Have a listen to episode #25 of the Gay Business & Marketing Made Easy podcast! Today is a 2013 year in review. We’ll talk about all that happened for LGBT equality in 2013 as well as some of my personal and business key lessons I learned in 2013.
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AUDIO TITLE: Episode #25
Jenn T Grace: You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, episode 25.
Intro: Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace.
Jenn T Grace: Well hello and welcome to episode number 25 of the podcast. I am your host, Jenn Grace, and today is the very last episode of 2013. So it has been quite an interesting year doing a podcast for you, so this is officially episode number 25, but if you recall I did the 30 Days, 30 Voices: Stories from America’s LGBT Business Leaders during the month of June, and that was an additional thirty episodes. So this past year I believe you have had about 55 hours or so of listening content. So that’s pretty exciting to have that many opportunities to learn. So I really feel like I kind of hit my goal out of the park in terms of delivering high quality content to you this past year. So I hope you have enjoyed it, and fear not, I will be podcasting a great deal throughout 2014 as well, sticking to a very similar schedule that I have right now which is essentially every other week. So yeah, I’m excited. I already have a couple of really awesome guests lined up for 2014, so I’m really excited to bring that all to you this coming year.
So today is the day after Christmas for those of you who celebrate Christmas. We are in the throes of the holiday season, so today I wanted to just share a couple of things with you. The first thing that I was thinking about is around what happened this year for LGBT folks. It’s been a really, really interesting year, and I kind of want to do just a recap, and that will be basically the first half of the show. And then the second half of the show is I want to share with you the six lessons that I learned in 2013. So last year at the end of 2012 I wrote a blog post that was about the seven lessons that I learned in 2012, and it has gotten a huge amount of readership, so I want to do that again for 2013, but I also want to share it with you here on the podcast. So we will cover that as well, and then we’ll wrap up.
So that is basically the agenda for today, but as always before we get into the meat of the podcast, I do want to share a couple of announcements with you. And the first announcement is about my upcoming webinar. It is on January 15th, and the title of it is ‘Increasing Your LGBT Market Share through Authentic Communications.’ So my webinars usually have a format that is about an hour long or so of presentation, and time for questions and answers. So if you have any questions whatsoever regardless of how they may or may not be related to the exact webinar, just bring them with you and we can certainly get to them. So the last webinar that I did, I stayed on for a significant period of time longer than planned, just because there were so many questions. So I want to make sure that I can answer as many questions as I possibly can while I have you on the webinar.
So if you are interested in learning more or RSVP’ing, you can certainly head over to the website at www.JennTGrace.com/webinars. And that will take you to the registration page for the January 15th webinar. However, if you happen to be listening to this and we are well past January 15th, if you go to that same link it will actually just register you- or bring you to the next date possible for registration. So I do webinars on a monthly basis, and I have all throughout 2013, and I certainly plan on doing that in 2014. So regardless of what time of the year you are listening to this podcast, there will be a webinar sometime in the near future available to you, so definitely go check that out.
So my other announcements- I have two others and then we’ll get into the meat. So the first one is the last episode I did, episode number 24, it was the first time I had my new sponsor included, and I heard from several of you- and it’s pretty exciting to see the reaction to Teazled, the new sponsor of the show that does LGBT greeting cards. So you will hear about them again towards the end of the episode, but I wanted to just give a quick little shoutout up front.
And then the last thing that I would love for you to do, is if you head over to the website at any point, if you would be so kind as to join my mailing list. This coming year I have been working on revamping the mailing list quite a bit, so that way it’s providing even more value to you. And I really try to go out of my way to not bombard you with too many messages, because I understand that your inbox is valuable, and I don’t want to overwhelm you. But I really am making a more concentrated effort to provide top quality value on a regular basis that you can actually use in your business on whatever day you happen to receive it, you can implement or execute it in your business that same day. So I’m really trying to focus on the value add there, so if you’re not on the mailing list yet, please just head over to the website and on the right hand side, there’s a link right there that says, ‘Join The Mailing List,’ and it’s in a couple of other places as well. So feel free to join the list. I would love to hear from you. If you’re looking for something in particular that I’m not offering at the moment, just shoot me an email. I always respond and I am happy to have the conversation, and at the end of the day I want to bring you the best value and best content I can, so if I’m missing something, I would love to hear from you.
