Katie is the founder of Paper Lime Creative, a branding, and design agency in Edmonton. Her love of design and art took shape and a young age and since then she has been soaking in as much knowledge about art, business, and design as she can. She takes the time to listen to people's unique stories and goals to deliver stand-out work. It's one of many reasons why Paper Lime Creative is known as a collaborative design agency.
What is branding and why is it important?
I define branding as every interaction people have with your business. So there's often a misconception that your logo is your brand, but it's actually a lot more than that. So it's our job at Paper Lime Creative to make sure that those touchpoints that your clients have with your business are impactful and meaningful and get you the right customers to serve.
How does a business owner start that branding process?
We recommend that business owners start that process by figuring out who they want to work with and who that ideal customer is and what that ideal customer is buying so you can put the right time and effort into marketing the right product or service that you have and marketing it to the right people because that's where you'll get the biggest returns on your branding.
How can branding help networking?
Branding can help your networking because it helps you know where to go. I have a great client story for this. I was working with a good friend of mine on really defining her ideal customer. We realized all of her customers were the same type of person, they all dress the same and I joked that I realized that they all have really well-kept beards. So now when she goes to a networking event, she can go and physically find those people. She knows what they look like and chances are they'll be in an industry that she can work with.
So really understanding your customers is important, right?
Absolutely because then she can know what networking events to go to or where to show up online for networking. Like you were talking about LinkedIn in your intro and then to know what people to introduce herself to in those events. It saves you so much time. Obviously building relationships and just growing your network is important, but if you're looking to convert someone to a client from a networking event, knowing who to walk up to and introduce yourself is really important.
Can you share the story behind the name of your business?
I say it's our fresh and fun approach to print design and branding. So my background started in print design and then it evolved into everything else because you can do quite a bit with print design, but you can help your client way more when you understand the brand strategy behind it.
Can you share one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?
I think my favorite networking experiences are when you realize how small it all is. The six degrees of separation, which I think they're saying is more like three or four. I had one actually where an old friend of mine that I hadn't seen or heard from in years had actually married someone that I was actively networking with. I found out after the fact, which and I was like, "I didn't realize you were married to her!" We worry so much about getting business or meeting people or having to be extroverted and put ourselves out there. But it's all about relationships at the end of the day and I think some of those fun coincidences make life so interesting.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture your network and your community?
On an ongoing basis, I track who I network with, and be sure to send follow-up emails or book follow-up coffee dates. I think it's just making a part of your regular schedule. I always have some sort of networking event or a one on one coffee booked with someone in my calendar. It's just a part of doing business and I can't imagine a week where there isn't something in there.
What advice would you offer your business professionals who are really looking to grow their network?
I would say try something new. I think we can get really comfortable with what our networking routine looks like and that's great, especially to build those long-term relationships. But to put yourself into a new market or into a new experience can be really valuable. Everyone moving to online meetings because of COVID has been super beneficial from a networking perspective because now you can visit a networking group wherever. I've been to networking groups in Europe while in Canada and it's really limitless now. So I think if you're wanting to grow just try something new. As for me, joining a charity board is something I've never done, but have thought about getting exposed to a new group of people.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I probably would have told my 20-year-old self to network. I didn't start out working till I was 25 or 26. So definitely more of that and I would also tell me to stop doubting myself. I think once you get into your business, you realize that nobody really knows what they're doing. Everyone's learning and growing as they go, and no one's 100% ready for the next step.
You brought up the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you would love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?
I have always wanted to meet Paula Scher from Pentagram. She is most well known for designing the Citibank logo and the Boston More Than a Feeling album cover. She's a phenomenal graphic designer, and I totally think I could. I don't know what those six degrees are, but I have emailed her assistant and even though I got a no, it was still a good step. I think my next step would be going through a line of other industry designers because I probably know a designer who knows her and could maybe try that angle.
You have an offer to share with our listeners, right?
I do! On the Paper Lime Creative website piperlime.ca, we have a free brand audit that you can download and it goes through all the different parts of your brand. So it's a great tool to use and we recommend doing it every two or three years. Brands are always growing and changing and it's never a one and done with your brand. So if you want to take a look and review your brand, check out that free download.
Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
Be yourself and get curious about other people and it all falls into place after that.
