#52: Learn how to achieve Peak Performance in your Business & Marketing! [Podcast] - Jenn T. Grace—Book Publisher, Speaker, and Author Skip to the content

#52: Learn how to achieve Peak Performance in your Business & Marketing! [Podcast]

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AUDIO TITLE:  Episode #52 – Interview with Mike and Maria Keiser

Intro:

You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast; Episode 52.

Well hello and welcome to episode number 52 of the Gay Business and Marketing Made East Podcast. I am your host, Jenn T. Grace. And it is February of 2015, and in the last episode, episode number 51, I shared with you an interview that I did with Liz Cooper from the Human Rights Campaign. And I talked about how in this podcast episode we were going to go into more detail on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

Today’s episode is a little different…

Now I am apologizing up front that today’s episode is not going to be that. And I actually have a very valid reason for why today’s episode is going to be a little bit different than usual. So I was recently chosen to serve on a jury for a pretty lengthy trial here, where I’m based in the Connecticut area. So my time is exceptionally limited right now. So I’ve already been on it for about a week and there’s still about two to three possible weeks left to go.

So I want to use today’s episode, which I’m basically going to share with you an interview that I did with Mike and Maria Keiser. They are part of the Peak Performance podcast and some time ago, honestly I don’t even remember when it is but I will include the link to it in today’s show notes; but I did an interview on my podcast with them, and I want to say it was one of the earlier podcasts. So today we’re in episode 52, I want to say with them it was somewhere between like episode 14, 15, 16, somewhere around that time.

So I did an interview with them quite some time ago, and it was actually one of the higher listened to interviews that I had done, because they own a coaching company called the Entrepreneur Circle, and for long time listeners of this podcast I’m sure you are familiar with Mental Compass, and that is Mike Keiser. So he and Maria are sponsors of my podcast, I’m a sponsor of theirs, we both get a lot of out of it. So what I want to do with today with you, is I just wanted to share with you an interview that I did on their podcast, and this was a short time ago, I want to say it was probably September of 2013 or so. So it’s about a year and a half old; however, the entire content of that interview is really about learning how to achieve your peak performance in your business, and of course in your marketing.

So one of the things that I’ve recently- I guess recently had a revelation about, is when I was just doing my 2015 goal planning, and I went back and I looked at all of my income from 2014 and I went through an analysis of where’s my money coming from; is it coming from books, is it coming from speaking, training, consulting, coaching, you name it. And what I noticed was quite surprising, and that is that the vast majority of my income is coming from LGBT people. So as you may know, my mantra is that I teach straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves. And when I was actually looking at my 2014 business in review, it was very, very- almost alarming as to what a ratio of my working one-on-one with LGBT was, compared to my educating and teaching around the straight audience.

Increasing the number of coaching clients in 2015…

So with that being said, one of the things that I’m going to be working on in 2015 is to increase the number of coaching clients that I have; they can certainly be- basically anybody who’s interested in marketing to the LGBT community, but based on my current portfolio of clients that are coaching clients. Right now they are all LGBT. I’m in talks with a handful of people who are allies to the community, but right now it’s looking- just as my 2014 numbers had shown, that I’m working with a lot of LGBT people one-one-one.

So in saying that, I guess the target audience or my ideal coaching client is really the- there’s a term called a ‘mediapreneur’ which a gentleman named David Siteman Garland happened to be the one who coined that phrase, the ‘mediapreneur.’ And it’s really just somebody who has a business very similar to mine, where my business is revolved around media. So whether that’s social media, whether it’s the podcast, whether it’s blogging, whether it’s doing interviews on other people’s podcasts, guest blogging, et cetera. And I have a very robust email list that I also am using in a way to educate my audience when they subscribe to the list. So my ideal other person that I- or other people in terms of a coaching perspective that I would love to work with, are really people who have a business where maybe they have a book, and they’re trying to get speaking off the ground. Or maybe they have a speaking portfolio already, but they’re trying to write a book. So right now I’m actually working with three people; two of which I’m ghost writing, or helping them ghost write a book, and the other one already has a book and I’m helping her try to find more speaking engagements.

So those are just three of my clients around- specifically around books and speakings. So that’s really what I consider to be my sweet spot, so if you are currently speaking and you want to write a book and you have no idea where to start, or if you have already written a book and now you really just need to get your book out to the world and you want to add speaking to what you’re up to, then I think that is the area that I am best able to serve you. So if that is something of interest, please feel free to reach out to me.

