Today I’m thrilled to have Selena Soo on the show. Some of you have probably heard of her before because Selena is fairly well known in the online business and entrepreneurship space.
In any case, Selena is a publicity and marketing strategist who helps authors and coaches become well known leaders in their space.
She’s worked with a bunch of big names like Farnoosh Torabi, Kimra Luna and she’s helped countless others like Ramit Sethi and Pat Flynn.
In this interview, we’re going to learn exactly what it takes to become an industry leader.
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What You’ll Learn
- Selena’s background story
- The best way to grow a business and get more exposure
- How to build lasting business relationships
- How to approach new people as an introvert
- How to add value to a celebrity or a big name entrepreneur
Other Resources And Books
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.
Intro: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they used to grow their businesses. Now today I have my friend Selena Soo on the show, and you’ve probably heard of her already if you follow guys like Remit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Andrew Warner, or Pat Flynn. Now Selena is a publicity and marketing strategist, and today we’re going to be talking about what it takes to become a well known industry leader where customers come to you rather than the other way around.
But before we begin, I want to give a quick shout out to Klaviyo who is a sponsor of the show. Always excited to talk about Klaviyo because they are the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store and I depend on them for over 35% of my revenues. Now Klaviyo is the only email platform out there that is specifically built for ecommerce stores, and here is why it is so powerful.
Klaviyo can track every single customer who has shopped in your store and exactly what they bought. So let’s say I want to send out an email to everyone who’s purchased a red handkerchief in the last week, easy. Let’s say I want to set up a special auto-responder sequence to my customers depending on what they bought, piece of cake, and there is full revenue tracking on every email sent. Klaviyo is the most powerful email platform that I’ve ever used and you could try them for free at mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O. Once again, that’s mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O.
I also want to give a shout out to Privy who is also a sponsor of the show. Privy is the tool that I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store. Now what does Privy do? Well, Privy is an email list growth platform and they manage all of my email capture forms. And I use Privy hand-in-hand with my email marketing provider. Right now I’m using Privy to display a cool wheel of fortune pop up. Basically a user gives their email for a chance to win valuable prices in our store. And customers love the gamification aspect of this. And when I implemented this form email signups increased by 131%.
I’m also using their new cart saver pop up feature to recover abandoned carts as well. And bottom line, Privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers, which I then feed to my email provider to close the sale. So head on over to Privy.com/Steve and try it for free. And if you decide you need some of the more advanced features, use coupon code MWQHJ for 15% off. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/Steve. Now onto the show.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle, so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host, Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today I’m thrilled to have Selena Soo on the show. Now, some of you have probably heard of her before because Selena is fairly well known in the online business and entrepreneurship space. And we actually both have mutual friends in Remit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Jordan Harbinger, Andrew Warner, and Pat Flynn. Anyways, unlike most podcast guests, I’ve actually never met Selena before and our introduction was through someone who I do not know at all, a man by the name of Ahmet [ph], and apparently Selena and I were chatting before this recording and she doesn’t know him either. So it was really a kind of random introduction.
But she’s actually been someone on my list of people to reach out to and I’m actually very happy that Ahmet did me a favor. In case you do not know her, Selena is a publicity and marketing strategist who helps authors and coaches become well known leaders in their space. She’s worked with a bunch of big names like Farnoosh Torabi, Kimra Luna, and she’s helped countless others Remit and Pat. And in this interview, we’re going to learn exactly what it takes to become an industry leader. And with that, welcome the show Selena, how are you doing today?
Selena: I’m doing so well. Thank you for having me.
Steve: So Selena, given that we are total strangers, how would you describe what you do and what led you down this path?
Selena: Yeah, sure. So I would say my biggest passion is elevating experts and entrepreneurs who are doing amazing work and making sure that the whole world knows about them. And the way that I came to this is in my mid 20s, I had a quarter life crisis and I just felt terrible every single day and I wanted to stop feeling like shit, basically. And I was asking friends, like, what do I do? Where do I go? Do you know anyone who can help me? And I discovered this woman’s life coaching group. And it was really powerful.
And in that group, I got exposed to different thought leaders and authors, people like Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, and people who were showing you that you could really create your own life that you’re in control of your own thoughts. And that you can overcome all these things that you’re struggling with, whether it’s a career issue, a life purpose issue, or you are in a toxic relationship, or it’s a health issue. And I realized that for myself, and for so many others, we’re not just looking for more information, we’re really looking for inspiration. And I was so inspired by these role models, because these individuals are people that I looked up to, and that they really embodied this message of possibility.
You have mentioned, I think Remit Sethi at one point, and he is someone who was actually a huge role model and support for me in launching my own business. But as I just started discovering these people, and falling in love with their work, and their stories, and even seeing a piece of myself in them, and seeing hope, I was like, I want everyone to know about them because a lot of my peers had no idea who these people were. And I felt like this is the most important thing, personal development, loving your life, being able to pursue your dreams. And so, I really want to help get these people out into the mainstream, and so that more people would know about them.