Connect with Katie
Claire is a personal brand strategist and the CEO and Co-Founder of Claire Bahn Group. She has been helping high-achieving entrepreneurs, investors, founders, and executives create their best personal brand for over 10 years. As an entrepreneur and influencer with over 70,000 followers on social media, she has learned the importance of creating and maintaining your personal brand. Claire helps entrepreneurs leverage their personal brand to develop the authority, influence, and trust they need to exceed their business goals.
Can you share what personal branding is and why it matters to you so much?
Basically, there are so many different nuances of personal branding. But really your basic personal brand is essentially what people think about you when they do a Google search on you or they meet you for the first time in person. It's literally someone's initial reaction to you, and how they feel about you whether they want to work with you and that sort of thing. So that's your baseline personal brand.
How can entrepreneurs and SMBs boost revenue by showcasing their subject expertise and leveraging their authority?
I always look at personal branding from an aspect like when we sign on a client, we take a strategic approach to personal branding. We look at social media as well as Google, SEO in blogs, and SEO in videos. Because Google and YouTube are search engines, you can find out what people are actively looking for and the type of questions that people are actively asking and wants to know answers for. They want to find experts to help them find a solution to the problem that they're currently having. So ultimately, one of the best possible ways that someone can build that know, like, and trust with an ideal client is to create content, whether it's a long-form blog or a video or both that specifically answers a question that somebody is looking for. So ideally, you want someone to do a Google search on a certain subject, and they find something that you created, and they're like, "Wow, I really liked this person." So many times people find me that exact way because they search a topic that I'm an expert in, and they find a piece of content that I created or video that I created and they're like, "Oh, wow, Claire really knows her stuff." So that's ultimately how you really build ROI, you get customers that are committed and trust you, and value your input. The goal is to hopefully work with them, but trust has to be one and it's not something that everyone gives for free.
For small and medium-sized businesses, is it important to have the individual or the owner of the organization versus building up the brand of the company itself?
People connect with people and people want a connection, especially when you have you know certain younger demographics. They want to know your values, what you stand for and that is done through people. If you think of some of the very well-known, multibillion-dollar corporations, those CEOs branded themselves. Think of Elan Musk! Tesla's cool, but Elon Musk is cooler, if you think about it, right? He has more followers on social media than Tesla does, because when Elon says things it has so much more weight. So if you just think about these real-world examples, you see exactly why it's more important that the person be branded and then they talk about their business because the people are going to have that know, like, and trust factor, not a business.
Why does ignoring personal branding negatively affect your ROI?
If you really think about everything that I've talked about like if someone does a Google search on you, specifically. They're like, okay, who's this person, should I work with them, and there's nothing there, they're definitely not going to want to work with you. You should have some information, especially if you are an expert, which most people that have their own businesses are an expert in something, right? So you kind of wonder why can't I find content about you? What's wrong with you? Then the next part of that is, what if I do find content about you, and it's bad? So this is how can negatively affect you, either not finding any information so people don't believe that you are actually the expert that you say you are or the second thing is that they do find information about you and it's not great information. Whether it's negative information, or you really did not do a good job of creating content that was very helpful, and it negatively impacted what people think about you. You want to put effort into really engaging and answering questions and things that people are actually searching for. It's not one of those things where you can just kind of like punt, and it'll work, you actually really have to put in the effort and answer people's questions. So that's the return is you can help people but it also helps build your business too. But it's a long-term game.
Can you share with our listeners one of the favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I admit that sometimes networking is scary, and I actually did a blog talk giving some tips on how to make it not so scary. But I think ultimately, one of the biggest things is, if there's a group that you are being very strategic with your networking, I would kind of go on to LinkedIn, find who you want to really connect with, and have a way to connect with them. Say something like, "Hey, I read your article on this and I really just wanted to come over and say hi," and have you have your brand statement really quick write your little kind of like blurb about me. I think that's one of the biggest things in making networking easier, especially if there are people that you want to connect with is do your homework first. That's actually one thing that a friend of mine taught me and it's such a valuable thing. If you know there are strategic relationships that you want, go and do a little bit of homework.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships that you have?
Connecting with people on social media, connecting with them on LinkedIn, which is obviously a very professional network. I think you can always nurture the relationship through whether it's inviting them on your podcast, inviting them onto a video podcast. Just staying connected by essentially asking for their input on something. Everyone again, loves a compliment and I think that is a really key thing. Don’t ask for favors, ask for advice on things. Connecting with people like that is really great. I think if you do have a platform, invite them to be on your platform. That is a really great way to stay connected with people and there could be an end game strategy with it, but it doesn't feel and come off as salesy. I definitely don't think it's a good thing to hard-sell people in the social sphere or when you are networking, it's so much better when you just really show up and are committed to sharing your expertise and giving value. The relationships that you create through that are so much stronger than immediately going straight for the sale. I think that would be one of the biggest things. Stay connected, ask for their advice and if you have a platform, bring them onto that platform, but don't sell.
