These days, it seems that marketing has lost its true meaning and purpose, which is to help other people by providing them solutions. Now, it has been clouded with so many bad connotations—from sleazy to uncomfortable. It is time to change that and move to relationship marketing by helping you market in a way that brings you joy.
In this episode, Meaghan Lamm interviews the Joyful Marketing strategist, M. Shannon Hernandez, to talk about how women go about marketing that not only gets them their desired results but, first and foremost, makes them happy. They discuss what it looks like to enjoy marketing yourself, how to identify what brings you joy, and how to market yourself after a business pivot. Join Shannon and Meaghan in this conversation to get the answers as well as learn what holds women back from implementing a marketing strategy and how to overcome it.
In this episode:
- What does it look like to enjoy marketing yourself?
- How to identify what brings you joy
- How to market yourself after a business pivot
Listen to the podcast here:
Relationship Marketing With M. Shannon Hernandez
I’m really excited to be chatting with you because I honestly have been loving, watching the marketing trends shift from “in your face, bro” marketing to the more personal, softer relationship marketing, which I really love. Before we get into all of that, please tell us who you are and what you do.
Thank you for having me! I am excited to be here. I am Shannon Hernandez, the Joyful Marketing strategist. I work with coaches and consultants around the globe who are experienced and primarily online. They want to show up fully as themselves in their marketing, say the things that they want to say that maybe they’re a little scared to say, so I bring that authenticity out, and build a business that gives them the lifestyle that they want, instead of what many of the people preaching about is, “Go hard, hustle and grind,” all that shit I don’t subscribe to, “and you can eventually have it one day.” I’ve actually flipped the script on that and help people build exactly what they want and not delay that joy in the process.
I hate one-day marketing!
I hate it too.
What does one-day mean? How do you know that day has arrived, honestly?
It never comes!
It doesn’t! ’Cause there’s always something else to strive for. If I’ve recognized anything in myself—I have a really hard time celebrating wins, and I’m always striving for something else. It’s like, I hit a thing and then I’m like, “What’s the next thing?” How do you know when you get there if you’re always changing the goalposts because you’re really bad at celebrating yourself?
Yeah! That’s real stuff. Here’s the thing: None of us went into business to delay anything anymore. We went into business to have more time to do what we want to do, to inspire the people that we want to be working with, and to have the freedom—whatever that means to us.
To have somebody—a coach, consultant, or marketing in your Facebook Ads or whatever the hell is going on, always saying, “You got to hustle. You got to grind. Three to five years from now, you can have that,” that doesn’t keep people motivated!
Yeah! Delayed rewards rarely keep people motivated.
We ain’t doing that shit around here!
You say that something like 90% of the women that you’ve worked with or spoken to don’t actually have a marketing strategy at all. I’m assuming, they’re doing what I have done for a long time, and throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping something sticks, and that a client will be like, “Here’s my money.” What do you think holds women specifically back from creating and/or implementing a marketing strategy?
I think it’s a couple of things. The first thing is that the word “strategy” feels heavy to a lot of people, but it also doesn’t feel fun. This is why I came out two years ago—I’ve been in business for several years, have a $500,000 a year, thriving business and 70% profit margin with no ads—I am proud of that. That is an anomaly in the online space, honestly, when you look at people’s numbers and their profits.
But what I realized through this journey was, if we can put joy first in the business model, and in the marketing, and find the things that people are already naturally good at and just teach them how to do those things a little better, they’re showing up in joy, so their energy and message completely change. They’re coming at it from a place of joy, abundance, and marketing in a joyful way instead of, “God, this sucks. I have to go do marketing.”
Helping them get good at what they’re already good at—that’s where the magic happens. None of that is taught in business or marketing strategy. In fact, we can look at millions of examples: “You have to write a book, you need to have a podcast, or you got to do videos. It’s all the rage.” That energy is actually killing the joy of marketing.
We flipped that shit on its head and said, “What would happen if we just let people do what was already joyful to them?” With the premise of, “You are not broken, you don’t need fixed. Let us help you with what you’re already good at and build that business that you want to be having and creating.”
