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How full is your Passion Tank? (New Series!)

How full is your Passion Tank? (New Series!)

👉  This is the first of seven “fuel tanks” needed for being a successful impact entrepreneur.  

Recently, after over a year of running this business virtually, we created space for some deeper thinking. We pondered why some of our student entrepreneurs rose to the top, and put about 20+ qualities on the table, ultimately ending with 7.

We left our computers and horsed around on Jen’s farm, literally and figuratively.

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(Amanda + Jen in Santa Barbara early July)

NOTE: Out of the 150 Movement Marketers we’ve worked with in our advanced program, the ones that went off to instant success ALL had these 7 “tanks filled” that we analyzed over our week together.

Introducing the first “tank”   that needs to be full:

PASSION – the intensity of emotion you feel toward a specific social problem or cause, and your level of commitment to seeing it through.

Think about it: if Erin Brockovich wasn’t so impassioned by seeing communities contract diseases due to the water they were drinking, she wouldn’t have been successful in what was a long, hard road of “fighting the good fight.”

Not that you need to go up against a big water utility company; however, impact entrepreneurs not only need vision, but also a DEEP, BURNING passion to get them through all the obstacles that inevitably come up along the journey of starting a business, growing a movement.

Personally Speaking . . .

  • When HigherU cofounder Jen speaks at conferences for entrepreneurs, she leads with this idea by saying, “If you don’t feel like your head is on fire and you’re running toward a well, I will not be offended if you leave.”
  • When HigherU cofounder Amanda went through 9 years of raising money for DailyWorth and building her email list to over 1 million subscribers, there were many times that most founders would have thrown in the towel. Nevertheless, her vision for change and huge passion-filled tank saw her through to sell it to a women-led financial media company.

So, our dear compadres and change makers, are you ready for the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, and is your tank filled with enough passion to get you through the valleys to reach the peak, while still inspiring others to join you on your mission?

Here’s a quick test of your PASSION tank:

When you wake up in the morning, your first thoughts are:

A.  Where’s my coffee?
B.  Ugh I have so much to do today….

C.  I can’t wait to get at it!

If you answered C… game on.

Now, if you didn’t answer “C!” – that doesn’t mean give up on your dreams.

It just means you need to check in with your passion level, your commitment to seeing a vision through, and if you sense your tank is low, ponder why that might be.

For example, are you just beginning your educational journey on a specific topic? Then read more about it, and seek out and connect with experts in the field.

{Sidebar: Jen remembers going to so many “green business conferences” and sitting in the front row always to hear Paul Hawken speak. After one presentation, he motioned her over to say hello since he started to recognize her. That was a key moment in her life, and 20 years later Paul is still one of her most influential mentors.}

What can you do this week that will give you more fuel for your passion tank?

📘 Read ________.

🔌 Connect with _______.

Remember, the best time to plant a tree is 50 years ago.
But the next best time is now.


Here’s to growing your idea Higher. 🌳

~ Jen and Amanda

PS:  If you’re feeling well-versed in and super inspired by a topic matter, and want to do SOMETHING, but don’t know where to start . . .

We’re here for that.

We can give you the best  “lean startup” system to get to a point where you can validate your idea in the market.

It’s the smartest way to go, bar none. We’ve been hard at work on a 4-week program that guides you on hatching ideas that have both income and social impact as the goal.

It’s called Hatchery, and we’ve made it crazy-affordable for you. Because we get you. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money on websites, tools, courses, etc until you have this one piece.

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🔥 Fireside Chat 🔥 – The (same) watershed moment in our start up journeys

The (same) watershed moment in our start up journeys

So here’s our advice for you, intrepid impact entrepreneur, because we want your success maybe as much as you do . . . 

  1. You don’t need a big fancy website. What you need is a fantastic landing page and savvy “free digital gift” to help turn visitors into email subscribers. 

  2. Having these digital assets is like having a pair of running shoes while training for a marathon. Don’t start even practicing (or going for press) unless you have them. 

  3. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. So set yourself up to be lucky. Don’t meet that person that wants to promote you to her 100K followers (or book any PR) and not have a good place to send them. 

  4. We have two programs where we help you get your core offer and your sales page, or your lead magnet and your landing page ready for prime time.

    If you want to come work (and play) with us, doors are opening for both programs in September, and we limit participation to ensure we get a good amount of time with you to ensure your success.  (Plus there are early sign up bonuses for both.)

And hey, if you don’t know what it is you’d like to do or build, but you’re here for inspiration and contemplation:  You’re in the right place. 

Especially if you have a vision of how to change the world, even in your own small way. (Google “the butterfly effect” if you’re not familiar. All voices and actions matter.)

We believe deeply in the power of entrepreneurship as THE change agent for disrupting beliefs and systems that no longer serve.

Thank you so much for being here, as we all build the movement for impact entrepreneurship together.

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Stepping Back Out in the New Normal NOW is Your Moment, Impact Entrepreneurs!

Stepping Back Out in the New Normal

NOW is Your Moment, Impact Entrepreneurs!

For well over a year now, if you were to ask a group of socially distanced, masked people if they wished we could just get back to normal, the answer would likely be a unanimous, resounding “Yes!” After all we’ve been through, the simple thought of normal has a pretty sweet sound to it, would you agree?

But wait, what if we were to seize this moment to take an honest look at what we have come to accept as “normal?” Is normal REALLY all we aspire to… just pick up where we left off? Here is the quote that got my social impact movement wheels turning…

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider… which parts of normal are worth rushing back to?”
~Dave Hollis

I believe that Mr. Hollis is on to something!

Was the pandemic the shake-up that would prompt us to look through a different lens, consider a fresh perspective about what we are willing to accept, what is truly important, what is worth fighting for, what is broken and worth fixing.

Not only that, but what did it teach us about our resilience, our ability to innovate and adapt, our survival instincts, our deep-seated beliefs – both shared and starkly divided? Who got left behind and who got ahead? Who will emerge the champions and who will be revealed as the opportunists?

Shake-up is probably much too mild a word. Fact is, the tiniest of the tiny microorganisms on earth brought an entire planet to its knees. Turned the world upside-down. Left not a single human life untouched.

Even as we gradually emerge from the full-blown horror, we find ourselves in a unique moment of opportunity to shape the direction of the new normal. 

This moment is, in many respects, a prime time to break through old ways of doing things and re-invent approaches to social, economic, environmental, health, and so many other problems. Why not use this time of transition and re-equilibration to try out things that have never been tried before – opportunities for new impact movements, business solutions, products and services?

In fact, there is a term for this state of “flux,” and it gives us context for how we can strategize about tackling the challenges: VUCA. 

VUCA is an acronym, first developed in the late 1980’s for the US Army War College to describe different types of battle zone conditions. In recent years, this theory of environmental analysis has been adopted by leadership experts far beyond the military, and applied in business, in social movements, and entrepreneurship. It stands for:

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.

The post-covid world is all of these things. And yet, it’s not all about the pandemic; we’ve experienced plenty of “battle zone conditions” before, during, and since. Consider just these few examples to put faces on the names:

  • volatility – January 6, 2021, a day that a vital centerpiece of the democratic process was suddenly interrupted and imperiled by an armed insurrection that stormed the Capitol;
  • uncertainty – what will be the long-term mental health consequences of the stresses, losses, and fears that we all have been dealing with for the last 15 months of the pandemic;
  • complexity – how do we engage the global community in adopting the measures needed to halt the devastating effects of climate change before they become insurmountable; and irreversible;
    ambiguity – how do we overcome the conflicting and confusing mindsets about whether to get vaccinated against COVID in significant pockets of the country?

And these are just a tiny subset of all the social issues that this past year has shined a stark light on… racial injustice, need for police reform, the expanding wealth gap, skyrocketing housing prices, food scarcity, mass shootings and gun violence of all kinds, extreme disparities in health outcomes, how to achieve immigration policies that are equitable and humane, gender inequality, educational barriers, political strife, voter suppression, conspiracy theories, domestic terrorism, democracy in peril – all of these issues – they were here before 2020 and they’re still here in 2021 – many worse than before.