What advice would you offer that business professional is really looking to grow their network?
There are so many networking groups. For me, I've asked friends, and I, you know, asked the group that I know for their advice. Find out from other people, other networking opportunities that they would suggest whether it's in your area in person or online. There are so many events that are online as well, that I have found and you can just ask your network. There are also so many Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups that you can join, you can find out about other networking opportunities in those groups as well. So there are just so many ways to do it, but I don't think it's a bad thing to ask. Just ask people because people want to give their advice. They want to be helped. just asked people to ask your network put out a post saying. So ask your network or you can also just put it out there on social media and a lot of times people will respond, and they'll have great information.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
You talk about this a lot, but networking is so important. So I would say probably more networking, pushing myself to be uncomfortable rather than always staying safe, and not maybe doing that networking event because it's scary. So I think pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and doing more networking.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?
I've kind of liked the way that Rachel Hollis has navigated a lot of stuff. She's definitely gotten herself in some sticky situations over the years, but she's somebody that I what she's done with her personal brand and it's very much evolved. Neil Patel is another marketer who has done great things so I definitely think I could connect with those people through six degrees because I'm in that kind of marketing and influencer space, but those are people that I think are learning kind of more about their story would be really cool.
Any final word of advice you'd like to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
It kind of goes back to even your personal brand. There are so many people like you mentioned, that won't put themselves out there and won't commit to networking with people, they won't commit to doing their personal brand. When you actively do it, and you commit to it and you do it and you show up, you're really going to be in a smaller group of people. I think that's one of the most important things to think about. There are so many people that won't have the follow-through, that won't commit to going all the way with whatever it is whether it's building that personal brand, networking, and committing to so many networking events or opportunities. Just commit and do it! You don't have to bite off the biggest chunk, just find the events that you want and commit to going all-in because so many people don't. That's what's going to differentiate you from somebody else is that follow through and that commitment, and that's a lot of what you said earlier about networking and just being true and following through. It really will benefit you in so many ways.
Connect with Claire
Free Masterclass Course: https://clairebahn.com/personal-branding-masterclass
Paul is popularizing the concept C-com, the science of conversion, conversation, and automation. He founded Amplify C-Com, which helps grow businesses past seven figures through 80% human-like and 20% human experience. Amplify combines human psychology and automation to create more profits in their customers’ pockets.
How do you apply the 80-20 rule to automation?
So we find a lot of the time that people try and automate either 100% or not a bit. So they will go, "Let's automate everything, you know, I want to make everything evergreen so I can sit on a beach and drink pina coladas and not have to do anything." But when you do that you lose that human touch, and especially post-pandemic, people are looking so much more for that personal customer experience that I've been able to speak to a human, but in a way doesn't take up a lot of their time and they can do it in their own time so there's that instant gratification. What we look at is, how would you normally speak if you're having a conversation? So if you would just send in an email to me one on one, Lori, what kinds of things would you say? If you were sending an SMS or a text to someone, how would you usually phrase that? So we write that in the same way as we normally would and then we automate that. So then we automate the start of the conversation and then hand it over to the 20% of human-like experience to guide the people through a more personalized service.
What are embedded commands and why are they so important in marketing?