Yes, I hated the rise of, “You have to be on video to be successful.” I hate being on video! I just don’t enjoy it. It’s not how I want to spend my time marketing myself on the internet. This podcast? I love creating this show. I like to have conversations, I like to explore topics that are interesting to me and interesting to the audience in a deeper way. But if this is a Facebook Live show, YouTube show, or whatever—even though I would be talking about the same thing—it would be a totally different energy flow to me because I don’t enjoy being on video.Money always follows joy. It does not work the other way around. Click To Tweet
Yeah! So we give permission to not do video, or broadcasting, or whatever it is that they’ve been told they have to do, because let’s be real. I’m going to give you a number: there are actually 373 ways I have identified with my body of work for people to market themselves. Out of all of those, we can find a couple that are really freaking joyful.
There’s something for you somewhere out of almost 400!
We will help you get back to joy! And in the process, joy is real. What we know because we’ve worked with hundreds of women, getting them back in joy and alignment, is money always follows joy. It does not work the other way around—ever.
I would 100% agree with that.
Have you found, working with many different clients, is there a common theme that pops up when it comes to women who don’t like marketing themselves? There’s always that underlying sense of like, “Sales are slimy and sleazy. I don’t like them. They make me uncomfortable.” Is there a common theme that you notice from women about why they say and think that is?
There’s a couple of things going on here. There’s marketing, which is how you’re showing up your visibility, and then there’s selling, which is a whole different skillset. The thing that I found and I had to revamp a program—so I have a group program called The Confident Expert Program. It is named that because at the end of the day, if you’re not marketing, it’s usually confidence and it could be a lot of things. It doesn’t mean you have low confidence, but you just don’t have the confidence to market the way maybe that you want to be marketing, because you’ve been following all these guru marketers who told you, you have to do it this other way—or, you don’t have the confidence to sell, which is normal. None of us were born knowing how to market and sell.
So the underlying issue time and time again is confidence. That can show up in many ways. It can show up and you’re like, “I’m not doing video.” You then work with somebody or everyone’s telling you all the rage is video, and you push yourself out of alignment—that lowers your confidence. Your energy is then off, and why would anyone buy from you if your energy is off? It’s a cycle. The underlying thing is actually confidence and under that, because we build everyone’s foundation first based on joy—“What would bring you joy?”
That is a quote that hundreds and thousands of people around the world that we’ve worked with and the ripple effect has happened. They will come back and say, “It’s easier because all I have to ask myself is what will bring me joy? And I know the answer to that. If I can just do that, I’ll be good.”
For the longest time, sometimes I think in the bad weeks, I’m like, “Do I know what brings me joy?” Do you ever have to do a lot of coaching with women? I feel like as women, we spend a lot of time focusing on what everyone else wants, so that we get to a point where we don’t really know what feels good to us.
First, you encounter women who also feel that way? Second, if you do, how do you bring them through that, so they have the tools to identify what actually feels good so that they can pursue them?
Yeah! It’s a great question, and it’s real. What we’ve found, when I work with clients and we start and say, “What brings you joy?” Most of the time, they can’t even answer it, and then it’s followed by tears. It is sad. Like, “Holy shit, here we are. I don’t even know what brings me joy.” I do a very simple activity—I can explain it real quick—that your audience can do.
Take a piece of paper, grab some fun markers, something colorful and joyful, and number the paper 1 to 25. I want everyone to think about, what is something that brings me joy? I call this your Joy List. We often find it’s things like—on my list—running, sunsets, sunrises, going on a hike, eating avocados, and cooking.
It’s those things! But we have become so wrapped up in pleasing everyone else, or doing all the things we need to be doing as women and mothers and, and, and, and! The list goes on. Add onto that, business owners—we’re disconnected from even stopping to ask ourselves, “What brings me joy?”
How do I know this? Because I was this person. How do we coach really well and help people make moves? We are coaching the shit that we had to figure out. If you’re a good coach, I really believe that—you are coaching the stuff that you have had to figure out and you’ve come through on the other side, and that’s what makes you great at what you do.
So it’s okay if people are like, “I don’t even know if I could come up with 25.” I just want to say it’s normal, and it’s okay. You are not broken, you don’t need to be fixed. We just need to tap into your joy! Because when you use joy as the foundation for every decision in your life and in your business, your life will change drastically.
That’s so important, especially in 2020, because it has been rough. If you can find the things that bring you joy, even in this weird “normal” that we’re all experiencing, then you’ve just got a leg up on surviving 2020 in the way that not everybody does. That’s such a great point.
