Jim Cathcart said, “Become the person who would attract the results you seek.” And Og Mandino said, “Always do your best — what you plant now, you will harvest later.”
My guest today is Rory Vaden, a good friend of mine who is also a New York Times bestselling author and Co-Founder of Brand Builders Group, which is one of the leading personal brand strategy firms that focuses on helping people become the type of person that everyone wants to do business with. This is our final episode in the series we’ve been putting out about how to build a side hustle.
Make sure to check out our three previous episodes, Episode One on “How to build a personal brand,” Episode Two on “How to multiply your time and income,” and Episode Three on “How to beat procrastination and rewire your brain for success.”
Today, we’re talking about how to monetize your side hustle and eventually go all-in on your dream. We discuss the biggest mistakes you’re making on social media when it comes to the process for monetizing your personal brand, how to generate leads and get over the fear of selling, what most people get wrong about sales and marketing, and so much more.
If you enjoy what Rory has to say and are looking to take your personal brand to the next level, make sure to go to lewishowes.com/brandcall for a free brand strategy call with his team.
Rory Vaden is a Co-Founder of Brand Builders Group, the world’s leader in the study of Reputation Strategy. Their mission is to help every person identify their voice, tell their story, and share their unique message. Working with celebrities such as Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank) and yours truly all the way to brand new aspiring influencers and entrepreneurs, Brand Builders Group is one of the only true personal brand strategy firms in existence. Co-founded with Rory’s wife AJ Vaden, Brand Builders Group helps people become the type of person that everyone wants to do business with.
In addition, Rory is a New York Times bestselling author! Rory’s first book, Take the Stairs, is a #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 USA Today, #1 Amazon, and #2 New York Times bestseller that has been translated into 11 languages. Rory writes and speaks about how the key to building a rock-solid reputation is to do the right thing even when you don’t feel like doing it. His powerful and emotional message makes him the perfect choice to keynote your next meeting. His programs are regularly tailored for leadership, sales, customer service, productivity, and teams.
Not only is Rory a fantastic and powerful writer, but he’s also an influential and talented speaker. Every year, more than 25,000 contestants from 90 different countries compete for a chance to participate in the World Championship of Public Speaking competition. Rory made it there twice and became the World Champion First Runner-Up. Additionally, he has earned the highest ranking designation from the National Speakers Association as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), and his TEDx talk on “How to Multiply Time” has been viewed over 3 million times. Rory is rare in that he can deliver inspiration, humor, and fresh insights that you and your audience can’t get anywhere else.
So let’s jump right in!
We’re always at our best when we’re serving others, and one of the magical powers of service is that it releases our insecurity. As we’re trying to grow our business, it’s the chicken and the egg scenario — do I build an audience to get leads, or focus on leads to build an audience? Answer: you get the leads by being in service first. Rory eloquently explains why most people struggle with selling.
“The biggest problem people have in selling is that they’re self-centered. The reason we don’t sell more is we’re focused on ‘how do I make money? How do I convince people?’ We approach it wrong, and I would say that sales has been taught wrong, done wrong, promoted wrong. … You only feel fear when you’re thinking about yourself. We say ‘there is no fear when the mission to serve is clear [and] you’re focused on helping someone else.” – Rory Vaden
In today’s digital world, that means constantly focusing on providing value, value, value. Value in your content is either educational, encouraging, or entertaining and typically involves a mix of all three. Teach everything you know for free one bite at a time, but in all random order.
“We’ve said this before: ‘People don’t pay for information, they pay for organization and applications.’” – Rory Vaden
We’ve spoken about this in previous episodes — it’s important to understand what value you’re offering and then you start focusing on how to serve people without getting caught in the trap of thinking your value comes from the size of your audience.
Once you’ve started by building the correct foundation and pushing out value on social media, the next step is building your audience.
The power that social media gives us is not just that we can reach millions of people but that it’s a fantastic mechanism to push a button and deliver value. We don’t suddenly have millions of followers without starting with providing value first.
“If nobody is watching you record and teach value, you deliver it [anyway,] and people will engage with that. We have a process about converting comments into customers, [and] it starts with the mind. If self-centeredness is the problem, service-centeredness is the solution.” – Rory Vaden
Once we get our mind right and focus on value, we start pumping out value using the content diamond spoken about in Episode One on “How to build a personal brand.” However, we can easily get discouraged by the fact we only have six views when someone like Jay Shetty has six billion!
“Then what we do [is say], ‘I don’t have time to deal with comments. Someone sends you a [direct message] and you’re saying, ‘I don’t have time to deal with these’ and you’re missing it. Comments and [direct messages] are where the sale happens on social media. When somebody leaves a comment, they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m interested — I like you.’” – Rory Vaden
Think of comments and direct messages this way — instead of you going door-to-door trying to find a sale, they’re coming to your door and knocking, and if you don’t open it, you’re losing a sale.
Rory shares his belief about people’s real motives behind wanting to build an audience even when they say they want to impact lives.
“What [annoys] me is people [say], ‘I want to impact lives … so let’s put a video out there.’ [People say], ‘We don’t have any followers.’ Well, I don’t care, there’s no barrier and it’s easier than it’s ever been in history to impact lives. … The truth is, we want to have millions of followers, and we want to feel important — we want other people to respect us.” – Rory Vaden
Impacting lives starts by impacting just one. The focus tends to be on how many people we impact versus the quality of the impact we can make in another person’s life. This is why Rory consistently speaks about being service-centered instead of self-centered.
