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Transcript Episode 02: How Speaking is an Opportunity to Serve with Jessica Rasdall

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Welcome to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. The show for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who want to get inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, expand it to your purpose and grow your business in a big way. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski, a globetrottic CFO, whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact and their income. Let’s dive in. Welcome everyone to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. I am here today with Jessica Rasdall from the Public Speaking Strategist. Hey Jessica.

Jessica Rasdall:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I am so excited too. So, I have started all of my interview shows with just chatting a little bit about how in the world we know each other. So, we first met, I think … I actually don’t even know if we met at the conference in 2019, but I had been following/stalking you on social media ever since. I knew that you were a speaking expert for business owners. Actually in the beginning of 2020, I knew that I really wanted to up-level my speaking game, and I had the teaching part down, but I needed some storytelling help, and that is where you just excel. So, I hired you to help me build my signature talk. I went down to visit you in Florida for a couple of days, which was literally days before the world shut down, right?

Jessica Rasdall: Yes.

Stephanie Skryz…: From COVID.

Jessica Rasdall: We were both sitting there like, “This is going to blow off real quick.” Right? Everything will be fine.

Stephanie Skryz…: I know. We were rolling our eyes at it. Like, “Ah, who cares? I’m getting on a plane, and it’s not a big deal.” Yeah. We kind of ate our words, I think. I don’t know if you know how transformative you were for my business. You basically created this beautiful talk for me, which wove my whole story into this amazing presentation that I now give to audiences all over the world, and you came up with the idea for the Entrepreneur’s CFO Corner, our membership, and you worked your magic in my business. So, I’m so excited to talk to you that.

Jessica Rasdall: But you made it really easy. I’m not going to cry.

Stephanie Skryz…: Really?

Jessica Rasdall: You made it really easy for me to do my job because you’re really good at what you do. That’s where I’m not going to go off track here, but that’s what makes my job easy, is being able … like I can’t come into somebody’s business and be like, “Here’s what you should go do, and let’s make a talk.” But you already knew all of this stuff, you didn’t need to learn how to do any of this. You just needed to put it all together and have this flow where you could connect with somebody from the stage, make that impact for them and move them back into your business. So, you had all the pieces, they just weren’t quite working together the way they could.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes, and you were the magician that brought them all together. I just remember sitting there in that hotel conference room, having these amazing light bulb moments. Like, “How did she just weave those pieces together into this story that really takes the listener or the audience member on this journey?” I was just like, “This woman is magical.” So, thank you. Thank you. And all of the fun Voxer chats ever since, we both love the show Naked and Afraid, and we really bonded over that [crosstalk 00:03:31]

Jessica Rasdall: I know, you’re my only business friend who doesn’t watch The Bachelor and instead watches the strange survival shows from the couch, eating ice cream, calling people wimps and stuff [inaudible 00:03:44]

Stephanie Skryz…: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Oh my gosh. I love it. So, I have painted this picture of this magical woman, but tell me how you actually help business owners, what do you actually do in your business?

Jessica Rasdall: Yes. So, I’m just going to steal everything you said. I’m just going to put that on every sales page I have, because that was a way better than anything I’ve ever written.

Stephanie Skryz…: My testimonial right there. Yes.

Jessica Rasdall: That was great. We specialize in helping business owners use speaking to scale their business. So we’re not in the business of making you the next celebrity or making you the next Tony Robbins or Brené Brown. We want to make sure that we’re using speaking to help you scalable, to make a bigger impact because we firmly believe that speaking shouldn’t be something that is one-and-done, it’s not a separate silo. It should work with everything inside of your business. So, helping you get on the right podcasts and webinars and stages and summits that are going to put you in front of your paying clients to move them back into your business.

But as we learn together in person in campus, sometimes we know that we want to speak, we know we’re ready, we have the infrastructure in our business, we have a team in place, we’re ready to maybe get out of some of the day-to-day work and do more of that CEO role from the stage, but our offers aren’t always set up for us to scale with speaking. That’s what happened with the CFO Corner is, I essentially looked at Stephanie across the table and was I like, “Well, this is an amazing presentation, your story is great.” So, everybody in the audience is going to want to work with you, and as far as I know, you’re kind of booked out.

Stephanie Skryz…: [inaudible 00:05:25] yes.

Jessica Rasdall: So, what do we do here? That’s where this came into place because we have to really start to think about that part. I think so often when we look at speaking, we look at ourselves and we look at how we’re going to be received, and what are people going to think of me? But we really need to focus on the experience our audience is going to have, because they’re meeting us for the first time a lot. Most of the time you step onto the stage, your audience is meeting you for the first time.