A lot of shit has happened in 2020 to all of us: Some of us more, some of us less. This isn’t a competition—but at the end of the day, people will come and they’ll email me and ask me in my Facebook group.When you use joy as the foundation for every decision in your life and business, your life will change drastically. Click To Tweet
I just did a training on “How do you stay joyful?” They ask me that. The answer is joy is not an emotion. It’s confusing and I’m out to bust all the myths around it—joy is not happiness. Joy is a daily practice. Joy is choosing. Joy is an inside job. Joy is, “I wake up and yes, I can be in grief over a relationship change, and I can still choose to go to that Joy List and do at least one thing today that brings me joy.” That is a choice.
That’s true! Any positive or negative emotion is a choice. There’s an episode that we have on toxic positivity, which I think feels very applicable here because we feel like we have to feel the happiness or positive emotions all the time—but as human beings, we experience the full range of human emotions.
Sometimes the negative emotions are just there and you can then at that point, choose to beat yourself up for having a negative emotion, or wallow in the negative emotion or whatever it is, or, you can choose to—as you said—go to your Joy List and choose something that brings you joy to do that day because you’re feeling sad or lonely or whatever it is.
I like that you are talking about the toxic positivity because there’s a lot of that shit that goes on. One, it’s praised and perpetuated all at the same time, which is a problem in and of itself. But also, I don’t want to discount that depression is real! And so is anxiety!
I have clients that have bipolar and they come to me mainly because, one, they want to feel some freaking joy again in their life, their business, and their marketing. Also, there’s this little glimmer of hope that, “I can have bipolar or depression or anxiety or whatever those things are, and I can also choose to be more joyful.”
I’m not saying that the joy is going to erase all that, or takes the place of therapy, meds, and all that. I have never said that. But I am saying as somebody who has suffered from anxiety and depression, choosing joy actually alleviates that—when I can do that. It’s another tool in the tool belt.
That’s what I was thinking. It’s something else you can use, along with everything else, to find—even if it’s just a moment. Sometimes the moment that gets me through the whole shitty day is all that I need.
Do you think there’s an underlying sort of block that women have when it comes to being authentic in their marketing?
When I first started marketing myself, I was coming from a teaching background, where you had to be very careful as a teacher of what you said and what you posted on the internet. It took me a long time to be okay with swearing because it’s just who I am as a person. It took me a long time to be okay with sharing politics on business avenues, or even just around business contacts.
I had a coach at one point in my life who was like, “Don’t share politics on your Facebook page because this is now an extension of your business.” Basically, I was like, “Fuck that. I’m going to keep sharing politics.”
Thank god you did! To answer your question, I was a teacher for fifteen years, so we share that—that’s pretty fun!
Do I think there’s an underlying thing that keeps women from being authentic? I think pretty much the way we’re raised in this freaking society starts us being inauthentic from the beginning. Let’s be real. I was born in 1977, I grew up in a family where you didn’t talk about your emotions, you didn’t talk about anything going on in the family, outside of the family, you put the face on and you pretended everything was okay, and that’s how I was raised.
It took me a long time to undo that shit. A long time! You then add to that, when you’re a teacher or work in a corporation or anywhere else that wants to control your voice so that you don’t look bad on behalf of whoever it is that they’re worried you’re offending—you silence yourself some more.
And then you have a whole thing with body image going on, and all of that shit going on. Is it no surprise that we start our own businesses, and we realize to get paid, we’re going to have to be visible, and then we have to deal with all our own shit around it.
Women—being socialized as a girl and a woman in our society is like, “Be as small, quiet, and agreeable as possible.” Don’t make waves. Don’t bring undue attention to yourself.
And by the way, “You should get married and have children.”
Oh my god! I’m so glad that I just don’t have a friend group that says that to me anymore, because I have basically gotten rid of them. I’m almost 33. My birthday is coming up. I am not partnered, I have not been in a relationship for a long time—and I don’t want children.
Finally, people have stopped telling me that I will change my mind. If I ever get married, I’m hoping that I’ll just be old enough that people will not assume that I want to have children.