Embedded commands are all about, starting to plant the seed, so to speak with whatever kind of conversation you've gotten into. Lori, if I was to speak to you, right now, you may be thinking, as I started to say this, you may be thinking of a pink elephant in the corner of the room. Now, as you probably try harder and harder not to think about that pink elephant in the corner of the room, then that image is probably getting more vivid and vivid in your mind. You probably see that pink elephant right now we've got roller skates on as well, can you see that? Well, don't think about that. Whatever you do, Lori, don't think about that. You can't think about it, right?! We start starting to use some of these embedded commands in the way that we write copy. So if you want to guide someone towards a certain direction, then you use some of those language patterns throughout the copy. So for example, if you want to bring up an objection that someone's having, and to be able to handle that objection, rather than like, brisk over it and try and hide it, say you might be thinking right now this or maybe you're thinking this and then you go "Great, now we can crush that objection." So you bring the objection up and then crush it. You may already start seeing yourself achieving that goal. I don't know what it is for you, it might be you want a new car, you might want to move houses, you might just want to spend more time with the family and see yourself go into Disneyland. But whatever that is for you, then you probably know what that is in your mind right now. So you can see if we break down that sentence, for example, you create the future pace in the mind and then adding things like "right now" at the end of it, you're starting to see that in your mind right now. So it's like these hypnotic language patterns that are being used that guide people towards the sale, but you can also do it in a conversational way. For example, another way is not so much of an embedded command, but another language pattern that we use a lot is ask for a no instead of a yes. So I learned this from Chris Voss. Chris Voss is an FBI hostage negotiator and he wrote a book called Never Split The Difference and one of the things he wrote in there was about asking for no. Most people, like if I said, "Hey Lori, would you like to have me on your podcast?" And then you kind of like, they'll say yes, or say no. But if I say, "Hey, Laurie, would you be totally against having me on your podcast?" Then what are you gonna say then? It takes the pressure off when you ask for a no instead of a Yes. Would it be crazy to entertain the idea? Would it be unreasonable to consider? No, it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider. So we use that, "Would you be against?" For example, let's say you want to book a sales call. So you might send an SMS message and say something like, "Would you be against speaking with one of our application specialists?" "No, I wouldn't be against that." "Can you check if this link works?" Then they click the button, and then they go to the next stage, "Yeah, that works." "Great, can you see that on the page?" Then you notice what you do if you're on a sales call, you'd run the same kind of thing from the conversational perspective and you'll notice we're always creating these micro-commitments through the whole process. It's a different psychology behind the language patterns that you use to reduce the ask that you're looking for.
Let's dive into that a little bit from the power of conversational commerce to sell really high ticket items.
When it comes to selling high ticket items, we look at each stage of the customer journey. So when you look at each stage, you go, "Well, where are people dropping off." So a lot of the time people go, I'm not making enough sales. That's a symptom, not a cause. So you have to work backward and break down each stage of the process. So we'll use technology and automation to look at each stage of the pipeline. So we know every time someone pops into a certain stage, for example, let's say they opted in, or they started a challenge, or they watched a webinar or they submit a deposit. So we can see how many people are getting to each stage of the journey, and then work out what we need to do to get more people to that stage. Where are most people dropping off and what level of conversation do we need to have at that point? Can we automate all that? Or do we need to actually add a human element to that as well? So at the start of the journey, quite often, you'll automate more of it. But as you get higher and higher up the price point you might get the owner or a higher level person in the team more involved when it comes to let's say, submitting a 10,000 or $25,000 program. Let's say you've got a lot of people stuck on the pay to deposit, but they haven't paid the full amount. So what's happening at that point? What's happening in the buyer’s mind? Maybe they're having buyer's remorse, maybe they need to get funding together. We don't know without asking. So then you could have, for example, we will have some owners, they'll go and record a personal video message to those people who get to that stage, but don't get to the next stage. So it might take them 30 seconds of video, let's say 10 videos a day which takes five minutes. If that closes one more sale, that five minutes has made them $10,000. So that then becomes a really good return on investment. Looking at each stage of the customer journey, and then understanding how you can add conversation at every point to guide people to the next step of the journey. It's like Martin Luther King said, "You don't need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step," and we kind of rephrase that a little bit is "You don't need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take someone to the next step."
Can you share with our listeners one of your most favorite or successful networking experiences that you've had?
So I always say this kind of catalysts that happen over time, right? So one of the things that we used to do was just doing Facebook Messenger, when there wasn't loads of compliance around it. So at that point, I'd get people on a Facebook Live Show and I build them a bot for free on Facebook Live. So we do that kind of thing where we go cool, what kind of thing you're looking for, and we build it live. And they go oh wow, you're building a bot great, you can take that away and use it in your business. Now what that led to is because we give so much value, people started introducing this to other people. So we had for example, oh John Lee Dumas on the podcast, and then ended up we did some work for him beforehand before the podcast so we'll talk about the results. We improved his webinar rate quite significantly and because we improved that then he introduced me to Pete Vargas and Ray Higdon. Then we just started to level up. So I always say is if you want to go and get paid by level eight, then go and work for level nines for free or level 10s for free. It improves your authority, credibility, and at the same time, it opens up your network to get even wider. So I always looked as well for any deals that would make with some of these high leverage people is how can we leverage that and then introduce it to other people at the same time.