So, yes, you want to make this great impression, you want to teach them something incredible, give them something that they can leave them better than you found them, but at the same time, in order to help them get that transformation, in order to help them take those steps in their life or in their business, we need to have a next step for them. That’s usually an offer for yours. So what’s so good with your presentation now is, after somebody meets you for the first time, whether it’s on a podcast or in a webinar or on a stage one day, they’re not only getting to see how easy it can be to really get ahold on your numbers and feel in control of your business, but they can now go into the CFO Corner, have you supporting them every single month, and you’re not going to be tapped out on your hours or on your client limit.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah, exactly. I never thought about it that way before, I always thought like, “Okay, I’m going to get up on stage, I’m going to deliver this talk, I’m going to get these people on my email list and that’s it.” I’m going to give them a freebie and they’re going to be on my email list, and then I don’t know, then what happens? I don’t know. Maybe someday they’ll be a client, but I love that you really helped create that path for them to actually take action. At the end of the day, as business owners, when we’re deciding what are we going to invest our time in, what are we going to invest money to the travel to conferences, back in the day when we traveled to conferences, making sure that there’s some return on that more than just like a few dozen people on your email list. I think is huge and I just never really thought about it that way before [crosstalk 00:07:28]

Jessica Rasdall: But I love that you still knew, in your gut you knew speaking was the thing, like, “This is what I’m going to focus on this year, I know I’m supposed to be doing this.” It’s okay that you didn’t have it all figured out. You found somebody who did, we made it work. But I think a lot of times that’s where we get stuck as business owners is like, “I know I’m supposed to be doing this activity, whether it’s showing up on Instagram or sending these emails or speaking, whatever it happens to be for you.” But we get to that point where we just start doing it and we’re going through the motions and we’re checking the boxes and we’re like, “Well, maybe it just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for my business.” When in fact it’s probably just time for us to call on somebody, to give us a fresh perspective and clear eyes on this that we can have a better plan.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah. Are there any type of businesses or types of entrepreneurs that speaking is really not right for or that speaking, maybe, won’t generate any kind of return?

Jessica Rasdall: I don’t think it’s so much the type of business, I think it’s any business owner who is speaking to the wrong audience. That’s where I see it happen the most. So, especially happens if you have a business that has multiple audience. So, let’s say you’re a service provider, you’re like a photographer, they’re one of my favorites for this example, because so many of them fall into this category, where you’ll say you’re a wedding photographer, so one of your clients is obviously couples, and you have gotten really good though. Maybe you’ve been doing this for like 10 years and now you’re consulting and you’re coaching other photographers on how they can run a sustainable business. So now you have two separate sides of your business. You have your couples and you have aspiring photographers or new photographers.

A lot of times you will be like, “Okay, I’m going to go speak at all these photography conferences and it’s going to help me get more couples.” Why on earth would that help you get more couples? That happens a lot with business owners or where we go to speak at conferences, we’d go to get on podcasts or events where we’re speaking in front of the people we want to be in a room with, our peers, our mastermind buddies, and we’re forgetting that what we really need to be speaking in front of are the ones we were called to serve, our clients.

Sometimes that means, checking our ego at the door and going to events that maybe aren’t our favorite events to go to, but they’re the events that our clients are going to. I think as long as you’re a business owner who understands, like when I speak, I’m serving this audience and you’re getting in front of that audience, you’re fine. 

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah. That totally makes sense. So not all speaking opportunities are going to be the right opportunities, and knowing how to discern between that so that you’re not wasting your time and also wasting their time or just not being the best person to serve that audience. I never really thought about that before. I talk a lot about really getting outside of your comfort zone, and that is where my entire business began and where the name comes from, as the first thing that came to mind, when I thought about this was like, “Oh my gosh, public speaking is one of people’s worst fears.”

Jessica Rasdall: Yes.

Stephanie Skryz…: Especially people who do one-on-one service work maybe, like service providers are … there are a lot of introverts out there. I myself am an introvert too. But how do you help people? Is that part of what you do, helping them push past their comfort zone and getting over that fear of public speaking? How do you do that? What do you tell that person?

Jessica Rasdall: Well, first off, I’m also an introvert, like big, big time introvert. The most of my favorite speakers, like professional, big time speakers, are introverts, and I love it. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you won’t be a great speaker. In fact, I interviewed my friend Cinnamon Wolfe about introverts and extroverts one day, and she blew my mind telling me, “Introverts really excel when there is clarity in their role.”

That, for me, changed everything. It’s really understanding when you’re in a situation where you’re not really sure if you’re supposed to lead the group, if you’re supposed to be an audience member. It’s kind of ambiguous, we get really uncomfortable, and we’re not really sure how to navigate that. But when we know this is your role up here, or that is your role over there, we own it and we really just take responsibility and do a good job there. Now, when it comes to speaking fears, if you have a crippling fear of stage fright, I am not the person for you.

