How to Be an Authority in Your Field (It’s Not About Going Viral!) with Jaclyn Mellone
Transcript Episode 39
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, everybody, welcome back to 100 degrees of entrepreneurship! I’m Stephanie, your host and I am really excited to share my conversation today with Jaclyn Mellone.
So, six years ago, Jaclyn was 32, pregnant and was chasing her two year old while also chasing some crazy big dreams. She started her business and podcast from her living room in Rochester, New York with a $65 mic and a Zoom account.
Today, Jaclyn Mellone is the founder of Go-To Gal Media and host of the Go-To Gal podcast. She has been named one of Forbes Top 21 podcasts for 2021 and is a top 200 marketing podcast on iTunes. The podcast covers topics ranging from mindset business strategy to the latest marketing tactics.
Jaclyn works with experts around the globe to help them become the go to authority in their space. Her approach combines business strategy with mindset practices to help her clients bust through their blocks and exponentially grow their business.
She has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Yahoo Finance, Reader’s Digest, Parents, and has spoken at marketing conferences around the US.
While a lot has changed in six years, Jaclyn and her husband are still chasing around their 5 year old, 8 year old, and 10 year old pup – and Jaclyn is chasing even crazier dreams. And yes, she is still using a $65 mic and swears by her Zoom account.
So, Jaclyn and I had such a good conversation today about authority building.
She busts a lot of myths for us such as authority building is not about going viral, it’s not about being famous or having a huge audience.
She talks about some tips to help us all build authority in our space, and to even figure out what our space is that we want to build authority in.
And full disclosure, I kind of use some of our time today as a coaching session where she gave me some really great pointers on how I can build authority and figure out who our audience is during our session. So there’s a lot in here!
I was also just blown away by her media features like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Yahoo Finance, I mean, come on! So she spilled some secrets. Some behind the scenes info on how she got featured in these different places. And she even told us how she managed to get her podcast on Forbes Top 21 podcasts for 2021. I mean, that is just an awesome accomplishment!
If you Google that Forbes Top 21 podcasts for 2021 She is in some amazing company there. So I’m really excited for you to hear this episode. There’s a little something for everyone. No matter what your niche is, no matter what your specialty, no matter what your expertise or your industry, Jaclyn can help you figure out how to build authority and be that go to person for whatever it is that you do.
So, without further ado, I’m going to start my conversation with Jaclyn!
Hey, everybody, welcome back to 100 degrees of entrepreneurship Podcast. I’m so excited to be here today with Jaclyn Mellone. Jaclyn, Welcome!
Oh, thanks so much for having me!
So Jaclyn and I are kind of neighbors and we live about an hour away. But in this part of the country in this part of New York State, it sort of feels like we’re neighbors. We’re not that far away. And I feel like I’ve known you for a really long time. But I think in reality, we’ve only met in person once, right?
I know! Yes! And then you were pregnant. And then you know, global pandemic. Yes, we are overdue for an in person meetup for sure. But yeah, I think we’ve only met in person one.
Yeah. And that wasn’t even here, that was in New York City, which is even funnier.
Awesome, Jaclyn. Well, I’ve been listening to your podcast for ages even before you had rebranded to Go-To Gal which is what your podcast is now. I was listening before when you had a co-host. So I feel like I know you really well. But not all of our listeners know you quite as well or like, you know, not as like stalker-ish as I do. But tell us about your business journey. Like where did you start out and how did you land doing what you’re doing now?
Oh, my goodness. Well, I could keep you here all day with all of my tid bits, but…
I’ll list them all.
Oh, well, my first online business was back in 2005. It actually was my first online business back in 2005. And that kind of planted the seed. It was very short lived. It never made money, it was kind of a hot mess. But it planted that seed of, I always wanted to be creating something. I saw this opportunity, but I didn’t really know how to execute on it. I ended up with the wrong partners.
And I stepped away from doing my own business for the rest of my 20s. But that seed was planted. I always knew I wanted to do something! I helped my dad start his business in 2004. My mom was the best stay at home mom ever and I always aspired to, to be that mom for my kids that she was for me and like, get off the bus and like, tell her everything that happened at school. I wanted to be there in that way.
I always thought I’d have to choose. I’m very much like my dad, I’m very ambitious. But I also wanted to be that mom, like my mom. And when I started listening to podcasts, is actually when this whole world opened up to me. It started with cereals, and there would be a lot of podcast listeners that started with cereal back at the end of 2014.
And then I don’t know, must have been through ads or something. I started finding these entrepreneurial podcasts, and just got hooked. So this whole world opened up hearing people’s stories on podcasts of like, “oh, wow, that’s how they’re doing it.” And it started all of this stuff that I just couldn’t put together myself, how do you actually do that? Or how do you make money from it, or, I was around a lot of entrepreneurs in my everyday life, but they had invested a lot of startup money and everything.
