Vicki Landers The episode delves deeper into how Vicki reimagined her professional life by moving out of her comfort zone, challenging traditional
Alyson Lex is a 15+ year veteran direct response copywriter – and in that time she’s written a LOT of copy! Sales pages, emails, direct mail… she’s done it all.
From her start as the Director of Marketing at Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle (working and writing for Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer) to her private business helping hundreds of coaches, authors and speakers, Alyson practically lives and breathes this stuff.
With millions of dollars of sales created for her clients… hundreds of thousands of leads generated by landing pages Alyson has written… AND a radical authenticity that makes her not only good at what she does, but likeable too… Alyson is THE copywriter you want on your side.
*What follows is an AI-generated transcript may not be 100% accurate.
[00:00:37] Audra: . All right. All right. Welcome back to another episode of The Mess in the Middle. And today I’ve got an old friend with me, but with tons of experience. So she’s gonna definitely be able to fill in some of the gaps from a fellow marketer and entrepreneur that’s been around as long as I have in this industry.
[00:00:56] So it should be a great conversation. So, Alyson, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
[00:01:02] Alyson: Thank you for having me. You know, I was gonna interrupt your intro and just be like, who are you calling? Old. I know. Can we just pretend that we’ve only been, that we’re only old enough to have been doing this a few years, right?
[00:01:14] Audra: Oh, sister, if, if our experience was in dog years, I’m like 150
[00:01:20] Alyson: now. I mean, look, it’s bad enough in human years. Let’s not add any multiplication to it. So
[00:01:26] Audra: how long have you been in the industry?
[00:01:29] Alyson: I’ve been writing since 07, so that about almost 16 years in July. Wow.
[00:01:34] Audra: Okay then, and I started 09, 2009.
[00:01:38] Yeah. Mm-hmm. Well, so [00:01:40] tell everybody, I mean, I know about you, but let’s, let’s share with the audience a little bit about yourself.
[00:01:45] Alyson: Oh. So that’s such a big question, right? And yeah. It’s, it’s so funny. This is probably gonna be, insightful as to who I am, but it, I read a book a, a number of years ago that when you ask that question in a lot of countries that aren’t the United States or that aren’t very westernized people talk about the things they love to do.
[00:02:06] Yeah. Whereas in the more Western countries, we talk about our work. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to lead with what I love. Good. Please. Yeah. So, I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I have lived here my whole life. I am deep rooted. I have an amazing 7 year old son. I have too many cats. I have six cats. oh boy.
[00:02:30] Yes. And they are very needy. I love to garden. I love my pond. you know, all that stuff. And for work, I write sales copy. So I love to help business owners and entrepreneurs sell more of their stuff with marketing.
[00:02:49] Audra: All right, so we know that there’s a lot of different ways this podcast can go, but I wanna focus on the mess in the middle and the whole premise.
[00:02:58] Now, you know, this as well as I do. Business owners get stuck. Kind of trudging through this experience of starting a business, growing a business, scaling the business. And it’s not so much about, do I give up or do I not give up? But it’s more about what kind of skills do I need to develop as a business owner, as a [00:03:20] human, as a employer, to be able to push through them to get me to whatever’s next.
[00:03:25] Yeah. So why don’t we start with a little bit, maybe conversation of kind of your journey and how that has played in along the way. For sure.
[00:03:34] Alyson: Well, we can, we can start all the way back at the beginning, back in oh seven when I was ending my time as a, a college student. Okay. So I was an education major for a lot of years and I bounced to different, specialties, but I was essentially double majoring in English and education with a minor in creative writing to be a high school English teacher.
[00:03:56] through a set of circumstances, I ended up in a class with about 10 to 15 teachers who had been on the job for a decade or more. And I was the only one in the room that was happy. Oh, and that was my last semester as an education major, but I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I decided, you know what?
[00:04:17] I’m gonna get out into the world. I’m gonna see, I got what, what I called big girl job, the kind of benefits and paid time off, through an Adam Craigslist before it was Creep Central And that was at Glazer Kennedy Insider Circle, which opened up the entire world of direct response marketing, info products, and all of the stuff we know and love.
[00:04:38] And I was hooked. So that’s how I fell into marketing
[00:04:43] Audra: completely. Okay. So for those listening, and we’re not from our generation, what was, what was G K I C back then? Yeah,
[00:04:51] Alyson: so G K I C basically. Well, so Dan Kennedy is now partnered with Russell Brunson at ClickFunnels. Right, so I feel like, and Russell, I remember seeing [00:05:00] Russell on the stage when he looked even younger than he does now.
[00:05:02] I know. So he was on the G K I C stage. So it’s a lot of the same, theories and, strategies and things that ClickFunnels and Russell Teach now, but it was known as like the place to be if you were an entrepreneur that didn’t want to do things the hard way,
[00:05:21] Audra: basically. What a great way to put it. I never thought of it that
[00:05:24] Alyson: way.
[00:05:25] Well, you know, you can spend all of your time, money, effort, and energy trying to brand yourself or you can Yeah. Be intentional and smart about it. And that’s, that’s what Glazer Kennedy was all about. So Dan Kennedy is an amazing copywriter. Bill Glazer’s an amazing copywriter. Yeah. I got to learn from the best.
[00:05:42] Audra: Okay. So that was your first big girl job and that was my first girl girl job. Excuse me. How’d you transition from that?
[00:05:49] Alyson: so I, was there, I started as an admin assistant and three years later when I left, I was the director of marketing. So it was kind of a meteoric rise. I clearly had a passion for it, and I struck out on my own.
[00:06:01] Okay. I thought I’m ready to, to do this business thing. that lasted about a year and I ran outta money. Welcome to the Borrow Money Real world. you know, and it’s, so that’s part of the, the mess is sometimes there’s. What we can call a failure. I don’t ever say I failed because I never stopped writing.
[00:06:20] I just ran out of money and I ended up getting a job. Okay. so I got a job as a sales operations manager for a software company, which actually introduced me to the world of software as a solution. Nice. And I learned a lot about sales teams. I learned a lot about, the processes and [00:06:40] how
[00:06:40] Larger organizations, have a lot of breakdown in between sales and marketing. And then, you know, I’m not gonna name any names, but there was somebody that was brought in to run the sales team that had kind of the good old boys club attitude, sales meetings. I was the one getting beverages. He shushed me in a meeting with marketing.