Stephanie Skryz…: [inaudible 00:12:03]

Jessica Rasdall: I’m not going to help you through that. But there is just a lot of minor shifts that happen to make you more comfortable with speaking. A lot of the times it’s just being prepared, that we get really nervous and scared about showing up on live streams or podcast or stages, because we don’t know what we’re going to say, and we’re afraid we’re going to stumble over our words. But when you know, this is my talk and this is the order I see things, and this is how I explain how I got here and my origin story. When you have that stuff in place and you’re comfortable walking through that, you know the impact that you can make, and it makes it a lot easier to show up.

But most importantly, it’s really just taking that second to shift the focus away from not worrying about how you’re going to be received, and if people are going to like you, none of that really matters. Instead, starting to focus on what difference will this make for my audience? Like, “How could this piece of information I’m sharing, how could this story inspire hope? How could this help them over a stumbling block?” Really getting out of your own way and realizing this isn’t about you anymore, and that if you don’t show up and you don’t serve them in that way, then you’re leaving them stuck. For me, that’s the stuff that motivates me more than anything is to knowing after you’ve been on the stage enough and you’ve seen the light bulb moment, you get bitten by the speaking bug.

All you do is get on one stage in the right room and you see everybody’s eyes laid up and you see them have their aha moments, and you’re talking to them in the hallway afterwards. I have goosebumps just thinking about it, but that’s when you start to realize, “Okay, this wasn’t really about me.” Look what I was able to do for them. If you can just tap into that feeling before you hit live play or whatever, it becomes a lot easier to just show up and serve them well.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah. I love that. I love that. Shifting your focus from it not being about you, because at the end of the day, it’s really not, it’s about your message and what that person is going to take away. I think that, I don’t know, I have felt that like, “Oh my gosh, everyone’s staring at me, they’re all judging me, my voice is shaking. This is so embarrassing.” Nobody cares or remembers any of that. They really don’t. It doesn’t make it any less comfortable when you’re in the moment, but nobody cares.

Jessica Rasdall: At all, at all. I mean, I’ve been speaking for almost 15 years now, and I still keep feedback from those very first presentations. In fact, they’re in a giant binder right here under my desk, because I was referencing them the other day. But I still keep them as a reminder on those days when you feel like, “Do I really … should I really…” Nobody wants to hear this anymore. They’ve heard this a 100 times for me, being able to look at that and say, “But I don’t know who’s tuning in today, I don’t know who needs to hear this.” That’s not my decision to make.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah, it is so true. I love that you have that in a binder to remind you you’ve got that. I think about the first time I was ever asked to speak and I was so nervous, it was within probably the first few months of running my business and I was just, “Oh God.” I was so nervous. I feel like people ask questions that I should’ve known the answers to. I will never forget, they asked me some question about pivoting your business. Like, “What do you do when you are pivoting your business?” I was like, “What do you actually mean by pivoting your business?” I never heard that phrase before, so I didn’t even know what they meant. I think about it and I’m like, “Oh my goodness.”

But it doesn’t matter, because now I have done so much speaking since then. I know what pivoting your business to means. Like any embarrassing moment is, that’s ancient history. But yeah, I remember the fears. 

Jessica Rasdall: Yes, yes, it is. In the Q & A, it can be nerve wracking if you’re just getting started because you’re like, “Oh my gosh, what are they going to ask?” But I promise you, it gets so much better because you can almost anticipate exactly what they’re going to say. You know, you know exactly what questions people are going to ask and you’re ready. That’s why it’s so important to stay in your lane, stick to your zone of genius, because the more you are comfortable with your content, the easier it is for you to just show up and talk about it, and meet people where they already answered those questions. 

So, if you’re an SEO expert and that’s what you do all day, if you get up on a stage and give a presentation about social media, you’re going to be a little overwhelmed when people start asking you questions. But if you’re speaking about SEO, you’re going to know exactly how to help them where they are. And it does not do any good for anyone to speak on things that are outside of our wheelhouse. 

Stephanie Skryz…: Oh my gosh, that’s such good advice. I think it just goes back to like, “Not every speaking opportunity is the right speaking opportunity for you.” I was just asked to present to a workshop and they said, “People really want to know about crowdfunding, like businesses startups that were crowdfunded.” I was like, “I literally know nothing about that.”

Jessica Rasdall: Nothing, that’s not yours. 

Stephanie Skryz…: No, I don’t think this is the right topic for me. Thank you for thinking of me, but this is not the right thing for me. I said no. I think sometimes as business owners, we want to say yes to every single opportunity, but we’re putting ourselves in not a great position. I think going back to what you were saying is like, this isn’t even about us anyway, this is about the impact that we can have on somebody else. We’re not going to have that impact if we’re getting up there talking about something that is not really our strength that we’re trying to fake our way in. I love that advice.

