Monthly Archives: December 2019

John Jantsch on the Content Heroes Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

John Jantsch on the Content Heroes Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch stops by the Content Heroes podcast to share his entrepreneurial journey and how it led him to write his latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

On this episode, Jantsch and host Josiah Goff talk about what it means to be an entrepreneur, how establishing habits of mindfulness and contemplation build a foundation that keeps creative energy flowing, and why that mindfulness is also a key to maintaining resilience and energy throughout your journey.

Listen: John Jantsch on the Content Heroes Podcast

Paving the Path to a Purposeful Hustle

Paving the Path to a Purposeful Hustle written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Deanna Singh
Podcast Transcript

Deanna Singh headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Deanna Singh, speaker, author, and founder and Chief Change Agent at Flying Elephant.

Singh defines her purpose in life as shifting power to marginalized communities, and through Flying Elephant, she does just that. By building opportunities within underserved communities, she helps people, companies, and communities discover and recognize their full potential so that they can truly thrive.

She’s the author of several books, including Purposeful Hustle: Direct Your Life’s Work Towards Making a Positive Impact.

Today on the podcast, Singh and I talk all things purpose. Why is it important to discover your own purpose? How can you find it? And once you’ve found it, how do you start fully living it? Singh has insightful answers to all of those questions.

Questions I ask Deanna Singh:

  • How does purposeful hustle differ from regular hustle?
  • How do you define impact in the context of a business?
  • What role does curiosity play in a purposeful hustle?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How you can discover your own purpose.
  • What four characteristics every purposeful hustler needs.
  • How Flying Elephant helps underserved communities thrive.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Deanna Singh:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Paving the Path to a Purposeful Hustle

Transcript of Paving the Path to a Purposeful Hustle written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast

Transcript

John Jantsch: When you work for a big brand, run your own small business, do freelance work, doesn’t matter, getting traffic to your website is always an issue. That’s why I love tools like Ahrefs. It’s an all in one SEO tool set that’ll help you solve that problem and they have a seven day trial for only $7. Head over to ahrefs.com to sign up.

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Deanna Singh. She is an authority in building innovative opportunities within underserved communities, and she’s also the chief change agent and founder of Flying Elephant. She’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today called Purposeful Hustle, Direct Your Life’s Work Towards Making a Positive Impact. Deanna, thanks for joining me.

Deanna Singh: Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

John Jantsch: Hustle is a pretty popular topic right now. In fact, there are a number of books that I’ve seen over the last couple of years that have that in the title. How does Purposeful Hustle differ from hustle hustle?

Deanna Singh: Sure. I love this word hustle, but I have to tell you that when I first was writing the book and I shared it with my editor, she’s like, “I don’t think you should use the word hustle.” And I’m like, “No, I’m absolutely going to use the word hustle,” because there is a very specific meaning to me. When I think about the idea of purpose and the idea of purposeful, for me, that’s the why. Why do you do the things that you do? So what is that? And the hustle part is how. If you know what your purpose is and why you show up in the world, the hustle is how do you show up in the world, and how do you get through some of the challenges that you will inevitably face if you are living in your purpose? So those two words together meant a lot to me, and I think really got at the crux of this idea of making it through life and moving through things with a purpose in mind.

John Jantsch: Well, I do think that unfortunately I think hustle has a very positive connotation, but I think it’s taken on a negative connotation in some circles because it does sort of imply get there however you can. Sometimes hustle in that vein is not altogether healthy or positive.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. Absolutely. And this really is this idea of get there but do it in a way that is going to make the world around you better.

John Jantsch: So you define, I’ll read this directly from the book, Purposeful Hustle is directing your life’s work towards intentionally making a positive impact in the world. So let’s talk about impact. How do you define impact particularly say in the context of a business?

Deanna Singh: I think that impact obviously has a lot of different ways that you can break it down. When you’re thinking about purposeful impact, what you’re thinking about is what are the ways that by me being in business, by us being in business, that we are moving forward this human agenda. Moving forward this idea of being able to connect more with one another. When we think about impacts, there’s this larger sort of a requirement I think that’s on all of our lives, which is how do we connect ourselves to one another? That to me is this impact. Are we creating more connectivity and are we creating more positive connectivity?

John Jantsch: Yeah. I don’t think… Sometimes people get bogged down by that because they’re thinking, oh, I have to go start a nonprofit agency and save the world-

Deanna Singh: Absolutely not.

John Jantsch: … to have impact.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely not.

John Jantsch: I think that’s a healthy message. I guess any business that is making one or a hundred or a thousand people’s lives in some fashion better, that’s impact, isn’t it?

Deanna Singh: Right. You think about all of the businesses that are operating, well, they’re all being operated by people. And so whether it’s in the direct work that you’re doing or the service or product that you’re putting out into the world, and you can find the purpose connection there amazing, that is where you get some of these social enterprises and nonprofits. But also just in the way that you’re treating the people who are part of your team. Are you giving them the opportunity to go out and make the changes in your communities? Those are all important questions and I think really all come down to the heart of what a business is.

John Jantsch: If somebody writes a book with the title purpose in it, or the word purpose in the title I should say, I guess it’s fair to say, how would you define your purpose?

Deanna Singh: I am so glad you asked. I always tell people, if you stand still long enough, I will happily tell you what my purpose is. I define my purpose as shifting power to marginalized communities. What that means to me is that, I’ve had a lot of amazing experience with a lot of different factors. I’ve been in leadership levels and have seen all of these different things. But one of the things that I’ve noted in my career and also my personal life is that the minute that somebody feels like they have the self-efficacy, they feel like they already have all the things that they need, but they see it and they recognize it in themselves. That’s where real power, that’s where real change happens. For me, it’s about how do I help companies? How do I help individuals? How do I help communities find that inner power so that they can thrive and really reach their full potential?

John Jantsch: All right, so I do have to ask what’s up with the Flying Elephant?

Deanna Singh: Sure. Really, the concept of Flying Elephant there’s a funny story behind this. My husband and I have been best friends since we were 10. We’ve been married 15 years. For my 10 year anniversary, he gives me this beautiful, ornate elephant, and I was like, thank you. But why an elephant? He said, “Well, to add to your elephant collection.” And I was like, “I don’t have an elephant collection.” Then he gently took my hand and walked me through our house. And I have an elephant collection, John. I have elephants from all over the world and didn’t realize it. You have to have sometimes people who are so close to you that they can actually see you more than you can see in some respects.

Deanna Singh: But the idea of the Flying Elephant really comes from this notion of how do you take something that is heavy and big and majestic and it has all of those beautiful characteristics and put wings on it? And so for me, the idea of Flying Elephant and working with the clients that I have and the individuals that I work with, what are the big, heavy, majestic, amazing ideas that you have and how do we put wings on them? How do we get them off the ground so that everybody can see them and can benefit from them?

John Jantsch: So I’m sure you run across people, I do all the time, when we start talking about this idea of finding your why and your purpose, that a lot of them say, “That’s great.” I don’t know what it is. I can’t find it. You know, I’m searching for it and I don’t think I’m living it. Is there a way that you’ve been able to help people discover their purpose?

Deanna Singh: I’m going to tell you something that I tell people all the time. It’s going to be so simple. It’s like such a simple thing. I’m always shocked by how little leaders do this, which is schedule some time to do some absolute reflection where all you’re thinking about is your purpose, and you don’t have people who say, I don’t have the time for that. I don’t have… I’m like, yeah, maybe, maybe. But what’s happening, because you’ve haven’t scheduled some time is that it’s just nitpicking in the back of your head. It’s making that noise, right? So it’s kind of just like buzzing back there. When you actually schedule… It’s always there, and it’s kind of distracting you, but if you schedule some time to really sit down and then ask yourself some important questions. In the book I give a whole list of questions and things you can go through, but there’s some big ones.

