Thu, 22 December 2016
#100: The Big 100th Episode - What's Next?
Jenn T Grace: You are listening to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast, episode 100.
Introduction: Welcome to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast; the podcast dedicated to helping LGBTQ professionals and business owners grow their business and careers through the power of leveraging their LGBTQ identities in their personal brand. You'll learn how to market your products and services both broadly, and within the LGBTQ community. You'll hear from incredible guests who are leveraging the power of their identity for good, as well as those who haven't yet started, and everyone in between. And now your host. She teaches straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves. Your professional lesbian, Jenn - with two N's - T Grace.
Jenn T Grace: Well hello and welcome to episode number 100 of the podcast. I am your host, Jenn Grace, and today is a monumental episode. We are at episode 100. This podcast began back in January of 2013 and we are now in December of 2016, so it has been four solid years of podcasting with you. And I so appreciate those of you who've been around since the very beginning. I know you are out there because I have heard from you, and I continue to hear from you, which is amazing and awesome and I so love you for that. But today I do have a couple of announcements that are going to change the direction of what's happening, so I want to just kind of be honest with you, and keep you up to date, and fill you in on all of the things that are evolving and have been evolving for the last couple of months or so.
You may recall throughout the last year or so I have been introducing topics around authorship, and focusing a little bit on content marketing, but really focusing on authorship and writing books, and building a personal brand platform that has to do with being an author, which is such an important way to kind of have yourself stand out from the crowd, especially as we're entering 2017. So over the last year I have been sharing this information with you, and you may recall that I started the Purpose Driven Author's Academy back in February, so February of 2016. And that academy has been morphing, and evolving quite substantially over the last almost twelve months or so, and what I have decided to do- and have already done actually, so you are the first to know this because this podcast is airing at the end of December, 2016. So I haven't made this public announcement yet, and I plan on doing so in January, but I have started a full-fledged publishing company called Purpose Driven Publishing. And I'm super excited about it, and have been for a while. I decided to start this company back in August, and since then I've been working on the structure, the service offering, how I'm going to differentiate myself in the market, who I'm going to work with, and while that's been happening I've been really doubling down on what the Purpose Driven Author's Academy looks like, and it's really, really exciting is all I can tell you. Just super, super exciting. What I want you to know as a listener of this podcast, and somebody who is likely LGBTQ, and you're trying to figure out your personal brand, one of the things that I want to make sure is super clear is that the Purpose Driven Author's Academy and the publishing company in particular are 100% for you.
The company and the academy are completely designed around helping people who have a purpose, they have a mission in life, they have a desire to educate people on their topic, and a lot of the people that I have worked with in 2016 have been part of the LGBT community. Naturally since my audience is the LGBT community, I've had a lot of people that I've been helping work on their books for the last twelve months or so, at least since February in this formal academy capacity. Previous to that I have been working with LGBT people writing their books for- actually since about 2012, 2013. So it's been happening in a very informal capacity. As you likely know if you've been listening to this podcast over the last couple of months, you know that I've been kind of sharing this journey with you, and a little bit of the history of this. So I'm excited about this because I want to work with anyone who has a story to tell that is purpose driven, or mission driven, who is trying to use the authorship and writing a book, and being a respected person- a respected thought leader in your space to really use a book to be the foundation of what your personal brand stands for. So if that is something that you're interested in and want to know more about, I totally recommend you go to www.PurposeDrivenAuthorsAcademy.com. Hopefully by the time you're listening to this, the new site will be up. Can't guarantee, at the very least it will redirect you to some information on my current website that will give you information on that. And then also www.PurposeDrivenPublishing.com. That also will send you to my website currently, but I'm hoping by the time you listen to this it will go to the new website that gives a little more information about the publishing company, and what I plan on doing, and all that fun stuff. But I did want to share that with you because I really still want to continue working with LGBT people, or LGBTQ people I should say, and I want to do it in just a little bit different of a capacity.