Steve: Interesting. So was that how you ended up meeting like Remit and Derek for example? Were you promoting their stuff? Okay.
Selena: No, well, that’s an interesting story. So Remit was and still is my favorite blogger. And I would read everything that he wrote. I was such a nerd. Like, there was this one piece that he wrote, and I forwarded it to like 30 friends being like, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. You have to read it. And I think a bunch of people didn’t even respond, like so into his stuff. And one day, I was walking home from my summer internship, I was in graduate school, and I saw him on the street, and I was on the phone with my mom. And I was like, I got to go mom. And he was outside his apartment building. He was looking like, I don’t think he – maybe he had his glasses on, I think he had slippers on, he was letting his parents into a car.
And I just knew, in my mind, I was like, I don’t know if I ever see him again. So let me just approach him. And I approached him and I introduced myself. I was like, are, you are Remit Sethi? And he’s like, yes. And I was like; I’m a huge fan of your work. I read your book. And we started talking, and the thing that we have to remember, sometimes we’re like, how could I ever talk to someone who is such a big deal in online world? And the thing is, everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, it’s the easiest topic for them to talk about. So I had so much to say to him about his book, about his blog, and about the impact that it had in my life.
And so we started to get to know each other. He was like, are you on my list for local New York meetups. I’m like, actually I am. And as he started doing meetups, I would attend those meetups, and actually, that’s how I met Derek Halpern. I remember he saw me talking to Derek, and we were like, laughing and everything. And he was like, oh, so you guys know each other. I was like, no, I just met him like five minutes ago. But the thing is, with Derek, I was also a huge follower of his work, and I had so much to say to him. And so, that’s kind of how I started to develop those relationships.
And over time, there have been ways I’ve showed my support to Remit like, as an example, as we became friends and I was in business school, he sent me an email saying, hey, I’m redoing my website, if you have five minutes would love for you to like, or a couple of minutes, take a look at this new mock up for the homepage. And there were a few different versions. And I was in my ironically, entrepreneurship class, and I left the classroom and I went to the library, and I gathered just people and friends and I got, I organized like a mini focus group.
And I spent like five hours between asking people for their opinions, and listening and doing that market research, and then writing up all my ideas and I shot him an email later that evening. And he was expecting probably like five minutes, or no response, or I don’t know what, and I gave him five hours. And he was just really blown away by the depth of my insights, and how I really showed up for him and went above and beyond, and he shared it with his team. And that’s just like one example.
Steve: So hold on, let me just introduce, let me just interrupt you real quick because you said a lot of stuff there. And like, my first question was, first of all, when you’re approaching someone who’s famous or semi famous up, how did you become memorable in Remit’s eyes that one day when you approached him in the car, or was that just like a first introduction?
Selena: Yeah, I mean, so the way that I became memorable, the way I became an interesting person to him was being interested in him. So, I was a huge follower and fan of his work. And when someone’s full time profession is helping other people and they want to know that they’re making a difference, it’s very different to — so it’s like, even when they send out emails, it’s like they’re wondering, are people going to respond, are people resonating with this? So to meet people in real life who are like, oh my gosh, your work has changed my life, that’s what they live for. That’s why they do what they do.
And I think I also stood out because now Remit has a much bigger audience. I met him several years ago and his audience then was definitely majority like Matt [ph], and he jokes like a young geeky guy. And so I’m like just like women and like know all his stuff and I just had like this — it was just like I didn’t fit his profile, a little bit intrigued. And yeah, I think also my enthusiasm went a really long way.
Steve: Okay and it sounds like you helped him greatly which immediately got you on his radar so to speak when you did that whole entire case study on his website design.
Selena: Yeah, absolutely. But even before that, one thing that some of your listeners Steve may be thinking it’s like well, I don’t live in New York City, I’m not going to be like walking down Main Street and bumping into like my favorite influencer. And it’s not really like I want people to kind of see the bigger picture here. The thing is, in life we can’t wait for opportunities, we have to create our own opportunities. And for so many of us, oftentimes there are opportunities in front of us, maybe we’re going to a conference and our favorite author, speaker, influencer, course creator is there, but we’re too afraid to go out to them. Or maybe a friend of ours is connected to someone who has interviewed them on a podcast, or who is their star student or something. But we never have the courage to ask them, oh, do you have any ideas of how to get in front of this person?
So all of us, we all have opportunities. And I think that what made the difference here, like, the very first step is I seized the opportunity and I went for it. And so that’s really, that’s one of the first things I want to make sure everyone takes away from this.
Steve: So given that you do this for a living, let’s say I was a client of yours, what would you say is the most important way to grow a business and just get more exposure for your business? Like, what do you coach people to do?