So now I suppose without further ado, we can dive into the first half of the show here which is basically a 2013 LGBT year in review if you will. And this past year has been- in my opinion anyway, a really, really, really good year for LGBT equality. So as with anything, basically if you ask ten LGBT people what they thought of this year, you may end up getting ten different answers. But my assumption here would be that the majority of people would agree with you that 2013 was a really good year. And as always there’s still so much work that has to be done, it’s somewhat startling when you think about how much still has to happen, but you can almost see some sort of consciousness shift happening in the US. And when I’m on the podcast here, I’m primarily talking about the United States. Occasionally I’m talking about Canada, but I really am focusing on those two particular countries, and not so much on other places because LGBT in many, many, many other places is riddled with its own set of nuances, it’s riddled with a lot of hostility in some areas. So when I’m saying that 2013 was a good year for LGBT, I’m talking about it being a good year in North America essentially. Because if we look at places like Russia for example, where they are going over the top in terms of how they’re punishing people, and it’s point blank illegal, you could be killed for it, it’s not a good scene, and it’s not like Russia is the only place that has that issue. So just with that as the premise, we’re really talking about North America and the LGBT progress that we’ve seen specifically in the United States over the last year.
So if we just kind of skim through the year, and just pulled out some of the highlights, I have a handful of highlights. And the first one when President Obama was doing his inaugural speech, he mentioned Stonewall in his speech which has absolutely been unheard of, this is certainly something that has never been done before, having a sitting President actually talk about LGBT rights in an inauguration address. So let me just share with you what his exact words were, and I’ll explain why it’s so important in a second.
So President Obama said, “We the people declare today that the most evident of truths that all of us are created equal is the star that guides us still. Just as it guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” And then he went on to say, “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
So that was absolutely groundbreaking for Obama to essentially acknowledge LGBT rights in his inauguration speech. So I was really excited to see that kind of kick off the year, and that was in January, so it was really important. And I’m thinking as I’m saying Stonewall that some of you may not even know anything about Stonewall, so that actually- I think I’m going to write a blog post that kind of addresses what Stonewall was, why it was important. So basically Stonewall, just in a really quick nutshell, was it was the Stonewall riots, and it was basically a series of spontaneous demonstrations by the LGBT community against a police raid that happened at a club in Greenwich Village in New York City which happened to be on June 28, 1969. So if you were ever wondering why there’s always LGBT Pride parades, gay Pride parades, whatever you want to call them, why they happen in June, it’s because of these specific riots. So that’s just a really, really kind of skimming the surface of what Stonewall was. But just the fact that Obama is including Stonewall in addition to Seneca Falls and Selma, I think it just goes to show how LGBT inclusive he is. And it’s almost like he began to set the tone for what the rest of the year was in store for us in terms of LGBT equality.
So the next thing- so I guess there’s four things that I want to cover today. So I just covered basically the kick off of the year with President Obama, I want to talk about some court legislation, a little bit about marriage equality, and then some of the athletes and celebrities, and a whole bunch of other people who came out in 2013, and the kind of impact that that has had. So that’s basically the four points that I want to cover today.
So we’re going to hop over to number two, which is around court legislation. So on June 26th of this past year, which is very exciting because it also happened to be my birthday, that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriages must be recognized by the federal government for the very first time. And also on June 26th, it also made same-sex marriage in the state of California legal again. So this was absolutely huge for the Supreme Court to do, and they started hearing oral arguments sometime in March I believe it was. So it was a really kind of touch and go period of time from like March to June, to know whether or not the Supreme Court was going to rule in favor of same-sex marriages or not. So it was a really, really great, great day when it was announced that the federal government is now going to be recognizing same-sex marriages.
So I was out on the golf course with both my wife and father-in-law, and I was sitting in the golf cart just paying attention to Twitter, and Facebook, and news sites just waiting, and waiting, and waiting to hear the court ruling. So it was a very good way to spend my birthday personally. And it was absolutely a great day for many, many others. So it’s pretty exciting that our marriage is now recognized by the government.