So the things that I wanted to share with you is that my business is constantly morphing and shifting, and I think that that is the case for many people, and it's morphing and shifting a little bit as we enter 2017. Obviously first and foremost starting a publishing company, that is going to compete for my time when it comes to the business strategy related stuff. However I still will be doing LGBTQ business strategy related things. What I want to be clear on is that in 2017 I'm really looking for working in consulting capacities, or in speaking capacities at conferences for Fortune companies, for nonprofit organizations, whoever it might be who is in need of a message around LGBTQ. Those are the things that I'm going to be focusing on. So I'm excited about it but it's equally a little bit scary to be kind of venturing away from focusing on helping people market specifically. I've recently begun a re-positioning of my messaging, and really what that looks like for my business, and as you may recall my tagline for a very long time has been 'I teach straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves,' and I have since changed that to 'Because change happens in business.' And I firmly believe that change happens in business, and I think we all believe that, so I've changed my tagline accordingly. I've also added a little bit of a qualifying statement if you will to my Professional Lesbian logo. So the logo is my signature, and it says Professional Lesbian, now under that it says LGBT Business Strategist. So it gives a little bit of an idea of how the direction is changing, and like I said it's going to be away from the marketing now and really focused on consulting, business strategy, speaking and helping people, specifically LGBTQ and then a little bit more broadly anyone with a purpose that really wants to make an impact on the world, helping them author or publish their books.
So this is a little bit of a departure from what has been going on. The reason I'm telling you all of this is because it is going to impact the podcast. So we're in episode 100, it has been 100 episodes, four years, I've had incredible guests on the show from the very, very beginning, and what I am going to be doing is going on a bit of a hiatus. And I am being super honest with you in telling you that I'm not 100% how the return from my hiatus will happen, when it will happen, what's going to result from that. I'm a little bit unclear on that but I wanted to record this episode, this final one of 2016, and just say to hold tight, I'm not going to be producing any new episodes in the near future, I'm trying to figure out what this podcast might look like, however I do have 100 episodes. And I actually have more than 100 because in 2013 I did a special series called '30 Days and 30 Voices: Stories from America's LGBT Business Leaders,' and I recorded thirty interviews with thirty people over the course of thirty days, and I launched them in June, and 99% of the content from those interviews is 100% relevant now as it was three years ago in 2013. So most of the content, and most of the interviews that I've done, they're timeless in so many ways. In marketing we call it evergreen content. So it's content that just kind of keeps on churning, and providing value long after it's been recorded, so there's not much of an expiration date if you will.
So what I do plan on doing is essentially reusing a good amount of old podcasts for the start of 2017 at the very least. So if you have listened to every single podcast I have ever recorded, all 130 of them, you're amazing and you need to email me right away because you're a super fan and I would love to talk to you. But if you haven't listened to all 130, I'm going to be repurposing some from a while back, so I'm going back into the archives and I'm pulling out some good information from people that shared amazing stories in the past that you might have not listened to because for one reason or another you didn't know that they existed, or you never made it that far back. So in looking at my schedule, my line-up if you will for what I'm going to be repurposing in 2017, and some of the stuff that I'm going to do is going back to the basics of LGBT terminology. So it could be something of interesting to you, it might not be, and if it's not just don't listen to it and maybe the next one is going to be of more interest. But I do have things about building a strategy and a plan for your LGBT outreach, answering a lot of questions, tips and tricks about online marketing, talking about diversity and inclusion, and how LGBTQ kind of intersects with that, and then I have a lot of interviews. So I have interviews from out trans leaders, out lesbians, people from the Human Rights Campaign, I have people from the Williams Institute, nonprofit leaders of True Colors, a lot of LGBT entrepreneurs, people who work in supplier diversity, Out & Equal, and yeah out gay jewelry designers. So there's definitely a lot, a lot, a lot that I plan on repurposing in 2017. Like I said, this is more of kind of a hiatus. I don't want to say this is the end of the show because it's not. It's just evolving and I have to figure out how it's evolving in a way that I can feel comfortable and confident that you're still getting good information from me. So I don't want to half-ass it while I try to figure out how my consulting business interacts with my publishing company. I don't want to half-ass it so I would rather provide you with the best of the best previous interviews that I've done in shows that I've done, the top listened shows that I've had, and bring those to your attention for you to listen to present day. And if you have any requests, or any- if you have a topic that you want me to talk about at any point in time, I can jump in and record a new episode for you. So if you're dying and aching and itching for a new episode, don't hesitate to reach out to me because I will happily hop in and do that.
