Episode #59: Listener Q&A: Email vs. Social Content, Trying New Things, & How to Define Your Brand

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. Listener Q&A: email vs social content, trying new things, & how to define your brand

In this segment, we’re going to go through a few listener questions. We’ll wrap up with a weekly actionable tip!


Diane Sanfilippo: We all wish we could just shut it down and not do it. So I think that’s important to know. It’s like; you’re not alone.

Cassy Joy: Say it! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Preach!

Cassy Joy: Say it again! 

Diane Sanfilippo: What is the meme from Orange is the New Black.

Cassy Joy: Yes!!

Diane Sanfilippo: Every creator; everyone who is on social media, every brand, everyone is like; I wish I could just not do that. So I think that’s important to know. You’re not alone.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re going through a few of our listener questions.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:12]
  2. Shop Talk: Newsletter format [20:25]
  3. Knowing when uncomfortable for growth or wrong fit [36:39]
  4. Decisions about branding and purpose [46:24]
  5. Tip of The Week: Submit your questions [55:03]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:12]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives this week. Cassy, what’s going on with you, over in San Antonio?

Cassy Joy: You know, I told Austin this the other morning; I was like; I texted Diane last night and told her that I took on too much, and I think she’s the only; yeah, I think you might be one of the very, very few; very few people that I think that in a moment, when something is raw and I’m still reeling from the lesson, that I would tell it to! {laughing}

So we did book; we just wrapped on…

Diane Sanfilippo: But what did I say? I was like; yeah, you did. Or what? What did I say? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yeah you did. Yeah; you were like, yeah, you did. I texted you and I was like; today was too much. I took on too much today. And I kind of rattled off what we did. And you were like; yeah, that’s too much. {laughing} I was like;

Diane Sanfilippo: I have this big sister friend, you know, position where; let’s be happy we didn’t meet longer ago, because I probably would’ve tried to protect you from yourself a lot more, had we met longer ago.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I just know you so well and I trust you to live your experiences, and then you’re your hindsight on your own. Don’t take my hindsight. You know? But I would’ve been like; no, you need to set some boundaries and put your foot down about how many things you’re trying to achieve in one day. But also, your energy and ability to achieve certain things in a day far exceeds mine; so like, who am I to tell you. But I can definitely tell you as an older person what makes me tired just seeing it on paper.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like; listen. Those are too many things on the list! {laughs} But, you know, I know you’ll live through it.

Cassy Joy: We did. We lived through it. We’re only slightly worse for wear. And the product is going to be great. But I think the emotional toll was just too much. But I say all this; it sounds all very doom and gloom. I’m really proud of us and what we were able to accomplish. So we just wrapped; I feel like y’all are listening to this like;

Diane Sanfilippo: What is she talking about?

Cassy Joy: Yeah, what the heck are they talking about? We just finished the photo shoot for my third book, which is another cookbook. The concept is still a secret, but it’ll be in the same vein ish as my second book, Cook Once, Eat All Week. Just a little bit elevated, and also really answering the mail on what our readers said that they were really looking for. And we shot; we had about 2/3 of the photos for the food left, and then the cover shoot and all of our lifestyle and all of our chapter starters were still left. And we squeezed all of that in into four days of shooting.

And it was; the food, for example. These are different kinds of recipes, but it’s like one dish isn’t just one recipe, because it’s going to be a complete meal. I’m trying not to give too much away. But one dish represents four recipes, ok. On average; three to four recipes. And then times four servings. And we did all of this in our new kitchen studio; talk about just breaking it in with the biggest possible ask. But my team, they pulled incredible hours. Amber Golden spent, I think, a week and a half planning very carefully the production. She essentially produced the show, right, that was this giant kitchen achievement. And then I did all the food styling. And then Kristen Kilpatrick, our food photographer, shot everything. And we have a digital editor right there; she selects, crop, and save favorites. So it was just this constant assembly line. And we did those first days of food first, and then we all took a break so I could wrap my head around what I wanted for B-roll and lifestyle. And that was on a Sunday, and then we came back and Monday morning we shot the cover.

And what we did, at the end of that day; that day was the day that I was like; I did too much. This was too much. Because I was almost in tears. But we did the cover times three options, because you have to have options. And then we did team photos, fitness photos, B-roll, like in the kitchen. We shot all the chapter cover starters, which were very; I am hoping are going to be; I’m just really proud of them, if they come out the way I think they did. Very educational and also beautiful.  And then we went to my parents’ house and we did family photos with the girls and Austin and the two puppy dogs!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: And Kristen, to her credit, was like; I think she would have stayed until 2 in the morning if we still had pictures to take. But I was like; we’re done. Like, there was a mosquito on Bishop. Bishop was like; {laughs} my youngest, the four-month-old, she’s almost five months old. Baby Bee was such a trooper. She just sat there with her eyes; it’s like, her eyes were open. She’s like; my eyes are open but I’m not awaken. I’m like not here. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: Anyway. We knocked it out. We got it all done. But that was too much. But everybody…

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, but.