And I thought that today’s using the past interview that I did with Mike and Maria would be a great segway into this whole focus of me really just proactively focusing on getting new coaching clients. And it’s not something I’ve just been getting coaching clients- I don’t want to say left and right because that seems like a ton of them happening, but I have gotten a lot of new coaching clients over the last couple of months, and I wasn’t actually seeking them out. And it’s something that I absolutely love doing, I’m really passionate about doing, and I love helping people so it just seems like a natural fit to kind of switch my focus- or not even switch it but just slightly adjust it to really be focusing on getting more coaching clients.

If this is something that interests you….

So if this is something of interest to you, of course please feel free to reach out to me. Just go to my website, find the contact area, send me an email; if you’re on my email list, just reply to something I’ve recently sent you, and we can certainly have that conversation. And the interview that I did- like I said with Mike and Maria, it was really about how to be a peak performer and that’s a term that they use. And their show basically, according to their description it says that the Peak Performance Podcast is a show about everything having to do with being a peak performer, we discuss high achievers, relationship management, mind management, happiness and well-being and everything we can think of to help you reach your full potential.

So that’s something that’s written on their website somewhere, and I really enjoyed this interview and Maria is my personal coach and I talked about her many times in the past, so I know that you’ll get a lot out of this interview. It does talk about my own personal business journey, shutting down a past business, where my business- at the time, which now you know it was about a year and a half ago, where it stood. So that’s my reasoning for sharing this with you. I just want you to get a general idea of really what the beauty of coaching is; it’s a service that I strongly believe in, and if I look back to probably 2010, I think is when I started working with Maria. My budget was really constrained at that time, so paying for a business coach was something that hurt some months because of the cash flow problems that I was having at the time. And that’s one thing that regardless of anything else, is the one thing that I would not give up. So I would not- I would shut down other services but that is the one thing that I just couldn’t see getting rid of because it’s so valuable. So I’m hoping that you can find the value in this interview through that.

So that’s the one thing, I just wanted to give you that history and that background so you understand why I’m randomly dropping in an interview from a year and a half ago, and of course it stems from jury duty and really not having enough time to fully dedicate myself to talking about the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index in a way that I think is going to be valuable enough for you.

And now… Book Number Three!

So there’s one more thing I want to mention, and then I’m just going to dive right into the interview. Of course I hope you enjoy it, feel free to reach out to me after the fact. But the other thing that I just want to quickly mention, is I have indeed started book number three. I’ve been talking about it and talking about it, and saying that I was going to do it, and I was waiting basically until February 1st to act on my plan that I have in place for the year. And voila, we are now in the beginning of February.

So book number three has started. I am seeking input from you. The book is going to be primarily around LGBT business owners, and how to leverage your status as such in the marketplace. It will talk about marketing, it will talk about communications of course it will talk about a lot of the stuff that I already talk about here on the podcast. But I really want to have a business angle to it, and share best practices from other LGBT people.

So I’m sharing this with you because I would love for you to be a part of book number three. So if you go to my website at www.JennTGrace.com/booksurvey, that will bring you to a short Survey Monkey questionnaire page, and all I’m looking for is the answer to- it’s five questions total, which includes like your name. And I’m just looking for information from you on best pieces of business advice that you have, how you’ve been able to use your status as an LGBT person in a business setting; or maybe how you haven’t been able to use it. I want to really draw from my audience the content that’s going to be in this third book.

So and of course I have the last one, it’s just a simple yes or no, ‘Are you willing to allow me to publish your information in the book?’ So if you say ‘No,’ what I’m probably going to do is just take what you’ve written for me and probably end up with merging it with other information that I have, and doing it broadly so it’s not quoting you specifically. But if you say ‘Yes,’ there’s a good chance that I can quote you specifically with your name and your business.

On to the interview with Mike and Maria Keiser!

So that’s basically what I have. I’m really excited about book number three, the last two books have been certainly collaborative in a way that I drew all of the content from them based on conversations I was having with people, and it just kind of evolved from there. But book number three is a very specific proactive approach of getting information from you for the book. So if you are interested, please hop over to www.JennTGrace.com/booksurvey.

And today is episode number 52, so if you want links to anything that was mentioned including the book survey link, you can head over to www.JennTGrace.com/52 for episode number 52.

So thank you again for listening today, I really hope you enjoy this interview with Mike and Maria Keiser. And I will be back with you for that HRC episode that I have promised in episode number 53. Thanks so much and have a great one; enjoy the interview.

 

Mike Keiser:

Hello and welcome to Peak Performance, I’m Mike Keiser along with Maria Keiser, how are you?

Maria Keiser:

I’m great how are you?

