I met Tara Gentile at Digital Commerce Summit in Denver last year, and her message around business design helped shape my (new) 10-year plan. So I’m thrilled to introduce her today as we talk about creativity and commerce.
In publishing news, Amazon is reportedly in talks with Paypal to integrate their payment platforms so that Amazon customers will be able to pay using their existing Paypal accounts. This is great news as it will further encourage global growth of digital sales.
“When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison.” Revelation 20:7
In 2017, the thousand years are ended.
A marble tablet found in the ruins of Babylon warns of the resurrection of a banished serpent in the final days. A sarcophagus is discovered in the deepest ocean, locked by seven seals scattered throughout the ancient world. As the Brotherhood of the Serpent race to find the seals before a rare lunar eclipse over the heart of Jerusalem, ARKANE agents Morgan Sierra and Jake Timber battle to find them first. Out now in ebook and print formats.
Tara Gentile is a creative business coach who empowers passion-driven entrepreneurs to actualize their ideas, visions and dreams by turning them into dollars and cents.
She is the creator of Quiet Power Strategy and the author of The Art of Earning, as well as other non-fiction books. She also hosts the brilliant Profit.Power.Pursuit podcast on The Creative Live Network, which is one of my must-listens.
- How business and art are both about sharing
- How to create recurring income
- Finding the time to grow a new business
- Other streams of income for non-fiction authors
- Why it’s not working harder that creates a more profitable business
- The different ways people are consuming information these days
- How to cope with being an introvert in an extroverted world
You can find Tara at TaraGentile.com or on Twitter @TaraGentile
Transcript of Interview with Tara Gentile
Joanna: Hello, creatives. I’m Joanna Penn from thecreativepenn.com. And today, I’m here with Tara Gentile. Hi, Tara.
Tara: Hey, Joanna.
Joanna: I’m so happy to have you on the show. So just a little introduction.
Tara is a creative business coach who empowers passion-driven entrepreneurs to actualize their ideas, visions and dreams by turning them into dollars and cents. She is the creator of Quiet Power Strategy and the author of “The Art of Earning,” as well as other non-fiction books. She also hosts the brilliant Profit.Power.Pursuit podcast on The Creative Live Network, which is one of my must listens.
And it was so awesome to meet you in Denver last year. It’s just great to connect.
Tara: Totally, that was one of the highlights of my year, actually. The whole conference and meeting you and hanging out, that was so great.
Joanna: It was. And a lot of the things I want to ask you about are from this more entrepreneur perspective. Obviously, a lot of authors listening to the show. But I want to start with mindset.
In “The Art of Earning,” you say that making money should be beautiful. You actually use the word “beautiful,” but many creatives, and authors, in particular, struggle with that money aspect.
How do we reconcile art and business and make room for both?
Tara: Oh, that is such a great question, such a huge stumbling block for people. We could talk about just that one topic all day long.
I think the way that I have found it most easiest to reconcile, as you said, art and business is to realize that business is really about sharing. And that, yes, we need to put prices tags on things and we need to engage in marketing and business development. But when it all comes down to it, business is about sharing what we create with people who are going to love it.
In fact, I’ve got one of the most popular posts on my blog is actually about my husband Sean. And he is a maker of Kimchi. In fact, on his online dating profile when we first met, it said…the first line was, “I make better Kimchi than your Korean grandmother.” Like well, one, how do you not date this person? And then two, that’s awesome.
But when it comes down to it, what I’ve seen with him and his Kimchi over and over and over again is that, not only does he have a passion for making it, and he does, but he has an equal passion for giving it to people, for sharing it with people, to have them literally open the jar, pop a piece in their mouth, and he watches their eyes light up with, like, “Oh, I didn’t know that could taste like that.” Or, “I didn’t know something that historically has been put in the ground to rot for months could taste so good.” Right?
And so it’s that motivation to share that really is what inspires him. And I think that when it comes to reconciling art and business, we have to tap into that motivation to share as well. And then when we see our job, our mission to be as much sharing what it is that we do, putting it in people’s hands, as it is creating what we create, then we can have a different perspective on business that allows us to embrace earning and pricing and team building and operations and marketing and all these things that, on their own, don’t feel real great. But in that bigger mission, really feel exciting and feel like part of our art.
