Stories That Sell

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Stories That Sell with Jamie Jensen - Simon Severino | STRATEGY SPRINTS 149

In this episode, Simon and Jamie, a writer and business strategist, will discuss about storytelling. After graduating with a degree in screenwriting from NYU, Jamie Jensen has acquired plentiful hands-on experiences in storytelling. Join and listen to the podcast to learn how to increase your sales through the power of effective storytelling.

Three valuable insights:

  • Putting your own writing / content creation first or your own content creation first, you're then forced to figure out how to jam the rest of everything that needs to get done quickly and you can be more growth-focused.
  • The long-term impact of putting your energy into something that is not immediately revenue generating is often a lot higher and larger than the stuff that just needs to keep happening for the business to keep running.
  • Make it small and touch it everyday.

Simon (00:00):

Welcome back to the strategy show. I'm your host Simon Severino. And today's guest is an award-winning screenwriter, conversion copywriter, online marketing strategist, and the creator of the story school. Over the last year, she's helped over 500 entrepreneurs increase their sales by up to 900% with the power of effective storytelling. How neat is that? Welcome everybody, Jamie Jensen.

Jamie (00:48):

Thank you for having me.

Simon (00:52):

You know, we doubled the revenue of companies. We just double it in 90 days and everybody is, oh, that's too good to be true. How do you do that, hey, but today we will explore 900%. And we will explore how would you better put your own writing first? Because there is a lot of value in there, but first, Jamie, what are you currently creating?

Jamie (01:20):

A couple of things. So I'm the type of person who, whenever you ask me that I struggle with it being one thing, it's usually three. And so I'm expanding my podcast, creators making money. I'm expanding my program for writer, entrepreneurs called craft and cashflow. And I'm also developing a television show based on an entrepreneur that I deeply admire. Couple things.

Simon (01:45):

So many things to unpack there. The first one is you are expanding your podcast in a time where we see like hundreds of podcasts getting created every month, but after six months, I don't know how many, but 60%, 70% they closed down again, they call it the hero’s oppose something, but they are really just not continuing because there is some sort of feedback loop missing there. So tell us why, why don't you expand?

Jamie (02:14):

So what's funny is I actually did put a hiatus on my podcast. I ran it for about probably six, seven months. And then I took a pause for personal reasons though. And I brought it back this year and it's been really, it's been active. We've had grown and growing listenership and the topic of the podcast is called creatives making money. And my sense is that that topic is even more relevant in this moment with, you know, COVID hitting and I think a lot of creatives and creative entrepreneurs, and those who self-identify as artists or hyphenates have lost some of the ways that they would typically make income. And so they're exploring new and different ways. And my podcast really addresses that gap. So, you know, it's a market that I'm really passionate about serving.

Simon (03:00):

So I'm very relevant right now, everybody trying to get into that income stream. Beautiful. Yeah. So why should we put our writing first?

Jamie (03:14):

So there are a few reasons and they range from super practical to a little bit on the spiritual side. So I'll stay practical for the purposes of this conversation in strategic. The biggest reason that I find that it's important is it forces a couple of things. Number one is when there's a project that's on your heart, that's important to you, and that is important to your growth and entrepreneurship, and so that could be a new program that you want to create. It can be a course, it can be curriculum. It can be a video series. That's important that you know, is going to actually help sell your products and services more. What often happens is someone spends a lot of time in their business and not on their business and spending time on your business. Absolutely is the strategic thinking piece, the visionary piece, and, you know, thinking about long-term vision, but part of that is doing the content creation and the curriculum creation and the marketing content creation that only you can do as the CEO and only you can do as the leader of your business.

Jamie (04:11):

And so what, the reason that it's important is for twofold. Number one is it forces your hand in terms of how you're managing your schedule day to day. So if you're putting your own writing first or your own content creation first, you're then forced to figure out how to jam the rest of everything that needs to get done in a shorter period of time. I feel like this is something that a lot of entrepreneurs go through when they have children as well. They're like, well, this is the schedule I have. So here's what it's going to happen. So it forces you to become more efficient. The other reason is that putting that first allows you to be growth focused and that you're not bottle-necking yourself anymore in terms of, well, this needs to happen for me to push XYZ forward or for me to grow or pivot or transform what I'm doing in business, because change requires a lot of energy. So I find that if you actually carve out the time to put that energy into your business, first, you end up being more agile and it just creates a lot more flexibility in terms of how you can create revenue, how you can grow, how you can grow your audience, your market, and even your product line or pivot where you're offering, if that's where you are, which again, 2020 is the year of the pivot. You know what I mean? So I think a lot of people are doing that right now.

