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Thank you for tuning in to episode 82 of the podcast. In this episode I discuss a small mindset shift that I’ve had over recent months and how that’s impacted a goal I’ve had for nearly half my life. Even with this slight shift of focus my main goal remains, as it always has been, to help the LGBT community. I’m shooting to impact 1 million LGBT people….how the hell am I going to do that? Have a listen and find out 😉
I talk a bit about the three prong approach I use when deciding whether or not to engage in certain projects or partnerships – not every opportunity is the right fit and not every opportunity will actually help the LGBT community.
I also chat about the course I’m currently offering for business owners who have a story to tell and want to build their platform. The program helps them to tell their story, get it out to the world, understand what their personal brand stands for, etc. If this sounds like something that may interest you please visit my website to find out more.
Listen to the episode by clicking the play button below!
Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below.
Jenn T Grace: You are listening to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast, episode 82.
Introduction: Welcome to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast; the podcast dedicated to helping LGBTQ professionals and business owners grow their business and careers through the power of leveraging their LGBTQ identities in their personal brand. You’ll learn how to market your products and services both broadly, and within the LGBTQ community. You’ll hear from incredible guests who are leveraging the power of their identity for good, as well as those who haven’t yet started, and everyone in between. And now your host. She teaches straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves. Your professional lesbian, Jenn – with two N’s – T Grace.
Jenn T Grace: Well hello and welcome to episode number 82 of the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast. I am your host, Jenn Grace, and today I am going to do a slightly different episode, and I think this one’s going to be pretty short compared to past episodes. And I know for those of you who’ve been listening for a while, guaranteed every time I say that it ends up being a longer episode. So we’ll see if that happens today.
So as you know for those of you who’ve been listening for a while, I recently rebranded the name and the artwork, and kind of the approach of this podcast back last episode, episode 81 when I did an interview with Kimberly Vaughn of www.LGBTWeddings.com. So I really had the same focus for a really long time, which is talking to amazing LGBT business owners and allies who are really awesome in the community as well, and I decided to just go whole hog, change the name of the podcast to attract more people who are really looking for personal branding type of advice around being an LGBTQ professional.
Now I said it really briefly in episode 81 because I really wanted to get Kimberly’s interview out, and honestly this episode probably should have come before that one, where I spend just a couple of minutes just explaining the new direction of the podcast in more detail. So as you know, this used to be the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, and now we are talking about Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast. So there’s a couple of changes kind of even within the title. Most of the people that I’ve had on here as guests- and while this is episode 82, I’ve actually recorded 112 podcasts, so I had a special series that aired quite some time ago at this point, that was 30 Days, 30 Voices: Stories from America’s LGBT Business Leaders, and I released a podcast a day for thirty days, talking to some really amazing people. And I did that probably back in 2013, and every June I relaunch all of them because most of the information in all of them is still pertinent to today, and it’s kind of an evergreen topic if you will where it just kind of lives on forever.
So in talking with those thirty people, and then probably I’d say another thirty to forty in the just day-to-day podcast, I’ve learned so much information from so many really amazing leaders. And the thing that I started to realize is it’s really about personal branding, and it’s around how do you as an LGBTQ professional, or a business owner, or somebody- I think between professionals and business owners regardless, you’re working for someone or you’re working for yourself, but being LGBT is such a leg up, and such an advantage I think in so many ways, that I really just wanted to change the name of the podcast to be directly in alignment with how to show you how to really use this to your advantage. And rather than me being the one that’s delivering this information to you, I want to bring on more guests to have these conversations with you with. Because there are some pretty amazing people in the world right now doing some really awesome things, and I think that that’s the end goal, is to really just continue to inspire and help other LGBTQ people, and regardless of what settings, just kind of be your best selves. And I feel like that’s kind of a phrase that’s quasi-overused, but I really believe that there are so many opportunities to truly be your best self.
So I want to share with you just a small kind of mindset shift that I have had over the last- I would say maybe the last six months, yeah I would say six months or so, to kind of explain to you the direction that I’m headed in, as well as maybe share with you a couple things that I’m doing right now because everything that I’m doing ties directly into LGBT in some form or fashion.