Listen, I’ve been married ten years, and the longer I taught eighth-graders, the less chance there was of me having any children of my own, because I was like, “I’m taking care of 90 kids a day in Harlem! I am not going home exhausted to go try and take care of a couple more.” I was like, “I am not doing it.” I still don’t have children and I’m really freaking happy about it!Joy is not an emotion. It is not happiness. Joy is a daily practice. Click To Tweet
I think however you arrive at a decision that is totally fine—totally up to you.
To bring us back to where we were, I think we get in the habit of the way that we’re socialized to make ourselves small. Like you said, we start a business and it’s like, “Oh my god, not only do I have to talk about myself, which is gross and horrible. How am I going to do that? But also, I have to ask people to do things for me, like buy my shit, come to my webinar, and do the thing.”
That’s also scary because you’re asking people to do stuff for you. You then add money into it. You’re like, “It’s a minefield of all these things that women have been told not to do their entire lives,” and now it’s like, “You want to have a successful business? You got to do all these things we’ve been telling you your whole life you shouldn’t be doing.” It can be a little scary!
To go back to the coach who told you not to talk about politics, here’s how I teach people but also operate my own business because I am my own best student and teacher. I model what I teach. That’s what a teacher and a good coach do. I’ve had these coaches tell me this shit too.
First, I fired them. I’m like, “Actually, you’re not the coach for me.” Also, I often say and teach that your marketing has two jobs, to attract and repel. Until your marketing and your messaging is doing both, and you are getting hate mail, you haven’t shown up enough and been authentic enough because you’re just being vanilla.
My biz besties and I, we celebrate the haters. We’re like, “Woohoo, a negative comment.”
Yup! And that’s when you know that you’re saying something that matters—if you got a reaction. That’s politics. You don’t want to work with them anyway!
Exactly! I always say that my goal really on this planet is to help women make as much money as possible so that we can use that buying power to affect change in whatever way is meaningful for us. Whether that is creating a legacy for our children, or creating a business that stands the test of time, or donating to an organization, or starting a foundation, whatever the fuck it is. I want to help women make as much money as possible because our money talks and mine has something to say.
That’s how I view it. That’s how I view helping our clients. If we’re taking that away from women because we’re not selling, I think we’re doing a major disservice to ourselves. If my money has something to say, I’m going to spend it in places that I want to spend it. If you see my politics and you disagree enough that you don’t want to work with me, we’re probably not a good fit anyway, and that’s good! My outspokenness is doing exactly what I want it to do, which is attracting the right people to me, and self-deleting the people that I don’t want to work with anyway. I am not trying to be perfect for everybody, just the right people.
You’ve worked with so many women. So when you come across women who have maybe been marketing themselves in one way or using a message that they “should” have been using because somebody told them to—and now, they want to shift everything, they have to change up how they’re marketing themselves—how do you coach them through that?
I know that a lot of the times, especially for me, every time I’ve pivoted my business over the years, there’s a small part of me that’s like, people are going to think that I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m a flake or whatever because I’m changing tactics. Is there a way around that thinking of—women feel like we have to be perfect all the time? Is there a way around that thinking, so that they can pivot into what is joyful for them rather than staying stuck in what’s not working?
Like you, I have pivoted a lot. My pivot is always towards more joy and more money. That’s what I’m pivoting. We could do a whole other episode on just the idea of what is perfect and imperfect, because it’s a bunch of bullshit. It’s self-created shit that’s keeping women stuck. If there is no perfect, and there is no imperfect—and you are perfectly fine just how you are, you are not broken, you don’t need to be fixed—ow would you show up in your marketing? That’s a mind-blowing question!
The whole of our lives, we’ve been told we’re not enough. We need to be skinnier, thinner, fitter, quieter, or whatever it is. It comes back down to confidence, owning who you are right now, knowing that probably the people you work with and the people I work with—I work with people who have an amazing heart and want to change the world. There’s no need for perfection or imperfection in that. We just need to get rid of the word, get rid of the fear around it, and start with “What would bring you joy, and how do you want to show up?”If you're not worried about being perfect or being seen as imperfect, pivoting gets a lot easier. Click To Tweet
You can always pivot. If you’re not worried about being perfect or being seen as imperfect, pivoting gets a lot more freaking easy.