[00:06:57] I was a little offended and I actually sent me notice in that day, So I started the business again. This time I had, a husband with health insurance and an income. and that was in 2012. Okay. Since then, I have been writing full-time. Nice,
[00:07:17] Audra: Yeah, so the takeaway there is she didn’t fail. She came from experience and every time she leveled up to something further that would get her to a better place, we’ve all had to do that.
[00:07:30] I’ve gone in and out of, I. Being self-employed for a while, get a really great opportunity, take advantage of that for a year or two back out on my own. There’s nothing wrong with that. Each time, sometimes we take a step back, sometimes we take, you know, some lateral or some horizontal steps. Mm-hmm. But as long as we continue moving forward, it’ll keep showing itself as to what we should be working on.
[00:07:54] So you’ve been doing that now, what kind of clients do you typically work with? Yeah, so
[00:07:59] Alyson: I typically work with the coaches and experts. Okay. So people who sell knowledge and or transformation. and, you know, those are the people that I outwardly market to. Those are the people that, my content is created for.
[00:08:13] Okay. But I still love sass. There you go. And I still take, oh, I love writing for sass. And one of the [00:08:20] things that. That I love to do there is take oftentimes somebody who has this very technical idea of their their baby, and I translate it into something that’s gonna matter for the consumer. and I’ve worked with some local businesses,
[00:08:34] Home contracting, pest control. I mean, I’ve written for some of the randomest industries jars Yeah. Tape. Yeah. I’ve sold some really interesting things.
[00:08:45] Audra: Nice, But that’s good experience. I mean, that always, the amount of knowledge that you’ve probably gained over that. Let’s, let’s hop into that a little bit.
[00:08:53] I know this isn’t a marketing podcast per se. Yeah. But I know that the people listening, this is a huge challenge for them to get through. Mm-hmm. When somebody’s first starting out and they’ve got an idea and they’ve got a passion as to why they started the business, but they can’t get the market message right.
[00:09:12] What is the best step for them other than going out and, Getting somebody to pull that content out of them. Right. How do they sit with themselves? where would they start with that conversation?
[00:09:24] Alyson: For sure. And it’s so funny, I actually just had a conversation with another copywriter, I believe last week.
[00:09:32] And so I’m gonna make sure that I get her name right, because I want to give her credit. Okay. I don’t ever like to pretend that things are my idea. Right. her name is Sarah Vartanian. v a r t a n i a n for anybody who is near a computer and wants to Google, but she calls it an online listening tour.
[00:09:51] And Oh, interesting. I do something very similar, but she puts together a very set sort of questions and some of that does [00:10:00] involve, interviews with clients or prospects, but also visiting message boards, Facebook groups, industry articles. Anything you can find that’s gonna give you insight into what the problems are that they’re experiencing.
[00:10:16] Okay. so an example that, I have from, you know, my own world is someone that I know is launching a life coaching business and they’re trying to do that with a month long thing. And, you know, enrollment was decent. They were, they were pretty okay with it. It could have been better, I think, had it been positioned a little differently.
[00:10:41] Okay. Right. So it was more about the get up, get fit kind of thing, rather than had I been in charge, I would’ve talked about building a community of people who are gonna support you and be with you along this journey That can be really hard to get started. Right. We’re gonna take the first step together.
[00:10:59] And so it’s understanding that. If I’m working to get up and get fit, the first step is the part that’s really hard for me. Right? It’s not the knowing what to do. Sure. It’s not, being able to find a workout plan. They’re everywhere. Right? It’s getting up. Right. And so, really looking at the problems that they’re experiencing and how it’s showing up for them in their daily lives.
[00:11:30] Audra: That’s really good insight. I mean, if you think about it, you just said the technical stuff, technical stuff’s easy. I need a process. I need a diet plan, I need [00:11:40] a workout schedule. I need the tools. That’s all the technical stuff. But if you haven’t actually addressed why I can’t get that first step.
[00:11:48] Put my shoes on. Oh, yeah. To get out the door to mm-hmm. Believe that I can actually make a difference. And that first step are, those first 10 minutes working out specifically are gonna make any kind of difference in my day. I just exactly ate ice cream. What is 10 minutes working out gonna do for me?
[00:12:05] Right. And it’s understanding that mindset at that level. That’s, great insight. I’m about 40 podcasts in. And I have to say, every single one of them without fail has struggled with this first thing we go Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Everybody goes to the technical, so I’m gonna launch a business.
[00:12:27] Let me build the website and create the logo and set up the social media and set up my email marketing. Mm-hmm. And do all this stuff that I can control with a checklist. So I feel like I’m making progress, but then six months later, you have a bunch of stuff, but you have no traffic, you have no community.
[00:12:45] You don’t even know who you’re selling to, and you can’t get your message Right for the market.
[00:12:51] Alyson: Yeah. Well, and it’s, I think it’s, it’s funny because even that stuff, there’s checklists for Yeah, true. Right? True. How to build a Facebook community. You can find that, how to write copy, you can find or hire that you can, the issue is the brain stuff.
[00:13:10] Yeah. The head trash, as I call it. Yeah. And you know, I’ve said probably on other guest spots that I’ve been on, I know I’ve said it on my own podcast, but [00:13:20] it’s not a coincidence that when I started my own personal therapy, my income increased. Because I’ve been working four years on myself. Yeah.
[00:13:32] And what that does is that makes me more confident when I’m having my sales calls and confidence sales. Right. It’s also helped me detach from the outcome. So I’m not coming off as desperate, which is a turnoff in every situation. And I’m also showing up more, I’m more consistent. and recently I’ve been really undertaking the journey.
[00:13:55] So I’m neuro divergent. I have a D H D, and I’m really working on it. And I’m working on learning how to hack my own brain to kind of trick myself into getting more done Good. Instead of waiting for that magical inspiration, which I think a lot of people really can struggle with. Mm-hmm. Is I’m not feeling it today.