Jessica Rasdall: I’m so proud of you for turning that down-

Stephanie Skryz…: Thank you.

Jessica Rasdall: But that is, I think we can get really hung up on that. Like, “Well, if I say no, that I’m going to miss out on this thing, and by saying I’m not the best fit for this …” If you do know somebody who’s a good fit for those types of opportunities and you’re able to share a referral instead, that is huge because you are being such a blessing to the host because now they’re not left still trying to figure out who their speaker could be, but you’re also making deeper connections and collaborations with other business owners, and I love doing that, I love saying that all the time.

I like to be able to say, “You know what? I’m not going to be the best person for that, but I know somebody who is.” In doing that, I feel good, because I don’t feel like I’m leaving them hanging and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I just feel like I’m blessing this person with an opportunity that is made for them, not me.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah, you’re serving in a different way. I love that. And you’re like super connector. I’m inside of your group, you’re really, really good at that. I feel like I’m not a very good connecting type of person. Does that come naturally to you? Or is that something you’ve sort of honed in the growth of your business? Or how are you such a good connector?

Jessica Rasdall: Oh my goodness, that is so sweet. I don’t think I’m a super connector. That just made my day. I think [Joey Vitaly 00:19:11] is the ultimate super connector. He sends like three introductions to my inbox a week. I love him. No, I really do always come from that place of … I don’t know, I always want to end every call with like, “How can I help you?” Really understanding that everybody’s not going to be your client, everything isn’t transactional in business, and I think if you can really adapt that mindset, that of like, “I just want to leave people better than I … I feel like I’m a broken record.” I always say that like, “How can I leave them better than I found them?”

But even in a coffee chat call or an inquiry that’s not for you, being able to say like, “I know I’m not the person for this, but there’s somebody else in my community or in my client roster, I know somebody for this.” I think that is just … I don’t know, it’s invaluable.

Stephanie Skryz…: I love that. It totally is. It totally is. I’m thinking of somebody else in my network I know is also a super connector, and the way that I think about it, I’m like, “Okay, I need a spreadsheet with everybody I know and have different columns for their expertise, and then I go to my spreadsheet.” If I want to connect someone, I’m like, “I don’t think I can do that.”

Jessica Rasdall: I kind of do, actually.

Stephanie Skryz…: [crosstalk 00:20:21] You do?

Jessica Rasdall: [crosstalk 00:20:23] So, let me tell you the truth. I don’t do that with my friends, but we do keep … This sounds so boring. I’m sorry.

Stephanie Skryz…: Tell us. Tell us.

Jessica Rasdall: The Speaking Strategy Academy, it’s my online coaching program for business owners. I do make it a big goal of mine to connect with organizers and do as much matchmaking as I can between our students, my clients and event host, podcast hosts, whoever they are. So, I take our clients and our students so seriously, and I have them all inside of click up, listed with all their names, and I keep notes on them. I want to make sure that, on a coaching calls, I can very quickly know what are their speaking topics? What are their kids’ names? What are their dog’s names? What are their areas of expertise? That kind of stuff. Because as you get a lot of clients in the door, I never want to lose the intimacy. I never want somebody to feel like they weren’t important. I want to be able to serve them and serve them well.

But sometimes when you’re like, “I know I know somebody for finance that I just can’t … the name’s just not coming to me.” Just being able to quickly scroll, the name will jump out. I’ll remember. But you know that moment of like, “Oh, my brain’s freezing, I can’t think of who is this person.” That helps me just quickly refresh of who was it? Another thing that I do too is, I’ll just open Instagram and quickly scroll through my DMS. Like, “Who should I talk to lately? I know there’s somebody here.” Those are my two places that I’ll go to, like who are the people I’m in active conversations with right now and who are my clients? I keep them all in one spot and anytime I need to make a recommendation, that’s literally the first place I go.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah. I love that. I feel like in a culture where we’re told to just like, “Scale, scale, scale. Have your passive income stream and just scale as much as you can.” I feel like you do lose a little bit of that intimacy that I agree is so important to me as well, and I love that. Your idea for my membership has allowed me to still have something that’s slightly more passive than done for you. But I still know every single person in there, I know what their business does. So yeah, I love that. Okay. So, in your business right now, you have the Speaking Strategy Academy, which is your coaching membership. Do you still do the VIP one-on-one day like we did?

Jessica Rasdall: Yep. That’s it. That’s all we do. We do two day VIP intensives. Right now, they’re virtually. So, we’d cover the exact same thing in the intensive or in the Academy. We look at your business and figure out how speaking fits into your business, not the other way around and write your talks, figure out where you should be speaking all, everything A to Z to make speaking work for you. The only difference is, inside of the Academy, you’re alongside a community of people, you’re doing it at your pace with my support. Then on the VIP day, we are just buckling down for two days and getting it done.