Social impact entrepreneurs, this is an unprecedented moment to ask – what can we do better, how can we break through what was accepted as normal, inevitable, out of our control, someone else’s problem to fix, or a complacent “that’s just the way things are” mentality, and who better than us to lead the way?

You may be asking, don’t these VUCA qualities make it harder to effect change?No! Leave that attitude for the doubters and the nay-sayers, those who will push back – and they will – all the more reason to re-affirm that you are on to something important! Choose, instead, to see 2021 as a rallying cry for disrupting the status quo!

Take volatility – while stability is good, like the cabin in the mountains where you’ve vacationed every year for the past ten years and plan to for the next ten, it’s hardly the prime condition out of which creative energies get unleashed or innovation happens. Use the chaos as a springboard for emerging with a clear vision that slices through. Lean into the fray!

Then there’s uncertainty – you won’t know what is possible until you try! Do your due diligence, but don’t wait for every eventuality to be figured out – get your message out and start being part of the solution. I once read… “when nothing is certain, everything is possible.” Go with that!

Complexity is only daunting if you equate being a circuit breaker with wrapping your head around a whole issue all at once. Small bites, baby steps, could be just the spark that lights the fire under the diabolical monster – be the spark!

What about ambiguity? Embrace the many facets of any issue, try on many “glasses” until the fuzziness fades – nothing is going to be pure black and white, it’s in the gray area where the novel solution emerges. Visualizing that elusive form through the fog is what distinguishes you as a change-maker!

All this circles back to getting your message clear and articulating it in terms that will inspire others to jump on board. A pitch-perfect, unique value proposition, an enticing movement magnet, an action-prompting landing page, authentic and personable email correspondence – these are all ingredients of the secret sauce by which powerful movements are created and launched!

COVID-19 was a humbling, scary experience. We all spent time in a degree of isolation, feeling more than a little vulnerable, doing some soul searching, while in our bubbles. While I hesitate to use the term “silver lining” in the same sentence as the word pandemic, can we agree that we’ve all been given something of a second chance? Vaccinated, we finally can breathe a sigh of relief. Ironically, we’ve learned to experience connectedness in new ways, through Zoom meetings and from behind masks – even while physically distanced we felt, quite viscerally, how the actions of one affect the experience of the many, we’ve all discovered something new about ourselves, and feel gratitude for having emerged on the other side. So, let’s pay it forward.

Social impact entrepreneurs, make this the moment you inspire us to fly higher!

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🔥 Fireside Chats🔥 Startup money

“Startup money” - why no one gets it right

Key takeaways:

  • You need money to start your business.
  • If you have a pile of cash, and/or a side hustle, or other sources of income, great! You might need more.
  • The #1 area people underestimate the money needed to build a profitable business? Marketing.

There’s no such thing as, “If I build it, they will come.”

Otherwise, you stay in the “swamp,” a bleak place where you squander valuable time because you don’t have enough people looking at your product to know… does the market want what you sell? Or, have you simply not yet reached enough people to know? You need to make a splash 💦 and bring in the visitors, with marketing.

Questions, comments? Just drop them in the comments.

It’s BYOMB….  Bring your own marshmallows, baby. 🍢

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🔥 Fireside Chats🔥 Why we hate social media

Why we hate social media (but love email)

Key takeaways:

  1. Email converts. Social media does not. 

  2. Your email list is an asset that you own. You don’t own your social media, they can change the algorithm or shut you down any time.

  3. Emails are read one at a time — you get dedicated attention. Social media posts get buried in an endless scroll of noise. 

  4. As head of marketing for various orgs, Jen has spent a lot of money on social media in the past and she would like all of it back.
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🔥 Fireside Chats🔥 Grokking your conversion metrics

Grokking your conversion metrics

Key takeaway:

A conversion rate is a percentage of people that went from X to Y.

For example, when a website visitor completes something, such as filling out a form, subscribing to your list, or making a purchase – that’s a conversion.

If 100 people hit your website, and 5 sign up for your email list, your (opt-in) conversion rate is 5%. If 10 people click to buy, and 1 actually buys, your (sales) conversion rate is 1%.

So use your actual data, or estimates using industry norms if you don’t have any yet, to determine if something is worth the effort versus winging it.

Want some very broad stroke industry norms?

  • From viewing an ad to website visitor = .05 – 4.5%

    Note: this is referred to as “Click Through Rate” and they can very low if your ad stinks or it gets lost on a page of tons of other ads, or it can be very high if say you’re doing a non-skippable video ad on YouTube, which is of course much more expensive.

  • From visitors to a landing page with a “lead magnet” to signing up to get the free digital gift = 1% – 5%.

    Note: we’ve seen these conversion rates as high as 65% on our own landing pages and on those of students because there are lots of ways to optimize the design of the page and creating a really attractive offer.

  • From website visitor to a sale = 1% (if lucky).

    VS
    From email openers to a sale = 5% – 20%.

 
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CASE STUDY: Nicole Lewis-Keeber Coaching

CASE STUDY: Nicole Lewis-Keeber Coaching

Throughout our program, we put a lot of emphasis on getting your movement messaging right. What’s yours? 

Trauma affects us all, and limits our human potential. Nicole Lewis-Keeber MSW LCSW is a highly-credentialed and sought-after Master Business Therapist & Mindset Coach who helps entrepreneurs break free of the hidden impacts of seemingly insignificant childhood experiences – resulting in better decision-making, less stress, and reaching new emotional and financial heights.With her one-on-one sessions and through her masterclass series, Nicole guides her clients on a journey through her signature process, ultimately co-creating a personal “Emotional Sustainability” plan. After working with Nicole, clients report feeling capable of handling the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship with grace and ease, and confident that past patterns and limiting beliefs are no longer holding them back from reaching their full potential.

HigherU: What was your primary challenge or problem you had before joining MYM?

Not having a framework that was unique enough to support my message. My business/message is also a movement to disrupt the way entrepreneurs handle past traumas, and it needed special consideration that traditional marketing lacked.

How was the problem affecting you?

I was not as visible as I would have liked, and I did not have marketing assets or a plan to gain the right email subscribers that reflected my message and the business community I wanted to build.

What part of MYM was most appealing?

I trusted Amanda and Jen because I saw evidence that they were trailblazers in their own business ventures and that they were not afraid to disrupt norms.

Before discovering HigherU, what other solutions had you considered?

Every program I had looked at left me feeling like they could not support ME. They were too cookie cutter. 

What would have happened if you had not joined MYM?

I would not have a community of like-minded movement makers, I would not have my messaging and a clear understanding of the #’s needed to market myself to build my business, and I would not have my Trauma & Entrepreneurship Assessment lead magnet and landing page.

What “wins” did you enjoy as a result of MYM?

I am bringing in new members in a cost effective way! Plus I have secured speaking opportunities because of it, and have enrolled new clients into my Do No Harm intensive.

Have you been able to track any measurable benefits?

I can track 3 news clients, and 4 speaking opportunities because of my movement magnet. That may not seem like much to many but of the 300 people who have downloaded my assessment, 3 signed up to work with me and 4 invited me to speak. Those are some great percentages, and I’m just getting going!! 

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Does Your Voice Match Your Mission?

Does your Voice Match Your Mission?

Does your Voice Match Your Mission

People who admire nature can relate, that in some ways, we always want to be part of it. And of course, you realize how everything is connected and is but natural, that you want to sustain its beauty and protect it in all possible ways.

That’s where Jen’s heart for protecting the environment is rooted. 

Growing up in the suburbs, she had a first-hand experience of how it was to sleep out in the barn with the bats, ride horses, always be surrounded by animals, play in the river, and do all the fun stuff in nature. And even up today, she has an abundance of animals on her small farm!

