a half of my time. That just would feel embarrassing to me and the bookstore who ordered a hundreds books. They’re going to be mad at me and I’m not really a real author; and people would probably see this on social media. It’s like I find every reason in the world to hide.

And I’m like “Well, you committed to it so here we go, get up.” So I think like how to do that because I didn’t you know, Barnes & Noble would be calling me saying “Where are you?” And I’m just going to not show up. But even though in the middle of the book projects or any kind of projects where you’re holding yourself accountable, it’s so easy to let that fear of finishing, which I think it starts like those voices get really, really loud of like that 51% mark, you are at the top of the hill and the momentum is taking over. There’s no way to escape and you’re going down the hill now.

But all the fears, like you’re on the roller coaster ride like “Wait a minute, this might right at the top.” What your brain is telling you right now is you’re going to die right now and it’s your own fault. And you’re like “What can I do to get out of here right now?” I think most creative projects are that way. You get to a point and you’re afraid of all the bad things that could happen as a result of finishing it and it’s so much easier if you just start the next thing. Because when you’re starting something, you’re not really thinking about of how you’re going to finish it. It’s just exciting.

It reminds me of that scene in Goodwill Hunting where Matt Damon was talking to Robin Williams as his therapist. And Matt Damon says “Well, I met a girl.” And therapist says “Yeah, how was that? And he says “Oh she’s great. She’s amazing.” You know and they went out one day and everything about this girl was perfect. She was awesome and he got to ask her out again. He was like “I don’t think I wanna see her again.” He was like “Why not?” He goes “Right now this girl is perfect and I don’t want to mess that up.”

You know, it’s this question of when I’m starting something, it feels perfect. It feels flawless to me and I don’t want to mess up that purity. In reality, it’s not perfect. It just feels that way. It’s just an idea like ideas don’t change the world, action does. I become less precious about my ideas over the years because the ideas don’t matter, the execution of the ideas is what actually impacts other people’s lives. But yeah, there’s this feel like I could mess this up, whereas right now, to me, it feels perfect and I just want this feeling of novelty to last because it’s really nice.

And going on a first date with somebody, you know, being head over heels is way different than being in your time of marriage and struggling with time this month to go on a date. But what would you rather have; a memory of a wonderful first date, or a lifelong partner?

Andrea: Totally, yeah. OK, so when you are in that moment of trying to decide, you’re not really trying to decide whether or not you’re going to go to Barnes & Noble, but in a sense, you are. In a sense, you’re facing that fear and whatever and I _____ before you want to outrun fear, move fast that it didn’t catch you.

Jeff Goins: Yeah.

Andrea: But besides to your commitment to the fact that you committed, what is it inside of you that makes you say “No, I’m doing this.”

Jeff Goins: Part of it is the fact that it’s public. So if I don’t do it, I’m going to embarrass myself and that’s a big deal to me. It’s not a big deal to everybody but my personality is an entertainer kind of personality, so I’m very interested in achievement, success, and the appearance of success. So there’s _____, or it would have been better that I just hide and let people think I am just an author than do the book signing and nobody show up.

So part of it makes me do it is, what I’m doing and what I try to do with all my work is I’m practicing in public. This is something I talk about in the book and it’s just an important theme that I tried to embody for the past six years. When you practice in public, you’re doing a couple of things and this is like blogging, if you’re a musician, you could be street performing. It’s simply doing your work in some public setting where a few people will see.

On one hand, if you’re a _____ musician, you don’t need to be opening for _____ right away. But you could be booking shows in local bars where 15 and 20, 30 people might see it. And what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to sort to feedback loops so that you could do your work and immediately get feedback on and then improve on it. So blogging for me was this. I was practicing with folks and speaking engagement services.

Podcasting is probably the hardest for me because there are skills that I want to get better. And yes, I could sit in a room by myself and practice, ensuring questions or practice giving a speech or whatever, but I’m actually not going to get as good at the activity unless I’m doing it in some public venue. Or if I fail, there’s a cost to it. And so I bring more of my A-game partly because I’m a verbal processor. I bring more of my A-game when I have to perform, when I have to do it in public.

So practicing in public, I think makes you better, faster, and it also has its beautiful byproduct where if you do your job well eventually, you’ll build an audience. So you don’t have to worry about getting good and then promoting your work and selling it to an audience because they’ve seen you practicing for the past few years and they know how good you’ve gotten and they’ve been following along cheering you the whole way.

And obviously the risk of that is some people may see you in the middle of that going “Well, you’re not that good.” And “That’s true but I’m going to be better tomorrow.” So I think for me what makes me follow through is there are two things. One, you give your word and this like you got to do this. Like my schedule has gotten kind of crazy and I had an appointment this morning at 9 o’clock but I’m not taking my son to school.

So yesterday, my sister reached out to a friend of mine where I’m scheduled a podcast interview with him and say “Hey, we’re doing a reschedule.” And he texted me like “You’re rescheduling me a day before?” And I was like “No, I can’t do that like I will find a way to be there.” There’s just something in me that if I commit to it, good or bad, right or wrong, I’m going to have to do it even if I don’t want to do it.

The other thing I remind myself is “When you are done with this, you feel good, right?” So every book signing and before book signing I’m like “Why am I doing a book signing. I hate book signing. This is stupid, I hate book signing. I’m never doing this. This is horrible.” And then afterwards, I’m like “This is good. I’m glad, I did this. We should more.” And to be honest podcast every week, every Thursday, I do bunch of interviews and every day I go, “Why am I doing this? This isn’t worth my time.” And afterwards I’d say “Hey, this is so good. I’m so glad I took it.” So I think it’s bad if I committed but also I understand that this is the scariest best way for me to get good at the craft that I’ve chosen.

When I was an actor in college, you know, I was acting in stage plays, you know theater, and you feel fear every time. You feel fear every time you’re performing for a live audience. But we do for weeks on them, night after night after night and we had a saying like “If you weren’t nervous something was going to go wrong, like it is good to have nerves. You’re supposed to have nerves, it gives you an edge. It gives your performance an energy. You didn’t want to be necessarily like throwing up, but you wanted to be nervous enough that you’re going to be focused and sharp.

So when I think about this, when I feel fear and anxiety before a book signing and interview, a speaking engagement, any public thing, a book launch, anything that I’m going to do where if it doesn’t go up people going to see it, I want to get out of them. I want to run. I’m afraid and I began to recognize fear, not as a signal that I should stop doing this work but as a sign that I’m on a right road headed to that familiar destination. I’m like “Remember this success that you had?” “Yup!” “Remember feeling fear right before it happened?” “Oh yeah.” And now I feel good and I go “Hey, there you are.” You know, it’s a friend now. It doesn’t look like an enemy.”

Andrea: Sure! I hesitate to do this but I want press in a little bit further on this because I know that you’re a person of faith and I have this feeling that it goes deeper than that, that you not only are wanting to succeed that the fears going to help you succeed at what you’re doing. It kind of get you to this point where you have to be willing to sacrifice the fact that you might fail in front of people in order to serve people.

Jeff Goins: Hmm

Andrea: In other words, you love people more than you fear them.

Jeff Goins: Yeah. I mean, I think I heard _____ say this one and I thought this is out. He was talking about marketing and he was talking about appealing to people’s motives. And as a marketer, you need not to be appealing to people with no blur motives and you know we were talking about nonprofits and his work for nonprofits like “We want to serve the greater good. We want to be at this mission. We want to impact people.” Those are good things but you assume that people are giving to a nonprofit because they want to be a part of that vision.

And sometimes the answer is like they want to give $30 a month to an orphan in Africa because it makes them feel a little bit less guilty about their short circumstances, which sounds horrible, right? And somebody was like “Really?” People aren’t good or not bad, people are mixed, and I think that’s true and I hope that doesn’t sound too cynical. I don’t mean for it to sound cynical, I just know myself and I know that in any situation there’s that angel on the shoulder, the devil on the shoulder.

So yeah, I go into situations and, you know, I do love people. I like being around people but I also like the feeling that I get to help somebody, like I like that feeling. And sometimes it’s an unhealthy thing; it’s a _____ of anything where I need to feel useful. And I’ve realized that in friendships, I start to feel disconnected from a friend or a peer when I feel like I’m no longer able to help them. Like now we’re just friends and healing message of the three is that you are loved of who you are and not what you do.

And I’m like “Yeah, but I should do something, right?” “You need something from me.” It’s kind of like broken unhealthy desire to perform and continue to prove your worth. I think because you’re brought up the faith thing, I love people because I know that I’m loved by God. And I also know that I didn’t really do anything to deserve that love and it’s a humbling feeling. When you are loved in a pure way by anyone or anything and you let yourself feel that love, the next response is to share that love. Not just reciprocate it and love that person back, but to spread the gift.

I mean that’s how I feel. That’s why people get married and the love each other well and then they’re like “We should have kids because we want this to grow.” Yeah, I would say, beyond the success and beyond that, the thing that I have been grappling with over the past couple of years is what does it mean to be successful? And I think this is an idea that we get wrong, particularly we think about influence like legacy is what people say about you after you’re gone.

This is such like an egotistic, like you’re still worried about what would people say about me and I don’t think that what’s true legacy is. I think true legacy is not about people caring on your work in your name or your name being on a building or something or people talking about you. I think true legacy is that the investments that you made in another people over the course of your lifetime then taking that and doing something better and more significant than you could ever do.

When I was in college, I spent two and a half years trying to create and honor code in our college, which is basically a code of conduct regulated by other students, where you know somebody’s cheating or there’s a process for how this is going to be dealt with. I got probably a hundred drafts of this 20-page document doing again and again to get everybody to like it.

And in the last day of school, basically, I am brought this before the faculty and they approved it and then I realized, all they’ve done is approve the document. Now, we have to carry this out. I can’t do the work, like I’m done. I have to leave. And so I had to pass ton on this other guy name Josh who had to actually implement these things and that was just idea. Years later I came back to my old college and I saw this thing called the “Honor Code” in every single classroom, and I was both appealing because I was a part of that and also humbling because it wasn’t just me.

And so to me legacy is about being faithful to whatever gifts you’ve been given, sharing those, investing those in the people’s lives and then knowing that they’re going to carry out that work in ways that will shadow your work. Legacy is not just about what you do, right? It’s about what you leave behind, those can either be at offices, buildings that eventually fall apart and rot and whatever or they can be seeds. I think legacy is about investing in people so that things can grow.

You know, in the Bible, Jesus tells His disciples; He says “You will do even greater things than I will do.” I was like “This is like Jesus.” They’re going to do better things that I will do? I think that’s really interesting and important and it’s true that they did. And that’s what good, healthy leadership and legacy looks like I think. It’s about investing another people, and not because you want them to say nice things about you, but because you love people, hopefully because you know that you yourself are loved and you want to invest on the projects and ideas of other people so that those things can continue without you.

By the way when I went back to college, I saw the “honor code” my name isn’t on there. There’s not like a history book that says Jeff Goins, none of that. If anything, a lot of the credit went to the guy who actually carried it out. And I just realized like in all of our striving to do great things, we all die with a little bit of the music still left in us like that’s by design. We all die right on the edge of the promise land with one more step to take, one more project to do. I think there’s this idea that we’ll be on our deathbeds going “I did all the things that I wanted to do.” That’s not the way this works.

If you did all the things that you want to do, you were thinking too small. You need to have such a big idea, such a big dream. Your calling needs to be something that requires the work of other people generations of other people that carry out. So by the time this thing is done, people have forgotten your name. And if you’re chasing something like that then you’re a part of something really big and important and purposeful.

Andrea: Amen! Alright, thank you so much, Jeff. I could sit here and chat with you all day. But you’ve been so generous with your time.   Thank you so much for sharing your insights and your experience that the influencer listening. I appreciate all that you do.

Jeff Goins: You bet, totally my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Andrea. I love your questions. You’re great on that.

Andrea: Thank you! Well, I hope that you enjoyed that as much as I did. Obviously, I really enjoy just digging in to how people think and the way that they are and what makes them tick and how to navigate this creative life which is why I’m so drawn to just podcast the Portfolio Life. I will link to that in the show notes along with some of the books that he mentioned. Most certainly, above all, his book; Real Artists don’t Starve, Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age.