Stephanie Skryz…: I love that. I was like, I will pay Jessica, whatever she asked to just sit here and do this with me, so I do not have to sit and do it myself.

Jessica Rasdall: But it was so good. I would just think through those two days of just how much your business has changed, and because you weren’t afraid, and I was like, “Okay, so I got a crazy thing I’m going to say.” I think you had a course at the time and I was super nervous to tell you. I didn’t think it was a good idea. Is like to tell you … I was like, “I really think you need to have a membership.” The reason for me, it was so clear you needed a membership is when we were looking at your talk, one of your teaching points is that on going maintenance, every single month, these people need to be tapping into their numbers. They need to be looking at this. 

Yes. I remember all of my students’ teaching points. Guys, crazy. But that’s your last part of your presentation is letting them know like, “Yes, you can be set up for success, but if you’re not doing this every month, it’s not going to work. Right? And it was very clear that if the best way for you to support a business owner is to be able to be in their corner every single month, helping them execute that.

Stephanie Skryz…: I didn’t even connect that dot, which is like I was slightly embarrassed.

Jessica Rasdall: No, it’s not, because your zone of genius is on the other side of that. Sometimes we were just way too close to our work to see how we translate from the stage. I’m just that weird puzzle lady who’s like, “Oh no, here’s the piece.”

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes. I remember thinking through that analogy when we were together, you’re just putting all the pieces of this puzzle together in such a brilliant way. So now you’ve got your group coaching and you’ve got your VIP intensives. Is this how your business started? Or how did your business start? What was the trajectory that led you to where you are now?

Jessica Rasdall: Oh, that’s such a great question. No, it did not start like this. I had started speaking. Everything started over there, but when it came to the business-business side, a big reason why I started my business was that I had been speaking for over a decade, but now I had kids. I had just had my first kid, my daughter, who is now seven, she’s seven, and I didn’t want to travel as much anymore. I didn’t want to go do all these speaking engagements and I didn’t have the backend of my business set up well. So, there was a lot of up and down with workloads, with finances, speaking engagements. Yeah, they might’ve been a big revenue source, but I wasn’t doing one every day. I didn’t have that forecastable magical income.

So I knew I needed to shift my business to create something on the backend of stuff, where I could be home more, but also have a next step for my audience and be able to support them after those talks. That’s where I went and got my coaching certification, I started in a live group format, because I firmly believed from the beginning, I don’t think you should make courses and stuff if you’ve never worked with anybody because you don’t know what they need from you. So, I was working in groups. I did live groups. The curriculum from that live group became a course, and it just-

Stephanie Skryz…: Was it about speaking? [crosstalk 00:26:51]

Jessica Rasdall: We were doing like storytelling in the beginning.

Stephanie Skryz…: Okay.

Jessica Rasdall: That’s where I was really helping business owners with their stories. Until I went and spoke at my first industry conference. I was just too close to my own stuff to see the value too at the time. I’d been seeking for over a decade at this point, but I never thought that, “You know what? Maybe somebody else would like to know how to do that.” I was really good at sharing a difficult, painful, personal story in a way that could serve my audience and so protect my heart, and I realized that business owners needed help with that, because here they were showing up online, we’re supposed to be vulnerable and create this intimacy, but some of them were just over sharing or not sharing it all.

So, I knew I wanted to go speak some life into them and really help them own that. But this is my first industry event and I was star struck. I was like, “Who am I to be in this room?” These women have these amazing businesses, and I was so nervous, but I reached out to the host and I told her, I was like, “Hey, I’ve been doing this speaking thing for a long time, if you wouldn’t mind, I’m more than happy to do a live call with the speakers and help them structure their talks well.” Honestly it was just a selfish move. I wanted to make sure their talks were really good, so I could learn a lot at the conference. I didn’t really even think anything of it. Again, it was just one of those moments where I saw an opportunity where I could help and then add that vent.

I remember hearing the hallway conversations from people of like, “How powerful those presentations were and how much they learned.” I had no idea that the trend in the industry had been that, these events were just really expensive networking opportunities. A lot of the content from the stage was watered down or people bragging about themselves that I learned right there on the spot that these incredible successful business owners and no idea how to take their genius and translate it to a stage. I was like, “Okay, noted.” I started doing a little bit on the side. The story stuff was running, but I started doing it as a one-off offer and I would help people write their talk.

Then I went out to [Diana 00:29:14] who’s now a good friend of mine and who’s been a long-time client. She was just pouring her heart out to me about how she was speaking at all these events. She was doing all the things and none of it was working for her, and she wasn’t getting paid. I went home and I took all of her pain points and I’ve turned them into a sales page and I sent it to her. And I was like “I’m going to launch a group program for business owners who want to speak, do you want to be a part of this?” She’s a copywriter, very successful copywriter who writes for everyone you know.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah.