Joanna: Now everyone wants to know if they can buy Sean’s Kimchi online.
Tara: They cannot. It would be a much better story if I was like, “And now he is the multi-million-dollar business owner of the Kimchi Empire.” It is not the case. No matter how hard I try, the man will not start a business.
Joanna: That’s fantastic. So that was really awesome. And I think that operations don’t feel great, the thing there is something I want to come back to.
I want to start at the bottom, because, you know, operations, like a lot of people listening are gonna be like, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t do that. A team? I don’t even have that.” So a lot of people listening may have only just started writing their first book. Or they may have a couple of books but are really struggling to make that first $100 per month. And I think that’s the big thing.
How do you have a recurring income? How do you get off the blocks making that first $100 a month?
Tara: Oh, again, a very big question. One, I think it’s directly tied to what we were just talking about, is that sharing is your number one job, even more than creating.
I was just talking with my community about how we can maybe, maybe do half of the time that we have allotted to our businesses. The other half of the time has to be running the business. And when you’re just getting started, that means 100% getting out there and sharing what you do with other people. That might mean giving books away, it might mean getting on podcasts and talking about your book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, it might be sharing on your blog or on social media, but it really is about putting what you do in other people’s hands.
And I think, especially when we’re talking about that first $100 a month, that first $1,000 a month, even up to that first $10,000 a month point, that often means literally, physically putting what you have in someone else’s hands.
I think it’s very tempting to think that in this age of social media and digital marketing, that everything we do has to scale. But, you know, Paul Graham, who is one of the co-founders of Y Combinator, talks about doing things that don’t scale.
And so in those beginning stages of any business, whether it’s going to be a venture-funded start-up or whether it’s an author writing books, you’ve gotta be willing to do those things that don’t scale. Going out there and doing book signings or speaking somewhere, reading from your work and just putting it in people’s hands.
Now, if you’re writing digital books, one of the things that’s been really helpful for me is actually, when I write a new book, I’ll actually get a business card or a post card made for that book that has either a free download link on it or a link straight to a purchase page. And I use that card as the substitute for the book itself.
If I’m talking about the book, if I’m reading from it, if I’m speaking somewhere, I can physically take that business card and put it in their hand. Or an event organizer can put it in the tote bag for the event or whatever it might be.
I really do believe very, very strongly in that person-to-person sharing and really thinking about it on a person-to-person level as opposed to, “How am I going to build an audience of tens of thousands of people?” Like, that’s a very different question. And it’s a good question. It’s an important question, but when you’re first starting off and really, like I said, all the way up to that $10,000-a-month mark, I would be really focused on person-to-person sharing.
Joanna: That’s really interesting. You’ve just given me an idea there, which is awesome. I love getting ideas while having a chat. But do you know Book Funnel?
Joanna: Yeah, you should know Book Funnel. Book funnel, which many authors are using now, it’s just at bookfunnel.com. And basically you can set up your own downloads and give-aways. And when they go to the link, they can choose how to get it to their e-reader. So this actually does it, and they do the customer service. It’s amazing.
Tara: Fantastic! Ooh, I’m going to look at that.
Joanna: I do business cards with covers on them and have them at events and things, but I haven’t had a free linked-on even from my perma-free stuff, so awesome idea. Using Book Funnel, you can set a maximum number as well.
Tara: Oh, great. Awesome. My very first book “The Art of Earning,” which now, looking back at it, sometimes I get so embarrassed…like, I stand by everything in it, and at the same time, I’m like, “Oh, I can’t believe that’s still on the internet.” And I still get tweets.
Joanna: I loved it.
Tara: I leave it out there. But when I first published that, I just went to Moo, moo.com, M-O-O-dot-com, I’m sure everyone’s familiar. I printed out some of those mini-cards. And the great thing about Moo is that you can have like 10 different designs of each card.
So what I would do is take little quotes from that book and use those as my different designs. So each one had the information about the book and the link on where to purchased it. And then on the flip side, it had a quote from the book.
And wherever I would go speak, I’d actually put it on people’s chairs. And what would happen is, especially with that type of book, it almost was like a little money fortune cookie. Like, if I were to do it now, I’d probably actually get fortune cookies made with quotes in them.