So that really planted the seeds for me to start something, it started with an Instagram account. It started with a branded business, not a personal brand. And I really was hesitant to put myself out there. And what else to say is by accident. So after building up this brand on Instagram, where the followers came, but the money didn’t.
As you know, many of you may or may not know, I was quickly building this following this engaged community, but it was harder to sell to them. And by accident, I had built this personal brand up where business was just falling on my lap, and people were like, “how are you growing Instagram? How are you doing this?” And wanting to pay me for that.
So I think that was really the first seed that was planted of, “okay, there’s something to this personal brand thing, there’s people who want to buy from people, and me, maybe being afraid to put myself out there at first, right?”
“Okay, I could create a community, but what are we going to do with it? Right?” They really, being able to step into that leadership role in my own business and be that face and connect with that community was when things really started to change. So it started as a brand, it evolved into a personal brand.
As you said, I’ve been podcasting since 2015, my first podcast, I had a co-host. In the beginning of 2019, we rebranded to Go-To Gal, and that started as a tagline. And was then Go-To Gal became a course. And then it really evolved into this bigger podcast! But really, it’s now a brand in and of itself.
So I would say with my journey, it’s really about owning the personal brand, the personality side of it that, you know, even if you have a branded business, having that personal piece is what really connects with people. And leaning into that. And then just owning all the pivots.
I have tried so many different offers, so many different ideal clients, different positioning. What I love about the world we’re in now is you can evolve and change so easily and people are growing with you. To really embrace that and not feel shame, and that you don’t have to have it all figured out from the start. It’s really that listening to your audience, building this self awareness with yourself and continuing to make whether it’s those micro pivots or those bigger pivots along the way.
Yeah, oh my gosh, that’s such good encouragement, because I think you’re right. It’s like we all want to have everything I mean, at least to us Enneagram 3 achievers slash kind of perfectionists want to have everything figured out. But like, nobody does. Nobody has anything figured out. My business doesn’t even look like when it did when I started either. So I love that encouragement.
I find it really interesting though, how you said that at one point, you were maybe a little bit afraid to put yourself out there as a personal brand. When I think of Jaclyn, I’m like you are the most outgoing, like, bubbly personality extrovert to the max and I’m like, really or nervous to put yourself out there?
You were worried about that?
Okay, I’m so glad you asked me about that because yes, I am extroverted. But there’s this myth about extroverts, okay, I feel like I need to myth bust this myth about extroverts, that extroverts get energy from showing up online and I don’t really get energy from talking to myself, I don’t get energy from typing, right? So put me in a room or put me on a Zoom call. And that’s going to feel so different to me, then being live by myself or recording a story by myself or typing something by myself, right?
So all of us get energy differently. But even outside of that, I don’t know, when I first started my business, I hired a coach, and she was a business and life coach. And I remember thinking, like, well, I don’t really need the life stuff, right? Like, I’m just hiring her for the business. Like it was like, oh, like, I don’t get the I don’t need that part. We’ll just do all the business stuff.
I had this idea for the business, I started Instagram in June of 2015. And then fast forward. So it was the first like, last week of October, first week of November of 2015, that I launched my first paid product, our first podcast and surprise found out I was pregnant with baby number two. So it was a very busy fall. And I really needed that life coach during that time.
So I’m so glad that I had the strategic side of my brain, hired a business coach. and then I had the foresight to have someone there for me emotionally during a time when I really needed that support. But I remember saying to her, I swear I’m normally a really confident person. I was, I am. But starting a new business and so many new things. I felt so vulnerable. I felt so outside of my comfort zone, and I wasn’t used to showing up in that way.
All these insecurities are brought to the surface. And I just was not prepared for all of that. And this was to the extent I joked that it was like I was in the witness protection program, because back then I don’t think this is still the case on Facebook. But back then, when you joined a Facebook group, it would actually show up in your timeline, or your friends would see that, you know, Jaclyn joined like this, whatever Facebook group, and I wouldn’t want people to see that.
And so every time I joined one of these Facebook groups, I would literally go into my settings and filter. I would remove, like I would actually delete that notification so people wouldn’t see. Because I was so terrified of not even showing up. But like the people on my Facebook knowing what I was doing. So it was just such a different mindset.
Even with my first offer, I started this membership. And that coach I had hired, I’d said to her, she was pretty well known in this circle I was in. She wasn’t like, Instagram famous coach or anything, but just people knew who she was. And I’m like, we have three coaching calls a month, Could one of those calls be in my membership for my members? And she was like, Sure.