So pick up your copy of Real Artists don’t Starve. Check out the show notes or list of other resources that we mentioned in the podcast and make your voice matter more!

 

END

 

Do you want to make a great first impression? Know what you’re going to say before someone asks, “What do you do?” Sign up for the Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5 Day Challenge today. (October 23-27, 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

How a Killer Elevator Pitch Could Change Everything

Voice Studio 26

4 years ago I was introduced to the concept of an “elevator pitch.” It’s a 20-30 second statement about who you are, what you offer and who you serve. The funny part was that I wrote about 15 elevator pitches for different aspects of who I am and what I could do. The hard part was that I didn’t want to be put into a box because I knew I had a lot to offer, and yet by not making one clear pitch, I was saying that I really didn’t know who I was or what I was all about. How can other people know if they want to work with me if I can’t say what I do or who I am?

A KILLER elevator pitch that intrigues and invites others to get to know you and your business better, but it also helps YOU be able to figure out who you say that you are. What if your answer could be so clear, succinct and powerfully authentic that you magnetize your ideal partners, clients and collaborators? Well, I have something that could help!

Listen to this short episode and then join me for the Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5-Day Challenge. I’ll be offering tips and feedback on your own elevator pitch in a Facebook group for 5 days. By the end of the week you’ll have a better idea of who you say that you are so you can attract the right people to you and your work.

Mentioned in this episode

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Are you ready to create and deliver your Killer Elevator Pitch? I’m excited to offer a FREE “Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5-Day Challenge,”October 23-27th, 2017. In just a few minutes a day we’ll take your boring answer to “what do you do?” to a wow-worthy status. I’ll be in the Facebook group every day to guide you through the process and offer strategic feedback, specific to YOU, so by the end of the week, you’ll be ready to rock your next cocktail party.

Don’t miss this free and easy opportunity to take your self-awareness and personal brand to a whole new level! Sign up today.

 

3 Reasons a Killer Elevator Pitch Will Make You More Confident

Networking is hard enough as it is. One night you finally get the courage to go to cocktail hour at the conference you’ve been attending for two days. You throw on the outfit that makes you look powerful and interesting. You stand tall in front of the mirror and give yourself a wink, just before leaving your room. You even find someone to meet you there so it’s not so awkward. But just as you press “L” on the elevator wall, your heart sinks, “My elevator pitch sucks! What am I supposed to say I do?!”

Do you find it difficult to answer the “what do you do” question? Most entrepreneurs and multi-passionate people do. They might have an answer that gets them by, but it doesn’t really represent who they are and what they have to offer. In fact, sometimes that “pitch” that’s supposed to draw people in, pushes people away.

Have you settled for a simple statement about your current job, which gives no real hint of who you really are and what you really have to offer? Isn’t it frustrating to be reduced to your job title when you know you are so much more? Sharing your boring response over and over can be crushing.

But what if you could have a KILLER elevator pitch that intrigues and invites others to get to know you and your business better? What if your answer could be so clear, succinct and powerfully authentic that you magnetize your ideal partners, clients and collaborators?

If you had a killer elevator pitch and you knew just how to deliver it, you’d have a built in engine that builds momentum in your conversations from the get-go. Here are three reasons why:

1. When you know who you are and what you have to bring to the table, you don’t have to worry about looking weak. Your weaknesses will fade into the background as you draw attention to the magnitude of your strengths.

2. Your killer elevator pitch isn’t about getting yourself to FIT IN to a company, industry or relationship. It’s about clearly stating who you are. When you share it, you’ll attract those who want you and what you have to offer like a magnet.

3. When you deliver a killer elevator pitch in YOUR style, over time you’ll develop more and more confidence in your “voice,” making you more likely to speak up clearly when it’s your time to do so.

Are you ready to create and deliver your Killer Elevator Pitch? I’m excited to offer a FREE “Nail Your Elevator Pitch 5-Day Challenge,” October 23-27th, 2017. In just a few minutes a day we’ll take your boring answer to “what do you do?” to a wow-worthy status. I’ll be in the Facebook group every day to guide you through the process and offer strategic feedback, specific to YOU, so by the end of the week, you’ll be ready to rock your next cocktail party.

Don’t miss this free and easy opportunity to take your self-awareness and personal brand to a whole new level! Sign up today.

 

 

How to Monetize Your Expertise for a Portfolio Career

Episode 25 with Dorie Clark on Personal Branding

Dorie Clark is an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine. A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, the New York Times described her as an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.” A frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, she consults and speaks for clients including Google, Microsoft, and the World Bank. You can download her free Entrepreneurial You self-assessment workbook and learn more at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur.

Download your free and simple personal brand strategy guide called

“Focus Your Brand DIY.”

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Transcript

Andrea: So I want to tell you something before we really get going here to kind of set you and the listeners up why I was so excited to have you on the Voice of Influence podcast. Toward the beginning of this year, in 2017, I was working and developing my podcast concept and I was really struggling to decide on a title, a focus, an audience, and all of that. So that’s when I stumbled on an article written by Dorie Clark in Forbes, and it really spoke to me. And so that day, the very day that I saw that, I actually went to your website. I dove in. I downloaded your 40-page workbook and then when I got your audio version of Stand Out and then spent the rest of the day walking and listening to that book.

Dorie Clark: Wow!

Andrea: Yeah, I really dove in. But I remember watching the tiles on the floor of the mall while I was walking because it was cold. So I remember looking at these tiles and just thinking to myself “What am I gonna do?” And I’m eating up your content and then all of a sudden, you said something that really resonated with me. You said that I could land two different areas of expertise together to come up with a really good standout kind of concept and that’s when it hit me. And so three months later, I started this Voice of Influence podcast combining my expertise as a vocal coach like an actual singing coach and teacher with this idea of communication and personal branding. So I just thank you very much for your influence on the Voice of Influence podcast itself.

Dorie Clark: That is super meta! I really appreciate you sharing that story. That’s awesome! I love your background too because I often will tell people how important it is to get vocal training and you know, it’s so hard and so frustrating sometimes. We all know how important oral communication is as a means of branding yourself and literally getting your ideas. And there are people who just cannot seem to be able to raise their voice to a sufficient level to even be heard in meetings. It’s like the very minimum that a person needs to have this is just literally to be heard and they have not got the diaphragm, breathing thing down. And they’re like “Well, I can’t just do it?” And I’m like “No, you can and you need to freakin’ do something about it now.”

Andrea: Yes, yes! There’s a great clip from Sister Act II or even Sister Act I, it isn’t like the best movie to talk about. But it was such a great clip and there was this kid who was hardly singing at all and then she kind of helped him find his voice and then all of a sudden he just started bursting out and found it. I think that there is something really unique and interesting about each voice.

And every time I hear somebody in particular singing, let’s say, but also somebody that may have expertise or message and they’re playing it down or they have this inner projection of their voice instead of really projecting their voice, it just kills me. And I’m like “I hear what could be but you’re just not quite there yet.” I think that’s one of the reasons why I resonate so much with you and your work because I think you really are helping people to find that.

Dorie Clark: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. That’s awesome and definitely it sounds like you’re doing that as well.

Andrea: OK, so before we dive into the book and all that other stuff, I would like to ask you about you. Why don’t you tell us and tell the influencer listening what is it that you do and how did you kind of get to where you are right now?

Dorie Clark: Well, to make a somewhat elaborate story short, these days, I mostly write business books and then travel around and speak and consult and coach around them. And so I started my entrepreneurial career doing marketing strategy consulting mostly for companies. But my work has really shifted over throughout the years to working primarily with individual professionals helping them establish their brand as thought leaders in the market place.

And so my newest book, Entrepreneurial You, is in many ways what I view is the culmination of that which is once you have kind of repositioned yourself into where you want to be, once you have established yourself as being an expert in your field, how do you then make money from it? How do you make it sustainable? How do you actually turn it into a real legitimate career? And so that is what I explored in an Entrepreneurial You.

Andrea: Yeah and you’ve written a trilogy of books now about creating, developing, monetizing a personal brand in this expertise. Why don’t you set us up with what those other books are and what they are about?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, definitely! So my first book is called Reinventing You. It’s kind of the first step, because for a lot of people you’re not necessarily in the place that you want to be professionally. You may have a different aspiration whether that is getting yourself promoted to a different level or maybe changed in companies, maybe changed in careers altogether. And you have to work and try to reposition yourself strategically. So Reinventing You is about how to work that process to get where you want to go.

And then the next step of course is once you’re in the vicinity, once you’re kind of in the right place, you need to really get known in your field. You have to figure out how to establish yourself as being one of the very best in your company or in your business. That is what enables you to come in premium pricing. That’s what enables people to seek you out instead of having to constantly be knocking on people’s doors and asking for business literally or metaphorically, and so that’s what I covered in my second book Stand Out. And then as I mentioned Entrepreneurial You is my newest and that is really how to monetize your expertise and create multiple income streams off your business.

Andrea: And when it comes to personal branding, do you also talk about people who are in a company, maybe they already have a job but they still need to have a personal brand?

Dorie Clark: Yeah for sure. I think this is a really important area because it’s oftentimes a neglected one. People sometimes assumed that if they are not themselves entrepreneurs, they don’t have to worry about personal branding because their company brand will just carry them. And they’re maybe true up to a certain point but it’s getting less and less true, number one – because you’re going to be dealing with clients, with even coworkers who are all around the world. They’re not necessarily going to know you just from being around the office with you.

So they will get to know you by reputation before they ever get to know you as an individual. And so getting cognizant of what your reputation is and whether it reflects what you wanted to be as an important step. The other thing of course, the other unfortunate reality is a lot of times, jobs don’t last forever. And so if you’re relying on your company to do all the thinking about your brand and just handle that for you that may turn out to unfortunately be a little bit misguided at a certain point.

Andrea: I feel like having a personal brand and understanding kind of that going to that process really helps people to kind of define who they are and what they want to be about. I mean, it seems to me that it’s about more than other people’s perception is also about what you want to express and what you want like a purpose, your purpose and your direction you want to take in life. I mean, have you found that with the clients that you worked with and the people that have been impacted by your books?

Dorie Clark: Yeah for sure. I mean, you know the background that I come out of actually is not a business background. I was a philosophy major as an undergrad and my graduate work was in theology. So I’m very preoccupied with questions of meaning and how people figure out who they are and who they want to be in the world, so personal brand is really just the business application of that.

Andrea: Yeah I just think it’s really…it definitely helped me because I’m I’ve also always just been consumed with my own why’s and what I’m doing and what direction going to. When I started to dive into of what is my personal brand, I don’t know if there’s something really intentional about that that made it more of a priority and gave me a clear picture and gave me a clear direction I think.

Dorie Clark: Yeah that’s awesome. That’s all it should be.

Andrea: Yeah. OK what drives you now with your business? What’s your why?

Dorie Clark: Ha ha! We’re just cutting right to the big picture here.

Andrea: Sorry. Well, we’re just talking about meaning, right?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, exactly. Let’s bring it, yeah.

Andrea: We dive. We dive in the Voice of Influence podcast. We dive in!

Dorie Clark: Yeah, we do. Awesome! You know the really what is what is exciting for me is the fact that you know, I think we all know people who are, you know, they’re good at what they do, right? They’re talented. They have so many to contribute. They’re smart and yet, they are not necessarily succeeding the way that they should. And I would argue that in a lot of ways the reason that that is the case is that in the modern era, the ways that people make money are actually very different.

They’ve changed substantially over the past two decades and this is this is what I talked about in Entrepreneurial You but there has been a shift from making money from something directly from something to making money because of something. And the clearest example that I can say of that is that I started my career as a journalist and that’s a pretty simple business model, right? You’re a journalist so you write articles and then you get paid for the articles, boom! That’s the business model that anyone can understand.

But nowadays, the tricky part is that there’s hardly any journalists left, you know, 40% of journalist have lost their jobs in the United States over the past 15 years. I mean, it’s just this wholesale decimation and the market constantly has gotten worse and so publications are paying you a little of a wage to write anything. If you were continuing to try to do the same business model like “Oh, I’ll write an article, I’ll get paid for it.” You’d be in a really bad shape because they would say “No, do it for free.” Or “No, do it for $20.” And you can’t make a living that way.