Nature is where Jen’s heart is; thus, she specifically started a movement around the social mission of sustainability, and that was the beginning of the love story between her and her advocacy.

The climate is changing and our world is in serious danger. Does that awareness stop it from happening? No, it needs to be acted on. 

To help provide actionable ideas to the environmental movement, Jen founded a “Light Green” movement that went off to become a huge success.

Nowadays, we see a lot of various movements that focus on environmental issues. Still, most of us find it confusing which movement to support if we do not full-heartedly agree with 100% of their beliefs.

There’s Veganism on the extreme side that condones all forms of usage of animals as commodities, vs. the carnivores that could give two shakes of a lamb’s tail if their meat was from a factory farm. There are Tree Huggers on another side, and there are those who make fun of the Tree Huggers.  

With so much opposing idealism going on, we know that there are people in the middle that want to do the right thing without doing the extremes. 

The LIGHT GREEN movement provided realistic solutions to attract more people by being less scary than other extreme movements. 

What we can ALL do now is support the people that are brave enough to go out there and to speak the truth, if it resonates with your beliefs. 

Here is the tricky part: not everyone has the fire to start a movement, let alone stand all through the process. Here are some of the crucial things to consider before starting a movement:

Be Brave.

Many of us have these dire movements and visions that we want to be a part of facilitating and leading. Still, unless you have a powerful voice and can articulate your thoughts well, have the bravery, the words, the clarity, and the precision, the movement will not take flight.

Have authenticity and passion 

Uncover your authentic voice. Do not lead with what you think the world wants to hear. Lead with what you want to say and with what you BELIEVE in. This will attract the right people. There could be so many copycats of your movement who just want fame, but they could not replicate your authenticity, and they couldn’t replicate your passion. Authenticity and passion can never be bought. Period!

Be ready to have enemies

 It will never always be rainbows and butterflies. When you go out there and make bold statements, you will most likely make enemies, and that’s part of it. That’s what it to stand for something. You may lose some supporters at some point, but the right people will stay. Continue to hold your truth unapologetically.

Build your character  

Train yourself to become less permeable to external criticism. This is hard to do because, typically, we’re all pretty sensitive about our core beliefs. But once you start finding your voice, you have to remember that there is that echo chamber of naysayers and trolls who are ready to knock you down. You need to develop thick skin.

Be very specific with the packaging you’re putting out into the world

You can have the best, most authentic vision and mission, ready to express yourself, but if you’re not expressing in a way that is going to be completely distinct, it’s going to get lost. If you are not good at words, hire someone who can translate your thoughts into words without changing the meaning. It has to be translatable, easily digestible so that when someone reads your words, they immediately get it.

Putting yourself out there exposes you to all kinds of criticisms, judgments, and naysayers. However, you always need to stay grounded and remember why you’re fighting for what you believe in. Always go back to your WHY. 

Don’t worry about how it’s going to be perceived by the world. Speak your truth, and you can’t speak your truth if you try to please all the people all the time. Your message has to cut through and stand out. It has to be so distinct that it reflects YOU and can’t be replicated elsewhere. Remember, your voice should always match your mission.

Are you an Entrepreneur with a mission-driven business? Then HigherU’s Market Your Movement program will transform you into a confident and powerful marketer for change in just 16 weeks. You can check it out here.

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You need art AND science to build a movement

Art + Science = do you have both?

We just taught a workshop to an amazing audience of 400 impact entrepreneurs, and we had so much fun.

It reminded us about the importance of embracing our uniqueness. We — Amanda + Jen — are 2 dramatically different people that are both marketing experts. Jen represents the “art” part of the movement marketing, and Amanda, the “science.”

 

So to solve for that, we have alpaca puppets that appear when translation is needed. 

 

We’ve brought you this small clip to share in the hilarity of what happens when we both try to describe the same concept: 

Our students say they love the dynamic exchanges and the opportunities to learn through different lenses. 

 

While we give you a linear pathway to success, we do it in a way that values YOUR uniqueness, in fact, we do our best to bring more out of you! 

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Impact Entrepreneur’s Introduction to Business Models


How do you choose the best business model while creating world-changing impact?

Let’s start with what you sell, such as…

  • Packaging your Time as a service that you bill for hourly or monthly.
  • Turning your skill into Classes or Memberships to serve many people at once.
  • Building a lot of email subscribers in order to sell Information Products or Advertising.
  • Manufacturing a digital or physical Product.
  • Soliciting Donations for a cause. [Jen has a nonprofit around ending factory farming.]


Usually, your area of expertise for making an impact will fit into one of these categories. Each has its own unique business model:

If you sell Time, your business model is a Consulting Agency.
If you sell Classes or Memberships, your business model is Coaching + Training.
If you sell Community, your business model is a Membership Network.
If you sell Advertising, your business model is a Media Platform.
If you sell Products, your business model is E-Commerce.
If you deliver Social Services, your business model is Non-Profit.

Of course, each business model has its own risks and opportunities that you should weigh as well. Let’s take a moment to talk about each.

The Consulting Agency Model~

Costs & Risks: You’re limited by how much time you can sell monthly and how much people will pay for your time.
Benefits & Opportunities: In the beginning, there’s almost zero money required and over time you can increase your rates or hire subcontractors or employees and charge clients for their time.


The Coaching + Training Model~

Costs & Risks: You need to have a curriculum, an engaged audience to market to and a digital sales funnel. And of course you’ll have to prove you are *the* expert they want to learn from.
Benefits & Opportunities: Your only major investment outside of developing your curriculum is the cost of building a big-enough audience to market your classes.


The Membership Network Model~

Costs & Risks: Echo! Ditto! Anybody here? For members to experience the benefit of community, you need a sizeable number of members already in the community! The skill and cost of reaching a critical mass does have a learning curve.
Benefits & Opportunities: Repeat revenue is the BEST business model when you can make it work.


The Media Platform Model~

Costs & Risks: To make any advertising model work, you need a LOT of “eyeballs.” Building traffic and subscribers can be very costly until you’re big enough to sell advertising or deliver affiliate campaigns. You’ll also be competing with Facebook and Google since they dominate ad spend online.
Benefits & Opportunities: Once you figure out a massive niche and great ad spend category, you have the opportunity to generate income by consistently publishing content that brings you joy. There are different ways to monetize impressions, from ad buys, sponsorships, events, affiliate programs, and joint ventures.


The E-Commerce Model~

Costs & Risks: Competition can be fierce and the cost of creating your product can really cut into your profit. In addition, the upfront investment for platform development, building up inventory, setting up systems, and building a superstar brand can be quite extensive, so research is key prior to launch.
Benefits & Opportunities: Unlike consulting or coaching, you are not the product. In most cases, this is seen as positive because the business won’t need you forever to scale. While this business model has the largest outlay of capital, it can also be the most lucrative when it scales.


And there you have it, friend! We believe in you and your cause and hope this has given you some clarity in moving forward with your impactful business.

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Our 2020 Biggest Business Blunders

In this episode, we confess our most embarrassing moments that make the business of 'making a difference while making money' less daunting and more entertaining ...

Well, 2020 is coming to a close. And before we move into 2021, I thought it would be a good idea to have a good laugh about all the mistakes we made.

All right. 2020. I think everybody knows we’re excited to have this year come to a close. And we wanted to memorialize a particularly blunderous year with all of our big, best business blunders and just have a confessional and a nice chance to kind of sit around the digital fire with you guys and laugh and hopefully get some lessons learned out of our mistakes. So we’ve got six of them, I think. Let’s jump right in, man. Do you want to take the first.

[00:01:10] Oh, yeah. This one gives me so much pain. So just to set the stage at HigherU we have a program called Market Your Movement and we have an application process. We want to make sure that we’re right for you and you’re right for us. We don’t want anyone coming into our program unless we believe that you’re going to be successful. And so we spend a lot of time cultivating all of you on our list and sending you lots of good things and then leading up to the application. And then once you apply, if you choose to apply, that’s really special for us because it says that you’re interested in what we do. And when we read over those applications for those of whom we believe will be successful, we send you an email that says your application is approved. And that is the email that we sent. 