Cassy Joy: Go ahead.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was going to say; I think, it’s like, you can always get through those things. And I think as the entrepreneur, as the person in charge, whatever. I think the hindsight always becomes; how was I able to maintain my composure, and show up, and interact with everyone. It’s not really about; can we do it. I mean, of course when it comes to photos sometimes whether you can or not depends on light, and that’s a whole other conversation. But when I think about this, like; what’s possible to achieve in a day, it’s more about what will happen. And this also is different people; right? Different people have different energy abilities. But I know my limits of how long I can be nice for until I just become too tired. And it has nothing to do with the people around me. They could be my favorite people, and I just need to shut down and go, you know, internal.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: And just escape. Like after three days of book signings in a row, I need a hotel room by myself for a whole day. Nobody talk to me. Maybe Cassy come over, we have breakfast, and then we both sit in our perspective rooms for the rest of the day doing nothing but watching movies or something. You know; stuff like that. So I think it’s less about; we can do it, we can power through. And it’s more; well, who were you through all of that. And I have no question that you were as sunny as possible through it. But in hindsight, it becomes; what could I do to set myself up better to feel better through it, to feel better after it, to know that I showed up for me as gently as I want. That’s kind of a word that I have to think about, because I’m such a steamroller in a negative situation, so how do I become more gentle. So anyway.

Cassy Joy: That’s totally it, Diane.

Diane Sanfilippo: But it gets done.

Cassy Joy: It does. It got done. And I think; this feels like; {laughs} I’m 34. I feel like I’m growing up a little bit in this process or in the moment. Because we did that first outfit with the family, and Kristen was like; ok, do y’all want to do an outfit change and we’ll change locations. And I was like; you know what? No. I think the options have to come from what we just took. Because everybody was happy. And I was like; as soon as someone starts to have a meltdown, or a puppy runs off. Gus ate an entire log of goat cheese. He’s fine.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} But I was like; the wheels were starting to rattle on the cart and in my own composure, and I was like, I think I have to call it. I need to go inside. We’re going to order some Thai food with my family, and we’re just; I need to press the button.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think that’s it. That’s the moment where you realize; if you were not your best self, you would push for more and something; more options, more; what if this isn’t perfect, you know. What if the next one would have been the right one. It’s almost like it comes from; I think with both of our personalities, it comes from insecurity.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which doesn’t seem like that’s what it is at the time. It seems like; well, I’m trying to do the best. And I’m trying to optimize and maximize and all of that. But the reality is, it’s this; like, okay what we did is definitely going to be good enough. And good enough is actually awesome.

Cassy Joy: It is. It is. It’s going to be awesome. And it takes experience, I think, for me to have gotten to that point; you know, to agonize over photos in the past and realize that all of them were great. You know? {laughs} So anyway, that’s my really big update.

Diane Sanfilippo: Love that.

Cassy Joy: And coming back into the studio office and putting up all of our prop shelves and grocery shelves and getting everything back in order. It’s just; it’s so nice; this is such a nice feeling being here with the team. Because it feels like this space has history. It’s like after you throw your first party, or a housewarming party, almost. Is kind of what it was. And you learn what’s in all the drawers in the kitchen, and your team knows how to move around each other. We have inside jokes in this space. It just; it added this layer of richness to this space that I’m just really savoring right now. So that’s really lovely.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that.

Cassy Joy: But it’s time to turn this puppy in, and then get back onto Q4 planning for the website.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. So exciting.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. How are you doing? How is the weather?

Diane Sanfilippo: Well; it’s not smoky. Last week, I remember we were recording and it was pretty much nighttime outside at, you know, 11:30 in the morning, which was so wild. So it’s not smoky outside. I mean, even having the weather app on the iPhone tell you “smoky” or, {laughs}, you know, unhealthy air quality. That’s really trippy. {laughing}

Cassy Joy: It is. I can only imagine.

Diane Sanfilippo: What? I took a couple of screenshots I thought it was so wild. So, yeah, the air seems to be getting better, which is so great. It’s really interesting, around the city I was actually; {laughs}, I was telling my mom about it yesterday. So; I feel like San Francisco is really behind on a lot of the reopening, and it’s been kind of a point of contention for a lot of small businesses around. And, you know, we were one of the first cities to really shut down. But then everyone felt like; ok, we want to see a little something happening. We are under standing safety protocols; all of that. But restaurants; I don’t know what it’s like everywhere right now, but restaurants can’t have people inside. And there’s not much outdoor space in and city; in an urban area. But what they’re all doing is building these little parklets.

So let’s say a restaurant has three parking spaces that take up the front across their storefront of the restaurant. They’re building these wooden structures; they call it a parklet, where essentially tables are getting set up with the 6-foot distance. And sometimes there are little dividers or screens. Which I personally love. I feel like we have our own little booth. I’m like; this is great! You know; it’s taking up parking spaces in the street. But in an urban area like this, you know we drive and we walk, so whenever. But it’s just really interesting to see the pivot. And most of these restaurants are obviously also doing delivery and take out, which is huge in the city. We have lots of apps that offer those options, even for some really kind of higher end restaurants that weren’t doing that before. But that’s just been really interesting to see and to watch them open. You know; at first they all started out really basic, and now they’re painting them different colors. Putting little umbrellas on them. Branding them. That’s just been really fun to see.

Cassy Joy: That’s so fun!

Diane Sanfilippo: A little interesting thing happening here. So along those lines; so I’m mostly talking about the area where the shop is going to be. It’s on Union Street; so for people who know San Francisco, you know, just like any city there’s a handful of little commercial areas or shopping districts, basically. And this area is called the marina. And there are two separate streets in the marina where people just kind of walk and stroll and shop and, you know, live and do all of that stuff.