However, if you are a little bit crafty, if you decide to make money because of something rather than from something, you can actually do much better. And so in my case, I actually still spend a substantial amount of my time writing articles, you know, doing literally the same thing that I started my career doing, except now I don’t get paid for them. But instead of that being a tragedy, that’s actually an opportunity because I have found other ways to monetize around them through speaking and consulting and things like that.

And I am now able to make a lot more money than I would have had I nearly been paid a couple of hundred bucks for an article. So it’s just helping people understand that shift which is not necessarily intuitive. But once you are able to crack the code, it opens up a lot of possibilities and enables good people to really get their voice heard effectively.

Andrea: Yeah, I love in a prologue when you talked about your why for the book and you said “You can be talented and well-regarded but unless you’re very deliberate about the choices you make, you may end up earning little for your efforts.” And then you went on to say “Learning to make money from your expertise is just a different skill set.” I think that that what you offer through this book is so much to the person who does have expertise. But yeah, they feel like a fool when it comes to trying to make money with it other than in an entrepreneurial sense.

Dorie Clark: Yes, yes exactly. It’s really an entirely different skill set and I think a lot of people just don’t realize how different it is and then they get upset at themselves for not necessarily being able to crack the code. They don’t realize that it’s not something you necessarily would know intuitively. You have to study it. You have to learn about it and that’s really what I try to do with Entrepreneurial You is to create a kind of roadmap for people to follow to make that process easier.

Andrea: Definitely! You know, I could have started to deep dive into all of this space a few years ago or just like a couple of years ago. And I’ve heard about most of the people that you wrote about in your book and most of the ways of monetizing but it took a lot of effort from you to even come across these people and those ideas. So the fact that you put them all in one spot is incredibly valuable to somebody like me or somebody who’s just starting out, either one whether we’ve been in it for a while or we’re just starting out to be able to see a big picture of the landscape of what we could do.

And I think that that is also, I don’t know, it’s just really valuable I think to the person that’s struggling. OK, so in chapter I, you set up the reader to realize how important it is to have more than one income stream and you likened it to having a diversified portfolio and I love this comparison. So why don’t you just explain to us what is a portfolio career?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. So a portfolio career is really just kind of a way of thinking about making money from doing a variety of different things. So instead of the kind of old school, here’s a job, this is what you do, period, a portfolio career is somebody who has multiple things going on. I mean, in my case, my version of the portfolio career is making money through writing plus doing business school teaching plus consulting plus coaching plus doing online courses, etc, etc.

But even if someone has a fulltime day job, they can still begin to create a portfolio career for themselves. It’s a thing that I would encourage heartily because it provides more security for yourself and it could just be a thing that you do once a week or once a month. You know, it’s taking on if you have some expertise, taking on a coaching client on the side or maybe it starting to investigate something that’s of interest to you whether that’s crafting on Etsy, or you know tinkering around and trying to figure out how to develop an iPhone app. There’s a lot of different ways you can do that but if you start to be able to create multiple income stream for yourself based on your expertise, it just insulates you again to risk a little bit more and it open you up to new opportunities.

Andrea: Do you want to list some of them?

Dorie Clark: Sure! Yeah, yeah absolutely!

Andrea: So what are some of those income streams that you write about in a book?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. So in writing Entrepreneurial You, of course there’s an infinite number of potential income streams that the people could do so. I certainly didn’t cover them all but I wanted to provide a sense for people about possibilities that they could undertake that don’t require a lot of capital especially. You know, these are not possibilities where you need to go get a loan from the bank or you have to put your life savings into it. These are all things that you can start doing, basically today or tomorrow snap your fingers and if you decide that you want to learn about it and approach it earnestly, you can dive in and do it.

So some examples would be; coaching, consulting, or doing public speaking. You could start to organize events, you know, you won’t necessarily say “Oh yeah immediately rent a stadium and do a 5000-person event.” But you know, for instance last year for the first time, I pulled together a 10-person Mastermind event and I did it in the conference room in my building and you know, it was low expenses and very low key but high value for the participants and something that brought me some money as well. So that was a really great example and a really great possibility.

If they’re interested in online thing, they could start creating an online community or they could for instance work to monetize a podcast like this or a blog. So there’s a wide range of options of what might be of interest to people.

Andrea: Yeah. There was one in particular that really caught my attention and I actually wrote in a column, brilliant, because I’ve heard most people but I hadn’t heard about the Mastermind Talks and that was such a compelling story. Would you mind sharing that because I think that sometimes we just need to think outside the box and realize that you just never know it could be possible?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, definitely. This is a pretty clever example of somebody who really took what might seem to be an impossible situation and turned it into something pretty cool. So there’s a guy names Jason Gaignard who lives in Canada. And a few years ago, Tim Ferriss, the well-known author was releasing his book. I think it was the 4-Hour Chef. Anyway, he was looking to get bulk sales for the book so that it could hit the best seller list. And he put out an email that if someone bought 4000 copies of his book that he would do two free speaking engagements for that person. The cost for this is about $80,000 – very, very expensive.

Jason, number one did not have $80,000 and number two, he didn’t have any idea of where he would have Tim Ferriss speak. It’s not like you run a company and is like “Oh yeah, you know, we have a conference next year, you could speak at our conference.” He had no idea but he saw that opportunity and he said “You know what, this is a great opportunity. I don’t even know what I’m gonna do with it but I can do something amazing with it.”

So he said yes to it. He had about two days to get the money. So hustled around to his friends and finally had a wealthy friend that agreed to loan him the money and then he was about trying to figure out what the heck he would do with it. And so he ultimately stumbled on was that he would create a conference which he ultimately called Mastermind Talks and he realized that he couldn’t afford to have lots of speakers. I mean, it practically broken him just to have Tim Ferris, but he realized Tim Ferris is a popular guy. He’s a guy that a lot of people want to hang out with.

And so he thought “Wait a minute, if I have Tim Ferris, I could probably get lots of other people for free just because they want to hang out with Tim Ferris.” And so he essentially used Tim Ferris as bait and he invited all of Tim Ferris’ friends and they’re like “Yeah sure, I’ll come.” He did like a competition. So it wasn’t totally free, there was a chance. There’s a chance, you know, with all these people who were very expensive speakers that if they were voted the number #1 speaker that they would win I think $30,000. But the vast majority of course didn’t go home with that and ended up speaking for free.

But it was a very clever way of solving a difficult problem. You know, you might say “Well, I don’t have any money for speakers; therefore, I can’t possibly have an event. But Jason looked at those constraints and came up with something very different that no one else would have.

Andrea: Hmm and he didn’t just try to pack a stadium with that either.

Dorie Clark: Yeah that’s right. That was the other really interesting. Instead of going for the maximum quantity of people, he decided that he wanted it to have a very intimate event, which is you know frankly a kind of risky move because it’s always a lot easier to get you know, a bunch of people who pay a $100 or $500 or something as compared to people who would put down $300, $4000, or $5000. But he limited the event so that it became very kind of elite and exclusive feeling and he did phone interviews with the people. He said he returned about $40,000 worth of people’s admission fees because after talking to them on the phone, he decided they weren’t a fit. So he just sent it back.

But he limited it up to a 150 people who would attend this conference and tried to create a stellar experience for everyone. And he told me that that his goal with it is that if you really good job the first time and you record it, you get testimonials so that other people can see how great it is, he said at that point, you really never have to market it again because it essentially markets itself. And so he has repeated the event multiple times, I think they’re on maybe the fourth, the fifth year now and he continues to keep it a very small. He’s constantly reinventing it, doing it in a new location every year but he was really able to create a very powerful brand out of this.

Andrea:   So what would takeaways be for us when we’re thinking about, you know, we can’t think out of the box. But then we hear story like this “Whew, wait a second, there’s so much opportunities out there. It’s limitless.” What kinds of suggestions do you have for us when we’re thinking and trying to be innovative or thinking outside the box in terms of how to monetize something or how to make money with our expertise then?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. Well, I do some teaching around innovation and one of the common frames that they use in terms of how to teach people to think in an innovative fashion is to reframe “we can’t” to “we can if.” And I think that that’s a really useful framing because it is true. Under the present circumstances and under the present assumptions, it maybe a 100% accurate that you cannot do a certain thing but that just kind of lead to passivity. It’s like “Okay, that’s the reality.”

But the truth is people can change their reality all the time and what’s the more interesting question to ask is “we can if” that means what circumstances would have to be changed in order for this to be possible. And if you can figure out which variables need to be tweaked, some of them may prove to be impossible; others may prove to be far more malleable than you might imagine.

And so in the case of Jason, “Well you know we can’t have a conference because can’t afford speakers.” “Well, okay, we can have topnotch speakers if we can find a way other than money to make it valuable for them to come.” What might be more valuable to them than money? “Oh, they all wanna be BFF’s with Tim Ferris. If we can give them Tim Ferris then maybe that would be worth the $10,000 or, $20,000 or $30,000 that they would normally get to them.”

Andrea: So good! I love that advice and one of the income streams that you talked about is this JV partnerships. I think it’s a really interesting concepts and I know that you talked about your own experience with sharing other people’s products with your audience. I’ve been thinking about people who have a lot of charisma, people who may have a lot of connections, but they’re not necessarily wanting to write a book or share their expertise per se, but yet it seems that they would be able to monetize their connections and their gifts in this way by using that JV partnership concept. So would you mind sharing a little bit more about?

Dorie Clark: Yeah absolutely! So JV of course stands for “joint venture” and it’s basically just a wave that you can earn a certain commission by referring people to a product or service that somebody buys. It’s really kind of a win-win situation because when it’s done right, you are sending people to a person that you like and respect. That you would want to recommend regardless and they are getting a client that they otherwise would not have gotten.

And so as a result, this is especially prominent in digital products because of course there’s no marginal cost increase in selling additional ones. If I have an online course, it’s not like it costs me more effort for having a 101 customers as opposed to a 100, because I’ve already made the digital course. So therefore, you can often have a really generous affiliate commissions, usually anywhere from 30% to 50%. It really is great because it’s a new customer for me. It’s money for you and we’re supporting each other.

So the real trick of course though is making sure that it really is symbiotic that you’re promoting somebody that you do in fact respect. And once you make that introduction to your clients, you know that person will treat them right. That they have high-quality products, that the service experience will be good, and that they’re not going bombard somebody with 110,000 emails a day, etc, etc. There’s a lot of adding that goes into the process but if you’re comfortable with that and you can do that, it really can become positive.

Andrea: Yeah, and I would say it’s a probably a win-win. Really, because it’s a win for the client or customer as well because they were introduced to something that they can really benefit from.

Dorie Clark: Yeah, it’s true. I mean definitely hear it from folks all the time that thanked me for introducing them to some author that they were not familiar with before.

Andrea: Uh-hmm, I can definitely attest to that for sure. OK so Entrepreneurial You is not just a list of ideas, and not just a list of stories that back up those ideas. But you also get really practical and you share things specific things like how much to charge for things. Like ideas about where the market is right now. I was thinking in particular about speaking because I’ve gotten that question before too, like what do I charge or how do I know how much to charge?

And I’ve wondered that at times when I was starting too and so I’ve really appreciate that first of all. I just want people to know that they’re going to get a lot more than just some ideas but some really…you got really practical. But why was that important for you to include? How did you decide that you were not going to share ideas but you’re going to get really specific?

Dorie Clark: Well, you know part the process for me of writing Entrepreneurial You really sprang from conversations that I had in the course of developing an online learning program that I worked on last year called the Recognized Expert course. I have built up this really lovely community about a 150 people at this point who have been through the course. In many ways, it’s kind of a learning lab for me because the things that they want to know, the things that they’re curious about are things that I realized a lot of people are.

And so oftentimes, it’s you know some initial questions that might be basic but are really not basic in the sense that they’re not talked about a lot, like how much do you charge for things. There’s a lot of secrecy. I mean, this is something that I wanted to really breakdown in the course of writing Entrepreneurial You. There’s a lot of secrecy in our culture about money and about you know how do you earn money? And how much do you earn and how much do you ask for something?

