Jessica Rhodes' Story, what we discussed:
- Leaving Corporate and Launching a biz, with a Baby on the Way
- A Mom’s Career/Family Decision
- Working From Home? What Does it Take to Succeed
- The Road to Becoming a Successful Mompreneur
- How She Found Her Niche
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More about our featured guest Jessica Rhodes
Jessica spent six years working for a nonprofit where she managed a large staff of door-to-door fundraisers, earning her a reputation as a passionate and skilled saleswoman. In fact, she’s been told that she could “sell ice to an Eskimo!” With her most important job now being a mom to her son, Nathan, Jessica left the busy nonprofit world to start Entrepreneur Support Services Inc. so she could bring her exceptional skills in sales, marketing, and administrative support to growth-oriented entrepreneurs and small business owners who need part time support to help in a number of areas so they can stay focused on their most urgent, high revenue-generating priorities.
Joel Boggess: Welcome to today's show, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas and practical solutions to help you relaunch and become known in your niche. If you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show. Thank you for tuning in, and thank you for joining us in the before and the after show online conversations. And if you new are here, just know that you are among friends and this is what you can expect. Unique insights, aha moments, and actionable information from self-made successes as they share their trials, tribulations, and come-from-behind victories. And today's promotional partner is Podcast Movement 2015. You need to make your plans now, because Podcast Movement will be here before you know it. At the end of the July and in the first few days of August. And Pei and I are second year presenters at the conference, and we are leading the workshop, along with our friend Russ Johns, that will teach you how to launch your podcast to number one, grow your audience, and build your brand.
[01:08] Joel Boggess: You can link to the event details by visiting the blog article that accompanies this episode, and if you use the promo code… The promo code, “relaunch”, you can save 10% off the ticket price. And the direct link to the blog article is joelboggess.com/298. On today's show, an entrepreneur who started her business when she was six months pregnant and still holding down a full-time job. Because of the decision and the commitment that she had with her family, the decision to be a stay-at-home mom to be available to her husband and to her son Nathan, she was determined to find a way to make it work. She hosts a weekly web-series called “Interview Connections TV”, and she hosts The Rhodes to Success podcast. This is the first time we have done a show together, Jessica Rhodes, welcome to ReLaunch.
[02:08] Jessica Rhodes: Joel, Pei, thank you so much for having me today, I'm super excited to be here.
[02:13] Joel Boggess: This is gonna be a blast, we're excited to have you on as well, Jessica. And this show, it's highly practical because it is all about the relaunch, how you did it, and becoming known in your niche. Again, how you did it, and how you're still doing it. And while most of us have experienced many launches and relaunches in our life, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant, or the most transformational for them and then we just unfold the story from there. And we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes. But if it's okay with you, Jessica, I like to start off the show with quick piece of takeaway gold. And you and your company, Interview Connections, do a remarkable job when it comes to booking outstanding guests for podcasts. So, in you're experience, Jessica, what would you say is the number one mistake that podcasters, or content creators make when trying to form relationship with A-list guests in hopes of inviting them to be on their podcast, on their web TV show, or their blog? What would you say, number one mistake that podcasts, podcasters, or creators make?
[03:29] Jessica Rhodes: Yeah, I think this is a great question, and I see a lot of mistakes made, but I think specifically with your question around mistakes with the A-lister guest, I think it's going too much into robo mode and not being specific and personalized with the guest you're reaching out to. As podcasters, as content creators, we all have systems in place and we've got templated emails that we use, and I think it's so important to make sure when you're reaching out to a guest, and especially an A-lister guest, you are crafting that email so it is personalized. Making sure that you're telling them why you want them specifically on your show, what about their story, what topic do you wanna talk about, because that's what I've seen when reaching out to guests, they wanna know, “Okay, well, I've got all of these different books I've written, or I've got all these different topics I can talk about, why do you want me on your show? What value can I offer your audience?”