If you head over to my website at www.JennTGrace.com/thepodcast, you have access to all 130 episodes so you don't have to wait as I re-release them going into 2017, you can just find any of them at any point in time that anything that is of interest to you. And of course all of this information is on all of my social media channels, so whether it's Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, I am there and I'm consistently there, so you can certainly find the information there as well. So I'm not disappearing, I'm not going away, I'm still plugging away doing a lot of LGBTQ strategy work, I already have a lot of big contracts in place for 2017, because I don't think I have to tell you this. I think we are all in the same place with the outcome of the presidential election here in the United States, and I think we probably are all- well I don't want to say we're all in agreement, but I'm sure if you're listening to this there's a fair chance that you fully understand what this new presidential situation, how that's going to impact LGBTQ equality. So the work is far from over, we have a ton of work to do, a ton of work to do and I think now more than ever our voices are really important and need to be heard. So my voice, your voice in whatever capacity that's in. So if you've been listening to the show for a while and you're trying to find your voice as it relates to the LGBTQ space, and figure out what your personal brand stands for, I encourage you that now is the time to just get started. You don't have to know exactly what your voice is going to be, just jump into the fray and get going. So if you've been dreaming about starting a podcast, or you've been wanting to start a blog, or you've been wanting to do a video, whatever it is now is the time that your voice needs to be heard. And I really, truly mean that. If you've been dreaming about writing a book, check out the academy, and I'm not saying that in a self-serving way. Genuinely if you're really thinking about now is the time that I need to write this book because I understand that my message is so important to be heard right now. There are so many LGBTQ people who are in unsafe spaces right now, and I think our voices as professionals, as entrepreneurs, as business leaders, now is the time that we really have to be vocal and visible so we can help impact the community any positive way as we are going to hit some really challenging times in the next four years. We all have a responsibility and a duty in many ways to just kind of stand up for the voiceless and get our messages out there. It's going to be challenging, it's going to rough over the next four years, but now is the time to take action. So if you've been thinking about it, I want you to actually really, really truly contemplate whether or not you're going to take action in 2017. And I am always available for a free thirty minute phone call, so if you want to go to www.MeetWithJenn.com you can see my online calendar and we can set up a time to chat quick, and if there is any way that I can help kind of push you over the edge, and push you into figuring out how you're going to start that conversation, how you're going to start your platform whatever that looks like, whether it's starting a podcast, I'm happy to spend thirty minutes with you and just dig deep, brainstorm and just send you in the right direction that's going to help you accomplish your goals. Because ultimately back in episode 82 of this year I specifically talked about how my number one goal is to impact a million people, and I want to impact a million people as it relates to LGBTQ. So if that means I can have a conversation with you, and I can help you impact 1,000 people then I am one step closer to my goal. Or if I can help ten of you impact 1,000 people, that's ten steps closer to my goal and that's ultimately what it's all about. We have to be in this together. It's kind of a- I don't want to be dramatic and say a do-or-die scenario, but it's really going to be a rough road ahead. So if I can hop on a call with you and help kind of square you away and get you started in the right direction, I would be more than happy and honestly honored to help you with that.
There are two additional things that I want to at least mention while I have your undivided attention, before I kind of go into a hiatus mode. And one of them is an offering, and it's a new- it's not really a new service, it's really kind of under consulting and business strategy, but I just want to share with you a win that I recently had because you might be working for a corporation who needs this help, or you might know of a corporation who needs this kind of help, and I would be honored to help kind of guide and steward the organization in the right direction. But this is more a little bit about the win that this company that I've been working with just recently had. And I can't say their name because of liability reasons, and nondisclosure agreements, and all that fun stuff that I have signed with them, however the principle applies.