[00:14:16] Mm-hmm. So what do, what do you do? Do you push through anyway and have a lackluster day? Do you give yourself what I call hall pass? Or do you figure out something else? It’s that something else that I think is really that magic sweet spot for those days when we just don’t feel it. Yeah. To still keep us moving forward, even if it’s not the big quantum leaps that we wanna be making that day.
[00:14:40] Audra: That’s good. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing, but it goes back to, you know, training and lots of books and lots of seminars and Absolutely. You know, my degrees are in psychology and behavioral science. Yep. And then you get it. Yeah. [00:15:00] And I had to figure out how do I handle all of this stuff?
[00:15:04] Yeah. I had three kids, I was divorced. So single parenting, being self-employed, how do you manage all these moving parts? Right? And you’re right, some days I get 10 things done. Some days I get a hundred things done. But it’s being able to manage me, my expectations, recognizing you’re not in sleep well, I’m tired today and I have brain fog because I’m going through menopause and it sucks.
[00:15:32] Oh, right. So maybe I’m gonna go outside for a run or maybe I’m gonna work on something that is not deep work, but that doesn’t require it’s, it’s a task. So I could still make progress, but I don’t have to be a hundred percent there. Right? And I’ll find other low brain activities that need to be done, but that don’t require so much here when I’m not feeling it.
[00:15:56] And that’s kind of how I figured out how to balance
[00:15:58] Alyson: that. And, it’s funny for me, so there’s the whole Eat the Frogg thing where you just tackle the hardest thing first. Well, that’s not gonna work for me. My ADHD is gonna magnify that task until it’s the worst thing in the world, and I’m not gonna do anything if that’s, if that has to be my first thing for the day, I’m not gonna do anything.
[00:16:17] And so you call them low brain tasks, I call them gateway tasks. Oh, there you go. Okay. I start with something low brain almost every day. Whether it’s, I really shouldn’t be doing this, but I love it. Making a stupid graphic in Canva, which my designer yells at me for. Right. Or right. Or organizing something or writing a quick little thing or, you know, maybe [00:16:40] playing a little with ChatGPT to generate some blog ideas or something.
[00:16:44] That is low brain, but a little fun. And then I can eat that frog. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I, it’s so you have to figure out how you work. I really believe we all have. These individual ways of working. I interviewed somebody yesterday who she was like, no, you just do it. And I was like, yeah, no. Mm-hmm.
[00:17:07] Mm-hmm. But that works for her. Right? And I also, I talked to myself as if I have like 30 of me. So there’s past Alyson, there’s future Alyson, there’s scared Alyson, there’s Brave Alyson, all of that. Yeah. And so sometimes I’m like, you know what? I really don’t wanna do this, but I screw future Alyson over a lot, so I’m just gonna take care of it now.
[00:17:32] Good. And so whatever works for you. Yeah. Find it, spend the effort and the energy to get it, and then implement it however it works in your life.
[00:17:44] Audra: Yeah. A a lot of us will listen to, I mean, that goes back to this whole YouTube and education. If you follow different kinds of gurus on there. This guy says this, and Alex Hormozi says this, and Oh yeah, Brian Tracy says this, and that’s fine.
[00:18:01] What those are there for is not for you to copy or try to blueprint or try to mimic. Mm-hmm. What you’re there to do is say, okay, here are options. Here are things for me to look at what works in my life with my family, with my friends, with my children, or significant other, with my work, with how [00:18:20] I’m trying to show up on this planet.
[00:18:21] Find something that resonates with you. I tried in my probably late twenties to fit the way people said you’re supposed to fit, and I was so incongruent with it, and I forced and forced, and then I beat myself up for not fitting and then I beat myself up for not being okay with that model of existence.
[00:18:44] I wasn’t meant to, I was never meant to be a person that had balance in their life. I’m always gonna be a person that works a lot. I’m okay with that. It’s because that’s the way I choose to live. But for other people, they had issues with it. It’s find your lane. Mm-hmm. Those are just examples. Those are just practices to show us what it could look like.
[00:19:07] But take a piece of each one of those, like Alyson just said, and make it work for you. There’s nothing on this planet that says you have to fit here, you have to do these 12 things. If you wanna end up being like Gary V you know, you’re never gonna be like Gary V because he’s a different person. We’re all different.
[00:19:23] No, that’s right. So we embrace that difference and let that evolve to who you’re supposed to be. Absolutely. Yeah. Well,
[00:19:31] Alyson: and you know, it’s, there’s a book and I, I was gonna google it real quick, but I’m talking, it’s called The One Thing, and it was, it came out forever. I have it on my, my bookshelf, but in there he has a graphic.
[00:19:45] And like you have your line down the middle, and that’s balance. But the line, like the actuality of it is just a zigzag, right? Sometimes it’s like a hundred percent work because you’re launching something or the website crashed and you have to [00:20:00] fix it, or this client thing is due or whatever, and then other times it’s, you know, your kid’s class picnic or mm-hmm.
[00:20:08] You vacation or you’re just tired. And so the line goes the other way. It’s okay to bounce back and forth. It doesn’t have to be this amazing work-life balance. It’s your balance. Mm-hmm.
[00:20:24] Audra: Whatever works for you. Right. it’s so important to remember that. the other thing that we, everybody falls short on is, I’m trying to fit to be in this Alex Hormozi, and I’m gonna use him as an example, just not to pick on him, but cuz I love his stuff, but Right.
[00:20:41] He puts out a YouTube video that says this is how to produce content. Mm-hmm. But what he doesn’t put in it to it is he spends $40,000 a month. He has five people doing it. He does this, he does that. He’s at a different place along that journey. And again, I don’t mm-hmm. Those numbers, I just Right. Course picked him outta the sky.
[00:21:03] But he has a team,
[00:21:03] Alyson: he has help, he has the time, he has the schedule. Correct. He has someone to do all of the stuff for him and Correct. All he has to do is focus on the content creation itself and you can mimic that. I’ve taken those ideas and mimicked them In my, I have a, a part-time designer. I have a part-time va.