So, the shop is on Union Street at Fillmore, which is a really awesome intersection. So the big update is that the painting finally began; which, be still my heart to see the walls like really clean and covered with primer. I mean, just the primer alone is like, ahhh! Angels singing, because the walls just had all this mess and lots of holes and things torn apart. And it’s just so exciting.

I’m also like; I’m basically just painting this whole thing white {laughs} you know. It feels slightly anticlimactic, just that beginning step of so much white. But the navy will come next and then the mural will come next. And so that’s really exciting. So yeah, that’s happening. That will be all week, and I’m sharing updates for folks who are following along on social. I’m savings them to my highlight so everyone can kind of see the progress. And I’ve just been emailing back and forth with the artist who is going to be doing the mural. And we’re having really good tweaks and conversations about what that’s going to look like, and I think we’re getting to a really good place, and we’re doing some fun things that I didn’t imagine we would do at first. But, eventually I will reveal some of that to you all as it’s happening. So that’s just really exciting.

I found a local sign painter who I have not reached out to him yet, but I have a real affinity for hand painted hand lettered signs. So, a part of my history and background with the company that is now called Kick Charge Creative, was formerly called Graphic D-Signs; it was like D-hyphen-signs, my old boss’s name is Dan. But when I worked for Dan, he was showing me the history of how he became a graphic designer and where that all was rooted. And he used to hand paint hand lettered signs, and trucks. So like, the landscapers in your neighborhood 20 years ago who didn’t have vinyl graphics attached to their vans, somebody would paint those letters onto the truck. And you know; Smith Landscaping or whatever.

So it’s a real art form. I mean, I know people might be familiar with art forms like calligraphy; but take notice around your local area. I mean, maybe it’s something that you’re seeing in the sort of like vintage retro look, where it’s that soft; I don’t know how to explain it, but just hand lettered, hand painted signs. So long story short, I found this local artist through; I don’t even know what kind of connection on Instagram. He does amazing work. I don’t know if I can afford him, but we will see.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I saw him doing some painting in a local shop and I was like; that is so cool. And I think it would be really fun after the mural is done to maybe have him do some little splashes of some hand lettered areas around the shop.

Cassy Joy: Ooh!

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I’m basically just, like; let’s create something fun. Let’s just make this whole thing fun and have an experience. So yeah. I mean, that’s kind of what’s going on with the shop. And it’s an interesting time, because I noticed that Williams Sonoma; so I talked about the two main streets in the neighborhood. Chestnut Street is another main commercial area where there’s a lot of brands that we know; National Brands. Pottery Barn, Apple, the GAP has a store there. Or I should just say GAP. {laughs} After the years when I wasn’t working there anymore, they changed; they dropped the “the”.

Cassy Joy: I still call it “the” GAP.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s because we’re old-school.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But Williams Sonoma had, apparently they call it their flagship store. It wasn’t the largest, but it was on Chestnut Street; actually at the corner of Chestnut and Filmore. And it closed. And I’m like; oh my goodness! So what’s happening in my head for, you know, the entrepreneurial conversation is; what is happening with traditional retail, you know. I’ve been someone who’s been involved in the retail world since I was 16. I worked at GAP; GAP Kids, actually, and worked for their headquarters and a total span of about seven years of my life. And watching what happened in the 90s with GAP, just being like the it Brand, and then kind of ebbing and flowing. And then just watching what’s happening on the streets with traditional retail. You know, I don’t have a shopping mall that I go to that’s very close to me. There’s one downtown, but for as much of a Jersey mall girl as I grew up as, I just kind of stay on these local streets.

But just watching what’s happening with so much turnover, so many businesses closing, I’m constantly asking myself; what am I doing that’s going to be different opening a store? Of course, we’re still in a pandemic. Of course things are different. I have a brand that is established online. All this to say; what I’m aiming to do with the store is to just really bring the brand to life and create an experience for people that will have some unique elements that you just can’t experience online. And of course, that will create some FOMO. And I don’t really love that, because I can’t bring everyone into the store. But I love that it will create a little bit more of this just real-life touch point for the people in the community. I feel; this kind of hit me recently.

I’m proud to build something new in the community where I live. Like; how cool is that to actually create something.

Cassy Joy: It’s so cool.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean; of course, like where you live, you are creating jobs and you have a headquarters now. And it’s like; to kind of give back to the community. I’m realizing; oh my goodness, I’m probably going to make friends with the nail salon that’s next door, and the grocery store across the street. And I’ll be like; you know, the shop around the corner! {laughing} I’m channeling my inner Meg Ryan.

Cassy Joy: Yeah!

Diane Sanfilippo: Right? But just really thinking about that, that, you know, we’re in a city but this kind of small town vibe of; how do we do something in the community that’s different and also recognize that, you know, we’re this online brand and bringing it to life and creating an experience for people. So I’m just thinking about all the ways that I can do that. That is against what traditional retail has always been. But nurturing the fact that; you know, there are people walking by, and they want to come in and experience what we’re doing and get some spices or all of the amazing thing we’re going to be selling.

Cassy Joy: I love it.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that’s really exciting. And we have some new products in the hopper, and I won’t harp on those for too long. But what we have that’s new coming to spices is coming relatively soon. And then hopefully what’s following from there will be not too long after. I don’t know exactly how long the next products will take, not spices, but packaging is going to be the real holdup of the next iteration of goodies that are coming, could I be any less clear.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I think it’s…

Diane Sanfilippo: But I like for listeners to get a little tip, but not too much.

Cassy Joy: I like it. I don’t think it was that unclear, but I also know. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: I think I know.

