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Transcript Episode 23

Transcript Episode 23: The Most Boring Secret Weapon to Amplifying Your Brand with Jessi Robinson

 

Transcript Episode 23

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 globe trotting CFO whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers to grow their impact and their income. Let’s dive in.

Hello, hello. Welcome back to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship Podcast. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski, and today I have my very good friend, like actually very good friend, Jessi Robinson. She is the founder and creative director of P&P creative of branding and web design agency based in Kentucky. After spending more than a decade in a corporate communications role, Jessi founded P&P creative. What began as a freelance side hustle has grown to an award winning full service agency. She leads a creative team that works with community driven organizations in Appalachia and beyond. Her company regularly works within the tourism, Economic Development and Community Development sectors creating marketing materials that empower communities to tell their stories, attract their people and help their region grow.

Jessi calls mount Sterling Kentucky, a small rural town home, she lives there with her husband and two children. And when not leading the P&P creative team you can most often find her on a nearby soccer field cheering on her daughter, cringing at her son’s latest daredevil dirt bike stunt, or playing with her beloved Doberman, Vinnie as often as she can. Jessi escapes to the woods to backpack and the beautiful Daniel Boone National Forest and beyond.

So I am really excited to share this conversation with Jessi with you all today. Because first of all, she is one of my business besties. We met at the very beginning stages of my business journey and the beginning stages of hers too. And we have just grown alongside each other over the last five years. And it’s just been awesome to have that person that you know, has your back that’s been there before that you can text or call when you are feeling not so great about what’s going on in your business. And you know that they’re there for you. So Jesse is my person. So our conversation today was awesome. She really shared with us how she made that big leap from being a solopreneur to an agency owner and all of the big scary things and feelings and imposter syndrome that comes along with with growing, and growing into something bigger than you were before. And she also gives us some really good tips on how to be consistent with your brand, while still maintaining a sense of like fun and energy and creativity, which I found super, super useful. So I’m really excited for you to listen in on this conversation with my biz bestie, Jessi.

This is so crazy. Who would have thought like four years ago when we met then we’d be like, “Oh, just casually recording our podcast together.”

Jessi Robinson:

I know, I was talking about you the other day. And I was trying to think when we met and where we met, I’m almost positive. It was old school Being Boss clubhouse. You weren’t even I don’t think full time yet. And I was just a year into my business. I think sort of.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

So what happened was I listened to the Being Boss podcast. And they had an episode where they had listeners call in and they were recorded little snippets. And you know who I heard was Rebecca, who is like our mutual friend. And so I reached out to her. And I was like, “Hey, you have a cool business. you’re serving nonprofits. So am I let’s connect.” And we connected. And then she was like, I think I have a friend who might need your services. And so Rebecca connected you and I.

Jessi Robinson:

That is exactly right.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah.

Jessi Robinson:

I forgot about that. But that is.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah.

Jessi Robinson:

It was kind of indirect.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, it was being boss. But yeah. And then, ever since geez. We’ve been in masterminds together, we’ve led masterminds together, you’re a client of ours, and we basically chat each other on Marco Polo, like every single day. 

Jessi Robinson:

Yes, you are one of the two women that are always referred to as my biz besties. And then we’ve been roommates at masterminds. And I feel like we have grown up side by side. Like it’s just a really special relationship to me business relationship. We’ve been through so many transitions together.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah.

Jessi Robinson:

And you’re one of the few people that really like whenever stuff goes crazy. I pick up the phone and I’m like, “Ahh!! Help.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yep, Exactly, exactly the same. It is funny because we have sort of walked parallel journeys and our businesses what we actually do are so very different. But our business model is kind of the same and our business journey in this transition from solopreneur to agency owner has followed a similar path as well. So I would love for you to tell us what has been your business journey? How did you land where you are right now?