[00:21:24] Okay, I can use. And then of course, AI has been a game changer. So what do I do? Right? I can go into it now. I don’t, you know, you know Gary, let’s say Gary V. He’s like, okay, you do this one thing, you chunk it up into 82 different videos and [00:21:40] No, here’s what I do, right? I give ChatGPT a blog post title and a little bit of a description, and I ask him to write me an outline.
[00:21:48] I take that outline, I paste it into a Google Doc, I edit it, and then I get my phone and I use my voice memo thing. I record based on that. I load that transcript back into GPT, have it, right? I take it back out, I edit it, put my voice on it, and then send it to my va.
[00:22:06] And my designer for the posts and the graphics and stuff, right? But I’ve created a piece of content. I did it in a way that works for my brain. Yeah. I get the help with the brainstorming I need, I get help with the organization. I still put me in it. Is it 82 videos, 621 social posts and an hour long YouTube video?
[00:22:26] No, but it’s a piece of content that got created that otherwise wouldn’t. Right. And so I think that a lot of times we think if I’m not doing it to this level, it’s not worth me doing at all. Right. That’s a really big misconception. For sure. If I don’t have a list of 10,000 email subscribers, it’s not worth building a list.
[00:22:50] Starts with
[00:22:51] Audra: one. Well, and you know
[00:22:53] Alyson: what? I have hashtag Bragg. I have a six figure business with under a thousand people on my email list. You don’t need it. You just have to have the right people. You have to do the right thing, And the right thing a lot of times is the stuff that you’re actually going to do.
[00:23:10] Right? Definitely starts with that. The hour long video to the chunks, to the socials, to the block, I’m not gonna do it. So it doesn’t matter [00:23:20] how great of a plan it is or how effective it is, or how popular he is for doing it, I’m not gonna do it.
[00:23:25] Audra: And it’s okay.
[00:23:27] Alyson: It’s totally cool because I’m not that person.
[00:23:30] Audra: Right? Well, I, and I think that whole comparison thing kicks in, but I should be doing it. If I want my goodness to be successful, I ha it has to look like that for it to work, which is not true. It doesn’t have to look like that. Alyson just told you she has a list of a thousand still tremendously successful it looks like.
[00:23:51] However you are willing to do it, period. That’s right.
[00:23:55] Alyson: And it’s so easy to fall into that. Oh my gosh. I look at these Instagram profiles of these copywriters and they have all this engagement and they do this, that and the other. And I sit here in my own little lizard brain jealousy world, and I’m like, ER, okay,
[00:24:10] Audra: yeah, that’s not easy, but you’re, but you’re not going to be that person, so give yourself permission to not be somebody else that you’re not and just be who you are.
[00:24:20] Embrace it instead of looking at it at it like, I’m failing because I can’t force myself to be like them. Maybe say, okay, I’m not gonna compare. I’m just gonna say, what strengths do I have? What are my assets? Right? What makes me unique? How can I serve or help somebody with the skills I have and that I’m congruent with?
[00:24:43] One of the, real quick story, one of the biggest things I have seen over the last 15 years is people that beat themselves up on a daily basis for not doing video. Mm-hmm. I have to do video if I wanna be successful, and I’m like, but so what type of person? [00:25:00] Oh, no. I’m an introvert. I, I don’t like video at all.
[00:25:02] And I’m like, then why are you setting yourself up for failure? You just told me you’re an introvert and you’re never gonna do video. Mm-hmm. Let that shit go. Let it go. Right.
[00:25:13] Alyson: Let it go. I’m an ambivert. Okay. So, I, I get energy from people, but I have a hard limit on it, right. I, the, the energy caps out and then it starts to drain.
[00:25:23] Mm-hmm. which is why if, if we ever see each other at a conference, you won’t see me by day three. I’m out. Yeah. My, my charm runs out at day two and a half. That’s just what it is. Day two and a half, I’m outta charm and I’m out. Right. So I know that I need to set my weeks up to allow myself that recharge time.
[00:25:44] And so I have my writing time, and then my, Wednesdays is my, I call it bis dev, but it’s really just therapy and self-care. And then the end of the week is my visibility. Okay. And that’s when I’m doing, you know, and of course we record this on a Monday, so I’m going against the grain here, but I’ve opened, I’m in, I’m producing an event, a summit.
[00:26:04] So I’m doing a lot of interviews and the calendar’s wide open, but it’s, You set your calendar up to work with what you know is gonna be the best thing for you. I know that Wednesdays, I’m no good. I’ve got therapy that day. Okay. Yeah. We don’t know if my therapist is gonna choose violence that day and how I’m gonna be after, so I’m not gonna schedule a video.
[00:26:31] Right. I’ve, I’ve got my life in there. I figure it out. Right. Yeah. I also know that Monday and Tuesday I’ve got extended hours because my son’s with his father, [00:26:40] so I’m good to work late. No problem.
[00:26:43] Audra: It all works. If you allow yourself to set up a plan for you remember getting into business at the beginning there were jobs I didn’t wanna take Well cause it was revenue.
[00:26:54] I work with clients I didn’t love. I did things that I swore I was never gonna do. Like I’m only gonna offer social media. You know, and then you do social media and somebody asks you to build a website. It’s like, okay, I was gonna say, I’ll do that
[00:27:08] Alyson: website. I’m only gonna write copy. And all of a sudden I’m building a website.
[00:27:11] That’s why Is that the thing? I,
[00:27:14] Audra: because, well, that’s a whole nother conversation because all of our marketing works like this and not this.
[00:27:22] Alyson: but
[00:27:23] Audra: we all, at the beginning, we all do that, right? We are hustling. Mm-hmm. We’re doing stuff, we’re appreciative of the stuff that we get access to and the people that are willing to trust us with their product or their service.
[00:27:35] But at the same time, you still have to have some boundaries in there as to how you’re gonna show up. Otherwise, you built this business that you’re not congruent with. Mm-hmm. And then three years later, you’re like, what the hell am I doing? Why am I even here? I don’t like any of the stuff that I’m doing.