And I really came to realize that the more things are not talked about, the more it perpetuates inequality because people just do not have good information. And when they don’t have good information, they don’t know what the market value of something is and they’re not able to ask for what they really deserve. And so I figured, the more we can shine some daylight on it, the better off more people will be.

Andrea: Thank you. I think that’s just really helpful. It’s really helpful for me and it’s helpful for other people that are going to read this and say, “Oh man, finally somebody is just saying what they’re charging or saying what I could do.” And that just empowering for sure because I think we stumble on that concept or the actual naming of a price. And it becomes this block that I don’t even know what I can do and so I don’t even know if I can offer it you know. So that’s great.

Dorie Clark: Yeah, thank you. I’m so glad they resonated.

Andrea: Yeah. I also really appreciated your “try this” section of the book where you really breakdown the concepts into these actionable steps for the reader. So thank you for that as well. And I’m also curious, how much of your writing process was sort of designated to coming with these action steps. Did you do it as you went? I mean, as a fellow author, I’m curious. Did you do it as you went or did you do it when you’re done and how much work was that?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. So creating the “try this” section was certainly an important part of the book for me. It was something that I did while I was writing the chapters and it’s something that I became really aware of with my first book, Reinventing You. When I created the first draft of Reinventing You, I did not have a “try this” section and my editor said to me “Hey, we think you should do this you know with sort of pointers for people.” And I was skeptical I’m like “Oh, I don’t know. Do we really need that? Would anybody really use that?” But you know, it was my first book so I did it because they told me to.

And then like in the years since that book has come out, I heard from so many people that that was the part they liked and appreciated the most was having this kind of “try this” bullet points where it was very specific suggestions about what they could do. That I realized “Oh this is not some afterthought. This is actually one of the most important pieces and I just wasn’t clawed into it.” So I took it really seriously in my next book Stand out and then again with Entrepreneurial You. I decided “OK, if people are really using this, I’m gonna put a lot of effort into trying to make them good and make them useful.”

And in fact, I ended up creating a free giveaway which is this 88-question Entrepreneurial You Self-Assessment, which takes all of the questions or almost all of the questions you know the ones that are at the back of each section and chapter and put it into a PDF document where there’s line and space for people to write things out. So you can really use it like a workbook and a way to take these ideas and questions and apply them to your own life. So if any listeners who are interested in that, they can download it for free at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur

Andrea: Yes, and we’ll definitely include that the show notes because that’s something like I said before that was helpful to me from Stand Out, so yeah. OK, so now I’ve got another question. This isn’t necessarily about Entrepreneurial You; this is going to go back to something that I heard you talked about. I’m not sure where it was that I heard you talked about this. But it really made an impact on me and I think that there are people in the audience who are really message-driven. They might be really talented but they’re not really sure how to choose their topic or how to specialize.

And you talked about one time the difference between, I think it was the difference between being a specialist and being a generalist. Would you explain what the difference is there and I think you said that you’re a generalist, so I would love to hear more about what that looks like for somebody who’s trying to figure this out for themselves?

Dorie Clark: Yeah, definitely. I think there’s a lot of cultural pressure in the business world for people to specialize. That’s a kind of standard advice that you almost always get is “Oh, well you need to take a specialty. You’re not just a marketing consultant, you’re a nonprofit social media marketing consultant,” you know or something like that. On one end, that is not a bad advice because if you are very specialized, it becomes immediately clear who your customers are and by extension where you can go to find them.

It’s a lot easier, you say “Oh I’m trying to do social media for nonprofit as you probably go to this and this nonprofit conference and this social media conference and I’ll be good.”

So it is easier in many ways. But the truth is there are some people, and I count myself among them, that just don’t like to operate that way. You know, maybe it’s making by far for ourselves, I don’t know but I never wanted to artificially choose something and then just specialize in that. And so for that situation what I did instead is I essentially decided “Alright, I’m gonna let the market dictate this.”

I think this is actually a pretty good way of doing it because for anything the market almost always knows better than we do about what would be desirable. And so my version was I essentially created a lot of small bets, a lot of sort of small experiments. In my case, these were blog posts, and I would just write about a variety of different topics and see what seem to resonate with people, what’s getting the most views, what’s getting the most shares, or what’s getting the most engagements.

And it happened that an early post that I wrote for the Harvard Business Review called How To Reinvent Your Personal Brand was one that did seem to get a lot of traction and a lot of engagement and HBR noticed and they asked me to expand it into a magazine article and then eventually that turned into my first book, Reinventing You. But it was not something that I consciously picked in a top down fashion. I never said “Oh I’m gonna write a book about reinvention. That’s my strategy.” It was something that arose organically from being one of dozens of different things that I tried.

Andrea: Yeah. I think that advice was so helpful to me I think in particular. But I think it’s a really important thing for anybody to do when they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to be all about, what their focus is, or at least what their brand is and what they’re showing to the world. Because they’re going to end up still bringing all their other expertise into whatever they end up doing, but yeah, I really appreciated that designation. I felt affinity with you in that and it made me feel less alone and less crazy for not knowing what my specialty was going to be, and not wanting to niche down.

Dorie Clark: That’s awesome!

Andrea: Well, Dorie, I’m so grateful to you for your time here today and for this book and for these trilogy of books that you have offered the world. We’ve already mentioned your website but when does Entrepreneurial You come out? I think by the time I publish this episode, it will be out and so where should people going to find it?

Dorie Clark: Yeah. Thank you so much, Andrea. So the new book is Entrepreneurial You. It is officially released October 3rd. People can grab that on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you know many different independent bookstores. And if they want to get that Entrepreneurial You Self-Assessment that I mentioned for free, they can get that workbook at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur. So I look forward to having a chance to be in touch with folks.

Andrea: Yeah. I just recommend everybody if you haven’t read the other two books just buy all three at the same time and systematically go through them because that’s an education that’s worth the small price of three books.

Dorie Clark: Excellent point, thank you.

Andrea: Way more than that, yes. Well, thank you so much, Dorie, for your voice of influence on the world and for your time with us today.

Dorie Clark: That’s great! Thanks a lot Andrea!

 

END

Embracing Social Media for Your Multi-Passionate Voice

Episode 17 with Tammy Cannon of Cannon Social Media

Tammy Cannon is a social media marketer and staff writer for Social Media Examiner. She helps busy creative professionals leverage Facebook Ads, Pinterest, Instagram and SEO for more traffic, more sales, and more time to do what they love.

Mentioned in this episode:

 

FOR YOU!

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Transcript

Hey, hey! It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.   Today, I have Tammy Cannon with me of Cannon Social Media. And Tammy is somebody that I’ve known for a few months. I’ve been paying attention to her, watching what she’s doing with her social media Facebook if I’m inside of that and learning more from Tammy. She has helped me some with my own Facebook ads and things that just consulting along the lines of Facebook and social media. She’s also really creative and deep, so I’m really thrilled to be introducing you to Tammy Cannon.

Andrea: Tammy, it’s great to have you on the Voice of Influence podcast!

Tammy Cannon: Thank you, Andrea what a really nice intro. I appreciate that. It’s been fun getting to know you better as well and I’m just happy to talk with you today.

Andrea: Well, Tammy you have more than one business or brand, so I would love for you to explain to us just a little bit or maybe give us a summary of what you do.

Tammy Cannon: Yes, it’s kind of funny, I’ve been calling myself a multi-passionate-preneur (MPP), you know a lot of us that have businesses and maybe yourself have a lot other interests as well. And so for the past five years, I have been managing social media for businesses in my community here in Seattle and it got to be so hectic and stressful because social media takes up a lot of time. And so when you’ve got 10 or 20 customers at a time, and all of my clients were on a monthly kind of like consulting schedule, and so that’s a lot of work for one person. I never really contracted out. I never hired anybody. I didn’t want be an employer, so how to make a decision on what I wanted to do?

So two years ago now already, I can’t believe it, I made a decision to stop managing and just create online courses for people that I was managing for. I wanted them to have skills to go on and manage their own and so it worked out really well. So now, I create online course, teaching social media to the creative professionals that I kind of ended up working with, so that’s kind of where I’m at now.

Now my creative side…if you have other interest, it’s really hard to keep them under wraps. And so now that I know kind of more about the online world, it’s like “Oh you can really do so much with your hobbies as well.” And so now that I have system and strategy for Cannon Social Media, I’m applying that to some of my creative stuff that I love to do.

So I’m doing printables for social media, for professionals that they can do on Etsy and download just templates and all kinds of different things. And I also have a creative market shop for style stock photos because that was a need in my industry as well, finding images and people just struggling to figure out “Oh no, what am I gonna post today,” and struggling to find an image for something and so now, I’ve got a style stock membership you can go in, it’s all themed.

So if you are a social media manager yourself, you could go in and say, “Oh I have a garden clients,” and you could click on the gardening bundle and download images for Royalty-free for your clients. It was a need that I was like “Oh, I love photography and taking pictures so I can actually do this and serve my community as well.” So that’s what I’m doing now.

Andrea: What kind of need is there at this point in time for people that are doing what you were doing before you started this two years ago, so that the managing of the social media, what do you see is the need there? Is that something worth going into?

Tammy Cannon: Oh my goodness! It’s a huge need for sure because with the clients that I had, had a lot of small businesses but they were like restaurants and you know, multimillion dollar businesses but they were run by the owner who’s at work every day, you know, managing and doing things. They just don’t have time to promote their businesses on social medial because it can take 20 minutes to craft a really thoughtful Instagram post.

Andrea: Yeah, don’t I know it?

Tammy Cannon: Yeah, you got to research the hashtags, you got to get the just images right. You need to figure out what you want people to do if they click to read your comments, the call-to-action all that stuff. And a lot of business owners just don’t have that strategy to know what to do. So it’s very scattered and very fragmented, it’s not a branded Instagram feed and so there really is a need for professionals to go in and clean things up and make everything _____ consistent.

Andrea: I’m usually waiting till the end to ask people more about their offering and things, but this just really comes to mind. It makes me wonder if some of the courses that you offer, the classes and things like that would be really good for small business owners to have somebody in there company even to do or to take and learn how to do social media part of the time that they’re at work.

Tammy Cannon: I know and that’s one of the courses that I’m thinking about for 2018 is a course for social media managers because there is a lot to learn. But if people want to jump into the free resources that I have and just kind of dig around; I have a lot of things like profitability calculators for Facebook ads if people are managing ads for businesses. I’ve got an ideal client worksheets and all kinds of stuff in there that I think people could get some value for. And easiest way to access that is to text the number 44222 with the phrase all one word freeresource and they’ll just get right in.

Andrea: So what exactly got you going into social media marketing in the first place? What other kinds of things have you done in the past? I remember that you had a food blog in the past.

Tammy Cannon: Oh yes! I feel like it’s been so long. So way, way back I graduated from Washington State University with a marketing degree. So I’ve always been sort of in that realm, you know, sales and marketing and traveling around the globe. So when social media came out, this new kind of marketing and this just obviously intriguing to me as just like that next step that you are learning in school and college at the time.

So I just kind of immersed myself in Twitter. That was my very first kind of…well, I did have a Facebook page, a Facebook personal profile, you know, everybody was doing anything much with that at the time. But then Twitter was really coming on strong and I just love the access, how easy it was to use, how quick it was, how clever you had to be because you only had 140 characters at the time. So I actually jumped on there and at the same time I was taking pictures and doing some food photography and decided I would I start a blog.

So I did that in 2010 and what I found was a really neat community in the Seattle area of food bloggers. It’s too tight-knit down there and I’m about 30 minutes north of Seattle but it was just such a cool time to meet all these people. Well, after a white, a few of us decided to meet in person and back then, it was called tweetup, meetup and so we actually meet…the person I was talking with, we met at her house and then I think it ended up being like 10 of us. And we laugh about it now because it was such a new thing. I’m like “Oh my gosh, I’m gonna go and meet these people in person. This is gonna be so crazy.”

It ended up being so neat and I’m still friends with these people now. It’s such a neat thing. And so what I decided to do after food blogging was in my community, I live in a small town called Snohomish, Washington and it’s the Antique Capital of Northwest and we have a lot of boutiques, a lot of little restaurants sits along the river. It’s such a clean little small town USA place.