So I marketed it as having this coach as a part of it. And after maybe the first three or four months, I was like, Okay, I think I need to do these coaching calls myself not like with my coach, right? It’s like training wheels. But I remember being so nervous. Are people still gonna want to be in the membership if it’s just me coaching? The imposter syndrome was just off the charts. Can I even coach my own people in my own program?
So I definitely had a lot of work to do in the beginning. And I would say I’m always working on that, and that type of stuff. And myself, as we’re growing, I think it’s a constant, I actually look at it the opposite as whenever I get a little too comfortable. I typically have to check in with myself of “Okay, am I still growing?” You know, what am I really doing here?
Yeah. And so at that moment, in different moments, you kind of had two choices. You had one choice to stay small and to not put yourself out there, but you chose to be uncomfortable. And look at where it’s led you today! I mean, I think that’s so powerful at any of these moments, when we’re like, “oh, gosh, I don’t want to do it, like, Oh, I just want to you know, stay quiet and not have people see what I’m doing.” You have a choice, right? And you can stay quiet and stay small and keep writing those little Facebook notification things. So people don’t know what you’re doing. Or you can choose to put yourself out there and experience what you wouldn’t have otherwise.
So I was on your podcast, I’ll have to look back and see when it was but it was like a couple of years ago at this point. But I think one of the first questions you ask is like, “what were you the go to gal for when you were growing up?” And I love listening to all of your guests answer this question because it’s so fun to see, to think about these little girls, these little kids doing what they’re doing. And sometimes it’s really aligned with what they’re doing today. Sometimes it’s not. But I would love to ask you that question.
What were you the go to gal for when you were growing up?
Ooh, you know, no one’s ever asked me this before!
Oh yeah, I love it. So I would say I was the go to gal for playing in a really creative way. I always had whether it was a project or us like actually doing a play or a dance routine or making up a game, that there was always a way to just make whatever we were doing more fun. That’s something that from when I was a little girl.
It was always, always about a project or a play or something. And even as I got much older, it was still finding those ways, in theme parties in college and you just find different ways to, to work that in as we get older. But I think that’s what I’d say is the go to gal from!
Oh my gosh, that’s so great, I can totally see that! Jaclyn is like the fun girl, awesome! So we’re kind of switching gears now and thinking about authority building. And that’s kind of what you’re known for being that Go-To Gal your whole brand is about helping people sort of find what they want to be the authority for.
So how does one even start building authority online? What does that even mean? What does that look like? And do you need a big audience to be able to do that and be a go to person for something?
So to answer backwards, no, you do not need a big audience to just start claiming being the go to authority. Inherently in the name, it’s you’re the go to for someone else, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the go to for tons of other people, right? It’s just you’re the go to for a select group of people.
So the size of the audience does not matter with this. But being clear on what you are the go to gal for the go to guy for is really important. The interesting thing is deciding what you are the go to for, can be really hard, right? Sometimes we do a lot of things and picking just one or picking one group of people that we’re going to be the go to for can feel really limiting.
I guess to back it up for a second. When I say become the go to for a go to authority for something that can be your specific expertise. So you’re really niche and specific of you’re the go to for boudoir photography, you’re the go to for selling on Instagram reels you have very specific expertise that you’re marketing, or it can be a specific audience that you’re talking to.
So maybe you’re doing digital marketing for I’m like, Okay, what’s a really specific like, what’s rolling out, like a really, I was gonna say interior designers, but in this day, and age is probably something even more specific than that, your digital marketing for hair stylists that specialize in colors.
You know, so really getting specific with who that audience is, not just female entrepreneurs, right? So now, it can be either or the fastest path to getting known as the go to for something is to do both is to be really specific with your expertise, and really specific with your audience. So it can be either or. But when you stack that together, the more specific you’re able to be with who you’re talking to, who you’re calling in, and how you can help them, the more you’re going to stand out from the crowd of everybody else.
It may feel like I’m leaving all these people out. But in actuality, so many people are online right now talking right? That, the ones that are going to cut through and stand out are when people really feel like you’re talking to them, and you understand them. And they’re willing to pay you more for that because they actually have more confidence, they have more trust that you can actually help them because not just that you’re an expert, but that your expertise pertains to them, right?
So I guess just like that overall definition is probably an important place to start from this. Because when we say authority, a lot of times someone will say, “Well, I am a certified coach, or I’m, I’m a realtor, right?” You may have the credentials of authority. But using that just saying, I’m a life coach to just go out there and talk to everybody, or all women, that you’re a life coach who can help them is very generic, and it’s gonna be hard to get traction, right? But if you start talking to divorced women, those women are going to hear you above everyone else.