Diane Sanfilippo: We talked about what I’m working on, so, you do. Alright. That’s it for my updates.

2.  Shop Talk: Newsletter format [20:25]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we are going to answer a few listener questions. So before we jump into some of the questions, we got a really nice note and feedback from Samantha_leaf, and they say; “Dear Diane and Cassy; thank you for your podcast. I think it reaches well beyond entrepreneurship into general career development. I find many useful topics and resources towards building a successful and autonomous career in the corporate world. Thank you again; Allie.

Diane Sanfilippo: Love that.

Cassy Joy: Well, you are so welcome! Ok, so for our first question, Amy Fox Wellness asks; “I’m on episode 11. So let me know if this is addressed, or if I need to go back to an episode. But my question is; how would you make a newsletter content unique from your Instagram content? I want to build an e-mail list, so I know Instagram owns my followers and I don’t. But I’m struggling with creating content for both. What are your tips? I signed up for both of your e-mail lists, and would love to be walked through the process since I know your newsletters have special content. I’m sure both avenues can align, but your advice is valued.

Well, Amy, you know I think we did discuss this somewhere in more in-depth later on in an episode that you just haven’t gotten to, but it’s a good thing to touch on again. And Diane actually; I was thinking about this, but I didn’t send you a note. But your Balanced Bites email newsletters are wonderful.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well thank you.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, I really enjoyed them. I sat down and read a whole one.

Diane Sanfilippo: You did?

Cassy Joy: I did. I really did.

Diane Sanfilippo: Thank you.

Cassy Joy: It popped open.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ll be sure to pass that onto Nikki.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, she’s doing a great job.

Diane Sanfilippo: Who creates them.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Gold star.

Cassy Joy: Gold star. So what we like to do; what we’ve started doing at least at Fed and Fit. And this has evolved many times over the years as social media changes and evolves. But what I’ve learned is the importance of native content. And what that means, and correct me if I’m ever using definitions wrong, Diane. But essentially creating content that is native to the platform. So, you have people on Instagram that are probably only going to find your content on Instagram. You have folks that are going to come to your website that are only going to be website readers. And you have people who are to sign up for your e-mail, and that’s the only time they’re going to consume that content.

So I like to think about creating content for all of those different platforms in a way that speaks to that unique reader. And instead of just constantly cross referencing; like, go check out what I wrote on Instagram. Or, go check out what’s on the website. Or vice versa. You’re able to really give them something of value. And so I like to make sure that our newsletters; we’re offering something of value that references content maybe in other places, but doesn’t require the reader go to those other places to get it.

And so one of the ways we do it at Fed and Fit as a major content machine, and we’re publishing recipes all the time. So one of the things that we provide our newsletter readers with is a meal plan and meal inspiration. And so we do like meal roundups, or here’s your weekly meal plan for this. Or here’s some toddler friendly lunch ideas. Right? So we give folks that kind of unique content that references recipes that obviously live on our website, but it’s a nod to the reader that’s there for newsletters. And we also create that content with in mind for the e-mail reader, because those are usually the kinds of emails that people like to open. Right?

So just kind of think; what kind of content do you like to open, and what keeps you coming back to maybe a newsletter that you’re signed up for? What is it about that newsletter that you enjoy? And then maybe dig a little deeper and go pull up that brands Instagram account and see; what are they publishing on Instagram? And then start to compare and contrast, and see some similarities and also some things that are making them different. And I think after you get enough examples under your belt, and you look up enough newsletters and enough accounts on Instagram, you can start to see the difference.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. I love that. We take kind of a similar but kind of a different approach, and I think both are perfect and valid in their ways. And I think that as the business owner, you have to figure out which way you can maintain. Because none of it matters if you’re going to be inconsistent, Right? So whatever way you land on that you will be able to produce an e-mail consistently, whether that’s once a week, every two weeks. I mean, I think once a month might not be often enough for something that is considered sort of a newsletter. But I think that’s really important, that self-audit of, what can I actually maintain?

So I love what you said; you know we talked about this in a past episode about some native content, meaning you are creating content that’s unique to Instagram. Like; it’s going to live on Instagram stories. it’s not going to be in the e-mail. It’s an Instagram story. We can’t translate everything. But I have also taken this approach, especially with; well I think both with Balanced Bites and with my Diane Sanfilippo emails of recognizing the fact; and this is the analogy that I’ve used a million times, that with social media we’re throwing a polaroid into the river. Or whatever the object is, but I call it a polaroid just because I think about an Instagram photo. We’re literally just tossing a polaroid into the river. And my feeling is that; was a good picture and you probably didn’t see it. And you probably know you didn’t see it. And if you did see it, you’re happy to see it again. Because familiarity is something that we actually really like.

And this is my experience; so when talking about emails that I like to get; I like to see an e-mail from The Sill, for example, where maybe I was swiping by an Instagram, and I saw they introduced a new plant. And I forgot about it, you know, the next day. But I got an email that’s telling me about that new plant. And like, really just reinforcing the message. And so, I think there’s different ways to approach this.

I like the idea of having a core piece of content that you essentially broadcast everywhere you’re talking to people. Because I think that we are so overwhelmed with information and content that the feeling of FOMO and; like oh, there was a thing and it was only here and I missed it. I think that can be really overwhelming for people. So I think that reiterating the content, repeating it in a different format. I like that approach. And that is something that we’re doing.