Jessi Robinson:

Sure. So about 10 years ago, I was in my early 30s. And I was working full time in an in house marketing department. I had two small children, I just had my son who is now nine. Actually, the journey started before even getting pregnant with him. But I was just dissatisfied, right? So there wasn’t anywhere for me to grow in the company, I was kind of capped out as a mid level marketing person. I’m a graphic designer. And now I was a mom. So I had this other piece of the puzzle that I was trying to figure out how to juggle. And like, I love my career. And I also loved my child. And I didn’t want to neglect that.Also, I’m in Eastern Kentucky. So as a graphic designer, in a rural area, there are a ton of options. There are a couple of large companies, anything in the healthcare industry, anything in higher education, you can find a job. But you know, there’s not a lot of companies, there’s not any agencies. And there’s a lot of companies that have in house marketing departments. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

So at first, I just started freelancing to kind of just feel like I could continue to grow in areas I was unable to grow in at my current job that continued to pick up and I could see an option, I could see another path. So for two years, I side hustled hard. I had a very regimented schedule, which was unhealthy, and I would not recommend it, but it’s what I did at the time. You know, I have two little kids at home. Yeah, I mean, during all of this, I had my second child. So I got pregnant in the middle of like, “Okay, this big year long push, I give myself a year,” I put a target date out of like the following July, July 2013, I was going to make the jump. And then I found out in May of 2012. Is that right? No, of 2011. Like I gave myself like a year and a half rock runway of saying like, “okay, let’s see if I can build this.” Anyway, I got pregnant unexpectedly.

So I was like, This only made me double down. Because I could see like how much more important it was to be able to find this balance of a career and motherhood that I wasn’t finding in my current job. So I had this very regiment schedule for about a year and a half where I went to work, I came home, I blocked out three to four hours that I was mom only, I turned off everything else. And then from nine o’clock to midnight, I clocked in at my freelance job. And then every Saturday, I would send my daughter to grandma’s. And for some grandma time and I would work on Saturday, and then Sunday, it would be all mom. So it was just like, making this choice of being like, okay, these carved out times where I was all in on motherhood. And then these carved out times when I was all in on figuring out how the heck I was going to build this thing.

And so July 2013, came, and I quit my full time job, and started building my freelance business at that time, that’s all I planned to do, I was gonna just be a freelancer, who worked for small businesses who maybe would set out under larger agencies when they needed overflow help. And you know that I’m an extrovert, through and through. So after about a year of working at my house by myself, I was about to die. I miss being part of a team, I missed talking to people, I was like, “Oh, I miscalculated.” Also, I was getting asked to do larger and larger projects that I could do, but I didn’t feel like I could do with excellence. So people were asking me not only to design projects, but also to come in and handle all the copywriting, to also handle all the photography. And like they were asking me to come in and be a little agency as a solo person. And I could do all of it. But I also had the desire to do it at the best level I could. And that meant I wanted to like reach out.

So I had these two things, I wanted to provide the best service, I could provide not the best service that Jessi Robinson, the designer can buy. But that could be provided. And then I missed the team. You know, and that’s really about the time that you and I became friends. And you started working with me with my numbers, because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. And we started mapping out a plan to make a first hire. And I engaged with my first business coach, who also kind of helped me in that transition of thinking more strategically about my business, not just taking the projects as they come. And so here we are. So from there, I’ve made my first contractor VA hire little baby steps. And so now we have a team of five. We’re working with larger organizations, we do full service agency, so we’re doing everything from brand strategy, website development, campaign design, collateral design, ongoing support in lots of different ways. It’s exciting!

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I think it’s really interesting you decided, “Okay, these people want more than just graphic design.” And so I feel like you had a couple different paths there. You could have said, “No, we just do graphic design, that’s it.” Or, “yeah, we can do all those things.” And you could have chosen to like, figure it out and do it yourself or that, like, third option was, “yeah, we want to be able to provide you this full service experience. And I know, in order to provide at the level that I want to, I need to bring more people in.”

So I think it’s really interesting that that’s the path you chose, was that scary? Like we talk a lot on this show about getting outside of your comfort zone. And I know, you and I have worked together. I remember meeting in Cincinnati, and I remember looking through the numbers, and creating this analysis to figure out can you afford your first full time person? That was great. So tell me about that fear, and like how you push through that?