You’re going to be able to create content that really resonates with them and build that trust faster that you can help them and it’s also going to make content and everything else easier for you too. Because you’re talking to that specific audience. You’re going to get to understand them better, and what they want and what they’re struggling with and all of that stuff.
I totally hear you. And I see all of the logic in this, it makes so much sense. In reality. I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t really want to do that,” so I don’t know why’d you get resistance from other people, because okay, thinking about my business. I started off doing CFO and bookkeeping, for nonprofits. That was where I started my career where I spent a decade before the business.
And so we started off with nonprofits very quickly, small businesses came to us and said, “Hey, can you do this for us, too?” And I’m like, “Yeah, it’s like the same work, just kind of different terms and things. But yeah, definitely.” Now, our client’s portfolio is half and half. And so I have really struggled over the years. I’ve had coaches, and everybody tells me, “You got to pick one, like, you don’t have to get rid of the other ones. But when you’re talking out there and building your authority, especially online, you have to pick one.” I’m like, “No, don’t want to do that.”
So if somebody is kind of in that place where, you know, and honestly, I feel like it’s been okay for us, because I know the different platforms where our two different audiences live. And I have kind of separated them in the way that I try, and build authority myself. But for somebody who’s maybe kind of struggling with that, like, “Argh! but I really want to serve these two different groups!” And I really don’t know how to choose or how to separate them. What advice do you have?
So two things one, what’s the commonality between the two groups? Is there an overlap? Can you talk to both of them at the same time?
Yes, I mean, the overlap and the thread that I always try to weave is that they are mission focused, purpose driven leaders. And whether they’re leading a nonprofit or leading a small business, they’re purpose driven, and really focused on a mission and focus on impact.
So that’s really powerful, right? And not all entrepreneurs are like that. Not all course creators are like that, and not all startups or these other small businesses are like that.
So sometimes we have these identity labels that will give to certain groups. But that’s not actually who those people are, right? And those identifiers can also change over time, where connecting with your audience on that deeper level on their bigger why and focus can also be a really strong differentiator and a strong connection point.
You can absolutely be creating content and connecting with them on that level. So what I think in terms of you creating content, that’s something that if you’re not already leaning into a lot, I would lean into even more. Splitting efforts between platforms is putting efforts, right? If you’re kicking two soccer balls down a field, and you gotta keep moving one to go kick the other. Can you still get there? Yes, it’s just it just may take a little longer, the growth may be a little slower.
I also know from knowing you personally, that I have a hunch that a lot of your clients may come from referrals from people, right? You have very happy clients that rave about you. And so you’re going to be growing through those organic ways as well. If you were dependent on growing your Instagram, and getting new followers that converted in a certain amount of time in order to grow your business, this would be much more pressing than you growing through these other channels, right?
So fitting all of these things into consideration is you know, nothing. I don’t know, I’m not about these cookie cutter businesses, there’s a lot more contacts that needs to be added. So I appreciate you asking that question when, because I know it’s what everyone is thinking, right? And so it’s not that you necessarily have to choose, but it’s can you find that unifier?
Now, if you were going to go out and do an advertising campaign, or even with growing your Instagram, it may be harder to market to those people without, yes, you have that common thing with mission driven, but finding them with those hashtags, or even with different audiences on Facebook ads.
It’s gonna be a little trickier being able to really call out, you know, when we’re marketing and when scaling at that level is important. We need to really be able to be specific with who we’re talking to, when you’re growing more based on your relationships and referrals. And when you’re able to scale that it doesn’t have to be as specific. But in the coming years, I’m gonna say the more saturated the industry is, the more you’re able to take a stand as the go to for something.
It’s just gonna build that confidence of people hiring you and you can also charge more, right and on the back end of business. You can also be more efficient. If you’re doing that work for all course creators, right? You’d be able to create systems that work for course creators and you would narrow your marketing efforts for that, your behind the scenes operational efforts.
So you could really see how that could help streamline and scale. Is that the only way to have success? Of course not. But when we’re thinking about it from that perspective, or especially for someone getting started, that doesn’t already have those relationships, it does make a big difference.
Yeah, I think that’s such a good insight. Because if you’re just Googling or following all of the marketing gurus out there, you know, it’s very cookie cutter advice. Pick one thing, and that’s the only way to do it. And, you know, I really appreciated how you said. Sure, if you’re doing like paid advertising, and paid marketing, you’re right! There’s no way that you can lump all of them together based on like demographic type information that you have to use for ads. But with a referral, sort of more organic business, it kind of can work that way if you use that thread.
So if you’re thinking about if anybody is in kind of a similar place to my business, where you have two very specific groups, I love Jaclyn’s advice to kind of find that common thread, but still really work on defining who that specific person is, and who you are, really, and what authority you bring.