Mike Keiser:

I’m fine thanks. I just can’t believe it’s already our 39th episode of the show.

Maria Keiser:

I know.

Mike Keiser:

The time is just zooming on by. And I don’t know for those- I know we say it every week that there can’t really be that many people or if anyone that doesn’t hear our show; but for the ones that are new, this is a show about everything having to do with being a peak performer.

Maria Keiser:

That’s right.

Mike Keiser:

Reaching your best, of being your very best self. So I think we’re going to have a lot of fun today.

Maria Keiser:

Well I’m really looking forward to our guest today.

Mike Keiser:

So am I. Before we get there did you have anything you wanted to bring up?

Maria Keiser:

No, no I’d rather get right to our guest today.

Mike Keiser:

Me too, because as I said we’re going to have a whole bunch of fun today. And just to kind of give you a little teaser; this great guest that we have coming on, you’ve actually heard from about, I don’t know, about 38 times or so before. You’ve heard from her on our show.

Maria Keiser:

At minimum.

Mike Keiser:

At minimum. But you’re finally going to get to meet Jenn in person; and that would be Jenn T. Grace, or Rent-a-Jenn as all of you most affectionately know her. And there’s a lot of reasons we wanted to bring Jenn on. But this is sticking to our theme recently of interviewing people who are peak performers in their own rite.

Maria Keiser:

Yeah.

Mike Keiser:

People that we see as being peak performers. Because as we’re showing over and over, you don’t have to be famous- you don’t have to be Steve Jobs or Richard Branson to be a peak performer. You just have to- you don’t have to be famous and there’s a lot of wisdom that can be offered, and in our eyes Jenn is a peak performer.

Maria Keiser:

Yeah and I think what we’re trying to highlight in this- and it’s almost an insult what I’m going to say, but regular people are peak performers too; but not that there’s anything very regular about Jenn, because she does amazing stuff all the time.

Mike Keiser:

But I know what you mean. They aren’t the people that we hold up on some kind of big pedestal, you know. Rockstars, pro athletes, so whoever that might be. But as I said, in our eyes Jenn absolutely is a peak performer. And just her determination, her attitude, her drive, her spirit- all those are just completely infectious. And one of the things that led us to wanting to have Jenn on, is a recent blog post that she wrote about her own personal journey that we- and I’m sure a lot of other people found, was just fascinating and heartfelt and well written. So I know we hear Jenn’s commercial every week, but most people don’t know that she’s a blogger and a podcaster at Gay Business and Marketing. She’s the author of the book that came out this year called, ‘But You Don’t Look Gay.’ She helps a ton of people understand how to market to the LGBT community. Jenn now refers more to it as the gay community, because some people I guess didn’t understand what LGBT stood for. She does coaching, she does webinars, she has a podcast called Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy. She was previously the Executive Director of CABO which is Connecticut’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. They were- as you know, the 2011 Chamber of the Year.

Maria Keiser:

That’s right and that’s because of Jenn’s efforts.

Mike Keiser:

That’s right. And I think even at a landscaping business at seventeen years old if I’m not mistaken. So it sounds like entrepreneurship and performance are in Jenn’s blood. And of course we don’t want to forget www.rentajenn.com, which you hear about every week. Where she helps people with marketing plans, marketing projects, just little, small, little like jump in and do some quick marketing help here and there. But as you pointed out too, just overall very passionate about what she does, very passionate about the gay community, and we are unbelievably honored to have Jenn T. Grace on the show with us today.

Maria Keiser:

Welcome Jenn.

Jenn T. Grace:

Well hello. That was the craziest, most comprehensive, intro ever; I love it, thank you.

Mike Keiser:

I hope I didn’t miss anything.

Jenn T. Grace:

I think you covered it quite well, I was trying not to laugh into the microphone.

Mike Keiser:

Well we both just love your story and love working with you and really couldn’t wait to have you on the show.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah, I’m excited to be here. We’ve been talking about it for awhile and I listen to your podcast avidly, so it’s exciting to actually be a guest.

Maria Keiser:

So you’re not one of those people that haven’t listened to our podcast yet?

Jenn T. Grace:

No, I would say that would be a way to weed potential guests out.

Mike Keiser:

Well I’m going to just start with- I mean obviously people can tell from the bio and you have a lot going on. And we know you well, you handle it with a lot of grace- no pun intended. And a lot of dignity. I’m sure you have your moments, but where does your motivation come from? How do you keep it all going?