We made a ridiculous mistake where we had not one but two typos in this email subject line. Instead of “Your application,” we said “Y-o-u’r-e,” and instead of application, we said “applicated.”

So we said, “You’re applicated is approved.”

We sent the subject line that basically said we are incoherent and we can’t spell and we don’t know grammar, but you should really trust us with your marketing.

Yes. And your money. And I guess that’s a good lesson learned.

Spell check is not going to catch everything because your as “you’re” is a word.

Enrollment was way lower than we had initially projected. And now we know why in that particular case. Because of that fallacious subject line.

[00:03:22] Yes. And there’s a few lessons learned there. QA, which “quality assurance,” is not a nice-to-have. It’s a must have. It is a must have and it feels tedious sometimes. And as entrepreneurs we have to go fast. But remember, it’s at your own peril. Things that have to do with sales, that’s something I would definitely prioritize, making sure you get right. And of course anything that is as consumer facing or customer facing – any place where you could have egg on your face, make sure you put all of your attention there. 

Next we’re going to reveal a technological blunder or two. And I’m sure everybody listening has had one to 10 or 100. But these are the ones that were silly mistakes, easily solved — so we wanted to share them with you.

The first tech blunder that we are an email-based business, meaning that we pay spend money on paid advertising to go the best people and bring them in through our funnel. 

Our whole business model hinges on something called CPL, which is Cost Per Lead. A lead being somebody that comes in, lands on our website or landing page and subscribes because they’re going to get our our free digital gift. We call it a movement magnet. We have metrics in place that we can pay up to X dollars and still be profitable by the time one out of one hundred people purchase, say, for example. 

Ours was down at $4. Right. So Manders like high five, we rule, we know we’re doing and we kind of set it and forget it. And then after checking in a few weeks later, we realized it was at $12.

It was our page speed load. And for whatever reason, we didn’t pay attention to the page load speed. We thought it was our copy. We thought maybe we had fatigued our audience. 

And we started rewriting our landing page copy and maybe evaluating the overall desirability of the email growth guides that we were sending. 6 weeks — 2 months in, the light bulb went off.

[00:11:41] Amanda, remember when we spammed everybody? As we talked about, we pay very close attention to those of you who apply for Market your Movement because you’ve expressed interest and you’ve been reading emails from us for months and months and months. And you’re really, really special to us because you’re interested in what we do. So we want to treat you really well, not the way we treated you back in August, which was when because I handled the tech, I get to take all the blame for this.

I put an extra trigger in an email automation that had the it’s time to enroll on the waitlist. The automation ran over and over and over again. And we just flooded everyone’s inbox with like six to 10 different emails, some of which weren’t even finished being written yet. And once again, made us look like complete disasters when what we’re selling is email, marketing, training, like we’re the experts.

Let us spam you with entirely blank emails and make you unsubscribe so fast your head spins. Awesome. That was a beautiful one to discover. Yes. So that was good. So what’s the lesson learned there?

The lesson learned is, again, it’s quality assurance. Don’t release something to an entire list until you have released it and tested it internally to an internal list because it is so easy to have a hiccup in your process if you haven’t tested it. It always comes back to quality assurance, not doing things at the last minute.

[00:14:54] And that reminds me of the massive tech blunder that we had over Thanksgiving. We were running a big push on Market Your Movement because the price was about to go up and because it was Thanksgiving, we didn’t want to just send our typical emails around enrollment. We wanted to make it special to Thanksgiving and this shift in our business. Well, one of the things that’s always plagued me and Jen is neither one of us are great managers of other people, especially me. I’d rather just do it myself, even though I know that that is a curse and a barrier to growth and a barrier to being able to expand one’s business. But Jen, rightfully so, said, hey, you should give these emails to our associate to build so that you don’t have to build everything.

And do you remember what happened when there was zero content that went out?

The reason for that was we personalize the emails to you in some cases, like if we have your first name in our database, we include first name. And if we don’t have your first name, we say something like, “hey, movement builder.” And when our associate, whom I did not serve as QA, was building these emails, he inadvertently replicated a content block that had a condition. 

If the recipient has “first name,” don’t show this content.

Translation for anybody that doesn’t code, there are so many little things that make a little gotchas.

[00:26:38] Ok, so which one shall we do next?

Amanda, remember when you were running digital fundraising for Marianne Williamson for president and she had given you just a bunch of her raw thoughts. 

[Amanda] I forget what was going on. I’m a single mom of two kids. I’m now living with my partner in quarantine. But at the time we were living separately and there was just the kind of the chaos of driving everybody around. This was 2019 when we still left our houses. And I remember that Marianne sent me a beautiful piece that was to go out to her full list of about 350,000. But it needed a lot of edits because it was a really quick write up by her. And my job was to edit it and to make it really cohesive. And we spent probably two hours on the phone that day, debating word choice and figuring out what punctuation goes where. And then I put my computer away and then for whatever reason, I never hit send. And I came back to my house two hours later and was like, OMG, I never hit send on this. I opened up our email platform, I hit send. And then I realized I sent the unedited total mess version to 350,000 people. That was a really sad, tearful day for me.

Did you did you do like a retraction type email or what did you do?

I just I crawled under a table and stayed there for about six hours. Yeah. I had no graceful recovery from that one.

[00:32:42] On the topic of blunders, also, I think it would be really fun to share your story about when Disney had just acquired Ideal Bite and you were with the big executive. Do you want to tell that one?

[Jen] Yeah, Disney acquired us in February of 2010, and so we’ve only been there for a few months.

We were kind of like the darling child we were. We became close with the top muckety mucks like the CEO and his wife and the CFO. They were on a plane on their private Disney jet going somewhere.

[00:33:34] On April 1st, Heather (my Ideal Bite cofounder) and I having a lot of chutzpah were adamant that they would not change our editorial voice.

We did our email on April 1st on “recycling your condom.”

Obviously, it was a joke, but one that Planned Parenthood did not find funny. Disney did not find it funny.

We got a little bit big for our bridges and maybe didn’t really calculate all of the risks involved and not acquiescing just a little bit to their culture and preferences. There was something that we could have done that would have been funny and not so off the mouse ears brand. But there you have it. So, yeah, that was a good one.

We hope all of you listening appreciate hearing these stories. We’ve had an amazing year with HigherU. Yes 2020 has been an absolutely bizarre year. We hope you have enjoyed this and we wish you a blessed, successful, even a slightly messy 2021, onward to a whole new year.

Remember, mistakes will happen. It’s not if, it’s when. And how you handle them after. And we’re still learning after twenty plus years in this business. And we hope that you’ll come learn along next to us in 2021.

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Rha Goddess Movement Builder Interview

Every single one of us has a calling. It tugs at your heart or gets lodged in your chest.

Your calling is the seed of your movement.

So… what’s stopping you from ACTING on your calling? What’s holding you back from really standing up and going for it?

Legendary activist and soul coach Rha Goddess has identified three reasons why you may be staying quiet when what you really want to do is to do something.

She’s the CEO of Move the Crowd and author of The Calling: 3 Fundamental Shifts to Stay True, Get Paid, and Do Good.

Rha knows what’s standing between you and YOUR movement.

Reason #1:

We all question ourselves!

You can break through this if you know why.

Rha asks what is it you’ve been told about success, and about your ability to lead that feels daunting?

Reason #2:

We ask, “Can I be a movement builder AND make money?”

We question whether it’s okay to build a movement and earn a living, or take it up a level and strive for wealth.

Abraham Lincoln is credited for saying,

“You can’t help the poor by being one of them”

Reason #3:

Lastly you might be wondering, “How do I know if my movement will have the social change impact that I want to see happen in my lifetime?” We all need to know that if we take on a cause – which is hard work – that what we do will really matter.

During this global reset, so much of the normal frenetic runaround is on pause. Rha calls this “a pause for the cause.