Simon (05:21):

Absolutely the year of the pivot. And think about that, telling people to do that, so that they need to be more efficient in how they designed their week, what we do in our 90-day coaching program, we tell them, okay, you will now take an uninterrupted four-week vacation, and it can be next year, it would be better to have it this year in your calendar. You can also put it into next year, but you are not allowed to skip it. And so it's a similar intervention because then they need to prioritize and they need to create the systems that work without them. And then they are super panicked when they have to do it. But when they do it, they didn't say, Oh, you know, it went even better without me. And so how are your people then really reacting? What happens when they do that? So they have children, but they do their content creation themselves. Are there some parts where you say, okay, you should outsource the editing or the transcribing, or should they really do the whole thing themselves?

Jamie (06:25):

Most of the content that my clients are focused on is some writing related content. So it might be written content on social media, sometimes it's video, if it is it's lives and books. So really, you know, yes, of course, you know, when you're writing a book, you need to bring in an editor before you publish it. There's a process to that. But I find that the pieces that I'm having them do, like are the pieces that only they can do. It's not about, don't bring a team in to help support you in like producing the best product before you bring it to market, or making sure that like, you know, you're, you don't necessarily have to repurpose all of your content yourself or edit, you know, if it's a podcast, edit that yourself, all of that. But the pieces that are important are like that, they're the ultimate voice of their business. They're the ultimate, like they're the reason that someone tunes in. So if you're the reason that someone's going to tune in, follow, pay attention, listen, open a book, finish a book, buy a book, then you need to be showing up for that part of your, that aspect of your business.

Simon (07:31):

I could easily be one of your clients because I'm trying right now to write books, and I will ask you a ton of questions. If you can coach me live, right? We thank the sponsors.

Simon (08:01):

So where do we start with coaching Simon? We have a refinery. We call it the refinery, which is how we create content, reuse it. But I always pushed away writing the book, the first book. And now maybe I found a trick, which is, Hey, if a book is not a book, it's just ten chapters. One chapter is just a long LinkedIn article. So I'm telling myself and my team every week we will write one LinkedIn article and please help me. Everybody stay accountable, every Friday we measure. And if I didn't, then it's red in our spreadsheet and I don't want to be in the rat. So we are trying that and I'm doing 80% and then the team is refining it or the other way around, I just speak it. They transcribe it and then I refine it. But it's not easy. And in some weeks I go back and say, well, it's just the book. Nobody really dies if I don't ship it. So it gets deprioritized again. Do you know that with your clients?

Jamie (09:08):

Yeah. Most of the reason that clients come to me is because they're deprioritizing something because it's not immediately revenue generating. And they don't understand that the long-term impact of putting your energy into something that is not immediately revenue generating is often a lot higher and larger than the stuff that just needs to keep happening for the business to keep running. And so that's often the problem is we deprioritize this stuff because like it doesn't tie to immediate revenue, it doesn't tie to immediate clients, it doesn't tie to immediate lead generation. So it's really challenging to put it first. And it's what I asked them to do. So how is the system working for you so far? I'm curious.

Simon (09:48):

Well, you know, the numbers are not meeting our expectations, but I am shipping, shipping, shipping. So, but I'm in a different situation. You know, I, as the CEO of my company, I am out of fulfillment since beginning of this year. So right now, since January, I am not doing the fulfillment. So I have more time. I just do growth and sales and spokesperson and everything, funny ventures. So I have a little bit more of a time so I can use it just as a playground for me, it's a playground. I need great people. Like you, that's the interview format. That's what keeps the energy high. And then I do my monologues, which become the book chapters where I'm not so good at, in some weeks, the theme is to remind me, it's time to help each other stay accountable. So I'm not the best example for that, I guess.