Jenn T. Grace:

That’s a good question and I certainly do have my moments. Just recently I’ve had a handful of those said moments. But I feel like my motivation is just my internal goals that I set for myself, and a lot of times I find that I have no actual rhyme and reason to how I’m going to get to a goal, but I just know that I have a mission and a vision and I’m going to get to it. So I feel like that’s kind of what keeps me motivated. And I know that you mentioned my blog post just recently, and that was just kind of a transformation of me wanting to get healthy, and then I just realized last week actually- that I’m kind of feeling a little stagnant. So I decided just last Thursday that I’m going to run a marathon. So now I’m marathon training because I feel like I need to have a goal in order to keep me motivated. So they go very much hand in hand.

Maria Keiser:

It sounds like you just contradicted yourself, right? You have a goal, you don’t really know how you’re going to get there. But I’ve known you for a couple of years now, and I don’t entirely believe that that’s true. You know, your steps may not be as organized as someone else’s, but you definitely know where you want to end up and you walk those roads.

Jenn T. Grace:

Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe I don’t have the steps being A to B to C. It’s more like A to F to G to K- kind of zigzagging and all over the place. Knowing that I have that big picture vision and goal in mind, I’m just not entirely sure what the path is going to look like to get to it.

Maria Keiser:

So Jenn, have you always been like this or did you have to learn this kind of behavior?

Jenn T. Grace:

No, I feel like it’s a blessing and a curse but I feel like I’ve always been this way and if I have a goal and a vision in mind, I feel like it’s something that I can hands down accomplish. I don’t know why, sometimes I feel like I’m delusional but I know that you mentioned the 2011 Chamber of the Year in the bio as well, and that’s one of those things that for me, my main mission of that year was to make sure that our chamber won that award. So everything that I did, every single moment of my day was, ‘Is this going to help me get closer to that goal; and if it’s not, I’m not going to do it.’ So I feel like that’s just something that’s innate to myself because it’s not just for my business, it’s also for personal things too.

Mike Keiser:

So I’m hearing from you that it’s really specific goals that drive your motivation, not necessarily just some like general way of life. Or I don’t know what I’m trying to say, it sounds more like you need to set up some specific things that really drive you, and that’s what pushes you into action; is that right?

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah, I would say so. And honestly I’ve had this goal for the longest time, since my landscaping days at 17 which was indeed accurate. And I had a goal of making my first million by 35. I’ve always had this goal, I don’t know where it came from, but I’ve always known that I can accomplish the goal. And just last weekend I was at the beach and I was thinking, ‘Well if I actually made my first million, what would that actually translate to in my lifestyle that would make me want to accomplish that faster?’ And what I decided is that I wanted some sort of beach home that could be like the home that’s like the center for our family. So not just my immediate family like my wife and children, but my parents, her parents, our cousins, relatives and whatnot to have that place where everybody can kind of just come together. Whether it’s in the spring, summer, fall, winter, whatever it happens to be. So to me, instead of just saying, ‘I want to make a million dollars by 35,’ it’s ‘I want to make a million dollars by 35 so I can purchase a beach home for our family.’ So it’s like going that step further in my head. I don’t know, for some reason it makes goals far more attainable when I have something concrete tied to them.

Maria Keiser:

Well there’s a meaning behind it, right? So it’s not just a million dollars, because okay, well what’s a million dollars? But there’s a million dollars so you can have this, so you can do this and feel this and go here and go there.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah. Exactly.

Mike Keiser:

So we’ve been talking about the blog post that you recently wrote about your journey over the last year or so. What is it that clicked? Like what really started you on that journey? Was it the same thing? Did some specific goals come to mind? Or what really happened or wasn’t happening at that moment?

Jenn T. Grace:

Well I think with my personality, when I start- just knowing how I am, if I start to feel bored or restless I know that I have to make a change. Because I’m very much go, go, go, go all the time and when I’m just restless it’s like, well obviously something’s not clicking and not feeling right. And in the blog post I kind of outlined an incident that had happened to me on a professional level that just kind of made me feel gross, and there’s no real good way of putting it other than I just felt gross inside for allowing the situation to occur. And I didn’t have a goal at that moment of, ‘This is what I’m trying to accomplish.’ All I knew at that moment was, ‘I don’t want to ever feel like this again.’ And then just thinking about that and thinking of ways, ‘Well how am I going to allow myself to not feel like that again?’ And that came to I need to find my mental clarity somehow, so I started exercising. And then starting exercising being the competitive somewhat lunatic that I am, I said ‘Well now my goal is to lose twenty pounds.’ And then it was to lose thirty pounds and then it was to lose forty pounds. And I just kept upping my goal over and over again. And it was all just to rid that ‘I feel gross’ feeling that somebody made me feel. And then that just feeling healthy on a physical level translated into having like my mental wellbeing back, which then helped my business. So I don’t know if that really just made it sound complicated, but in my head it made sense.