[04:22] Jessica Rhodes: So, I would say that if you do have a templated email that you use, or a scripted ask that you send to potential guests, definitely take the time, especially with your A-listers to make sure it's super personalized. Always open up your email with something personal, how you know about them, what book you liked the best, what interview did you hear with them, just really personalize every, every aspect of your podcast interview process, because… And then lastly, so personalize it and then just make it super, super easy. Don't make it hard for people, don't make them jump through hoops, don't make them fill out lots of forms, A-lister guests will walk away if you make them do something… If you make them walk through too many steps to actually be recorded. So, I hope that helps.
[05:07] Joel Boggess: Absolutely. And that is a great point, too. I remember when we were booking Jack Canfield to be on an episode of ReLaunch, and we were going back forth with his team. Obviously, at least in my world, he is a A-lister guest and…
[05:23] Jessica Rhodes: Yes.
[05:24] Joel Boggess: So, we obviously used a lot of care and attention in the language that we were using in the emails to go back and forth. And we weren't going to stick with what we normally do, “Send us a 50 word bio.”
[05:40] Jessica Rhodes: Right.
[05:41] Joel Boggess: And they're like, “No.” Or, “Send us a headshot.” Or things of that nature, because we were… We understood the distinction in going after your A-list guests. So, thank you for sharing that, I appreciate it.
[05:56] Jessica Rhodes: Yeah, you're welcome.
[05:57] Joel Boggess: Indeed. Okay, so talking about the relaunch. Now we've all had numerous launches and relaunches, personally and professionally in our lives. Where do we need to start to talk about yours?
[06:13] Jessica Rhodes: Well, it's funny 'cause when I was thinking about this interview and thinking about what my most transformational relaunch was, and at first I'm thinking just as an entrepreneur in my business, but to be honest with, because you're saying personally and professionally. My most transformational relaunch was becoming a mom, and moving from being not a mom to being a mom. And this does really lead into business, 'cause that was a big part of the change. I used to work for a non-profit organization, I was an environmental activist. Really, my job was my identity, and when I decided I wanted to start a family and start having kids, that really is the most transformational relaunch because everything changed. My priorities changed, where I wanted to spend my time changed, the way I looked at the world changed. I feel like a 100% different person than I was three years ago before I was pregnant for the first time.
[07:18] Joel Boggess: Okay, so talk about your job was your identity, and I caught that right, right at the get go. And a lot of people struggle with that. They get a job that they like or maybe even one that they don't like, and all of a sudden, they identify themselves ‘well, I am this' or I am, this is even worse, ‘I am just this.' So, can you talk a little bit about that and how you… Yeah, go ahead Pei.
[07:49] Pei Kang: Yeah, Jessica, was that one of the biggest mindset change, as far as the identity?
[07:57] Jessica Rhodes: Yeah, yeah, because my job, I was working for an organization, Clean Water Action, and I ran their door to door field canvas up here in the Rhode Island office, and I had been working with them since I was 19. It was my first job when I got to college, and I just stayed in that organization, and moved offices as I moved to be with my husband. The hours were really long, a lot of 12-hour days, working out in the community. It was working outside, door to door, fundraising, organizing, we would be up at the State House lobbying, and really keeping in touch with what's going on in Congress, and what's going up at the State House in relation to environmental and public health legislation. And so, to care really strongly about the issues and to also just… I never did it for the money 'cause you don't make a lot of money in non-profit work.
[08:48] Jessica Rhodes: I met my husband doing that job. All of my friends really came from that job, so it was like that was who I was. I would have some kind of extended family members would maybe not agree with some of the policies and stuff like that, and I took it personally for a long time. It was really, I felt like that is who I was. And then I cared so much about the issues but then when I wanted to become a mom, everything that I cared about was not a priority anymore as a mom, because I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. And there was no chance I could do that job as a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to…
[09:30] Joel Boggess: Now, is that a decision that you made before you had Nathan? Or that was a decision early on? Or was that a decision that happened after birth?