And one day, I was walking and noticed that one of the stores in my community had closed. And then I thought, “Oh my goodness, I wonder if I could help businesses in my community use social media,” not that I was going to save the business but it was like I just put them into together and I thought, “I wonder if I can do this for small businesses and be of value.” And so I just kind of stepped out into my community and at that time, there was an organization called the 360Projects. I think it was called 360 or something like that.

Basically, you go and you pick three bricks and mortar shops in your town and you spend like 50 bucks a month at each place and that would help support them. If everybody did that, that would ensure your small business community stayed healthy, the taxes stayed in your community and all that and it just really resonated with me. So there was an event and the founder of that organization came to speak to the community and I happen to be there and so did the executive director for economics in our city.

And I just so happen to start talking to her and she said “We need to start blogging as a city,” and that was my first customer. So it was just how it worked out and just kind of fall into my lap and then there, I round up getting a lot of clients throughout my time. I’ve served over a 100 in the last five years helping manage social media. So it was a lot of fun.

Andrea: So when you were the food blog, was there any income involved with that for you because I know some food bloggers and that could be a struggle.

Tammy Cannon: No, I was not monetizing at the time. I didn’t know how. I just knew that I loved writing. I loved cooking so very much and I just had a blast doing it. I did get hired to do a couple of blog post for other people and also having people pay for my photos, so just little side stuff that comes about when you’re consistent. But I just didn’t really follow through with it and then I have the idea of just going into business for social media and managing for businesses. So I didn’t really did anything with that long term. I wish I had but I can always go back to that but that will be something next.

Andrea: So what is it like to being a multi-passionate-preneur? I think that most of the people listening are really interested in many different things and it’s hard to choose. Do you recommend that people pick one thing for a while or do you say just go for it all or what are some of the struggles you face as multi-passsionate-preneur and how do you make it work?

Tammy Cannon: It’s really interesting. I mean, you do have to pick one thing you know. I feel like the social media marketing that was something that I was already making money at. I was already doing it. I already had leverage there and so I think once you get to that point then you can kind of start creating on the side. Now, before I was earning money with the creative stuff, I really just kind of put stuff together, got an Etsy shop didn’t really know about Etsy SEO at the time. And so you know, I think most people kind of do that sort of thing, they don’t really know how to put the passion behind what you’re excited to do and so it didn’t really go anywhere then they’re so excited.

I think the struggle is you get so excited about all these different things and once I learned something in my social media business that I see I can apply to my creative business, and I get so excited and gung-ho but then you burn out so quickly. Then I have to go “Alright, I’ll just put that aside for now.” So for instance, two years ago, I started a third business. It’s still on the back burner. It’s still there kind of _____. I haven’t had a chance to do anything with it because I’ve been so busy with the social medial, but I love gardening and so I have theflirtyherb Instagram.

And so yeah, I was starting all of these. I had three things going and I was gung-ho, so excited. My creative business was kind of ticking off. I had Sue B. Zimmerman mentioned me in her Instagram. She did a whole Instagram series on CreativeLive. So she mentioned my business and shared about it and so that was really fun but then it was like I have to fall back on what I was doing at the time, which was managing. So I think it’s really difficult…you can’t do everything but if you’re OK with being patient and seeing things for the long term, if you can appreciate that then it’s easier.

So theflirtyherb really I post very inconsistently. I’m not really too worried about it and in 2018 or even ’19, I’m thinking so far ahead that I’ll be in a position to really get back where we have a whole 30-day healthy eating challenge, I’ve got it all on add-ons. People do sign up and I’ve got figure out how to turn that into master class. As much as I’m learning with Cannon Social Media, I know that I’ll just be able to apply that but it will just be awhile and I’m OK with that.

Andrea: Yeah. It sounds like a lot of spinning plates. If you could just get one plate to spin on its own then you could go to the next one.

Tammy Cannon: Definitely.

Andrea: And keep moving and adding. OK, so here’s a really weird question maybe, I do a lot of work with people trying to figure out their personal brands, trying to figure out what their main thing is, how to tie it all together and keep everything aligned. So this is interesting to me because you have all these different things going and you can’t do it all at the same time, which I understand too. Have you ever thought about turning any of it into just a personal like a personal brand that would somehow align these things, or do you feel like they’re just two separate to ever bring it all together and under Tammy Cannon for example?

Tammy Cannon: Yeah it’s a good question because I’ve seen the trend of people doing that. So someone that comes to mind is Melyssa Griffin, but she started out as the Nectar Collective and that’s kind of how I found here and then she decided to brand everything under her name. I didn’t see value in doing that moving ahead. I think for me, I think in segments so I have to divide everything out myself.

So Cannon Social Media, I have Emma Fox Creative and then I have The Flirty Herb and so when I’m focusing to any of those, in my mind I can keep track of like “OK, I need to stay focus, this is the garden business. This is the cooking business.” And so whatever that ends being, I know that_____ and I’m focused. If I put it all under my name, I don’t know if that would make sense. I could definitely do Cannon Social Media and Emma Fox but I don’t know. For now, I just feel like for all I can do to manage everything is to _____ in a compartment.

Andrea: Yes I’m sure, it’s an interesting idea. So that’s the reason why I’m curious if you’ve ever considered it and I really love finding those connections. It’s like a game for me or something but I also like the idea that we are a whole person. Yes, we do have different sides to ourselves and gifts and interest but somehow, they are aligned in us. So whether they are aligned under your name in marketing or not, it doesn’t really probably matter because we are still _____.

Tammy Cannon: Yeah, yeah!

Andrea: Have you always been really creative and did you always feel free to be able to just go after these creative endeavors or was there ever anything that was sort of making you feel like you couldn’t do that or shouldn’t do that? Have you always just been creative like that?

Tammy Cannon: Yeah, I remember in sixth grade, I was always pretty good at writing. I wish I could find it now. In sixth grade, I remember those so well. We had an assignment and we had to write about a crayon color and so I wrote this whole thing about the color blue and just went on and on and so my teacher liked it so much. She gave it to the principal and they read it to, you know, we had an assembly. So I was really proud of myself and that little written piece of work but that was kind of when I knew I can really describe things and really have empathy for a story.

And so I’ve always been just curious about people and curious about things and feelings. So I’ve always been able to kind of explore that and also not be afraid to fail. I also paint with acrylic paints. Yesterday, I was painting something and I was “Oh my goodness, what is wrong with me.” Some days are good and some days aren’t good. It’s like taking photographs. I mean, you take a hundred and maybe five turn out, but you have to be willing to fail and just jump on whatever it is because you’ll never know. You’ll really spend time doing it and make the effort. People get worried it’s not perfect so then you don’t get anything done. I’m definitely willing to just get it out there and make progress and not worry about things being perfect.

Andrea: OK, so Tammy, I know that you have three teenagers at home, is that right?

Tammy Cannon: Yeah, three.

Andrea: That’s amazing! First of all I wanted to ask, do you do what you do like fulltime? Do you find that your job in your business comes in conflict with your schedule with your kids or how does that work for you?

Tammy Cannon: Now, my kids are 13, 14, and 15. I have two in high school and one left in middle school next year and so they’re gone during the day. And so from September to June basically, I really work fulltime at this business and get everything done what I need to do while they’re gone. They get home between 2:30 and 3 o’ clock in the afternoon and so my work day ends then as soon as they get home. But not every time, if I’m creating a courses or something like that, I’ll say you know, “I’m just recording another video.”

So they know the deal and they know in my office that I’m working so they know those boundaries are there and I try to respect our schedules. So when they’re home, I try as much as possible just to be off the phone. I try my business to be automated so that from the time they get out of school in June, like this is their first week out for the summer, I don’t really do a lot until they go back in September.

I have everything set up on automatic. I have my teachable school and so all of my courses are there. So I continue to, you know, every week, I blog if not through. I’m supposed to blog every week. I’ve been off my schedule without, but my goal is to blog every week and release that on Thursday and then I’ve been really consistent with my podcast that comes out every Thursday as well, and so I can batch that stuff ahead a time.

Andrea: What do you mean by batch?

Tammy Cannon: For instance, we’re talking in the summer of 2017, I have an Instagram challenge coming up for the month of July. And so what I’m going to do is to record all four weeks of my podcast that’s going to be part of the challenge. So even if you’re not literally in the challenge and opted in to, you’ll get the emails that I’m going to send out and still be able to listen to the podcast. So I’ll record all four of those probably this week and then I’ll just batch them into my host and schedule them for release in the future.

So they’ll automatically go out and that’s something that I did for myself that I really had to learn to do. As much as I can, put things on auto batch things so that their schedule and then I don’t have to really babysit anything. We’re going to be going to Europe this summer but I’ll know that my business is kind of going on its own and I don’t have to deal much for the summer. So I just have a set up that way for my schedule so that I can enjoy my kids and you know all the fun stuff that happens when the sun is out in Seattle. We take it out because we haven’t seen it for nine months so it’s really, really hard to get myself set up so that I can do that.

Andrea: That’s great! I am definitely working towards that being able to batch and everything but that was one of my goals for the summer too is just be able to focus more on my kids and things but there’s still these little things that come up. So when your kids are home then at night, are you on social media?

Tammy Cannon: Oh good question, so you mean like posting to Instagram and Twitter and all that stuff?

Andrea: Yeah

Tammy Cannon: So yes, throughout the day what I have discovered is that there are little pocket of time where I always have my phone because I do manage Facebook ads and so I’ll take one or two clients a month and manage. And so once I get everything set up, I do have to check in on ads, make sure they’re within the parameters that I’ve set, you know per lead, price per lead. I want to make sure all that’s good to go. But I do have pockets of time where I’ll grab my phone and post on Instagram and I really had to plan both ahead of time as well so I’ll know what my next line Instagram post going to be.

And so I schedule those in grum.co management scheduler that you can use for Instagram. I’m not very good at this all the time but my goal is to have at least the next nine I know what theme is going to be. I’ll know what the call to action is and so that my Instagram is more branded. So it makes it easy when they are home. All I have to do is just post it and have all the hashtags in my notes app so I’ll just copy those and paste them over and the comments. And I’ve gotten better just to be able to do that in a few minutes other than 20 minutes. It works out but yeah and then I try to spend time with my husband too and not have any work in.

So this summer as an example, I will work in the morning from 6:00 to 10:00 because they’re sleeping pretty much and just kind of starting the day rolling around at 8:00 or 9:00 and they’re not really ready to do much until 10:00 or 11:00 on lazy summer days. So I’m going to use that time but it’s just going to be my time to get as much done in the morning so that I can be with them in the afternoon and use those pockets of time to tweet and do Instagram and stuff like that.

Andrea: Alright, so this is what I’m really interested in right now, the fact that you are so knowledgeable about social media has to be helpful as a parent of teens.

Tammy Cannon: Oh my goodness! I can’t tell you how glad I am to have the knowledge but it’s like a double edge sore because I know too much almost. The fine line that I have to walk where I’m not invading their privacy too much as a teen, I mean I can’t even imagine of that stuff that my parents could have found out about you know you don’t want. You don’t want your kid doing those things but you also know that they are going to make bad decisions and then some of them are natural consequence types of things where they learn on their own.

But then there are other things where your parents need to step in and so sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to draw that line. I have an example and this was years ago. I’ll just say one of them fifth or sixth grade and we were our way to school. At the time, I had to drive them to their elementary school and I noticed that one of my old phones was missing. So long story short, I said something about “Well, you know, I guess I can just put the GPS on and figure out where the phone is and then I’ll know where it is.” Well that scared sad child so then throw the phone in the back seat and so therefore didn’t get in trouble for anything.

But stuff like that you know then they’re like “Oh they can track this phone.” “Oh no, I better not follow through with this bad decision.” And so we laugh about it now but it’s like “OK, there’s a lot to know.” Another one of my kids, I found out they had posted on Instagram after I had taken their phone away and so I’m thinking to myself “How are they doing it. They have to have a device.” So I go and asked and the child says “Oh I just used the computer.” And I’m like “No, you can’t upload photos direct from my computer.