So for as long as I can remember, my goal for myself whether I was planning on running a business, or honestly I had no idea what my plan was. My goal was always to make a million dollars by the age of 35, and honestly I can think back until like my teens when that was my goal. So I have had that goal on the back of my mind, I have it on a post-it note written inside- I don’t want to call it a vision board because it’s certainly not, it’s just post-it notes with goals that I have hung up so that way I can see them regularly. And they’re goals of all different kinds, that just happens to be the really big crazy one. The BHAG if you will; the big, hairy, audacious goal.
So I’ve had that sitting on my- sitting inside my cabinet on a post-it note for as long as I can remember. And I’ve really started to be thinking about what does that actually mean? So when I created that goal for myself, it was very arbitrary, no rhyme, no reason, just kind of like a ‘hey I want to do this by 35.’ It is now April of 2016, and I will be 35 in June of this year. So a while back I updated my goal to say I wanted to make a million dollars within my 35th year. So that way I was really buying myself an extra 364 days of time to meet my goal.
Now as I tell you this, my goal is not that far off in the future. So it is completely an attainable goal for me at this point. My business is doing quite well and it continues to kind of grow, and succeed, and I’m venturing into new and different areas, and it’s just really exciting because I’m still sticking to the core of my mission which is to help LGBT people.
However I joined a Mastermind group in September of last year, and we went around, and we were talking about like what our goals are, so a year from now what do we want our goals to look like, and how is that going to impact the way that we’re doing business, and all that kind of stuff that you sometimes aren’t really thinking about, and when you have a goal sometimes you’re operating with blinders on if you will, you’re just head down, focused on ‘I need to attain this goal.’ Now for me going back to one million by 35, that is a goal that I know I’m going to accomplish, and it’s exciting that I’m going to accomplish it, but I’ve been busting my ass for ten years at least in the LGBT space trying to get to that goal, and then previously a lot of experience in marketing getting here. So I definitely chip away at that goal every single day.
But one of the things that has really recently come to light is I don’t necessarily care about the monetary aspect of the goal. I’ve always thought that I want to make a million dollars just because. Seriously it’s not like I’m thinking about upgrading homes, cars, anything. It legitimately was just a goal that was very arbitrary and had not a whole lot of meaning to it to be perfectly honest. My business is doing well enough now that I’m perfectly content where I am, I don’t need to be making giant sums of money, we live a very modest lifestyle. But what I’ve recently learned is that my goal to make a million really has nothing to do with making a million dollars, but rather how can I impact a million people? And I will share with you why I’m bringing this up today.
So I really started to see that shift, because I’ve heard people talking about it all the time. I read a lot of Inc. and Entrepreneur, and a lot of different blogs and websites, and really just information, I’m always consuming information listening to audiobooks, reading books, I have a lot of books that are on my to-do list or I’m currently reading. And in looking that, so many people, so much sage wisdom is around don’t focus on the money, focus on how many people you can impact. And I for a long time I’m like, “Yeah, yeah that sounds fine but is that really true? Or is that really the case?” And I honestly had- it wasn’t an epiphany because it didn’t just kind of spring upon me overnight, but it really just started to become so much clearer over the last probably between like four and six months. And that clarity is around that I really do want to impact a million people. And then it starts to break out of like how the hell am I going to do that? Because I can make a million dollars I think a hell of a lot easier than trying to impact a million people, especially when you work with large companies that will spend $90,000 on one project, and that’s one company that might have four or five points of contact. So to me, reaching the million dollars actually seems much, much more simple than reaching a million people.
So I bring this up because I’ve had a just kind of a complete mindset shift to hell with the reaching the million dollar goal, however I’m certain I will get there at some point; when the exact specificity of that is, I don’t know but I’m confident that I will get there eventually. But in looking at how the hell am I going to impact a million people, that’s the goal and that is the nut that I’m trying to crack currently. And I do think I have figured out a way, but that certainly involves all of you, my amazing listeners, you’ve been on this ride for going on four years with this podcast, and I know that you have audiences, and I want to talk to you about let’s find a way to join forces is really what it comes down to.
