My “White Hot Truth” story (inspired by Danielle LaPorte)

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Entrepreneurship, Personal'

As you might know, I’m a huge fan of Danielle LaPorte.

(For those of you who don’t know Danielle, she’s a bestselling author, spiritual seeker, and member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100).

Many times, her comforting words have touched me at my core. It’s like she understands the depths of my soul and can reflect back exactly what I need to hear on paper.

That’s why I was so excited about her latest book, White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another (available for pre-order now).

The book is all about being true to yourself, even when it’s difficult. It’s about embracing self-improvement and learning from others, but not losing yourself, and never forgetting your own personal power.

As part of her launch, Danielle has invited people to share their own “white hot truth” stories.

Today I’m sharing mine.

My white hot truth…

I was out in the sun in a cute cafe, enjoying oysters and mimosas with a dear friend, who said, “Congrats on crossing the million-dollar mark in your business! What’s your next goal, Selena? How big do you want your business to grow?”

I felt a bit foolish when I told her, “I’m really happy with where my business is right now.” The truth is, I didn’t have any ambitious plans to grow.

My response even surprised me, because I’m hard-wired to push myself. It’s my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.

For me, every day starts at zero. I have this relentless need to “achieve” something each and every day (this includes workdays, weekends, and vacations) in order to feel good about myself. While intellectually I understand I’m worthy just for being me, there’s another part of me that ties my self-worth directly to my accomplishments…and I’m always close to falling short.

Now, I can’t complain too much, because my drive has served me well. It led me to push myself to earn $157k in the first year of my coaching business (despite being an introvert who was terrified of public speaking). The next year, I doubled my business to $315k and the next year, I earned close to $700k. I’m deeply grateful that my revenue and impact continues to grow each year.

Along the way, I joined some incredible masterminds. I learned from amazing mentors. I pushed myself well outside of my comfort zone and tried new things (that made me want to throw up and not get out of bed). I’m so grateful that I did those things anyway. Because if I didn’t make those investments and take those risks, I’d never know my real potential.

But today, I find myself in an interesting place, because I’m not “striving” in the same way I was before. Not only that, but I find myself disagreeing with a lot of conventional wisdom and advice. This includes advice from top experts who I continue to respect and admire to this day.

For example, I don’t believe that every expert, coach, and thought leader needs a continuity membership site (arguably the hottest business model right now). Or to run a free challenge, be active on Instagram or Pinterest, write a book, start a podcast, and post regularly on social media. Why do I say that? Because I don’t do ANY of those things, yet I’ve still managed to build a thriving seven-figure business. In fact, there was a loooong period of time when I didn’t even do any list-building!

I’m so tired of people saying you MUST do X, Y, or Z if you want to be successful. Because the truth is, you don’t have to do any of it. Let’s say you want to travel from where you are to Chinatown. There are an infinite number of ways to get there — by subway, bicycle, private jet, or horse and carriage. It doesn’t matter what mode of transportation you take, as long as you get to the final destination and enjoy the ride along the way. It’s the same with business.

Another piece of well-meaning advice that always makes me cringe is, “You don’t want to be trading dollars for hours!” It’s as if working with people one-on-one is the biggest mistake you could ever make as an entrepreneur. As if it’s the *one thing* holding someone back from their passive income dreams and piña coladas on the beach.

Personally, I’m thankful for the supremely talented rockstar entrepreneurs who make their one-on-one services available to me. I love group programs and they certainly have their place, but where would I be without my amazing team of coaches, consultants, and contractors who share their gifts so generously with me?

I also feel deeply grateful to be offering my one-on-one services to a small group of private clients. I feel so honored to be their trusted advisor. I’m grateful that they confide in me with their biggest dreams. And in the process, my private client work allows me to make a greater impact in the world than I could ever make solely on my own. By elevating my clients’ ideas, message, and story, I’m doing what I consider to be truly “high-leverage” activities, while impacting millions along the way.

As I approach the five-year anniversary mark of my business in June, I can’t help but wonder what’s next for me. What are the new ways I’m meant to help others and make my unique mark in the world?

While there are an infinite number of business opportunities I could consider, I’ve been shy to make any big moves. Because traditional “success metrics” like money and email list size don’t mean as much to me now as they did before. Today I care so much more about alignment and how I feel.