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So Jaclyn, you have been featured in some household name type publications and, were you in a TV spot for Yahoo Finance? I feel like…
So, that’s pretty awesome! So you know, just in her bio, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Yahoo, Finance, Reader’s Digest, Parents, and then tons of different marketing conferences and other things around the US online. Those are some household names. So how did you land some of that bigger publicity?
Okay, behind the scenes here! So one, when it comes to building authority, if we have time, I do have a whole framework on what it actually goes into building authority. But one of the elements of it is that third party.
That someone else saying that you’re the authority. Because you can tell people all day long, but you’re the authority, right? But when a brand, like one of those that you just mentioned, right? A media publication or another influencer says that you’re the authority, even just me being on this podcast, you introducing me, right? As an authority, I’m now talking to your listeners through the lens of authority and they’re trusting you that I’m legit, right?
And so there’s something to that of someone else giving you that, “Yes,” seal of approval of this person is an authority. And this is something that is available at all levels of business for us to tap into.
So some of those, the Reader’s Digest and Parents features, were just from a service like Harrow, just responding to a journalist request and writing, it’s a free service that will give you a million emails a day, it’ll be kind of annoying, but it’s basically a bunch of journalists that are saying, I need an expert to talk about this.
And it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is related to your business. For instance, I commented on something related to, Oh, it was a Miss America Pageant, but it was something about mindset and body image for the parents article. And so that’s not exactly what I do. But I talk a lot about mindset and body image when it comes to showing up as a personal brand as a go to gal in your business, right? So I was able to find that connection and contribute in that way.
So sometimes, something like that, that really has, let’s be honest, zero impact on my business, right? Like there was zero leads that came in through that. But that credential that like, oh, okay, like sharing that. At the time when it came out. There was a time when it was actually on like the homepage of parents, it was really cool. Being able to share that.
And the Reader’s Digest article was similar and a lot of other people were quoted in it. So we were all sharing each other right? And so there’s this power to I’m not just seeing these things on my Facebook, but now I’m seeing these things and these publications are taking me seriously and, and quoting me, right.
So that adds authority to your existing audience. And that continues, right? I put those logos on my website, you’re mentioning it now. So Some of these features are going to be just very little blips that don’t have, you know, I get a backlink. So that certainly helps in terms of building up my website cred for SEO, if you will. But other than that, there’s not that much of an effect from it.
But other ones, they can, it can be a Forbes feature that’s totally focused on my area of expertise, and an interview that’s talking about advice for podcasting, or something like that. So some of these can be much more impactful, I think it’s important to share the difference of sometimes these are just for authority building within your existing audience. And other times, they can help you grow your audience or be just really good lead generators, right? Because someone who’s coming to you is specifically interested in that topic or looking for help with that area of expertise.
In terms of how the other opportunities happened in a bunch of different ways. So I think the common theme for a lot of these is relationship building. And, you know, you and I met at an event that was around publicity where we got to meet some people in person and learn some of the ins and outs. I’ve been to other events about publicity.
And sometimes things happen from those sometimes they don’t, right? But it kind of teaches you how to think in terms of building relationships, and where as a few years ago, I may have said, being able to meet one of these contributing writers or editors in person is really impactful. I would still agree it is really impactful.
With quarantining COVID, that’s changed because nobody’s meeting in person. So the ability to build a relationship online, that has opened up a whole new world, and nobody’s meeting in person. And well, maybe now they’re starting to, but they haven’t been. And so you absolutely can be making these relationships, online and nurturing them. Right?
So my first article in Forbes was a traditional pitch. And they got accepted. But then I invited the contributing writer to be a guest on my podcast, and nurtured a relationship with her. She ends up writing an article on the 21 podcasts to listen to you in 2021, and includes Go-To Gal on there and doesn’t just include go to go. She wrote, like the nicest thing ever about the podcast and me!
I was so taken back by that. And what I think that shows is what sometimes we think with these lists, I don’t know, or we don’t think anything of them. We’re just like, oh, wow, how does that happen? It’s like this mystery, right? But here’s the thing, the writers of those articles are not going and listening to every podcast and ranking them. That’s not happening. That’s not how this works, right?
Maybe they’re going through some of the top listings, they’re probably going and looking at some other articles that have been written on top podcasts. And they’re also going to the podcasts that they know and that they listen to, right? So when you’re building relationships, and getting in front of people in that way, and, the podcast has been such a great networking tool for me over the years, as much as a marketing tool that you can really get on the radar with people that way.
So that’s kind of a back channel with that. And then the Forbes or, not the Forbes, the Yahoo Finance, they actually found me because of the podcast, which I think is really interesting. So sometimes when you’re just out there in creating, you’re going to have these opportunities just fall on your lap, too.
