A lot of entrepreneurs went from being an employee, before figuring out what they really wanted to do. Who, in the beginning was following the ‘norm’, the program that was taught to us in school and by the society. That was exactly what our guest for today, Jason Van Orden, went through before becoming a huge entrepreneur and who is now teaching other how to transition from being an employer to succeeding in the world of entrepreneurship.
We know that a lot of you, our dear tribe, will connect with Jason’s life story and will get huge chunks of knowledge and inspiration to take a leap of faith and finally live a life by your design. Jason worked for three as an employee when he began to feel restless and weighed things heavily before quitting his job. He spent a couple of years figuring out what his strengths are and where his interests lie. He struggled with different forms of fear and shifting his mindset before he really got his thing going.
A lot of people has the same obstacles, and Jason is here to help you overcome those. Be sure to listen to this podcast in full to understand how you can understand yourself better, how to overcome fear, and how to train your mindset, even sharing a therapy technique that will help you to become more aware of yourself and your thoughts. By gaining this much needed clarity, you are already halfway through making your dreams into a reality. So tune in, and be sure to share this episode with everybody else!
Here’s What You Missed
- What it looked like when Jason followed the ‘norm’
- What he did to finally transition from being an employee to being an entrepreneur
- How to overcome fear and train your mindset
- What is cognitive behavioral therapy and how to do it?
- Thoughts on being a generalist of specialist?
- Discovering your ‘unique genius’, how to amplify your message to reach more people
Jason has been always been a curious as a child, and likes to do things in his own way. As he continues to evolve, he sees the importance of following that curiosity and being willing to experiment on it.
[6:18] Joint venture affiliate deal. When Jason started marketing about the workshop he was planning to start, he didn’t have an mail list yet. The place he’s going to rent has a list of about 83 people that he started sending physical mails. So he got the list in exchange of a promised portion of sales.
[8:03] Ask yourself, where does your strengths and interests lie? Do your best to look into different things by reading books and trying things out to identify which things are more interesting to you. It may take a couple of years of searching and figuring out what was right for you, but if you continue to do work, you will get where you should be. [9:00] Write the things you are afraid of. When you are trying to figure things out and pondering if it’s time to quit your job, one of the first things you can do is to write the things that you’re afraid of. Include the worst case scenarios, and see if you are ready to face it. By the end of that process, you will know if you are ready to quit the corporate world.
[10:53] How to overcome fear and mindset problem? Read a lot of books about entrepreneurship, because a lot of it will talk about risk and re-framing, fear and mindset training. Another thing is to have a circle that you can talk with and be encouraged about entrepreneurship.
[11:54] Use therapy technique or cognitive behavioral therapy. This is about training yourself, to be aware of your thoughts and then stopping and cataloging those thoughts and analyzing them.
[16:49] One of the tips to discover who you want to serve, ask yourself, where can I create like the greatest value? You may want to work with those people. Find a mission you can really get behind.
[19:00] First step of business framework: use Venn diagram to answer these questions: Who are you? Who do you want to serve? How are you going to serve them? It starts with knowing yourself, your vision, what do you want to be recognized for and who you would enjoy serving best. Stay true to your vision, strengths and goals.
[22:52] Passion or profit first? It should be both. Answering questions like, who are you or what’s your unique genius? is where passion needs to come in. Then in the profit side, think about your audience. What are their pains and what do they need? As an entrepreneur, make a product as soon as you can to start selling as soon as possible.
[25:38] Thoughts on being a generalist vs a specialist: Jason is all I’m all about strengths and specializing and knowing where you are strong, and how you operate. So you can start as specialist and you can get to a point where your brand can start standing for other things and still be clear.
[34:01] Sell as soon as possible. You need to get selling something as quickly as possible. It boosts your confidence and proves that what you have is something that people want to buy. It gives you some cash and testimonials.
[39:25] Follow your curiosity. Always look at strategy and growth. Also look for something that will drive you, interests you learn about and experiment.
[42:29] Podcasting should be just one channel for your content. Just one piece of your platform. You can take quotes and make graphics out of it to post to other places.
[44:06] What’s your unique genius? That will boost your confidence and start thinking at different ways you could show up and create something in the world.