[00:27:51] And it just snowballed into something that you shouldn’t be doing to begin with. So slow down for a second. Mm-hmm. You know, go back to the, what kind of person am I? What brings me joy? Yep. Now it’s not that this whole thing is gonna be joy, cuz there’s definitely gonna be challenges and things that you don’t love, but try to align it with yourself.
[00:28:15] And the reason why it’s so important, cuz five years down the road, if you haven’t done that, [00:28:20] you will implode that business.
[00:28:23] Alyson: And so I think, oh, maybe a year and a half ago
[00:28:27] Audra: yeah I was real close to emploding, to blowing it up to just
[00:28:31] Alyson: blowing the whole thing up and choosing a new model. I still wanted to be in business for myself, but I wanted to do something different.
[00:28:39] and luckily I had a friend say, hold and consider. And so I didn’t blow it up, which you know is fine. But it did help me realize that there was something that needed to go, something that needed to change. Something that needed to give. And I ended up going to a Fabian Frederickson event. and she’s awesome.
[00:29:02] Oh, she’s wonderful. And you know, full disclaimer, she was a client at the time, so, I went to the event too. Yep. You know, shmoos the client. Yep. And she had this worksheet that instead of asking you to plan like, how much money do you wanna make in a year? How much this? Right. It was, what do you wanna feel
[00:29:23] What do you want your day to look like? And it was a switch for me because I had never thought about goal setting in that way. And it helped me realize, okay, this is what I’m feeling now that I don’t love. Mm-hmm. And here’s where that’s coming from versus what I wanna feel now let’s intentionally go find or make that
[00:29:40] And it, helps to kind of reinvigorate the passion because a lot of times we start a business, but we really start a job. Mm-hmm. And. I, Glazer Kennedy was my longest job other than this business. So I, it’s, it can get to be a little bit of a, a [00:30:00] slog.
[00:30:00] But you find ways to make sure that it’s fulfilling those needs personally.
[00:30:06] Mm-hmm. Whatever they are. Work more, work less, what have you, and design it that way on purpose.
[00:30:14] Audra: this podcast has been a little bit more for kind of targeting people that are in business. Mm-hmm. And the point of it is to show that even when things are going right, business wise, financially, your business is growing, you still are gonna run into these kind of things that come up.
[00:30:33] Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Am I doing the right thing? Am I still loving what I’m doing? Am I stuck in tasks? Like, am I the technical person that’s moved to the manager and now I’m just a manager of the business? These are things that’ll continually come up as you evolve through this entrepreneurial journey.
[00:30:49] Mm-hmm. The goal is not just to break it and start all over again, and something else that you’ll be excited and passionate about. Sometimes it’s just reassessing it. Like Alyson said, what do I really love about this? What is good about it that keeps me wanting to serve? And maybe it’s reassigning tasks.
[00:31:08] Maybe, you know, 50% of what you do every day. You don’t. Wanna do anymore, but being able to only focus on the other 50 will bring you back and excited. Or it could be, it’s time to sell it and move on. And that could be an option too.
[00:31:26] Alyson: Figure out how to delegate more of it. If you are in that manager role and you’re like, I want to do something and create something.
[00:31:32] Okay, great. How much time does managing really take you? And you start something else too. So that’s [00:31:40] on my list for the year. Good. I’ve got some other passions. I wanna play. I’m calling it play because you never know. I wanna play, I’m gonna try some things.
[00:31:50] Audra: I’m gonna do it. Do it. Why not?
[00:31:54] Alyson: And it’s getting me excited about all of it again.
[00:31:57] Audra: Yeah. It’s still in the copywriting
[00:31:58] Alyson: space. No, direct to consumer. Oh, interesting. I wanna make some products and see what I can do in the e-com space. And, and I’m looking at it as an, I’ve played in it before with some clients, but, I wanna learn it and, I’ve got some friends, another copywriter friend of mine is actually killing it Nice.
[00:32:18] Right now with a, a non-competitive product. And, I’m learning a lot from his, you know, conversations with him and stuff,
[00:32:25] Audra: so, yeah. That’s really good. There’s always room for us to add other things. I mean, people say it all the time. The first of all, your income. Mm-hmm. as we go into the different, who knows how the economy’s gonna flush out with election, coming up with chat G P T being part of this conversation.
[00:32:46] But how are you diversifying? Are you paying attention? Is your industry changing where. We’re seeing, like the biggest impact I’m seeing is one marketers for sure. Mm-hmm. Doesn’t matter where you’re at in that chain, the conversations are changing. Mm-hmm. and then coaches, high-end coaches, I’m starting to see people question like, yeah, you know, maybe I don’t need to spend that 10 grand right now.
[00:33:11] I’m gonna start here and do a little bit more pre-work before I’m ready to buy. Before it was just, I need it fast tracked and [00:33:20] buy because I need to get to the source of that information. There’s other sources now, so it’s a little different conversation. It is,
[00:33:28] Alyson: it is. Yeah. And I think, you know, if this was a marketing podcast, we could probably talk for a couple hours on what those coaches could do to, rise above.
[00:33:37] But really, I think what it was triggered for me earlier when we were talking about, The experience and learning from different things and you know, like when I worked at the software company, how I learned and took away from that, you have the opportunity to do that with everything. Right? I mean, there are just Google marketing Disney World, and you will find blogs with people who have gone to Disney on vacation and looked at the marketing, look at what people around you are doing.
[00:34:12] look at how people are setting up their businesses. Mm-hmm. I don’t care if it’s in person, a friend tv,an influencer you follow? What are they doing that you like? That one thing we talked about, taking that one thing. Yeah. Right. I love the idea of taking a video that you record maybe a podcast and finding a way to repurpose it.
[00:34:34] Mm-hmm. I think I saw somebody else do it. They had their podcast as a, like, they were a guest on their blog. They wrote a whole blog post about it. Mm-hmm. I loved that. Mm-hmm. So that’s what I do. I take the podcast feed, I put it in a Spotify player, I write a blog post, I throw it on my website. Now I have a blog post.