Maria Keiser:

No I mean it sounds like you had some emotion around it and then you made a decision that that emotion didn’t feel right. So it really tells me that you really understand yourself too, when you mentioned earlier when things are stagnant I know I need to make a goal. Somebody said something that didn’t resonate with you very well, you felt gross. So you knew you needed to make a change so that couldn’t happen again. But you know, there’s the point of making the decision, ‘Oh I’m going to do this’ to actually implementing it. So that was a year ago that you made the decision to become healthier in your diet and in who you are. But there’s another thing altogether with executing it. So I know that when you were going through this process you were eating 1,200 calories a day, you made a promise to do 10,000 I think plus some steps up and down stairs during the day. So tell me about that. Tell me about the execution because there’s days where you want the ice cream sundae, or there’s days where you don’t feel good that day so there’s a really good reason, ‘I don’t have to do it today.’ Tell me about that journey.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah, I think the execution piece is probably the biggest component of it. Because we can all come up with some sort of great grand goal but if we have no intention of actually executing on it then there’s- you’re just kind of wasting your time and air. So for me for the execution, when I started out doing this I really- I just thought like, ‘Okay what can I do that’s a really small change right now, that’s going to have some sort of- not necessarily an immediate impact but will have an impact?’ So the first thing I did was I just stopped drinking Diet Coke and Pepsi. I switched to Sierra Mists and Sprites. So I went from drinking dark sodas to light sodas. So it was something really, really small that did not really impact my day-to-day. Then I started saying, ‘Alright let me try to get an idea of how many calories I’m actually taking in on a given day,’ because I had absolutely no idea. And then once you start watching how many calories you’re taking in, it’s like mind-boggling. Because you’re like, ‘I didn’t even eat anything but somehow I still managed to consume 3,000 calories today.’ So I started paying attention to that, and then I got a couple of apps for my phone that are fabulous and I absolutely love that help me track my calories. So then I just started counting them and then as I was doing it, I realized it’s really simple math in terms of losing weight. And I am so bad at math so the fact that I just said ‘simple math’ is just kind of odd anyway. But it’s just calories in, calories out. So I started going to the gym and that was like a really scary experience for me because I had never actually gone to a gym even though I was an athlete growing up, which kind of makes no sense but it is what it is. So I started exercising every day and then I started losing weight immediately. And then I would notice that I stuck to only eating 1,200 calories a day and exercising four days a week, burning 300 calories every time I was doing it; but I would have like this surplus of a ton of calories available, so I could have those splurges if I wanted to. So that way I didn’t say, ‘Oh I can never have ground beef again or I can never have a sundae or I can never have something chocolate again.’ Because if you do that you’re setting yourself up for falling off the wagon, and when you do fall off the wagon you’re going to fall hard; so you have to be realistic.

Mike Keiser:

That- boy you said that extremely well. And you were talking earlier about the million dollars and the beach house, and not necessarily just because you want a fancy house on the beach. But how it could be a gathering place for the family and things like that. In the journey in particular to the weight loss and the 1,200 calories and whatnot, was there a particular- like was there a particular meaning that led you to do that or motivated you along the way?

Jenn T. Grace:

No that’s the interesting part. Is that it really had nothing to do with losing weight. When I set out on that journey of just not feeling gross, it was really for my own mental wellness. Like I really felt like I was starting to just- I felt like I was losing my mind. I was just in a really not a great place, even though my business wasn’t doing terrible I just personally didn’t feel like I was in the right mindset. So it was just a matter of like what can I do to make me feel healthy? And I had this thought in my head of, ‘I could never be a size seven,’ and I don’t know why but in my head I’m just like, ‘I could never be a seven. There’s just no way, I’ve never been. I was like thirteen the last time that happened, clearly that’s not happening again.’ So even from the outset I just had these like weird moments of doubt creeping in. And then as I started to work harder and move closer to this goal, and I started to drop size after size after size; and then eventually land at a 4/2, clearly that was a belief that was totally unnecessary in my head; but I had to work through that myself. I had to kind of get through that. And now there’s no grander purpose for me to want to continue losing weight other than I feel good when I’m exercising, when I’m eating right I feel good. And it has nothing to do with my physical appearance; I was totally comfortable and confident the way I was at a size twelve as I am now at a size four. So it’s really interesting to me that there’s nothing like vein or vanity about it. I just feel much healthier and better. And I feel like I’m more productive, too. I feel like my business is thriving more because of me just being in a better mental state.