Selena: Yeah, I mean, the first thing is always strategy. So I mean, I guess there’s two areas I’m really well known for. I mean, the overall area that I’m well known for is helping people get well known, right, getting visibility, becoming thought leaders and influencers. But when you break that down, there’s two main areas. So one is getting publicity, and the other is connecting with influencers. So I really believe that publicity is one of the absolute fastest ways to grow your business. You could have a lot of success and get hundreds, thousands of people on your webinar and you tell your parents like, oh, I had this really successful webinar, I had like 700 people live on it, and your parents are going to be like, what’s a webinar?
But if you’re like, oh, I got this feature article on Forbes or Business Insider has been talking about how I am the go to person on this topic, they’re going to be like, oh my god, they’re going to tell their relative, family, your high school friends are going to see on Facebook. Oh my god, you posted this, people kind of the Woodworks. So there is something unique about publicity.
Steve: It’s funny you say that, because with my mom for the longest time, she didn’t understand what I did. And then I told her some of the numbers. She’s like, why are people paying for that? And it was only after I got in Entrepreneur or Forbes, I can’t remember which one it was, she was like, oh, my God, what you’re doing is like real? Like, good lord mum.
Selena: Yes. I know. And it’s definitely not the actual most significant, the most significant thing is the results you get in your business and for your students and clients. But it’s something that is sort of universally understood. And so when you’re thinking about building your brand, and thinking about marketing, publicity really should be in the mix somewhere. And when I have people think about publicity, I have them think about their goals and their business model. So for example, for some people, a goal of theirs might be I want to publish a book and I want to have thousands and tens of thousands people buy the book. Others are like, I don’t need a ton of clients, but I’m looking to get like high ticket clients for like a $10,000 coaching program, whatever it is, and I just need like 10 people at a time, right.
So those are very different goals. And based on your different publicity goals, there’s going to be different types of publicity and media outlets that you should focus on. So one example I can just share quickly is like I mean, I’m a huge fan of podcasts. And I think it makes a lot of sense for people who are experts and especially people that have online courses or high end coaching because with a podcast interview someone feels like they really get to know you. They’re listening in to like that coffee table conversation, you can go really deep. And when you hear someone speak in 30 minutes to even an hour, you feel like you know them and you’re more comfortable taking the next step or as are some other forms of media like TV which is a massive credibility booster and can be really good for specific purposes.
If you’re looking to sell like a $10,000 program of some nature, the average person watching TV might not be the right person, but the person who’s invested an hour and follows as expert could be someone who is much, much more qualified, So all about the strategy with a publicity piece and then also I’ll just quickly touch on the second piece is the influencer piece. That is really key and it’s similar to publicity in the sense that a lot of us tend to hire based on recommendation, and so if we know a top influencer is endorsing someone, we’re like, oh yeah, I want to work with them. It’s kind of funny. So my personal trainer actually is the personal trainer of Remit Sethi, Derek Halpern, and for whatever reason I mean I don’t know, I guess it’s just how my brain works, I was looking for someone and they recommended him to me. And I’m like, oh well, he works all of them, I want to work with him too.
And in my own business people are like, oh wow, like she’s been endorsed and she’s helped like Danielle LaPorte and she’s helped Kimra Luna and Marie Forleo endorses her work, I trust her. So similar to publicity, that is kind of like one of those instant credibility markers and then but influencer relationships go a lot deeper than publicity. And I think that those two combined are really, really powerful ways to grow your business and really to grow your reputation.
Steve: So Selena, so from the perspective of my listeners, let’s say they have a specific skill, and they want to be able to make money with it. So let’s say, it’s some medium to high end coaching service that they want to start but they are a nobody right now. They don’t have any content, they don’t have anything, how would you advise that they get started?
Selena: Yeah, I mean, the most important thing when you are getting started, and even at the higher levels is mindset. Because the thing is, if you don’t believe in yourself, or you feel bad about selling or charging, or you’re not sure about your worth, then you’re going to self sabotage. Also, I’ve had situations where I’ve had it early on, I had a nightmare client. And there was something on my offering that was off and I just like I felt so bad about myself that even though people wanted to work with me, and they wanted to give me money so badly, I just kind of turned all away, I was like, I was too busy. So you’ve got to get yourself in a good mental space and a good mindset.
And I would — the way that I built my business, and what I recommend people considering is just start helping people, because as you start helping people, even if it’s pro bono, or it could be a small project where you say, hey, I would love to help you with this project for free for like a one month period, or for six sessions, or four sessions, or a three hour deep dive, whatever you want to do, say, if I do an exceptional job, I would be so grateful to get a testimonial from you, and if you have happen to think of anyone who could benefit from my services, let me know, or let them know.