So before I get into the logistics of that, the one thing that I want to mention- and I say this all the time, and I really need to create a video, or something, some kind of infographic, something to put on my website to explain this whole concept because it’s honestly my guiding principle and it’s the motto I go on of knowing whether or not I should say yes or no to something. So I look at this as a pyramid in terms of who I will do business with, how I’ll do business with them, et cetera. So for me, I need to have- it’s basically a triangle where there’s three sides of it; there’s me, there’s you, and then there’s the LGBT community broadly. And if you come to me and say, “Hey I want to do business with you.” Maybe we’ll do individual coaching, maybe you sign up for a program I’m doing, maybe you need an LGBT marketing strategy created. Whatever that kind of scenario might look like. There’s me and you who are doing business together. Now I weed out people based on authenticity, based on how sincere I think they are, and what has to happen in that relationship is that my working with you, I have to win. So whether I’m winning because we’re exchanging money and I’m growing my business, or whether it’s something that I’m doing pro bono, I’m doing some kind of volunteer work, whatever it is I have to personally feel like I am gaining from this whether it’s monetary or otherwise. The gain is kind of variable.
Additionally you have to win for the same exact reason. So you’re working with me will increase your business, therefore you’re winning. Or us working together is just kind of some merging of some kind of harmony, and we’re both really excited, and we’re energized about working together additionally. So we have two pieces of the pyramid. We have the ‘I win,’ and we have the ‘you win.’ So that’s two pieces of the puzzle. But the third, and I think the most important piece, is that the LGBT community has to win as a result of us working together. So that creates a whole added layer of some kind of happening here. Because if I win from a- I’m going to get paid, or I’m going to feel good about doing this, and you win because you’re going to increase your business, whatever that kind of scenario looks like, those are two great things, right? So I’m getting something, you’re getting something, we’re both happy.
But the LGBT community has to gain something from us working together for me to know if that makes sense for me to work with somebody. Now let me give you an example of how this would go south. It could be a scenario where a- and I had this happen years ago and I’m sure I have talked about it on the podcast probably many, many episodes ago. But I had a financial company reach out to me here in Connecticut and they wanted to market to the LGBT community, and they were very- it’s very hard to describe, but they were just a bunch of jerks, let me just be blunt. They were a bunch of jerks. And they were so inauthentic, they were very sleazy feeling, it wasn’t good. So I could have taken that project, and this was at least five years ago. I could have taken that project, or they could have engaged with me, so they might be gaining business. There’s a whole other can of worms around that, about just their approach not being good for the community. But regardless, so they might feel like they’re winning because I’m helping them gain business, I might feel like I’m winning because I’m making money. But guess who doesn’t win in that scenario? The LGBT community doesn’t because they were really sleazy. They were not authentic, they were not in it for any genuine sincere reasons, they were just thinking how can I get money from this community while saying inappropriate things and making derogatory comments? So clearly there’s one giant piece of the triangle missing, and it was the LGBT community. So I easily could have felt like I was winning because it would have been a very large contract. But to me, I have to win, they have to win, and so does the LGBT community. So I have this very specific kind of triangle that I am always looking to, to identify whether or not I’m going to do something. So whether that’s conducting a focus group, or speaking somewhere, or developing a marketing strategy, it has to be one, two, three. Across the board, straight up, I win, you win, LGBT community wins because of what we’re doing together.
So that’s kind of been my mantra for many, many years. And I’ve really just kind of gotten to a place where I can describe kind of my weeding out mechanism to people in a much more succinct way. But it’s definitely how I’ve been operating for many years, and it works really well because I can decide whether or not something’s going to make sense for me to work on, or spend my time on, et cetera.
So in looking at that, and in looking at this type of approach, I started to look at the types of businesses that I work with, and the types of people that I work with, and realizing that they have a very, very similar mentality and mindset of they win, their customer wins, and their LGBT community in which they live, or are working, or whatever the parameters are wins as well. So I realized over the years I’ve started to kind of draw in people that are like this, which is amazing because we’re all in it together is kind of how I see it. And I had somebody recently ask me about competition and who I viewed as competition, and my statement back to them was while yes, there’s direct competitors out there, I feel like there’s more synergy and more harmony and more opportunity for us to be working together, and doing things that are bigger and better for the community based on us working together rather than fighting with each other because we’re competitors.