Deanna Singh: Number one, what is something I could talk about endlessly? What is something that keeps me up at night? What are the things that are skills that I’m like the go-to person for? People will say, “You know, I’m going to go to Jennifer. I’m going to go to Deanna for this,” and are things that they’re really easy for me to do but might be challenging for other people. What are some things and maybe even individuals or experiences or events that have happened in my life that have shaped my character that make me really unique? Because when you start to go through those things, you start to see them and especially if you put them on paper. I always require any client that I’m working with to put it on paper. You’re going to start to see some themes. It’s not so much that you don’t know what your purpose is. I always tell people, you just haven’t uncovered it. It’s there. You’ve just got to sweep off some of the dust so you can get to it.

John Jantsch: Well, do you also ever find that there are people that maybe don’t want to discover it? And I don’t mean that they don’t want what it might bring them, but they might not want what they would have to do to live it. So in other words, there’s some fear of like, “Okay, if this really is my purpose, then I’m going to have to make wholesale changes in my life, and I’m not ready to do that.”

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. You know, one of the things that I do in the hustle section of the book is I talk about four characteristics that every purposeful hustler needs, their initiative, curiosity, courage, and resiliency. And so what you’re getting at, really, is this idea of courage, because a lot of times people are like, hey, I’m really comfortable where I am. I’m not necessarily aligned with my purpose, but I’m comfortable. I like my title. I like my pay, I like my… and I am not ready to give it up. It’s kind of along the lines of what you were mentioning before about do I have to start a nonprofit organization.

Deanna Singh: A lot of times it’s really walking through what are… Would it be a complete change of your life for you to get into purpose? Maybe 10 years from now, 15 years from now that’s maybe what your life looks like. But maybe right now it’s just a small change. Maybe now it’s like, “I’m going to take 15 minutes a day and I’m going to focus on my purpose.” And that doesn’t really change the dynamics that are going on around you. I tell people that that’s an excuse, and it’s a challenge that people see often, and they allow it to just stop them as opposed to them saying, “Well, that’s not tomorrow. “Right? Or maybe it’s never, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t take little bitty steps that are going to get me closer to what that purpose looks like.

Deanna Singh: I will say, too, just full disclosure, one of the things that I’ve realized is that people are afraid of it because it’s something new and it’s different and we’re always kind of afraid of something new and different. But the minute people start to kind of be in that space, I mean realize the joy and the rejuvenation that they’re getting from being in that purpose, one of the things I hear all the time is, “Man, I wish I would’ve done this X number of years ago. Man, I wish I would’ve done this. I feel more complete.”

John Jantsch: Don’t you think a lot of people suffer from being comfortable? That’s what I find. It’s like, why shake up the apple cart? Everything’s okay. It may not be great. It may be mediocre, but it’s okay. I feel like a lot of times when people really decide to go on this search, it’s because something dramatic has already happened that has kind of given them the wakeup that they’re just sort of wandering through life.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. I definitely think so. But you know that’s a really bounded way to live. To be living in a state of comfort is okay, but state of fear of something else, I don’t know. At least to me, I can’t see how that could ever be stress free or ever be acceptable.

John Jantsch: Well, again, I’ll go with I think a lot of people… I think some people recognize what they should be doing, but it just looks like a lot of work. And the fact that nothing’s really wrong, even though they’re not kind of maybe living the life they should be living, I think that resistance is greater than some of the fear of can I actually do this.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. Because it looks like… And I think the other challenge that I hear all the time is people say, “Well, I’d like to do that thing, and it’s so far away to the top of this big mountain. How would I ever climb up that big mountain?” They’re just looking at that mountain top, but they’re not looking at the next step and the next step and the next step. And so we take these really big things, they are big and audacious sometimes, and kind of like, “Whoa, could I do this?” or, “Oh, that’s just too much work, or, “I don’t have the time,” or whatever the challenge might be, but instead of looking at it in just these little bitty tiny steps. One of the strategies that I talk about a lot is what could you do in 15 minutes?

Deanna Singh: Could you just commit to yourself and give yourself a gift for the next 30 days of 15 minutes and say every day I’m just going to do 15 minutes that are just going to be… Maybe it’s just some reflection time. Maybe it’s making a phone call. Maybe it’s listening to an amazing podcast, right? Maybe it’s whatever. But what could I do in just these 15 minutes? And then see what that feels like. Is it overwhelming? Have you learned something about yourself? Because once people get into this space, then it’s really hard to get out because you’re like, “Wow, this is a whole different way of living my life and I feel so much better.”

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John Jantsch: You have chapters on specific words. You talked a little bit about this idea of being courageous. I know as an entrepreneur just rather you’re living your purpose or not just getting up and going out there everyday takes a level of resiliency. But you spend a lot of time talking about curiosity. I tell people all the time that’s kind of my super power. I think it is what I bring to the world is that I’m just really curious about stuff and I break it down and bring it back and say, “Here’s something interesting.”

John Jantsch: How in your experience does… Why is that such an important trait in your opinion, about being this idea of purpose?

Deanna Singh: I think that being curious is incredibly important in all aspects of life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a business leader, whether you’re just a human being, just being curious, it is part of the thing that makes us human. I think it’s just an important skill and characteristic to nurture. What I talk about in the book is actually it’s directed at people who are like you and I who are curious, but thinking about how you take that curiosity and add it into some kind of an action plan.

Deanna Singh: Because one of the things that I see will happen is people will say, “I’m really curious,” and then they go down a rabbit hole. I did this all the time. So let me talk about myself. I’ll go down a rabbit hole. I love this rabbit hole. I find so many things in it, and then I find another one.

Deanna Singh: And then by the time I’m finished I have this whole little city of rabbit holes, but I don’t have any action underneath it. One of the things that I talk about a lot is, yes, it’s important to be curious. And here are many of the reasons why it’s important to be curious, and here’s some different ways to push yourself into some places where you can learn something new and kind of expand what your comfort zone is. But here’s also some ways that you can make sure that you tie that into an action. So it’s not just curiosity for the sake of curiosity, it’s curiosity with some movement behind it.

John Jantsch: So it’s curiosity that doesn’t just look like attention deficit disorder.

Deanna Singh: You said it, I didn’t.

John Jantsch: Do you want to talk about some of the projects maybe that you’ve worked on with people particularly in underserved communities?

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. There’s a couple of companies that we’re running out of Flying Elephant. One, is we do coaching and consulting specifically for women and people of color who want to go into the social enterprise space. For your listeners who may not know what social enterprise is, it’s really organizations that are created to solve for a social issue. So really trying to make sure that that sector has a lot of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Deanna Singh: Another company that we run out of Flying Elephant is called Story to Tell Books, and there what we do is we focus on making sure that there’s books out in the world that feature positive images of children of color. Right now, children of color, and we’ve got more than 50% that are school age kids, but are represented in less than 14% of books, which is a real problem because you ask a reading teacher, “How do you get a child excited about reading and, therefore, excited about learning?” And they the number one thing they’re going to say, “Help them find themselves in a book.” So we have this book in print that does just that, and it’s really trying to get at changing the narrative.

Deanna Singh: The third company that I run is, I’m a doula. I started with a business partners a company. Doulas are people who will coach birthing people through the birth and labor process. We started a company called Birth Coach Milwaukee, which is where I’m from. The whole point of that company is to try and eliminate the disparities in birthing outcomes. The research shows, again, you introduce a doula or midwife, you can really eliminate those disparities.