We’ve allowed so many atrocities to happen on our watch, and we thought we were further along than we really were.

It’s a day of reckoning.

We’ve been cracked open.

Yet, that’s where the light gets in.

This is the moment for your light, this the moment for your movement.

Seriously y’all, do not miss this interview. Watch it NOW!

Check out Rha’s second book…

Check out the Market Your Movement Program

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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Creating a Growth Hacking Marketing Plan

We’re curious, have you heard the term “growth hacking?” Lots of movements today thrive by creating a unique growth hacking marketing plan.

Just like all ‘hacks’ — it means spending less energy and getting the same or better results. But this time it relates to digital marketing. 

We, the founders of HigherU, became experts at growth hacking to grow our purpose-led startups because we had to. With social missions at our core and not a ton of cash, no one believed we could generate both a profit and have an impact. (Glad we proved them wrong!) 

So, the SINGULAR focus of growth hacking, is well, GROWTH. It uses analytics with rapid-fire tweaks to optimize ads and visits to exponentially grow an email list and/or customer base.

It’s the reason we see some organizations achieve absolutely ridiculous growth rates, and on the flip side, probably the reason there are 100x more that we never heard of — because they didn’t employ this concept. 

You don’t need to become a growth-hacker to be a movement builder, but leveraging the high-level concepts could give you, and your movement, a real competitive edge. 

Brainstorming Your Growth Hacking Marketing Plan

On our podcast we delve more into our experience in growing a mission-driven digital business, and explain how we utilized growth-hacking concepts so that you too can build your movement in the quickest, most efficient way possible. (That’s our goal, help you bring your movement to the masses!) 

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Afterwards, cruise over to the Facebook Forum and let us know what you think. We’re giving one lucky commenter a free laser consulting session with us, plus it’s fun to connect with your fellow movement makers. If you’ve not experienced our awesome community yet… you’ve got a lot to look forward to!  

Rock on with a Higher You

 


 

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Market Your Movement Program

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Take a Leap of Faith – If Not Now, When?

Convincing yourself that it’s time to take a leap of faith with starting your movement or business is something we all face.

20 years ago, working in Manhattan, I’d daydream about one day owning a sweet little farmhouse full of animals. Here I am, in Santa Barbara wine country, with a horse, sheep, two barn cats, a dog and 3 goats… and – if HigherU reaches certain goals by December, 2020 – I’ve promised Amanda two alpacas.

My farm wouldn’t be mine if I’d listened to the naysayers when launching Ideal Bite, my online green media business.

They said that our idea was too small and that green wasn’t going to be big.

These were smart people. Some were potential investors.

My co-founding partner and I had to decide – would we listen to them and put our “silly idea” to rest or take the leap?

Yeah, we worked too much, risked more personal money than we should have, and became pros at #quarantinelife pre ‘rona.

But we were in the zone – because we LOVED our mission of taking green mainstream.

Take a Leap of Faith – The Breakthrough

Then one day, VANITY FAIR called. We thought it was a prank call. They asked us to be in a 2-page photoshoot for their premiere green issue.

Amazing how those potential investors and advisors suddenly changed their tune. And then – because of all of that work we did to fortify our brand and our product while waiting for funding – we were ready to step on the gas with marketing.

So with the solid brand, product, marketing, and now PR… we got launched higher than our wildest dreams.

I’ve heard lots of people say that we got lucky. And I agree.
I also believe that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

If you’re wrestling with a similar decision about a passion to make the world better through offering your own unique gift, and being prepared for when the moment of opportunity strikes, well…. as Tracy Chapman croons, “If not now, then when?”

 

 

Check out the 
Market Your Movement Program™

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How I Built a Social Movement for Women and Money

At six months pregnant, I waddled onto Amtrak to attend a “women and money” workshop in New York City.

One month prior, my million dollar web agency resulted in a personal $60,000 tax bill.

Crushed by the pressure of entrepreneurship + baby-rearing sent me running to this workshop.

I left stunned and confused. Yes, I’d made some dumb decisions about money — like thinking that my income would magically outpace my spending. Blame nature or nurture, women are socially conditioned to disassociate from money.

To release control of money is to be feminine and lovable, all the while trading personal agency for a false sense of security.

Now further impassioned by this revelation, I made it my mission to get the message out to all women: money management is not a gender-derived skill.

To say otherwise means to perpetuate the false socially dominant belief systems that oppress women.

On January 14th, 2009, I went into labor as I was launching an online media business called DailyWorth, designed to awaken and educate women about money.

Laboring with contractions, laptop open in my hospital gown, the nurse approached me…

“Ma’am, are you ready for your epidural?”

“Not yet. I have to send this email (to 400 subscribers). It’s really important.”

That was the moment for my movement.

Building Real Wealth

My 10 years building DailyWorth was rich: I got to witness one million women (subscribers) transition from living in “money comas” awaken and step into their own financial prowess.

I also got to spend a day with Oprah!

The agony was hell: venture capitalists prior to #MeToo manipulated me beyond your darkest imagination. Or maybe you can imagine. 

Here’s a bright memory … following a Forbes article featuring me and DailyWorth, a financial advisor named Richard Rosso called and asked to meet me. Over lunch, he said, “Following my parent’s divorce when I was 11, my mother depended on men to take care of her. I believe if DailyWorth had existed, maybe she wouldn’t have attempted suicide twice and died so young. Here’s a $50,000 investment in your company in honor of my mother.” 

Jen and I have lived the agony and ecstasy of building social movements. Now, we’re dedicated to showing you how to do what we did, while steering you clear of landmines that we can spot because we stepped in them.

Check out the
Market Your Movement Program™

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Lead Magnet Ideas for your Business or Movement

Generating lead magnet ideas that are unique and custom to your business or movement is part art, and part science. Let’s de-mystify the process.

We know you’re like us, and want to bring your passions and unique offering to the forefront to make the world better . . . like now.

But how can you do so – quickly and inexpensively?

The days of “sign up for my newsletter” are gone, and people are very distracted, plus they expect a lot more these days if they are going to give you their personal email address. Yet you MUST have an email list if you’d like to build an effective movement (that generates impact and income).

So to help you launch or further your work, we are gifting you a secret weapon.

Below you’ll find a quick training video on how to concept a powerful lead magnet that will help build your email list, and build awareness for your movement. We are also gifting you a downloadable checklist, which if you follow to the letter, you’re almost guaranteed success.

You see, your work is purpose-led, mission-driven and original, so your lead magnet must be as well. (It certainly can’t be ill-conceived, off-brand, or gimmicky.)

When done right, the stars align . . . and we want this for you, we want this for the world.

Finally, visit the link below to get started with your lead magnet ideas and refining them to amplify your purpose.

Get the Lead Magnet Checklist

Watch video + download the Magical Movement Magnet Checklist

We hope you derive value from these free gifts from us, and we hope it helps launch your mission HIGHER.

Likewise, if we can help out further, post your questions or comments in the FB forum …


Check out the
Market Your Movement Program™ 

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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How to Grow Your Business – Preach Beyond the Choir

Figuring out how to grow your business or movement means learning where things have gone stale. Are you speaking to the people who already “get it”, or are you bringing new people into the fold?

We all do it. We remain inside our comfort zones by “preaching to the choir.” It’s a human tendency.

And it’s understandable – who doesn’t want to feel seen and understood? Like when you have an argument with your partner or parent – and you call the friend that you know will take your side.

BUT IF YOU WANT TO GROW as a person, you’d call the person that gives it to you straight. When you’re thinking of how to grow your business, you need to expose it to people outside your early adopter personas.

The same goes for growing a movement: you need to preach beyond the choir, and reach the curious.

In order to build movements capable of affecting real change, you need to alter your presentation and your messaging so that you speak to the not-already-converted.

It’s not easy. You have to be brave and assume some level of discomfort to engage large groups of people that don’t yet believe what you believe, but would be open to it.