So as you probably know, I am in the state of Connecticut, so since marriage equality is recognized in Connecticut, this is why it’s pertinent. We get to submit our taxes as married filing jointly to the federal government. So it will be an interesting tax season, I am certain of it, for those who are living in states where their marriage is recognized.
And before I get into marriage equality, because that was a huge piece of 2013, there’s one other thing that I want to point out, and that is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And that’s commonly referred to as ENDA. And this act essentially aims to ban workplace discrimination against LGBT employees. And this is something that I had a lot to do with personally in terms of making frequent trips to Washington D.C. to help support the passing of ENDA. And it was so exciting for it to make it through the Senate with bipartisan support no less, and unfortunately it just basically got stuck in the Republican control house. So while ENDA has not yet passed because it’s blocked in the House, it’s still really important to note because of the fact that it finally did make it to the Senate. And that in and of itself is pretty- is something to be proud of, but at the end of the day there’s still so much work that has to be done. I know that there’s been a lot of studies and a lot of polls with data that show that the majority of Americans already believe that you can’t discriminate against LGBT people in the workplace. So there is absolutely no federal protection for that currently, and that’s what ENDA is aiming to do. So while we’re not there yet, I don’t look at it to be a complete loss. So I say we’ve just got to keep on pushing on in terms of getting something passed to protect LGBT people in the workplace. So hopefully it won’t be ten years until we see something like that. I really feel like that’s got to be around the corner soon.
And going into the next point here, is about marriage equality. So marriage equality in the United States has been an amazing year. I feel like there is nobody that can argue against it not being an amazing year in terms of same-sex rights and equality for marriage across this country. So as a history, in 2004, Massachusetts became the very first state, followed by Connecticut in 2008. So essentially we had- it was a four year gap from the first to the second. And I feel fortunate because I was actually living in Massachusetts in 2004 when it became legal there, and then I was living in Connecticut in 2008 when it became legal here. So it was pretty exciting for me to witness both of those things, and kind of be in the climate and the atmosphere as it happened. But what I want to point out is that it did take four years to go from one to two. So at the beginning of 2013, we started off the year with just eight states recognizing same-sex marriage. So it took four years to get from one to two, and then it took another five years to get from two to eight. So significant growth, it takes time, there’s now two ways about it. But just in this past year, in 2013 alone, we went from eight states to seventeen states. When I had originally planned on recording this podcast and writing a blog post about it, we were at sixteen. But just the other day on December 19th, New Mexico became the seventeenth state to recognize it. So this past year we saw California be reinstated with marriage equality, and that happened in June, and then we saw New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maryland, and New Mexico. So we added nine states that now recognize same-sex marriage in 2013. So I am personally really super excited to see what actually comes in 2014. Because if we went from eight to seventeen states in a matter of a year, that’s pretty crazy to me, that’s just startling. So I’m excited to see where we start off 2014 with seventeen states, where we’re going to be at the end of the year, because I would imagine it’s going to be another significant increase in numbers. So before long I feel like marriage equality will be the lay of the land, it will just be what it is.
So it was just on Facebook the other day I saw some kind of quote from the musician Pink that made some comment about she looks forward to the day when someone’s not saying, “I’m going to a gay wedding,” they’re just going to a wedding. And I feel like that concept is not that far off from reach. So I think it’s really exciting, just what’s been happening over the last few years, there’s a lot of momentum. So it’s pretty exciting to see for sure.
So the last piece that I wanted to cover from 2013 was the fact that there’s a number of athletes and celebrities who are all just coming out, and it’s now kind of just being part of the norm. Instead of it being a whole big to do, it’s somewhat just becoming part of everyday life. Somebody comes out, and it hasn’t been as big of a deal as it has been in the past, which I think is a significant of the amount of progress. And just a few people that I noticed this past year, and I intentionally grabbed a random selection of folks, is we have Jodie Foster, Raven-Simone, Wentworth Miller, Darren Young, Jason Collins, Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels. So those were just a handful of people that I pulled out, and it’s interesting how differently they’ve all basically come out. So you have Jodie Foster who came out really publicly at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and I wrote a blog post about that so I will link that up here in the show notes, so you can definitely go check it out because I feel like we can learn a lot from what happened when Jodie Foster came out. And then we have Raven-Symone who I would call a former Disney star if you will. And she came out really nonchalantly in Twitter in August when she made a comment about how she can finally get married. And I don’t know that anybody was expecting it, and it was just very nonchalant which is pretty cool. And then we have Wentworth Miller who is the star of Prison Break, and he came out when he declined to speak at a Russian film festival on the grounds of Russia’s new anti-LGBT policies. So those were just a handful of really different ways of having come out.