Important Reads and Links
Jason Van Orden Website: https://jasonvanorden.com/
Jason Van Orden Podcast: https://jasonvanorden.com/category/podcast/
Jason Van Orden Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonvo/
Jason Van Orden Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Jason-Van-Orden
Jason Van Orden Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonvo
Jason Van Orden resource for finding your unique genius: https://jasonvanorden.com/uncover-your-unique-genius/
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Click Here for a full transcript of this episode:
What’s up Dream Nation. We are back again with an episode that I’m sure will inspire you and impact you to take action. And so today on the line we have my man, Jason Van Orden. Jason, you want to go ahead and say what’s up to Dream Nation. Got it.
It’s good to have you here, especially in such a crazy time.
A lot of people right now, they’ve been going through this pandemic and they’re wondering how they can amplify their message, how they can reach more people and really how they can start to live a life by their design. And I always like to make sure. First off. I know that you’re going to be the person that helps us do just that.
But I always like to make sure that we can give the proper introduction. And I always think of as entrepreneurs, just like superheroes we’re constantly putting on a cape and we’re flying around and we’re trying to solve problems in the world. And so for you before having one, one of the first podcast that talked about online business and marketing before being featured in major publications, like Forbes and Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.
If we can take it all back to when you were just a young boy, tell me who is Jason van Orden.
Jason Van Orden:
Oh, wow. all the way back to a young boy, huh? Well, I’ve always been a very, very curious person and that to this day is something that, that drives me. I can also see that I’ve always had a, a drive to kind of go my own way throughout school.
I was always wanting to study things outside of what, you know, school was. giving me and always trying to push forward and push ahead and, enjoy kind of going my own path. And a lot of that, I see a lot more in hindsight now, but, you know, until I went all the way through college, I was still kind of following a program that was taught to most of us.
I can go get a good job. You get your education. Education is very important. Right. But, it wasn’t until I was. You know, an adult who had actually graduated from college and was in my first job as an entrepreneur, or I’m sorry, as an employee, before being an entrepreneur that I really started noticing.
Wow. Okay. Yeah. If I’m just going to sit on this path, that curiosity, that sense of freedom, that sense of, and also have been a very adventurous person. I get that from my dad. You know, we moved a lot around when I was a kid, we lived in Alaska where I grew up and, you know, so it’s just kind of, it’s in my blood and my bones to do my, do my own thing and go my own way.
And, so that’s why I only lasted three years as an employee before I had to get out out of there and, and, pursue something else at that time. But I, I guess I’d say that’s, you know, I know who I am at the core that has helped lead me to where I am today.
Yeah. So the biggest take that I got out of that was, you know, the curiosity led to the exposure, being exposed to many of the things that you learned, what you like, but then you also learned what you didn’t like and that allowed you to really stay on your path.
The beginnings of Information Marketing
At what point did you know that entrepreneurship was definitely the thing that you liked? Was there one thing that happened to where, like, did you start a business and all of a sudden it took off and went to 10,000 within two months? Or what was that?
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah. In fact, it was a number of breadcrumbs over several years.
So I said I was an employee for three years. It was about a year and a half to two years in that I, I started feeling really restless and just weighed down by my job. And so I followed that curiosity to read lots of different books. You know, I looked into going into academia. I started reading books about getting an MBA.
I started reading about. So entrepreneurship, I started reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, learning a lot about real estate investing. So when I first just quit my job and decided I’m done, I’m going out on my own. Actually didn’t have anything solidly in place, which isn’t, you know, everyone does a little bit different for me, just kind of quitting cold turkey was the thing to do.
But, the idea in the back of my mind was okay, well, you know, I’ve been studying real estate investing. I kind of hooked up with a mentor who was running me through some of the, you know, the ropes that worked. And I just decided to dive right in and. So it was actually real estate investing at first that I went into, which I learned a lot from, and it was one of the main breadcrumbs that did get me where I wanted to go.
Just ultimately it wasn’t, at least in the style I was doing it at the time. Wasn’t the right fit for me. But what I learned through doing real estate investing was I was listening to all of these courses that I was buying through eBay at the time. And they’d show up as like, Three ring binders and DVDs and CDs, CDs and things like that.