I didn’t have that much money then. But then, you know, I could do these little business cards. And so it was fun. I don’t think people ever collected them, but it was neat people kind of like trade which one they wanted or, you know, reflect back on the sentiment that was on that card.
I think there’s all sorts of ways that you can get really creative about this person-to-person connection. But it’s that person-to-person connection that’s the real strategy behind getting started.
Joanna: Oh, that’s great. And just coming back on the time, because you said the 50-50 time split between making and then sharing, let’s use the marketing word, but what you’re saying is sharing is like all the different ways we do marketing.
Many newbie writers have a day job. You and I are fortunate now, and we’ve been going a long time that we do this full time. And people are like, “Well how do I fit everything in?” So, you know, winding the clock back, you know, when you were starting out…and also that you say 50-50, but there’s so much to learn at the beginning, isn’t it
Joanna: How do you still manage that split and how did you at the beginning in terms of finding time?
Tara: Yeah, such a good question. At the beginning, I was very, very lucky, sort of. I had no money to start my business, but I had a lot of time because I had just given birth to my daughter. I started my business six months after she was born, and I was stay-at-home momming at that point. I was a full-time caregiver. And six-month-olds, as long as you’re lucky and there’s not, like, problems, which I was very lucky and we didn’t have any problems, you actually have a lot of time when you have a six-month old.
And so, while I was nursing, I could do research in the evenings when she was asleep or while she was napping, I could get started with writing and sharing and doing those things. So, you know, in many ways, like I said, I was very lucky that I didn’t have to split my time or find those little moments. But as the business grew and grew, of course, I really did until I could be full-time business owner instead of full-time caregiver.
And so, man, how do you split the time? I really do feel very strongly about that 50-50 rule. Freelancers know this really well, is that if you’re thinking that you’re gonna bill 40 hours a week, you are sorely mistaken. You can’t bill for 40 hours a week. You might be able to bill for 20 hours a week, and then the rest of that time needs to be spent on admin and business development, or else you’re just gonna peter out, and then you’re gonna have to hustle, hustle, hustle, and then you’re gonna peter out again.
For people who are just getting started with writing or creating something and selling it online or in person, I think that you have to approach it with that kind of split in mind. I’m not going to necessarily say that means that every evening, you spend two hours on your business, one hour writing, one hour doing business work.
But I do think that over the course of the month, maybe, you need to plan out blocks of time when you are going to be focused on business development, whatever that might look like for you. If you’re in the beginning and that looks like 100% just marketing and hustling, then that’s awesome. But make sure you’ve curved out 10 or, you know, 15 evenings or weekend blocks of time per month to get that done.
And then that allows you to really relax, I think, into your creative time as well. Because I know one place I end up getting in trouble is when I am so focused on business development that I don’t create space to get creative, to be innovative, to look for opportunities and to kind of hone my own skills.
And so now, in my business, I am really focused almost 100% of the time on managing my business. And the amount of time where I’m delivering services is very, very small. It’s maybe 10% of my whole month, or 10% of my week. The rest of the time is meetings and business development and marketing and operations and all of that stuff.
And I think that that’s something that, you know, maybe you don’t want to build an organization like I do or you don’t want to have a company. You want to get paid really, really well to write.
I do think that there isn’t that magical moment that you’re waiting for in your journey where, “Oh, now all I have to do is sit back and write.” I think even for people who are traditionally published, as opposed to self-published, they are still working hard on their career and professional development, whether that just means. Meeting with their agent or meeting with other authors, doing a book tour, things like that. Those are the kinds of things that do move your career along and then increase your revenue in the long run. And we have to make time for those things. They have to be things that we schedule and plan for.
Joanna: I get really grumpy if I’ve just been doing too much business-y stuff, I’ll be like, “Yeah, I just need to, like, clear the decks and do some writing and…” and it’s that kind of understanding that feeling. And the things is, you know, a lot of people say, “Oh, I hate doing, like, accounts,” and, “I hate looking at spreadsheets,” or, “I hate doing advertising,” or, “I hate doing Facebook, whatever.” And there’s a hate issue, isn’t there? And then there’s a, you have to love most of it. Like, I think I love 98% of what I do. I really do love that much.
Joanna: I guess the question is, is there someone who is not going to be happy as an entrepreneur because of all this stuff that we do?