In our Market Your Movement™ training program, we help you modify your message so that it resonates with millions of people, not inside of an echo chamber of the ‘righteous few.’ We at HigherU have a meta movement for a more humane, just, sustainable world by helping you amp up your movement, and preach BEYOND. That’s how growth happens.

Traditional marketing is about hitting the narrow center to increase sales. Movement marketing is about widening the rungs to increase impact. When you position your movement to captivate the Curious, not just the Choir, your impact and income grows.

Wanna practice? Speak to someone about your movement outside your choir today.

Then, email us and tell us how it went, and/or share your experience in our community of 5,000 other movement builders on our Facebook group.

Here’s to a braver, Higher US.

Check out the
Market Your Movement Program™

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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Interview with David Newman “Chant-Curious”

We love this virtuous circle of movement making. This is where we get to connect all the good dots, introducing our students to YOU, and celebrate their accomplishments with marketing their movement.

Below is an interview with David Newman, Kirtan Chant Artist who had all of his scheduled summer concerts cancelled in 24 hours, but took this opportunity to re-emerge stronger, with a little bit of our help. 

David, what was your biggest struggle before your experience with HigherU?
The clarity to know how I could expand my work to a larger audience in a more universal way, and to do so online.*

What was the thing that surprised you the most about the Market Your Movement training program?
Before I began, I didn’t know what a lead magnet was. After we created it (Chant Curious), I was surprised at both how much people appreciated it and how quickly it grew my mailing list. In just a few months, I doubled my email list!

Any unexpected opportunities for income or impact that this has generated?

The new way of thinking about things, and the amazing tools I received were crucial to pivot my work from live to online as a result of Covid. I have been able to maintain my income as a result. Without the lead magnet and indispensable guidance and support I received, I would be in a significantly more challenging position, considering all the recent changes. 

Yes, speaking of the changes, what, if anything, are you doing with regards to the #BlackLivesMatter movement?  
Because I now have an email list filled with people that also want to help heal themselves and the world through mantras, chants, and song, I can more easily and effectively communicate with them. Here’s a snippet of what I sent out the other day that they seemed to appreciate as a tool to focus on unity…“May the dangerous ignorance of racism be dismantled and eradicated. The color of our skin should never, in any way, affect the love and respect that we show toward each other. This must happen for us to evolve.” I then shared my song Love Belongs to Everyone… because now is the perfect time for us to make that ideal a reality.  (Also, we’ll be putting money where our mouth is by giving all proceeds from our next song release to the Equal Justice Initiative.)

What else would you like to share that might make this an interesting read for our fellow movement builders?
Aside from the economic benefit I received by upping my “movement marketing game,” the process of working with you all was illuminating, and ushered me into an evolution of my work that I had been seeking for a long time. You paved the way for this new chapter of mine, and how my team and I will be able to most effectively contribute to creating positive change — either in person or now digitally.

 


 

Connect with David Newman:

OFFICIAL SITE – https://www.davidnewmanmusic.com/
Facebook – David Newman
Instagram – @davidnewmanmusic
Spotify – David Newman
iTunes – ‎David Newman
Twitter – DavidDurgaDas
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/davidnewman108

Check out the
Market Your Movement Program

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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Social Change Movement Building in 2020

As social change movement leaders, we know that our oppressive and antiquated systems are broken, and that at some point, there would be a reckoning.

We are heartbroken by the injustice and suffering… this week, last week, and forever.

These systems that need to be overhauled? We’re not going to fix centuries of oppression overnight. However, if we don’t take this opportunity for creating new solutions out of the discord, shame on us.

In essence, fellow movement makers, this is our time.

Most people are good, but the systems are rotten … which is why people are searching for organized groups to join so that they can BE part of the solution. This is the time where most people are opening up to new thoughts, new ideas, and self reflections.

Social Change Movement Building Podcast

If you’re feeling an extra level of BURN to spark your movement, our podcast on “movement building” could be useful to you.

Press play and listen here.

We’re going to answer your questions like:

  • What makes you qualified to call yourself a movement builder?
  • Is movement building easier now than it was 10 years ago?
  • To become a movement builder, do you need an inherent ability to lead?
  • What is the difference between marketing vs. movement marketing?
  • When is it not only okay but recommended to call bull shit?

Thank you for you for being here in this community. Know you’re in a supportive environment, and we don’t expect you to get it perfect, in the same way you don’t expect that from us.

We honor all large or small changes you’re making to help replace the broken, oppressive systems with ones that are equitable, regenerative, and deeply respectful of all life on our messy, beautiful planet.

Here’s to our power in numbers to fight the good fight.

P.S. If you’re craving being surrounded by others who are taking the steps to substantially grow their impact and income, Market Your Movement™ online training program might be just what you’re looking for. The doors aren’t open right yet, but you can apply now so that when they do, you’ll be the first to know.

Check out the
Market Your Movement Program

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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Are you a “Movement Builder?”

As social change movement leaders, we know that our oppressive and antiquated systems are broken, and that at some point, there would be a reckoning.

We are heartbroken by the injustice and suffering… this week, last week, and forever.

These systems that need to be overhauled? We’re not going to fix centuries of oppression overnight. However, if we don’t take this opportunity for creating new solutions out of the discord, shame on us.

In essence, fellow movement makers, this is our time.

Most people are good, but the systems are rotten … which is why people are searching for organized groups to join so that they can BE part of the solution. This is the time where most people are opening up to new thoughts, new ideas, and self reflections.

Social Change Movement Building Podcast

If you’re feeling an extra level of BURN to spark your movement, our podcast on “movement building” could be useful to you.

Press play and listen here.

We’re going to answer your questions like:

  • What makes you qualified to call yourself a movement builder?
  • Is movement building easier now than it was 10 years ago?
  • To become a movement builder, do you need an inherent ability to lead?
  • What is the difference between marketing vs. movement marketing?
  • When is it not only okay but recommended to call bull shit?

Thank you for you for being here in this community. Know you’re in a supportive environment, and we don’t expect you to get it perfect, in the same way you don’t expect that from us.

We honor all large or small changes you’re making to help replace the broken, oppressive systems with ones that are equitable, regenerative, and deeply respectful of all life on our messy, beautiful planet.

Here’s to our power in numbers to fight the good fight.

Check out the
Market Your Movement Program™

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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The Reparations Movement – Juneteenth Notes

As Juneteenth comes into the national focus, it’s time for us to talk about the reparations movement. For the first time in decades, reparations made it onto the presidential debate stage in the Democratic primaries. Marianne Williamson made the case for paying reparations now, and millions of Americans cheered.

The first-ever ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) conference was held in 2019, and it brought together black leaders from across the country. One of the main topics concerned the status of the reparations movement and how we could advance the cause, as pressure and popular opinions grows around it.

Juneteenth and Reparations

Juneteenth commemorates the end of formal slavery — June 19th, 1865 — the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas.  

Emancipation Proclamation at the end of the Civil War, there were an estimated 4 to 5 million slaves in the American South.

General Tecumseh Sherman promised every former slave family of four, forty acres and a mule. Only a few actually received the acreage. Most of whom were granted it had it rescinded.

And this financial gap has never been closed.

The Reparations movement stands for payment of this debt that is owed to the descendants of American slaves.

We at HigherU celebrate Juneteenth by highlighting movement builders Cameron Whitten and Salomé Chimuku. 

 

 

Cameron, a community organizer, and Salomé, a policy researcher and lobbyist, are harnessing the power of #BlackLivesMatter through their organization — a reparations fund—The Black Resilience Fund.

They recently launched the fund to support black Portlanders in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.  

In just 2 weeks, they’ve raised over $630,000 for black Portlanders in need to pay for essentials such as diapers, phone bills, rent, and gasoline. Their goal is $1,000,000 by the end of today (June 19).

According to Cameron by phone yesterday, “The surge of interest in The Black Resilience Fund isn’t just about stopping police brutality, or ending the killings. The movement we’re building is about healing the impacts of racism for all of us. Healing for the people of color who’ve suffered, and healing for the white people who’ve caused or enabled it — those whose hearts are broken.”