And then we have Darren Young who is a WWE superstar, who just really kind of matter of factly just said being gay is okay. And NBA star Jason Collins came out very publicly when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the first active male athlete in one of North America’s four major professional sporting leagues. So that is startling to me that he is the first. So that was pretty impressive that he went out on the line to come out, and it was an interesting article, an interesting piece in Sports Illustrated if you have a moment to go check it out.
And then just later this year, Bob Harper came out who was one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser, and he came out during one of the episodes when he was just relating to one of the contestants who was also gay, but was in the closet from his family. So I wanted to include him on there. I feel like it’s not much of a surprise that he came out, and I’m surprised he hasn’t come out earlier to be honest. And then I don’t know if Jillian Michaels actually came out this year, or if she’s been out for a while, but she’s also a highly visible and successful trainer and a TV personality.
So I think that what all of this is summing up to say, is basically that being gay in 2013 is not the same as it was in 2003, or 1993, or 1983; it’s totally different, and it’s becoming so much more it is what it is, people aren’t going to try to change it, it’s just what it is. So it’s exciting to see that equality is coming. It’s taken a very long time, but equality is coming. So it’s really exciting to see, and that just kind of wraps up my 2013 year in review. And mind you there’s been so many other things that have happened for LGBT this past year, but those are just a few things that I wanted to specifically highlight.
So before we hop over to the second half of the show, I would love for you to just hear a quick word from my sponsors at www.MentalCompass.com.
Alright thank you Michael from www.MentalCompass.com, it’s always great to hear from them. If you haven’t had a chance to check out their website, or more specifically listen to their podcast, you totally should. Their podcast is great, I listen to it every single week when it comes out, and it just has really good information on how to just be a better version of yourself, is really the key takeaway from what they do. So definitely if you have a chance, check them out.
So now I want to in the second half of the episode here today, is basically just share with you six lessons that I personally learned in 2013. And this is the good, the bad, and the ugly. And like I had said in the opening of the show, this is something that I am doing for a second year in a row- and I didn’t do a podcast about it last year, I just wrote a blog. But it really struck a chord with a lot of people on what I wrote last year. And while this is all very much tied into business, it’s also somewhat personal for me too. So like I said, I’ve written it out but I have not actually said it on the podcast yet. So I’m going to just kind of hit you here with just some lessons I learned. Honestly I’m hoping that- it took me a while to learn these lessons, and I’m hoping that if I share them with you, then maybe it can help guide you if you’ve had a similar issue to what I’ve had.
So lesson number one- and I should preface that these aren’t necessarily in any particular order, they’re just kind of how they popped into my head. So the first lesson that I learned this year is that if you begin to feel stagnant, you need to up the ante essentially. So what I mean by that is in 2012 I had what I consider to be a life-altering epiphany. It was really around if I wanted to do better, I needed to feel better, and it was very much around my wanting to be healthier. And I started off that journey- and my whole purpose behind it was I really was just trying to clear my head, and just figure out what my next step in life was going to be, what I was going to do, how I was going to do it, and it ended up turning into a fitness and health kick. And that was in August in 2012, and now in December of 2013 I am still on the health kick, it has not subsided in the least, and since I started that goal I lost ten dress sizes. So I went from a size twelve to a size two, and lost just over 42 pounds. So it’s still kind of in my head, I don’t believe that I’m a size two, it just kind of seems crazy because I was never even remotely close to a size two. But what I found happening this past year is I hit my goal earlier in the year, it was probably like in August sometime, so it had been about a year that I had been on the kick, that I had met every single goal I had set for myself, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well now what am I going to do?’ Because once you hit that goal you kind of plateau and it’s like, alright well now what? So what I learned this year is that if you start to feel stagnant like that, you just have to up your game. And so I decided that I was going to run my first half marathon. And I’m doing the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which is next November, so it’s November, 2014, and I’m doing it with one of my great friends Virginia. And neither of us are runners, we don’t really know what we’re doing in many respects to running, and I have talked about this on the podcast before, in probably August or September I started telling you about my journey running this half marathon. But all that matters to me is that there’s a goal there, and there’s a mission of running that first half marathon, and it’s doing exactly what I set out for to do, which is making me feel anything but stagnant.