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah, so it’s always a fear. I mean, it’s still kind of scary, you know, I just hired my fifth team member in December, I finally broke over and hired an assistant and someone to kind of help me behind the scenes. Because, as a sidebar, we’re still a small company, we have five team members. So I’m the CEO of this company. But I’m also a lot of other things, a lot of other hats. In addition to that, I’m still a creative director on a lot of projects. So it’s still scary. And especially in the beginning, I felt probably too much responsibility, because my first hire was a contractor. They knew the relationship that they were hiring into, but I felt a ton of responsibility. And that fear of failure was real, of like, at any point, they’re gonna figure out that I’m making this up. But at every step like that, I really don’t know what I’m doing. I’m making it up. Like, whenever that fear starts swirling, I just have to remind myself and look at the reality, not that voice in the back of my head. And the reality is, there’s not been an obstacle yet that I’ve not figured out. There’s not been a client project yet that I’ve not delivered with excellence on, there’s not been somebody that I’ve brought in to work with me in any capacity that I’ve not taken care of, and fulfilled my end of the bargain with. And so for me, whenever it’s pushing through those scary Friday moments, it’s forcing myself to look at the data, which is what you often always make me do too. Because I’m regularly saying, “I don’t think we can afford this” and you are as my CFO, you’re holding it, the numbers going, “Okay, the numbers don’t lie, Jess you can do it.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Right. Right, right.

Jessi Robinson:

So I think that that data can be used more broadly, right? to kind of pull you out of that fear or Friday cycle that sometimes we can get in.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that I’ve just thought quote this morning that was like, or like a mantra that you’ve survived 100% of your worst days or something along those lines. And I was talking to somebody else on the show a couple of weeks ago, who shared that she actually keeps a folder under her desk of all of her past wins and different testimonials and different quotes from people that she’s worked with. And she literally pulls that out. When she needs a little reminder about getting through something scary or getting outside of her comfort zone. She like pulls the binder out, and I was like, “I need a binder.”

Jessi Robinson: 

It’s so funny, I also interviewed somebody, I don’t think it’s the same person. But I also interviewed somebody last week. And she said she does the same thing.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

She has a binder too?

Jessi Robinson:

She has a  binder.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

It’s a really good idea.

Jessi Robinson:

We’re missing out on this trend.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I know, I need a binder.

Jessi Robinson:

The other thing is like there’s always every time that you level up in some way, there’s going to be this roar in your head that tries to like push you back into your comfort zone and where it’s safe. That’s because that’s kind of what our brain does to help us survive. And like right now, I’m launching a podcast also. And man, the closer we get to launch date, the louder that roar gets of like, “Who do you think you are? And why are you adding to the noise. Nobody wants to hear this.” And it’s fun. Because I remember in December, whatever you said, you were thinking about a podcast. I was like, “Oh, I would never do a podcast.” And then like three weeks later, I’m like my team talk me into doing a podcast.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Three weeks later, you’re like, “I’m doing a podcast. Here’s the cover art. Here’s the name of it. And I’ve like have this list of every interview” literally three weeks later, like you were texting me pictures of the cover art.

Jessi Robinson:

That was a very Stephanie moment and that is normally reversed and you know that so it’s true. Stephanie is typically the fastest action taker I’ve ever seen. I will usually mull on something for a week or two and we will have a conversation and typically it is her the next day. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Okay, all done.

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I’m done.

Jessi Robinson:

I do find myself with this particular adventure. Kind of saying like, “Okay, what was Stephanie do? Stephanie would just say, just do it. Why are you waiting?”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. Well, yes, because like nothing is permanent. And that’s kind of how I felt about the podcast myself starting. It’s like, “well, I don’t know if I’m gonna like this.” I mean, thinking all the way back to the beginning of our businesses, like we didn’t know if we were going to like it. We didn’t know what direction we wanted to go in. But I feel like nothing’s permanent. So give yourself some flexibility and some options and some fun to like, play around with things. But yeah, I love that.