What feels joyful, exciting, and expansive for me? What feels easy and true, that will also allow me to learn and grow?

In the past, I’d look to a business coach or mentor to tell me what to do. I’d spend $10,000 or maybe even $30,000 in search of an answer….

But today, I realize that the only person who really knows what’s right for me is me. Like all of us, I have my own unique set of filters and preferences which help me define what my own version of success and happiness looks like. The answer is not outside of me — it’s within.

It feels weird not be “striving” the way I was before, where doubling my revenue each year was the clearest sign of success. It feels weird to have extra time and space on my calendar — and to exercise the discipline to “keep the space open” while I let what seem like once-in-a-lifetime opportunities pass me by. But that’s what feels most true to me right now.

Keep the space open, keep the space open.

Let go of the good to allow for the great.

To have faith that if I trust with an open heart and make room to receive, the answer will come…

My Interview on Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Networking, Publicity'

I recently had the incredible honor of being interviewed by Pat Flynn for his podcast, Smart Passive Income — and I’m so excited because our interview was just released! (You can listen to it right here.)

Why is this so exciting?

It’s been a long-time dream of mine to be interviewed on Smart Passive Income. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a top-ranking and award-winning business podcast by Pat Flynn. He has interviewed some of the smartest minds and biggest names, including Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Amy Porterfield, Gary Vaynerchuk, and more.

So I was grateful for this opportunity.

But here’s the thing — this opportunity didn’t just magically fall out of the sky and land on my lap.

Pat was someone I’d wanted to connect with for years, but I didn’t want to force it. I was sure it’d happen when the time was right.

I was first introduced to Pat through a mutual friend who put us in touch because I had a client I wanted to recommend for the Smart Passive Income podcast. (The request wasn’t about getting something for myself — it was about adding value because I genuinely believed my client would be a perfect fit for his show.)

Then, last fall, Pat mentioned in his newsletter that he’d be in New York City for a speaking event. He said it was a short visit, but he may have time to meet up with some people in his community.

I knew that Pat was a very busy guy, so instead of trying to set up a one-on-one meeting (after all, he still didn’t really know me), I offered to host a dinner party for him, along with other thought leaders and industry experts.

Here’s a screenshot of the email I sent:

And I got a reply. We went back and forth a couple times about the details and the guest list, and voilà! A dinner party for Pat Flynn materialized.

The dinner party was a great way to add value to Pat, and next thing I knew he invited me to be a guest on his podcast.

And that’s the exact same interview that was just released today!

During this interview, we covered topics like…

  • How to get major media coverage — what editors are looking for, the perfect story ideas to pitch, and more.
  • Creative ways to “add value” — with lots of specific examples.
  • The do’s and don’ts when connecting with big influencers — and how to leave a great first impression.

Pat also put me in the hot seat by throwing a hypothetical product at me. I then shared how I would get that product out into the world and into the hands of potential buyers.

You can listen to the whole episode here.

My 2016 Year-End Review

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Personal'

Happy 2017! I hope you had a restful holiday, and are feeling excited about the year ahead. I recently sat down to reflect on 2016. It’s amazing how much can happen in a year!

Here are my 16 top highlights, plus read until the end to hear about my #1 focus in 2017.

My 2016 Highlights…

1. Spoke at Lululemon in Ponsonby, New Zealand for close to 100 people (thank you Emily Gallagher for making this possible!).

2. Hosted my first big live event for 200 people, with speakers like Derek Halpern and Ryan Lee.

3. Did a 2-day professional video shoot to collect case studies for one of my group programs.

4. Launched Impacting Millions and helped students land opportunities at O, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, The Huffington Post, and many more.

5. Hosted a party for Farnoosh Torabi, celebrating her column in O, The Oprah Magazine and CNBC primetime show.

6. Masterminding and pool time with friends during Ryan Levesque’s Next Level ELITE mastermind retreat.

7. Started organizing monthly influencer dinner parties with my good friend Chris Winfield.

8. Hosted three private group masterminds at my home.

9. Planned a special dinner party in honor of Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

10. Organized a table at the Open Center fundraising gala, honoring Deepak Chopra.

11. Found a new, cozy co-working space.

12. Went on a spa holiday in Arizona for a week with my friend Natalie MacNeil.

13. Published the Ultimate Guide to Meeting People at Events, which led to three follow-up stories in Business Insider and one on Inc.com.