Simon (10:45):

But I'm thinking for most people who like us, they have a life, they have a business and they have this on top. When is the point to say, okay, I go full in because I have validated, I know that this is the long-term thing to do versus, well, these numbers are not met. So I think it's the right thing to do, but actually I shouldn't do it because the world doesn't pick it up. This is my question always. So I go on, even if the word doesn't pick it up, I just go on because I knew it for the journey. I don't do it for the destination, but at which point somebody should say, okay, I just have 24 hours. I need to prioritize something else like saints or something, you know, more income generating.

Jamie (11:37):

Can you… what I would say to that is can you just give it one hour?

Simon (11:43):

So minimize the effort and keep rolling.

Jamie (11:46):

Yeah. I think touch it every day, a little bit. You know, it doesn't have to, I think we tend to, there are different ways that I advise people to test scheduling this into their life. And what I say is like, there are always going to be days when you're in triaged and there's fires to put out and there's something else that becomes a priority and there's a tech issue or there's a, something, something always becomes important. And so the question is when that happens, can you at least just give it an hour? Can you give it 45 minutes? Can you give it 25 minutes? Can you give it some attention so that it's still happening, even if it's not happening in the ideal way? I think that we tend to idealize or have perfectionistic attitudes towards what the writing process or the creation process is supposed to look like.

Jamie (12:34):

And so we sort of shut it away and say, I'm not going to touch it until I can do it exactly this way. Like if I can't give it four hours, I'm not going to give it anything. And that's where we get into kind of a struggle of really just ignoring it and ignoring it for so long that then when we come back to work on it, we kind of forgot how to do it or what we were doing. It takes a long time to get back into the rhythm and to kind of refresh ourselves on the big overarching. Why? Like who's the book for, why are you writing it? Is it important? Why are you excited about it? Because writing is an emotional experience. It's actually, you know, editing is logical, but the creation is like, it's emotional. You're doing it because you care because something you off because you want to see someone, you know, succeed or do something differently.

Jamie (13:19):

And so you're writing from the space of enthusiasm, love, joy, you know, or like wanting to change something. And if we disconnect from that, it just becomes more challenging to get into it. The longer we stay away from it, it's kind of like when you don't go to the gym for a really long time, and then you have to get back into it here, oh, it's been like two weeks. And I don't know if I want to, cause now I'm in the habit of not going. And like, it just becomes this, like this larger hurdle to, to crawl over, to just get there. And so my attitude is like, okay, you can put out the fires, but can you just give your project? Can you just give it 30 minutes? Can you give it something?

Simon (14:03):

I love it, make it small and touch it everyday. Just touch it every day. And one thing that sometimes keeps me back from creating ease that I want to create something very valuable. And sometimes I think, hey, stop creating stuff that's valuable. What about you just share the journey, you just document where you are at, what's not working, what your questions are. Do you think this can even be an approach and maybe even more valuable?

Jamie (14:37):

What I'm hearing is those to me sound like two different things, right? So that's my honest feedback on what I'm hearing. I could be wrong and you can take it or leave it. But the honest feedback I'm hearing is these are two different things. So to me, sharing the journey is the behind the scenes, what I'm hearing is like the behind the scenes of your process day to day. So there's value in that content. Some of that content might participate in the book. But, but the purpose of the book is to like give someone an outcome and to deliver something to them. That is going to be transformative on some level, no matter how the book, no matter what kind of book it is, that's kind of the purpose of the book. And so it's a unique to the type of transformation you're delivering. So the book can be about doubling your revenue in 90 days, which is what I would guess from a strategic perspective, the book would be about with some storytelling and your behind the scenes journey and how that, you know, how you balance the steps for the reader with the storytelling components is completely unique to you and what's going to best serve your broken you.

Jamie (15:40):

But I would say that both of those things have value and they're different things.

Simon (15:44):

Absolutely. And that's executive subtitle of the book. Then at the end, the publisher it's currently the working stuff. Yeah, you're good. So people check out your stuff, where can people check out your stuff?

Jamie (16:01):

So I actually have a special like e-book for if you're struggling with writing and you can't get in the flow that is available and they could go to the jamiejensen.com, 25 ways to grab that. And I'm at the jamiejensen.com or they can follow me on Instagram at Jamie Lynn Jenson. And there’re lots of tips and just being me.