Jessi Robinson:

That was one of, I will say, that is one of my favorite traits about you, you really embrace that so fully. And I think it’s just one of the best lessons, just give yourself the opportunity to play around with it and see what happens. It might be something you decide that’s not worth your while, and a couple weeks or a couple months, but who knows. And I’ll say with nothing is permanent. That was also one of my like, whenever I was on that tipping point of something’s got to give, right? So if I go back to starting my business, I’ve either start kind of start turning down freelance work, or I have to jump my husband, we had a really, okay, let’s talk about brass tacks, is this going to happen? And he said, “Listen, I don’t want you to turn around and SB into our 40’s. And you wonder what if you just jumped? Don’t let yourself say what if, because the worst thing that could happen is you try this for a year, and then you go back to work for somebody else.” That was huge. It was like after he kind of gave me that perspective. I was like, Okay, and now it’s so funny. Now I am in my 40s. And I’m not wondering what if. So, it’s one of those things that I reflect on a turn? I think as we’re talking about giving yourself a chance.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I like that. What is the worst that could happen? You know, I tell myself that a lot if I have to have like, a difficult conversation, which you know, are like, not my favorite. Or if there’s something I need to do in my business that I’ve just been putting off, because I’m like, kind of scared about it. What’s the worst that can happen? If you ask yourself that question? Maybe somebody yells at you, maybe somebody’s mad at you, like, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Yeah, it’s usually not really that bad. But in our head, so much.

Jessi Robinson:

My dad has all kinds of quotes I pull out. In one of the things that he still will tell me, whenever I’m bringing my hands about a business situation, he’ll be like, Jess they can’t eat you. Like at the end of the day, like they eat you or kill you just make a decision, move forward, knowing that you like did the best you could with the information you had, and don’t worry about it.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Exactly, you won’t die… like you will absolutely not die. I was just thinking about the way that you were talking about how you went from leaving your job. And I think a lot of times we are you’re like following whoever on social media or whatever. There’s like this idea that it’s like, “oh, yeah, you should just quit your job and just do what you love.” But I don’t really honestly think that’s the best way to make a shift into something else. Or make a pivot, like, I think there’s a combination of Yeah, go for your dreams go for what is going to make you happy and try something but like, do it in a smart way and like a calculated way. So I love that you’ve had that like, “Okay, I’m going to build up my freelance work, I’m going to look at the numbers. And I’m going to give myself a point in time where I’m going to make this transition.” And it’s still risky, and it’s still scary, but like you’re doing it with intention. And I feel like a lot of times, what I’m seeing out there is like, “Oh, yeah, just ditch whatever is not working for you and follow your dreams.” I don’t know, what do you think?

Jessi Robinson:

Well, for me, it just wasn’t an option. We’re a two income household, like we need both of our incomes, I guess, if you have the ability to just quit your job and not have to worry about bringing in a financial portion to your household. Sure. For the rest of us, you have to make some difficult choices sometimes. So you know, we forfeit some vacations, instead of taking the money for the freelance projects as they came in and spend them on something things are just, you know, I like to hoard some money back in a war chest. So I saved all the money to give me some runway, I made sure that I had some projects lined up. Before I made the leap, I had six months.

Now, what I didn’t know, I didn’t know that some of those projects were going to stall out. And some of those projects were going to be slow to pay. Like I had a naive portion about how the first six months out on my own was gonna go. But at least I was trying to make sure I had some groundwork in place. And I think that that is something that a lot of people who are looking to maybe make a transition have to get more realistic about, is making sure that they’re kind of laying down some preliminary groundwork or runway in front of them.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I like that. And I think that’s even applicable if you already own a business and you’re already running your business, but you’re thinking about pivoting and doing something a little bit different or shifting your model or whatever. I like that idea of laying some groundwork and I feel like I’m right now sort of working on shifting some things inside my business model and not just gonna like flip the switch and do it tomorrow. It’s like it’s laying that groundwork. So I like that a lot.

Jessi Robinson:

So it also gives you some room to do some trial and error. If you’re making a pivot in your business or you’re making a hard transition. And you just like, go in, give your two weeks quit and you don’t have some of that foundation or planning? I don’t mean you have to have like the traditional business plan laid out.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah.