So that’s, I mean, I didn’t do it so explicitly in that way. I was just because I was in school at the time, I didn’t really, I wasn’t focused on making side income, but I just started being helpful to people and I identified people, I’m like, oh, wow, I can connect you to this person. And let me introduce this reporter. Let me help you make this connection. Oh, like, you need feedback on this. Like, I would love to give you feedback. I just went above and beyond. And it really for me, it’s a lifestyle and that’s really what I encourage everyone to consider is when you show up every day as a giver and you create all this goodwill, people are going to want to give back to you and it really builds your reputation. So for me, right away when I started my business, Marie Forleo, Danielle LaPorte, all these people, they wanted to give me testimonials.
Steve: So was that a gradual thing? Like, when you met them, did you do a lot of pro bono work for them?
Selena: Yeah, so I can explain how it worked because it’s evolved over time. So initially, like for example, with Danielle LaPorte, I just kind of like helped her for free. I knew her several years before I even started my business and I had offered to connect her to people at different media publications. I’m just a helpful person. And over time, like more recently, I was like in charge of like influencer marketing for her White Hot Truth book campaign. And so it’s something started off as pro bono and then there was payment later. There have been other times where people have wanted to pay me whereas I like let me just help you for free.
So, every situation kind of varies, but I will say that I put like a lot of just like, I just help people. Like with Remit, I’ve never asked him for payment. And personally, I don’t really want payment from him, I just want to help him but he also helps me so much. I mean, I’ve taken his courses but beyond that, now, he’s somewhat have an inner real bind, I can just text him and be like, hey, can we talk, and like I’ll do that maybe like once a year. I’m not going to take advantage, and he’s there for me. So, yes, I absolutely did a lot of pro bono work in the beginning. And then there were also people that I charged, but my number one goal wasn’t like, how can I make the most money out of these people? I was thinking really it is — and this is still my philosophy, when it comes to people you really admire, it is an honor to be a part of their world, to want to give back to them. That is a gift in of itself.
So that was — and I think that is a reason why a lot of these influencers really opened up to me, because a lot of times, you can feel when someone’s got an agenda. And you’re a bad person for having agenda. I mean, I’m very quickly can connect the dots between people, ideas, and opportunities. And I know if I add a ton of value, they might help me. Ultimately they might not, but it’s not a big deal. So it’s fine to see the connections that could be made. But I think that when there is this feeling of desperation and expectation, then people feel very scared to let you in. But I think I’ve always had this kind of very giving attitude and I’m laid back about like, I don’t really need anything from it, but I’m also like a go getter like their biggest advocate and supporter and people feel that. And then they appreciate me and then many of them end up wanting to support me.
So going back to like your listeners, what I would recommend they do is to create an influencer list. And so this is like the first step. I mean, the first step with everything, we got to figure out the strategy. So my definition of an influencer is someone who can help you reach your goals faster. So identify what are your top goals, and let’s get more specific than just grow your business. Is it to get — land five high end clients this month, or generate X amount of revenue? And when you think about your influencers, these are people who have already achieved your goal, or maybe they’re a couple of steps ahead of us, so they kind of know the path ahead, and they’re very familiar with the current situation around it. Or maybe they are people who connect you to other people who can help you reach your goal faster.
So make that list, and you can definitely have like some aspirational people on that list. But I also would encourage you to think about who’s kind of in your own backyard? Who do you already know, that you’re not tapping into because all of us have people in our world who care about us and believe in us already. And oftentimes, we’re not asking them for help, or asking them if they might be willing to make an introduction or brainstorm ideas with us. And so, you want to identify your list of influencers and connect with them and think about how can you be an incredibly useful, helpful, valuable person in their life?
And simultaneously think about maybe how can I just help people, perhaps do a pro bono project here and there and start building up that goodwill and getting those results so that when I have calls later with people who are prospects of my business, who would be paying clients, I can say, yeah, I worked with someone for a month, and these are the results we got in a one month period. I’ve done this with three other people, and I’m so confident I can do this for you too.
Steve: So it sounds like you worked your way up, right. So you had this list of influencers and you were doing this pro bono work to build up your portfolio, and then perhaps at some point, you’ll approach this influencer with a strong foundation of work.
Selena: Yeah, well…
Steve: I’m just trying to understand how you operate yeah.
Selena: No, I love it because I want to make sure it’s really clear to people. So with the influencers, I would say, these are the people that you can offer the pro bono work to, but not like indefinitely, it could be a project or a series of things you do for them. And after time, some of them will be like, can I just hire you, I would love for you to lead up this in my company, or take on this bigger project. Or they might be like, you know what, you’re so awesome. I should put you in front of my students, you should be a guest in my group program, or, hey, let me connect you to a colleague who could really use your services. With these influencers, the most important thing is building a relationship; it’s not the short term revenue you can make from them. If you can really help them and they want you in an ongoing way, they will pay you, they will be, you know what I mean?
Selena: Or you just say like, hey, I’ve loved helping you and I would love to continue to help you, but I want to explore the possibility of us working together in a deeper way, could we explore what that could look like? And compensation or whatever, that’s not my main goal. My main goal is to support you but I want to figure out a way that can be a win-win, where I’m being compensated, we have a long term relationship where I can create these results in your business.