Simon (16:26):

So cool. And we want to know your nomination. Let's go to the award.

Simon (16:38):

To pick only one person when everybody's zigging. This person is zagging, but from your perspective, they're doing the right thing. Who is this person?

Jamie (16:46):

Yeah. So my dear friend Jereshia Hawk would have to win the strategy award because she is the most incredible business coach. Her work with coaches is phenomenal. She's doing stuff in the space that I don't think anyone else is doing. And she comes from a corporate engineering background. So the level of strategy and process that she brings to her own business and to our clients is it's unreal. And so she has to, she would have to get the award for me for sure.

Simon (17:17):

Cool. What's the next big thing you are working on, you are launching soon?

Jamie (17:25):

I'm reopening doors to my craft and cashflow program soon, and really the next big thing, the next big thing is a feature film project that I've been working on. If I'm being honest in terms of like, that feels big. So that's the biggest thing,

Simon (17:48):

Tell me more about the project.

Jamie (17:50):

Tell you more. So it is a time-travel buddy comedy and it takes place in New York city, and it's familiar but different in terms of how I've approached it. It's a comedy cause I write comedies and I'm currently working on the positioning for it and a marketing deck and all of the like extra pieces to really ground into what this project is. What ride are we getting on when we experienced this project? And so I'm over here now. Like I switched brains from online marketing, business marketing, to film marketing. But to me it's all the business of content. And so, you know, right now I'm sort of playing in that space again.

Simon (18:39):

Oh, I resonated a lot. And I'm curious who do you used as an inspiration and as a benchmark, I am right now… because he's my all-time hero, I am reading right now Jerry Seinfeld's a book with, is this anything where he tells his jokes to fellow comedians just to see if it's something. And I have always learned something about communication and storytelling by starting comedians like him and like many others. So I always try to learn from that. How do you learn and evolve? Who do you study?

Jamie (19:20):

I mean, I've been doing this for so long, so it's hard to even point to a specific, you know, voice in the space. I will share that in this moment, I've re picked up Ryan holiday's Perennial Seller, which is a great, it's an excellent book. And I opened up to a chapter this morning and it was like the exact chapter I needed to read and it was on positioning and it was just such a helpful, it's a helpful thought process in anything when we're talking about marketing, because really what he got into in that moment, in that chapter is about like, you're is going to be the best marketer for your work. You can't hand that off to anyone. You have to own all the pieces and owning the positioning of what you're creating. It might not be your favorite part of the process as a creator, but it's such an important part of the process and you have to take ownership over it and responsibility. And I think that as creators, as entrepreneurs, as investors, we sometimes forget the level of ownership that we have to take over every single piece of the process. So that was sort of helpful to me today. It's funny. There are so many people of I could listen to my mind in terms of who I study, but it's been so many years of doing this that I can't even, I can't think of one. Yeah.

Simon (20:41):

And what did you recently change your mind about?

Jamie (20:45):

I, this is funny, I recently changed my mind about the fact that my method works like I, so the putting you're writing first thing, you know, it always worked for me and I believed in it, but I hadn't really like tested it, you know, with others. And I recently changed my life. I convinced myself, I proved that it works by testing it with others. And so that, that blew my mind and changed my mind because I really thought like, well, this just works for me. No, it works for others.

Simon (21:22):

How many entrepreneurs have this, how do we call it? Let's call it these, this imposter syndrome. So I think I'm faking it, it works for me, but I think I'm faking that it works for everybody. And I had this for years and we had this great product going on. And still today, every week we have a ton of positive testimonials, but still today, I never believe it. I just believe it when we get the NPS report every seven days. And there is a number in there that is higher than the number of last week. That's when I finally believe it. So I get it. I get it. Sometimes you need a system that helps you see, see the impact, see the power. And also what helped us is every Monday we have the coach meetings for all coaches were coaching entrepreneurs together and we collect and we write it down in the same document client wins of this week. So we see, okay, they did 16,000 on these new launch day, the new positioning paper, which opened that PR possibility. And just when I read the collection, and sometimes I need to reread the collection to see, hey, this is working.