[09:42] Jessica Rhodes: That was a decision I made early on. I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. So I remember my husband and I started… It's so funny what gives you baby fever, right? My sister-in-law, my husband's sister had a baby in about April and then as soon as you hold that baby like, “I want one.” So it was for that next several months, I'm like, “Aww.” That's when I kinda really wanted to start having a family. So it was right around when I… And I knew, I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but never knew how it was gonna work, and then we got pregnant right away and so I was like, “Okay, we have to figure something out.” [chuckle] I have no idea what I'm gonna do in nine months when this baby is here, but it's not gonna being working as a door to door activist.
[10:26] Joel Boggess: I gotcha.
[10:27] Pei Kang: So when did that mindset really shift? When you know your identity's no longer this particular line of work you've been so passionate about for years?
[10:41] Joel Boggess: Yeah, it was a really transformational time during my pregnancy because I remember becoming pregnant in June, I think, and then I didn't tell my boss until I gave him six months notice, so in the fall sometime, I told him. And it was really over that three months there was this, it was almost like a switch was slowly flipping that I didn't quite know what I was gonna do, but I knew, oh, I've got several more, I've got eight, I've got nine months, I've got eight months, I've got time to figure it out. And then it really became real when I told my boss, “I'm pregnant. When the baby comes, I will not be working here anymore.” And that was the moment it all, that was when it became real. So it was for the first trimester, I just kind of was like, “Okay, I'm pregnant. I'm gonna be a stay-at-home mom, I don't know what I'm gonna do, but nobody knows I'm pregnant, so it's not really real yet.” And then once I told my boss I'm leaving, it was like, “okay, now I actually don't have a job anymore after March.” So that's kind of when it changed. Yeah.
[11:47] Joel Boggess: I gotcha. So let me ask you this, fast forwarding a little bit, as you were leaving the job that you had come to know and that you used to contribute to your family. What did you learn about Jessica in that space of time from when you left your company job, to when you started your own company? What did you learn or relearn about your possibilities, your potential, your value and the value that you wanted to offer the people that you were here to serve, or are here to serve rather?
[12:25] Jessica Rhodes: It was… Yeah, I don't know exactly what I learned about myself, I just know that it was a period of time that I feel like I was really stripped of a lot of what I knew up until I was like… I don't know, 23, or 24, something like that at the time. Or maybe 24, 25, I can't remember. It was a few years ago. [chuckle] And so… And it's like you go through college, early 20s, always had the same job, always kinda knew what my identity was, and then all of a sudden it's all… That is all being stripped. And it's all being changed, and what my priorities are, are all shifting, and so I was realizing, okay, where as I thought my job is my number priority. I'm gonna work up and just work up… Just keep climbing the ladder in this organization, and just keep taking on more responsibility. And I did the job the really well, all of a sudden that all changed. And so, I think what I learned about myself is my job and what I did for an income was no longer the most important thing to me, and it wasn't the most important thing in life.
[13:37] Jessica Rhodes: I remember kind of mentoring my staff about that, when I had staff members that I managed who would kind of go through little crisis and not know, “Oh, I don't know if I like this job.” I would kind of mentor them around that stuff, and I said, “You can not… ” And I would always tell them, “Your job cannot be your identity, you have to have things outside of your work that you enjoy and that you like, because if you're job doesn't work out, where are you gonna be?” And I think I realized I was often teaching and mentoring people around that, but my job had always been my identity, it just never…[chuckle]
[14:06] Joel Boggess: Of course, of course.
[14:08] Jessica Rhodes: It just will never…
[14:08] Joel Boggess: Do as I say, not as I do kind of thing.
[14:11] Jessica Rhodes: Exactly, I just never realized it was a problem because I was always happy with my job. So, once…
[14:16] Joel Boggess: Okay, so let me… Go ahead, Pei. You have you're…
[14:18] Pei Kang: You go ahead.
[14:19] Joel Boggess: Okay, sure. Okay, so those things that you just shared, those were stripped from your belief system, right? Is that… Would that be fair to say?
[14:30] Jessica Rhodes: Yeah.
[14:31] Joel Boggess: Okay, what else was challenged or stripped? Challenged first, and then stripped away.