So I think that the same principle applies in your business. So if you feel like you’re getting complacent with what’s happening around you, change things up, find a new way to do things, put together a new game plan, up the ante. Whatever you have to do, but just don’t let your business feel stagnant, because I feel like that’s where innovation dies, and we don’t want that to happen. So I know that I navigate my life in just kind of a constant state of learning, and growing, and wanting to do things differently. And in my case, I seriously have no idea what the proper form and all that kind of stuff is to running, but at the end of the day that’s not going to be what stops me. So if you have something going on in your business, and you want to move forward with it, and you don’t want to feel stagnant, even if you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s not a reason to not do it. So that’s just my lesson number one. I don’t know if there’s any gem of wisdom in there that you can learn from, but there you have it.
So lesson number two- and this one’s a little bit more personal, but this one is don’t let your ego get in your way. And I bring this up because I feel like this was I don’t want to necessarily say a hard lesson to learn this year, but it was definitely a lesson that kind of hit me square in the face. And this past year, I don’t know what it was, but I really was struggling with my identity as calling myself an entrepreneur. And I feel like just recently I had this kind of revelation that my idea of an entrepreneur was really, really rigid. And I have a couple of friends who are employed by other people, and they both still consider themselves to be entrepreneurs. And in my mind it was a matter of like if you’re an entrepreneur you need to be doing 100% your own thing, not relying on other people, you are your own business, you’re not being employed by anybody, you don’t have any large contracts, et cetera, et cetera. Like I said totally rigid and totally, totally not accurate. And it wasn’t a conscious thing that I was thinking about as an entrepreneur like, ‘Oh entrepreneurs have to look like this,’ that wasn’t the case at all. It was just when I started thinking about it and dissecting it, I started to realize that my beliefs around what an entrepreneur actually meant to me were completely off base. So it was an interesting epiphany if you will, and over this past year I had a sizable contract as I usually do. I always have a significant consulting project that I’m working on currently so that way I don’t have to worry about income. So as that contract- one of the contracts that I was working on, I was really, really struggling with it because at times I just felt like I was a liar and a fraud, like I wasn’t really an entrepreneur, I was just kind of like a fake one. And it was really, really interesting for me to have this epiphany like why do I feel like a fraud? Why do I feel fake? What really is an entrepreneur? What does that really mean? And in my warped mind I had it in my head that if I had a consulting gig for somebody else that was taking up a significant amount of my time, then I couldn’t possibly be an entrepreneur. So like I said, ridiculous. So it wasn’t until towards the end of this year that I realized that I was completely thinking irrationally, and what I discovered from it is that I feel that it was my ego that was 100% in the way, and that was the reason why I had these feelings of like angst and fraud, and all that kind of stuff. And I really think it has to do with ego, because I feel like your ego is there to protect you, and somehow- and I don’t know if I’m explaining this right, but somehow having an ego means that- it’s somehow- and it’s really I can’t quite figure out the words to describe it, but essentially having your ego protecting you, it’s basically like my ego was saying, ‘You’re the fraud.’ It actually wasn’t protecting me, it was actually making things worse saying like, ‘If you really are an entrepreneur, you can’t possibly be working on this contract that’s basically having you be someone’s employee,’ and blah, blah, blah. So I really struggled with that, and at the end of the day I figured out it has to be ego, it has to be pride, so I need to just shove that crap aside and don’t let it get in the way. And I’m sure that there’s a million other reasons that could pop in my head as to how my ego has somehow caught me off guard, or steered me in the wrong direction, and I’m sure that’s probably the case for you too. It happens. Our ego is there, it is what it is, it’s a vital part of how our brain functions, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always right. So just my advice to you is just don’t let it get in your way like it has mine, and if you can recognize that it’s in your way then at least that’s half the battle, right?