That’s true. We have clients that—their businesses look totally different now from when we started working with them because we finally were just like, “Are you more afraid of pivoting or are you more afraid of staying stuck in this place that you hate forever? You decide which one you’re more afraid of. Then, when we finally get to the point where you’re more afraid of staying stuck, where you are in this place that’s not serving you, we then get to where we’re pivoting out, and now we’re tripling our income and enjoying what it is that we’re doing more,” which I think is always a lovely benefit of choosing that.
Joy first, then the money follows.
Joy first! Yeah.
Have you ever experienced something where you had to do a major marketing shift in your own business—whether it was from a pivot or something else—what lessons did you learn from that experience?
I’m going to talk about something personal, which is great, because I really think that our personal lives do affect our business lives and anyone who teaches you to otherwise is stupid.
They’ll be lying to you, for sure, personal and business.
There is all this one dynamic, awesome, beautiful human being of a person.
Unless you’re running Uber or some shit like that—you are your business.
There have been many over the years, but the one that we’re still navigating and moving through is—my spouse has transitioned. I have from a husband to a wife and we’re coming up on two years. In the whole scheme of things, we’ve been married for ten years. Eight years plus dating was one thing, and now we’re into a new thing. It’s all good. Sometimes it’s hard. It was a lot harder in the beginning because both of our lives were turned upside down.
Part of me was like, how do I show up and keep doing this deep, intensive work with people when I’m just in a big fucking life shit show? Let’s call it what it was! It was really messy. It was emotional. Her identity changed. Our relationship identity changed. People wanted to put me into a box and say, “Oh, now you’re lesbian.” No, I’m actually not. There was a lot of educating that had to be done, but on the marketing side of things, my personal life affected my business.
What I did really well, is I’m super-profitable and I have a team, and I actually reached out to my team and said, “Listen, I’m going through something now that I don’t have a playbook for. I’ve never been through this and never thought I’d be going through this, and I’m committed to letting my spouse show up 100% who she wants to be and feels good. That means I’ve got to do some major inner work here. Can you guys keep the ship running while I’m off for a few months?”
Make sure it doesn’t go off the rails, thank you! And it is the value of a good team—is what I’m saying.
It’s a good team and they’re still with me to this day. My spouse, before her transition, was deejaying at my live events.
It is like an integral part of your business.
Yeah! People knew her, but they had to be reintroduced—not only to her, when it was time, but to me, because I changed. I wasn’t the same person. I always say the universe always will see how serious you are about your message, boy did I get it!
I’ve been preaching for years: Let everyone be exactly who they’re going to be. Quit trying to change people. Love where they’re at and for who they are, and let’s keep the whole freaking world moving! It is like, “Why do we have all this division?” The universe is like, “Let’s see how serious you are now!”
But it’s been beautiful. The whole thing—while there are still sticky parts, we don’t have everything figured out yet—let’s be real, we don’t. The beautiful thing is I have been a stand even before this transition and even more so now. When you show up authentically as you and you live your best life—and if that means you got to change genders and all that stuff that goes with that, and it’s worth it for you to be aligned and live the life you want to be living—now, we’re going to assume nobody’s criminal and hurting anyone, alright? As long as we’re doing the right thing and we’re being a loving human being, helping people be the best that they can be? That is what makes the world a better place.The universe will always see how serious you are about your message. Click To Tweet
It’s been a great lesson. My family members are Trump people.
And they are anti-gay, anti-transgender, so we’re not through the thick of it. Most days, I can’t even deal with that side of things.
I do not blame you. That’s very different. I know several Trans friends and everybody watches what’s going on in our current American political climate through the lens of their own experience. I have a lot of Trans friends, gay and lesbian friends who were—as they should be—worried about what’s going on especially with the Supreme Court hearings that are going on now and all that stuff.
It’s a lot, but I really appreciate you sharing that because I think it’s such a good message. Walking your talk, first of all, and also being present for yourself and present for your spouse too, so that they can live their most authentic life.
And, my life changed. I had to learn, “Whoa, how do I live my most authentic life now?” It gave me a whole new skillset of joy. What is my joy? Some of my joys had to shift because our relationship shifted, but I got to live the work that I’m so passionate about. And for that, I’m super grateful.
I love that! That is such a good story. Thank you!
If you could give women or folks listening, one piece of advice on how to be authentically themselves in their business and shut out all the noise, all the “shoulds”, all the terrible advice, what would you say to them?