Steve: So Selena, I’ve been offered pro bono work many times in the past, and I’ve always just turned it down because in my mind, at least, I’m like, okay, great. I have to think about what I want this person to do. It just might be another complication in my life. And I don’t know what the skill set is. So how do you overcome that?
Selena: Oh, I mean, I’m so glad you brought that up because I mean, I’ve gotten the same invitations too. I mean, the problem is, like, if you have to think about what you have to give them and you don’t know, and like can I trust this person? I mean, it’s not going to work out. So, like, with me when I reached out to people, I mean, a lot of times also, as I start to develop a network of friends and influencers, they’re introducing me to other people. So like Remit Sethi and Danielle LaPorte pretty much simultaneously introduced me to Marie Forleo. So there’s definitely like a high level of trust there. But when you email someone, introduce me with like can I help you, and then there’s like no link to your website, or LinkedIn or anything or with your skills.
So you need to sell the person on why they should accept an opportunity to work with you because free work is not really free, they still have to coordinate with you, maybe put team members in touch with you. I mean, if you do a bad job, there’s consequences. So it’s not actually free. So, you want to connect with people in a way where you’re highlighting your expertise, and you already have ideas to bring to the table. I mean, for me, with the publicity work I do and the influencer work, a lot of it is, it is very clear, it’s like, hey, I would like to introduce you to this person. I feel like it would be interesting for you to connect, because of XYZ reason. I’ve known so and so for the past couple of years, I think that it would be a really cool connection, would you be interested, right? So it’s like very straightforward. And I’ve also got a website and things like that.
Steve: So let me ask you this, would you recommend you have all those things in place before you approach an influencer for pro bono work?
Selena: I would — I don’t think you need a website per se. But I would say you need to have something about you online. Because if they Google you, and there’s nothing, it’s like, is this a real person? Are they legit? So what I would recommend at minimum is maybe like say LinkedIn. And then in the summary section, you kind of share what you do, your expertise, and include a link to it in your email. So as they’re looking for more information, they can see, oh, okay, this person is a professional, this is their experience or expertise, this is the work they’ve done before, oh, we’ve got mutual contacts, okay, this is like a real person, this is not fake, it feels like there’s more trust there.
Steve: So it sounds like — and I might be paraphrasing here, the foundation for your methodology is to just build relationships and kind of gradually work your way up to larger and larger influencers to kind of promote your business in the grand scheme of things. It’s all about relationships, right.
Selena: Yeah. Oh, 100%. It’s all about building deep and meaningful relationships. And the other thing I want to clarify is, I’m not saying just spend all day doing pro bono work because it’s very hard to build a business if you’re not making money. I actually believe in being really thoughtful and selective about who you invest in because for me, when I’m looking to build a really meaningful relationship, especially in the beginning, and I had a lot more time in the beginning, because you’re starting off any clients, so I had more time, but you need to go above and beyond, because that’s the only way that someone’s going to notice you. But you can only go above and beyond for so many people, right?
So that means you should be really thoughtful and selective and not from like, I mean, I guess you should be aware of, okay, how could this potentially be beneficial to me in the future, but really thinking about who, where, I mean, I like to think of it as where they’re the most synergies where I could invest a lot and create amazing results and value and there could possibly be [inaudible 00:27:54] or also like, if the kind of person like, I don’t believe in developing relationships with people just because they’re “famous or influential” if they’re not a good person, you don’t like them, got a bad reputation, what I mean? Like that personal connection is really important too.
So, be thoughtful, and choose about who you’re going to develop relationships with, and go deep, but then don’t just all put on one person, because then it’s like you get this intimacy of desperation where it’s like, oh, everything is banking on this one person potentially being helpful to you in the future. I would say, be developing like three to four meaningful relationships at a time, while also doing other things to grow your business. It should not be your only strategy. But especially early on, this is something that you do want to think about.
And when I think about even now, now that I have a thriving multi seven figure business, I mean, I’m still helping people all the time for free. But I don’t even think about it, because that’s what we do for friends and people that we care about, like, oh, hey, can I make this introduction for you. Oh, tell me about your business, oh, like would you be interested in a couple of ideas? Or can I give you access to this resource I have. So it really is kind of a way of living and it is an art and figuring out what’s the right balance, but I think there is a lot of room for us to always be givers, while also simultaneously being focused on our own business goals.
Steve: So let me ask you this. So let’s say you did not meet Remit by chance that day, what would have been your strategy to just kind of gain mindshare in his eyes? And how do you approach people? I think I read on your blog that you’re an introvert. How do you overcome that as well?