So yeah, that was number two, and let’s see. So number three is align yourself with complementary people. And I have always, always, always gone out of my way to surround myself with people who I think are smarter than I am. And to me it’s just the best way to learn. I love to partner up and pair up with people who have different skillsets than I do, that I can learn from them, they can learn from me. So it’s kind of a win-win scenario. And my guess is this is one of those lessons that you’ll probably see on many people’s list because it is the time of year where people are creating lists about what happened last year. Like this podcast is a fine example of that. So you’ll probably see a similar theme about aligning yourself with complementary people on other people’s lists. But in my case, what I really am talking about here is in 2013 I went out of my way to be really strategic with projects that I took on, and people that I worked with. I had a couple that just weren’t the right fit for me, and I also- during the time where I had that life-altering epiphany that I talked about in 2012, I really kind of stuck my- really just firmly put my foot down and said, ‘Listen, I’m not working with people who I don’t feel are a good fit for me on an emotional well-being state, a mental well-being, a financial well-being; all of those things. So I’ve been really strategic with how I work with people and who I work with, because you have to have chemistry, it has to be a right fit. I can’t work with everybody, you may not be the right fit for me, or vice versa, and that’s okay because there’s somebody for everyone and I really believe that. So if I’m not the right fit for you, maybe I know ten other people who could easily be that right fit, and I’m more than happy to refer people out where it makes sense.
So I was even more strategic this year than I was in last years when I really just kind of went out of my way to strategically align myself. So in last year’s list, the concept of knowing your strengths came up as number six out of number seven. So essentially it’s just repeating itself here as well, because I really believe that if you can be really clear on what you do best, what contributions that you bring to the table, and what’s in your wheelhouse that you can really capitalize on what your natural skills and abilities are that really benefit everyone. They benefit you, they benefit your clients, they benefit everybody that you work with. So you really just number three is aligning yourself with complementary people. So hopefully there’s some sort of piece of wisdom that you can learn in that one as well.
And number four is always be true to your authentic self. And this is a lesson that I try to teach my clients a great deal, so it’s always helpful that if I’m actually practicing what I preach. In the third quarter this year, as you as a listener, you are very well aware, that I launched a product which is called, ‘How to Authentically Market to the Gay Community.’ And the course- it’s basically a full online course that’s ten pieces long, ten sections long, and the purpose of it is to really just educate you and train you on how to effectively reach out to the LGBT community in an authentic way. And I specifically chose the word ‘authentic’ because it really is so important to just embrace who you are, who you are at the core of your being. So I firmly believe that when we’re not acting in our natural state, the state where we are who we are, it is what it is, then it just makes it more difficult and sometimes we put up walls, we put up barriers, and you really just want to be who you are. Being your authentic, genuine, honest self, whatever that might look like. So Lord knows we all have flaws, and I am certainly riddled with them, but at the end of the day I am who I am, and it is what it is. So I think that being your authentic self kind of ties in with number three above which has to do with the strengths and really just knowing your strengths, because at the end of the day this just transcends marketing and impacts almost piece of your daily life. So I am who I am, I’m not you, you’re not me, I know what my strengths are, I know what my weaknesses are, and essentially I know how to compensate for both the strengths and weaknesses. So how I write my blog, or how I’m recording this podcast for you right now, or how I’m hosting a webinar, or if you pick up the phone and call me, you’re always going to get me, the real me. And I really- I don’t want to say go out of my way to be my authentic self, because then that wouldn’t really be all that authentic, would it? But I really just try to stay in the moment, and stay who I am, and sometimes that might mean me cracking some sort of joke inappropriate or otherwise on a webinar, and it’s just the sound of crickets because no one thought it was funny. And to me that’s who I am, I am known for making really dry sarcastic comments from time to time that either goes over people’s heads, or they don’t think is humorous, and I think it’s funny, I entertain myself and I’m okay with it. So that’s me being the authentic me. So just think about how you are with your LGBT outreach, and think about how you can really just capitalize and play up what your authentic self looks like. Because the LGBT community is looking for that. They’re looking for you to be reaching them in your authentic way, and I think that that is the hands down most important thing. So if you are currently reaching out to the market, or you’re trying to figure out how to reach out to the market now, really just being authentic to who you are is half the battle seriously. And being able to really just be your authentic self should be a fairly easy task versus trying to be somebody else.