Jessi Robinson:

You got to be thinking really strategic about like, “Okay, how much do I need to bring in? How much am I charging? How does that all calculate? That means how many projects? Do I need a month?” You know, some of those basic calculations? And then you can test Okay, where do you think your clients are going to be? Are they there? How much are they going to pay you? Do they actually pay you? And so if you kind of do a runway, you have some room to do some testing along the way, where if you, if you just flip the switch, either in pivoting your business or making a transition, you just don’t have as much gray area to test and make sure that what you think is going to work actually works?

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. It’s all about the numbers.

Stephanie & Jessi:

It is all about the numbers, It’s all about the numbers.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

You hear me talk all the time about how important it is to know your numbers as a business owner. But you may be thinking, well, how in the world? Do I do that? Where do I even begin, so I have a free resource for you. The Profit Playbook is an amazing template that you spend about 15 minutes getting it all set up, and you can literally see into the future of your business revenue, expenses, cash flow, just like a crystal ball, it is a huge resource that will absolutely help you create a roadmap to reach your goals in your business. It is for free, over at 100degreesconsulting.com/profit.

Alright, so let’s shift gears a little bit from the numbers. I mean, you know, I could talk about this all day long. You’re a creative, you’re a visual person, you’re a branding and marketing expert. So I want to dive into a little bit about what you actually do. And maybe some tips that you might have for business owners who really want to make their brand stand out. Like it’s more than a logo, right? We all we all know, it’s more than a logo.

Jessi Robinson:

It’s more than a logo. Yeah. So even though P&P is a full service agency, we always tell clients that we are focusing on every project through the lens of the brand, because any project that you’re doing in a marketing capacity should be ultimately supporting that brand in some way. So we primarily work with community driven organizations. So for us, that looks like community development, nonprofits, tourism, commissions, sometimes economic development, we’ve started working with more advocacy groups. And we also think about community in two ways. So we think about it as the physical community.

As someone who lives in Eastern Kentucky, I have a huge heart for rural communities and small towns. And I think there’s so much potential in communities and small towns, and I love working with organizations that are helping to transform their communities and amplify the good that’s going on. But we also look at it as like community in terms of like groups of people. So we work with advocacy groups, we work with organizations and associations, those organizations who are championing a group of people, and helping get policies and awareness out and support organizations. So those are like kind of the two things that we work with.

So what we do, branding, so we approach branding, thinking about three intersecting areas, of course, the visual brand, so that logo that everyone always thinks about immediately, also all of the other visual components that represent a brand. So you know, what is the typography? What is the style of design that kind of accompanies and shows up on social media and on the website? What’s the color palette, what’s the style of the photography that represents the brand.

The other intersecting circle is the messaging. So this is what brings all of that visual stuff to life and helps it connect. So what is the positioning statement? How are you identifying very clearly who you work with and what you do for them, and what the benefit is. So that positioning statement, all of the messaging that shows up on again, social media, on your website, in your collateral materials?

And then last is the experience. And so the experience is where all of these things come together. So how do you show up on social media? How do you show up in email marketing? How do you show up on websites? And then how do you show up in person? And so whenever that happens to so with our nonprofit clients, we’re even making them pause to think about all of your staff members are part of your brand. And so if you are representing one thing in your visual identity and in your messaging, then you better be backing that up with every client or partner interaction. If we’re working with a community, we were reminding people, that if you are selling people, you know people who you want to recruit to your community, one thing through your visual identity and your messaging, then whenever they show up on Main Street, does that match? If those three things do not align and match, it starts to cause confusion. And when people are confused about a brand, they don’t trust it. So if I’m thinking about, like some tips that I would listen, that would be true across the board for small business owners established business owners, nonprofits, for how to strengthen their brand, I would just say consistency, it is the most boring thing.

But consistency, often will like will be a year into working with an organization and they’ll say, “we’re kind of getting tired of this stuff. Can we change it like we’re ready for something new?” Because they’ve seen it? They’ve seen it every day, on all of their materials. And so we’re constantly saying, “No, no, no, no, you’ve only been at this a year like this is when you double down on your consistency, because everyone has not seen all of your material laid out on the boardroom table, or in their social media feed, they’ve only seen pieces of it. And they’re just now starting to get familiar with it. So you do not want to change it now, because you’re just starting to get some traction and break through the noise of the internet.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

That’s such a good reminder, because I was literally thinking that about my own content recently and thinking, God, I’m saying the same thing over and over and over again, this is getting so boring. But you’re right, not every single person has seen every single thing that I’ve ever written anywhere. So I think that’s huge. So you had mentioned that you have the boring, but secret weapon to amplifying your brand is that it?