Now it’s time to learn the formula for when someone comments on a post and how to move the conversation from comments into direct messages.
Once someone comments on your post, you know they have an interest, and it’s important to respond by thanking them directly. Then, let them know you’ve moved the conversation to direct messaging. This is where Rory’s process of the Four F’s begins.
The First F starts with “How did you Find me?” This question helps to collect information about what’s working best and where people resonate with your content most. They’re going to share whether they stumbled across you or if it was a particular hashtag they follow.
The Second F is “What was your Favorite part?” Once you know how they found you, whether that was reading your book, seeing one of your videos, or hearing you in an interview — this question probes deeper to understand what their favorite thing about your content was. You can also ask, “What’s your favorite thing to learn about?”
This leads to the Third F: “Tell me about your Future.” In other words — what are your goals?
Before you sell, find out what they are working on, and figure out what they care about. Spend time learning about them by asking questions. Unfortunately, most salespeople are interested in the sale first and the person second. If you build your sales philosophy about people first, that will separate you from everyone else. At the core, this is about always focusing on winning the relationship first, even if you lose the sale.
“If you focus on making sales, you’re going to feel pressure, but if you focus on building relationships, it’s going to be great. If you focus on making sales, then there’s wins and losses, but if you focus on building relationships, there’s only wins.” – Rory Vaden
By building relationships, you consciously make a decision to play the long game. Remember, stop thinking about how you can make money and start asking, “How can I help you?”
The final step is where the conversion or the sale happens. The Fourth F is a Free call to action.
We always want to provide “A next free step,” which can be anything from scheduling a call, downloading a PDF, or free training.
“We do a lot of evergreen type stuff where there’s a hidden video, but [for someone interested say], ‘Here’s a link to it.’ They watch an hour-ish, and what do we do in that hour? We drive massive value by teaching as much as we can for free, and then they’re going to want to take the next step.” – Rory Vaden
It’s important to understand that even when you are doing this 100% correctly, you don’t have control over others’ timing. In a workshop full of clients, you can easily have one person who’s followed you for five years next to someone who heard you on a podcast five days ago. This is another reminder of why we avoid being self-centered and become service-centered and choose to focus on the long game.
In sales and specifically copywriting, most people focus on the features of their product — but sales are never about the product. Sales are about what the product does for the person and what it allows the person to achieve.
“[This is] what we call the promise and the payoffs. Think about it like this, if we’re going on a trip, there’s the vehicle and the destination. In copywriting, the words we use should be about describing the destination [more so] than the vehicle. The vehicle is how I get there. … The more you talk about the destination and the less about the vehicles, the more likely they are to buy.” – Rory Vaden
Whenever you’re writing for the purpose of persuasion, in addition to the promise and payoff, you want to describe people’s problems and their pain. The problems and the pain are staying stuck where they’re at now, and what you want to demonstrate is that you can help them get out of their situation or problem. Rory explains how you write great pain language.
“Describe a day in their life as it exists now in the absence of your solution. … It’s called pain because to the person [you are serving], when they hear [your solution,] they go, ‘Oh God, yes! Oh, that’s it! You get it! That is what I’m struggling with.’ The more accurately and viscerally you are in your ability to articulate the problem in pain, the more naturally and likely they are to trust that you have the solution.” – Rory Vaden
Rory clearly shows how different this approach to selling is as we identify with our clients because we prove that we understand their pain. If you understand their pain, they automatically assume you must also understand the way out.
“Getting people to buy is actually pretty simple. ‘Where do you want to go? Where are you now?’ — that gap is the sale. If I can get them to tell me where they want to go and the frustration they’re experiencing in trying to get there, they sell themselves.” – Rory Vaden
Instead of constantly trying to sell what you do, become an expert at asking questions to learn what people’s biggest pain points are. You will always be able to serve the people who need your help the most.
Guys, this is the final episode in our series geared towards helping you build powerful personal brands in your quest to grow your side hustle. We highly recommend listening to the full episode to get all of Rory’s wisdom, and don’t forget to share it with your friends!
If you haven’t listened to the first three episodes, you can click the links for Episode One on “How to build a personal brand,” Episode Two on “How to multiply your time and income,” and Episode Three on “How to beat procrastination and rewire your brain for success.”
I highly recommend learning more about Rory on his website, or you can follow him on Instagram. To take the next step toward building your own brand, you can go to lewishowes.com/brandcall to get a free call with someone on Rory’s team. Expect questions about your goals, what your future looks like, what you’re trying to create, and if it might be helpful for Rory or his team to support you in building your personal brand and executing everything you’ve covered.
If you enjoyed this conversation, please make sure to spread the message of greatness and inspire someone else in your life. If you enjoyed this you can tag Rory, @rory vaden, and me, @lewis howes, on Instagram with a screenshot of this episode and your greatest takeaways from it.
Rory has definitely practiced what he preaches and delivered tremendous value throughout. After such an inspiring series, I think this final quote from Rory sums up the philosophy to live by:
“Don’t sell someone something they don’t need.” – Rory Vaden
I want to leave you with this quote from Michelle Obama who said, “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
You don’t have to change their life forever, but you can show up with a positive attitude, a smile, and be of service to someone. I want to remind you if no one has told you lately — you are loved, you’re worthy and you matter. I’m so grateful for you.