So just little things like that that most parents maybe wouldn’t have known a few years ago, I was able to be like “No, that’s not true.” Then they’re like “Oh, I’m _____.” So in that regard, it’s dead but you just got train them to hope they make better decisions and not be dishonest and move forward. But yeah, there is a fine line especially as they get older and they way the use social media is so very different from the way we use it. I don’t even know all the ins and outs. It really bothers me how they do it differently. I try to ask them questions like “What is streaking? What’s being left unread?” There are so many little things in their world that we just have no idea about. It’s pretty insane.

Andrea: Right. Do you have any insights into why or how kids use it differently than adults?

Tammy Cannon: Yeah. So for Instagram as an example, most teenagers are going to have main Instagram account but they also have what they call as spam account. The spam account is a secondary account which only has their good friends, or friends of friends and they compose anything they want to any type of image whatever it might be and it’s only going to those people.

And by the way, all the teens have private accounts but yet they’ve get thousands of followers because it’s just a word of mouth, oh it’s my friend’s, cousin’s, brother and their friends and friends Instagram but everybody’s private. So it’s so different than how we use it as adults and how we use it for business.

Andrea: I know that you have an episode on your podcast recently where you talk about teens and what it means that streaking on Snapchat and things like this, so I will definitely include that in the show notes because I think that any parent would be really appreciate understanding some of those things a little bit better.

OK, so Tammy, now there are some people listening, the Influencers that’s listening might be somebody that has a speaking business for a while or they’re considering breaking out on their own to do counseling or something along these lines and have this business but they don’t really love the idea of social media and aren’t exactly sure about to do with social media. Maybe they’re even starting a blog but they’re not sure what to do with social media, do you have any suggestions for somebody in that situation or maybe it depends on the person but where they should get started. What are the first steps?

Tammy Cannon: I think for anyone that’s looking into social media or maybe even blogging or doing a video blog, I think the first step is to figure out why you want to do it. I remember when I first started managing and social media was new, everyone was just like “OK, we got to jump on and get on there,” but there’s no strategy and there’s no consistency a lot of the time and that’s because there isn’t a good reason why. They haven’t figured it out so for instance if you’re a restaurant, you do want people coming to spend money at your restaurant and so that’s kind of the end goal. And then working backwards from there, you know what kind of things, what entice people to come in to the restaurant.

And so for any business, I think you need to really figure out, do you want to get paid to be a speaker so therefore you got to go on social media and maybe you get advice on speaking or do behind the scenes of how you prepare for a speech. And all those can be done on a website with a blog post, with Instagram images even through Twitter. So I think if you have a strategy, know what you want people to do then it makes it a lot easier to get started.

And to get started, I think it’s important to think in terms of traffic to your website because your website is the hub of everything. That’s where people can get to know you a little bit more, connect with you, work with you, and definitely have a work with your page. And then a weekly content whether that’s a blog or video or tutorial that can post on your website and share it via social media that’s going to drive traffic back to your website because I think the end goals is always to make some form of money. If you’re in business to make money and so if you think how am I making money with this business and then work backwards in giving people what they want, giving them value so that they will want to purchase something from you in the end.

Andrea: When I first started blogging it was basically three years ago and the thing to do with that time was to get on Facebook and create a Facebook page. And so that’s what I did, I created a Facebook page and invited people to like it and it was pretty simple for me to spend maybe $5 every time I posted something on my blog to get it to reach thousands of people, a couple of thousands of people maybe which was awesome. And I’ve certainly noticed that now to get the same amount of people to see that post, it would take maybe $30.

So when it’s worth it and when it’s not worth it to spend money? How do you make that decision? Do you have any suggestions about that on whether or not to just post or create ads or something like that for somebody that maybe just have some information for their friends to share? Or how do you figure out whether or not it’s worth it based on the product that you’re selling and things like that? Do you have my any facts on that?

Tammy Cannon: Yeah. It’s a whole big process and so my strategy with the whole thing is to come up with a logical sequence or like a path to purchase or a lot of people call them _____. What’s the _____, what’s the strategy, or what’s the path to purchase? And certainly one of them is if you’re writing blog post to value, you can boost that post. You know, they always want you to send money advertising on Facebook, Facebook loves our money so there’s always a chance to do that and now with boosted post, you can actually tag what type of person, you know what their interest are.

So it’s gotten a lot better. It had a bad rap for a while just posting a post but if you want to do that just to create brand awareness, just to get people over to your website, or to read your content, the best way to go about that is use that as a lead generation opportunity. So have a call-to-action inside your blog post whether that’s a free worksheet that helps bring more value to the blog post or maybe it’s a tutorial video that they can sign up to watch, or maybe you have a direct to sales inside of your blog post that sends them to a online course or something. Have something that you want them to do once they get there that is on the path to purchase.

And so the very first thing that you will get is an email. That’s definitely where to begin, start building your email list because not everyone is ready to purchase from you but if your articles are helpful and they’ll find themselves going back to your website like “Oh that’s a really great content. I wonder what they’ve got going on this week.” And so then you’ve got a situation where you’ve done such a good job with your content that people are seeking you out and you don’t have to pay for that and you’re getting leads for zero dollars. That’s certainly I think; boosting a post, running a conversion ad, figuring out, or branding pages there are so much to it. They’re very basics if you are blogging and do have a lot about of value to share and you’re really thinking about your ideal customer then certainly get them over to your website, drive the traffic with a boosted post if you want but have something for them to do when they get there.

Andrea: That’s great! OK, so I know that that’s pretty complicated for people that have maybe just started, but you need to understand at the same time that it is a little complicated and that getting your message out there, there’s many different ways to a message out into the world. And if you are thinking that you would like to do it online which is a really wise move in my opinion then it does require learning new things and Tammy is a great person to learn those things from when it comes to your social media strategy and things like that.

So I definitely want to encourage you to check out Tammy and the things that she has to offer, which I asked her about just a minute and then also if you’re really looking for that why, your why and your purpose and you’re trying to figure out what is the direction that I want with this message of mine then I can help you with that. You will find links to both what I offer and what Tammy offers in the show notes and I hope that you’ll check that out because I think we both have some freebies too. So Tammy why don’t you tell us about where people can find you and what you have to offer.

Tammy Cannon: Sure! So I’ve got the Free Resource Library and the easiest way to access that is the number that I gave earlier, so texting the number 44222 and then just type in all one word freeresource and then you have an opportunity to opt in and get inside the library. I have lots of goodies and fun stuff. You can also access, if you want to check out my classes, I’ve got some fun summer time challenges coming up that people can take a look out at Pinterest and Instagram and so you can access that. I have a bit.ly/cannoncourses and they can check everything out there too.

Andrea:   Awesome!   Well, Tammy, thank you so much for taking time to share with us your expertise and your story and I did like the extra a little bit about teenagers that was helpful.

Tammy Cannon: Oh thank you for having me. I appreciate it, Andrea, this has been fun.

Andrea: Definitely check out her stuff and I look forward to seeing you more on Facebook and Instagram. We do have a Facebook group for the Voice of Influence at this time, so go to Voice of Influence community. It’s a Facebook group so you go ahead and you just ask to join and we’ll have a chat. So thank you so much and use social media to your benefit and go make your voice matter more.

 

END

How to Navigate Judgment When You Have a Platform

Voice Studio 16

In this Voice Studio episode, we look back at something discussed in episode 16 with Megan Swanson. Pageant women literally pay to be judged for all they are, but so do any of us who take the risk of sharing our voice with others. So how do we navigate that judgment? I offer two important things to consider in this episode. Taking in criticism from people who want to help you get better is much different than being pushed off course by someone who is reacting out of their own fear.

Mentioned in this episode

  • Episode 16: Your Mess Can Become Your Message

Listen & Subscribe Below, on iTunes or Stitcher

 

Step Out from the Shadows and Into Your Calling

Episode 05 with Trivinia Barber of PriorityVA

Trivinia is the founder of Priority VA – a boutique virtual assistant agency that matches elite level online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly-skilled assistants who “get” the online space and come prepared to deliver massive ROI right out of the gate.

Mentioned in this episode:

Listen here, on Stitcher, iTunes. If you can’t find us where you listen to podcasts, let us know and we’ll take care of it if we can!

Transcript

(approximate transcript)

Trivinia is the founder of Priority VA – a boutique virtual assistant agency that matches elite level online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly-skilled assistants who “get” the online space and come prepared to deliver massive ROI right out of the gate.

 

Andrea: Trivinia, it’s so great to have you here.

Trivinia: Oh Andrea, it’s my pleasure! I’m so glad to get to connect with you here today.

Andrea: Yeah this is fun. So I met Trivinia on an Amy Porterfield webinar actually for B-School, which I ended up signing up for that day and Trivinia was in the chat box. And I just remember, Trivinia, I was just so impressed by your combination of competence and confidence, but you delivered it in such a relational way. And that just really continued throughout my time like my experience with you through that program or all of our online stuff.

And then when Todd Herman launched his 90-Dar Year program which we’ll get into later, and I Trivinia, was an affiliate. And I signed up through here because number one – I could tell that she really embodied the transformation that was promised in the program and was so enthusiastic about it. And number two – One of the bonuses was a call with Trivinia and I really want to get to know about her, and I’m so glad I did. So Trivinia, it’s so fun to have you here.

Trivinia: Thanks so much and you know I think it’s really interesting that I have been able to build some really amazing relationships with people that all started in a chat box in webinars. It’s just so interesting because I think that sometimes people feel like their personality can really come through in online or a chat box, or in these tiny little micro-interactions that we have with people. But I feel like I’ve been able to prove a lot of people wrong in that area that we can absolutely build relationships in this little micro-moment together, so thank you so much for that.

Andrea: Yeah, I love that and it’s like this little snippet but it’s not fake, you know. Whatever, it’s just like a little window into your personality and as you get to build more, it’s a neat thing to be able to see so yeah.

Okay, so Trivinia, you took the…I just wanting to say your name all the time, I think. It’s such a fun name. This year, I invited my guests to take the Fascinate Assessment because it’s fun and I’m curious about when we’re talking about Voice or Voice of Influence that sort of things. And so Trivinia took it and she came out as the maestro which is power plus prestige.

Now, if you don’t know anything about this, go ahead and go back and listen to Episode #1, where we discussed the whole thing if you’re interested in learning more about the Fascinate Assessment. But anyway, the point is that power plus prestige – this is a really leadership-driven, high standard kind of voice that Trivinia carries. And Trivinia, I’m curious, was this something that you’ve seen yourself kind of always have, or this is something that has developed throughout time?

Trivinia: Yeah, that’s such a good question. I feel like when I was younger, when I was in let’s just say maybe middle school and high school, I always wanted to be the leader. I didn’t want to be the follower. I was a captain of my swim team, little things like that you know. I wanted to be the best and I wanted to be in charge of things for sure.

But I think that what I found as I’ve gotten older, especially as I started my own business is that I typically ended up taking the backseat to people that were stronger than me and I would be the assistant. I started my career really as a virtual assistant, and so I was always behind the scenes sort of making things happen that I wasn’t really in the spotlight.

And as I’ve grown my business, what I realized is that, I do have a voice. I do have something to say and I want to be heard and that’s been probably the biggest change that I’ve really sort of stepped out from behind the shadows of other people that I’ve served and developed my own voice and really stepped in to that power and that prestige personality type.

But it has been not necessarily something that I’ve chased after but something that I’ve had to have revealed to me by other people that I really admired and say like “No, Trivinia, you do have something to say and there’s a platform. There’s room up here on the stage for you too.”

Andrea: Wow! What it was like for you then to have these people speak into you like that?

Trivinia: Well, I didn’t believe it. I think a lot of people can really struggle with taking compliments, you know very well. I mean, I know sometimes people even say like “Oh I like your outfit.” And we’ll downplay, right like “Oh I got it on sale at Target.” We just always want to just give an excuse or downplay whatever it is.

And I think the same thing was true when it came to my business acumen. People would make comments and say “Oh well you know, I’ve got some great mentors and I always just deflect to giving someone else the credit and so it was hard for me to accept that. But then I started to see that it wasn’t just people that I was paying, you know. Maybe it wasn’t something they were saying because I was in their course. I was paying to be a part of the Mastermind. It was peers also started to tell me that as well.