[00:34:51] Good one little thing. I don’t remember who I swiped that from, but I did it there. And then you can do X, Y, and Z from over [00:35:00] here or this from over here, and you build your thing. But it’s not all just from your industry. Right. That idea didn’t come from a copywriter, it came from somebody else. Yeah. So don’t just look at whatever industry you are in.
[00:35:15] Mm-hmm. For inspiration and ideas. Look outside of it and what can you take, how can you translate it? Become a student of marketing. Mm-hmm. And you’re gonna find a lot of fun.
[00:35:29] Audra: What do you say? So I’ll, I’ll go with that for a second. So everybody that I talk to that is not in our industry, does not want to become marketers.
[00:35:41] Alyson: No, you wanna be the expert at your thing, right?
[00:35:44] Audra: Okay. So what do you tell me?
[00:35:45] Alyson: very lovingly. I’m gonna tell you, I’m gonna tell you something yucky and I’m gonna say it very lovingly, right? If all you wanna do is your thing mm-hmm. Cool. Go get a job. I love you. Go get a job.
[00:36:00] Running your business requires That you run the business. And part of that, part of that is being in charge of the marketing. And, it’s very tempting to say, I’m gonna outsource my marketing and just have them bring me leads and, okay, cool. Don’t do that. That’s terrifying.
[00:36:20] Don’t do that. because that’s your financial future. Yeah. That you are willingly putting into someone else’s hands. outsource pieces of it. Be involved, know what good copy looks like. So that you know when you’re getting bad copy from your copywriter mm-hmm. Know what good ads look like.
[00:36:39] [00:36:40] Mm-hmm. So you know, if your ad agency is, is carrying their weight, know what a good website does so that you know if your zup to par understand the concepts and then you can outsource the pieces, that’s fine. Mm-hmm. But ultimately the buck stops with you. Great. Lovingly, respectfully. Just do it. Just do it.
[00:37:02] Do what I say. Suck it up. Yeah. Put your big girl panties
[00:37:06] Audra: on. Yeah. that’s the world I come from. I, me too. You know, I talk about it all the time. The clients that are able to get it off the ground, that start making some money, that start figuring out what it needs. The minute they get a little bit of money there, they want to delegate it.
[00:37:25] But here’s the challenge. I have gone into so many companies over the year where they had extra disposable income. So they hire an expert, right? And that expert tells ’em a bunch of marketing, blah, blah, blah. And they get written a 5,000, $10,000 check to get started. three months down the road, the business owner has spent 20, $30,000.
[00:37:49] Really? No. Further. Yeah. In their business, but, and then they play the victim. Right. So and so took advantage of me. It doesn’t work. It, it’s not good. I spent all this money, I didn’t get any results, but I push back a little bit because you are responsible for your business. Mm-hmm. And it’s your fiduciary responsibility to manage your money and the people that you hire.
[00:38:15] So yes, if you wanna task out your marketing after you get to a [00:38:20] place where you’re generating some revenue, it’s your responsibility to hire properly. You don’t, I get it. You don’t wanna do it. Most business owners don’t. I don’t wanna do it. I don’t wanna do it. And I do marketing for a living. I don’t wanna do it.
[00:38:33] I wanna
[00:38:33] Alyson: sit on a beach and drink umbrella drinks while some guy with an umbrella, you know, a fan waves at me, like, but nobody’s gonna pay me for that.
[00:38:42] Audra: No. And you can’t. You gotta do it right? And you can’t hire incorrectly and then complain, I was ignorant, or I didn’t know what to do. It’s your job to figure it out.
[00:38:55] Task it out. That’s great, but you better know what you’re contracting. So here’s something that I always do. When I build marketing strategies for people, I start at the top and work my way down. Typically, businesses start at the bottom and work up. Mm-hmm. So if I’m at the bottom, the example would be I, I’m moving along, I need to start doing SEO for my company.
[00:39:16] Right? So let me go hire an SEO person. Mm-hmm. And they’re gonna come in and they’re gonna take care of everything that I need done in the silo of seo. Right? Now here’s the challenge with that. Your SEO person didn’t talk to your social media person. That’s not talking to your copywriting person. That is not talking to the person that’s responsible for posting content.
[00:39:36] Mm-hmm. So you have all these plates spinning, but none of it’s working together. But you spent all that money cuz you wanted that expertise. Here’s a different solution. Start at the top. My goal with my marketing is to generate. A hundred new leads a month and out and out of those a hundred leads a month, this is how we’re going [00:40:00] use, we’re gonna use social media, we’re gonna use seo as a long game and we’re going to use email marketing.
[00:40:06] You’ve created the strategy with how it’s gonna go, what the goals are, how you’re gonna track the results from it. Then who you hire is irrelevant because, I mean, they have to know the job. Right. But you don’t have to have an A player anymore. You could have a B or a C player, cuz they just have to follow the plan you’ve already created across the board because everybody’s following a plan and now you’re working through a marketing system.
[00:40:33] Correct. And that will work. Do it it the other way. Every time something falls, something doesn’t
[00:40:41] Alyson: work. Yeah. I will say you wanna hire the best that you can. Hmm. Right. Don’t just go for lowest price, please. Correct. And I say this as someone Yeah. I, I mean, and I say this as someone who I’m, I’m not cheap.
[00:40:56] I’m not the most expensive, but I’m definitely not the cheapest. So, yeah. It, it just, it matters the experience and the ability and the fit. Correct. The, the thing that I would add to that is all of the, the silos that you mentioned, the website and the social and the, the day-to-day operations and the marketing, none of them were talking to the sales team.
[00:41:17] Right, right. So a lot of times in businesses, the silos Are the problem. Yeah. Like you just said. And let’s say we’ve got marketing, the marketing department and the sales team. Yeah. Well, the marketing department’s like, what’s wrong? We’re sending 300 leads a month. We’re doing our job and the sales team’s like, yeah, every single one of ’em sucks.
[00:41:39] Audra: Right? [00:41:40] Well, they’re not our customer,
[00:41:41] Alyson: right? They’re not gonna make the sales, but then it looks like it’s the sales team’s fault. It’s not, it’s actually marketing’s issue. Right? So really make sure that, and that’s why it’s so, so, so important that you be the marketer of your business. Yeah. And if you don’t wanna do it lovingly, get a job.