How do you stay in front of these people that you've created these relationships with?
So the last couple of years have obviously been a little bit different in terms of going to events. But what's interesting is, for example, I had someone message me today and she said, "Hey, we spoke last year." Bear in mind, I haven't physically spoken to her in over a year, and before when I did speak with her we spoke for about five minutes. She said, "I'm looking to do this, is this the kind of thing that you do?" So staying at the top of people's minds, how do we do that? Well, I post on social media, like six times a week. I can't remember the person who I got this from but we do a connect authority. So we will make a small offer like a lead magnet and we'll ask who wants it and everyone will want to get it. So then we get to have back and forth conversations with those and then the other ones, it might be like a personal story about me. It could be a case study so when people see case study after case after case study of "Hey, look at all these six-figure seven-figure results that we're getting for people," then you naturally stay on top of mind and it's not so much with social media. Sometimes everyone's like, "Oh my god, no one's engaging with my post." If you want to work with seven and eight-figure entrepreneurs, most of those won't engage with your posts, but they're always watching. Always keep an eye on things. If you are at that seven-figure level, or even at a six-figure level, how many times you actually go, "Oh, I like that. I like that." No, you just scan every so often and just go, "Oh, that's interesting, I'll make a note to myself about that," rather than engaging with everything.
What advice would you offer the business professionals really looking to grow their network?
So I'd say do what do I did, and find how you can give as much value as possible to the people that you really want to work with. Identify your dream clients, and give as much value to those people as possible, and then you will work either with them or someone very close to them based on that. So you'll find a lot of the high-level people, if you go up to them and say, "Hey, I'm really good at doing this thing, am I okay to do this for you for free?" I spoke to someone else who does the same similar thing with LinkedIn profiles. So he went to a lot of the bigger players in the industry and said, "Hey, would you mind if I create your LinkedIn profile based on what I know about you? I've been following you for a long time. If you think it's great, you can use it. If not, that's fine." They're like, "Yeah, sure do," and then afterward, they're like, "What can I do for you?" Then you've got testimonials from all these big players and suddenly, that becomes an authority overnight.
Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
Remember, every single person that comes into your world ash a human beating heart. They're not an automation, they're not a lead, they're a person. When you start to remember that, and start having those back and forth conversations with your customers or potential customers, and you start to find out what the pains are, their desires are in a lot more detail. It makes your marketing better, it reduces your cost to acquire a customer and increases your reputation in the marketplace. So have more conversations with more people and you'll make more money, have more impact on the world and be better for it.
Connect with Paul
Amplify To 7 Figures Podcast: https://amplifyto7figures.com/home
Ashley is an ex-corporate marketing executive for a $4 billion company turned to online marketing consultant who has helped hundreds of six, seven, and eight-figure online entrepreneurs create customer-centric marketing and sales strategies. As a certified NLP practitioner, Ashley believes the power of marketing is to teach your ideal clients how to think, not tell them what to do using a combination of psychographics and human behavior in your brand messaging.
What is the number one mistake you see when it comes to messaging?