14. Did an interview with my mentor Ramit Sethi, which reached 600,000 people.

15. Attended and fundraised for the She’s The First Mentor Breakfast, honoring Marie Forleo.

16. Made $1.1MM in revenue this year. This really blows my mind. I used to work at a nonprofit, where I was capped at $42k/year. I’m so humbled and honored to have hit this major revenue milestone — thanks to a lot of hard work and many incredible people who helped me along the way.

Thank you for being a part of my community and celebrating with me. =)

While 2016 was an amazing year in many ways, I have a feeling that 2017 will be even bigger and better.

Many people have asked me, “What’s next for you, Selena?” They want to know if I’ll be launching new programs, doing more events, or writing a book.

My #1 focus for this year is my Impacting Millions publicity program, which will open doors in March. My most important goal is to help YOU establish yourself as your industry’s go-to expert + reach more people through the power of publicity. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months!

How to grab a TV producer’s attention

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Publicity'

My client Christine Egan was recently on FOX News! She’s the author of The Healthy Girl’s Guide to Breast Cancer and one of my star clients.

Here she is speaking to Dr. Manny and Dr. Laura Berman (Oprah’s go-to sex therapist) on how breast cancer can make your sex life better.

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My friend Paula Rizzo, an Emmy Award-winning producer, booked Christine for this segment. I asked her to share the inside scoop about what TV producers are looking for — and she agreed! Here’s what Paula had to say.

How to get a TV producer’s attention

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Every day, I receive hundreds of pitches from experts, authors, and coaches who want to reach the masses with their message.

But the chances are — if their specialty or topic doesn’t immediately grab my attention, I won’t give it a second glance.

So today I want to give you my insider tips to grabbing a producer’s attention — and keeping it!

1.  Give a unique and timely angle.

Producers have seen it all. In order to get noticed, you need a unique and innovative angle. (Giving “5 ways to burn fat” won’t cut it anymore.)

Look for a recent study or news story that supports your angle or think about how you can dispel common myths that the general public believes. Another option is to give a counterintuitive tip like, “eating bacon is actually really good for you!” (I wish this were true.)

However, make sure to be smart about this. Your angle should fit your expertise and also be a topic we want to hear about. Recently, I was pitched by an entertainment lawyer who wanted to talk about Ebola. It made zero sense and he didn’t get booked.

If it’s not easy for me to see the connection, I’ll lose interest and move on.

2.  Include clear takeaways in bite-sized chunks.

In your pitch, be very clear about what you will be giving the audience. How will you be making their lives better? What better decisions will they make after watching your segment?

Your tips should also be actionable and specific. Rather than saying “be more passionate and you’ll be happier,” say: “write down 3 non-negotiable self-care actions you’ll infuse in your life starting today.”

Remember that producers are used to writing short copy that is very conversational. Talk to us in our language! Organize your ideas in bullet points, because they make digesting information in emails quick and easy.

Be succinct, concise and keep it simple. The same goes for in-person chats and on-camera interviews.

3.  Provide video media clips. 

Sending a pitch without a video clip is like putting up a listing for a home without any photos of it. What’s the point?

We need to see you on camera! It’s just the way the business works — if you don’t look good and sound good, you don’t get booked. It’s simple.

If you don’t have an actual media clip to share, shoot something with your webcam so the producer can see and hear you. Do your best with lighting and makeup. Even if it’s a YouTube video of you talking straight to camera or someone interviewing you off camera, it will be helpful.

4.  Realize when a producer is just not that into you.

It happens… Sometimes it’s not a match. Take the rejection gracefully and don’t push back, get snippy, or pitch more angles in desperation.

Plus, one rejection doesn’t mean we won’t ever book you. Take a breath and preserve the relationship. Some of my best guests weren’t a fit the first time around, but I kept them in the back of my mind. Then, when something relevant popped up, we were able to work together.

***

I hope you enjoyed Paula’s insider tips! She is one smart cookie. =)

In addition to her work in TV, Paula runs a productivity site called ListProducer.com.

She also has a new book called Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed.