Selena: Yeah, I mean, that’s a big thing. And a lot of people in my community, they’re drawn to me because they have that introverted side. I mean, I think everyone on some level can feel shy or it’s like a spectrum introversion, extroversion. I think for me, and for everyone I know, it’s really about not putting the focus on you. It’s more about putting the focus on the person you’re looking to connect with. I’d approach for me as an example and thought like, oh my God, what is he going to think of me? Oh, how do I look like, what am I going to say? And like, I hope I don’t mess up. And that is the dialogue in my head and I’m like hi, then I would probably mess it up. But I was more like kind of in the moment, like, oh, there he is. And it was all about like him; the focus was on him, not on me.
And I think it’s one of those things when you let your kind of like your passion speak louder than your fears. And for me, I just had this real passion to connect with him, to express gratitude and also be a helpful person, so that always kind of leaves leads. But I mean, I’ll be honest, there have been times and there are still times when I’m in front of some big influencers, and I get nervous, and maybe I feel like I kind of messed it up, or I don’t know, like if I came off in the right way. But the thing is, like, out of, a couple of time, but then there are like dozens and hundreds of connections, where at this point it’s just like, it’s been a great connection.
And I remember actually, I was at an event, actually Remit’s event, and someone came up and spoke to me, and we had a nice conversation. And later I saw her again, we were paired up for an activity, interestingly enough, and she was like, oh, my gosh, I’ve been feeling bad the whole day because you said that you shouldn’t XYZ, I don’t remember what I said. It’s like I did that and I just feel like I left a lot of really bad impression. And I was like, oh, I didn’t even remember that. I didn’t even think of that. I just thought you were awesome. So a lot of times, we’re so in our head, and we make up these stories about why we’re not worthy, or oh my God, we put this pressure on ourselves. And that is really a way that we kind of screw things up. I don’t know if I answered your original question, because I kind of got into this other place. But what was the original question? I can back up the bow.
Steve: No, no, no, let’s actually kind of go with what you just were saying. And in fact, I want to take the opposite approach, what are some ways not to approach influencers or people that you want to get to know? What are some common mistakes because you were just talking about that a little bit at the end?
Selena: Yeah, that’s a really good question. So, I would say there’s kind of two typical mistakes when you’re approaching people. So one is like, and I get it like being so scared and shell shocked that you’re just kind of standing there and saying nothing. Maybe there’s a group of people, and you’re just standing there, and, or you see someone and you’re like, oh my God, I’m too scared, and you just run the other direction. So there’s that, there’s like the total avoidance, and then there’s like the — I don’t want to say over enthusiasm, because I think enthusiasm is important. But it’s like saying too much.
So, for example, and Steve, I mean, I’m guessing that you can relate to this, when you become a well known person, an expert, you’ll get emails from your audience, which is like one of the most exciting things. But sometimes, I’ve been in situations where you get emails, and they’re like 13 paragraph emails. And it’s really like a one way monologue, and there’s like several different questions. And it’s just like, it’s really a lot.
Steve: I feel bad replying to those too actually because I don’t have time to write a novel back.
Selena: Right. So then you feel guilty, right, because you’re like, oh, I respond with a sentence, and they’re going to think I’m rude. And actually, that happened before I responded briefly and someone got really upset at me. And I wrote back to her, and just kind of explained why I wasn’t able to respond at length like she had. But people don’t realize that you’re actually making someone feel bad by sending them a novel. But really the psychology of what’s happening is we feel like we’ve got that one shot to make a big impression and we want to prove ourselves. And so we over share, we tell them everything, when really when you think about a friendship because that’s what you’re going for ultimately, or like a meaningful relationship, when you talk to a friend, there’s back and forth kind of someone says something, the next person says the other thing. And it’s not like you have to put everything out there, like this is your only chance.
And I remember being once I was at an event with Lewis Howes, and there was someone who approached him. And it was like this five minute long monologue where she was talking about herself. And I’ve done this before too actually with a magazine editor. I remember, I got like, I won this charity auction, I got an hour with her and I spoke mostly about myself. And yeah, I mean, I think we do that because we are nervous. But it prevents us from building that back and forth really meaningful connection. So I would just say, that is one of the mistakes. I mean, instead of just like one way talking, think about what are some questions that I can ask the person. And there’s a lot that you could share about yourself, and maybe what are like two or three points, I just want to make sure to get across, and then really let the conversation be more organic.
Steve: I can tell you my MO, and you can tell me if I do the right thing or not. But what I usually do is when I talk to someone who’s like a big name celebrity in some certain aspect; I don’t talk about that at all. I don’t talk about anything that they’re good at. Instead, I try to talk about other things that are very common, family, kids, and whatnot, and I try to find something where I’m an expert and they’re not that they might be interested in, and then I just steer the conversation that way. And I never end up talking about what they’re good at.