Jessi Robinson:

That is the boring but secret weapon, it’s consistency. Yeah, just consistency. It’s not designing to do website, your website may need to be designed because your brand could be very disjointed. Often the messaging gets overlooked a lot with our clients, they kind of focus in on that visual aspect. And they’re not focused in on, but it still comes back to consistency. So their messaging may be all over the place. And it may not be clearly communicating. But one of the reasons it’s not clearly communicating is because they’re saying what they do in a different way, every time that they have a conversation, or they write it out in a piece of collateral or on social. So ultimately, if you go, you know, follow that five whys, which I’m obsessed with right now, by the way, Toyota’s 5 Whys look that up, if you’d like drill all the way back down, it’s that they’re not consistent in how they are presenting their brand.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

So what are some ways that people can feel like they still can be creative and have some sort of creative expression, when it comes to their brand and their content and things like that while still maintaining consistency? Because I think that’s where, at least I know, for myself, I’m like, “man, I have all of these ideas. And I want to talk about this. And I want to talk about that, instead of just saying the same thing, and you know, the same five topics over and over and over again.” How are we able to be creative while still being consistent?

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah, that’s a good one. I think that continually taking your core, so I know for you, it storytelling with financials, and understanding your numbers are two of the key topics that you always kind of return to. And so I would say that the way that you stay fresh with that is always looking at it from a new lens. And that may mean going out and talking to some of your clients and asking them, “what are you struggling with? What are you still not understanding,” and then always kind of circling around and answering those questions through a way that shifts the angle, I think about if your brand’s like in the middle of a circle, and you’re like just constantly kind of walking around the circle, taking a different look at it. That would be my big suggestion is, you know, always thinking about how, and it should come back to your core values, like you should always be tying it back.

And so if you can do something that’s a little fresh and new, and that internally, you can clearly see the path back to your core mission and values as your company and your core offerings, then yeah, you can kind of wander off and do different stuff. But if you’re wandering off in one direction, so if you are blending in, say a new service or a new topic that you’re talking about, it still talks back to you know, your core offerings and your core mission, that’s fine. But make sure that the other two pieces, right, so make sure that the visual is still spot on aligned, and make sure that your voice is still very aligned.

And then the other piece, so you know those you were talking about those three pieces. And so if you’re venturing off onto a new platform or a new way to interact, if that starts to shift, you still have the other two anchors. That’s why I think that thinking about the brand through the three lenses of the visual identity, the messaging and the experience is so powerful, because you can like stick a pin in one of those or one or two of those and then start to play with the other ones a little bit. Does that make sense?

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, it totally makes sense. And I think that really answers my question super well, because I’ve been loving asking podcast guests all the things that I’ve been wondering.

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I guess it’s like free coaching. But yeah, that’s something that I’ve been like struggling with. And I’m thinking about Instagram in particular. And like my email list, I have probably five core topics that I really hone in on. And I’m like, “Oh my God, if I have to explain one more time, the difference between a bookkeeper and accountant and a CFO and a financial planner, I’m gonna go crazy.” But you know what, every time I post about that people are like, “Oh, I had no idea.” And I’m like, “really? because I’ve said it like 5000 times.” But it’s still fresh to them!

Jessi Robinson:

Because you’re, especially on social media, hopefully, you’re always growing and adding new people into the mix. And then if you think about the algorithms on social media, 3% of your people are seeing it. So you know, just really sharing that content. And also, like, I want to just like one more time talk about the three pillars, or the three circles. Some brands have been successful for an extended amount of time, only focusing on one piece of that. So if you think about in a local small town community, so I’ll use my community, we had a greasy spoon truckstop. That was along the interstate for 50 years. Sadly, it closed about two years ago, it did zero marketing, it did zero branding, It did not think about a messaging, but you went there for the experience. And that experience carried like ever, it was total word of mouth, everybody knew about this greasy, truckstop burger, that was amazing. And so they hung all of their weight of their brand on the experience. And then likewise, you have some companies or organizations that hang all of their weight on the design, or maybe the messaging typically, it’s that experience if you’re just only looking at one, but then whenever you’ve really have fuel behind you, and you have the ability to like really leverage and expand is whenever you take all three of those components in unison. Within that you still have some room to like, okay, play around with two of them, but at least keep one or two anchored.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I love that. I definitely did not think that the conversation was going to go in this direction. But I’m so glad that this is super helpful, super helpful. We talk a lot about getting out of your comfort zone. And I know that you intentionally did this, like was it last year or the year before and you sort of went on this backpacking journey. So I would love to hear a little bit about really what spurred that on I recorded an episode of like, how to give yourself some intentional discomfort and why that’s really important, just to grow as a person and you totally did this. You had the like, Reese Witherspoon wild experience, right?

Jessi Robinson:

Well, I don’t know that it was the Reese Witherspoon wild experience, cuz it was just like a couple days. But that is actually, I mean, the Reese Witherspoon wild experience was the spur for this whole thing. So years ago, I read the book Wild and like, I never even thought about backpacking or like real hiking in anyway, I grew up tromping around the woods, like I get her kid and go into state parks, because there’s tons of them here in Kentucky. But I never really thought about backpacking, and I read that book. And it just spoke to myself. I was like, “this sounds amazing.” And I have joked ever since about, I’m in a backpack one day. So a couple years ago, in the year that I turned 40, a good friend of mine, who also had aspirations of backpacking kind of called my bluff. And so I was hanging out on the soccer field watching my kiddo practice. And she pulled up a chair beside me and she tossed a couple books into my lap and said, like, “I’m calling your bluff on this backpack and stuff.” And I was like, “Oh, shit.”

So we started gathering gear and taking longer and longer hikes, and we decided last fall, the Chateaux we trace in our T National Recreation channel runs through my region. So we decided it’s 300. And the heap extended. I think it’s up to like 336. Now 336 miles. So don’t get excited. We did not thru hike this sucker. We are two middle aged soccer moms. But we decided we wanted to section I hike it. So we were going to continue on that. I don’t know if we’ll be able to finish it this year, because we’ve got all kinds of kids doing all kinds of stuff.

So we just did it. And it was hard, and I was sore. And there were times when I was like, “Oh my gosh, this was a big mistake. What were you thinking?” But also after the fact? I was like, “Yes, I felt like a rock star.” And so I’m trying to embrace that more and more in my business and in my life because it was so good. And it made me feel so empowered afterwards. So we just, you know, we started at the northern terminus, we hacked 26 miles over a weekend, and did all the things, I’ve wrote a blog post about it if you are interested, and you can find it on P&P’s website, so it was a lot of fun.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that we’ll definitely link it. I am obsessed with doing things that push yourself, whether it’s physical, whether it’s mental, whether it’s in business, or your personal life. I’m such a huge fan of that. So I give you a lot of credit for doing that. Because it takes a lot, I think to like, intentionally do something very uncomfortable that you know, is probably going to suck while you’re in it. Like Hello marathons. They frickin suck when you’re in it. I’ve run seven of them. And they’re not really that fun. It’s the ends that is fun. It’s that feeling of accomplishment of that feeling. Like, “I pushed through something so, so hard. And I made it out the other side.” And I feel like, Oh my gosh, there’s like a million parallels we could draw to business.

Jessi Robinson:

Oh, no, I agree in the confused looks. The people would die. Get on. Like, why would you want to pack 40 pounds around on your bag and sleep in the woods? And what are you going to eat? Was just like a pure confusion on and the biggest confused face came from my husband. He was like, “I have no idea why you want to do this.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Who are you?

Jessi Robinson:

“And is this safe?” So that was you know, and I’m like, “there’s nobody that’s gonna get us in the woods right now.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Right.