So, to the point about our emails. We’re building these emails now. We build them primarily in Canva. So this is; I don’t know what the upside or downside is in terms of having not as much searchable content. We try to make sure that it is as; I don’t know if it would be like ADA compliant. We’re trying to make sure that there are some keywords and people know what the content is, even if they’re not seeing the images. But we have a much more image-heavy email these days, and it’s very clean and crisp. But these blocks that we put in our emails can actually be used in each of the types of e-mails that we send.

So we send an email; and I know this isn’t relevant for everyone. But there is some relevance to it, so let me get through it and let you understand. If you create these content blocks for your e-mail; in like 3 to 6 months, somebody missed your Matcha recipe, you can literally just drag and drop it back in there. Or copy and paste it back in there, because they probably missed it before. And we’re doing that with; I’m kind of calling them content blocks. So our emails have this similar consistent look across them, and we’re able to kind of repurpose content across all of our channels that way.

And I have been taking this as an approach; you know when you see the channel guide, and you’re like; okay well The Office is playing on this channel at this time, and then they’re also syndicating it over here at this time. And if I miss it; let’s just use Real Housewives as an example, because {laughs} it’s not really on different channels, so that; it’s a mixed analogy here. Or a mixed metaphor. But essentially I’m looking at it as; I’m teaching you how to slice an avocado perfectly; I can tell my 21-Day Sugar Detox people how to slice an avocado, as well. And I can also tell the people who follow me, Diane Sanfilippo, how to slice an avocado. All of these groups are interested in that content. Yes; there is going to be some crossover of who those people are. But I personally like the idea of saying; because I don’t create as much content as you do, through Fed and Fit, I want to make sure that people are seeing it because I thought it was good. I thought it was really good. And you probably missed it. So, just in case you missed it, here it is again.

I think that both are totally valid. Like I said, I think there’s just; we don’t create as much content so we can use that model that you guys are using. But I think people have different ways of operating. I think if you’re somebody who does create a lot. If you’re writing blog posts every week. If you’re making a recipe. If you’re doing a lot, you want to make sure that you’re getting that out to people. So it’s going to be a different format.

But in terms of what’s different in our e-mail versus social media; we have a free download library, and I like for people to know that that’s always there. It’s not; we used to do where we would send one thing and then it wouldn’t be there to download. We do remind people about a certain download depending on the time of year. Like; hey, don’t forget you’ve got our Salad Madness eBook; but it also lives in the library that’s linked in the footer. So people can always go in there and get it just as they’re subscribed any week.

And then, because Balanced Bites obviously is a food brand at this point, things like special offers and discounts. Especially when we have things that are limited edition or they’re newly launched, we always tell our email subscribers first. And while that might not seem that exciting to everyone; to people who have experienced things selling out, it is exciting. You’re like; I want to know when I can click to buy that.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that is really relevant and important. Again, it’s different depending on the business that you’re in. And then I really see emails as a way for people who truly want to read what’s going on in your world and with your business as a way to not have FOMO. Like, I’m going to take the posts that were really exciting. It can’t be the same experience as social media; it’s just a different place, right? But I’m going to make sure that you see at least a couple of those posts that were really; you know, people got really excited about it. Here is something we’re talking about. Make sure that we put something about the store opening in the e-mail, or whatever it’s going to be.

So, you know, I really look at it as that; making sure that we don’t have that FOMO situation. That people can chill out. They can open the email, know that they’re getting the most important content, and that I am really syndicating whatever is happening.

But that being said; we produce content for the blog; we produce content for the blog at a glacial pace.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s really the best way to say it. Because I’m not a creator, I’m a documenter. That’s really my process. So what we end up doing is I make something in my real life, and then we swoop in and capture it to put that on the blog. And then, now that we have a food photographer that’s working with us regularly, we’ll get a real picture later. But we probably used an iPhone picture. Because I don’t care. I’m okay with that. We’ll put something that’s less than perfect just to get it out there. So, for example, the feta brined chicken that I just did a couple of weeks ago on Instagram, that people saw on Instagram; hey, I’m going to share that. So it goes out; we put it to our email newsletter. It will make it to the blog at some point. But our newsletter subscribers are getting that first. That’s not always typical, that we’ll separate it that way. It will usually go on the blog and we send it directly to our newsletter subscribers. So the content is linked from the email; to your point, you were saying, like, putting it in the e-mail versus linking it, all these different ways to go about it.

But long story short, I think you have to do what you will do consistently. And there isn’t one best way to do it. I just; I really think ultimately the best way is the way that you will maintain, and that makes you feel like you’re getting the most from the contact that you have with people. And if you only create one thing a week, you know, maybe you make one post and you do some social media stuff; if you’re not creating a ton of different content, then use your e-mail to make sure that people see that content. Because they probably didn’t. You know?

Cassy Joy: Yeah. I love that. I think that’s great. I think that e-mail; I tend to think of it, and listening to you talk, it helps me realize or verbalize more of what it is that we do. It acts as a roundup every single week; of, in case you missed it. It’s like our catchall for in case you missed it. The things that maybe we talked about on stories. I don’t specifically call out on stories; hey we did this whole thing over on Instagram stories. But I’ll plug in there; here are the happenings of Fed and Fit. Right? We’re in the studio shooting the book. I’m not saying you have to be following over on stories to get more of it.