[14:37] Jessica Rhodes: Well, I mean just as far as challenges go, it's… I'm just thinking, this interview is very therapeutic for me, I have never sat down and really talked through this time in my life, but it was really transformational, so this is a cool opportunity to do this, just as a side note. But I mean, what was really changing was I was always in a non-profit mindset, I never wanted to make profit. I was definitely in kind of the non-profit… As a non-profit activist, all… Not that I really thought this, but in a way it was like, “All corporations are bad, people that wanna make a profit don't care about anyone but themselves.” And then all of a sudden I just needed something where I could make an income. And so, that was starting to transform, 'cause as you can imagine as an entrepreneur I definitely don't think that anymore and I know that's not true, but that was… Again, that time period was a part of the transition and a part of the relaunch into really seeing the world in a completely different place.
[15:39] Jessica Rhodes: I was challenged into that the job was no longer your priority, because when you work in non-profit, when you work as an activist, you really put those issues that you fight for in front of yourself. You put them in front of your own priorities. A lot of times you put them in front of your own family because the broader issues at large are greater than you. And coincidentally, there were not a lot of people I worked with who had kids, because it's not the most family friendly working environment when you really need to put everything you're working on in front yourself. And I got to a point where I wasn't willing to do that, I wasn't willing to put my own personal priorities, and my family, and what I wanted in life on the back burner.
[16:26] Joel Boggess: Gotcha.
[16:27] Pei Kang: Of course.
[16:27] Jessica Rhodes: And the job in front.
[16:28] Pei Kang: Of course.
[16:29] Joel Boggess: Pei, you have your hand up, go ahead.
[16:30] Pei Kang: Yeah, I just… That is such an important point you touched on, was transitioning from non-profit and considering actually making money, running your own business is actually noble. So many entrepreneurs, or anybody who wanna have goals to, “Okay, I wanna increase my income, either my salary or my business income.” But having the mindset of maybe they don't admit that making money is not pure, it actually sabotages them, so how did you kinda…
[17:12] Joel Boggess: Reconcile, is that the right word?
[17:13] Pei Kang: Yeah, yeah.
[17:15] Joel Boggess: Woohoo, right word.
[17:16] Jessica Rhodes: Well, yeah I think I realized I was a capitalist.[chuckle]
[17:23] Joel Boggess: Okay, now… Okay, wait, let's take apart that word. So, how okay, were you with that word? Or did you go, “No, I'm not”?
[17:31] Jessica Rhodes: Yeah, I definitely never said, “I am capitalist,” I never said I wasn't, but I was… I mean, not to get too much into political things, but as you can imagine, working in an environmental non-profit, I tended to be around a lot more folks of the liberal mindset. And so…
[17:51] Joel Boggess: Sure, yeah.
[17:52] Jessica Rhodes: It just definitely felt like… I'm trying to think of how to word this, but yeah, there was definitely more of, “Hey lets kind of… Everything needs to be fair, let's equally distribute a lot of things,” and I always kind of thought that a lot of my opinions had to be like… Well, I definitely had the opinion that if you made more money you should pay more in taxes and I definitely don't think that any more and you just… Like I just kinda… Staring a business and seeing how hard it is to start a business and actually create income that you created, you didn't just get a job and fulfill criteria, I just… I don't know my whole mind set really shifted there.
[18:38] Pei Kang: Wow.
[18:38] Joel Boggess: It was a game-changer, is basically what you're saying.
[18:40] Pei Kang: Yeah.
[18:41] Pei Kang: Indeed.
[18:41] Jessica Rhodes: And I realize entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs, successful business leaders, people that make money didn't just get lucky. And that's what a lot of people think before they start a business and before they transform into entrepreneurs a lot of the times you assume that people that are very successful got lucky or they were born into it and I think part of the transformation was, for me now just skipping ahead a couple of years, I look back on it and no part of my journey was luck. I did not start my business with a lot of money in the bank, in fact I went into a lot of debt to be able to do this.
[19:26] Jessica Rhodes: So that was a big transformation, really really changing my mindset and seeing, being able to see like, “Okay I once worked in a non-profit organization and worked with activists and really was in touch with people that were oppressed and people that lived near power-plants” and all that and so I saw that. But now I have clients and work closely with people that are making seven figures a year and I see and I'm close to their stories and I respect every ounce of it. So my whole world view has changed because I've just been able to kinda see so many different sides of everyone's coin.
