385 What Business to Start When You Have Many Talents – Lisa Rothstein

What you will hear in our discussion with Lisa Rothstein:

  • How to Find Clarity When You Have So Many Interests
  • Difficulties You Might Encounter Starting Your Own Biz
  • Mistakes People Make While Branding Themselves
  • Should we turn every passion into profit?
  • Taking Entrepreneurial Leap at 40

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More about our featured guest Lisa Rothstein

Lisa Rothstein is the award-winning Madison Avenue copywriter who created the famous “Wait'll We Get Our Hanes on You” campaign that changed America’s underwear.  She now works as a creative marketing strategist for entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide.

She’s featured in several Amazon Bestsellers including  “Ready, Aim, Captivate”  with Deepak Chopra.

An avid cartoonist, musician and writer, Lisa co-authors the blog and upcoming book “The DaVinci Dilemma – How to Manage Multiple Talents to Create A Life You Love”.


Full Transcript

[00:00] Joel: Award winning Madison Avenue copywriter, Lisa, that's hard for me to say for some reason, Lisa Rothstein, is our guest today. Now Lisa came up with one of the most famous advertising slogans ever, and it's for a product that doesn't always get talked about, not much anyways, in certain circles.


[00:22] Joel: And of course, we're talking about women's underwear. And the advertising slogan that Lisa came up with is, and I'm not gonna sing this, but it's “Wait 'till we get our Hanes on you.” And these days she is helping entrepreneurs and businesses all across the world craft their story, and share it with the world. Lisa, welcome. Welcome to ReLaunch.

[00:47] Lisa Rothstein: Hey. How are you guys?

[00:49] Joel: We are fantastic. So excited that you were available to be on the show, and thank you for making time in your schedule there.

[00:57] Lisa Rothstein: Fantastic. This is one of my favorites.

[01:00] Joel: You know, Lisa, this show, it's highly practical, because it is all about the relaunch, and specifically how you did it. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our lives, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that's 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 I'd like to start the show off with a little bit of take away gold, if you will. And you are working on a book right now, Lisa, “The DaVinci Dilemma. How to manage multiple talents to create a life you love.” And that's gonna be an action packed, powerful book, and of course, you're welcome to come back on ReLaunch to talk in detail about that book. But let's just get a sneak peak of the book, if you will. What would you say is the number one secret, Lisa, to doing exactly what it is that you're going to write about… That you're writing about? Managing multiple talents and creating a life that you love?

[02:04] Lisa Rothstein: Well Joel, so many people who consider themselves entrepreneurs feel really torn between a lot of different talents and interested goals, and that's one of the reasons why we created this book. And the book is gonna be, it's basically almost like a list of recipes, because no two people are the same in how they are going to manage this. But the first thing that you need to recognize, is that there's nothing wrong with you. You're gonna have people telling you, ever since they told you to major in college, that you need to pick something, and just focus on it. And while that's important for getting things done, it's not going to necessarily honor all of who you are. So, I mean, the take away for me is there are lots of ways to honor all your talents. You don't necessarily have to make a living at every single thing that you consider a talent.

[02:52] Lisa Rothstein: So, there are… We… In the book we're going to be showing different sort of life models, where some of them are, your talent is… The talents that you wanna honor are really more of a hobby, others where you kind of create a career out of your creative talents. So there's sometimes… I guess the biggest take away I would say, is that not every single creative talent especially, is meant to be a job. And sometimes making it into a job kills the joy and the fun. Like now you have clients, and now you have constrictions, and now you have somebody to please besides yourself. So, you need to ask yourself honestly if you're willing to take something that you enjoy and put it in service of a career, or whether you'd like, instead, have what one of my favorite authors on the same topic, Barbara Sher, calls “The good enough job” that will allow you to make a living. Or also, Internet and marketing is great for that too, to help you, basically, fund the lifestyle that will allow you to pursue your creative talents, sort of, as a reward in the time that you make for yourself.

[03:54] Joel: Got it.

[03:55] Pei: Yeah. I love that concept. And I think this is a very timely book.