This powerful guide has been endorsed by David Allen (international bestselling author of Getting Things Done), Gretchen Rubin (New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project), and many more. I think you’ll love it too. Get the first chapter here — completely free for my readers.

#1 secret to reaching your goals (do you know it?)

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Entrepreneurship'

Have you ever looked at successful entrepreneurs who seem to effortlessly build 6- and 7-figure businesses and wonder… is running a business just easier for them?

You see them hosting beautiful retreats overseas, getting tons of attention for their latest video series, and selling info products to thousands of excited students.

Meanwhile, maybe you tried to launch a group program and just a small handful of people (or perhaps no one) signed up. Or you posted an article you poured your heart and soul into, and no one seemed to notice.

In the back of your mind, you wonder: Were they born with a special “entrepreneur gene” that makes everything they launch turn to gold?

It’s not that they all have a special gene. The powerful and often overlooked trait I’ve discovered among successful 6-figure and 7-figure entrepreneurs is commitment.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It demands long hours, continual self-promotion, and major financial investments. For those who make it to the top, it’s because they are committed to doing whatever it takes to get there.

They’re willing to take extraordinary actions to reach their goals — no matter how uncomfortable, scary, or inconvenient they are.

That’s what makes them successful.

For example, one of my star students, Julie Parker, is one of the top coaches in Australia. She runs a popular coaching school called Beautiful You Academy and an online magazine called inspired COACH. To say that she’s busy would be an understatement!

Julie was in my Publicity Mastermind a few years ago and had to take 20+ hour flights (each way) to make the retreats in New York. She was always the first one online for our group coaching calls, even though they were at 3am her local time in Australia. When I gave her the schedule, her response was, “Great! I have marked them in my calendar!”

I was so touched and moved by her commitment. Most people wouldn’t consider waking up in the middle of the night for a call. However, Julie told me she wouldn’t miss these calls for the world. This is just one example of why she is so successful.

Today, I have a question for you… how committed have you been to your success?

Have you been taking extraordinary actions — even the uncomfortable, scary and inconvenient ones?

If you haven’t, don’t worry. Now is the perfect time to recommit to your business goals. Here are five tips to help you recommit to your success and take powerful action:

1) Start with your “why”

Do you remember why you started your business?

Were you tired of being chained to your day job? Did you fantasize about helping thousands of people have better lives? Did you dream of jumping out of bed every morning to start your day?

It can be easy to forget why we are working so hard. Reconnecting to why you want a successful business can help you stay focused and take massive action.

2) Determine your top 3 priorities for this fall

The goal of “growing my business” or even “reaching six figures” won’t get you very far. You need to be clear on specific actions that would move the needle in your business.

For example:

  • Enroll 5 new private clients
  • Generate an additional $1,500 per month
  • Get 100 more email subscribers

Once you have determined the specific goals that will move the needle in your business, you can break them up into smaller steps. For example, if you’d like to get 5 more private clients, your smaller steps could be:

  1. Research relevant networking events
  2. Purchase tickets in advance and book the event on my calendar
  3. Schedule strategy sessions with 5-10 potential clients I meet at events
  4. Follow up with other potential leads via emails and phone calls every Monday and Tuesday

If you aren’t sure what steps to take, that’s a sign that you might need to work with a coach or enroll in a program to get the right strategy towards your goals. (If you’d like to get on the waitlist for Get Known, Get Clients, you can do so here.)

3) Add a Commitment Hour to your daily schedule

I view my business as a baby. It relies on me to be fed every day. (You would never feed your baby just once a week!) If I need to get up at 6am to take care of it, I’ll do so. It’s up to me to nurture it so it can be a healthy, thriving business.

The Commitment Hour is a great way for you to “feed” your business. This could be developing a new offering, getting on the phone with a prospective client, or planning your goals for the next quarter.

Try adding in this focused hour of quality time with your business every day — when you are focused on the right things, magic happens!

4) Take time every night to plan the next day’s most important tasks

Take 10 minutes at night to make a list of the top three things you want to accomplish the next day. These three things should relate to your top priorities. Leave this list on a post-it on your computer so it’s ready for you in the morning. Make sure to get started on at least one of these tasks within the first hour of your day.