I started to really look a long hard at myself and be like “Well, do you want a voice? Do you really want the stage, because it’s kind of up here and if you step up on it, I think that there will be people to listen to you?” And that’s really weird and it’s just came down me making a decision that I wanted to kind of step out of the shadows.

Andrea: Wow, yeah that’s such a powerful image of looking yourself in the mirror like that. So do you think that you’re – as you’ve taken steps and where you’re at in your business right now and how do you think that your voice has sort of developed?

Trivinia: It’s such a great question. I remember I used to call my business, ‘my baby business’ and then I would say “Oh it’s toddler now.” And I think were like on full and grown-up mode now. I recently start doing all client works. I used to really have this safety net of client work where I was literally still being a virtual assistant to people and that provided me a stable steady income.

And I used to think like “Well, if all that fails, at least my mortgage is paid.” And I’ve recently just about doing all that and I’m just fulltime running my own business right now. And so I’m a real entrepreneur now, right? There’s nothing else to fall back on. It’s sink or swim with making this business successful.

And so we’re starting year four. We wrapped up 2016 at about $1.5 million in revenue, which is just insane for me to think. And we’re going to look toward potentially in doubling that this year and just continuing to transcale and hone or our systems and reach for people. So I feel like we’re definitely at that stage where it’s like “We can make this thing go as big as we want to.”

And that’s terrifying and when I say ‘we’, I say my husband and I because he actually quit his cushy corporate job with amazing benefits a couple of years ago to join me in my business. And so we are fulltime doing this thing now, and it’s scary but really exciting to think about the lives that we can impact really as a result of me just deciding to step fully into this. It blows my mind, Andrea!

Andrea: Oh my goodness! Yes that’s so exciting and I just have been watching this from afar sort of. And seeing all the steps that you’re taking that you mentioned on social media or what not, and you know really investing yourself, investing in your business and in your people, how does the investment that you’re putting into your business? I mean, how do you look at that and say “What is the ROI on this? How is our return on investment?” Why is it worth spending so much and putting so much into your business instead of just trying to get more clients and match more VA’s with clients?

Trivinia: Yeah that’s a really good question because I think that just like clients come to us and they look at using virtual support as an expense, I have to always flip those tables for them and help them understand that it’s really an investment in themselves and in their business when they come to us and really decide to put their money where their mouth is and get some help where they need it.

So I think the same thing is true for me. I can talk about all these great ideas that I have in my head but unless I have someone to help me strategize and figure out how to actually execute them, then I’m just talking too right? And so one of my biggest challenges is I can sit across a table from you Andrea and I can brainstorm a ton of ideas about how we can grow and scale your business, or maybe how can get you more exposure and things like that and really support you.

But when it comes to my own business, I kind of have these blinders on and I just don’t see possibilities. So for me, it is well worth the investment for me to bring alongside people like Todd Herman or Dan Martell and invest in their leadership. I do it in Mastermind. It was very expensive but in the three months that I’ve been in that Mastermind, I’ve had ideas or discussions with other people or with the leader of Mastermind that can potentially 10x my business.

And that just from a conversation at a dinner table after a Mastermind meeting and that’s the kind of things that I think people will often put in the back burner and say like “Oh yeah, I’d love to join the Mastermind,” or “I’d love to maybe sign up for a course or whatever but I need to do it when, right?”   We only say “We’ll get there some other time.”

But for me, I’m more adventurous I guess or more of a risk taker. I’d rather invest the money right now, get innermost conversations with people at a further down the road than me and take one idea that they have and scale this business more rapidly that I could by myself and try to figure it all out. So it’s definitely worth it but it’s scary. When I was paying the invoice for this most recent Mastermind that I joined, I was literally shaking because I was like “I can’t believe I’m joining this. What if it doesn’t work?”

But I did it anyway because I feel like if I’m going to grow my business and I’m going to surround myself with people that are doing amazing things in their own kind of niches that they’re in then I can’t like keep dreaming about joining in. I got to start doing it. You know, Todd Herman talks about like, “I don’t care about your potential; I care about your performance.”

And so for me, it really is putting money where my mouth is because I’m a kind of girl that if I pay for it, I’m all in because I’m going to milk every single dime of that experience. So whether that’s an online course that I’ve taken like 90-Day Year or a Mastermind that I paid 40 grand for, you know I’m all in because I want to recoup that investment multiple times over.

Andrea: Right and I don’t know that everybody really sees how that could actually become that big event, an actual investment that’s actually turning into revenue. But one of the things that I gathered from and got from you and Todd Herman and that experience with the 90-Day Year was that I needed to be spending more of my own time working on my business, not just in my business that sort of thing.

And that when we’re doing that, it’s worth more that that’s it’s actually worth more for me to spend time strategizing I’m going to execute that I’m going to have eventually, execute on that of course but to spend that time on it. So I think that most people, and I say most people just because I think that’s what I experienced, but I think a lot of us, a lot of people who maybe do have a Voice of Influence, Influencers at home, maybe it’s easy to get stuck in that mindset where you’re thinking that this is the way life is.

And I can use my voice right where I’m at and I’m not going to try to push out the boundaries at all. But no matter whether you’re an entrepreneur or whatever you are, if you take a step back and look at life and say “Well, how do I want to take that time away investing yourself or howcould I put my voice out there in a bigger way like Trivinia is. I mean, that’s pretty huge for anybody I think, not just entrepreneurs.

Trivinia: Yeah. It’s interesting because I had a lot of people telling me like you should create a course on how to become a virtual assistant. It’s kind of everybody tells me all these different ways that could diversify my revenue and all these things but it wasn’t until I paid to join this Mastermind and these courses. And I was encouraged to again kind of take that look back who I want to be and how I want to use my influence.

And I really realized and was like “No, I don’t want to create a course like that. That’s not anything that I have any desire to do. Now, do I want to speak on stages, sure! Do I want to write books, absolutely! Those are the ways that I want to be able to influence a community, but I don’t want to have online courses that’s not something that I want. I don’t want to teach VA’s how to be VA. I would rather teach CEOs how to be CEOs instead you know.

But I was very close to going down a path that ultimately would not have left me fulfilled just because people were telling me I should. But when I took the time a way kind of by myself to really look at where I wanted to use my influence, it would just came clear that what people were telling me wasn’t really where I wanted to go.

Andrea: Oh that is so powerful too because I know even for myself, looking at what I’m doing, trying to think about which ways should I listen to. And in the end, it has to be true too, like inside of you I think. It does feel like a calling, doesn’t it?

Trivinia: Yeah. I think sometimes I still do battle with that because I know that the impact that we’re making. I remember telling Amy Porterfield this all the time like “We’re not caring kids here.” But we are making changes in people’s lives because of the work that we were doing together there. And I feel the same is true for PriorityVA. I have VAs tells me they had no idea where Christmas is going to come from but now they do you know because of the opportunities that were affording them to work at home as a VA.

And so I know that we’re making changes in people’s lives and it’s important what we’re doing. But me, sometimes it’s so hard to see that because we get caught up in looking really what other people are doing or what other people, family, and friends, whatever tells us we should be doing. You know, you just get to set with yourself and just really figure out who you want to be and go for it.

And I think that’s where if we take any consideration the Fascination Advantage thing that that’s where my power lies or that’s where my prestige lies is in really being able to take hard look at myself and then go full board ahead to get what I want that’s kind of cool.

Andrea: Love it. So you said that you’re interested in writing books and speaking on stages which you would be fabulous at. What would you want to talk about? What is that thing that you really want to get out there? What is the message?

Trivinia: You know that’s just a great question and I think that it will evolve and change as I get more comfortable in this new space of not being the assistant. But I think for now, one of the biggest things that I still want people to understand is that we don’t have to do it alone. I feel like as we’re growing our businesses in this entrepreneurial space, we’re all sitting behind our computer screens and getting fatter and just becoming more isolated. And I feel like we don’t have to do that alone.

We don’t have to barricade ourselves in our office and become martyrs to our own businesses and things like that and not just a really important message. Obviously, it ties very closely into the need that I feel all entrepreneurs have to have a virtual assistant or to have some sort support system for them. So that’s really important to me. Other things I’m really passionate about of course, adoption and foster care so you know, it could be that that I spend more time speaking and writing about those things.

It’s interesting to me, Andrea, that now I have the choice to think about it and that’s what so weird to me is that if I want to talk adoption, I can talk about adoption. I don’t have to talk about virtual support. So that just kind of interesting is that I can grow up into whatever I want to now because no one else is just tell me what I have to do.

Andrea: Sure, yeah that’s exciting. It’s interesting too to think about how we can have this. And one of the things that I love about this is that you have a business that is supporting you. And then if you want to talk about your passion, your mission for adoption and foster care then you don’t have to make money doing that necessarily.

You’re making money in your business, so this allows you to have the freedom to be able to pursue a mission that may not make money at all, maybe giving money a way for you to give back or whatever that is and whatever how it placed out. But I think that it is easy for people who have a passion like you’re describing because you have adopted two children, right?

Trivinia: Yup!

Andrea: So that’s one of the reasons why you’re so passionate about this, and I think that it’s easy for us to get stuck in that passion and not think about how we’re going to support it.

Trivinia: Yeah, absolutely. I used to do all this in your free talks and I’d write in forums and blogs and all that sort of things to try and get the message out about foster care and adoption. And I actually had to take and that would be put in the back burner for a little while for me so that I could build a business that could sustain my little side projects that really fill me up and I really feel good doing them.

But I still have four children that need to be fed and they have school uniforms that need to be bought and my love of adoption isn’t going to be necessarily feed them. So it’s important I think that we get our priorities straight. And for me, creating a business that could give me the time – I mean, my whole business started because we adopted a child and she needed me to be home for her.

And so I had to really focus on that for a few years to get to a place where I could sustain now. And now, I’m like “Alright, where can we go?” “Who can we talk to about adoption?” How could we view these things and it’s only because I put the time to build something that could sustain this new sort of fun side project that I have. And you know that could be something as time goes on as well. So we’ll see how it plays out but it’s fun for right now.

Andrea: Yeah and in the meantime, you’ve built yourself a platform.

Trivinia: Exactly!

Andrea: And continuing to grow that one and that’s pretty important, so I think these are great, great lessons for the Influencers that are listening because I think that it is so easy to get stuck. So thank you for that. Now, I’m really fascinated by how you’re passionate about something that I’m also passionate about which is pairing your VA’s with the right client. Tell me a little more about that because I’m really interested in this.

Trivinia: Yeah, so this all really started because I was working with some higher profile clients and people were starting to ask me if I could work with them. And really that’s where the entrepreneurial being kicked in for me and I kept thinking “Well now, I can’t take anymore on myself but I can find you someone that has the same characteristics or the same traits that you think you want in me.” And that really started this business.

And so the way that I’ve really utilized a couple of things – I say that we have to figure out the right skills that you need someone to have. You know, do I need to know where and all these things because I need them to be able to do and execute what you need done. But more importantly, in my opinion, it’s personality and temperament, character, and values that are going to drive a relationship and really make it work.

I can teach someone many pages. I can show someone how to set up Facebook ads, but if they don’t care about your business and your mission where you’re going, it’s not going to matter. There’ll be a little kind of crash test dummies, right? They’ll be filling out forms or clicking buttons and doing things but they’re not going to care. And to me, the best relationships or where can I place a VA with the client who’s not…they’ll never be equally as passionate about what you’re doing because I just don’t think that’s possible.

But if they are driven and motivated by what you’re doing in your business and they have the skills that you need, that is a recipe for magic and for, really, what I call long term collaborative support. And one of the best things that I found in my career is working with Amy and being able to kind of look behind our shoulders and say “Holy cow, do you remember our first launch together, it was like $30,000” and then looking at doing nearly $2 million launches.

And not that I was solely responsible for that but I played a part in it and I was able to see sort of where we had come all along the way in our relationship and in the business building and things like that. And that’s really magical if I can create that relationship for people. So I spend a lot of time working with not only with more personality tech profile stuff that really digging in with our clients and asking politically incorrect questions. I’m just really trying to figure out who they really need.