So I've been working with this company that is a Fortune 100, and I've been working with them for a couple of years, and they recently hired me back in the spring- or actually winter. They hired me to help them improve their Corporate Equality Index score for the Human Rights Campaign's CEI. If you are unfamiliar with the CEI I encourage you to go to my website, www.JennTGrace.com and search CEI and a lot of information will come up about it; why it's important, how this is beneficial, all that fun stuff. The short of it is that I have been working with this company for over a year because I was working with them in a marketing capacity before I started helping them with their CEI. And when we started this process we officially really began in April, and the Human Rights Campaign needs the survey that really is what the Index is based off of, they need the survey completed by August. So we had from April to August basically to figure out how on earth we were going to take this corporation that had a 10 previously on the CEI, and get them to a respectable level. And going into it in all honesty I thought it was going to be a David and Goliath type of scenario where there is this group of dedicated people who are really amazing, really awesome, who want to gain LGBTQ equality for their employees, for their coworkers, and I thought it was going to be them versus kind of the corporate board of directors, the people who are out of touch. I had like this very specific impression in my mind of how this was going to play out. I do always enjoy a challenge, and just because there might be a disconnect between the people on the ground, in the weeds, just because there's a disconnect between them and maybe the executives, that doesn't mean that there isn't a path to success in my opinion.
So I had this impression that it was going to be really, really hard to create change. Again change happens in business. I thought it was going to be really tough, and I cannot begin to explain to you how pleasantly surprised I was that while it was still tough work in order of getting all of the policies and kind of just the logistics in place, this corporation went from a 10 to a 90. And the new 2017 CEI was released in November, so just a month ago from the time that you're listening to this, and I'm so, so pleased to see that they have a 90 now on the Corporate Equality Index. This is a corporation that has like 17,000 employees so having sexual orientation, and gender identity, and gender expression, and all of those necessary things- transgender healthcare benefits, all of those necessary things in place for those 17,000 employees is amazing. Because while yes the LGBT community is representing like less than 4% of the population, so 4% of those 17,000 employees are going to be directly impacted by this corporation taking that awesome next step into having full equality in their workplace for their people. I feel like this is amazing, I'm so excited and so proud of them. I really look forward to engaging with them again in 2017 to help them get to 100. My real goal is on the 2018 CEI, this company has 100%. So they would have gone from a 10 to 100 in two years' time. And I think any company is capable of this if they have the right people, and the right leadership to say, 'Let's do this, let's get this done' basically. And in this particular instance, this corporation, they had the buy-in from senior level executives, they had the buy-in from the CEO, and they had all of the autonomy and authority to get this done, which I think is entirely why they were so successful in doing this because there was that top-down agreement of, 'This is something that's important to our organization, and we are going to do this.' I was privy to an email that an LGBTQ person within this company sent to the CEO, and I was able to see it and it was just a very simple, 'Thank you. I'm proud to be an employee of this company.'
So there's a huge impact that can be made. So if you're working for a corporation that you know is not doing well on the CEI, there is total hope for you. Total hope, and if you are interested and want me to have a conversation with your, or with them, or anybody, I'd be more than happy to do that. I found out of everything that I worked on in 2016 in addition- or other than to the working with my authors on the publishing side, if I look at all of the LGBTQ projects that I worked on in 2016, this was hands down one of the best because every time we got a little bit closer to a better score, it was just a huge sense of victory. And I've been behind the scenes, out of sight. This company and the people within it are all the true champions, I just gave them the guidance and kind of the general direction of like, 'This is what we have to do, this is who you have to talk to,' and all that. But they made it happen and now they're positioning themselves as a market leader, and they can attract LGBTQ employees and top talent because they have protections that those employees are looking for. So this was such a rewarding- and such an interesting way, just such a rewarding project to have worked on, especially if we look at my business. It's very much kind of equally- I think it's equally behind the scenes versus equally on a stage speaking. This was straight up behind the scenes and I loved every minute of it, and the people who work for this company- the marketing people, HR, everyone, they're just really genuine, and sincere, and authentic people, and it's just been seriously amazing. So I'm so proud of them to have a 90%. If at any point in time I can tell you who they are, I'd be more than happy to because they are amazing and I would love for you to do business with them. But for now I shall keep their name.