Yeah, oh my gosh, that’s awesome. I think you’re right, like writers, they’re gonna write about what they know. And if they know you, and if they know your work, and what you’re creating and your brilliance, they’re gonna write about you if they’ve got a relevant topic.
As you were chatting, I was just looking at the article, the Forbes article with the Top 21 Podcasts to listen to in 2021. And you are up there with some amazing company. So congratulations, I would say probably listened to like half of these already. But if you just Google, for anybody who wants to know what this is, if you just Google Forbes Top 21 Podcasts for 2021, you’ll see Jaclyn’s Go-To Gal as well as 20 others that are all really, really good. So awesome. Congratulations!
Thanks! Oh, and one more thing I want to add, because you had mentioned the speaking to also with the speaking opportunities that I’ve had, I’m going to say all of them have came from some type of relationship, right? And maybe that started with me being on their podcast, or they being on mine.
With ConvertKit, it started with us being an affiliate for ConvertKit. And building that relationship with them through that, because it’s the same thing with people who are putting on a conference, they’re not going to go and look at all these different speaker videos to figure out who’s the best, right? They’re gonna go off of who do they know, whose videos have they watched? Who have they seen speak at an event, they want to be confident that you can deliver?
And so are they going to maybe pick a couple of people who apply that they’re not familiar with? Maybe, right? But if you’re able to build that relationship, and you’re able to get in front of them in those ways, they’re going to pay much more attention to that application when you send it in. If not, give you the opportunity to just directly asked to be a part of that conference.
Yeah, you’re so right. Yeah, there are just endless opportunities to speak and to build your authority in so many different ways. Like you were saying you know, it’s not all about going to 50 million networking events every single year. And a lot of relationships are built online right now. I don’t know about you. And I don’t even have a large following on Instagram, but I get so many garbage, DMS in my Instagram inbox. I feel like not everyone, but people are just very kind of skeptical about talking to people that they don’t know.
Getting these messages that seemed kind of like salesy, and you’re like, I don’t know what to do with this! So do you have any tips on working on building true authentic relationships online and really approaching it from like, “hey, I want to help you. I want to be your friend,” let’s be friends rather than a sales-y approach.
This is such a good question. And this is something that I will admit was really, it still is second nature to me, but was very second nature to me coming into the online business world.
I mentioned earlier, I helped my dad start his business back in 2004. It was a real estate business, commercial real estate. He built his business, which was essentially a personal brand, but on relationships, and we spent so much time in that business doing things that I thought were completely ridiculous in my early 20s.
Like, why are we spending time helping this person’s kid get an internship, or, you know, doing all of these things like this, right?
Where I’m like, how does this relate to anything? And then I started to see how it was everything, taking the time to really get to know people in the community, and to help them made such a big difference. And it wasn’t always linear and you couldn’t approach it with that, this for that type of mentality. But by putting out that energy that we were truly getting to know people and helping people, it always came back tenfold.
And so going into the online world, it was just second nature for me to be like, well, let’s get on a phone date, even before Zoom dates, let’s talk on the phone, let’s just talk.
And I think that little difference of taking something from an online relationship into actually a Zoom call, or a phone call, even if not in person is fundamental in terms of actually solidifying the relationship. Do you just randomly DM people on Instagram? Like, probably not, right?
So I think if you’re DMing me and be like, you know, I love your thoughts on this, I’d love to get to know you more, can we hop on a call, some people are gonna value taking the time to build relationships like this more than others, some people don’t get it. I think it’s really important to not take that personally, it’s not what that mean anything about you.
Not everyone has the space in their calendar for that. Not everyone wants to make the space on their calendar for that, right? But to put yourself out there and at least try. So I think starting with paid communities that you’re in, you’re going to get the best results.
One, is those people have invested in their business in some way, shape, or form. And they already see you as someone who’s in community with them. Even if it’s a big membership, like a big big membership that you’re not paying a lot of money to be a part of, it still makes it a little bit easier to approach those people or a course that you’re in or something like that.
But outside of it, I think you can definitely do it from free Facebook groups, and on Instagram, if there’s people who you really want to be building that relationship with, start by just responding to their DMs, right?
Just start building a friendship naturally commenting DMing. And maybe it’ll eventually turn into something. I can’t promise that it will depend on a lot of factors, but it’s certainly worth a shot. Finding an area of commonality. So in the other scenario, right? You already have the commonality that you’re both in the program.
So finding something like that of what is that common thing to kick it off, I think will really help if you are trying to do this more of a cold outreach on Instagram. I can’t say I’ve ever done it intentionally on Instagram in a cold outreach way. But it’s happened organically a lot over the years.