Jessica Rasdall: And she was like, “Who wrote this?” “Well, you kind of did.” You told me all of this last night, and through that I took them through 10 weeks, and that really helped me see any blind spots that I had, and that became a course that we had for years. It was our speaker blueprint. I just really found that my students didn’t go away, they became lifers and they stuck with me for a long time, and I wanted to translate that into a better experience for them. I didn’t think that this fit a course model and I wanted to move to a more intimate hands-on coaching membership style program. One, because that was meeting them better where they were at. But two, that was going to create that consistent forecastable revenue that I did not have before. Yes.

Stephanie Skryz…: Oh yeah.

Jessica Rasdall: I know you’re like dying inside that I just said that.

Stephanie Skryz…: I know, I like the words that you’re using. Yes. Oh my God. That’s so good, because you’re right. Speaking is not a one-and-done. It’s like you don’t show up to one conference and speak and then you’re done. I feel like you totally do get bitten by the bug. Once you’ve done one, you’re like, “Ooh, I want to speak some more.” Because it’s so fun, it’s such a good opportunity to connect. If you are really in the business to serve, you are serving so many people all at once. So, I love that you pivoted your model there, as your journey evolved and stepping a little bit away from storytelling more into speaking, was there any time that you felt like really outside of your comfort zone, or did you feel nervous at all about that shift, or did it just come really naturally?

Jessica Rasdall: I was terrified and I had a CMO and she ran all of our marketing and she essentially was like, “We were making this big shift.” She essentially was like, “You are not selling anything for three months. We’re going in an awareness phase and you just need to make sure your audience knows what you’re available for before you release your new offers.” I was like, “So we’re just going to stop bringing in money and try something completely new?” I was terrified, but on the outside, looking in to everybody else, they didn’t even really notice the shift because they had always seen me as the speaker.

I had just kept it so separate, and in my mind, speaking was its own entity, coaching was its own thing and they did not live together. So, to everybody else, it seemed completely normal, but to me it was terrifying because I felt like I was now bringing these two worlds together and I had to own it, and before it was like so separate, like this was my speaking platform, my speaking world over here. Then I had my little business world over here and now I had to make it all one.

Stephanie Skryz…: It worked out for I would say. I love it. I always admire people that … You’re known for one thing, you’re known as the speaking person, if you want to learn about speaking, you go see Jessica. You don’t go to her for general business coaching or marketing, you go to her for speaking. Has that ever felt scary? Or like you’re too niche down or too pigeonholed? I mean, everybody says that you’re supposed to niche down and I love that if I think of speaking, I think of you, but from your perspective, has it ever felt a little scarier, too limiting?

Jessica Rasdall: Nope. Super clear, I’m an Enneagram Seven. I’m like squirrel syndrome type of person. I want to jump around and do different things, but I know what I’m really good at. I know that I’m not good at a lot other things. Right? I know that I can help people really well right here. Now, I don’t know. Some people get scared that you’re going to get bored doing the same thing all the time. I don’t. Our approach, just speaking, is very holistic, right? Looking at Stephanie’s business and figuring out how this all fits in, every person’s business is different. Being able to have the parameters to be creative within, allows me to do my best work. Honestly, just what you said of, like, I know that if somebody wants to speak, I know exactly to send them to Jess.

Stephanie Skryz…: I love that. Our referral rate is awesome.

Jessica Rasdall: I don’t have to spend time pitching for opportunities because when somebody needs something that’s related to speaking, I’m their girl. I can’t encourage people enough with like, unless you want to spend your days pitching for everything and cold calling things and marketing until you’re blue in the face, just get really good at what you do and stick to it. You might have to innovate and shift things up, but that’s your zone, stay there.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah. Then you don’t have to reinvent the wheel anytime you’re thinking about a launch or even just thinking about writing copy on your website, like you don’t have to just keep rethinking of how to say things because you’re like, “I do one thing and I’m really awesome at it, and that’s how I can help you. I’m a CFO. That’s what I do, period.”

Jessica Rasdall: Yes.

Stephanie Skryz…: I love that. I like that you and I [crosstalk 00:35:08]

Jessica Rasdall: It’s tempting in the beginning of your business, I think, to feel like, “Well, I’m trying to figure out my way or I could do that, but it comes back to the speaking thing of like, “Yeah, you could. But like wouldn’t somebody else do a much better job than you?” And it’s this sort of like, “Yeah, sure. I could tell you what to …” No, I couldn’t, I’m not even going to pretend [inaudible 00:35:26] in business, but maybe like I could tell you. “Nope, no, there’s nothing else. I just do speaking, and that’s it. I’m sorry.