Deanna Singh: We have a one-to-one model for every person who is able to pay full price we’re then able to provide services to women who otherwise could not afford it. So those are three companies that we’re working on specifically out of Flying Elephant. A lot of diversity there, a lot of fun, super amazing. Looking at some of the impact, it makes for incredibly interesting days if you can imagine.

Deanna Singh: Some of the other companies that we’ve helped with really kind of run the gamut, but a lot of them have to do with economic development. Creating new economic development opportunities for individuals who might not have the same kind of access to social capital, actual capital, network, and those things. And really trying to create the environment that allows for them to take their ideas and put wings on them.

John Jantsch: If somebody was… I know we talked about you don’t have to start a nonprofit, but I do think there are a lot of businesses, a lot of entrepreneurs, that actually would like to help in, as you described them, underserved communities. I’ve heard from people say it’s actually kind of hard to know where to start. Any advice for somebody who’s listening who thinks, yeah, I would like to reach out and maybe help entrepreneurs that are having trouble getting started, that I’ve got something to give there. What are some ways that you kind of figure out how to do that?

Deanna Singh: I think that’s an excellent question. A lot of cities will have places where there’s economic development boards. They call them different things in different places, but looking at where are the agencies or organizations that people who don’t have, again, those networks or those experiences, their own personal wealth to be able to get their ideas off the ground. Where are they going? And if they’re not going any place, one of the things you could do is create that space. Create that conversation or that space where people could come to, but hopefully… My hope is that there is something like that that exists in a lot of different communities and then reaching out to them and saying, look, this is my expertise. This is something I’m really, really good at, and I would love to be able to share that expertise. What’s the best way for me to connect with the people who are coming through your organization? So you don’t have to start anything, but you can bring your expertise to bear.

John Jantsch: I have to tell you a story about the word underserved. It makes me nervous every time I see it. Early in my business, I was doing a directory for a nonprofit. Actually, it was United Way. I somehow in the text turned underserved into undeserved, and gosh darn, it changed the meaning-

Deanna Singh: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was actually… I see that.

John Jantsch: The problem was the thing got proofread about eight times, but that was a normal word. It just wasn’t the right thing. It was just a couple of characters mixed around. But boy did it change the meaning. So every time I see that word now I get a little cold shiver. So apologize, I had to share that.

Deanna Singh: Yeah, no, I just got a bad shiver for you, but you survived.

John Jantsch: I did. I did, I did. So Deanna, tell people where they can find more about what you’re doing there at Flying Elephant, and, of course, how to pick up a copy of Purposeful Hustle.

Deanna Singh: Sure. Purposeful Hustle can be purchased on any of the normal avenues that you go to, Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any of those places. But you can also get it directly from our website, which is Deanna, D-E-A-N-N-A, Singh, S-I-N-G-H dot com. Deannasingh.com. You can get the book. You can see the children’s books. You can kind of see all of the different things that we’re doing and sign up to get the weekly blog just to hear how other people are really living in the Purposeful Hustle. And then also any social media platform. Almost any social media platform. Love to connect with some of your listeners.

John Jantsch: Well, and we’ll have all those links in the show notes both to the site as well as links to Flying Elephant. Deanna, thanks for joining us and hopefully keep up that great work, and hopefully we’ll run into you out there on the road.

Deanna Singh: Awesome. So grateful to be here. Thanks.

How Did the Customer Journey Evolve in 2019?

How Did the Customer Journey Evolve in 2019? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The customer journey is at the heart of all marketing efforts. I wrote last week about how the marketing hourglass and the marketing maturity model are the two frameworks to guide you through the creation of your entire marketing system.

While the marketing maturity model helps you to establish and grow your own marketing assets, the marketing hourglass teaches you how to interact with customers throughout their journey with your brand. In today’s digital world, where things change quickly, the customer journey continues to grow and evolve. And it’s critical that you’re aware of these changes so that you can continue to deliver an effective marketing message to customers, even as their journey shifts.

Let’s take a look back at how the customer journey evolved in 2019 and where we might expect it to go in 2020.

The Omnichannel Experience Expands Further

Digital marketing allows you to create multiple touchpoints with your customers. From your website to social media to video platforms to paid advertising, there are dozens of channels for you to explore. And in 2019, you gained even greater options.

Voice search continues to grow. Experts expect that 200 million smart speakers will have been sold by the end of the year. While smart speakers and voice assistants provide another way for you to get discovered by new prospects, you may need to pivot your SEO efforts to get noticed by Alexa and Siri. Things like having a mobile-friendly site that is fast and secure, and making sure you’re listed on relevant local listings sites (think Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business) can all help you to be the brand that’s suggested by a voice assistant.

Augmented reality (AR), which first gained widespread attention as the tech that powered the popular Pokémon Go app, is now being used by marketers to sell products. We’ve seen retailers in the fashion, beauty, and home furnishing spaces develop apps that allow people to virtually try before they buy.

Visual search is also something to keep on your radar screen. Social platform Pinterest has added visual search to their site, allowing consumers to upload a picture of a product they like and presenting them with suggestions for where they can purchase the item—or something similar—online. For tips on how to make Pinterest work for your business, check out this Duct Tape Marketing podcast episode with Pinterest expert Alisa Meredith.

Data and Automation Are More Important Than Ever

Data and automation are buzzwords we’ve heard tossed around for several years now, but they’ve established themselves as critical elements of business operations and marketing. On the marketing front, they allow you to better understand the unique shifts in your customer’s journey, so that you can modify your approach and direct the right message at the right prospect at the right time.

As the technology becomes more widespread and costs of implementation decrease, small businesses are able to tackle personalization on a level that was previously only possible for giants like Amazon.

This year, 80 percent of regular shoppers indicated that they’ll only do business with brands that serve up personalized experiences. So if you’re still sending the same emails to everyone on your mailing list, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Understanding customer data allows you to segment your customer base into different personas. Very few businesses serve customers that are all exactly alike. For most of us, we mean different things to different people. Let’s say you’re a florist. Some of your clients purchase flowers only for special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries. Others are event planners who place large orders on behalf of their clients. Others still are individuals with standing orders for arrangements at their home or office.

Each of these customers have very different needs, and so they should be getting very different marketing messages from you. By using the data you already have on your customers to better understand their behaviors and actions, you can craft your marketing messaging to speak directly to each segment of your customer population.

And with marketing automation tools, you can set your system to send certain messages to customers that are triggered by specific behaviors. That means everyone is always getting the marketing message they most need and want, and you’re likely to generate more business.

Online and In-Person Worlds Collide

If you’re a marketer today, there’s so much to think about in the digital world that it’s possible to get carried away and forget that your customers still exist in the real world! That’s why it’s important that, even as you keep an eye on digital trends, you work to bring the digital and real worlds together for your customers.

Eighty-eight percent of consumers who do a local search on their phone end up calling or visiting the business within 24 hours. This means that the online portion of the customer journey is leading directly to in-person sales.

How can you better facilitate the customer journey from online browsing to in-person purchasing? Make sure your business is present on local listings sites like Google My Business so that you can get found in the first place. Have your contact information and hours listed prominently on your site and local listings, so that prospects can actually call and visit.

Webrooming is another digital-to-real-world trend that local businesses need to be aware of. Webrooming is the practice of searching for a product online while you’re physically in the store. I know I’ve done it myself to check out specs and reviews on the top one or two items I’m considering. Reviews and ratings are important to any small business for SEO, but they’re also relevant in the real world as they have the ability to sway a webrooming consumer in real time.

Engagement is Key

As the customer journey has grown more and more complex, engagement has become even more important. When prospects or customers reach out to you via any channel, you must respond quickly and effectively.