As entrepreneurs, we have to constantly make decisions. By having the task list waiting for you in the morning, you’re less likely to procrastinate, because the decision is already made for you. When you cross those items off your list, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment!

5) Say no to invitations that distract you from your priorities

Saying “no” is one of the most important practices you can have as an entrepreneur. When you say no, you are honoring your time — your most valuable asset.

Each time someone invites you for a coffee date, phone date, or event, ask yourself: Will this move my top priorities forward? If the answer is no, have the courage to say no. (In a future newsletter, I’ll be sharing scripts you can use for different situations.)

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a video from Bishop T.D. Jakes. You don’t need to be religious to get inspiration from his powerful words. In fact, this is one of my favorite videos. You can watch it below.

How to get your book into Oprah Magazine

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Networking, Publicity'

If you want your book read by millions, what’s the fastest way to get there?

You’d need your book endorsed by a publication that reaches millions — like O, The Oprah Magazine.

My friend Abbe Wright used to work in-house at O, The Oprah Magazine, reviewing books for their monthly column. Now she writes for Glamour magazine, and continues to write features and review books for many magazines and online outlets.

I wanted Abbe to share what it takes to get YOUR book into O, The Oprah Magazine. Here’s what she had to say…

Oprah

Amongst all the books you received at Oprah, how did you decide which books to review?

There were at least 25 books on my desk each day, along with hundreds of email pitches, so I couldn’t respond to everyone. However, I did my best to give each book a chance by reading the first 20 pages. We always featured a mix of really well-known authors and new authors. I always gravitated towards the underdog.

If I had a relationship with someone, I’d make the extra effort to consider their book and follow up. Having a great book cover and strong endorsements also helped certain books to stand out.

How would someone go about creating a relationship with a book editor?

Editors are very busy. There are hundreds of people asking for our time every day. While it’s a nice gesture to ask an editor out to coffee or lunch, it’s going to be tough for us to do.

Here’s what I recommend instead:

  1. Write a strong email. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Know how to craft an email with words that will grab my attention.
  2. Do your research about what magazine you are pitching to. Know the types of books they cover, and if yours would be a fit. You’d be surprised by how many books I would get that are not a fit at all for the Oprah audience.
  3. Do your research about the editor you are pitching to. For example, I would love when someone would mention that they enjoyed an article of mine, or wanted to pitch something related to something else I’d published. The extra effort is definitely noticed and appreciated!
  4. Send the book in creative packaging. One of Selena’s clients, Christine Egan (author of The Healthy Girl’s Guide to Breast Cancer), sent me her book with a glass straw, which I now use every day. Other books arrived with confetti or cookies, which were always fun! (I’m not saying you have to butter me up, but those books certainly stood out!)
  5. Have great press and powerful endorsements. I also love to see what buzz you’re getting for your work. What are other authors saying about your book? Who else is in your inner circle, raving about you?

Do you have any other tips for readers?

Be active on social media. It’s a great way to get your voice heard and get noticed. For example, I came across one author because I saw her interacting with my colleagues on Twitter. She was posting funny tweets about her writing process. I started following her.

Six months later, I met her at a party and then we built the relationship very organically. When her book came out, she emailed me and said she would love for me to read it — which I did! By that point, I felt very invested in her success.

While the book wasn’t exactly for the Oprah reader, I went out on a limb and reviewed it for Oprah.com.

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As Abbe said, the best way to get noticed by a magazine editor is by building a relationship the right way.

As you reach your next level of success, it’s not just about what you know. It’s about who you know.

So it’s important to start building those relationships early on, because you never know when an opportunity could come along when one of your relationships could help grow your business.

How to pitch to TV (+ fun pics of our private NBC tour!)

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Publicity'

Have you seen those segments on daytime TV where they spotlight expert guests like life coaches and health coaches? They might be talking about what superfoods to add to your breakfast, how to know if it’s time for a career change, or how to find your soulmate online.

Ever wondered how YOU could book one of those spots on TV, so that you could share your work with a large, mainstream audience?

Some of my Publicity Mastermind clients got the inside scoop on how to pitch for TV directly from NBC bookers, producers, and on-air talent during a private VIP tour of NBC studios we took awhile back. (Big thanks to my friend Ellie Brett of Media Bombshell for setting it up.)