And to Diane’s point, I think that treating it as a little bit of a; just thinking about. Let’s say, if your newsletter is weekly. If that’s something that you think you can manage on a very regular basis and you can keep up with, then it’s just; what’s going on that week overall. What did you publish on the website, maybe? What did you publish content-wise on social media? Do you have a product or a service offering that’s new? And if you want to add something extra that’s native just to your e-mail, that’s good. But for us, that’s usually gravy on the top. When Fed and Fit is running, if we have too many balls in the air, then the time it takes to sit down and do some sort of original content for the newsletter is usually one of the first things to go. Because the fact that the value of the newsletter is that folks can see everything that’s going on in the brand. It’s a catchall net. And then we’ll add something else on top of that if we’ve got the time.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And often I would say we probably have those extras mostly as a thank you for subscribing.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, an opt in offer or a freebie. Something like that, people will call it. So, I think that that; I think we kind of all use them for similar reasons. And I don’t think it has to be totally new, unique content. But, I do want people to know, if you want it to be something where you sit down and type something out and you feel like you’re talking to a different group of people, because it is. It does feel like a more intimate connection. Somebody who is going to open that email; think you.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know, for opening that e-mail. That’s so meaningful. In the same way we have sort of a more intimate connection with podcast listeners. We’re in your ear; you’re going for a jog. You’re doing your skin care or whatever it is that you’re doing. Jogging; no, but folding laundry, the things that I do while listening to podcasts. You know, we have this intimate connection. And so sometimes we can take a moment to, even if we don’t create something new, we’re sharing some insights that might be a little more personal, a little less public than what’s on social. Because obviously That’s for anyone’s eyes. But for the e-mail, maybe you’re sharing something that’s a little more personal. Not, you know, disclosing all your whatever. But do you know what I mean; like sharing the goings on that might be a little more in-depth. Just to give you an example of something you could share if you wanted to do something different in e-mail, writing a couple of paragraphs of what’s going on that could be something, you know, if your readers want that.

3. Knowing when uncomfortable for growth or wrong fit [36:39]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, this next question is from A Luxurious Mind, and they ask, “What is the line between being uncomfortable and trying something new in business and understanding something isn’t a right fit? We’re told all the time to expand and be uncomfortable, but when do we know if that thing is playing to our strengths or not? For context, I’m struggling with consistently feeling good about being on social media, INTJ and type 5.”

Ooh, interesting.

Cassy Joy: Ohh, this is a good question.

Diane Sanfilippo: I will open the Instagram account of this asker/listener. Let’s see if we can get a name; this is Tiffany. I recognize you, Tiffany. You comment on my stuff. Thank you. {laughs}

So I think this is a really good question. And I think ultimately it comes down to a few different things. One is; what do you want? What do you want? Let’s just say, for example; she’s saying; feeling good about being on social media. Like; do you want to be on social media? Is it because, probably that’s where we are in the world and if you want to have a business you recognize that that’s part of it, and you might not have a full 100% choice to say no to that? I think that’s valid.

I know other people who have businesses and have been so resistant to social media for so long, and to their detriment. Because they come to a point where they realize; my customers are there, my people are there, they are interested, they want to see it. And unless I’m doing business in my town, I need to be on social media. I need to have some kind of presence there. And, to that end, hiring someone to do that might be something that, in this case, is the first thing that you do. Because if you’re like; I’m just struggling so majorly with this, how do you find a way to make it happen and be authentic to you without you having to do it all the time. So in this case, I think that there are things you can do to get more comfortable. And I think there will be limits to; are you finding yourself on a continuum of; OK this got better each time I did it? Or does it actually not?

And I think for all of us who are public on social media, there is always an amount of; I freaking hate this. Always. It’s always there. We all hate that we’re there a percentage of the time. We all wish we could just shut it down and not do it. So I think that’s important to know.

Cassy Joy: Say it!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s like; you’re not alone.

Cassy Joy: Say it! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Preach!

Cassy Joy: Say it again!

Diane Sanfilippo: What is the meme from Orange is the New Black.

Cassy Joy: Yes! {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Pensatucky, with the hands up. Every creator, everyone who is on social media, every brand, everyone is like; I wish I could just not do that. So I think that’s important to know. Like; you’re not alone.

And I also think it’s important to know that people want to connect with people on social media. So even if you’re not sure about how you show up, or you feel like you’re not doing it in a certain way or a right way, I still think that there are people who will want to connect with you exactly who and how you are. So looking around at what other people do on social media can be very off-putting if you’re constantly struggling about feeling good about doing it; it’s like, like stop looking at what other people are doing and focus on who is there and following you and what you want to do to build what you’re doing.

But in terms of this core question; like, how do you know that line between being comfortable and trying; it’s actually not a comfort thing to me. I don’t think deciding whether or not it’s too uncomfortable should be the factor. It’s really; am I the best person for this job? I think that’s what it is. I think it’s really much more of a skillset. Because I think if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you are going to be uncomfortable all the time in some ways. And you do have to get used to that. So I think if you recognize that; you know what? Where your discomfort is is with not being highly skilled at something and not having the ability to learn something or to become really the best in the moment at that thing.

So for example; something like, maybe you’re on social media, but you’re like; I’m really not a graphic designer and I really do need help. Can you parse out; what is the part that’s uncomfortable? Is it the being there to post all the time? Is it that you’re sharing your life? Is it that you feel like you’re not good at the graphics? Really start to break down the thing that’s uncomfortable. Because I think the discomfort comes with not being good at things. Or from how your boundaries maybe muddied and you feel like there’s too much privacy that’s been broken and then you need to set your boundaries better.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that there’s both of those things. When it comes to the specific thing around social media. But in general, I think as an entrepreneur, I think it is uncomfortable a lot of the time. We’re constantly having to learn new things, but we also then have to find that point at which we’re like; is this discomfort because this is just not my skillset, and I need to hire for it? Or do I need to live through this, because even though it’s uncomfortable, I’m the owner. You know? And if I want to have a business this is part of it.