Jessi Robinson:

But I agree. And I didn’t realize it was seven marathons. I knew it ran a couple but I think I missed the opportunity to run marathons, my knees are shot at this.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I’ve run a bunch that was all pre-children. So mostly because it just takes a lot of time to train for a marathon and people do it. And gosh, I give them a lot of credit. But I’ve got other priorities in my life. And yeah, training right now. But I love that. All right. Well, before we wrap up, I have a few quick questions that I like to ask everybody at the end. And I have not asked you to prepare these in advance. So hopefully, you’re you’re a fast thinker. So the first question is, what is your favorite productivity hack, tip or trick in your business or life?

Jessi Robinson:  

Ah, goodness, productivity, I would say my weeks are always better when I take about 30 minutes on Sunday to map out my big goals for the week and put them on a list. So that then I can see as I get into my week, and like all the day to day stuff filters in that I can at least anchor back to this list of like, “Okay, this is my core important list for the week.” And, and kind of weave those into every day. I don’t know if that’s a true productivity hack. But I would say it really helps me now I’m not claiming that I’m awesome at doing that every Sunday either. But I can tell that when I do it. And I’m diligent about it. It makes all the difference in my week.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that I do the same thing. I have a list of like five things right over here that I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to call this week of success. If I get these five things done. Anything else is just a bonus.” Awesome. So my second question is, what’s a favorite book that you’ve read? Most people I would say most of our guests are given me a business book. So favorite business book

Jessi Robinson:

Creativity, Inc. It’s an older one.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

What’s that one? So I’ve never heard that.

Jessi Robinson:

It’s a story. It’s the story of Pixar.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Oh.

Jessi Robinson:

And how the three guys came together to kind of bring that company out of the ground and the adoption of like, break it, break it, break it and like there’s no wrong answer. Like I just love creativity. And I go back and read it every couple years just to remind me of if you never fail like I mean, you get it right on the first try. Like you’re not really like pushing yourself far enough as a creative to see like where it can go. I just I love that one.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I think I need that. I think I need that reminder.

Jessi Robinson:

It’s a good one.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I think I need that encouragement to fail a little bit. Creativity, Inc. Got it. Okay, last one. Imagine that you had a week day completely free from work, what do you do?

Jessi Robinson:

I’m gonna go to the gorge. So the Red River Gorge is about 40 minutes from us. It’s an amazing state park here in Kentucky. But it’s also has world class rock climbing, that draws people from all over the nation and all over the world. I do not rock climb, but I’m gonna get out on a trail somewhere. And it’s like, not even that I’m going to be outside. Because that really, really gets me re-grounded and brings me back to life a little bit.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that. I’m kind of like keeping a mental tally of all of the guests that were asking this question and I’d say half of people are saying they want to be outside in some way shape or form and the other half of people are saying that they want to have a day at the spa. Like a full day of the spa. So it’s either outside or spa so far.

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah. So that is so funny. I think that’s a distinction in personality because like a week, like a whole day at the spa like kind of makes me shiver I’m like, “I don’t…”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I don’t know?  Yeah. I’m not accomplishing something.

Jessi Robinson:

It may be so I don’t know. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah, I don’t know. That’s kind of how I feel. Anyway, do you have any resources, any links or where should we point our listeners to if they want to find out more about you.

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah. So I kinda mentioned earlier that I’m super excited that I’m also launching a podcast called, Pursuing Fearless. So you can go to pursuingfearless.com, get on the list, and by the time this episode airs we’ll have had our episode up. It is all about having uplifting and sharing the stories of women who are in small business in small towns across America. I found that in working in a rural area over the past 10 years that there are tons of amazing women, who aren’t necessarily influencers on Instagram or are not working in Corporate America (like in major corporations), but they’re out there doing amazing things and giving back to the community. So, I would love to share some of those stories with you as well. And then if you just wanted to know something more about P&P Creative, you can find us at pandpbrands.com

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Thank you so much! I’m so excited for your podcast and for this idea to really spot people, what when we’re not buried on our phones all day, we’re not gonna see these people because they’re doing awesome things outside of Instagram.

Jessi Robinson:

Yes, exactly.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love it. Well, thank you, Jessi. Thank you so much for joining me today! I just love this conversation, as I do all of our conversations, and yeah, super happy to have you hear.

Jessi Robinson:

Yeah! I’ll talk to you soon.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

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!

Transcript Episode 23

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