[20:05] Pei Kang: Wow! So this one little baby changed your world in so many different ways.
[20:14] Jessica Rhodes: Yeah.
[20:16] Pei Kang: Yeah. So, Jessica, it sounded like you only started this company a few years back and, by the way, how long ago did you first start this Interview Connections.
[20:29] Jessica Rhodes: Just about two years ago, actually. My son is two, so I was officially full time in my business when he was born. Interview Connections was actually officially live and open for business about a year and a half ago, but before that I was working as a virtual assistant booking interviews. So, been in business for about two years.
[20:52] Pei Kang: So you evolved into this, and I just seen the activity and your notability in this field and I have to say you are the expert in this niche. So when we do relaunch show obviously, as we come for landing, wanna find out more from each expert how you become known in this niche.
[21:17] Joel Boggess: Right.
[21:19] Jessica Rhodes: So, a big part of it is just around building relationships. I've been really excited and pleased at how much I've been able to implement skills from my past job, even though it is so different, and we've established that, just the ability to find common ground and build relationships and to network, for lack of a better term, has really been the reason I've established myself as an expert. I'm very active in Facebook groups and I go onto podcasts and just the nature of what I do in terms of connecting people, that's been a really fast way for me to get known.
[21:59] Jessica Rhodes: So those are just a couple of the things that I've done but it's also been a great opportunity that the world of podcasting, I mean podcasts are not new, we all know that, but they've become a lot more popular in the small business owner, entrepreneur niche. So I just niched down. And I just really found this this niche within a niche within a niche, and I just kind of put my, planted my flag in the ground and said this is who I am and I just said I was the expert and then… Nobody told me I was the expert, I just said I was the expert and then grew into it.
[22:35] Joel Boggess: Sure. Talking with Jessica Rhodes today. Of course we will have all of the hotspots the social media hotspots and the go-to places included in the blog article that accompanies this episode. Jessica, let me ask you this and this will be the last question that we have time for today. Regardless of the business that you're wanting to either create for yourself or relaunch into, on a scale of one to 10, one being less, 10 being the most, how important would say it is to really be known in your niche, and to be seen?
[23:17] Jessica Rhodes: So, 10 being the most important you said?
[23:18] Joel Boggess: Yes, yes.
[23:20] Jessica Rhodes: I would say 10. Definitely. Being known as the go-to authority and as the expert is 100% a very fast and easy way to be successful because… It's just for example, when there's a lot of podcast or Facebook groups and there's people, just podcasters that are well known and have a lot of coaching clients and things like that, when somebody asks, “Who can help me book podcast casters,” or, “Who can help me find interviews?” I see that get posted on Facebook and I wait about five minutes before somebody says my name, and so it really leads to a lot more referrals. I don't have to prospect. I don't have to do any cold calls. People come to me.
[24:01] Joel Boggess: Absolutely.
[24:02] Jessica Rhodes: So, yeah, if you establish yourself as the go-to authority, people are just gonna come to you. They're gonna be attracted to you rather than you having to convince people to come work with you.
[24:13] Joel Boggess: Very well said. There's no substitute for being known in your niche. Jessica Rhodes of Interview Connections, is our guest. Thank you so much for your time today, Jessica. This has been a delight and you are welcome to come back here on ReLaunch, after the birth of your next child.[chuckle]
[24:35] Pei Kang: Let's see what the second one will bring you, right?
[24:38] Joel Boggess: You have some busy months coming up so…[chuckle]
[24:40] Jessica Rhodes: Thank you so much.
[24:41] Joel Boggess: Have a great day, bye-bye.
[24:42] Jessica Rhodes: Thanks, bye-bye.
[24:45] Joel Boggess: Thanks so much for tuning in. You can also access our show from many mobile apps and by visiting our website. Just go to ReLaunchshow.com/298. You'll also find show transcripts and additional resources to support your relaunch into the life and business that you love.
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