Engagement is your opportunity to capture more of your audience’s valuable attention. If someone comments on your social media account, don’t just let it sit there or simply reply with a like. Instead, ask a question or write a response that invites them to engage in conversation. The longer you can keep that volley going, the greater their sense of connection becomes with your brand. If you’re able to make a good impression now, it’s the kind of thing that will make them think about you later when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Building Loyalty is Critical for Long-Term Success

Because the customer journey is no longer a straight light, you need to build loyalty. Otherwise, people will abandon you when a better offer comes along.

Be honest: How many times have you done your product research on one site, settled on your product of choice, and then opened up a Google tab to search for the same product elsewhere, cheaper?

Digital enables people to go through all of the steps of the journey with you, and then at the last minute jump ship to go with a cheaper competitor. The only way to combat this is to offer an incredible customer experience. Your brand has to be about more than your products, or you’ll lose your differentiation (and your customers). And you need to be going above and beyond at every stage of the customer journey, because they can slip away at any point.

The Journey Can’t Just Happen, You Need to Guide It

With so many marketing channels in place, you can’t leave customers’ paths to chance. Instead, you need to take control of your destiny and guide the customer journey.

This starts with mapping to understand your current customers. When you know how your existing ideal clients behaved on their journey, you can work to recreate that experience for others. Not only is it more likely to lead to conversions, it also means you’ll be attracting new customers who fit your ideal profile

When you’re refining your approach, it’s good to use testing. Research your existing customers, posit a theory, test it out, and measure results. A/B testing is a great way to run side-by-side comparisons of different approaches to see which resonates best with your target audience.

The customer journey is constantly evolving, and I’m sure we’ll see even more changes—big and small—in 2020. No matter where the customer journey goes next, if you keep the marketing hourglass and a commitment to serving your customers as your North Star, you’ll be able to weather any ups and downs in the marketing landscape.

Weekend Favs December 7

Weekend Favs December 7 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Profit By Design Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

Profit By Design Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch, author of six books including his latest, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, stops by the Profit By Design podcast to chat with host Dr. Sabrina Starling about his latest book.

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur is inspired by Jantsch’s reflection on his own entrepreneurial journey. He’s crafted 366 daily meditations to help entrepreneurs discover their sense of self-reliance and trust in their own voice and vision. Check out the episode to learn more about his book and the process for creating and writing it.

Listen: John Jantsch on the Profit By Design Podcast

Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon

Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Alisa Meredith
Podcast Transcript

alisa meredith headshotOn the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast today, I visit with visual marketing expert and self-proclaimed “Pinterest nerd,” Alisa Meredith.

Meredith is a social media consultant and the content marketing manager at Tailwind, an Instagram and Pinterest scheduling tool.

Less than a third of marketers are on Pinterest, but Meredith is a huge fan of the platform, and she knows how to get the most out of it for your small business.

In this episode, we talk all things Pinterest: what it is, how it works, what kind of posts are most successful, and what small business owners can and should be doing on the platform to drive conversions and sales.

Questions I ask Alisa Meredith:

  • How would you describe the state of social media today, and how has it changed over the last decade?
  • Where does social media fit into small business marketing?
  • How do I start thinking about Pinterest in the context of marketing my business?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why Meredith considers Pinterest to be more of a search engine than a social network.
  • Why Pinterest and Instagram, although both visually-based, are polar opposites.
  • How Pinterest can help you meet your business objectives.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Alisa Meredith:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon

Transcript of Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast

Transcript

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ManyChat.com. 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day, ManyChat is how you reach them.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Alisa Meredith. She is a social media consultant, also the content marketing manager at Tailwind, an Instagram and Pinterest scheduling tool. We are going to talk about social media in general, but we’re going to focus on one of the platforms in particular, Pinterest. So Alisa, thanks for joining me.

Alisa Meredith: Thank you, John. Thanks for having me on.

John Jantsch: We’ve been doing this social media thing really over a decade now, and how would you describe kind of the state of where we are in social media? Consider I got on Twitter in 2006 and Facebook opened up in 2008. What’s the last decade for social media been like, good, bad, and ugly?

Alisa Meredith: Wow, how long do we have? I think it’s gone from … I remember the days when everything on Facebook was free, and you could assume that when you posted something on your business page, all of your followers would see it. That seems like it doesn’t even seem possible right now, does it?

John Jantsch: I get like 5% reach, maybe, and I have a client that’s a remodeling contractor that everybody just loves these people, and they get like 50% reach. It’s amazing.

Alisa Meredith: That’s wonderful.

John Jantsch: So it can be done, I guess.

Alisa Meredith: It can, but it’s pretty rare. I think that’s kind of what we’re seeing on most social is that ads are becoming more important, and that makes sense. They have to make money too.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I mean I know when we’re recommending social for a lot of small businesses, we are talking about the organic aspect of it, but a lot of times increasingly we’re just lumping paid right into part of that plan.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So kind of maybe set the landscape for small business owners. Where does social fit in? And obviously different businesses, different uses, but generally where does social fit in today you’d think in somebody’s marketing plan as a small business?

Alisa Meredith: I think it really depends on which network you’re talking about. They all kind of have their own place. Facebook is the place you go because people expect you to be there. If you’re not there, I think there’s some suspicion. Like, “What do they have to hide? Why are they not on Facebook?” Instagram is where people get to know you personally, which is a wonderful thing, and it can be really good for sales. Pinterest, which I do not classify as social, but I understand that it does get kind of lumped in there, is more of a search engine. There’s a place for most people on most networks, it just depends on what you’re trying to get out of them.

John Jantsch: That’s a great distinction. I don’t think I’ve heard anybody talk about it as a search engine, necessarily. I mean, I think a lot of people lump YouTube into the social networks, and I wouldn’t necessarily call YouTube a social network, but it kind of gets lumped in that same way.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, I agree, and I think that they both have some social elements, but primarily the way people use them is for their own information. So I think of Pinterest as more like the introvert’s network. It’s about me, it’s about where I go to plan. It’s not where I am going to present myself in a certain way like you might on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Instagram. It’s a very different intent, and the way that people use it is different too. So something like 90% of all activity on Pinterest happens in search, which is definitely not the case on other networks.

John Jantsch: Yeah, in fact there’s a lot of content in say LinkedIn and Facebook that you would never turn up organically searching, say on like Google or something, but that’s not the case. I would guess 50-75% of the traffic to Pinterest comes through organic search outside of Pinterest. Would that be true?

Alisa Meredith: I think it’s probably lower than that now. It used to be that Google showed a lot more Pinterest results in their search results, but I think eventually they got wise to the fact that, “Hey, we’re basically sending their traffic to another search engine,” so there are fewer results from Pinterest on Google right now than there used to be. There certainly still are some, but Pinterest itself is very much a search and discover engine. In fact, there are about 2 billion searches performed every month on Pinterest.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk about the social networks, then. You’ve mentioned Facebook, and I think you mentioned LinkedIn already, and Instagram, and Twitter I guess, still out there as a social network.

Alisa Meredith: Yes, it sure is. It’s had a little bit of a resurgence lately.

John Jantsch: Well in fact, that’s what’s kind of interesting. I think LinkedIn has had a huge resurgence in terms of its-

Alisa Meredith: Oh, yeah.

John Jantsch: … usefulness, and in fact I hear more and more people talking about LinkedIn as a search engine. So in other words, not just participating groups and comment on things but actually go there to find articles. Because so much great content is now getting put on LinkedIn.

John Jantsch: If you were advising small businesses, and again I know the consultant answer is going to be, “It depends,” but generically do we need to be on all four of those that I just mentioned?