It's kind of hard to narrow it down to one. But what I really see a lot specifically with clients that I've worked with is a lot of the time people will create content that doesn't really reflect their ideal client. What I mean by that, and one of the biggest things that I've found, especially through my NLP training and working with all these clients, the one thing that I've found that was so transformational was that your messaging and marketing is a reflection of your mindset. So a lot of the times I see when it comes to messaging, people will try to create messaging that attracts a certain type of client, but their mindset does not match the client they're trying to attract and I'll give you a quick example. A lot of the times when I read content, I can see where that person's mindset is coming from and what they were thinking in the moment they created that content, or they created that message, and why they were bringing in a certain type of person that they were bringing in. One of the examples I really like to use is one of my clients. She is a physical therapist that specializes in concussion recovery and she is phenomenal and amazing at what she does and when the pandemic hit, she turned into an online business. She created this membership program for patients who have had concussions. She is very out of the box, very different from the industry norms, which are the people I love to work with. So she created this webinar to promote this new membership that she had and she had almost 3,600 people sign up for this webinar and she had a very great ROI conversion. But when she got the clients into the program, she started to realize that a lot of them were in a victim mentality mode and they felt very defeated. They felt like they were helpless and when we started digging into her messaging, one of the things that she was saying in the webinar was I'm going to help you navigate your concussion symptoms. When I asked her why did you specifically choose, "I'm going to help you navigate your concussion symptoms?" And she said, "Well because when I created this, I was, I felt very helpless because my brick and mortar with the pandemic had to shut down so I went from making all this money to having to shut down my practice." So she was in this mentality of like, I'm helpless, I have to do something, it was this I don't know how to navigate my life now. So she used that word and what she found was the people who came into that program came in looking for her to solve their problem, they didn't take responsibility for their own recovery, they didn't take responsibility for their own actions, they were basically creating a codependent relationship on her. And because she felt helpless, she was turning around and bending over to their every need, and jumping in and doing more and doing all these things, because again, she set that container. So when we went in, and we restructured her messaging, we legit only changed the title of the webinar and the title of the webinar, the second time she launched was Regain Control of Your Life After A Concussion, and it was night and day. The reason why was using even the word regain on a psychological level, it makes you think that something was taken from you and it's your responsibility to take it back. When you have that, it changed the mindset to where she's gonna guide me and they took responsibility. So the second round, she had about 200 new members come in and she was saying that the atmosphere, the environment, the energy, everything was night and day, because all of these people who came in the second round, came in with a determined mindset and they were ready to go. That was a really long explanation, but that is one of the biggest mistakes I see is that when people are creating that messaging, it is a reflection of their mindset and their mindset needs to be in the correct place to be able to attract the ideal client that they want.
What is something in your industry that you don't agree with?
There are a lot. I have kind of built my entire brand around being disruptive in the industry. One of the biggest things which is very controversial, but I do not agree that people have to know, like, and trust you before they buy from you. That's one, another is you don't need to create how-to content. I think a lot of times we get stuck in that how-to content and we are only going to attract someone with a DIY mindset when we do that. I also don't really agree that serving is selling and I'll explain that one too, but we'll go back to the first one. I don't feel like people have to know, like, and trust you, before they buy from you. There has to be some type of trust there, but they don't have to fully know you. I love to use the example of let's say, you really want a new washer and dryer, and you're aware that you need a new washer dryer, you're aware of the problem. If you go to, let's say, Home Depot, and the salesperson who is going to sell you the washer-dryer, if they come up to you, and ask you if you need any help, you're not going to say, "Well, let me get to know this person I need to know about his family, and I need to know about all the stuff he's done in his life." I don't even really need to like him, I just need my problem solved. I just need to trust, I think trust is probably the biggest one, I need to trust that he is going to be capable of helping me solve the problem that I need to be solved. So I think a lot of the times we get stuck in that know, like, and trust so we end up creating content, creating messaging online, trying to get people to know us and like us, and to seek approval versus actually showing up to serve. I know it's a little controversial, because even on the flip side, I have known someone and I've liked them a lot, and I trusted them, but then I worked with them and they still didn't solve the problem that I needed. solved. Right. I only worked with them because I really liked them, but they weren't the best equipped to help me solve the problem that I needed.
What do you think is one uncommon thing seven and eight-figure business owners have that others don't?