I say now, I used to think everyone one could do this, but can everybody do this? Is everyone happy doing this?
Tara: No, no, not everyone is happy doing this. And I’m so glad not everyone is happy doing this, because then they can come work for me.
Joanna: That’s a good point.
Tara: Or they can go work for my friends, seriously. I have friends that are putting together agencies, where they have a specialty, maybe it’s copy-writing or it’s design, and they’re looking at hiring junior copywriters and junior designers.
And they have this idea that, “Well, doesn’t everyone just want to have my job?” Oh, there are so many people out there that do not want your job, they do not want to be doing those things.
I think writers, in many ways, are pretty lucky in this world, because while there’s a lot to do, to put yourself out there as a self-published author, to make the money that you really can make through self-publishing and all that stuff, there’s a lot to do.
But the mechanisms of it are pretty straightforward and clear. And as long as you’re getting your books done and getting your books…well, getting your books done, as in financial books, getting your writing books done, as in product development, and keeping that all flowing, I think that that is something that a lot of people can learn to love.
I’ll keep circling back to where I started. It’s all about knowing that even when you’re doing your financial books or meeting with your bookkeeper, if you have one of those wonderful people, then it’s still about sharing. You are taking care of this business, you are giving this business space and time to breathe and grow and energy, giving it energy, because you are passionate about sharing what you do with other people.
If all you want to do is produce, entrepreneurship, self-publishing is not the place for you. But if you’re willing to balance and enjoy balancing production with sharing, you’re in a really, really, really good place right now.
Joanna: That is awesome. I completely agree with you. I have lost my naivety in thinking that everyone will be happy. And it’s mainly, you can be successful, but if you hate it, why are you even bothering? So you’ve gotta love all of it. I mean, you really have to.
Joanna: You talked that you have a training company and, I guess, talking about sort of multiple streams of income, because you write non-fiction. One of the issue with authors, in particular, and you know, because your books, they’re like everyone else’s, are just a few dollars on Kindle, and then you’ve got other products.
Particularly for non-fiction authors, what are the types of multiple streams of income that they can look into, related to the content of their books?
Tara: I think it all comes down to being willing to re-purpose what it is that are in your books. And this is a big mental hurdle for a lot of people. They think, “Well, if it’s out there and it’s available for $5, $10, $15, why would anyone go and pay me $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 for it?”
The truth of the matter is, corporations and consumers are literally doing this every single day. They’re going out, they’re buying books, they’re loving them, and then they’re looking for what’s next. Not necessarily what’s next in terms of new content, but what’s next in terms of an experience. A new level of depth in what they’ve just consumed. And they really are turning around and spending thousands of dollars on those things.
I think that leads to a much bigger trend in information product development right now, which is that I think you’re going to see increasingly here in 2017, 2018 and beyond, is a move toward the experience. What a lot of our digital product development has looked like over the last five years has been just another delivery mechanism for the same information that we’ve put in books, or could have put in books. And we’ve sold that for $500, $1,000, $2,000 a pop, and that’s been fine. But I’m seeing the market for that slowing down.
It’s not that people don’t want the information. It’s not that they’re not willing to pay. But it’s that they’re looking for something…I hate to use the word ‘bigger’, but they’re looking for something more. They want an experience.
Information is cheap. Information is easily attained. Information is fleeting, but an experience, even an experience with a start and an end to it, is something that sticks with you. It’s a level of depth, I think, that we’re really craving in our economy and in the marketplace right now.
And so for myself and, I think, a lot of other people in information marketing and digital marketing, we’re really looking to see, how can we take these ideas that we have and the information and the processes and the methodologies that we’ve put into things like books and create an experience of that for our consumers?
So just a couple of ideas on that. Membership communities, I think, are going to be increasing over the next year to 18 months. I think high-touch hybrid services meets information, is going to grow and grow.
You’re gonna see a lot of people offering services in an agency format perhaps that also have information embedded in that. You could take a book and basically create a done-for-you version of it where you’re going to educate, but at the same time, you’re going to create a deliverable for your clients.
And then I also think that we’re going to see more and more events-based experiences as well.