[04:01] Joel: Yes.

[04:01] Pei: I don't know if your target audience is at the age, but when I see patients, I have heard them talking about their college age children, and many of them talk about, “Oh my gosh, my daughter changed major five, six times, and she still hasn't made up her mind.” And what you said is so true. Some creative… Some talents or passion is not meant to be… Has to have a profitable pass.

[04:35] Joel: So, let me ask you this, Lisa, kind of be devil's advocate. Sometimes people, they say to me, or they say to themselves, and they probably say it to you too, is that, “But I don't have any talents.” Or “I don't know what my talents are.” So, basically taking the opposite perspective of how do you manage multiple talents, it's like, how do you find a talent? So what advice do you give, either a practical tip form the book, or just in your coaching and consultation? What practical tip?

[05:01] Lisa Rothstein: Well, one of the things we do in the book is, and in the blog also, we have a whole area called… About discovering your talents. And basically taking inventory of the things that you have, that maybe you forgot about it. Everybody has some talents.

[05:14] Joel: Oh yeah.

[05:14] Lisa Rothstein: But a lot of times you may have buried them and forgotten about them, because somebody said when you were younger, “Oh, you can't draw.” Or “You can't sing.” Or “You can't write.” Or maybe you had an older brother or sister who is really good at one of these things, and you were… My sister, for example, draws very well, but because I was the artist in the family, she was kind of discouraged from pursuing some of those things. So, a lot of times people forget the kinds of things that they love to do. But the book and the blog are really geared towards people who are more kind of tortured, they wanna do so many different things, and they don't know which one to pick. And so they end up doing… Not doing very much of anything, and they get…


[05:53] Lisa Rothstein: Become paralyzed. I just wanna tell a quick story.

[05:57] Joel: Sure.

[05:57] Lisa Rothstein: I had a dream about this, that… ‘Cause I had been… I have the same problem, obviously, or I wouldn't be writing a book. And I had a dream… After I'd left my advertising job before I really knew what I was going to do next, I had a dream where I was on line in an ice-cream parlor in France called [06:14] ____ and and they had all these different types of ice cream. This is real. I'd been to that ice cream place many times, but in the dream I was standing on line, it was a happy day, sunny Sunday, families, and everybody standing on line, and everybody else knows what ice cream they're gonna get, and I don't know which ice cream I want. And I'm getting more and more anxious as I get to the front of the line going “What am I gonna do? I can't pick an ice cream.”

[06:35] Lisa Rothstein: And then when I got to the front, the ice cream man, who I guessed was supposed to be God in my dream, gave me a cone, and on top of the cone there was a ball of ice cream and it kept changing, like change, change, change, change, and I knew in my dream that second I tasted the ice cream, it was gonna stay that way forever and that was gonna be the ice cream I was gonna get. And I started to cry in the dream because I felt so paralyzed that couldn't make a choice, and the ice cream man laughed at me, like in a nice way, like in the way your father would laugh at you and said, “You know, they're all good, you know, just pick. But if you don't choose one, you're the only one who doesn't get ice cream. Choose one and enjoy it and if you want something different you can come back another day and get it but, if you don't choose then you get no ice-cream and I don't want that for you.” So I woke up.

[07:21] Joel: I love…

[07:21] Pei: I love that.

[07:22] Joel: Yeah, that's…

[07:23] Lisa Rothstein: I think about that everyday, and I still don't listen to my dreams sometimes cause I let myself get stuck between… I know a lot of other people do too, “What should I do? Should I do this or that?” And the answer is “Pick one.” Because if you love them all, then you'll love any one of them and it doesn't mean you'll never do the other things.

[07:41] Joel: Right. One of the things that my buddy Larry Winget says, he's been on the show many times and he's…

[07:49] Lisa Rothstein: Oh I love Larry, oh my God.