Yeah. Right. So like physical courses from these guys, teaching real estate investing men and women teaching real estate investing. And so, you know, that’s kind of at a meta level. I started thinking, well, wow, okay. All of these CDs and things being sent to me, are just somebody, we held a workshop and they recorded it and now I’m now going through that.
So they made it that one time. And here I am. You know, now I’ve paid them for it. Probably a few years later, so that really stuck in the back of my mind. And I started kind of studying more about that at the same time. I was also in a band that a rock band that I was very, very serious about. This is the early two thousands.
And that’s where I started picking up and getting curious about, marketing because you know, to get people to, know about my music and buy my CDs and show up to the shows, I needed to market. And so I started learning about email lists. Setting up a website an online presence and you know, things like that.
So those two things kind of met together. Heather and I eventually decided, you know what, I’m going to, I’m going to do my own a workshop. And so I started thinking about, well, what can I do a workshop on? And I was part of it, state investors, like a association or meetup kind of club group. Right. And people started asking me lots of questions about marketing.
Cause they kinda got the sense that, Oh, well Jason knows about marketing. We can ask him. And they needed to market to find buyers and sellers to put their deals together. So. I decided to put together a one day workshop and the workshop would just be like a mind dump for six or seven hours about direct marketing and writing good headlines and how to get people to respond to your signs and your ads and things like that.
And I charged $200 for it. I rented a room in a local, community college for a couple hundred dollars because it was a musician. I had all the gear to be able to record it, just fine to my computer there at the time. I didn’t have any lists or anything, but the club had a list of like 83 people. And so I said, well, tell you, what if you’ll let me promote to those 83 people, I will give you a portion.
So basically it’s putting together what, I didn’t know, a joint venture affiliate deal. Right? And so I had been learning from Dan Kennedy about mailing sequences, but when I say mailing sequence, I’m talking about physical mail because. No email, obviously it was a thing, but I wasn’t as into email marketing other than my band.
So I sent out three different mailings to this list of 83 people. One of them was a postcard from Paris when I was on vacation there, one of them was like this thing I printed out, but it looked like it was a handwritten on yellow legal pad paper. So like caught people’s attention. And through those, their emailings, I ended up getting 25 people.
Sign up at $200 a pop. And so I made 5K from that at the end, I had a couple of upsells and I think I grossed around seven, $8,000, you know, a little bit of expenses. And after that, it’s like, okay, this is it. I love teaching. I love marketing. I love like the vibe of this whole, you know, what was referred to as information marketing thing.
I’m all in. So now I had my own three ring binder and set of CDs to like mail out and sell to people, which is exactly what I did. But I soon ran out of people locally. I saw it, you know, my, my immediate network of people to sell to was starting to shrink. And so that’s where I was like, okay, I got to go online and figure out how to sell this thing online and started posting the forums started posing, you know, there wasn’t any social media or any of that stuff wasn’t even YouTube or anything yet.
It was all just posting the forums for the most part and getting, you know, Good information, put your byline at the bottom. Some people would click and then they would buy. but just to make this story short, you know, that’s what eventually led me to things like podcasting and, and understanding digital marketing.
And so that’s eventually how I ended up starting the first podcast about online business and internet marketing in 2005. But so it’s like breadcrumbs and it was following my curiosity, reading these books and trying things out and seeing what was, what, and like, okay. That feels more interesting to me than this.
Where do my strengths and interests lie. And then, you know, now I can see where all those zigzags led me, in a very deliberate way, but you know, it took two or three years. I mean, I quit my job in 2003 and I didn’t start my podcast till 2005, which is where, what really like took off of my online. So that was a couple of years of like searching and know, figuring out what was right for me.
Overcoming Fear – CBT
The beginnings of Information Marketing
That’s a great journey. Talk to me. What was the biggest obstacle? If you look back on it now? What was the biggest thing? Yeah, we had to overcome during that journey from 2003, to even, let’s say 2007, 2008.
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah. I mean, it was all different forms of fear and mindset stuff. Really.
I was miserable in my job and if it wasn’t for my wife at the time, she really encouraged me to, you know, it’s like, okay, you know, you’re clearly not happy, so why don’t you just quit my job? And I was like, I can’t just go and quit my job. It’s still trying to figure things out. And we had to sit down and finally just wrote out, she encouraged me to write out, like, what are the things I’m afraid of?