One thing that I’m doing in my business right now is that we’ve transitioned our four-month coaching program/online course into a two-day virtual retreat. We’re getting 25 people together, all going through this content, doing it in that period of time so that there’s no regret at the end like, “Oh man, that was great, but I didn’t get any work done.” No, we’re doing it together. It’s baked into it.
I’m seeing more and more of my colleagues do something similar as well.
I think those are three big revenue streams that are, if not future-proof, they are on trend right now, and a really, really great way to re-purpose content that you have in a book into a much higher ticket, much more valuable source of revenue.
Joanna: That’s interesting. I have two things to come back on that. You’re in the U.S.-based entrepreneur market, and I’ve been aware of this for years, because I learned blogging and stuff.
I started an online course in the author space the same time as everyone else did in the entrepreneur space. And what’s interesting, I think the author space, more the craft author writing space is two years behind the online marketing space. So I think you’re right about courses in the entrepreneurial-type space.
Learn guitar courses are just getting big, also outside the U.S. So I’m getting more customers from U.K., New Zealand, Australia, Canada. I think, as ever, the U.S. is ahead.
For people listening who are just starting to make their courses, I think there’s an area that’s peaked, but I think there are some other places that are fine. Would you agree with that?
Tara: I don’t want to scare anyone and say the information market, the online course market is crashing. I don’t think that that’s happening at all.
I think what we’re going to see is that market start to build momentum in another direction. So, you know, one of the best things that you could do to prepare yourself for that right now is to build an online course. Or it is to start offering your information in another forum in addition to your book so that you’re ready for that momentum-building in the market right then.
But it’s always interesting to talk to people that are not in the U.S. on this, because I have such a…my perspective is still that…I mean, I’ve had a global clientele for the last six or seven years now. And so it’s always funny to hear, “Well people here are further behind.”
I know that that is probably true, and there have been people on the cutting edge from all over the world for a very long time. And also, it’s not like everyone here in the U.S. is online entrepreneurs or self-published authors.
Tara: And I think sometimes people in Europe have that perspective that we’re all making money on the internet. We are not all making money on the internet. Locally, I cannot explain what it is that I do for people other than, “Yeah, I help small business owners with their marketing and things like that, and that’s what my training company does.” They get that.
Just a quick aside, I used to live in Astoria, Oregon, which is on the other side of the U.S. from where I am now. It’s on the Oregon Coast. And I joined the Small Business Owner Association there, because I just wanted to meet some people, even though they did not have businesses anything like mine.
And they kept asking, “Well, are you struggling, since you moved coasts, to find clients?” I was like, “No. I don’t have any local clients. I’ve never had local clients. My clients are in Australia and Vancouver and Austin and, you know, they’re all over.” So anyhow, I digress. But yes, I agree, and I also don’t think that we’re all ahead of you over here, because we’re not.
Joanna: Well, in a way, it’s really good, because we get to, like, go, “Ah, that’s coming,” you know?
Joanna: So I think it’s probably more niche-focused than country-focused. So yeah, I think that’s cool.
You wrote a blog post on the difference between a six-figure business and a seven-figure business. And I saw it on your presentation when you were speaking at Denver. And I was like, “Oh, that sounds interesting,” and I read it, and it helped me make a new 10-year business plan. So thank you.
Tara: You’re welcome.
Joanna: Thank you for that piece. And I know that many people listening won’t be at that point.
If people listening are at that point, perhaps you could explain the difference between a six-figure and a seven-figure business.
Tara: Absolutely. And this also applies to the difference between a five-figure business and a six-figure business. Or the business between a four-figure business and a five-figure business.
I think one of the biggest hurdles that small business owners especially face, but also authors, any kind of service provider, any kind of creative business owner, is that they assume, because of a certain mindset, that in order to make more money, they have to work harder. Because they’re already working so hard to just scrape by with whatever level they’re at, whether that’s four, five, or six-figure income, six-figure revenue.
And so you think, “Oh man, I’m working so hard for this already. I can’t possibly reach for that next thing, because that would require so much more work.”
But it’s not a matter or work, it’s not a matter of energy, it’s a matter of design. Businesses that break the 7-figure mark, that break the 8, 9, 10-figure mark are designed differently than the businesses that eke out five figures or six figures.
And I know, because I’ve been there. I have bumped up against all these different levels in the past and struggled myself to see, “All right, what am I going to do? What more can I do to break through into that next level?” And that’s the wrong question. That’s the question that keeps you stuck.