[07:50] Joel: Larry and Mary are two of my absolute favorite people, and one of the things that Larry said is “You know Joel, you just can't steer a parked car. You can sit there and let it idle and let it burn up all of your fuel, all of your energy, all of your resources. But you can't steer. You gotta turn left or to take a right, and here's the bonus: When you turn one way, one direction, and it's not the right direction, well guess what? You're gonna figure out really, really quickly. But if you turn the other way and it is the right direction, well guess what? Bonus. You're gonna figure out really, really quickly. But sitting there idling you know, Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Until you just have nothing left… ”

[08:32] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah. People are afraid to make a mistake. People are afraid to make the wrong choice, but the only wrong choice is not making a choice at all, and that's why, the late, great Yogi Bear liked to say, “When you come to fork in the road, take it.”

[08:45] Joel: Love it, love it.

[08:47] Pei: So Lisa, is that… Why did you write that book? And it sounds like you start to talk about your own relaunch story.

[08:58] Joel: Actually, let's get into that, if you will.

[09:02] Lisa Rothstein: Well, yeah I mean, I worked in advertising for many, many, many years as you mentioned, and did a lot of work for a lot of big clients and stuff, and one of the reasons that I took that job in the first place was because I thought, well, if I don't… I wasn't really… My mother thought if I would become any kind of an artistic person… She was from the Depression and she had said, she always said “You're gonna be out on the streets selling pencils if you try to be a writer, or artist or anything.” So advertising looked like the best way to be able to write and have ideas and have fun and do creative things and work with music and actors and all that kind of stuff, and still have a real job.

[09:37] Joel: Okay.

[09:37] Lisa Rothstein: So I was in that for a while, and then through a series of events, I ended up in another country, I got transferred and my job, you know, eventually the companies merged and my job sort of went away. And so I thought “Great! Now I have a chance to try all of the things I'd wanted to try.” So I painted and I drew and I sang and I did all these things. I worked at Disneyland as a singing Santa Claus character during Christmas time in this acapella.

[10:02] Joel: Nice.

[10:03] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah, it was actually my best job ever, Paris, Disneyland. I wrote subtitles for the news, I did a whole bunch of different things but eventually I was beginning to worry, like well, “Who am I? What should I do next?” Then every morning I would wake up… And I didn't have money problems at the time, at least not at the time, 'cause I had been working a long time. But I was very concerned about what was I gonna do for the rest of my life, and because I like to draw and I like music and I like writing all different kinds of things, I made myself kind of miserable trying to decide how to choose what to do next. In the midst of all of that, because of my indecision and my doing all this, you know… I had a fiance at the time, he decided, you know… We met when I was still working and he didn't like the new kind of floundering, questioning my life Lisa, I don't think, and so he disappeared and… Oh, God! And I turned 40, and my dog died.

[11:00] Lisa Rothstein: It was like a bad movie, like in the beginning where everything goes wrong all at one time and I was childless, man-less, dog-less, jobless, 40, and I didn't know what to do. But you know I had all these different things that I liked to do. So at the time, one of the things I was trying to do was screen-writing and so I wrote a screenplay and I entered it into some contests and I didn't think anything about it. I'd gone back into advertising, even though I didn't really want to get another job, but I didn't know what else to do. And I ended up not getting along with my boss and he got rid of me, and that was so… I felt like “Oh gosh, I really can't go back to this.” And then 9/11 happened, and the crazy thing was, I was in Hawaii with Tony Robbins when 9/11 happened. I was in charge of the French-speaking contingent 'cause I spoke French 'cause I lived in Paris for a long time and I was like… It was a crazy thing because I didn't, I…

[12:00] Lisa Rothstein: I knew I didn't wanna go back into advertising. I knew I hated the job I had just left. I didn't know what I was gonna do next but at the same I was like, “Well, I'm alive. I'm alive and the world feels like it's ending, but I'm alive and I can do something, I'm just not sure what.”