Alisa Meredith: I think for the most part, yes there’s a use. I think on Pinterest specifically, it can be difficult to get a lot of traction if you are strictly a local based business. If you’re a brick and mortar in let’s say Ontario, Canada, and that’s the only place that anyone can go to buy from you, it’s going to be really hard to get qualified traffic from Pinterest. You’ll probably get a ton of traffic, depending on what you’re selling, but it may not be the place to spend most of your time. Instagram will probably be better for you in that case.

John Jantsch: I had a client a few years ago that was just getting massive amounts of traffic, and we were like, “What?” I mean, they were a local lawn service, and we’re like, “What is going on?” And apparently they had written some blog post that Google decided was like the number one to talk about grass or certain seeds or something, and so like 90% of their traffic was coming from outside of their community, but it was still kind of fun to see.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, well they should probably start selling grass seed or something nationally.

John Jantsch: I know, I know.

Alisa Meredith: Make something of that traffic.

John Jantsch: Something to do something with it. Okay, so a lot of people look at Instagram and Pinterest, or maybe not a lot in your world but a lot in my world, and kind of see them as the same. They’re both very visual, they’re all about pictures. How would you tell somebody how they differ?

Alisa Meredith: Oh, so so different, practically opposite. Instagram really is like a curated view of a person’s life or a business, really, and it’s like showing the best of yourself, showing an intimate portrayal of yourself so people really get to know, like, and trust you which is great, it’s wonderful. That’s kind of external. When a person is on Instagram, they want to know about you. They want to know about your unboxing. They want to know about your company party because that helps them feel more comfortable to buy from you and feel like they know you.

Alisa Meredith: When a person is on Pinterest, they do not care about that. They really do not. So to have a Pinterest board with all of your company photos, it’s not going to go anywhere. What people care about on Pinterest is, “How can you help me make my life better? How can I become a better mom, teacher, marketer? How can I make my house the way I want it, my body the way I want it, my diet?” It really is the introvert’s network. People don’t go on there to share generally. They go on there to collect and then to get inspired to do.

John Jantsch: I’m going to pretend that my listeners don’t really know much about Pinterest other than what you’ve just shared. So break down, if I’m a business owner, how would I start looking at Pinterest? Maybe not just like how do I do it, maybe just how do I start thinking about it in the context of marketing my business?

Alisa Meredith: I think the best way is to get an account and use it. You might have zero interest in Pinterest, you think, but everything that you’re interested in is on there. Trust me. I would choose something that really gets you excited and just create one board and look around. Search for ideas that get you excited, and see what is it about a particular article, or topic, or what is it that made you click this pin over that pin? How are you behaving on Pinterest? Just get inside of the mind of a Pinner because marketers, we always look at things a little differently. Sometimes you just need to be a consumer for a while.

John Jantsch: So in a lot of networks that people might be used to, and again you’ve already pointed out that that’s not what Pinterest necessarily is. The point is to build a following, but that’s not really the behavior on Pinterest, is it?

Alisa Meredith: No, it’s not at all because like we talked about, most of the activity is happening in search, about 90%, and so your content is potentially going to reach way more people than ever will follow you. Followers are important in the sense that Pinterest serves up your new pins to your followers first because those people should be the ones who would be most engaged with your content.

Alisa Meredith: So then they watch like how your followers engage with that content as it comes out, and that has an impact on how far it will be distributed, or how often it will show up in search, or how high up it will be in search or related pins. So that’s where they’re important which is why it’s even more important on Pinterest than maybe anywhere else to make sure you’re attracting the right followers rather than going for numbers.

John Jantsch: Let’s face it, it’s getting harder and harder to reach our prospects and customers, and we have to be a lot of places. We have to communicate using the tools that they want to use. Did you know that 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day? Would you like to know how you could reach them? Get a free one month pro trial by going to manychat.com and click Get Started, enter the code DUCTTAPE, that’s D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E for your free one month pro trial. It’s such a great way to engage prospects, build relationships with customers through interactive, tailored content in the place that they want to get it. Manychat.com, enter the code DUCTTAPE for a free one month pro trial.

John Jantsch: So if I’m building some boards, and I’m posting some things, and maybe Pinterest is showing them for certain types of searches. How do I make business objectives there? I mean, ultimately we want customers, so how does Pinterest allow me to do that or help me do that?

Alisa Meredith: Pinterest is all about the traffic. It’s the one place that I know of that is very happy to send you off of their platform to yours. It can be a huge traffic driver, and sometimes I’ve had people call my agency and say, “Hey, I wasn’t doing anything on Pinterest, and I just happened to notice that I’m getting a ton of traffic from Pinterest so I feel like maybe if I put some effort into it, I would get more,” and yes usually that is the case. It is already the number two driver of social traffic, right behind Facebook. If people put more energy into it, it could be a lot more.

Alisa Meredith: But among content marketers, anyway, only about 28%, 27% of content marketers are using Pinterest which is kind of amazing to me when what we want really kind of all starts with traffic, and that is where Pinterest is incredibly powerful.

John Jantsch: Would I be incorrect in assuming, though, that you’ve got to show up with some visual chops there, that that’s what people are looking for, or can you have a checklist of things as long as it meets something I’m looking for?

Alisa Meredith: Well you know, I have seen some ugly pins do really, really well. I have one from an old agency of mine that I still get emails about it being my most popular pin, and it is ugly. It has like Lego characters on it. It’s bad. So sometimes that happens, but in general you do want high quality, professional images with some compelling text on the image, which partially works to help people know what the image is and to click through. It also helps with search. So Pinterest actually reads the text on your image, Pinterest can actually tell what the items in your image are, and they assign keywords based on those items.

Alisa Meredith: You do need to give some thought to your images, but you don’t have to … There are apps out there that will help you. There’s Easel, there’s Canva, there are all kinds of things. You don’t even have to know Photoshop to make a beautiful pin.

John Jantsch: So I’ve written a book recently called The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, and every day it has a new page and new entry, and I anchor all of those daily pages with quotes from some mid-19th century literature. Just using myself as an example, this is my way to get free consulting by the way.

Alisa Meredith: It’s brilliant [inaudible 00:13:49].

John Jantsch: But would quotes taken from some of those pages be a good Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, quotes on Pinterest are unbelievably popular. I was just looking this morning at audience insights and looking at what the general Pinterest user is into. Quotes, let’s see, 26% of the general audience on Pinterest is interested in quotes. So we have 322 million monthly active users. 26% of those people are engaging with quote pins.

Alisa Meredith: So yes, I would do that. However, I would also say that infographics can be very popular on Pinterest, but they don’t always get clicks. I’m suspecting the same thing might be true of a quote pin. So what I would say is, “Yes, absolutely you should try this,” but also put some kind of call to action on your image itself. So like, “see how to use this in your business,” or just like whatever, you know. I don’t know what the quotes are exactly, but.

John Jantsch: Well, so it’s like Thoreau, and Emerson, and some of that kind of writing that people would be familiar with, but what you’re saying is don’t just leave them as eye candy, make them something more useful to the user, or at least [inaudible 00:15:07].

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, like how to use this in your everyday life, yeah.

John Jantsch: All right, so are there some tips and tricks for getting organic traffic then? So in other words, just like there are tips for Google. Are there tips for showing up higher in Pinterest searches?

Alisa Meredith: Yes, absolutely. Something that has changed fairly recently, and people are noticing it, is that it used to work that you could pin the same image to the same blog post over, and over, and over again to the same boards, and that worked to increase your traffic, but Pinterest doesn’t want that. They want every time you or I go back to Pinterest, they want us to see something new and exciting so that we want to keep coming back. Makes sense.