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Landing a spot in front of the camera starts with crafting an email that an extremely busy booker will open, read, and respond to.

So how do you do this?

First of all, some things to keep in mind:

  • People in the media tend to be busy, stressed, and constantly on deadline. Many of them will confess that they don’t read all their emails!
  • If the subject line isn’t compelling, they won’t open it. If the first sentence isn’t engaging, they won’t read the whole pitch.
  • I know this can feel unfair when you’ve spent days attempting to perfect for your pitch. But the things is — if they read and responded to all 500 emails in their inbox, they wouldn’t get any work done!

To have your shot at getting featured on TV, there are three key guidelines for crafting a pitch that gets noticed.

Crafting a pitch that gets noticed

blog 31) Speak in everyday language.

When you’re on TV, you aren’t speaking to your clients or your colleagues — you’re speaking to the mainstream masses. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is using terms that the general public doesn’t understand, for example: “holding the space,” “pure potential,” or “tapping into your feminine side.”

When producing content for a mainstream audience, you want to break it down in a way that an 8-year-old would understand.

One of the producers told us that when in doubt, apply the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Silly. =)

 

blog 42) Be super concise and compelling.

Your email needs to have a compelling subject line that gets their attention right away. The body of your email should have a few quick sentences about who you are and what you have to offer, with a creative pitch idea that would grab a mainstream viewer’s interest.

Don’t send them your life story in six paragraphs! If they want more information, they will ask (or you can offer it up later). You just want to pique their interest, get them to respond, and start a dialogue.

Now keep in mind that the way television shows stay in business is through high ratings. Story headlines need to grab the attention of the masses, so lots of people will tune in. One example that Jacque Reid, New York Live co-host, gave us was, “5 Yoga Moves that Will Save Your Marriage.” This is applicable to a wide audience, while being sexy, controversial, and off the beaten path.

 

blog 53) Follow up consistently (and pleasantly!)

Don’t expect that by sending in just one email, you’ll be on TV the next month. These opportunities take time and require follow-up.

You might send a great pitch, but not hear anything back. Maybe that person is really busy, or only taking pitches related to the holiday season, a big sports event, or an election going on. Your pitch could be good, but just not right for this moment.

It’s not about being aggressive, but it IS about being pleasantly persistent. Follow-up in a week or two, send additional ideas, and be an ongoing resource to producers (i.e. if you learn they are working on a particular story, offer your help even if it won’t directly benefit your business).

Remember, it is more important to develop a long-term relationship or friendship, versus trying to force an opportunity to happen right away.

I hope you enjoyed these tips! And if you’d like to see more photos from the VIP tour, check out the album I created on Facebook! (We even got a group pic on the Saturday Night Live stage!)

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How to be memorable (it involves ice cream) =)

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Networking, Publicity'

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing honor of being interviewed by John Lee Dumas for his podcast, Entrepreneur On Fire.

Entrepreneur On Fire is one of the top 10 podcasts on iTunes. It gets half a million unique downloads per month and features guests such as Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Needless to say, I was so incredibly grateful for the opportunity, and I wanted John to know that.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

How would you stand out and make your thank you deeply felt?

Most people would probably say thank you after the interview, or maybe even send a follow-up email. But that’s not particularly memorable or meaningful.

I decided to send John a thoughtful, creative gift that would surprise him and bring a huge smile to his face.

I sent him four pints of my favorite gourmet ice cream. Mouthwatering flavors like goat cheese with red cherries, Bangkok peanut, sweet potato with torched marshmallows, and wildberry lavender.

This was of course accompanied by a heartfelt note, expressing my deep gratitude.

What happened next?

You guessed it — I got an email from John. The subject line was “OMG you are my favorite!”

He was so thankful, and told me that the ice cream was the best gift he’d ever received since starting the podcast (and he has interviewed over 300 people), and asked me when I would be in San Diego, saying we need to hang out!

Why do I share this story with you?

Because I want to help you be remembered, and I want to help you build powerful relationships with people you care about it.

The main reason why I was able to quickly build a six-figure business is because of my relationships.

I go above and beyond for my clients, colleagues, mentors, and friends in the media. I make people feel special and deeply appreciated. And this is something that you can do too!