[12:15] Lisa Rothstein: When I got back to my apartment, weeks later, I had some letters from these contests that I'd entered that I'd won a couple of prizes for the screenplay I wrote. So, I was living in France, at the time, and one of the people who gave me the award got me an agent and said, “Come to LA” So that's what I did. And I thought, “Okay, great. I'll be a screenwriter, that's what I'll be.” They had a million… I had a million meetings and everyone told me how great I was and nothing happened. So here I was again, still not knowing who I was. I guess, I guess part of the big relaunch for me was, during all this time, I was freelancing and doing whatever I could to kind of bring in some money. And I felt… Here's the thing that really, nobody tells you when you leave Corporate and do your own thing. And that is that, I didn't realize how much of my self-esteem and my identity I had given to this job. And now that I was on my own, I felt like I was nothing. I felt like I was nobody and the other thing was, selling underwear, selling somebody else's underwear to other people, strangers, was not that hard for me. But actually selling myself, even as a freelancer, selling myself and knowing how to package myself or how to say what I did or how to have to explain why anybody should work with me either as a screenwriter or as copywriter…

[13:39] Joel: So, okay. So, let's get practical with that. How did you get past whatever you needed to get past, emotionally, spiritually, whatever, so that you could start to present yourself and sell yourself better because, gosh, I mean we all struggle with that.

[13:53] Lisa Rothstein: It took a long time. First of all, I was shocked with how unproductive I was when I didn't have somebody else dictating my schedule. That was a huge wake up call for me. When I had, well my time to myself, it was very hard for me to get anything done. So, that was something I didn't know about myself. A lot of that came from the external. And then…

[14:18] Pei: I heard that sometimes the very creative people, they're, they may not be the best organizer or be very…

[14:27] Lisa Rothstein: No.

[14:27] Joel: She's talking about her husband, Lisa. In case you hadn't figured that out.


[14:31] Lisa Rothstein: No. It's true. And the thing is, that one thing, also, nobody tells you, you may complain about your job, but the thing that a job, the luxury the job gives you is that somebody comes and brings you work. Yes, you give up your freedom and you have office politics and people to deal with. But, you sit down and the work is handed to you. And you just get to do the work. You don't have to go find the clients. You don't have to sell yourself or do anything really all that uncomfortable. You just fulfill your duty and I think that it's one of the things that my clients, who I worked with as a copywriter and marketing person also, they feel the same way. It's like, “Why can't I just do what I do. Why do I have to go out and market myself? Why do I have to sell?” And it's like, “Well because that's what you signed up for when you decided to go into business for yourself. You have to make your own name, bring in your own clients and your own work. You don't just get to sit down and do your work because that's what a job is.” And so, so that, it sounds kind of third grade but I really didn't know that until I had to experience it.

[15:33] Joel: Well sure, sure. Experience is the best teacher.

[15:36] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah. And the transformation, for me, came really when, and I have to remind myself this all the time, is when I began to notice how I could maybe help other people. I took the attention off of myself. I was like, “Oh how do I look and how does this feel? I used to be this and now I'm that. I used to be there and now I'm here.” I think that when I began to see how many other people were struggling with the same thing. They didn't know how to explain what they did. They didn't know how to get clients. They didn't know how to present their message. I thought, “Well I could help them with that.” Because that's what I did. If I could make underwear interesting, I can make anybody interesting. Or I can at least, not make them interesting, but find the thing about them that is gonna be interesting to their customers.

[16:18] Joel: That's important to know. But let me ask you something on a different level. What did you discover about Lisa during that period? Look, she's smiling already. I'm talking about your value, your potential, your possibility because, and I wasn't there, but I believe that clarity had to happen first, at some level, before you were able to position it in a way that would drive your business.

[16:48] Lisa Rothstein: Well, again, it did take a long time and I went back and forth a lot.

[16:51] Joel: Of course.