Selena: Oh, that’s interesting. I mean, that’s a really good one. I mean, I think that yeah, that is really beneficial because with different people that I’ve met, including my students and clients to other people, when they’ve got a skill that I can benefit from, I’m very interested and oftentimes, I’ll just like, I’ll hire them and be like, hey, can you help me with whatever it is, with decluttering, with getting better sleep and all of that. So yeah, I think that is an important part of building the relationship not, I mean, yes, I think it can be valuable to show appreciation for someone’s work. But then I think it’s also very valuable to also show what you’re an expert and what you bring to the table, because that person wants to be like, oh tell me more about what you do. That’s awesome.
Steve: And I try not to fan boy too much because I think if you fan boy too much, it instantly puts you on a rung below whoever that is that that you’re targeting.
Steve: I don’t know if these are like, I’m obviously not an expert at this. I’m just telling you what I think sometimes and how I operate. And I’m just curious like whether that gels with what you teach?
Selena: Well, we should talk about that because that’s so interesting. I’m loving your perspective. So one of my favorite sayings that I heard that I share with a lot of people is the moment you put someone on a pedestal is the moment they start looking down on you. And what I mean by that is, when you put someone on the pedestal to think, oh my god, they’re so amazing, they’re so successful, they’re like the best person in the world. And like, where am I? I’m at the bottom; I’ve got nothing to offer them. Who am I to think I could talk to them, I’m going to be wasting their time, why would they want to talk to me when there are other people.
And you create that dynamic where they’re everything, and you’re essentially in your mind nothing, then the relationship is going to be screwed up. You approach them that way, they just, they feel it, and it affects what comes out of your mouth, and your energy, and how you follow up and all of that. As human beings, we’re all equal. And I mean, it is important to recognize, okay, like maybe they’re a busy person, maybe they have more time constraints or whatever, and they’ve got this expertise, I appreciate. But it’s not about thinking that you’re nothing, and they’re everything. I think that the fastest way to level the playing field is to show the value that you have to offer. And the way that you show it is by sharing your expertise and finding a way to potentially give back to them. So, I think we’re talking about a similar thing here.
Steve: I think it all comes back to the original thing that you were talking about earlier in the interview, which is mindset, right? You have to go in with confidence. Even if you all aren’t as skillful as the person you’re talking to, you have to at least project confidence. And then that way that person wants to talk to you.
Selena: Right. And then the other thing is it doesn’t have to be confidence about something directly related to what you are known for, as a business owner, entrepreneur in your job. It could be like for example, there was someone I met recently, and she has seven kids, and she’s a successful entrepreneur, and she’s really good at managing her time. And I’m not looking to have kids myself; I’m like, oh my God. Like, sometimes it’s enough to just take care of myself and my cat. Like, I don’t know how you manage to run a successful business with seven kids. I want to hear your time management secrets, how do you delegate? How do you outsource?
Or just people’s personal character even, or how they handle stressful and difficult situations. There’s so many ways that we can create those meaningful connections. And there’s different ways that people can learn from each other beyond the number one main thing that you’re known for, as a business owner, or a professional.
Steve: Absolutely. So it let’s — so we got five minutes left, let’s try to kind of sum everything up, right. So original question I posed to you was, let’s say, I have some sort of skill and I want to develop some sort of high end clientele, maybe, perhaps. And so the first thing that you suggested was to perhaps just get some sort of body of work right, that you can show off, it sounds like.
Selena: Right, yeah.
Steve: And then after that, make a list of influencers that you might want to meet, perhaps that you can help out pro bono whatnot, and then develop relationships that way, and then perhaps grow your business by referrals. Is that kind of…
Selena: Yeah, exactly. That is the fastest way, it’s developing that body of work, and publicity can be part of that body of work. When people are goggling you, they’re like, oh, he did this interview, or he wrote this article, not just on their blog, but on other well known websites, that’s your body of work. And combined with building meaningful relationships, and getting people results and having case studies, and tangible things that you can help people create in their lives, and then they refer people to you, and you’ve built your reputation. Yes, I think that is a really smart, and one of the fastest ways to build your business early on, for sure.
Steve: How do you get press mentions? What’s your strategy there?
Selena: Yeah, so there’s a couple of different steps. But one is getting really clear on what you want to be an expert in. It should ideally be connected to your goals and your business model. And then it’s about coming up with a really good story idea. So oftentimes, that people are like, oh, I want someone to just write about me, and my business. But it’s not about you, it’s about the readers. So what valuable advice do you have? How can you really serve the audience? So, some things that you can think about are where do people get stuck in your work? Or what’s the number one question people ask you, or what’s the fastest way that you can help people achieve XYZ goal?
I have like dozens and dozens of prompts and ideas of how people identify their story ideas, but basically, what people are most definitely wanting to know from you is usually something that is the basis of a good story idea. And then there’s also just kind of people like things that are interesting, or sensational, or surprising. They love rags to riches stories, they love hearing about big results, and things like that. So, getting clear on your story ideas, and then sending an email pitch.
Steve: How do you know who to pitch?