You know, it’s like, okay, we’ll lose our insurance. What are my parents gonna think and what everyone at work and to think, and what if I don’t have any good ideas. And we just started going through those and analyzing them and picking them apart and like, well, what’s the worst thing that could happen.
And if that happened, how would we handle it? And by the end of kind of processing that stuff, I was like, okay, I’m going to do it. I’m going to quit my job. But then it was, you know, similar when I was doing that first workshop, I, you know, I made it sound like it was, I had this idea and went for it, but.
Certainly I had to overcome a hurdle at a time of like, who’s going to show up and listen to me. I didn’t think I’d get 25 people to sign up for it. I mean, mostly I was like, well, I want to try this out and see what it’s like when I went to launch my first podcast, I mean, I found out about podcasting just a few months after first was like invented in the end of 2004.
It took me from like January of 2005 to like September of 2005 to get around to releasing a podcast. I mean, maybe it was like the summer, but anyway, it was a, it was a good few months. Cause I was afraid. I’m like, well, what are the contents not good enough? And I kept thinking and about my friend who would listen to NPR every day in his car and like, what if he listens to it?
And he just thinks it’s like ridiculous, unpolished or unsure. But you know, if I hadn’t launched that podcast, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So it was all fear and mindset stuff that were the biggest obstacles that I had overcome.
I love it. And so many people, they suffer from those same things, right?
It’s the trying to be perfect. One of my friends, one of my family, they don’t like it. And most of the time they craziest thing is those aren’t going to be your ideal clients or your avatars. Anyway, they’ll support you for whatever, but they’re not going to be the ones who vote with their wallet books, or it become your Patreon.
So my question to you is how did you overcome that? Because mindset is hard and a lot of people even still struggle with it. How did you overcome it to start to release, to start to really hone your skills? Yeah.
Jason Van Orden:
so for me it was, I mean, certainly reading a lot of books about entrepreneurship and a lot of them would touch on, you know, reframing how you think about risk and reframing, how you think about fear and things like that.
I also was fortunate to have a couple of friends that I guess, you know, we had a sort of mastermind with, so we would like get together and talk to each other about what we were doing and, and thinking about. And. And thinking about trying and encouraging each other in that, so that really helped to overcome and that, you know, that continues to be tools throughout my story.
And even now that I turn to you as well, you know, I know a lot of people say like, Oh, a coach helped me get through it. I don’t, I have had coaches. Yeah. People have learned from, I mean, I can’t totally discount that. And those early days, for whatever reason I wasn’t hired. Oh, I did have that mentor that I mentioned.
So he helped me quite a bit cause he gave me some opportunities and encouraged me in a lot of ways. And that helped build my confidence. so I guess I did have a form of coach at that time, a mentor. And then, you know, I I’ve mentioned that example of writing down those fears to really start cataloging it.
And essentially what I think I was doing there is using what I have now discovered as a, it’s called a therapy technique referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy, which is all about training yourself, to be aware of your thoughts and then stopping and cataloging those thoughts and thinking about.
You know, are they real? What is the evidence that I’m drawing from that to make that fear real. Okay. Is that true or not? Okay. What’s another way to look at this, you know, if I projected out to the worst thing and really think about, you know, and what I might do does that it’s like a process for analyzing and yeah, if you just even Google, you know, cognitive behavioral therapy, there are a number of worksheets that pop up that are specifically for this, you know, you get into a.
A heightened state of fear or anxiety, and I’m going to be great for a time like this when there’s a lot of uncertainty that everyone is dealing with. Right. And I have turned to some of those techniques at a time like this, and it’s like, okay, you notice it and you feel it in your body. And then you sit down and you go through like five or five to seven columns, depending on which style of worksheet you’re using.
And you start cataloging and answering questions. Like, what am I thinking? And how do I feel about this and why, and other ways to look at it. And then by the end, you know, the idea is that it lessens that emotion, that fear or you understand it better and then are able to hopefully make a decision.
That’s not completely governed by that heightened feeling that you’re having. So that’s, that’s a resource that I can highly recommend.