How did Cameron and Salomé raise so much money so quickly?

  1. They’re harnessing #BlackLivesMatter movement to galvanize their cause.
  2. They were ready to act: Cameron has been advocating for and building public monthly meet-ups — known as “Reparations Power Hours” for two years.
  3. They’ve organized 600 volunteers on the ground.
  4. They’re using Facebook Live and other social media to amplify their message.
  5. Their social media is converting into invitations to speak publicly and privately — virtually — to Portland community organizations who want to support The Black Resilience Fund.

Learn More About the Reparations Movement

Want to learn more of the story on how Cameron Whitten and Salomé Chimuku’s galvanized their slice of the BLM movement?

Thank you, Cameron, Salomé, and all of you Movement Builders who are making sure that NOW is the time to make sweeping changes and take giant strides toward making amends for the unthinkable injustice.

Check out the
Market Your Movement Program

Join our group of movement builders rising to meet the moment of this “global reset” ✨⬇️✨

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Podcast: Does Your Voice Match Your Vision?

Does Your Voice Match Your Vision?

Hi, I’m Jen. And I’m Amanda. And you’re listening to the HigherU podcast.

[Amanda] So I woke up to a text this morning from Jen that said, hey, Amanda… can’t wait to record our podcast, but first I need to go feed my sheep and goats.

 

[Jen] I do not have goats. I do have sheep. I also have a horse, two cats that live under the house and control the situation and a dog and I will be getting some more sheep because they’re awesome.


[Amanda] Jen, have you always been a farmer?

 

[Jen] Yes, I’ve always been a farmer in my mind. There’s this song that has this lyric that said When God made me a Yankee, he was teasing. I kind of feel that way about when God me made me grow up in the suburbs.

 

He was teasing. And so I just have always had this very agricultural bent. I think maybe because of my grandmother, she let us sleep out in her barn with the bats we were riding. We were in the rivers. We were doing all this fun stuff. And I was just very turned on by nature. And so I think people that love nature want to want to be part of it. And then, of course, you realize how everything’s connected. And let’s be honest, I’m not really a farmer. I’ve got some garden beds and I’ve got a lot of animals. But I do subscribe to a magazine called Modern Farmer and I read it.

 

[Amanda] Ok, well, I don’t have distinctions between goats and sheep because I’m not a farmer.

 

[Jen] But, you know, do you know most people absolutely cannot tell the difference. And here’s the major clue: Goats have tails that go up. Sheeps have tails that go down.

 

[Amanda] Thank you. I know. Very insightful for the business podcast.

 

What motivated you to start ideal by specifically around the social mission of sustainability?

 

[Jen] Hmm. Honestly, we thought, gosh, they’re getting it wrong. They being any sort of environmental media. It was very like, OK, so the polar bears are dying, the ice caps are melting, but then what can we do about it? Nobody gave us any sort of. Tactical here is how to take a little bit of the power into your own hands and feel good that you’re part of the solution instead of just watching the problems happen. And Heather, my cofounding partner, and I were like, what if we brought. A little bit more kind of sex and sizzle and actionable ideas to the environmental movement, because we really saw it as very kind of bipolar, right? There were just these grieving pissers on one side and then everybody that made fun of the tree huggers on the other side. But we know that there’s this bell curve in the middle, people that actually did want to do the right thing, but not sell their house and live in a yard. So we just you know what? Let’s give this a shot.

 

Let’s see if we can attract more people to the movement by being less scary, quite frankly. And we kind of hit it right in terms of the timing, the voice, the advice, because people were kind of like, where do all these new terms mean? Like fair trade coffee and CFL those were a thing, right? Those light bulbs. And so we read people’s guides through the whole process of becoming what we call light green. And that was a big, big key in the positioning. Now we’ve reached the point where we really need to take big action, which is like why I’m so happy that Greta, the 16 year old, is the one finding her voice and is brave enough to go out and to to say it.

 

Everything that we know in our core needs to happen is like, no, we’re past the point of recycling. We’re past the point of doing small steps. We need the government involved. We need big business involved. We need world sanctions involved. And this is not a Chicken Little … The sky is falling. This is real. And so what we can do is be educated and support the people that are brave enough to go out there and to speak the truth.

 

[Amanda] I’m really glad that you brought up Greta, because that is precisely one of the motivations I had when I was choosing to start HigherU with you was to really help people, leaders find their voice, because many of us have these these dire movements and visions that we want to be a part of facilitating and leading. But unless you have a voice and can articulate that and have the bravery and the words and the clarity and the precision, none of us are going to be successful in being our highest selves and our best leaders. So it’s a perfect segue into one of the core focuses of what we do here at HigherU is helping you find that voice and helping you become the best version of Greta that you can become.

 

[00:05:00] 

[Jen] Yes, very well said, and it’s very hard to do it the other way around, meaning that you kind of say, oh, well, what do I think would make me the most money or famous and then back into it? It really has to come from within. It has to come from down deep for many reasons. One is the authenticity and the passion shows through, and that will attract people not only in the way of the secret and the laws of attraction, but it just is something that has a magnetic quality. And so when you speak to people, whether it be business contractors, vendors or on television, that permeates and that is that acquire that will differentiate you. And so when we were in the height of the green scene, right when Cameron Diaz started showing up to the award ceremonies in her Prius and all of that, we had so many copycats. We had so many people trying to do what we were doing in green and they would rip directly on our stuff. Meaning like our tagline was A Sassy Shade of Green. Well, there was a very well-funded company that started a kind of look alike company that was Sassy. People are into green and we’re like, are you serious right now? Are you just like that? Blatantly obvious trying to rip all of our stuff off? And it was so cool because even though they had $20 million dollars in funding, which we definitely did not have, and we watched them fail because they could not replicate our authenticity and they couldn’t replicate our passion. And the fact that both Heather and I really came from a sintered place, a very long history of living this light green lifestyle and being able to talk about it from a, you know, a real place. And they couldn’t do it. They hired fancy magazine editors that just had to learn overnight, like they would say, like essentially you can’t pay for authenticity.

 

You actually have to discover your authenticity. What advice do you have for someone who is like, well, I know what it is that I’m passionate about, but I can’t necessarily find the words and I don’t quite know if I’m resonating at that authentic level. How does someone tap into that if they if it’s not readily clear?

 

[Amanda] So how does someone find what they’re going to focus on?
I think what I would imagine is that many folks listening to this podcast know what they’re focusing on, but they haven’t found their Greta voice, possibly because they haven’t figured out the most authentic way of expressing that. How is it that you uncover your authentic voice if you know that you have a really important message, but it’s not resonating at the level that you believe it should be?

[Jen] Hmm.

Through experimental drugs, I’m just I think that also just truly like pretending that it doesn’t matter, because, again, if you’re leading with what you think the world wants to hear versus what it is you are wanting to talk about, then that’s going to be derailing. Right. And so obviously it’s trial and error.

And you go out there and you’re like, I’m going to make a bold statement and you might make enemies, but that’s OK. That’s kind of what you want. You know, and again, when I deliberate in our light green positioning, we made enemies. People hated us, like the hardcore greenies and the vegans. They hate us.

I thought you were fake. They’re like, you’re fluffy. You’re just about incremental change. You’re not about real change. You know, get off the grid.

Yeah. Like, here’s a perfect example. We did an email tip about something called Humane Veal.

 

It was like a “humane foie gras.” We knew that it was going to be contentious and it was going to spark some stuff.

 

And that day was so defining for us because we attracted more of our tribe. We attracted the people that were like, oh, yeah, like I don’t eat veal, but I have an uncle that does. And so now I get to recommend this to him because he’s never going to stop eating veal. But what’s cool is maybe he can now eat the kind that is a court ordered. These are solutions. And then we lost a whole bunch of people that unsubscribe from our list that were like your horrible bloody murderers, Blondie, blah. And then, of course, what happened from there is the whole debate went out onto the blogosphere and was picked up by all these bloggers that were writing about it and pointing back to us. And so we ended up getting about five thousand new subscribers at the end of the day from being real and holding our truth and not apologizing for offering solutions to people that weren’t going to be so. Black and white about what’s what’s right.