  • Are there people in your life who have helped you, who perhaps don’t know the full extent of your gratitude?
  • Are there people you deeply admire, who you really want to build a relationship with, but you think you have nothing to offer them?

If the answer is yes, I encourage you to reach out and let them know how much they mean to you. And remember, you want to be memorable!

I know many people who THINK they are building a relationship with someone, when really they are not.

For example, say you want to get the attention of an influential person. Maybe you like their status updates on Facebook, or respond to a few of their newsletters saying “great email!”

Maybe they’ll respond back, but the truth is that there are 100 or even 1000 other people doing the exact same thing. So within a few minutes, it’s possible they’ve already forgotten about you. You haven’t really made an impression.

Now I’m not saying NOT to do these things at all, but what I’m saying is that this alone is not enough. 

The only way to stand out from the crowd is to go above and beyond — be so thoughtful and generous that people are literally shocked.

I personally do this several times a month.

One recent example:

A friend who is a magazine editor is leaving her prestigious job to move to the south and be with her fiance (they have a long-distance relationship).

I reached out to congratulate her and find out if she has a new job yet. When I learned that she didn’t, I offered to help. I invited her over to my apartment for afternoon tea, asked what opportunities she was looking for, and then offered to make introductions that could lead to a potential dream job.

If you have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, go ahead and do it!

Now at this point, you are probably thinking one of two things:

1) “Selena, this takes a lot of time! I’m so busy!” 

Yes, you’re absolutely right. It is time-consuming. It may even be inconvenient.

That’s why you should only do this when it comes from a genuine place. You care about the person so much that the act of giving is the reward. You are not simply helping someone to get something in return.

2) “I would love to be helpful, but I don’t know how to help! How do I know what the person needs?”

If it’s someone who you are close to (or having a conversation with), just ask! Say, “What is your biggest need right now? Is there any way I can be helpful?”

If it’s an influential person who gets 100s of emails a day, don’t make the busy person do the work. They probably don’t have the time to type up a long response to explain their situation and what kind of help they need. It’s your job to figure that out (and it’s not as hard as you think)!

This guest post I wrote for my friend Ramit Sethi called “How to get the attention of your favorite expert” outlines specific ways you can add value to influencers.

 

Wishing you much success in your relationships and in your business.

Why Expressing Gratitude Matters: 5 Ways to Say “Thank You” to Colleagues, Mentors, and Friends

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Networking, Personal'

Have you ever gone above and beyond to help someone?

Perhaps you spent two hours on the phone with them offering advice in your area of expertise. Or maybe you connected them to a valuable resource or person to help them with their career, relationship, or health.

Sometimes, you may even rearrange your schedule and cancel existing commitments to help someone during a time of great need. In the moment, the person you are helping may say a quick “thanks!”, but after that, you never hear from them again.

This happened to me last year. A colleague who was unemployed reached out to me. She had been job-hunting for months and was stressed out, frustrated, and losing hope. Every day she’d been sending out her resume, but getting no response.

She asked for my help, and I ended up connecting her to the president of a major company looking to hire someone just like her. Two months later, she got a senior level position with a 6-figure salary!

I found out about this when she announced her new job on Facebook. While I was excited to hear the news, I felt a little unappreciated and forgotten about. In fact, I only heard from her several months later when she had another favor to ask of me.

This happens all the time. We get busy and forget to thank people for their help. But gratitude is so important.

When we forget to thank someone, they feel less motivated to help us again. But when we do thank someone in a thoughtful, heartfelt way, it makes the person feel deeply appreciated and wanting to help you even more.

orangeflowers

Here are five specific ways to express gratitude this holiday season and beyond:

1. Send an email

Just sending a short, thoughtful email is something we all can make the time for. You can make your “thank you” truly felt by the recipient when you share how specifically they have helped you.

As an example, you could say: “It was great to meet you last week! Thank you for recommending that book to me — I bought it right away! I’m already half-way through and it’s amazing. I can already see how I can apply some of these insights to my career.”

Share what impacted and moved you, and the results of putting their advice into action. This allows the recipient to know the difference they have made in your life, which makes the act of giving even more fulfilling to them!

2. Handwritten card or note sent by postal mail

I heard a statistic recently that nowadays, only 3% of mail is handwritten. The rest is bills or junk mail! The receiver of a beautiful handwritten note or card will feel so special and excited to open up a real piece of thoughtful mail.