Like, accounting is super uncomfortable for me. I can to basic, you know we add we subtract we spend. You know; money comes in money goes out. But really looking at accounting and all the sections and categories and all of that; I’m like, oh my gosh. That’s really uncomfortable for me. And then also trying to make decisions from a place of; is this the most profitable thing or not. Like, that’s really not comfortable for me. But finding a way to have help with that is a way to break it down. But you might not be able to do that in the moment with every aspect of your business.

Cassy Joy: I also want to add; you know, this statement you have in here; “we are told all the time to expand and to be uncomfortable. But do we know when that thing is playing into our strengths or not?” I think that you; so social media is the thing that you’re uncomfortable around, it sounds like. Right? Is that what it is? Yes. Not feeling good about being on social media. You didn’t specifically say that someone told you you need to be on social media. It sounds like your intuition told you that that is something that you need to be doing that you are uncomfortable with. And I tend to be in the camp of; trust your intuition. Even though it’s uncomfortable for you; like, how do you know if it’s right for you or not? Your intuition told you you need to be there. Right? And now you’re struggling with the execution and with the feelings around not necessarily feeling like you’re good at it, or feeling good while doing it. I don’t know that that is supposed to contest your intuition that you’re supposed to be there. And so I would just kind of set that record straight. Just because you’re not feeling good about being on social media doesn’t mean that this is not a worthy activity to lean into and to expand within.

And then to Diane’s point; I love what you said, Diane, about get really specific about what is it that you’re struggling with. Is it the caption? Is it’s the constant being present there? Is it scrolling between posting? Get really specific about what it is that’s making you not feel good, and then whenever you can eliminate; the easiest stuff you can eliminate, eliminate those first. So for example, if it’s consuming content that makes you not feel good between your postings, then stop consuming content as best you can. Set an alarm. You know; this is something super basic, But let’s say if you’re going to post something on stories or onto your feed, and you know it’s going to take you 15 minutes to do that, set an alarm for 20 minutes. And when it goes off, you’re like; oh yeah. I’m going to shut this app down. And I’m going to walk away.

See what it is that you can do to really help you. And then if it’s also coming up with a constant; a new idea or whatever it is, there’s also ways that you can hack that system without necessarily having to hire it. So coming up with a content schedule. Diane is a documenter, and I tend to be more of a content planner. And so I lean into content schedules, and that usually helps me get over this needing to find inspiration in every moment to be able to post authentically everyday. So there’s a way that I think that you can hack your way into feeling good around social media if you get really specific.

Diane Sanfilippo: I would love to hear some follow-up on this, Tiffany, because I’m noticing on your account it says; a certain type of life coach, Human Design guide, project manager, etc., etc. And I just wonder; what is it that you’re building and what is it that you see the potential use of social media for? Or is it, you just don’t even know in general that you want to even be on there. And then we can have a separate conversation about building a business that’s not online for the most part. Or finding a way to outsource the parts of it that you just really; you know it needs to be there but you don’t know that you want to be owning it 100%, and I think that’s fair, too. So we can talk about that.

4. Decisions about branding and purpose [46:24]

Cassy Joy: All righty. Our next and last question comes from Abby Atwood Wellness, and Abby asks, “Hi wonderful women! I listened to your latest podcast episode and I have a follow-up question, in case you do some listener questions on decision-making process. I’m very similar to Diane, in that I’m totally gut and instinct driven. I actually rarely find myself getting hung up on decisions that are straightforward, such as e-mail services, etc. I’m like; this one is fine, let’s do that. Done. Where I actually see this coming up for me is in slightly less defined situations. The one I’m thinking of right now is this; I recently made the big decision to hire someone to rebuild my website and do a total brand design. Big investment for me. Holy cow, it’s expensive.”

{Laughs} Yes it is!

“But funny enough I pulled the trigger on that with ease. I just knew it would save me a lot of brainpower, make me feel good and official about my business. Where I’m stuck now is doing all the branding and website language for the designer. My “about” page and my philosophy and my mission. So it’s in those wordy definitions, deciding how to brand myself, deciding how to talk about my business, that’s really giving me decision fatigue and paralysis. I recently niched down in a more public way, specifically focusing on the intersection of sports nutrition and disordered eating in athletes.”

That’s so fascinating.

“And all the nutritional deficiencies and negative psychological impacts of over training, undereating, etc. Whether on purpose or not. I saw it as an elite runner myself and suffered from it. Your mess becomes your message, right?”

Yes it does.

“I guess my question is, how to handle making decisions that define your brand and define your purpose? XOXO Abby.”

Diane Sanfilippo: Hi Abby. We’re friends in real life. {laughs} So, Abby is also an Enneagram 8. Not to out you to the world, there, Abby. As an 8. But I’m sure you will be OK with that. So I totally get this. And I think what you’re saying in the question; this used to happen a lot on the Balanced Bites podcast; people would kind of answer their own question the more they would talk about it, and get through it. But I think this question of; how do you handle making decisions that define your brand and your purpose.