One of the most uncommon things that seven and eight-figure business owners have or what I've even seen is they don't emphasize personal care. So what I mean by that is a lot of the entrepreneurs who are under the six-figure mark really try to build their life around their business and not the other way around. I know this is preached all the time, but when I really started to work with the seven and eight-figure business owners, what I realized is a lot of them had really strong containers. I don't mean boundaries, I just mean containers, they set expectations, and they never stepped out of those expectations. They also created expectations for their teams and their work relationships and they also spent a ton of time putting their life first and building their business around their life. That's one of the biggest things that I've seen is that mindset of I have to hustle, that's not there in the seven or eight-figure entrepreneurs and I think it is uncommon, especially in the online industry to see that because we're told you just have to work harder and you're one funnel away and this is your next step. When do you know when enough is enough? When are you actually gonna get to that next thing? That was one of the biggest things that I really started to see is that they really set these strong containers and they spent a lot more time on them. One thing I will say too, that I've started to implement myself is they actually spent a lot of time and stillness. Not meditation, but when I say stillness, they legit sat in stillness, no phone, no paper, no nothing. They just sat with their thoughts for 45 minutes to an hour, every single day in stillness, and just let their mind just be still. That brings so much clarity and I was like, "Oh, my gosh, there is no way that I could do that, there's no way I could just sit still for 45 minutes and not do anything," And that is something that I actually started to challenge myself on and I do that every day now. I go and sit for 40 minutes with no phone, no paper, no nothing, no meditation. I just sit in a chair, look at the wall and just sit for 40 minutes. It's amazing what happens, your brain just starts to go wild at first, and then it just starts to get really still and really calm and the best ideas come to you so much clarity comes to you. That's something I see a ton of the seven eight-figure business owners do that not a lot of the six or multi six-level ones do.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I'm going to tell a story about just being 100% yourself and not being there to prove anything. I was invited to speak at an event and there were very high-level entrepreneurs in this audience. I got on stage and I want to say this because yeah, it is about networking. But I think what hangs all of us up when it comes to networking are those thoughts about what people are going to think about you or about how you feel awkward in certain situations. So anyway, I got on stage and the first thing I said was "Guys, I'm just gonna be dead honest with you, I'm sweating like a pig. I don't even know if pigs sweat, but I'm sweating like a pig and I'm incredibly nervous to be on this stage. I just wanted to let you guys know, because it's very nervous to be up here and it's very vulnerable to be up here and to speak and have everyone staring at you." As soon as I did that the entire room relaxed and you could just kind of feel the tension, you could feel the relief across the room. I tell you that because I use that now in every single networking event that I've been to the first thing I say to someone is like, "Hey, I am incredibly intimidated to be here, because I know that there are so many successful people here, but it is really nice to meet you," and just immediately telling yourself and letting them know, it almost puts the pressure off of them too, because they're most likely feeling the same way. It just creates this bond and then what ends up happening now when I do this, they'll say, "Oh, my gosh, have you met Ashley may yet?" Because I immediately set that connection and also use a lot of humor. This is actually something I've learned with my child that to connect with your child is to never make them wrong. Like never make someone wrong for thinking something or doing something and always throw in a little bit of playfulness or silliness. Throwing that that playfulness and that silliness in there immediately draws this connection. One way I do that, in networking events that ties back to my brand is my whole brand is built around farts and I'm not even joking. My podcast is no farting around I talk about industry disruptors making a big stink in their industry. So a lot of times when I go to these networking events, I'll immediately say, "I'm Ashley Fernandez and one thing you should know about me is, I think farts are funny. Everyone thinks farts are funny and that's why I created my entire brand around farts." Even now, when I speak, I always tell a fart story. I'll tell a fart story at the very end, I'll say there was absolutely no reason why I told that story except to prove that it doesn't matter how much money you make, how old you are, we all think farts are funny. The tension is completely released and everyone feels so much more connected to me, because I've added in some type of humor, and I have just been 100% vulnerable and real. I think that's one of the most successful tips I have for networking. You immediately stand out in a room because you are building that playful connection.
What advice would you offer that business professional who is looking to grow their network?
I actually had a coach one time tell me that she went to a networking event and the speaker asked everyone to raise their hand in the room if they were here to sell something. She said everyone raised their hand in the room, right, and then she said to raise your hand if they were here to buy something and only two people raised their hand. Then she says, "I want you to take this moment to learn that when you approach a situation in a place of an agenda to sell, you're making it about you you're not making it about the person you're networking with, and do you want to be in a friendship where it's always take take take? No!" That's always stood out to me and so now even when I go to networking events, I never talk about my offer. Even if someone was like, "Oh my gosh, I'd love to work with you." I say, "You know what? Let's connect on Facebook, let's connect on LinkedIn, let me send you a link to my calendar, and let's just jump on a call because I truly want to make sure that you have a chance to meet everyone that you need to meet here." That is so different than everyone else when they network because they're thinking about how they can sell people. Don't ever approach a networking event that way. Have the mindset of who can I connect with and how can I bring value to them at this event without expecting anything in return? And that goes back to the whole I don't believe in serving and selling. I do go into it with a servant's heart and it eventually leads to sales sometimes or even just amazing relationships that lead to referrals, but I don't ever go into it without it.
Do you have any final words of advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I just would say just go out there when you're networking and truly make it about relationships, without an agenda, or relationships without anything in return. I think that is just the biggest part when it comes to networking and not really approaching it to make money or to grow your audience or your clients. It is truly about relationships at the end of the day. Again, your marketing your messaging, the way you do one thing, and the way you do all things. When you approach it with that mindset of I really truly am here to serve someone I think that just everything shifts, and it really shows because you can truly tell the people in the online space who are there to serve and who are the ones who are there with an agenda.
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