[16:52] Lisa Rothstein: And it all depends, also, when you run into people from your old world and they're asking you what you do? What you're doing now? And stuff and you're trying to explain it and you just don't know. I think the moment that really turned it around for me was, I was asked to go back to my college. Where I went to college and a few of us were asked to speak at a panel about reinventing yourself in midlife. It's a little bit like this show. And I was feeling really, really insecure about doing this because when I graduated I had this big important job waiting for me. And now, here it was, 25 years later, and I was really just kind of working for myself and kind of scrambling to get clients. So I, when I spoke, I spoke from the heart and I basically said, “Every month, some months are better than others and sometimes I make a lot of money and sometimes I don't make any and it's very scary. But at the same time, I wake up in the morning, I do what I want, I watch other people walk out with their briefcases and their shoes and their cars, and I'm sitting on my deck with my laptop, and I'm actually pretty happy most of the time.”

[18:07] Lisa Rothstein: And it was true. I realized when I said that in that speech, that was actually true. And I thought, “Well, it's out now. All of my classmates know that I'm just kind of sitting here on my own, not being this big executive and not being this big important person that they thought I was.” And the crazy thing was, that after it was over, people came running up to me with tears in their eyes, asking me, “How did you do that, how did you get out, how did you free yourself from… ” They wanted to know, they all wanted to do what I was doing.

[18:40] Joel: So what did that tell you right there?

[18:43] Lisa Rothstein: That told me, number one, that I wasn't a loser. Number two, I felt better about myself, but I felt that way before they said that to me. I felt that way just speaking it out. I was like, “You know what? I make my own life, I do my own thing, and I actually really am happy with that. I mean, it's not sour grapes, I'm happy with the way my life is.” And when I saw how much other people were longing for this kind of thing, I was shocked, because I thought that they… I guess what it also teaches you is that you have no idea what other people are going through. You look at other people and you think they've got it all together, and you're the only one who's struggling, and it wasn't that way at all. The people who came to talk to me, on the surface, were very successful. They had everything they wanted, they had the family and the job and the career and the whatever it was, but they came to me with this longing of, “Show me how you did that.” And I wasn't even thinking of coaching anybody on that kind of thing then. I was mostly just helping people write their marketing, but it was a revelation. And I still struggle with self-worth sometimes.

[19:50] Joel: Sure.

[19:51] Lisa Rothstein: Listen, it's not because of the job. I was raised in a home where I had to keep my voice down, close the door, critical. I have critical parents, and so it was difficult to feel good about myself without this outside validation of, “Oh, you work for these people,” or “Oh, you went to this college,” or “Oh, you've accomplished these things,” and so…

[20:16] Joel: I can completely relate with you, 'cause I was working for a Fortune 500 company, like who wouldn't want that, right? And in November 2006, with a lot of discussions, prayer, and heated fellowship between my wife and myself, we just decided that that was not the best place for me. Lisa, I really appreciate your time today. I know that there's a lot more that we could go into in this story but I definitely want to have you back because I want to get more into The DaVinci Dilemma, once that book is launched and going strong, and I want to hear more about the personal story as well. Last question, and we'll come in for a landing on this one. Talking today with Lisa Rothstein. There, I said it. She is an award-winning Madison Avenue copywriter and of course we'll have all of the social media go-to links available in the show-notes that accompany this episode. Last thing, Lisa. Okay, so people after you speak and after you share and after you really kinda lift the veil, and let people understand the real Lisa, what would you say is the top thing that you learned, I asked what you learned about yourself, but what did you learn about other people that was either a surprise to you, or that just reinforced what you kinda thought was true all along about other folks?

[21:42] Lisa Rothstein: Well, the thing both personally and professionally that I've learned about other people is that, and it's true of me too, we don't know the… It's very hard to see for yourself what the special thing about you is. Other people can see it right away, but the thing you think is the most important or most valuable thing about you and what you have to offer is usually not what it really is. You need someone else to tell you and to show you what it is about what you offer that's really unique and special, and that outside perspective is just so so important. Because time and time again people that I work with will try to say “Well, this is what I do” and I always see, “Well, what about this thing over in the corner?” and they say “Oh that's nothing. That's nothing.” And the thing that they think is nothing is their best, is the best attribute, the best product that they have. So what you discount is probably your biggest asset.