The way that I handle it is knowing that it’s never permanent. That’s really how I handle it. Because whatever copy you put on that page, you can change your mind. So you can be working with a certain group of folks and you can share your about and your philosophy and your mission. And frankly, as a nutrition coach, that stuff probably will change in time. So, you know, take it from someone X number of years out from having done that work. The way that I worked with people, the types of people who I worked with, and the approach that I took over time did change. And that’s OK.

So I think in terms of deciding your purpose; whatever it is right now is what it is right now. It doesn’t have to be; this is what I’m doing for the next 10 years. Cassy and I were just talking before we hit record about how we have evolved what we’re doing in our businesses over a decade, and how different things were in the beginning. Maybe also how similar they were, you know. I started a meal business back in 2008; opened it, closed it; it wasn’t the thing, and now we’ve got meals again, 12 years later. And so you might start out with this niche of people who you’re working with, and then you might veer away from it later and come back to it.

So, long story short. I just think, especially when you’re talking about creating a website, molding your branding; whether its colors, language, any of that; the beautiful thing is that that is all stuff that can change and evolve over time. You’re not building a factory to create some kind of widget that in three years if you change your mind, your like, in it. I think the financial risk is extremely low. So that to me is one of those things where I’m like; don’t worry about it so much.

And how do you craft and how do you decide what to actually say? I think you picture your ideal client, whoever they are, picture them, and what is the conversation that you’re already having with them. So how do you share on your about me page, your story, a little bit about your story, without getting into too much of the depth of a, here’s all the things I’ve overcome. I think sharing some of that is really important and valid to help connect with your potential client, but we don’t need to give a full health history rundown of everything we’ve overcome. I know this especially because Abby has had a lot of things. And I think that’s stuff that people can learn over time from you. But your philosophy, your mission, and then like, who I work with, I think is really important to share these days. Especially if you’re being really specific.

And again, that can change. And I think just keeping that in your head; it’s like, this is for now. {laughs} Your thoughts?

Cassy Joy: That’s beautiful. I think that’s great. Every time I get to a point of decision fatigue on writing something like that, or I feel like I have to cast this all-encompassing umbrella, it’s very intimidating and I get to a point where I write and I write and I edit and I erase and I write again, and then I’m like done with it. I’m over it. It’s like I’ve listened to a song on repeat too many times, and I need to move on. And I just publish it. And to Diane’s point, I just think; you know what, I can always come back and edit it. And sometimes I remember to come back and edit it and sometimes I don’t. You’ll realize that, although you might have a few hits on the part of your website, it’s not going to be your most visited content. And if you want, you can leave a comment question, a box there, and just say; if anybody has any questions please ask. And that’s a way that you can continue the conversation, and provide folks with what they’re looking for.

But yes this is; the beauty about the Internet is that these things are essentially in pencil. You can go back in and you can rewrite your about. You can rewrite any of it as you keep going. I was having a conversation with somebody else earlier today, actually, about a very similar concept. They want to do a number of things with their business, and they’re almost paralyzed with moving forward on any one of those things because they don’t know how to cast an umbrella that makes sense for all of the things. And they reference maybe how Fed and Fit is perceived right now. This is 10 years down the road. And if I had waited until I have an understanding that I would do food mostly, a little bit of fitness, some meal planning, some safer skincare, healthy living, mindset coaching; there’s no way.

I knew I had all that in me when I started, but if I had waited until I could say; this is what I do before I started, I would’ve never gone any further with it. I just had to say for a little bit; here is what you might find on this page. You might find some recipes. You might find some mindset. These are the things I am passionate about.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And I think, thinking about how you’re going to word things; again, we can become paralyzed in, like how do I write this? How do I explain the way I do things? You really just need to focus on who is that ideal client. Because worrying that; just for example, I don’t know. But worrying that our moms might not understand the language you’re using to describe your coaching, it doesn’t serve you if your mom is not your ideal client. It’s OK if she doesn’t get it.

So contrary to that; when I wrote Practical Paleo the first time, I was like; mom can you please read this and tell me what you don’t understand. Because if she didn’t understand it, I wasn’t doing the job right. I wasn’t writing the message properly. So, I think once you get it written up, have some of your current clients or maybe your best clients who are no longer working with you; have them read it and say; hey, what do you think of this? Does this describe what it’s like to work with me? Do you feel like this is spot on? Does this resonate? Did I miss something? Was there something about working with me that you think people should know that I’m not saying? And I think that could be really valuable, too.

5. Tip of The Week: Submit your questions [55:03]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. What are we saying as a tip this week, Cassy?

Cassy Joy: So this week’s tip is to send us your questions! Y’all, really. Your questions that you send in are so helpful in informing the content on this show, so we know what exactly it is that you want and need from us. So please, please, please, send in your questions. You can send them in anywhere you can reach us. I believe we have a drop box on the website. You can also type it in as a DM on Instagram over to The Driven Podcast. Leave it on a comment. We will collect them from everywhere and compile them and will eventually answer your question.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @CassyJoyGarcia as well as @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo as well as @BalancedBites.

Tune in next week for another brand new episode.

1 Comment

  1. Just listened to #59 Q&A. I have a response to the question from someone who is unsure of what to say on her website, like the About Page. I was in the same place. I hired a copywriter, and it made all the difference in the world, without costing a huge fortune. She interviewed me about myself and my business, then drew copy from that. What she provided was an objective perspective on my business, and clearly wrote for me. Just a thought…

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