You have to get quiet and turn off all the noise. All of us need to do that all the time.
I’m working on that myself, yes!
It’s hard! But when you get quiet and you turn off the noise, and if you’ll just have a chance to have a conversation with yourself and say, “Does this bring me joy?” This can be anything. There are people—women I work with—this work goes way beyond their business, but, “Does this the way I’m working with people right bring me joy?”
I want to share a story on this. I lead a retreat four times a year—I just came back from Sedona, had five women come in, and we did what’s called the Joy Money Retreat. That’s a retreat that I lead. There was a lady there. She was sobbing and she’s like, “I hate this business. I can’t stop. I’m the sole person in my family. I’m responsible for two kids and a husband. And I hate it! I hate how I’m working with clients. I hate everything about it.” I said, “What would bring you joy?”
That question shifted everything. She said, “What would bring me joy is leading retreats like this, but I’m scared to do it.” I said, “What are you scared of?” So we worked on it. We got home, and in one week’s time, she has sold out two retreats that we invented on the fly and brought in $24,000.
Shut up! That’s amazing!
It is amazing! I celebrate her all the time. It’s amazing because—she was in this place of, “I actually like working with people, but I don’t like how I’m working with people.” So when I say to the audience, “Does this bring me joy?” You have to take out “this” and you have to look at everything:
Does the way I’m marketing bring my joy? Does the way I’m showing up bring me joy? The offers? Is the money I’m charging bringing me joy? Does this avocado bring me joy? It is radical and transformative to ask yourself that question on everything. You will uncover where things need to shift and change and your life will be amazing when that happens.
A hundred percent.
If you’re willing to ask yourself that question, you’re on the right track to actually be willing to do something about it. So many people aren’t even willing to ask the question of, “Am I unhappy?” Or “Does this bring me joy?” They don’t want to know the answer—or they already know the answer and they don’t want to confront it. I feel like just being willing to ask the question is almost half the battle, or at the very least, the first step on the journey.
It’s the mantra around here. If you’re in my world—everyone’s asking it—“does this bring me joy?” It’ll change your life if you listen to the answer. You might have been marketing one way of doing business one way for a very long time, like that lady at my retreat. But guess what? My job, if you work with me and Meaghan’s job, I’m sure if you work with her, and the people who are invested in their clients—our job is to help you be super profitable and super happy. We’re going to work with you until we find them, because life is too short to be miserable.
Yeah! We had one client, when we first started working with her, her signature offer was a $10,000 package and she fucking hated it. She was like, “This is the worst. I don’t like working with clients like this. I feel like I’m always chasing down their money and following up with them about payments.”
She’s like, “I don’t like it.” I asked her, “What would you like?” I didn’t ask her, what would bring you joy? That’s not how I phrased it, but it was basically the same question. It was like, “What would you really enjoy doing?”Getting to the heart of joy reduces decision fatigue. Click To Tweet
She was like, “I would enjoy a monthly membership.” I was like, “Okay, let’s run the numbers and see what that looks like.” We did, and I think just since making that switch in 2020 alone—I’m so surprised, but she has really bought into the switch, and as you would say, found her joy in it, and we’ve doubled her income! We have one more launch in 2020 and we could still potentially triple it.
So you just have to be willing to ask yourself the question, “Does this bring me joy?” and then you have to be willing to do something about it if the answer is no.
Yeah, and don’t struggle for a long time, because that question cuts right to the chase and will save you hours, days, weeks, and years of decision fatigue.
That’s the other thing, Meaghan. I think women, at least the women that I’ve worked with—getting to the heart of the joy reduces decision fatigue. One of the things that drains us as business owners and everything else going on is indecision. It is so draining to stay in a place of indecision. It’s draining energy, time, money, and resources.
Does it bring me joy? No? Great, let’s find what does. Be willing to ask that all the time about everything. You will continue adding joy and pivoting towards more joy and more money in your life and your business.
Perfect! I love that. Thank you for being with us. This was such an amazing conversation because so often women do not prioritize their own joy.
I love that you are teaching and guiding women through that process because it’s such an important lesson for us to learn. I also love that you are leading that process through example. Thank you so much for being with us today!
- Shannon Hernandez
- The Confident Expert Program
Send me a message if you’d love to chat more about what partnering together would look like!