[22:38] Joel: Now, that is gold right there. One of the things that I do when I'm working with someone one-on-one is, one of the first exercises that I have them do is email their friends, their family, their coworkers, people that'll tell them the truth, basically, and ask them five powerful, action-packed but very simple questions about things that they've observed, seen, and noticed in that person. And my gosh, Lisa, the responses that we get back and that we look over, people have-because they're so married to who they are, they are surprised. And it's simply things they don't notice about themselves, or, and this is kinda dangerous, that they haven't assigned value to.

[23:22] Lisa Rothstein: Right, absolutely.

[23:24] Joel: Once we're…

[23:24] Lisa Rothstein: And that really goes back to everything I said before, and when you asked me what I discovered about myself, I mean I really didn't know my own value when it was coming from other people, and I'm still just discovering what my value is as a person but I feel much more comfortable about that now than I did when I was still kind of recently post-corporate. I'm sure you've experienced that too, Joel.

[23:47] Joel: Yes.

[23:47] Pei: So Lisa, what you said earlier, it kind of stuck in my head. I don't know if it should but it stuck in my head. You said, “If I can make underwear interesting, I can make anything interesting.”

[24:01] Joel: Hey, hey Pei, you need to tweet that out when we get done with the recording today and definitely @LisaRothstein, right? That's your Twitter handle, right Lisa?

[24:10] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah, absolutely.

[24:11] Joel: Okay, everyone, let's tweet Lisa.

[24:12] Lisa Rothstein: No, actually it's @DaVinciDiva, actually. It was for the…

[24:16] Joel: That's right, I said it wrong. Go ahead and give that Twitter handle one more time.

[24:20] Lisa Rothstein: @DaVinciDiva.

[24:22] Joel: Just retweet mine 'cause I'm gonna be tweeting that out probably on a consistent basis now. That is gold.

[24:30] Pei: So, Lisa, I'm curious.

[24:31] Joel: Yeah.

[24:32] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah! There you go, you proved my point. I said that, it just fell out of my mouth. I didn't even think about it.

[24:36] Pei: Wow, wow. Yeah, you gotta see what other people see or hear in you.

[24:43] Lisa Rothstein: Everybody needs somebody, that's really what the answer is. It's not just a professional. Just by virtue of the fact that that someone is not you, they're gonna see things you don't see that are probably more… Just [24:57] ____ juicier for the public than what you think you have to offer.

[25:00] Joel: Very well said. Pei, bring us in for a landing, Pei.

[25:03] Pei: Right. Well, I want to hear from you, Lisa. Right now, knowing what you know, experienced what you experienced, how do you come up… I mean, as such a famous copyrighter you are, what phrase did you come up for yourself as your personal branding right now?

[25:23] Lisa Rothstein: You know what? I don't really have a tagline for myself right now, and I keep changing ones I do have. One of the things I tell my clients is that the kind of copy that we do for ourselves in this world, in the coaching and consulting and internet marketing world, you don't want it to be like the Madison Avenue slick tagline, “Let's do it.”

[25:44] Joel: Well said.

[25:46] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah. That was one thing I had to learn the hard way, that that kind of thing can make people feel much distant from you. Taglines are fine if they come organically, but I have people coming to me all the time and asking me to come up with a snappy tagline for them and it's like, that is so, so not where it's at for selling your product. And it may even hurt you if people think that you're trying to be too slick and ad-sy.

[26:17] Pei: Yeah, elevator speech.

[26:18] Lisa Rothstein: Yeah, exactly. So, right now, I mean, I don't really have a tagline for myself and I'm okay with that. Flying naked.

[26:28] Joel: Yeah, very good. Very good. For the sake of just to be fun, how bout this one, “Wait'll Lisa gets her hands on you.”

[26:39] Lisa Rothstein: That's right! Wait till I get my hands on you.

[26:41] Joel: All the best. Welcome back here on Relaunch. As soon as your book comes out, let us know when that happens and have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day, Lisa. Thanks for being here.

[26:50] Lisa Rothstein: Bye.

[26:54] Joel: Boom. That was good. Good job, guys.

[26:57] Pei: That was fun.

Connect with Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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