Alisa Meredith: So with that in mind, that’s not working anymore, to pin the same thing over and over again. So what a lot of people are doing is making multiple images for the same blog post. Right? So more opportunity to show up. I asked around to some of my friends, “Have you done this? What are the results?” and a friend of mine who has a Teachers Pay Teachers store where they sell writing checklists for third grader teachers, for example, she had a pin, it was a couple years old, and she was still getting almost 2,000 link clicks a month from it, which I’ll take that from one image on Pinterest.

Alisa Meredith: But she thought, “Let me make a new image, just freshen it up.” It’s a very simple image with just some text overlay on it, probably took five minutes to make. In the same month where she got 2,000 from the old pin, she got over 10,000 link clicks from the brand new pin.

John Jantsch: Hm, wow.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah. Yeah, so this is working.

John Jantsch: Does video work in Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: That sounds like a really basic question, but.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, native video is fairly new to Pinterest. It seems to be most effective for awareness and engagement as opposed to traffic. There are ways to get it to work for traffic, but kind of the intention is that people will watch it on Pinterest and learn more about your business. So especially if you’re looking at ads on Pinterest that are video, a lot of them are the bigger brands. So they’re paying for that awareness, but yeah they’re very prominent in search on Pinterest right now because they’re new, and Pinterest wants people to use them. So they’ll be right at the top of your search results. Of course they’re very eye catching as you’re scrolling through on mobile. Like one of the videos in the frame will be moving, which is pretty great.

John Jantsch: Yeah. All right, so let’s move to the inevitable: paid Pinterest or promoted pins, I think is the term for that one.

Alisa Meredith: Promoted pins, yes.

John Jantsch: How does that work?

Alisa Meredith: The coolest thing, to me, about promoted pins is that when you advertise a pin on Pinterest, even after that promotion is done, that pin lives on, and then people because your distribution has been so much greater because you paid for it, people will have been saving it all this time, right, so now it’s on their boards, and their people are seeing it, it’s showing up in other searches. People keep clicking on these secondary pins that came from your promoted pin, and you’re not paying for that. You stopped your ad, but you’re still getting more traffic because you promoted the pin. It’s pretty cool.

John Jantsch: Yeah, absolutely. How does the function of purchase, how does the targeting work, how does the bidding work? Again, I guess I’m really saying, “How does it work?”

Alisa Meredith: How does it work? Well, it’s somewhat like Facebook Ads, although the targeting options are not as extensive. It’s a smaller platform, it’s a newer platform, but they are pretty cool. You can do things like you can instead of a lookalike audience, you can do an act alike audience which is similar, but instead of having similar demographics it would have similar behavior patterns. Like Pinterest would look at say your paying customers and say, “All right, these people tend to be interested in this sort of thing, they tend to pin this sort of thing, they have boards about these sorts of things,” and then they can target those people.

John Jantsch: So going back to my quoters, people that typically pin quotes could be an act alike.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Alisa Meredith: Well I mean, an act alike would be more like you have an audience.

John Jantsch: Oh, I see. I see.

Alisa Meredith: Like your website visitors.

John Jantsch: So you provide that, you provide that. Got you, okay.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, or your email list. But you can do also what I think is pretty cool is an engagement audience where if I pin something, and then you pin it. Like you pin something that goes to my website, and someone else clicks on your pin that goes to my website, I can then target that person because they have engaged with content to my site even if they don’t know me at all, but I know that they’re interested in my content.

John Jantsch: Are there industries or types of businesses that this is just a no brainer for, that do really well in Pinterest? What would those be?

Alisa Meredith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, so travel does really well. We have a lot of recipe bloggers that get a ton of traffic from Pinterest. Fashion and beauty, bloggers, even finance does really well. I think it all comes down to if you can frame your product or service the right way, like the Pinterest way, just about anybody can make it work. Because like with finance, I use this example like on Facebook it might be something like, “10 Things That Will Get You Audited This Year,” right? That works on Facebook, but on Pinterest you want it to be aspirational. So it’s going to be like, “10 Ways You’re Going To 10x Your Business This Year.” It’s different content. Sometimes you can reframe existing content to have it work on Pinterest, but it’s just a very different feel.

John Jantsch: So Alisa, I’m going to give you the advertising moment for the show today.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: How would I use a tool like Tailwind to make this job of … I know Tailwind also does Instagram, but specifically for Pinterest how would I use a scheduling tool like Tailwind to make that job smoother?

Alisa Meredith: Pinterest really wants us to be consistently adding new content. If you are creating multiple pins to your content, and we should be if we want to get the most out of the traffic we can get from Pinterest, it’s great for scheduling. We have what we call Smart Schedule which looks at when your followers are most likely to be engaged on the platform, and we’ll send your pins out at that time, just to increase the changes that they’re going to see and engage with your pins.

Alisa Meredith: Life happens, right? We could go a while without pinning anything, but Pinterest really wants to see those consistent signals that you are a reliable content creator, and they will boost your distribution in the search and in the feed.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and while I think we want to stay in the moment and do things that are interesting that happen in the moment, I do think if we have a plan for our editorial, we should schedule things out. I remember when social started, people were like, “Oh, that’s robotic. You’re not being truly social,” but I think if we’re looking at social media and we’re looking at search engines and platforms like this as just a part of our overall marketing plan which is what we should be looking at them as, I think then scheduling just makes sense because it’s basically our editorial plan. So we stay focused, and we stay on track.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, and really, I don’t know how you do business without batching anymore. If I created five pins, and I had to try to remember, “Oh, I want to add a new one every week so that Pinterest knows that I’m creating great, consistent content,” I’m not going to remember. What, did I pin that? I don’t know.

John Jantsch: Well, you do like a lot of small businesses and you go find a Gen Z person to-

Alisa Meredith: Oh, is that what we do?

John Jantsch: … tell them to do that.

Alisa Meredith: I guess you could have a Gen Z person or you could have Tailwind. Whichever you prefer.

John Jantsch: So where can people find out more about Tailwind? And I’m pretty darn sure there’s a free trial, even.

Alisa Meredith: Oh, there is a free trial. It’s tailwindapp.com or the blog is blog.tailwindapp.com where you can learn a whole lot more about Pinterest and Instagram marketing. Yes, and there is a free trial. If you sign up, you get 100 free pins to use as you would like, and you can try all the cool features of Tailwind.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well Alisa, thanks for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Hopefully we’ll run into you again out there on the road. I know we spoke at the same conference in Maine a few months ago, and maybe we can do that again.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, I’d love that. Thanks for having me, John.

How Meditation Can Change Your Life (and the World)

How Meditation Can Change Your Life (and the World) written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Tom Cronin
Podcast Transcript

Tom Cronin headshotToday’s guest on the podcast is Tom Cronin. When he started his career in finance over two decades ago, he was not expecting to become an expert in meditation. But the stresses of a high-pressure job led him to seek peace and mindfulness in his life.

He’s since left the world of finance and is now on a mission to help others reduce the chaos in their lives and find a sense of calm.

He teaches meditation courses, both online and in-person, he speaks extensively on the subject, and his latest project is his film, The PortalThis experiential documentary follows six individuals who have discovered meditation as a way to overcome hardship and trauma in their lives.

Cronin and I discuss his film, the practice of meditation, and what you can do if you want to start meditating yourself.

Questions I ask Tom Cronin:

  • What inspired you to switch from a career in finance to a focus on meditation?
  • What does the portal represent?
  • Who will we meet in The Portal movie?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How meditation could help solve the world’s problems.
  • What scientific facts and figures back up meditation’s efficacy for improving health and wellness.
  • How to get started with meditation if you’ve never done it before.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Tom Cronin:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Transcript of How Meditation Can Change Your Life (and the World)

Transcript of How Meditation Can Change Your Life (and the World) written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Transcript

John Jantsch: This episode is a Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, and is brought to you by pixelz.com. You’ve got to make those images look great. If you want them to pop, if you want them to represent your products, this is a retouching service to make your images look great.