Jamie (22:50):

It's crazy. It's insane. I'm like, oh, they're like, it's crazy to me. Like I knew it worked, but I didn't realize how much it works and how fast it works. You know, it's like, oh, they're writing their books. And they hide the highest income wants at the same time and this and this. And I'm like, what? Oh yeah, because it works. It's crazy.

Simon (23:08):

Who is your ideal client?

Jamie (23:11):

My ideal client, my ideal client is a writer entrepreneur who has already crossed the six-figure mark, but wants to add another six figures of revenue within a year. And at the same time finish a writing project. So it could be a book. It could be a TV pilot, it could be a screenplay. It could be you know, those are typically what it, you know, for some of my clients, it's a big project related to their business that isn't necessarily a book. So it could be a new program that they want to put out there and a different way of working with clients. So that really is my ideal. Most of them are women and they tend to be funny and have a sense of humor. And they have a high level of self-awareness and kindness. Yeah. And probably like a secret dream to be the next, like Glennon Doyle or someone, usually the authors that I tend to work with, like fall in that space in terms of their voice and the impact that they want to make.

Simon (24:25):

And so when somebody starts working with you, well, how's the first week. And is it one-on-one or groups or both?

Jamie (24:33):

Yeah. So in this program, it is, I basically only enroll right now a couple of times a year and we do, it's very small groups, it's a high touch group. And so the kickoff, they have like a kickoff process when they begin where they sort of establish what their own strategy is depending on their business, their goals, you know, what their, what their plan is for the first 90 days of the program. And so I give them six different ways that they can build writing into their schedule. And I give them six different ways that they can increase their revenue. And so they essentially choose like what, which of the two they're going to do. And they commit to both. And then they create a plan based on that. And it is customized and they have support with me, the one-on-one is included, but if they don't kick off with a one-on-one, they don't need to. And yeah, that's usually the first week is like just crafting what their commitments are, what are the ads like what's reasonable for their lifestyle. So I don't ask someone ever to like over commit to something, that's going to put them into like an unreal, an unrealistic, hostile zone. Like that's not, I'm not in the business of making someone work harder for the sake of working harder. So it is all sort of customized to them. And so I walk them through a process that helps them create their own plan based on that.

Simon (25:52):

Who should not call you?

Jamie (25:53):

Should not call me? Someone who isn't really ready to commit and do the work. Like if you just wanna like make excuses for why your book isn't happening, if you just want to, if you don't want to take fast action, if you don't want to trust the process, even when it's uncomfortable, then you're not my client. What my clients are fast, action takers, they're committed, they understand it's uncomfortable, they can be in the discomfort and continue moving through it, they know how to ask for help when they need it. Yeah, they take personal responsibility.

Simon (26:30):

So you take care of the creation process, also the publishing process, or do you stop there or do you hand over, do you point to publishers?

Jamie (26:44):

Yeah. So I have plenty friends who do editing and publishing and like book marketing and that piece of it. So I have plenty of referrals I send people to. My purpose for them is helping them manage their own life boundaries and commitment so that they are growing their business while writing their book. So I'm more helping them strategically figure out how to do that from like an energetic, emotional and practical perspective.

Simon (27:11):

Yes. And at the beginning you said, now does the numbers about the Google now I want to hear the woo-woo side.

Jamie (27:20):

So, okay. Well, on the woo-woo side, we are energetic beings, right? In bodies and energy, it’s real. Like you can't deny going into a room and feeling like if someone's in a bad mood and you can kind of feel their vibe, right. And so the, you know, we're energetic beings. I'm not going to get into like how all the chakras and all the like the reiki mastership stuff that I could get into. But what I will say is that when there's a project that is on your heart or, you know, is important for the bigger mission that you're here to execute, the impact you're here to make, and you're ignoring it. There's a part of your energy, that's just shut off. So there's, it's like a faucet that you're not turning on. So it's just closed. When you give yourself the space to actually work on the project, to like allow it to come through you, to allow yourself to be in it, excited about it.