Selena: How do you who to pitch? It depends. So like, let’s say, if it’s a podcast, usually, it’s the podcast host that you would pitch and sometimes they will have forms on their website, like a contact form, and they’re like, please follow this form specifically. Other times, there will be an email, you should jump through hoops. Sometimes there won’t be an email, but you’re on the podcaster’s email list, and you have a sense of the email format or at least you have a hello or info at email, or maybe you know someone who has been on that podcast, or someone who is connected to that person. So there’s a lot of different ways you can go about to get the information and then definitely depending on the media outlet. Like for TV you may want to call at the TV station, and then get the information for who would cover like type of story. But the thing is, it’s all accessible. It just involves a little bit of outreach.
Steve: What’s your view on hiring PR agencies?
Selena: Yeah, I think it’s not the best idea if you are early stage business owner, because it can be very expensive. And I think that even if you hire an agency, you need to understand how it works before you just hand over $5,000 a month, or $10,000 a month, or whatever it is. And the thing is, nobody is going to care more than you. And you’re going to have the best ideas; you know your story the best. So if you have a little bit of education, so that you can understand like what is it that is going to get you into the media and how you’re going to leverage to the media, that’s important. Because the other thing is a lot of PR agents, they’re not thinking about the business, they’re just like, oh, let me get you a mention.
But you could get a random mention on a blog, or even do a podcast and nothing could happen to your business, if you don’t know how to set it up right, if you don’t know how to leverage it, if you don’t know how to create the relationships, there’s all the other things you need to be thinking about. I mean, I actually have publicity programs on this. And if someone is interested, feel free to reach out to me. But the thing is, I also take the perspective of a business owner, because I’m a business owner myself, and like all of us, I don’t have a lot of time. And if I’m going to invest my time into something, I need to see the return, it needs to be strategic, it has to directly grow my business. So there’s this whole other piece to it. And if you just outsource it without being educated yourself and having a strategy, there’s a very high chance you are going to be wasting your money.
Steve: Let me ask you a different question here just to kind of close things up. Let’s say I run an ecommerce store and I don’t want to be the face of the business, does that strategy greatly detract from your methods?
Selena: Well, you don’t need to be the face of the business but someone’s going to have to do the interviews, right. And there’s going to need to be certain calls to action, whether it’s on podcast, or even certain messaging that you want to get across. I mean, I think that hiring a PR person can be a really good idea. I mean, I’m in the industry and I’ve had clients before, but I think that the best PR relationships are collaborative relationships where you’re not just outsourcing and delegating and have no involvement and you’re just crossing your fingers, but that you are also kind of leading the way and overseeing and making sure you’re getting the results you want. So I think it is still important to have some base level knowledge about your PR strategy versus just trusting someone else.
Steve: Okay, so it sounds like you recommend having at least one person who’s willing to be more public I guess?
Selena: Yeah, there should be someone absolutely, mm-hmm.
Steve: Okay, hey well Selena we’ve been chatting for 40 minutes believe it or not and thanks a lot for your time. Where can people find you and the various courses that you offer?
Selena: Yeah, so they can go to my website, they can go to SelenaSoo.com. I do have a page about the programs I have. I have a lot of launch based programs. I do have some evergreen things that are coming out. So I mean, you can also feel free to email me. You can email Hello@SelenaSoo.com and my team will pass that along to me. I’m happy to point you in the right direction. And I mean, I love helping people and making sure they’re getting the support they need. So feel free to reach out to me. And then also on my website, I have a video if you’d like to check that out. That goes deeper into how I build relationships, some of the top influencers and some of my best tips to building connections that go beyond what we discussed in this podcast.
Steve: Absolutely. Well, just kind of as an aside, my businesses did not really take off until I started attending conferences and meeting other people. And that holds true for both my blog as well as my ecommerce store. So, we talked a lot about relationships in today’s podcast, and it’s really hard to apply a $1 value to it, but I just know that things did not start happening until I started building these relationships.
Selena: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.
Steve: So, Selena thanks a lot for coming on the show. Really appreciate it.
Selena: Yeah, thanks for your time.
Steve: Well, that’s a wrap and I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Selena Soo. Now as I look back on the success of my own businesses, a huge part of it had to do with networking and establishing myself as an authority. For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode238.
And once again, I want to thank Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use to turn visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture, exit intent, and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. And I like Privy because it’s so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop-ups for any primer that is closely tied to your ecommerce store. If you want to give it a try, it is free. So, head on over to Privy.com/Steve, once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/Steve.
I also want to thank Klaviyo which is my email marketing platform of choice for ecommerce merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence, a post-purchase flow, a win-back campaign, basically all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So, head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O, once again, that’s mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O.
Now I talk about how I use all these tools on my blog, and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store, head on over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six-day mini course. Just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast where we’re giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information, visit Steve’s blog at www.Mywifequitherjob.com.