So that’s kind of the mindset that I’m talking about. So going back to the whole concept of how on earth can I impact a million people, it occurred to me that I have a program that I’m doing right now, and I have seven people in it, they started in the beginning of February, they will be graduating in just a couple of weeks at the end of April, and they are amazing people. Seriously, amazing. And I cannot wait until they graduate, and until they have the core of what the deliverable is for this program which is writing a book. I can’t wait to have them produce and publish their books because I’m going to have them on the show to just let you hear them, because they’re amazing.
So the program is a three month program and it’s designed to help the business owner or professional- it’s mostly business owners who have a story to tell, who have a message, who want to build a platform. It’s a course for them to just kind of get all of their stuff together, understand what their personal brand stands for, understand what their goals are, what they want to accomplish out of having a book; so do they want more speaking engagements? Do they want to charge higher amounts for speaking engagements? Do they want to do book signings? Do they want to create online courses? What is it that they want to do? So when I first started this course it was really around let me help you write a book. I’ve written two of them, I have a couple of others in the works, I know all of the traps, the pitfalls, all of the BS and the drama that you can get sucked into in trying to create a book. So I came up with this course, and it’s for ninety days, and the whole plan is to help people walk through all of that muck so they can focus on what they do best, which is their topic, their expertise, and they can write their book.
So what I’ve incorporated into this entire program is the whole personal branding aspect of things. So let’s not just say- it’s very simple for me to say this is how you write a book. Go here, this is how you pick a title, this is how you pick a subtitle, this is how you get it printed, here’s how you find an ISBN number; all of that stuff, that’s easy, that’s all the logistics. To me- and I would imagine they might not agree with that statement of it being easy, but to me that’s the easy part. The hard part is digging deep and understanding why you are writing a book to begin with, what your plan is, what your vision is, what your personal brand stands for, and how are you going to impact the world?
So I am in the throes of a course right now with seven people which is amazing. It’s seriously amazing, I love every one of them in there, they all have really interesting kind of niches within niches, and I’m really excited for the impact. So that’s kind of where I recognized that I personally don’t have to work with one million people. I need to work with people who work with other large groups of people to then impact them. So here is basically my new vision for how I can impact a million people. So if I have these seven amazing people in my course right now, and the seven of them have audiences of 1,000 people. My helping them and coaching them and guiding them through understanding what their brand stands for, and how to write a book, and how to get it all done, that’s impacting 7,000 people. By me working with seven people, I’m impacting 7,000. So that’s the whole new mentality and mindset and the train that I’m on in terms of how I can continue to make a difference in the lives of LGBT people. So some of the people in the course right now, one of them, their focus is on helping younger LGBT youth, and kind of those who might be struggling with coming out, and coming to terms with their identities, et cetera. Another person in it is focused on aging LGBT baby boomers. So they’re totally different audiences, but it serves my mission of impacting a million people, because the more people they impact, and the more tools and resources I can provide them, the more amazing it is for everybody. So I personally don’t have to make money from a million people, it’s not a transaction where I’m trying to figure out, “Oh if I reach a million people and I can say I get a dollar from each one of those people, then yay, I make my million and I reach a million.” It’s not that at all, not even close to that. It’s more of how can I work with a select group of people who have amazing stories to tell, who just need that boost of confidence, or that kind of kick in the ass to get them to that next stage of their evolution, and how can we find a way that they can impact more people?
So right now if we have these seven people and they each have an audience of 1,000 how can I help them grow their audience from 1,000 to 10,000? Because now I’m impacting not 7,000 people but I’m impacting 70,000 people. And how can we go from impacting 1,000 people to 10,000 to 100,000? So in looking at the math from that standpoint, it’s really easy to impact a million people. But that means I need to be working with more people like those that I’m working with now.
So I do want to share with you- and this is not meant to be a hard sell or anything like that, it’s more of just my excitement for the second version of this course. So the course that I started as of February 1st, it goes through April 30th, it’s been so rewarding, it’s going to be done in a few weeks and I’m going to be sad because I really have been enjoying working with these- it’s all women in the program right now, and we meet every week for one hour on a webinar, and I provide customized learnings around everything having to do with building your personal brand and writing a book. So the book to me is kind of the foundation of your personal brand. It’s the bottom of your platform to stand on. So if you have a book, you’ve written a book, a small percentage of people in this world have written books, so it makes you stand out alone by just being a published author. So I like to use that as the foundation on which we can build so many different things. So how to be a better speaker, how to position yourself, what does your brand stand for? What is your brand positioning statement? All of that kind of stuff.