Maria Keiser:

Well you know, based on the things that you’ve said so far in this interview, you very much just live your passion, right? You want the million dollars because it ties into your personal. You wanted to lose weight because you were going to be healthier. It wasn’t about the facade or the external forces. It’s really coming from a place inside. I’d like to switch things over to your business side. I’ve heard you say it a few times, and we love the statement, you’re a self-proclaimed professional lesbian.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yes.

Maria Keiser:

So what led you to create a business around this versus any other kind of business? What did you see was missing in the marketplace for this?

Jenn T. Grace:

Well the LGBT market as a whole has many, many giant holes that need to be filled by somebody. And for me, I was the Executive Director of the Connecticut LGBT Chamber for three and a half years, and prior to that I was on the board for a couple of years, and on committees, and was helping out and all that kind of fun stuff. And as much as I love doing it, I love talking to people, I loved helping them grow their businesses and basically be a customer service person in a lot of instances what my role was. Just keep everybody happy, keep things moving forward. But the thing that I loved the most was talking to business owners and finding out what their trouble spots were and how I could help them and they would come to me and say, “Well I’m really trying to figure out how to position myself as the go-to florist for the LGBT community. How would I go about doing that?” And it was my marketing background and my access to these people who have some sort of vested interest in the LGBT community that kind of stemmed this new direction of my business, which is really just helping people understand the right communication styles and the right marketing tactics to sell their products and services to the LGBT community. Because you can join a chamber of commerce, you can join other types of professional networking groups; but the second you come out with some really offensive ridiculous statement, you’re going to lose all of that business and the reputation that you’re trying to build for yourself. So I try to stop that before that happens. So if there’s an ally business owner listening to this and they may have made the statement, ‘But you don’t look gay,’ to somebody who has come out to them, they probably don’t realize why that comes across as offensive as it does. So I want to be the one that’s out there in the front saying, ‘Don’t say this, you should try to phrase it this way.’ Or just teaching them about those faux pas, because there’s nobody really out there that’s taking the time to educate consumers and business owners on those do’s and don’ts that can get us all into very big trouble; myself included.

Mike Keiser:

And get into very big trouble, but you bring up a good point. And it is I think kind of your capitalist and entrepreneurial side coming out, that there’s also a great deal of money to be made; there’s big spending power in the LGBT community.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah, the LGBT community is ranked number three out of minority groups’ buying power. So you have the Hispanic American population at the top, followed by African American. Then LGBT, and then Asian American. So it’s- like if you look at how much money corporations are spending, and small businesses are spending to market themselves to the community, it ranks number three at $790 billion in buying power annually. Which is a huge amount of money for anybody wanting to try to differentiate their business from their competitor.

Maria Keiser:

And you know Jenn, I want to take a minute and go back to the root. I remember you talking about a story, and you even talked about it in a recent interview you had on your podcast, of how you experience the other side of things and how that was the catalyst for you too, to really be the voice for the LGBT community.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah, so you’re saying in terms of being on the receiving end of said ridiculous statements?

Maria Keiser:

Yes. Yes, working in an organization that was half were on board, half were not, and not being fully comfortable to come out yourself.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah, and I feel like I bring a unique vantage point to those that I work with. Because I do have the experience working in a larger company; and of course insurance, because we’re in Connecticut so it’s all insurance. So I had that experience of coming out to some co-workers but not other co-workers, and having to overhear hate-filled comments like in the lunchroom of people making remarks like, “Oh, she looks like a dyke,” or things like that. And it wasn’t even directed to me, it was other people just talking about either another co-worker or somebody they mutually know outside of work. And it’s like- there’s a cultural problem there, because if you allow your employees to walk around saying comments like that, whether they’re saying ‘faggot’ or they’re saying ‘dyke’ or they’re just making derogatory comments whether it’s towards LGBT people or it’s towards any other minority group. It’s still- it creates a really hostile work environment for those people who fall into that minority group. And that was the reason why I ended up leaving that position and taking that leap of faith of not knowing if the chamber could actually hire me, because I was on the board at the time and we didn’t really have much money in the budget, but coming back to that mental health and wellbeing, I knew at that moment that I could not subject myself to having to hear comments like that on a regular basis. So I said, “You know what, I’m just going to leave my job and hope for the best.” And fortunately four weeks later I was hired by the chamber.