When you ask, “What more can I do?” You’re just reinforcing all the things that have kept you where you are. If instead you ask, “What could I do differently to hit six figures?” Or, “What could I do differently to hit seven figures?” “What could I do differently to have my first half a million dollars a year?” Then you start looking more creatively.
Maybe the product suite that you have right now is never going to get you where you want to go. Maybe the pricing structure that you have, the audience that you have, the team that you have is never going to get you where you have to go. You have to design a business with that goal in mind.
I would challenge everybody right now, let’s say if you’re at a five-figure level per year, write a plan for a six-figure business. If you’re a six-figure business per year, write a plan for a seven-figure business. Literally write down, “One million dollars. What is the simplest, fastest way for me to hit that one-million-dollar mark?”
I guarantee you it’s not creating 10 new products. That is the worst way to hit seven figures or six figures. The best way is going to be with a few key offers that you have a clear system behind to promote, that you have a team that’s gonna support you, whether that’s one person working with you 10 hours a week, or whether it’s a few people, and that you have the support systems to make that happen.
I really think if you challenge yourself to think in those terms, to stop thinking, “Well, how can I make 10% more?” Or, “How can I make 20% more?” And you say, “All right. Now, what’s my seven-figure plan?” Or, “What’s my six-figure plan?” Your brain does something very, very different, and it looks for a new way to get there. So, yeah, I mean, that’s the gist of it. I could go on and on about that, but that’s the gist of it.
Joanna: I think that’s great, because I did sit down and go, “Okay.” You said, “I guarantee it’s not 10 new products.” In the author space, that is the model.
Tara: That’s true.
Joanna: I need 10 more books this year, and I need to put them out within the Amazon algorithm 30-day, 60-day, 90-day cliffs.
What I want to say to people listening is, that’s just one model. And your model is the one that I prefer. I can’t write 10 books a year, I’m just not that type of a writer. Now, there are people in the audience who will do that and who blunt force create like a ton of books every year and are doing well.
But I actually think most authors are not that person. So I totally agree with you. And I was like, “Okay well, to get to this level, I can either brute-force, create, which doesn’t feel good to me, or I can come up with these different ideas.” So, yeah, I completely love that.
You also have a podcast, Profit.Power.Pursuit on which you interview people who have made these big jumps over time and businesses that are doing really well, really interesting, creative business a lot of the time. And your podcast has been named one of the top podcast for entrepreneurs at entrepreneur.com, congratulations on that.
Tara: Thank you.
Joanna: Right now in podcasting, the podcasting space, how does it fit into your business marketing and your business plan and also your personal branding?
Tara: I made a big switch last year. It didn’t probably seem big to anybody else, but personally, it felt very big, where I decided I am not a blogger first anymore. I’m not writer first anymore. And having been someone who’s always wanted to be a writer, and I still love writing, and it’s still a big part of my identity, but that was a big jump.
I decided that the podcast is something that I was proud of. It was something that I knew was needed, and it was something that was going to allow me to connect with my audience in a way that my blog had stopped being able to connect with my audience in that way.
And so yeah, so I made this huge identity shift from blogger/writer to podcaster. And to my whole business content marketing strategy now is based around the podcast. And I’m still posting on the blog. I still write on the blog, like a blog, not just transcripts or show notes or anything. I still put posts up. But those posts are inspired by the podcast.
The podcast becomes a jumping off point for everything else. They’re the examples that I use when I’m doing talks. Or they’re the examples that I use in my blog post. Or they’re stories that I tell in the emails. Or, you know, they’re fodder for my Instagram feed or Facebook. And so I’ve really moved into a podcast-first content model, and I love it.
I was recording podcasts last week, and I said to my producer, “I don’t know that there’s a body of work that I have created that I am more proud of than this podcast.”
Joanna: That’s awesome.
Tara: I know, right? Like, it was a good moment to be able to say that, because I think we’ve hit like the 75-episode mark. We’ll be at 100 episodes here soon. And that was a big deal, to realize that I felt that proud about what I had accomplished.