Stephanie Skryz…: I know. I can tell you how to do Instagram. No, no [crosstalk 00:35:38]

Jessica Rasdall: I just didn’t know. That’s what I was going to use as an example, actually. I was like, “No, no, I definitely couldn’t tell you that.” But I know it is tempting when you feel like you’ve gotten a handle on something in your business and you’re like, “I could definitely help somebody with that, but there’s somebody else out there who could help them away more.”

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes, exactly. I just love pulling it all back to something you said in the beginning about using it as an opportunity to serve. “Are you the best person to serve for speaking stuff?” “Yes, you 100% are the best person to serve them.” Are you the best person to serve them with Instagram? Maybe not, there’s probably somebody else that is better and more equipped to serve them. So I love just circling back any questions that you have in your business back to that, “Am I the best person to serve them in this way?” If the answer is yes, then do it.

Because I’m a CFO, and obviously I love learning about what other successful business owners are doing to manage their numbers, to stay on top of their numbers. I would love if you would share with us, how do you manage the numbers in your business? What tools do you use? What do you do to really feel empowered around your numbers? And you don’t have to share any specifics with us, but yeah. What’s your numbers process?

Jessica Rasdall: Sharing a little bit with you earlier about what those offers looked like has played a big role in the numbers. So I think in the beginning, I was very much like a profit first approach until we got to a point where we scaled beyond … other people are now in the mix and really getting to a place where I knew exactly how much money was going to come in every month. I knew exactly how much money was going out the door, that really shifted my entire approach to the business numbers for us, is really finding an offer and offers that can create that consistent income. I want to be really clear about that, because I didn’t launch our Academy to create consistent income. Okay, that’s not why I did it. It was an awesome byproduct.

Stephanie Skryz…: [crosstalk 00:37:34]

Jessica Rasdall: I launched it because I realized our offer wasn’t serving our clients in the capacity they needed, they’d be done with the course and they were still actively engaged and they needed more community, more accountability, a way to be able to access me and ask me questions, that stuff just was not available inside of a course. A few months in to having that program where people are on, it’s a 12 month commitment that you were in this, speaking is a long game, and allowing them to have the space to make those changes inside of their business and implement these strategies and give these talks.

That’s when I really started to look at my numbers a little bit differently. It wasn’t a stressor, there was no longer like, “Am I going to have enough next month to pay for a team or make these investments?” It was, obviously there would be some fluctuation based on VIP clients, speaking engagements, book sales, people leaving, coming in. There’s going to be a little bit of fluctuation, but at the end of the day, I knew roughly exactly what it was going to look like when I logged into QuickBooks. I knew. Oh yes. So, we use QuickBooks-

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes, yes.

Jessica Rasdall: I love the snapshot view, it makes me feel really good of going in each month and just seeing my little gauges there rather than wondering, being afraid to log in and be like, “What’s this going to say?” I know, I know what it’s going to say.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes. I love that. You know what? Even when you have months that are maybe not as strong as other months, like just knowing, I feel like it gives you so much more power and confidence because yeah, maybe it’s a little lower, but you know what’s ahead too.

Jessica Rasdall: That’s a great point. For like us, I know every single year come that October, November, December, it’s going to be weird because I buy all of our software’s on Black Friday annual. So they all were new, like on Black Friday for annual softwares and stuff. I pay everything for the year. So I know the expenses will shoot up that month, but I also know that December and January are our busiest months for enrolling people because they are fired up about I may speak next year.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes.

Jessica Rasdall: When you’ve been in business and you can pay attention to those trends, it does help you make those decisions. Like you said, when you do have a month, you’re like, “Ooh.” You know why?

Stephanie Skryz…: Yep.

Jessica Rasdall: And you can dissipate the next move.

Stephanie Skryz…: Exactly. Yeah. You can weather the ups and downs because at the end of the day, we are all going to have ups and downs in our business. 

Jessica Rasdall: Oh yeah.

Stephanie Skryz…: And just knowing, gives you so much more power, mindset just to get through it. So, yeah. I love that. I love that you’ve looked back over trends over the course of your business. Okay. So, I have a couple of questions at the end-

Jessica Rasdall: All right, fire away.

Stephanie Skryz…: But wait, wait, wait. I wanted to go back. I loved what you said about speaking being a long game, because nothing in my business has been a quick win, and I feel like if I’m on Instagram and I’m scrolling all the marketing people, I’m like, “How are they all seeing these quick wins, where their business goes from a $100,000 to like $2 million in the course of six months? How are they doing this? Whereas my business has seen steady, steady, steady up above growth over the last five years.” But it’s organic, it’s slow. For the most part, I’m okay with that, but it’s hard to be like, “Wait a sec, why am I not getting the quick wins that they’re getting?” So, I love what you said about speaking being a long game.