Although that leads into the second thing that I wanted to tell you. I am working on my next book, and it should be out in 2017- in winter of 2017 is what my hope is, and I'm hoping that I can possibly name this company by name in the book, I'm working on trying to figure out how I will do that now. But this is- and I screw up the number every time I say it, it'll either be my third book or my fourth book. I can't quite determine which one it is.
You may even wonder how on earth I could possibly not know how many books I've written, and the reality is that I have written two print books. So it's the first book which was 'But You Don't Look Gay: The Six Steps to Creating an LGBT Marketing Strategy.' And then I wrote my second book which was 'No Wait, You Do Look Gay: The Seven Mistakes Preventing You from Selling to the $830 Billion LGBT Market.' And then I wrote a third book that is not in print, it is only an electronic version. So I never know if I'm going to count that one as a book or not, and that book is 'Marriage Equality Marketing: Five Questions You Must Ask to Sell to the $884 Billion LGBT Market.' So because that one is not in print I always- sometimes I want to include it as a third book, sometimes I don't. Either way those are the three I've written. The 'Marriage Equality Marketing' book is free, it's completely free on my website if you go to www.JennTGrace.com, a popup will pop up in your face and ask you if you'd like to download it, and there's information about it in a couple of different places.
So I highly encourage you to at the very least go get that book for free, but I am working on- we'll call it my fourth for the sake of this discussion. So I am working on my fourth book, as I mentioned I'm hoping that it will be out in winter of 2017. My goal is for it to be out probably in late January, maybe early mid-February. It's a little bit tricky right now trying to figure out the editing process, and I'm in the throes of it right now just editing it. So it's nine chapters as it stands at this very moment, and I'm in the process of editing chapter eight, so I'm almost there. And then I have to figure out all the other fun logistics of who's going to write the forward, and testimonials, and all of that fun stuff that goes with writing a book.
This book is a little bit different than the others. If we look at the other three books, they've all been a little bit of a hybrid of LGBTQ audience and straight ally audience. My audience this entire time I've been doing this, which goes back to- at least this iteration of my business, to 2012. And if I look at my experience in the LGBTQ space, generally speaking that goes back to 2006, but this entire time I've spent a lot of time equally focused on helping allies reach the community and then helping people within the community just be better at marketing themselves. And this book is different, it's really different, and the reason is it is designed purely for allies. Just for allies. I have never done anything that is only intended for allies. Any LGBTQ person could pick it up, of course you could learn from it, there's always something I think that can be learned, but this is very much communications based. There is no- we're not talking about marketing necessarily, it's very much how to get into the mind of an LGBT customer, and how to make sure that you're authentically approaching the market. So it is in a large, large part very much what I've been preaching and talking about for the last four years on this podcast, and in my blog, but it's written in a very different way. It is really a book designed to be a cheerleader for an ally who genuinely wants to reach our community in a way that is true to them, that's going to serve us well, and that it really is a win-win situation. It really is kind of a champion, and it's a cheerleader helping that ally kind of get through these mental blocks, and help them understand why we're using the stereotypes that we're using, or why people are covering their identity, or all of these very emotional things, very psychological things. I'm really excited with how the book is turning out. When I first started this, and I started the re-write really officially back in the end of October, and my original intent to be honest with you was to take the first two books that I've done, and just kind of blend them together and create like a new updated version of that, that was really almost I would say 80% the same content. And when I did that, I just didn't like the way it felt. I feel like it wasn't the book that was needed in the marketplace if you will. And I started writing it before the election, so I started writing it in the end of October, the election was the second week of November, and yeah everything just kind of blew up in a not so pleasant way. So I had written the first draft basically before the election, and when I went back to edit that first draft, it just was kind of like, 'Oh hell no this is not going to work anymore.' The election has changed- I don't want to be so dramatic, but the election has changed everything in my mind. It's been a complete and utter game changer. So when I went back and looked through it I was like, 'Nope this is not the book that needs to be written,' and I just kind of scrapped a lot of what I had written, I deleted a ton of information. So the first three books that I have that exist, all of that is still kind of minding its business. This next book will have very little overlap, if any overlap to those other books. If anything I'm just kind of referencing, 'This is covered in the first book. Feel free to go get your copy here' type of stuff. But I think the election has changed a lot, and I'm hoping that this is the book that an ally who's like, 'I need to be an ally,' or someone who doesn't even know that they're an ally yet, but they're like, 'I know I need to help the LGBT community right now. I know I have to, how do I do that? I need the manual.' So this is kind of the manual to help people reach the LGBT community.