And I’ll just say kind of a couple more random things about that. But one of the things, and I think that probably podcasters or this type of podcasting and writers have in common is that I batch all of our episodes. So we record 8 to 10 episodes at a time, even though we just release weekly. We don’t release in seasons or batches like that. We’re releasing one at a time, but we batch the production of them.
And what that allows me to do is actually recommit to what I want to create every time I sit down to record a batch of interviews. I think similarly to how an author recommits every time they start a new book project. And that’s been really, really key for me.
With blogging, you start getting into this long haul, like, “Oh my gosh, I have to do another blog post.” And then when that blog post is done, it just means another blog post is waiting that I have to write, right?
But with the podcast, I am really approaching it fresh every single time, and I’m able to say, “Okay, what’s most important to me? What is the thing I most need to get into listeners’ ears with these 8 to 10 episodes?” And for me, it’s been really fun to see the arc of that come to fruition.
And then the other thing that I have really thought about from a personal branding aspect, as you mentioned, is what it means to be an expert who is also interviewing someone, right? Because often, the interview model has been used as a curation tool. So that people who see themselves as curators, as opposed to experts or leaders in their industry…and I love curators. I’m all about content curation. This is not like one is better than the other, but they have a different…an interviewer who’s a curator has a different perspective than an interviewer that’s an expert or a thought leader in their field.
And so I’ve really enjoyed the process of asking myself, “What does an interview or an interview series look like when it’s hosted by an expert? And how can I use this interview to actually highlight my own expertise? Not to take the stage, but to really highlight, you know, my own thought process, my own way of thinking about things as I am really highlighting my guests.” And so, I think, in many ways, I don’t think it’s been a big shift in my personal brand, but I think it’s been a new way for people to see me and to understand my position in the market.
Joanna: So many great things there. I mean, the body of work. You’re going to be about episode 310 of my podcast. I know, and it’s crazy. But what’s interesting is I started doing an introduction probably around episode 100-ish. And what’s interesting is people now tell me that the introduction, which can be up to 45 minutes about what I’m doing every week. So I batch my interviews, like we’re doing this early, and then every week I record an introduction to go on the front. And then I’ll actually tell people what I’m creating and my own take on things. And, you know, I might say, you know, “Tara says this and I think that.”
And so adding on that interview at the front, I think, gives also the extra balance so people know what I’m doing, and I get so much great feedback about that bit of the show as well as the interview. Whereas before, like you said, it was all just about the interviewee. So I don’t think you do that now, do you? Because you just go straight into the interview.
Tara: I don’t, but it’s funny that you mention that, because I’ve actually been considering something very similar. But my email marketing around each podcast episode very much mimics what you’re talking about. So I will add on my sort of behind-the-scenes take or, like, “This is what I was really trying to get,” or, “Here, listen to this one thing that she says, and here is a 1000-word blog post on what that means.” I do the same thing, but through the written word as opposed to in front of the episode or, you know, some other way.
Although another thing that I’ve also thought about doing is doing a follow-up episode every week. So, like, here’s our interview, and then now here’s my take on that interview. So we’ll see what happens.
Joanna: I’m one of your listeners. I don’t read the emails. I just don’t read email. I just consume by audio. So I miss out on the extra.
Tara: You do miss out on that.
Joanna: I do miss out. But it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because how everyone consumes information now. I know a lot of my listeners are not subscribed…you know, don’t read the blog, same thing. And my YouTube audience are not the same as the audio podcast and all that.
It’s so fascinating how this multimedia stuff is growing, right?
Tara: Totally, totally. That’s funny, you know, our mutual friend Brian Clark has talked about how you always wanted to have the home base, and then social media is how you get people back to your home base.
And even Brian, earlier last year, was talking about how he sees that changing a little bit now. And I think a big reason is that we’re tracking now than we used to. And so your home base matters a lot less than it used to.
But yeah, right now, I am interested in getting my content into as many people’s hands as possible, no matter where they’re consuming it. Especially if it’s on Facebook, because Facebook lets us really recapture that audience over and over and over again in so many different ways.
I am predominantly putting the podcast on iTunes, blogging and emailing, and then putting as much content on Facebook, and natively putting content on Facebook, as possible. Not just linking to things, but uploading videos.