[00:42:03] Audra: I love that. I’m definitely going with that one. I mean, not everybody’s cut out for this, and that’s okay. That’s okay. It’s doesn’t mean you’re bad. It doesn’t mean, no, it’s just not everybody can do this. And you really do need to sit down at that very beginning and just say, mm-hmm. Can I dig in to every single aspect of this bookkeeping?
[00:42:27] Mm-hmm. Sales. Marketing operations, the website, it, I mean mm-hmm. You’ve gotta be able to get in enough to get this to revenue now. Yes. When revenue starts coming in, your conversation and your options do change, but then of course, it comes in with a whole nother level of responsibilities. Mm-hmm. As you, as a business owner, you’re not gonna see everything coming.
[00:42:52] I mean, I still see stuff creep in that I did not expect even after all these years, but we just get better at saying, oh, that kind of sucked. I didn’t see that one coming. Okay. So how do I get through it? What are my typical go-to skills to work through it? Do I need to take a break? Do I need to talk to a peer?
[00:43:11] Do I need to hire a consultant to come in, give me some advice? what does that look like? You know? Right. Start building a [00:43:20] toolbox of resources that you can tap into when challenges come up.
[00:43:24] Alyson: Absolutely. And some of ’em are gonna sneak up. Some of ’em are gonna sneak up and some of ’em are gonna slap you upside the face.
[00:43:30] That’s just how it is. I mean, you know, we wanna talk, talk global, right? None of us saw that coming. None of us saw a complete, what, two and a half years shut down. That completely changed the face of business. Permanently. None of us saw that coming. Okay, okay. What are you gonna do?
[00:43:52] Right. It happened. We’re done. And that’s kind of the attitude that we have to build. And it takes time. And you know, we talked about at the very beginning, like one of the greatest strengths that you can have in business is that resilience. Mm-hmm. To, you know, I, so when I’m super stressed, I have what I call big girl breakdown.
[00:44:14] Okay. And I have my emotions and I have all of my feelings and I spiral, and I guilt and I shame and I get mad and I have, you know, all the Ben and Jerry’s in the world and all of this. I have my big girl breakdown. But then the next morning, yeah, I get up and I get to work. Yeah. It’s okay to have feelings.
[00:44:36] It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and anxious and afraid and frustrated and Scared. Get up the next morning and get to work because get to work. That resilience is a muscle. Every little upset, every little thing is an opportunity for you to say, I’m gonna exercise this muscle, or I’m gonna let it go to waste.
[00:44:59] So [00:45:00] exercise it. And it’s, you know, I have, look, I have feelings, Alyson and I have resilient Alyson. Okay. And sometimes feelings, Alyson needs to be locked on the other side of the office door with the cats. To go have her feelings. And wallow. Because it’s time for resilient Alyson to get to work.
[00:45:20] Audra: I love that. That is, Hey, you know what we find, whatever helps us get whatever works, get through it. I mean I haven’t had one in a really long time, but when I run into challenges, I’ll mm-hmm. Say, okay, you know, we’re gonna have a pity party and it’s gonna last for two days. And then after that you pack that up and you move on.
[00:45:38] Cuz what? That’s right
[00:45:39] Alyson: to do’s. That’s right. That’s why I call it my big girl break. You know, sometimes you just have little cry sessions. Yep. This, these are the big girl breakdowns where you’re questioning your whole life. They don’t happen that often, but you have it. And sometimes that’s a re I look at it as a reset.
[00:45:53] Yeah. Not a setback. Yeah. Right. Like this has been building and building and building and I’m, I finally just unleashed the, the flood of big girl breakdown and now I’m back. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Whatever you have to do. And you know, I can’t be a bigger proponent of therapy. Yeah. whether or not you have something going on, whether or not, you know, I’m very open about my neurodivergence.
[00:46:17] I’m also, I’ve struggled with depression since I was like eight, so, you know, I’m very open about that. It’s, it’s a thing. So whether or not you have that or you’re just like, you know what? I want to be the best version of myself. Find someone that you can talk to and that can help you work through that.
[00:46:37] It might be a therapist, it might be a life coach.[00:46:40] it might be both. There are some, some people who have like four or five different. People that they talk to. Right? Right. It
[00:46:48] Audra: will pay off. It will. Well, and then just to kind of wrap that in a bow you can learn all the skills you want. You can become a technical person.
[00:46:59] You can even learn the marketing. But guess what? You can have that whole beautiful system that we just spent five minutes talking about, right? If this thing’s not in the right place, if your brain, mm-hmm. None of this stuff is gonna matter because you’re not gonna be able to sustain it. Because you are gonna constantly have fear and doubt and depression mm-hmm.
[00:47:17] And overwhelm and joy. And it’s almost like being a, being manic is being an entrepreneur. It’s seriously. Absolutely. And I made a sale, oh God, I haven’t had any sales in 30 days. Oh my gosh. I’m changing the world. Oh my gosh. There
[00:47:34] Alyson: is that. it’s definitely not a straight line. It’s, you know, you ha there’s been that, image circulating Facebook for a couple years now about that and
[00:47:42] It, that’s why resilience is so important, because it does help you. Yeah. You’re still gonna have your highs and your lows, but they won’t be as high and they won’t be as low. Yeah. Right, right. It’s still, you’re gonna be able to just stay the course and then you’re, you’re gonna look at that, that outlook begin to change instead of a failure.
[00:48:05] It’s. It’s a ran outta money situation. You’re gonna change your language, you’re gonna change the way that you see things. Okay, great. This was a really expensive learning experience or that kind of thing. So, you know, this, this podcast is [00:48:20] called The Mess in the Middle, but I really feel like it should be just the mess all the time.
[00:48:23] Audra: It is because, well, yeah. You spend it, every level is gonna bring challenges. Yep. Like I said, the goal is just to build a better toolbox. Yep. So you don’t see every challenge that you need a hammer. Everything needs to, oh, okay. So this situation is mm-hmm. About me. So I need access to, coaches or therapists or books or podcasts.