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Tom Cronin. He is the Co-Creator of The Portal movie and book and is leading a global movement to inspire 1 billion people to meditate daily. He’s on the road right now touring with the film on his way to Taos, New Mexico as we record this. So Tom, thanks for joining me.

Tom Cronin: It’s good to be here. Sorry about if there’s any background noise, but we’re moving from city to city taking the film on the road.

John Jantsch: So, your background was not meditation. You had another career that you spent a great deal of time in and I wonder if you could lead us up to what brought you on this path in your past.

Tom Cronin: Yeah. I spent all [inaudible] as a 26 year career in finance on a trading room floor. So we were trading swaps and bonds on international finance markets. So if anyone has seen the film Wolf of Wall Street, just imagine that trading room floor that they depicted very, very well in the late 80s. I started my career in the same year as Jordan Belfort, actually in 1987 and it was a fun, furious, fast, hectic time and it wasn’t what I was prepared for or expecting, but it was one of the things that I just sort of slipped into.

Tom Cronin: And so, I spent and ended up 26 years in that career. But the first few years of that I very much fell into the lifestyle that was late 80s, early 90s and that was a lot of drugs, drinking, partying, and working really, really hard. So, that combined and escalated into showing up a lot of stress symptoms in my body. And that’s what led me to eventually meditation because it got so extreme that I had to find another alternative to what I was doing at that particular point in time.

Tom Cronin: And that was about 10 years into my career that I learned to meditate. And that was, the shift that started to happen.

John Jantsch: So you didn’t necessarily just chuck what you were doing, you just changed your lifestyle.

Tom Cronin: Yeah, and that’s an important thing for anyone that’s listening in business or entrepreneur is that, it wasn’t the job that was the problem. It was the way I was relating to the job, the way I was behaving in the job, the way I was thinking about the job. And that was the variable. So, 10 years I had a very extreme stress response to the job and that’s where symptoms show up. And if you think of symptoms, I like the analogy to a red light on the dashboard and that red light is really just a signal that there’s a problem from under the dashboard … Sorry, under the bonnet that you need to look at. And that’s what was happening to me. I was getting all these symptoms, but I was ignoring them.

Tom Cronin: And once I started to change my lifestyle habits and started to learn to meditate and bring meditation as a part of my day, then things really picked up in a big way and my life started to become calmer, smoother, more fluid, and I just got better in my job. And so, I sustained another 16 years in that job without having as many of those stress responses.

John Jantsch: So, let’s talk a little bit about the Portal Movie and book. But I guess maybe the first step is what is the Portal? Why is that the name?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, the Portal is, it represents a couple of things. Firstly, it represents that personal experience that I have when I’m going into stillness into meditation. And it’s that experience of moving away from thinking and feeling and moving away from the forms of the world and moving away from the future, and in the past and then going into this stillness and silence. And then, the Portal also represents on a macro level, what does it look like for humanity in our way forward as we sort of step into this new space, that’s a possibility for us to go forward? And I’m what’s on the other side of that?

John Jantsch: So one of the things that you propose is that meditation is one of the keys to maybe changing the trajectory of the world. I don’t think we probably have to go into what wrong trajectory I might be on. So, how do you profess that that is the solution.?

Tom Cronin: Well, in the film, Mikey Siegel discusses how most of the world’s problems are created by humans. And if that’s a state of mind, it’s creating the problem, then it’s the state of mind that can solve the problem. But the thing is, we can’t solve the problems of the world with the same state of mind that’s creating the problems. And what I saw changed significantly in my life as I was just continually doing the same thing over and over again, nothing really significantly changed until I started to get out of that program that I was in, that indoctrination, but also my own program and my own belief systems and get into this clearer state of just awareness without the condition thinking.

Tom Cronin: And then what happened was I started to be able to watch my actions or watch my thoughts and then have a very different set of ideals about the life I wanted to live and the life I could live. And I see this and we see this happen in the film as well. All these stories, six stories that had really diverse backgrounds, but very challenging experiences in their life and this ability through the use of meditation to be able to shift the trajectory of their path of life and start to create something that was new and more profound and more, I guess progressive and more harmonious.

Tom Cronin: And if we multiply that into 100,000, a million, 1,000,000,007 billion, then we start to see a significant change on the planet. And I think where I come from with the inspiration for the film and the project is to start to have our shifting states of mind, our level of awareness, our sense of interconnectedness, not just with other humans but also with nature itself. And then what happens is a very significant shift will start to prevail I think on the planet.

John Jantsch: How much, again, those are all very practical as far as I’m concerned, but sometimes people need something more tangible. How much connection between mind and body? In other words, how much of a role do you feel meditation can play in some of the physical ailments that many people are fighting with nothing but drugs today?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, it’s ground zero. It’s the basis for change I think on a physiological and biochemical level and that’s a result of the body. For me particularly, this was the state it was in and for most people on the planet currently I reckon, which is this state of fight, flight or sympathetic nervous system state. And it’s a system within the nervous system or a system within the body that is a defense mechanism to protect us from dangerous situations. And we think it’s normal to be on our phones and to be using technology as much as we do driving through lots of traffic and lots of meetings and lots of busy sort of lifestyle. But if you look at our history over thousands and hundreds of thousands of years what we were doing in the last 10 years or 20 years is just exponentially overwhelming for our nervous system.

Tom Cronin: And so, what’s happening is we’re in this constant state of fight flight and when we’re in fight flight, what happens? Our brain starts contracting in the frontal region of the brain, which is the CEO type region of the brain. Our biochemistry starts changing where we’re shifting a lot of cortisol, adrenaline are pumped into our blood and we’re reducing the production of melatonin, oxytocin and serotonin, which are biochemicals that help us sleep, feel happy and feel love because we’re in this fight or flight and about to go to battle or run from a side to a tiger. And so, there’s no levels of compassion and empathy and love and no ability to sleep well. And so, all these symptoms are arising from a society that’s overwhelmingly stressed or in a stress response.

Tom Cronin: We start storing fat cells because we might be on the run for days. We’re getting a lot of obesity. We start coagulating our blood because we don’t want it gushing out. If we get stabbed, which is leading to heart disease. We start converting high blood sugar levels because we might have to run from the saber tooth tiger, which is why we’re getting a lot of diabetes. Now, all this is just an anomaly. It’s simply a result of many people’s bodies being in sympathetic nervous system state.

Tom Cronin: Now the beautiful thing is what meditation does is it shifts the body out of that state very quickly and into parasympathetic nervous system state. And think of parasympathetic P for peace, which is the rest state that the body goes into when it feels safe and secure. And there’s a calmness that prevails and all of those anomalies of the sympathetic nervous system state to suddenly reverse themselves and we start producing melatonin and oxytocin, serotonin, the brain that’s function getting better. We get better creativity, we have better relationships, we get better productivity, we have better energy levels. Our body starts to restore balance and optimize itself. And that’s what meditation can do very, very quickly.

John Jantsch: So one of the challenges I think with, I hate to say it, but a solution that’s not pharmacy based is that there aren’t any great trials and studies and science and money put behind some of those. But at what point will the science be there to where traditional Western medicine will start prescribing?

Tom Cronin: I think what we should do at this, and at that point of that level of conversation is we should look at the science of the current research that’s done on the pharmaceuticals. And what we find is that generally most pharmaceuticals run on a success rate around eight to 12%, which is fairly successful for a pharmaceutical. And it gives it the green light to say, “Yes, this will work, let’s put it into the system.” And it doesn’t really have a lot of deep [inaudible] into what are the longterm ramifications of that because the people that are doing the science experiments are the people that are funding the development of the drugs. So it’s not in their interest to spend a lot of money doing research on what are the longterm ramifications and negative ramifications of using those drugs.