Jamie (28:17):

And there's a communion that happens because you're talking to the audience who might not have the book yet, but there's this like energetic communion that's happening while you're doing it. People typically think that by giving a project that they care about time and energy, that it takes energy away from other things they have to do. Like, well, that's not a priority. So on the schedule. So I'm going to do all these other things first. But the truth is that when you prioritize this, non-revenue generating thing, but it's on your heart to create, you actually create more energy and have more steam to give everything else. And so that's the big misconception in myth that is really hard to explain from a practical perspective. But from the last 60 days of working with clients specifically on this, I can tell you that like it's real and it surprises them. You know what I mean, where they're like, I totally thought that if I spent an hour working on this, then I wouldn't have the energy or enthusiasm or the best version of myself to like give to clients or give to other parts of my business. And, and instead they have more.

Simon (29:28):

I absolutely believe in, and you can measure it. You can measure the level of energy of somebody. I feel your energy right now. You are very far away, where are you?

Jamie (29:39):

I’m in Los Angeles, California.

Simon (29:42):

So from LA, and I am in Vienna, Austria, and I feel your energy right now. There is, I guess you can measure it if you want, but I really resonate with somebody who does not fully express themselves. Yes, they are shutting down a part of it. And they are basically, I gave a Ted talk a couple of weeks ago about that, where I said, if you show up as your true self, you are giving permissions to other people to show up. So there is even a rippling effect. First of course, you are, you see that this person is more giving. And, but also the person who comes into a room and is more giving also gives other people permission to people giving to be more themselves. So it's even, there is even a second order effect. There it's even, I think our responsibility as a human being, if you have something to say, say it.

Jamie (30:41):

Yep. I'm with you. I agree. Might drop on that.

Simon (30:46):

Absolutely. And I wasn't thinking about the business side, because there might be also a correlation that when you say, okay, I found my true voice. My energy is higher than of yeah. So sometimes you will get more done also in the other hours because you are more vibrant.

Jamie (31:09):

Yeah. That's the whole, that's the whole strategy, you got it.

Simon (31:16):

Are rolling stone. That is rolling. Is much easier than it just keeps rolling. Then to start it, to push a stone that is not in motion. That's a hard word, but a stone that is emotion. And if you say, Oh, it really fits well together with what you said at the beginning. Just touch it once a day because it keeps in motion. And when it's emotion, it's effortless to keep it in motion.

Jamie (31:42):

Yeah. And then you don't have to deal with the like, Oh, I didn't work on it. I kind of feel crappy about that. And like that, like all those little pieces affect you, you know.

Simon (31:54):

I love it. How do you keep your energy? So, so vibrant. What will you do, especially in this super funky depressing year, how do you stay?

Jamie (32:09):

I work on my own stuff. I work on the stuff that gives me life and gives me energy. I work on putting it first, even when it's hard. I lean into support systems. I think that's also a really important piece to express and, you know, I stay physically active and healthy. I meditate, I do energy work on myself and that's really what it comes down to. Yeah, it really is those pieces. It's giving yourself the things that your life and give you energy. And I think I touch on this in my 25 ways e-book, but one of the things that I think we forget is that like, we can make a list of like all the things that actually give us energy and nourish us, right? And so when we're feeling low or down, or exhausted or tired, you know, sometimes we need rest, but sometimes we need to like go fill our bucket with one of the things that gives us life. And it could be, you know, for one person it might be being in nature. For me, it could be like taking a bath, listening to music and doing things that I enjoy. So really being conscious of the things that do bring energy back to you. And again, one of the big pieces is giving love and space and time to these projects that really, that are moving you forward.

Simon (33:30):

It’s so powerful, people. Wonderful. So is there anything I forgot to ask you?

Jamie (33:40):

I don't know, nothing that immediately comes to mind. Yeah, I don't think so.

Simon (33:49):

Cause then I have the honor of the last question. Who should be my next guest?

Jamie (33:54):

So I nominate my friend, Lindsay Padilla as a guest because she's been, you know, shifting her business in a significant way. And I think that it's inspiring to talk about strategic shifts and pivots, especially like I said, 2020 is the year of the pivot. So I think she'll just have so much to say about shifting business models and shifting types of businesses and you know, what the strategic thinking, what type of strategic thinking has to change when you're doing that. If that makes sense. She's been doing a lot of that this year, so I just think have a lot.

Simon (34:31):

I love it. Thank you so much, Jamie, for being on the show, everybody go to jamiejensen.com and raise your energy. Keep rolling.

 

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