I know it’s possible if you’re really connecting with people. And there’s that connection there. When I first started I mean, I met someone on Instagram, who I did a trade with. She designed my first website for me. You know, and so my podcast co-host we met in a Facebook group. That led to a three hour phone call and then her asking me to do a podcast with her.
So this is real, these are real things that happen and it’s just taking that extra step to ask!
I love that suggestion of paid groups or paid communities that you’re already in because most likely whoever’s leading that community. One of the selling points of whatever product or membership or course you purchase was the community. And so, don’t forget to take advantage of that. You don’t have to be hanging out in Facebook groups like, you know, eight hours a day. But I love that approach versus some other avenues.
So I really think of authority building as a long game. Like you have to consistently plant seeds in many different areas, and it will eventually pay off.
Now that I’m six years into my business, I’ve seen this again and again and again. Even as simple as I get on a call with a potential client, like a sales call. And they decide not to work with us. Two years later, they’re like, “Okay, I’m ready now.” Okay. And so that can feel very frustrating to people. I think sometimes, like, Oh, I’m putting in all this effort, but like, where’s the money? Where’s the revenue on the other side?
So I want to ask, I guess two questions. Do you think that this is a long game, also? And number two, are there any secrets to like quick wins or going viral?
Ooh, okay. So long game and viral like, I don’t want to forget to come back to this. So I like to think of it as for better or for worse, as a snowball effect, because there’s no end, there’s no destination, you’re never at a certain point and then you just don’t have to do anything anymore. It’s something you’re always going to be working towards.
But it is also something that you can start building from the very beginning of your business. And it keeps growing, right? The more you do, you get that compound snowball effect. So as you’re in business, many years, or once all of these smaller opportunities have added up, it really does start to create this snowball, this ripple effect that can start to exponentially help your business and your brand grow.
So it is a long game. But it’s not one of those things where you have to necessarily think of it as well, I’m doing all of this work, and maybe it’ll eventually pay off, right, it’s the small payoffs over time that builds up is how I like to look at it. So I don’t think we have time to go into the details of it. But I’ll just quickly run through the five elements of building authority, just so there’s a little bit of perspective on this.
So for my framework, I call it the authority A.R.M.O.R framework.
And essentially, the five parts are, A. an authority brand.
The first R is the right offer in front of the right audience. So having an offer that anchors in your authority is a big piece of this. It’s kind of almost, feels too obvious. But if you want to get known as something having an offer that is about that thing does help to anchor it in.
Sometimes we’re wanting to get known for something, but we actually don’t have an offer that’s specific to that. That means we’re going to go somewhere else for that. So having an offer that is exactly in line with what you want to be known for that authority piece is really key.
The M is mindset. And this is, I think the most important piece. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve struggled with mindset a lot over my journey. But I’ve also leveraged that struggle, right? To help me grow. And believing that you’re the authority is the most important, if you don’t believe it, they’re not going to believe it either.
And that’s something that I really look at mindset like hygiene, it’s something we need to keep doing. It’s not a one and done thing, it’s not a one stage of business thing. And that’s such an important piece of it. You know, your business grows at the speed of your beliefs for sure. So that’s the mindset piece.
O is other people’s platforms. We talked a bit about and leveraging whether it’s other influencers or leaders in your industry, or those media outlets.
And then the last R we’ve also been talking about. Relationships, and really taking the time to nurture those relationships.
So these are all things that you can be doing at all stages of business, you don’t have to be doing them all all out, right, like an authority brand I kind of skipped over but it’s being known for something right. But it’s also you’re putting content out there. But eventually you’re building a platform, right?
Eventually you have your own podcast, I happen to do it right out of the gate. That’s not, you don’t have to, some people don’t do it till later on in their business. But eventually you do want to have your own platform, whether it’s a podcast blog, or a YouTube channel.
So yes, thinking of it as a long game is important, but also know that you can be getting those wins along the way!
When it comes to viral. So I don’t consider myself an expert on going viral. But what I think is really something you can tap into with becoming known as the go to I’m going to reference a conversation that I had with Nathan Barry from the founder of ConvertKit to back me up on this because this is big and when he said this, I’m like, “Thank you for saying this because I feel like I say this all the time. Sometimes people love to hear from someone other than mom, right?”
And even though, you know, you don’t hear me all the time, I think having his example, especially with such a big company is a really powerful one. So instead of thinking about going viral, think about how you can get really known by everyone in a small group, and then how you can keep replicating that.
Now, this is something I have been teaching for a while. But when Nathan said this, I just I’m like this is so I love how it just really crystallizes it. Especially with a business that is not as specific, right? So what he did when he was starting out ConvertKit is he came up with a few different niches that he thought would be good fits for the email service.