Because most people, I think 90% of the people that come to me looking for virtual support, they’re all about the ‘what.’ I need someone to manage my account. I need someone to schedule trips for me and that is all they are concerned about. But when I can sort of put the tables on them and say “Okay that’s great,” like “got that part.” Now, who is the best person to come alongside you and work with you, because you’re B-Schoolers, you know creating your ideal client avatar and we get that down. We know what kind of music they listen to. We know where they shop, like we know all of those things but nobody does that to figure out their ideal teammates.

Andrea: That’s crazy, isn’t it?

Trivinia: Yeah, exactly because they’re the ones helping you build those things. And so I try to get people to really flippant and to think about that for a little bit, and let’s create a profile of your ideal teammate and then I go to work to find them. And obviously now, my team is growing and I have fulltime recruiter that helps me with that now so it’s not just me anymore.

But that is so, so powerful when I can then introduce a client to a virtual assistant and I can say, you know “Here’s Sarah and here’s why I chose her for you.” And the clients were like “I cannot believe you were able to find somebody that aligns so wonderfully with who I am and where my business is going.” It just does magic for me, and it makes me so happy and it’s kind of exciting.

Andrea: Oh yeah, it’s magic and it’s gift that you’ve been given. You obviously have a gift for being able to do this and understand your client, understand your VA and look for these deeper things. Would you be willing to share any of the things that you’re looking for when you’re trying to match?

Trivinia: Yeah, I mean it’s different for everyone. So it really starts out with, I would not hire any VA who doesn’t align well with my values, because I would assume that if a client aligns with my values and then I bring on VA that aligns then we’re starting off on a right foot. And so that would be things like truth. I mean, it’s tattooed on my wrists if that’s important to me like I can’t stand liars. Oh, integrity and just commitment. I need people that are going to be committed not only to me and PriorityVA but to their client and really to themselves.

I think that a lot of people who are trying to get their foot in the door in a VA world, you know, they used to work at Target and so they’re going to try this VA thing and they’re going to see how it goes. But they’re not really committed to learning what they need to learn and so commitment is really important and then service. Having a heart to serve is massively important to me because being a VA is hard and sometimes you’re going to be asked to do things that you’re not really interested in doing, at times you don’t really care to do them.

And so I need people that ultimately have a heart of service and just really get filled up by serving other people, so that’s kind of where it all starts. If people can align with that then they can at least get into the fold of the next level of conversation with PriorityVA and then from there, it’s just me. And right now, I’m the only that’s doing this. But I’m the one that engages with their clients and I’m the one who talks to them and figures out really.

I get kind of deep with them and I make them answer hard questions that they’re like “Oh, I never thought of that before.” But it’s like “Do you need to work with someone who shares the same, maybe spiritual views as you?” Because maybe their business is all about their spirituality and maybe having somebody on their team that doesn’t share that so it’s going to become challenging for them. Or maybe it’s somebody who they really, really need somebody who’s very techy because they’re technophobic, right?

So it’s just all figuring out “Do you need someone who’s gonna say, “Yes, Mrs. Wenburg,” or do you need somebody who’s like “Andrea, you told me you’re gonna give me this stuff and you didn’t get it for me.” You know, so it’s figuring that out and those are hard questions I think people don’t want to answer sometimes, because they don’t want to seem like rude or they don’t want to seem like maybe they’re kind of a bad boss.

But if I can get them to go deeper and answer those questions then I have higher much success rate of like 85% success rate in the matches that I make because I’m not having to uncover stuff later that like they really don’t like somebody that says all the time “Okay.” You know because that’s an annoying word to you and I give you someone…

The funniest story, Andrea, that one of my clients told me one time like “I don’t care if they’re college educated. I don’t care if they have babies on their lap while we’re talking, but please don’t give me someone that has a Boston accent.” You know that’s so funny. I was like “Okay, that’s the kind of stuff I need to know, because what if I did. I got them some great person but they were from Boston and not just great on you every time you talk to them.

So I love hearing the funny, funny kind of non-negotiables that some people have, but yeah it’s fun. And then from there, we kind of do the same thing with the VA’s, so we talk to them about who they’re ideal client is and where they can make the most impact. And so if it’s somebody who really needs to be a behind-the-scenes person and they’re more task oriented instead of collaborative relationship oriented, they’re typically not going to work well in our company, because I don’t do task stuff. I think we can outsource that to offshore companies for much cheaper. So I don’t want more collaborative relationships. We start to dig it deeper and ask questions and then it just all comes better.

Andrea: Yeah, that’s great. So some really great advice for people who even have a business maybe whether or not it’s internet business or brick and mortar but it’s hard. It’s neat that we’re in this day and age when you can and you have a lot more to choose in the internet world. You can do a really interesting mix and match in ways that we really can’t when you’re brick and mortar or they couldn’t years ago I’m sure.

So I’m curious when it comes to that relationship between a VA and the client, I’m wondering about how they interact and how you help them interact. Again, this is about voice because I’m sure that your VA’s…it sounds like the way that your VA’s interact is definitely more collaborative as you mentioned. And so they do have a little bit of a voice, maybe more so than a normal VA. But do you have any recommendations or suggestions for people or either that Voice of Influence as a VA or somebody who is in a superior and somebody who’s supporting that superior if you will?

Trivinia: Yeah. You know, the easiest thing, but people look at it as easy, but the easiest thing to create an amazing relationship with anyone we’re working with especially when the relationship is virtual, it’s just consist of communication, right? It’s just like when we’re building our audience and we email them maybe once every nine months. Well, that’s going to be hard to build their relationship with our ideal audience.

And so the same thing is true when it comes to virtual support. I work with subcontractors and so my team is not built of employees, so they’re not W-2 employees. So I can’t demand that they have weekly meetings, but I strongly encourage that they have weekly in meetings with their clients. And I like those to be face to face whether it’s just real quick on Skype or Zoom or Facetime or something, and talking 10 minutes. This is not need to be an hour-long meeting because most clients hate meetings because they’re busy and they don’t want to get caught up in stuff.

But that face-to-face interaction does a lot for building trust in really solidifying relationship, so that’s probably step one for me. And another thing that we do is we have our VA’s give a weekly report of basically what they did get accomplished, what they’re going to start working on for next week, and then what any impediments to progress are. Because oftentimes, the clients are the ones that the impediments to progress.

And so it’s just becomes really, just really transparent about what’s going on and that helps the client to know “Okay, these are sort of my shortcomings. This is where I really need to step up to the plate and help this relationship continue to progress.” So that’s really important I think with any relationships. You just get to communicate a lot and then really utilizing tools that we have at our disposal.

There are so many different things whether it’s things like Teamwork, a project management software that we use here or Slack for quick force of communication. And then of course if people can afford it and it allows in their schedule like get together in person with your VA at least once or twice a year and have a little brainstorming session and that will just again solidify their relationship as well. It’s been really fun to get my team together. We’ve started doing quarterly retreats and we just go rent a VRBO in a different state, in Plymouth and this like 3-day implementation weekends and that’s really fun. And I’ve been able to find out so much about my team now, like for instance – oh I wonder, I’m might be blowing a surprise but that’s okay.

One of my VA’s, Kim, is the most amazing assistant on the planet and so no one even try to steal her from me, but she is coming up on anniversary working with us. And so one of the cool things is like I started asking my team like where would you go if you could go anywhere? And you know, she was talking about different cities she wants to go to. And so I’ve kind of been conspiring behind the scenes, plotting to send her and her husband on a trip for her like anniversary after working with PriorityVA. But I wouldn’t throw that out really just like through email, you know.

It was just around the fire at VRBO in Phoenix, we’re just chatting. And so I think if people will take that relationship to another level with their team, it’s so cool. It’s just so fun, right but you have to step out of your comfort zone and do it and really be interested in having relationship. And that’s the main difference I think, Andrea, between working with other virtual assistant companies and working with PriortiyVA is that I want people to have relationships with their team. And I want them to really be a part of the team not just some button pusher behind the scenes.

Andrea: Oh man! I mean who wouldn’t want to work for you Trivinia. I mean, did you hear what she just said. She’s sending somebody on a trip with her husband and that’s so powerful and it just makes it feel like you truly care.

Trivinia: Yeah, because I do and a lot of people don’t. I mean, we’re just really being honest. A lot of people, they don’t really care about their assistants because they’re disposable. And I want to create relationships that aren’t disposable. So that if you’re assistant got hit by a bus, yes there are systems and there are processes like work could still continue, but I would want that to matter to you.

A lot of people in this online marketing and digital world that we live in, people are so replaceable. And I’m kind of looking at flip the tables on that a little bit and bring it back to kind of old school where people had a secretary for 15 years, you know, that’s normal. I just want that relationship to be really important to people again.

Andrea: Oh I love that! Okay, so one of the other things that I want to ask you about was I know that you have passion because of this is what you’re doing, you’re supporting people who have ideas, you’re giving them support staff or support whatever. Anyway, when people who have a Voice of Influence are growing and wanting to become and develop their voice, get a bigger platform perhaps, or figure out how they want to interact in the world, or whatever it might be; I know and I’ve heard you said this before, it’s so easy for us to get lost in our heads and not actually execute. And part of that problem is the fact that we’re not willing to delegate.

Trivinia: Oh yeah.

Andrea: So what advice do you have for the Influencer that’s sitting here listening right now saying, “It’s going to be years before I ever get anything off the ground.” How do they decide when to actually delegate and that sort of things?

Trivinia: Yeah, stop it. That’s one of the things you know, it’s like people stop being a martyr in your own business. And stop feeling like if you’re not touching it and you’re not pushing the buttons that it’s not going to be done right. I have often said like “There will be spilled milk. Your system is going to mess up.” I sent an email to at least nearly 200,000 people from a client’s private email address one time. Yeah, it sucks and it was horrible and I was crying hysterically, but you know, we fixed it and it was fine and nobody died.

And so I think that that’s the biggest thing that we can do as Influencers or business owners. As we’re getting started, stop thinking that people are going to die if an email is not sent out right or if a link is wrong on a Facebook post. Just stop taking yourself so seriously and really start small. I think that getting your feet wet in delegating and outsourcing, like do something on 99designs or something and just start flexing that delegation muscle, because I think that it is a practice that we have to get better at.

Now, I tell my team like take it. They’ll ask me questions and I’m like “Oh, I don’t care. You do what you do, you own this.” Dan Martell tells us something that I think that if more people would really embody, I think their business would scale so much faster. We need to put people in place and he calls it, ‘we need someone to LMA that.’ And it’s Lead, Manage, and be Accountable, and I have fully embraced that in my business especially in this past couple of months is that I’ve said, outsource-outcomes and not tasks.

So instead of you outsourcing the task of booking a flight, why don’t you outsource the outcome of that entire trip, right? So you’re not worried about the hotel, rent a car and all that stuff like you have an itinerary that such to go. And when you arrive at your hotel, they’re going to have whatever it is that you need. Maybe you’re gluten free or something. You know, outsource the outcome of that and stop worrying so much about the individual tasks that you need to get off of your plate and lets someone lead, manage and be accountable for the outcome of something.

And that’s going to be a part of your team, it’s going to let you sort of rest easier in knowing that it’s not all on your shoulders now. Now, if you picked the right team then you should feel confident in LMA-ing different part of your business. And you should have one for your marketing, you should have one for your finances, you should have one for the administration, and then you obviously have for the delivery of whatever product or service you’re selling.

And so yeah, you got to start small and flex that muscle. You will get burned, you will be disappointed, you will feel like “I should just do this myself,” but if you push through just like when we were working out, right? If you push through that breaking point, you will develop muscles instead. And you’ll get really, really excited about what else can you get off your plate.

Andrea: Oh Trivinia, thank you so much for all of this amazing advice. You are definitely a powerful, beautiful Voice of Influence. And I think you’re definitely already speaking to those CEOs. You’re going to grow this platform even bigger and I want you in front of more and more people. So I wish you well. I’m excited for you and I will always be your cheerleader. So thank you so much for being with us today!

Trivinia: Absolutely! Thanks for having me.

 

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