And one thing I want to experiment with this year too is taking podcast episodes and putting them on Facebook in the form of a video. Not like an interview video like this, but, you know, just a picture where a podcast episode is playing underneath a bit. Just to see, like, is that another way people would consume this content? Although to your point about not reading the emails, I saw you tweeted my article from this morning, which was an email that went out to my list as well.
Joanna: But I saw it, because I was rechecking out your website in preparation. So I saw it that way. I do get your emails. So I did see it.
Tara: Oh, okay.
Joanna: Yeah, I do get them. I much prefer content by audio. So it’s so fascinating. And the other thing I do is I curate the publishing news at the beginning of every show as well.
Tara: Oh, nice.
Joanna: So people don’t have to read a ton of blogs or whatever.
Tara: We could talk all day.
Joanna: I know we could. I think I have one more question. I have loads more questions I could ask, but I’m gonna pick one of them which I think is the one my audience probably care most about, which is the introvert thing.
You’re a professional speaker. You’re confident, you’re like, “Woo-hoo!” radiating energy, and so do I. And you’re a marketer, and you’re all this. And we were at this conference, Digital Commerce Summit, and we both were like, “This is just a whole load of introverts in a room where nobody wants to talk to each other.”
How does being an introvert fit into your brand, and how do people cope with being an introvert in this world?
Tara: I think the way being an introvert comes into my brand most is that there are no excuses in my community. Because I don’t let anyone give me the excuse of, “Well, you know, Tara I see you out there doing this, this, and the other thing,” or, “I see these people doing this, this, and the other thing, but I’m an introvert, and so that’s not gonna work for me.” I’m like, “No, sorry, you don’t get to use that excuse with me. Big introvert here.” Yes, I have a lot of energy. Yes, I’m outgoing. Yes, I love performing, lots of introverts love performing, by the way.
Joanna: Yes, that’s true.
Tara: So many introverts love performing. But, you know, I need alone time, I need quiet time, and I need a lot of it. Again, you can ask my husband. I need a lot of quiet time.
I think in many ways, that makes online business, to me, the perfect medium for everything I want to accomplish in the world. It gives me an opportunity to perform. It gives me an opportunity to have in-depth, meaningful conversations with people like you.
And it gives me a lot of time to sit behind my computer and think and internally process and deal with things as I want to deal with them, instead of as they come. And I just think this whole world of online business…and even if you’re business isn’t online, but instead, you’re using online as a way of making your business work, I just think it’s perfectly suited for introverts.
You can’t let the label of being an introvert get in your way as an entrepreneur, as a marketer. And instead, I think you have to embrace it and use it to your advantage. Because I do, I just think introverts are so uniquely-skilled and talented for this brave new world that we have in front of us. So I love it.
I have friends that are extroverts. And I think often, the extroverts have a much more difficult time in the online world than the introverts do. That doesn’t mean that I’m not super jealous of their ability to walk up to a stranger and introduce themselves with no problem.
But, you know, I love what I do, and I love the way in which I do it. And it allows me to be me and not have to change how I interact with the world in order to be a successful professional.
Joanna: Yeah, we’re so, again, lucky. I mean, every morning in my gratitude journal I’m writing, “Thank you for the internet.” Like most days, I say thank you to the universe for the internet. And living now is just incredible.
Before we go, tell people what they can find at your site and everything you do…well not everything you do, but tell people what they can find and where they can find you online.
Tara: Sure. So the best place to view all my content is taragentile.com. You can find the podcast there, you can find my blog there, and you can find lots of free tools and workshops at Creative Live, and all of that stuff is all on taragentile.com. And then we also do have quietpowerstrategy.com, which is the home of this methodology and process for business design that I’ve developed.
And if people are interested in hearing more about business design, you know, what I was talking about, making the leap from five to six figures or from six to seven figures, we do have some free training around that. So you can go to quietpowerstrategy.com/revenue-catalyst, quietpowerstrategy.com/revenue-catalyst. There’s a four-part video training series there that you can sign up for. You can get a good taste of it first. If it sounds good, then you can sign up for it and get the whole shebang. And I can walk you through the process, the mistakes that people make, and then you can see if Quiet Power Strategy might be the right thing for you.
Joanna: Fantastic. And I’ll put all the links in the show notes and on the video and stuff so everyone can find that. So thanks so much for your time, Tara. That was amazing.
Tara: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. Such a great conversation.