The fact that you took the time and effort into writing a note by hand and mailing it the old-fashioned way shows someone how much you care.

3. Take them out for a nice lunch or dinner

Another way to show your gratitude is to take someone out to lunch or dinner. You could reach out and say, “I want to thank you for all the ways you have supported me this year. I would love to take you out to your favorite restaurant. It’s on me!”

Many people are too busy for coffee dates in the middle of the day, but taking someone out to a fancy dinner is an unexpected treat that will definitely make you stand out.

4. Thank them publicly

We all have our own public platforms where we share information — whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or a newsletter. You can use any of these platforms to publicly express gratitude towards someone who has made an impact on you.

I love when someone posts something nice about me on Facebook or promotes one of my articles. Not only does it feel special to get recognized publicly, but you are also introducing the recipient to potential new fans or friends.

5. Send a gift

Sending a gift is another way to give back to someone who has given to you. A client of mine gave someone who referred a client to her a Starbucks gift card and said, “Coffee is on me for the month.” The person receiving the gift loved that!

Another example is a woman who I’d recently helped who sent me a card, a book, and gorgeous bouquet of flowers. It was such a sweet gesture that made me feel so appreciated. 

If you don’t know what kind of gift to give, you could ask that person’s friends or even colleagues or assistant. You could say, “I’d like to give Jane a thoughtful gift. What does she like? Here are a few ideas I have.”

The holiday season is the perfect time for you to reach out to the colleagues, clients, mentors, and friends who have made a difference in your life this year, and to tell them exactly how they have done so. 

How I Overcame My Fear of Public Speaking

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Entrepreneurship'

Once while attending the World Domination Summit, I listened to Danielle LaPorte as she rocked the stage. During the audience Q&A someone asked her: “How do you become a great public speaker?”

Her answer: “You have to train for it like it’s an Olympic sport.”

Those words hit me hard. Because isn’t it true? If you want to be world-class at anything, there’s only one way — you have to give it everything you’ve got.

As an example, when I started preparing for my first major webinar, How to Get VIP Access to Media + Influencers, I trained for it like it was the Olympics.

You see, for most of my life, public speaking has completely terrified me.

I’m a natural introvert. I spend a lot of time in my head. When I do talk, I talk really fast. My shy tendencies and self-conscious nature created challenges for me.

microphoneI remember one time in high school history class, I had to give a presentation. I was so nervous that my legs were shaking convulsively the entire time I was speaking.

I tried to spill out my words as quickly as possible, but every moment felt like eternity. I could feel the silence in the room. The whole time, I could tell that my teacher and my classmates were feeling sorry for me.

This fear of public speaking continued for most of my adult life. I remember at my first job, I sometimes had to give presentations to my boss and colleagues.

The night before a presentation, I’d toss and turn, worrying about the next day. When I would wake up in the morning, I’d feel like throwing up.

There was no way I was just going to “wing it” and hope for a successful webinar. So over the course of several weeks, I took extreme measures to prepare.

This included:

  • Hiring a consultant to figure out my core messaging and develop story ideas
  • Spending 8 hours per week with my copyeditor writing and rewriting the presentation
  • Rehearsing it in my living room for my interns. They critiqued my delivery. They told me what parts of my talk were interesting (and what was not).
  • On the day of the webinar, I spent 5 hours rehearsing and refining my presentation.

Overall, I spent about 60 hours “training” for this 1-hour webinar. I realized afterward that I followed the advice I’d once heard about public speaking — spend 1 hour preparing for every 1 minute you are speaking.

The result of all this work?

Close to 700 people (hailing from New York City to a small Mayan village in Guatemala) signed up to hear me speak.

And… I nailed it. I loved every single moment of it.

Now here’s what I want you to take away from all of this:

Success is not an accident.

The success of my presentation didn’t just magically happen for me. It was a direct result of the countless hours I poured into crafting my content, rehearsing my talk, and strategizing the promotion.

So today, ask yourself the question: Where in your business are you just hoping success will magically happen? Are there actions you could take that would make your success inevitable?

Once you figure out the answers to these questions and take action, you’ll be amazed at how much you can overcome.

Selena Soo