 

[00:10:00] [Amanda] One of my favorite things that you’ve said so far is don’t lead with what you think the world wants to hear. Lead with what you actually want to say. And I’m going to add to that point, which is to build character within yourself where you become less permeable to external criticism really hard, because that’s once you start finding your voice, you are going to start to have naysayers. You are going to start to have enemies, because that’s what it means to have a voice and to stand for something. But it is it can be very challenging to stand in the face of a lot of angry people, especially on social media.

 

[Jen] And also remember that they speak the loudest and that all the people that are thinking, huh, that’s a really good point. Or, oh, gosh, I really like Amanda for her authenticity and her bravery. They are not the ones motivated to write in. They’re not the ones motivated to speak out against. And so you have to remember that there is that echo chamber of your naysayers and people willing to knock you down. And so to your point, Amanda, you definitely need to develop some thick skin. Right. And that’s that’s hard to do because I think that we’re all pretty sensitive at our core.

[Amanda] I’m not I’m not sensitive at all, sometimes I think it’s like a strange cognitive dysfunction of mine, but yeah, well, maybe it’s a weakness that has become a strength, very possibly, or just means I’m ignorant to don’t know what it is or you’re a sociopath or you have and all that.

But I just think it’s important to articulate that because not everyone has that. And we do. Those of us who were just born this way need to model it so that others, because it’s such an important part of leadership, is being less permeable and more thick-skinned to other people’s opinions. Honestly, when someone criticizes me, the first thought that goes through my head is they’re just projecting their own insecurities about themselves onto me. It has nothing to do with me. Whether or not that’s true or not. That’s what I tell myself. That’s really awesome. I hope everybody can take a page out of your sociopathic book. So what advice do you have, Jen, on how you actually begin to put your message out into the world, this real, authentic vision of leadership? There is not enough precision around word choice, and we all start to sound slightly platitudinous.
Do you know what I mean by that?
[Jen] Yeah, I mean, and that’s that’s actually a kind of a core tenant of developing a brand is if you try to please all the people all the time. And if you’re not very discerning about what you put out there, then it all of a sudden just gets kind of amorphous.

 

And I guess you can say no one can hear it because it’s not it doesn’t cut through. It doesn’t stand out. It’s not interesting. Like I mean, even though I do happen to love, like, a really good vanilla bean ice cream, like, you just want to be careful of, like having this just kind of vanilla. Right. Like if you’re going to make a new ice cream flavor, like do one that actually stands out, you’re like, wow, that’s kind of wacky or that’s weird. That’s very rich and indulgent or like find that thing, you know, and then stick to it, you know, just try not to have schizophrenia because. Oh well, no. Now people are using a lot of street talk. And so I’m going to adapt and to street talk like and if it’s not authentic, like, people are just going to be like.

 

[Amanda] Yeah, you know, it reminds me of the advice I got from Becky Sager, who is the chief marketing officer of Charles Schwab. She was an investor in DailyWorth and one of the most amazing mentors to me. And what she said when you’re developing a brand, is that if you were to take anyone else’s logo and put it on top of your brand, it has to not work like your brand can’t be transferable. If you could take one of your competitors and put their logo over your brand statement or your positioning statement, then it’s actually not good enough. It has to be so distinct that it reflects you and can’t be replicated elsewhere.

 

[Jen] Yeah, absolutely. You need differentiation, right? Like what is it that you uniquely stand for and how do you uniquely approach it? Right. And so if you don’t have that, then it’s just kind of like, what’s the point? Why would I care? There’s just enough of everything out there in the world. You got to be different and to be different.

 

[Amanda] And that is where I think that a lot of folks fall short, is not paying close enough attention to the very specific words and details of how you are packaging what you’re putting out into the world, because you can have the best, most authentic vision and you can be ready to express yourself. But if you’re not expressing yourself in a way that is going to be completely distinct and unique, it’s going to get lost because it’s not. I wonder if there’s just a metaphysical explanation for this. Right.

 

[00:15:00] [Jen] Which goes back to being authentic in your voice. And so don’t worry about how it’s going to be perceived by the world. Speak your truth and then if you’re not a good wordsmith or higher one. Right. But don’t let them change the meaning. But it has to be translatable easily digestible. So when someone reads, say, your mission statement, you’re like, wow, I get that, that’s really cool. Or I get that I’m not interested, but whatever, it has to be getable. Right. And I try hard not to use trendy words, but this one keeps coming into my brain like it has to resonate.

 

[Amanda] That’s the metaphysical point that I was trying to make. Exactly. There has to be resonance and or it is not going to land where you want it to go. Exactly. A perfect way to bring it back around. Jen, thank you for that. And might I add, I remember now when Becky Sager came in to give this advice, it’s when you were leading the redesign of Daily Worth because you were so horrified by our brand positioning.

 

So what are you going to do for the rest of the day?

 

[Jen] I am so glad you asked. I have been in therapy and and my therapist says that it’s very important that I do art because you know what? I am actually half right brained and half left brain. And I have only been nurturing my business brain, which is why I’m in marketing, because it allows you to do this kind of like creative business and stuff. But now it’s important for me to do just the stuff that’s non quote unquote productive or the non what’s the word marketable. Like, I’m not going to sell my art. Right. Like, there’s like a whole there’s been one outcome. It’s literally for the writers and the process, not what happens at the end of it. Yeah, like art for art’s sake, not art for businesses sake. And so I’m trying to balance myself out at this midpoint in my life. And I definitely think that art will be key to that. So I’m going to do my art project, which is actually kind of industrious now that I think about it. It is creating a custom light fixture for my new art shack, which I believe outcome oriented, though, isn’t it, shit? Well, I mean, I could have just bought one. It’s true. No way. I don’t want to criticize your art. You go. So with that art fix, that light fixture, I fully support this. I’m going to shut up now. It’s OK. I mean, I do have another art project, which definitely is not. I mean, everything’s outcome, right, because you end up with art.

 

[Amanda] When you go to Burning Man at the end, all of the art gets set on fire. That’s why everything gets burned, because you’re supposed to just create it and then you’re supposed to have it disappear so that it’s just about the process.

 

What if you burned all your art at the end of it? How would that feel? Well, I would feel good if I thought the art was sucky and I’d be like, I’d be really pissed if I liked it, so, OK, we’re never going to burn again.

 

There you go. It is not for others, but it will find your authentic voice, I promise you that.

 

[Jen] Ok, so, Amanda, what are you most proud of? Not necessarily in your life, but in your business life.

 

[Amanda] What am I most proud of in business? This isn’t like this is your life. If you’re on Oprah, this is like, hey, we’re doing a business podcast. OK, got to ask it again. I have the answer.

 

[Jen] Amanda, what are you most proud of in your business life and experiences?

 

[Amanda] I’m most proud of the fact that over the last 20 years I have managed to work in technology, media, finance and politics and have senior positions in all four of those industries. And I am 42 years old. And then I have developed a type of skill set specifically across finance and technology mostly. But my passion is politics and saving the world and being a bleeding heart. And because my skills and my interests are so divergent, I’ve made multiple moves. The one most recently was from finance into politics, where I was the digital communications lead for the Marianne Williamson campaign for President. And as someone who’s always been interested in politics, being able to work on a presidential campaign and being able to be at the Democratic debates was one of the most riveting experiences. But I had no political experience prior. So I would say that my proudest accomplishment is the fact that I’ve built up a level of managerial expertise and business expertise and technical expertise that allows me to go where I want to go. And I never feel trapped.
[00:20:00] Hmm, interesting. All right, so that was super fun and if you guys thought it was too, then remember to write and review to help more awesome people like you find us.
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