So that’s what I’ve been working with them on now, and that goes until April 30th, and then I’m taking a month break, and then I’m restarting a next version of it on June 6th. So if you’re interested in poking around and seeing what it’s about, you can go to www.Author.LGBT. Not dot com, but dot LGBT. So that’s probably a whole topic for another day over the fact that there are domain names out there that end in .LGBT. So I highly advise you to check it out. You can also just go to my website which is www.JennTGrace.com and on the home page under the picture on the left hand side, there’s something to the effect of telling your story, and you can click on that and get more information. But basically the course starts on June 6th, it will run for three months as well. It will run in the summer months which I actually think is a benefit to many people because it might be a good opportunity to be able to fit something in in a month where maybe it’s a little bit slower, unless you are a seasonal business where summer is your busiest.
So in looking at that, my goal to share completely directly with you is to get twelve people in this course, and that is not a lot of people, and I have a very large network so getting twelve people shouldn’t be too difficult. But I want twelve of the right people. So you might be listening to this, and you might be one of those right people. So I’m looking for advocates. I think that’s the best word to summarize the seven people who are in this course right now. I think the best description of them is the fact that they are all advocates. They’re advocating for something different, but they’re all advocating for something that’s bigger than they are. They’re all looking to leave a mark in this world long after they’re gone. And it’s really exciting to me to think how I could find twelve new people that I don’t know personally, or maybe we’ve talked on the phone once, or maybe you’ve just been listening to this podcast for years. I really want kind of a diverse mix of people of any type of business, any type of anything where you’re just looking to get the message out more.
So I wanted to share that with you today because I’m so excited about the people I’m working with right now, and I am going to start going on some kind of blitz in the next probably month or so, so starting I would say in May. All of May I’m really going to be focused on getting the message out there to get more people into this course that starts on June 6th. And this first go-around of people that have been in the program has been a lot of a learning curve because I’ve been able to- I had a structure set up in advance, but as we go through, and as they’re asking questions, and they’re needing more information on things, I’ve been able to kind of adapt and tailor the course quite a bit to make sure that it’s really exactly what they need in this moment. And I imagine having learned from this first go of it, the second go of it I think is going to be amazing, and I think it’s going to be so easy to adapt on the fly based on those of you who are in the group. So I guess one of the biggest benefits that I see of joining this group is you only meet once a week for an hour, and there’s a private Facebook group where everybody can kind of talk and bounce ideas off of each other. Right now where we are in the program, everyone’s in there kind of talking about their book titles, and their subtitles, and kind of bouncing ideas around there, and that’s super exciting to see. Just being able to chime in here and there saying, “Oh my God I love this title, you should totally do that.” Or “The title’s great but the subtitle’s off.” It’s great to have a bunch of other people who are in the same space you are in terms of- I should say the same mental space of like, ‘I said I’m going to write this book, I have to write this book, I need some help, I need some guidance.’ You have kind of an unbiased party of at least in this case seven other people where they’re all just trying to help each other. And one of the things I’m super excited about, it’s going to depend on who launches their book first. So there’s seven of them, so someone’s going to be the first one to do it. I can’t wait to have the person who launches first, the six other people and of course myself, rally around them and help them launch their book to reach even more people. So to me I see this as a way of everyone’s audience growing. So if my goal is to impact a million people, and in reality I might only need to reach a hundred people to reach that million people goal. You know that I’m not just going to stay steady at, ‘Oh I reached a million people. Ho hum, now I can say that I’ve done it.’ I’m going to say, ‘Now I want to reach two million people,’ and continue to be upping the ante. But I think it’s going to be great because now if you’re coming to the table and you have a really tiny audience, maybe you only have fifty people that are in your network, or maybe it’s 200 people, maybe it’s just a small amount. Coming together with other people who have established brands, or who have established audiences, it really creates this interesting dynamic where everyone can support the other. So whether I have an audience of 200 people, and you have an audience of 10,000 people, if you believe in me, and you believe in my message and my book and what I’m advocating for, there’s nothing saying that you wouldn’t post on social media something about my book being released, or send it to your email list maybe. Obviously it’d have to be kind of in alignment with your audience, and there’s parameters around it, but that’s the thing I’m so excited for for this group of people, is that once they start launching their books, they have a built in audience to help them launch their book, which is amazing and something that when I first launched my book in 2013, I wish I had that kind of- I did my own version of it, but I wish I had seven people that were committed to helping me succeed in getting that book done.