[00:48:47] I need, I’m stuck. I’m the obstacle. The way I’m here, I’m stuck. Or this, so let me work on that a little bit. Versus, okay, my website’s not converting, or my emails aren’t working, or my social media’s not connecting to the right audience. Each one of these pieces will evolve as your business evolves. The person you are at the startup is not the same person you are going to be after you launch and you have customers.
[00:49:12] Mm-hmm. Which is not gonna be the same person. When you start automating your business and hiring people, you have to be able to evolve along with this. It’s not just marketing. Oh yeah. It’s the whole thing.
[00:49:24] Alyson: Oh yeah. Hiring someone the first time took me so long I was not ready.
[00:49:29] Audra: But you were ready.
[00:49:31] Alyson: I was.
[00:49:31] I knew. technically I needed it. I, Alyson wasn’t ready. Right. And so then I needed to get myself ready. Absolutely. I think that’s brilliant.
[00:49:42] Audra: Yeah. So dig in, you guys. All right, Alyson, for sure. One last thing. What’s one more tip that you would share with folks that are kind of in this messy middle?
[00:49:53] There’s completely overwhelmed by everything we just said. Like, oh my God, there’s so many moving parts to this. Where do [00:50:00] I start?
[00:50:03] Alyson: Oh, this is a really good question. You kind of threw me, for this. Okay, hold on here. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you don’t know how to fix things. Okay. I, I really like what Audra just said about where is the problem coming from? Yeah. What’s wrong? Identify that. What’s wrong?
[00:50:27] Okay. Okay. And if you have to use three legal pads to write out a list, that’s fine, but figure out what’s wrong. And then you can figure out where that’s coming from. Is it technical? Is it personal? Is it, do I need more people? Do I need to fix a process? Do I need to learn something? Do I need to do some mindset stuff?
[00:50:48] Do I need to have a big girl breakdown? What? Right. What’s wrong? And then you can start to fix it because sometimes just listing out what’s wrong mm-hmm. Helps us get out of that, loop. Lack of clarity that comes with overwhelm. Yeah. And cuz sometimes you’re like, I’m just so overwhelmed, I just can’t figure.
[00:51:10] And then, okay, what’s wrong? Well, I have this copy due today and I have this and I have this. And Okay, how can that be fixed? Mm-hmm. It helps you just come down for a second. Mm-hmm.
[00:51:23] Audra: Well, it takes all that brain fog of overwhelm. Mm-hmm. Simplifies it. It’s like, oh, okay. So that could be pushed till next week.
[00:51:30] Oh, exactly. Yeah. I don’t actually need to do this right now. It’s something I’d like to do. Mm-hmm. But I don’t need to do it. Okay. That goes on a different task. Okay. That’s the idea book. [00:51:40] Comparing myself to somebody else. Okay. That’s amazing. I’m not gonna worry about that anymore. Right. Therapy on
[00:51:46] Alyson: Wednesday.
[00:51:46] Right, right. Like you can start to sort through it. Sort through and find the ones you can solve now. The ones you can solve later. And then there’s stuff on there that you’re gonna worry about that you don’t need to be worrying about. Why are you stressing about this?you know, one of the things that I’ve come to realize in my work with a lot of people is, well, and this is a whole nother podcast for another day, but they.
[00:52:16] Like, they’re like, oh, I’m in launch and my team needs to be on 24 7, and this dude, it is online marketing. It is not the end of the world. Okay. If that email goes out tomorrow instead of right this very second, it’s still gonna, it’s fine. Like sometimes we get ourselves so worked up because we’re so in that place that everything is now an emergency.
[00:52:39] Trust me, as somebody who lives and dies by urgency, adhd, I get it. But not everything’s an emergency and ultimately neither is most of this. Right. Right. Like I’m writing copy, I’m not so in brains back together. Like it’s not the end of
[00:52:55] Audra: the world.
[00:52:56] There’s an author, Byron Katie, that has some great work out there about this. Mm-hmm. it’s a exercise that you do saying, is this true or is this my brain just rolling out scenarios? What if scenarios and it makes you kinda sit and think, okay, wait a second. I’m just playing my fear creeping in. I’m just playing out this worst case scenario, but it’s not happened.
[00:53:19] [00:53:20] Mm-hmm. And I’m focused on the wrong thing. So let me focus on what’s actually happening right now in real time. And she’s got some really good stuff around, just control, not necessarily controlling, but understanding where that fear insecurities or, mm-hmm. stress comes from when you’re trying to make decisions.
[00:53:41] Alyson: it all comes from, it all comes back to, again, something you said earlier was managing yourself. Yeah. And that can either be your day-to-day life managing yourself, or if you want to get all therapy managing yourself. Right. And so, Both of those are equally important. How do you spend your time and how does your brain spend its effort?
[00:54:04] Both of those are part of managing yourself and sometimes you just need to bring yourself out of it so that you can get back into that, that wow West man, it’s a good time out here. But you know what I mean? We talk about this as if it’s like the most stressful thing in the world and it totally is.
[00:54:20] But after this, I’m gonna go feed my fish and hang out by my pond for a little bit. Like Yeah. You know? So
[00:54:26] Audra: perspective. It’s all perspective. Perspective.
[00:54:28] Alyson: And that’s also something I do. It’s my, I call it my zen spot. It’s, part of my reset every day I go outside, I put my hands in the dirt and find that, because you know,
[00:54:40] Audra: grounding ground your energy back.
[00:54:42] Alyson: Yeah. Well it’s one life and none of us get out of it alive. So is it really that big a deal? Right,
[00:54:48] Audra: right. Alright, you guys, this was fun. Welcome. Thank you. Welcome, welcome to what is. To be coming for you. That’s right. If you’re in the [00:55:00] startup phase from two veterans that have been around a long time, you can still love what you do.
[00:55:05] We develop better skills to get better at it and continue to evolve as humans. So, absolutely. Thanks Alyson for being here. This was fun.
[00:55:13] Alyson: Thanks. This was fun. These were great questions. It was a good conversation.
[00:55:16] Audra: Good. All right guys. Till next time, keep moving through the middle.
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