So I do look forward to having that available in February or so. As I get that information up on my website it will be there, so www.JennTGrace.com. The information will be there. I am looking for people to be book ambassadors which basically I will be giving you kind of a free preview, a free copy in exchange for helping me promote the book during the launch. And again, I don't know when the launch will be, I'm guessing probably somewhere in February is my best guess, and I will need people to help me kind of promote it and make sure that it makes sense within particular audiences. And again it's designed for the straight ally but an LGBTQ person could pick it up and absolutely learn from it. There's definitely stuff to be learned from, but it's really written to a straight person who means well and wants to do the right thing and just needs that guidance and kind of a support system there to tell them that when they do something it's not the end of the world, and here's how to counteract what you've done, and all that kind of great stuff.
That was a mouthful. I fully understand that it was a lot of information that I've just thrown out at you, and I did so in a not 100% cohesive way. I think I bounced around a little bit, but that kind of sums up this final episode of 2016 and we will speak again in 2017, I'm just not 100% when that is. So I do hope that you enjoy going back in time listening to some of the amazing old archives that I have pulled out for at least the first couple of months of 2017. So keep in touch with me, keep telling me what's going on. If you want to be a book ambassador please reach out. I've also redone my entire email series, so if you join my mailing list I have redone it in a way that it is super, super educational. It always has been but I went back and just redid it so there's a lot more intent behind it. So and the intent there is to help educate you, it's not trying to sell you on things, it's really just focused on how do I take the 500+ blog posts and podcasts collectively that I have, how do I make sure that I'm giving that information to you in a way that logically makes sense? Rather than just telling you to go to my website and just start looking around. You could be looking around for weeks and still not cover all of the information that's there. So the new email is really just designed to help specifically and strategically guide you in the right direction to enhance your business, enhance your personal brand, all of that great stuff.
With that being said, again this is not a final goodbye, but this is a goodbye, we're on hiatus for a little bit. If you're interested, check out my website, www.JennTGrace.com. If interested check out www.PurposeDrivenPublishing.com or www.PurposeDrivenAuthorsAcademy.com. All of those places I will be there, and again www.MeetWithJenn.com will bring you to my online scheduling calendar, and I'd be honestly happy to help kind of brainstorm and kickstart you in the right direction. So if you would like to talk to me please do so.
With that being said I so appreciate your listenership for these last four years, I hope the end of 2016 has been good for you, and I hope 2017 kicks some serious ass, and we will talk again very soon. Have a great New Year.
Thank you for listening to today's podcast. If there are any links from today's show that you are interested in finding, save yourself a step and head on over to www.JennTGrace.com/thepodcast. And there you will find a backlog of all of the past podcast episodes including transcripts, links to articles, reviews, books, you name it. It is all there on the website for your convenience. Additionally if you would like to get in touch with me for any reason, you can head on over to the website and click the contact form, send me a message, you can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all at JennTGrace. And as always I really appreciate you as a listener, and I highly encourage you to reach out to me whenever you can. Have a great one, and I will talk to you in the next episode.