And so I think one of them was like paleo food bloggers, it was a lot of bloggers, another one was like men’s fashion bloggers, right?
And so, very specific, okay. And at this point in time, ConvertKit was making under $10,000 a month, they now make millions a month. It’s very, very early on. But what he would do is he would do this outreach within that circle of male fashion bloggers, okay? He was very helpful when he would help them transition and all of this stuff.
But what started to happen is when he was reaching out to these male fashion bloggers, they would be like, “Oh, ConvertKit, my gosh, everybody’s using ConvertKit.” And he would just laugh, and he’s like, quite literally, everyone is not using ConvertKit. The numbers were very low. He’s like, “the data does not back it up”. But because all of the other male fashion bloggers that this person knew were using it, it felt like everyone was using ConvertKit.
And he kept doing that same thing, and all of these different niches, and he would even create landing pages that were specific to those niches. The product itself didn’t need to be specific to those different niches, but he was able to market specifically to them.
So it was able to talk their language, understands their needs, connect the dots of how ConvertKit was able to help them and their business specifically. But then also tap in on that Power of Feeling like you’re going viral in the small circle that everyone’s talking about. Everyone’s using it. And that authority that that brings.
That’s huge. I mean, I feel like in a way, we all kind of want to go viral, like a little bit, like when wouldn’t be fun, you know, see your face on the front page of whatever for something that you want it to be there for, of course.
But you know, it’s really interesting, too. I was reading, I think it was Tyler J. McCall. He’s another business owner and he’s an Instagram guy. He had posted a reel something along the lines of like body positivity. It happened to go viral. He’s getting all of these new followers. Literally his follower count, I don’t know, maybe doubled overnight to like tens of thousands of new people.
And he’s like, honestly, those aren’t my ideal people. They’re not my ideal customers. They’re kind of just like clogging up my followers now. Because they’re here for something that I don’t really do. So I think that this desire to go viral and get our name out there and increase our followers or whatever, that might not be very strategic or aligned with what you want to do.
Because to your point a little while ago, where you’re like, you need to have something to sell them. You need to have an offer. He doesn’t have anything to offer to sell people who are looking for content or whatever related to body positivity.
So I think that you know, just kind of rethinking our goals, like going viral, it really shouldn’t be the goal. It’s like your goal is to be an authority in a very specific thing, like you had said, In the beginning aligned with your expertise or a certain group of, you know, a certain niche or a certain group of people, not necessarily to go viral.
So if anybody listening is like, if I could just go viral, that would be the answer to all my problems. That’s probably not the solution you’re looking for!
It’s so true. And you know, I said earlier, when I first started growing my Instagram. You know, had built it up to having 6000-8000 followers. I had a three figure business at that time, there wasn’t even a comma, okay. I launched my first membership, and I was bringing like $800 a month. It was like a solid three figure month, nobody brags about the three figure months.
Being able to convert those followers that are maybe there for a bigger mission or message but not for you. And not for learning something specific or whatever your business purpose is. It’s a lot harder to convert than you see people that have a couple 100 followers. That have multi six figure businesses so you can’t translate followers to revenue.
If it’s not, you know, there’s no formula of I have this many followers, I’ll be able to do this.
Keeping the focus on exactly building the right following is the most important.
Yeah. Jaclyn, I feel like I could talk to you all day long, but I think we should wrap up. So I just want to thank you for all of your expertise. I feel like this was so enlightening for me and also like part coaching session. But also I know our listeners are just gonna love this because we all want to or should want to build authority online in some way, shape, or form. And so I just really appreciate you and all of the expertise you shared.
Where can our listeners find you?
Amazing! Well, this has been so fun. I appreciate it! I’m just, I’m like walking down memory lane telling all these stories. Oh so, well every Tuesday we have new episodes of the Go-To Gal podcast come out. So you definitely want to wherever you’re listening to go subscribe to Go-To Gal.
If you want to go more on this authority building journey, wherever you are in business. I put together a FREE 30 days of authority building action plan. It gives you something to do every single day for 30 days. And we kind of rotate through those five different areas. It’s really actionable to get you to start building that momentum of that snowball effect. So and otherwise I am on Instagram you come over and say hi @jaclyn_mellone.
Awesome. Thank you so much. Well everybody, definitely check her out. And if you’re into binge listening Go-To Gal podcast has probably hundreds of episodes for people to binge listen to. So there’s lots there. Awesome, Jaclyn. Well, thank you so much. And we’ll see you next time, everybody.
Thanks for listening to the 100 degrees of entrepreneurship podcast. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100degreesconsulting.com/podcast
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Transcript Episode 39