Do you ever have to assure people that like, “Listen, because you go talk on one stage, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have 2 million Instagram followers tomorrow and a million dollars in your bank account.” How do you help them navigate that? I don’t know. Like just realizing that speaking is a long game.

Jessica Rasdall: Yeah. I try to tell them about the timeline a little bit. So, the fact that you might pitch a podcast today and maybe they say yes, and you schedule it next week, but maybe you don’t record for three weeks, and then maybe it doesn’t go live for three months.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yeah.

Jessica Rasdall: And realizing that, that is when you start to understand the cycle of like, “I got booked to speak at an event, but the event is in four months.” You realize that things are going to take a little bit longer, and if you can just take a little bit of action every single week, those compound so quick, but having to be very transparent upfront about … that was the big thing, right? Take the course, learn how to do it. Then, your speaking engagement is in four months away, and they’re done with the course and now how am I supposed to support them in preparing for that and maximizing it, like helping them see the visual timeline.

Okay. So, if I pitch this podcast and that goes live in three months, if I pitch another one next week, then I can have one come out right after that, and really starting to show a little bit of action every week is so much more powerful than sitting down one day and trying to cram it all in.

Stephanie Skryz…: Oh yeah, I love that. I think that doing a little bit every single week and having a plan for doing that also makes you feel like you’re making progress too.

Jessica Rasdall: Yes.

Stephanie Skryz…: Because I think that’s another thing, it’s like we want to see those quick wins, we want to see things happen. So, speaking can feel kind of slow, but I like that taking action every week will really get the ball rolling and get the momentum going. I love that.

Jessica Rasdall: It compounds quick.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes. Yes. You’re so right. Okay. Now, I can move on to our three quick questions.

Jessica Rasdall: I am ready. 

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes. Okay. I would love to know what is your favorite productivity hack in your business or your life? It could be a tool or just something that you happen to do, but your favorite productivity hack.

Jessica Rasdall: Outsourcing, No, but for real, for real. In every area of my life, it’s always the question of, “Okay, I know this thing needs to get done, but who needs to do this thing?” And really getting to a place where realizing that I can’t do everything and I need help. Whether that’s my kids emptying the dishwasher or somebody editing my podcast, right? It doesn’t matter what it is. But the best I could do for my productivity is get as much off of my plate as possible so that I can just focus on serving my clients and showing up.

Stephanie Skryz…: Love it. That’s so good. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to do [crosstalk 00:43:45] What is one of your favorite books? Could be business, could be fun. Favorite book? 

Jessica Rasdall: I feel like I’ve sent you some too that I love so much.

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes, yes you’ve.

Jessica Rasdall: I think I sent you a Storyteller’s Secret. I love that one, but I love Stories That Stick. That one is one of my favorites. 

Stephanie Skryz…: You sent me that one too. I haven’t read it yet, but you sent it to me.

Jessica Rasdall: But my probably hands down favorite book is called Man’s Search for Meaning, it’s old book. It’s by Viktor Frankl. He was a Holocaust camp survivor, and he basically is showing the difference of hope and how hope plays into things and finding your meaning even in the darkest of times. I love that book.

Stephanie Skryz…: Love that. Okay. We’ll definitely link to that. Finally, imagine that you had a weekday completely free from work, what do you do?

Jessica Rasdall: Do I have my kids?

Stephanie Skryz…: Oh, that’s up to you. You can have the babysitter, like either you have a babysitter [crosstalk 00:44:44]

Jessica Rasdall: Okay. So, I have the babysitter. I’m going to the spa, period. Facial, massage, the whole nine. No kids, no laundry, no email. 

Stephanie Skryz…: Oh, that’s so good. No email, especially. Yeah, just leave the phone at home. I love it. All right, Jessica. Well, we are going to wrap up. Thank you so much for sharing all of your speaking wisdom today, I’m so grateful for you and everything that you have done in my business. Honestly, I’m so grateful. Is there any resources or anything that you would like to share with our listeners?

Jessica Rasdall: Oh, I just thank you for having me. Yeah. I would love to connect with you guys. Just follow me over on Instagram @jessicarasdall, we can hang out there, shoot me a DM and let me know you listened to the podcast and like your big takeaway and I’ll share whatever resource I have that is most applicable to you and where you’re at. Though, I want to know what you want to talk about? What is it that you want to speak about? 

Stephanie Skryz…: Yes. Awesome. Thank you so much. Definitely, follow Jess over on Instagram. She and I are chatting there all the time. So, thank you again, I’m so grateful for you and yeah, we’ll talk soon. Thanks for listening to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100degreesconsulting.com/podcast. Make sure to snap a screenshot on your phone of this episode and tag me on Instagram @stephanie.skry, and I’ll be sure to share. Thanks for being here friends, and I’ll see you next time.

 

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