Mike Keiser:

So in your experience, and let’s say people that you’re coaching and working with, because I love the name of the title of the book, ‘But You Don’t Look Gay.’ Are you finding that a lot of what you’re doing is really helping people learn how to communicate more effectively in a non-offensive way? Like have you found that there’s a lot of people that are not necessarily not well-meaning. That they just happen to inadvertently say kind of ridiculous things or things that could certainly go against them if they’re marketing to the community. Which do you find more?

Jenn T. Grace:

I would say it’s genuinely people who have good intentions. I would say nine out of ten times, the people that I’m working with have 100% good intentions behind what they’re saying. So for example, and this one comes up all the time for me. Is if you’re trying to market your product or service to the LGBT community, and in your flyer, brochure, whatever it happens to be, you use the phrase ‘Gay Lifestyle.’ That’s one that to the average person you may not think there’s anything wrong with saying the ‘Gay Lifestyle,’ because you just assume that LGBT people have lifestyles. But when you’re actually saying it as ‘The Gay Lifestyle,’ it’s really implying that being gay is a choice, because lifestyles are choices. So for somebody who is LGBT and they pick up your brochure and they see right there in the first sentence that your bakery caters to ‘The Gay Lifestyle,’ immediately that brochure is going in the garbage because you’ve already set the tone of you don’t understand the community, because if you did you wouldn’t use a phrase like that. So that person who put that flyer together at the bakery probably did not mean anything by it, they may have just saw that written somewhere else and thought it sounded good. So that’s nine out of ten times the types of people I’m working with.

Mike Keiser:

Okay, very interesting. So what it is that you find you love so much about entrepreneurship?

Jenn T. Grace:

Well I would like to say the freedom but right at the moment with the amount of things I’m working on, that’s not really the case. I just have an inability to work for other people. It’s just- it’s kind of in my blood. I have to be the one that’s making the decisions and calling the shots. And I can work well with other people I just don’t work well being someone else’s- moving someone else’s business forward. I’d rather be moving my own business forward. So I think that that’s like the number one thing that drives me to be an entrepreneur, even though there’s plenty of times where it’s not all roses and butterflies.

Maria Keiser:

Well that leads us to the next question. So what gets you through those challenging times and feelings that go along with starting up a business? How do you cope?

Jenn T. Grace:

I feel like it’s a difficult question for me to answer because I feel like the way I cope is just with some strange knowing that it’s going to be fine in the pit of my stomach, in my gut I just know it’s going to be fine. So even if I’m having a really low point such as a year and a half, or whenever it was ago, when I had a business partner and I had to make the decision to close that business down. Like that was one of the lower points, but I knew by doing that, that that was the right decision. It’s just- it’s strange because it’s not like- it’s like I just see signs and omens that I know that I’m doing the right thing. It’s very, very- I’m trying to think of the right phrase for it. But like I see in the clouds, it’s that crazy in my head. Like I just see certain things in the sky, I’m like, “Yup, it’s going to be fine.” Like I’ll see like a hint of a rainbow in the sky and I’m like, “Yup, it’s fine. Whatever decision it was, no matter how life changing or how big or how insignificant that particular thing that’s weighing on my mind at that particular moment, I just know in my guy that it’s going to be fine.” And it may seem delusional, again, but it’s how I roll.

Maria Keiser:

Well you know we’ve often joked that, just wish for money in your basement because it seems like when you have something that’s really on your mind and you put your mind to it, then poof, an opportunity or three or four just show up. So I think you need to wish harder to have money in my basement.

Jenn T. Grace:

I told you to get a shovel and start digging, because I swear there’s going to be something in there.

Mike Keiser:

This is along the same lines and I think I know how you’ll answer. But in less than a year you’ve started a blog, you’ve written a book, you’ve started a podcast, you’ve launched at least one new business. What kept you on track and how do you stay- how do you not let the fear take over I guess is the question.

Jenn T. Grace:

Oh man. I would say that the two of you, my round table, Maria talking me off the ledge from time to time; I really feel like it’s that that keep me on track. I know that no matter how much work I have to do and how hard and cumbersome it may seem at times, I know that I’m not only accountable to myself, but I am accountable to other people. So I know that if I show up when Maria and I meet next, and she asks me a question and my response is, “Well I didn’t do anything,” I know I’m going to catch hell for it. And I really appreciate that because it gives me that added motivator to be like, “Oh shit, I’m meeting my round table next week. I have to make sure that I accomplish X, Y and Z because I said I was going to.” So it’s the peer advisors and the accountability piece from other people; even though they have no actual vested interest in my business, they just have a vested interest in me succeeding. So to me that’s all I need to make sure that I’m continuing to stay focused. And then of course just monthly coaching sessions of what’s the priority and what’s stopping you from achieving whatever that goal is or whatever that priority has to be? That would be the secret for me.