So that’s my key lesson there as number four. And then we have two more and then we will wrap up this episode. And number five is don’t beat yourself up so much. And this is something that I have notoriously struggled with throughout my entire life, that I am really, really hard on myself. And you might find that you’re this way as well, but I have tendency to over-analyze, beat myself up while I’m striving for some level of perfection that’s just unattainable. So to me I’ve realized in this past year that there’s nothing really sustainable about trying to maintain perfection at all times. So echoing some of what I have said earlier about being authentic, is that you really just have to be your authentic self flaws and all. So when those flaws come out, or when something goes away that you didn’t necessarily plan for it to go, don’t beat yourself up. And it’s easier for me to tell you not to beat yourself up, versus actually not beat myself up. So it’s definitely something that I think takes time, and it takes practice, but over this past year I have recognized over, and over, and over again different periods of time where I am just beating the crap out of myself when I’m not achieving something that I was setting out to do. And sometimes in my head, second best isn’t enough and that’s not sustainable, it’s not maintainable, so that is my advice to you, and one of my goals for 2014 is to throw a few less punches at myself. So whether or not I actually achieve that is another story, but I have made a concerted effort to just kind of ease up a little bit. So if you are like me and you tend to over-analyze or beat yourself up, it’s not healthy, let’s be serious, it’s not healthy. And sometimes it’s okay to be perfectly imperfect. So this is something- I would say out of all these things on my list, number five is probably the one that hits home the most to me because it’s the one that I probably struggle with the most. So it’s a key lesson to you from me to just kind of think about how you treat yourself, and think about it in the way of would the way you treat yourself be how you would treat somebody else? And my guess is the answer is probably going to be no, because I know how hard on myself, I would never be that hard on somebody else, another employee. While I do have exceptionally high standards for myself and those around me, I wouldn’t beat them up the way I beat myself up. So yeah that’s number five, hopefully you can find something- find a key takeaway from that random rambling.
And number six is- and this is the final one, is go with the natural ebb and flow. And what I mean by this is it is not sustainable running at 100 miles an hour at all times. But yet somehow as business owners we continue to do this to ourselves. We think that it’s totally fine to be working twelve, fourteen hours days, 365 days a year. But in reality that is a recipe to crash and burn. And I have operated like this in the past. This past year I did not in any way, but it’s a matter of prioritizing, which I think mostly everybody struggles with in some form or another. So what I noticed this past year is that there’s just a natural ebb and flow to my life, and likely to yours as well. So if I look at my life, and I break it out into seven different periods throughout the year, and they’re roughly about 52 day periods, and starting with your birth month. So I was born in June, and basically from June 26th to 52 days after June 26, wherever that brings us, to me that’s like a period in my life. And it may be kind of like a crazy workaholic mode, it may be a let’s relax and take cover and shelter for a while. But what I noticed this past year is that I was very keenly aware of these kind of ebbs and flows throughout the entire year, and there were no exceptions. It’s almost startling how in rhythm, and I think it’s somewhat- and this may sound very new agey, but it really I think comes down to like astrological- like where things are in the universe at certain periods of time. But for me for example, and maybe this will make more sense when I give you an example, is I was a workaholic lunatic. Like I kid you not, that I was a nutcase from August through September. So I just was gangbusters all out running at 100 miles an hour from August through September. And this was because I was preparing the launch of my online training course. But what happened is that once the course was done, I crashed and I crashed hard. Because I had literally spent 52 days previously busting my tail with a very, very clear end goal in mind, and then basically come the end of September, beginning of October, I just crashed. I retreated into my crab-like shell which is what Cancerians tend to do, and from October through November I kind of just retreated into a ball, and had to regroup, had to collect myself, had to really just focus on recharging and reenergizing myself because I had really burnt myself out. And then the next ebb and flow that comes rolling through is November and December, so how did I handle that? And it was kind of a combination, I certainly wasn’t in my shell entirely, but I wasn’t running at 100 miles an hour. I was more relaxed, and more methodical, and more specific with what I was doing. So the key takeaway here is just kind of try to recognize when you’re working crazy, and when you’re kind of retreating into a shell and reenergizing, and see if there is a natural pattern that’s taking place. Because chances are, my guess is truly that there is. And I have noticed that these 52 day periods very much align with astrology, it starts and ends on my birthday every year, so I’m just really keenly aware as to how that all relates. And you may think astrology is a whole bunch of hocus pocus, and that’s fine, I’m not here to debate about that, we all have our different opinions on things. But just pay attention to how you operate, how your body is functioning, are you going, and going, and going, and it’s been four months and you are just working your tail off. Because you want to make sure that you’re factoring in time to kind of come down off of that crazy sprinting that you’ve been doing. So since I am preparing to run a half marathon, I feel like a good analogy here is that in business we can’t always be sprinting, we have to be living our lives and conducting our business as if we’re running a marathon. So to me it’s a matter of just getting real deep with yourself, and just start paying attention to the natural tides that are occurring in your life, because there is some sort of natural occurrence that’s happening, you just need to tap into it, and kind of capitalize on it, and use it to your advantage. So I think when you begin to actually notice this natural expansion and contraction to your life, you can really be more conscious about going with the grain versus against the grain. And my guess here is that it would save you time and stress in the process.