So that’s one of the biggest benefits that I see of this program. I do hope that when the program does end at the end of April, that I will get some testimonials and have some case studies and let them tell you what they gained from this program. Because everyone seems to be very happy right now, and I’m thrilled, and I’m so excited to think that even if they all just have an audience of 1,000 which is just a complete random number, I know that the audience size of those in there now definitely varies. But just knowing that I’ve been helping seven people for three months, and they’re impacting I would say at a minimum of 7,000 people with their enhanced message.
To me I feel like it doesn’t get any better than that. Like it seriously doesn’t get any better than that. So I wanted to share all of this information with you, and just try to describe my whole I win, you win, LGBT community wins. How my plans are evolving into impacting a million people. I’m sure based on what I’m doing right now with this program, which I’m really loving doing, I’m sure that’s going to evolve into something more, or some kind of branching off doing different things, who knows. But my end goal is to impact as many LGBT and ally people as humanly people to help spread the word of equality. Really I just want basic equality for all of us, and I think the more advocates we can help kind of raise and bring into this world, the better off all of us are. So if you are listening to this, and you think that this something that you’d be interested in, I would love to talk to you. You don’t even have to- you can definitely go to the website and check out the www.Author.LGBT or going to the home page and clicking on the Tell Your Story. But you can certainly just pick up the phone and call me, it’s 860-281-1583. Or if you want to send me an email it’s Jenn@jenntgrace.com. Either way I would love to get on the phone and talk with you, and just hear more about your brand. Because as I shared in terms of the pyramid, I want to make sure that it’s the three way win. So I really want to weed people out very carefully to make sure that you are a right fit for the program. Just because you think you are, you might not be, who knows. I want to make sure we talk through it, and I want to make sure that everybody gets the most benefit and value from this. So I’m being very picky right now, and I am only looking to get twelve. I believe I already have three commitments so that kind of brings us down to nine already, and we still have a couple of months before it launches.
So at any rate, I wanted to share that with you because I wanted you to see how that direction in my business actually is in complete alignment with how the podcast is kind of changing and morphing. So really focusing on personal branding, and really focusing on how to get more advocates in the world who can impact more people. So that is kind of it in a nutshell, and it actually is a shorter episode than usual which is great, because typically I’m a liar when we get to this point, it’s usually well past the normal time.
But yeah, I wanted to just kind of give you the rundown of that. I really, really appreciate you. I would love to talk to you, so again my phone number, 860-281-1583. You can certainly call and we can connect on anything really, it doesn’t even have to be related to this particular program. But if you are kind of in the stages where you’re looking to create a book, and you really want to build and maximize your audience, and there’s some tie to the LGBT community, I would love nothing more than to be the one to help you do that.
So that’s all I’ve got. I really enjoy that you’re listening to this, I really appreciate it. For any links to today’s episode you can go to www.JennTGrace.com/82 that’s for episode number 82, and yeah that’s all I’ve got. Again, I appreciate you and I will talk to you in the next episode. Thanks so much, bye bye.
Thank you for listening to today’s podcast. If there are any links from today’s show that you are interested in finding, save yourself a step and head on over to www.JennTGrace.com/thepodcast. And there you will find a backlog of all of the past podcast episodes including transcripts, links to articles, reviews, books, you name it. It is all there on the website for your convenience. Additionally if you would like to get in touch with me for any reason, you can head on over to the website and click the contact form, send me a message, you can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all at JennTGrace. And as always I really appreciate you as a listener, and I highly encourage you to reach out to me whenever you can. Have a great one, and I will talk to you in the next episode.