Mike Keiser:

There you go.

Maria Keiser:

Okay well I’ll be sending a check for the-

Jenn T. Grace:

Please do, I’m in Suffield.

Mike Keiser:

Wow, you’ve been a completely delightful guest to have on.

Jenn T. Grace:

Well thank you.

Mike Keiser:

Tell people for a couple of minutes what you want them to know. How to reach you, how to get ahold of you, what problems they might be having that you can help them out with.

Jenn T. Grace:

Sure, so I would always direct somebody to head over to my website, and I actually joke on my own podcast at this point that I need to start a drinking game around how many times I spell out my website. Because it’s www.JennTGrace.com. So you have to make sure you have the two N’s in there or else it’s not going to get to me. So yeah, if you have any questions around how to market your business, products, services, whatever they happen to be, to the LGBT community, I have a ton of blog posts on there. There’s- I believe I’m at 140 now, so almost every random question you can think of has probably already been asked. But if for some reason it’s not, I have a feature on the site that lets you record a message to me. So if you have any questions, I always make myself available for people because I want to engage with those who are either listening or reading, because I want to know what questions you have. So if you’re listening to this and you have a specific LGBT question, please reach out to me because I would love to talk to you about it and figure out how I can be of assistance.

Mike Keiser:

Very cool.

Maria Keiser:

I just have one more question for you.

Jenn T. Grace:

Sure.

Maria Keiser:

What’s next?

Jenn T. Grace:

Oh my, what’s next. Well that’s like the elephant in the room right now with everything, is I am working on an online training program that will be available in September; I don’t know when this will air. But September 22nd is my goal date, and now by me announcing it on your show that holds my feet to the fire a little bit more to get it done. But it’s basically an online program that will be delivered to anybody who is interested in learning more about how to market to the community. So the intention is to essentially take somebody who knows nothing about the community- doesn’t even know what LGBT stands for in some cases, and walk you through the entire process of understanding the language and the terminology and the statistics and all that great stuff. And then the outset, or coming out of it, having an actual marketing plan that helps you reach out to the community in the right way. So that will be available in September, and it’s been a labor of love for quite some time.

Maria Keiser:

Well I know it has and that’s awesome. In less than one year you’ve done all this. So do they need to buy your book before they can take the course or could I just go take your course?

Jenn T. Grace:

You could totally just take the course, I would always recommend checking the book out- it’s like $10.00 on Amazon, it’s certainly not a huge investment but at least by reading the book it will give you some sort of ground foundation of what to expect from the course, because the course really takes the book and just really goes deep, deep, deep into all of the different chapters that are there.

Maria Keiser:

Okay, cool. And on Amazon I can listen to your book on Audible, I can read it on Kindle and I can just buy a regular old copy?

Jenn T. Grace:

You sure can. It’s available in all formats because I know people like to learn differently.

Mike Keiser:

Well Jenn T. Grace, you’ve been amazingly good.

Maria Keiser:

With two N’s.

Mike Keiser:

Jenn with two N’s, right. We’ve just loved having you on the show.

Jenn T. Grace:

This was great.

Mike Keiser:

Good. Because you shared a ton of insight that people can I think apply to their own lives, their own businesses and their own sense of well-being. So we really appreciate everything you had to share.

Jenn T. Grace:

Well thank you for having me, and hopefully we will reconnect on a podcast episode 285 when you’re there.

Maria Keiser:

Well you know, I can’t wait to see what comes next, next.

Jenn T. Grace:

Yeah.

Mike Keiser:

So in speaking of that, in our own shameless self-promotion, we want to remind people to go to www.MentalCompass.com so they can take our peak performance survey, they can download our free intro to peak performance, they can subscribe to our podcast; what else can they do there?

Maria Keiser:

Wow, they can send us a comment or ask us a question, I think that’s about it.

Mike Keiser:

Okay.

Maria Keiser:

But if you do have questions and you didn’t want to reach out to me through the website which would be easier, you could also send an email to info@theecircle.com and we’d love to hear your feedback and if you think you’re a peak performer and would like to be interviewed on our show, let us know, tell us your story.

Mike Keiser:

Right. So in the meantime we want to thank everybody for listening, we so much appreciate the continued support. Thank you again, Jenn, for being a guest on our show today and we will catch everybody next week.

Maria Keiser:

Ciao for now.

About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published nearly 200 books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

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