So that really wraps up my six key lessons of the year. I’m actually really curious to know what you would consider to be a key lesson of yours. So if you are interested I would highly encourage you to leave a comment on the blog post that just kind of says what’s something that you’ve learned this year, what’s a key lesson of yours? Or send a tweet to me, hit me up on Facebook, however you want to get in touch with me, but definitely pay attention to some of the key lessons that you’ve learned, and I’m all about learning from others so if you have some sort of great wisdom, I would love, love, love to hear it.
So as I mentioned at the top of the show I am just going to give a quick shoutout to Teazled, which is this podcast’s newest sponsor, starting in episode number 24. So I’m just going to give them a quick shoutout. And what I talk about a lot is taking things to the next level. So how can you just make a small step that’s going to benefit your customer loyalty. And especially if you’re marketing to the LGBT community, what is something that you can do that’s really- it may seem very small, but can go a really long way? And one of those things is using the company Teazled which has LGBT-specific greeting cards. So if you look on their website, there’s information that says ‘Teazled is a company whose driving motivation is to pioneer traditional greeting cards for the nontraditional family, so that they might be able to celebrate those meaningful moments.’ In addition to 200 everyday cards and holiday cards, they also offer customized business to business, and business to consumer greeting cards. So Teazled can essentially customize and tailor make any type of greeting card you’re looking for. So if you want to have your logo on it, you want to have your branding on it, you want to use a picture of your bed and breakfast, or you want to use a picture of your farm, or whatever type of business you happen to be in, they have an opportunity for you. And then company is run by two lesbians, they focus specifically on the LGBT community, and if you’re trying to take it a step further with your LGBT clients, sending them a card that’s specific to the LGBT community could go a long way. And these cards aren’t tacky and over-the-top, and they’re not riddled with stereotypes, they’re just really- they change the language and change the verbiage to make more sense for the LGBT community. And for example when I got married my wife and I received like three of the same card over and over and over again because they were the only three cards out there that didn’t have any type of male/female, husband/wife type of terminology in it. It was just a very general and gender-neutral card. So what Teazled does is they take that gender-neutral nature of the cards, and then they actually have two brides on it, or two grooms on it. So it’s just a really interesting and simple way to take it just a step further. Just a tad bit further in terms of building additional consumer loyalty with your LGBT customers. So that’s my spiel on Teazled, I hope you get a chance to check them out. You can do so by going to my website and it’s www.JennTGrace.com/cards. And that will bring you right on over to their website.
So there it is, that was a meaty episode, my oh my. So that’s episode 20 of the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I am so grateful that you’ve been listening to this podcast all year long. I certainly look forward to talking with you in 2014, and the next episode will be on January 9th, and we’re probably going to be talking about all things maybe goal setting related, or the LGBT landscape in 2014; it really could be anything. So I look forward to seeing you on January 9th, and in the meantime I hope you have a wonderful New Year.
So I look forward to seeing you on January 9th, and in the meantime I hope you have a wonderful New Year.