Tom Cronin: Now, if we look at placebo effect, placebo affects generally works on a level of 60 to 70% consistently, that is where you take a pharmaceutical drug that has a proactive and active ingredient in it, and you take a sugar pill that has no active ingredient in it and you tell the person that they’re taking something that’s going to make them feel better. 60 to 70% generally across the board of all placebo studies has been proven that that’s worked effectively, which is far superior to any pharmaceutical studies done. So, this is other areas that we have to start exploring. Now, it’s not to dismiss anyone that’s using pharmaceuticals, it’s not what we’re here to do is suddenly say, “Just stop taking them.” That’s not the way at all.

Tom Cronin: There’s definitely role and relevance for these and in life itself, but what we want to do is do our own individual personal research. That’s what I always say to people, is that if you do your own personal research, there’s no harm in trying. There’s a reason why it’s been around for five to 10,000 years and stood the test of time. There must be something in it, and in the tens of thousands of books that have been talked about it, and in the film, what we didn’t do was give you a lot of information about why you should do it. What we did was we showcased six personal stories that validated for them their personal experience of why it was effective. And that’s what I usually use in my own sort of, I guess not promotion of meditation, but wanting to inspire people to meditate. It’s just simply use my own personal story because it was clear as day that that was effective way of me changing the way I was living my life.

Tom Cronin: And so, we use personal stories a lot because it’s something you can’t invalidate. It’s true for that person and therefore it’s true black and white. And it doesn’t mean it’s going to be true everyone, but it’s definitely true for them.

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John Jantsch: So talk a little bit about the making of the movie. I’m assuming you don’t have a Hollywood background and had to figure this out. Is that an accurate assumption?

Tom Cronin: Yeah. I’d never been involved in film at all, so it was just an idea that we had that we’d use film as a device to showcase the power of meditation. But for anyone in business listening and the entrepreneurs listening that you had a lot of time, you’re reaching new ground and you’re having to go into areas that you may not be familiar with. And what we did with film or what I still do to this day is just draw on people that have walked that path before me. I have consultants and advisors and people that come on the project that can not just hold your hand but really be part of the vision and the project and I guess the facilitation of you getting to your end goal and it’s not like you need to know everything, but there are people out there that can support you with that.

John Jantsch: So you want to share a couple of the stories about who we’ll meet in the Portal?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, we’ve got some amazing stories. We’ve got six individual stories, very diverse backgrounds and Booda is a veteran who was in the army in Afghanistan and Iraq and he had some challenging experiences in his childhood and also has some very extreme PTSD symptoms after going through some challenging times serving for the US. We have Amandine who was from France and she was the United Nations Human Rights lawyer and she as well also had some extreme PTSD after serving in some extreme situations around the world.

Tom Cronin: And Heather, she was a US track athlete and she just won the US Nationals and the 800 meters and not long after that had broken her back on a training sort of run where they were jumping off some clips into water. So, and [inaudible 00:14:43], he’s a Vietnamese refugee who had a very challenging upbringing in Philadelphia in a very poor and then got to Harvard and she faced some challenges getting to Harvard thinking that was the ticket to freedom, but just faced new confronting challenges of being in a very challenging environment that was not something she was familiar with.

Tom Cronin: So, they’re just some of the glimpses into the stories, that are all quite moving and intimately filmed. And me and Jacqui, we’re directors, she is a phenomenal director that really who co-created the project with me, just really brought this intimate experiential process for them, which is really profound. The way of making the film was very different and a unique way of making the film. As someone said last night when we’re at one of the screenings in Santa Fe. “Wow. That was just not a linear film, I was used to linear films.” And that kind of wasn’t linear at all, but it just all fell into place and worked. And I think that’s the power of what this is.

John Jantsch: So, before we started recording said you were going from Santa Fe to Taos, I think right now, and you are on the road screening the film. So, tell me a little bit about that adventure and maybe how if somebody is listening and they want to bring the film to their town, is there a process for that?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, absolutely. So we’re filming in quite a few cities around the US. We were in Santa Fe last night, Taos tonight. Then we go to New York, which starts on the 15th through for a week I think. But we’ll be in New York from the 15th through to the 17th doing Q&A’s and that’s it. Village East, or East village, I think it’s called. And then, if they can’t see, so all the cities that are screening at our on the website, but if people can’t see it in their city, we’ve got this wonderful facility where people can actually host their own screening and they can just apply for that through a website. It costs them nothing. And we provide the cinema, the film, marketing materials, Facebook, event ticketing. All that sort of stuff and just make it a really simple process for them to be able to actually, yeah, experience the film in the cinema and that’s where we want to keep it for a while.

Tom Cronin: The option is obviously go straight to digital [inaudible] run, but we’re really, really interested in trying to keep it in that communal experience as long as possible. It’s going to the universities, the high schools, prisons, until eventually it might even be 12 months, who knows? We’re just going to keep playing it by year and keep having that experience for the community in that shared space.

John Jantsch: So I’m sure that you in your travels and your Q&A’s, I’m sure this question has come up, either somebody has said, “I tried meditation and it just didn’t work for me or I couldn’t stick with it.” Or I’m sure you also have people that just say, “How do I start?” So, if somebody was either tried it, couldn’t make it work, is thinking about it, what’s your best advice for, how do I start?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, I mean, it’s a great question and I think it’s time for a lot of people to start exploring that because the world seems to be getting more and more stressed. I think they can go into their local area and just Google Meditation Center in their local city and find a community where there’s a teacher that’s going to be able to teach them. And there I put into four categories, there’s the concentration meditations, which are more like the Buddhist style focusing on the breath or the third eye where you’ve got to really focus on one thing.

Tom Cronin: We’ve got the contemplation meditations, which are like guided meditations where you might listen to that in an app or YouTube or something like that. And that’s where you’re using the mind to proactively create a scenario in your mind to facilitate an outcome of calmness or an intention you want to manifest.

Tom Cronin: You’ve got chanting meditations where you might do it in groups in your local community, it’s called kirtan or at the end of yoga. And then you’ve got these transcending star meditations, which is where you have vedic meditation or transcendental meditation and they can look up some of those centers. Primordial sound technique is another one of those techniques where they have a sound that you repeat inside your head.

Tom Cronin: So, the first step would be trying to find somewhere in your local community. The second step would be you can go to my website, tomcronin.com, has got some meditation programs they can learn. We disrupted that transcendental meditation and … Not disrupted but I guess offered an alternative for people that couldn’t access it where they can learn to use those deeper style meditations through a 21-day meditation program and they can get that at Tom Cronin or Stillness Project and it’ll be on the Portal website soon as well. So, that’s another option where they can learn it with me. But in a digital sense where I’ve got a nice video I send to them every day and they can listen and share that meditation journey with me.

Tom Cronin: And then otherwise, just go to YouTube. The next option would be go to YouTube and where they can learn it. There’s a lot of free meditations on YouTube.

John Jantsch: So, we’ll have tomcronin.com, The Portal.

Tom Cronin: Enter the Portal.

John Jantsch: Entertheportal.com, we’ll have all those in the show notes as well. So Tom, thanks for dropping by, safe travels.

Tom Cronin: Thank you

John Jantsch: And I look forward to … I think right now you’re, you’ve been on the coast, but maybe you’ll have to bring this to the Midwest before too long.

Tom Cronin: We’d love to make it across that way. So thanks for having me on. It’s been great to be here.