Yeah, no, I love it. And I’ve actually just recently started getting into a little bit of meditation myself and there’s apps out there now, like Calm, and things like that, that can yeah.
Help you with it. But I think just like you said, becoming aware of the thoughts that we already think, which a lot of the times we think that maybe we’re crazy if we have a crazy thought, so we don’t want to acknowledge it or write it down or anything like that. And we just try to suppress it, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and eats at us.
so that’s a big thing. And I’m glad that you brought that up.
Overcoming Fear – CBT
For you, you started, you left the digital world in a sense, and you started to help other people. You said that you love teaching and you started to help a lot of aspiring podcasters, speakers, entrepreneurs in general. how did, where did that all come from?
Was it like you fell out of the love of doing the work or where a lot of people just coming to you and they wanted to have a similar type of success? Like what did that look like?
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah. So to get the timeline on that, I mentioned in 2005, I started a couple of different podcasts. One was about the business, business podcasting.
And I wrote a book and it would speak conferences and that became a brand. And I teach courses online about that. And then the other one that I started was internet business mastery, which is that podcast that was with a friend of mine that, you know, we would just talk about what we were doing to make money online and.
I guess maybe the timing was right or something about what we were doing in our podcast. It really latched on and took off and turned into a very successful online education business, teaching beginning entrepreneurs who were much like we had been few years before stuck in a job they hated and wanting to know like, okay, This internet thing has some possibilities, where do I start?
Right. And so that continued as a podcast and a business. And in fact, you know, you can still find a lot of our podcasts and articles out there and it went for a good, you know, 12, 13 years. And then, you know, I think that’s just a long time for an entrepreneur, right. I just started feeling. so what had happened is in 2014, I’d reached this point where I, I went and achieved, like one of my pinnacle lifestyle goals, which is I wanted to go and live in Paris for a year with my family.
I’d lived there myself as a college student for a couple of years. I wanted to go back and have that experience again. And we did that. We got our visa, we stayed there for a year, had a wonderful experience, but even as I achieved that and was enjoying it so much, I could tell, like, something just felt off. And, you know, I just think it’s like things shift.
No, I’d been a father for a couple of years. At that point, I was approaching 40 years old at that point. And I think it was just the time where I was like, okay, you know what, it’s time. Maybe my curiosity just needed to go elsewhere. And so I decided, with my business partner, we decided to go ahead and, bring a business manager in who would run the business for us.
We would keep just doing the podcast for a while. And we basically kind of take a bit of a sabbatical from our business and our thinking is that kept selling stuff on sale and delivering our courses to people. And that gave us each a good 18 months to just explore other things. And so, you know, I started messing around with some other ideas and then I also decided, you know, what, what I want to do is I’m going to go, I’m kind of missing because that job was so digital and it got to a point where.
It was very automated, which is like the lifestyle goal. Right. But yeah, it was so at arms length, meaning I didn’t interact often enough with the customers and I’ve come to find that I really enjoy and thrive facilitating group coaching and like, you know, interacting more with people. So I decided to kind of.
Flip to the other side of the spectrum and start consulting both to get kind of that interaction back going again, that I was craving, but also I thought, you know, that’s a great way to just get into other people’s businesses with all this. You know, at that point I had a good 13, 14 years of experience online.
And just see, where can I create the value and like greatest value? What do I want to do next? What really interests me now. And after a couple years of that, what I landed on was thinking about all of the people we serve through Internet Business Mastery and help find freedom through entrepreneurship.
And what really stuck out in my mind was there were certain of those that, you know, yeah, they would like to, they want it quit their job and start their own thing. But they were also very, very driven by some kind of message or story or passion that they just had to get out in the world. And that was like, Just as much at the forefront is freedom was for them.
And so I just started thinking about, you know, what I want to work with more of those people. And there’s a lot of like now in this day and age are a lot of really talented experts who have been in their industry. They’ve mastered their craft. They have some immediate expertise and notoriety and their circle, but now they’re looking at the internet going, I don’t know, that seems like something you use to amplify my message and reach more people, but they just didn’t know how to.
And it was a little bit of a different crowd than kind of your. looking to start your first business crowd is like established, experts and thought leaders that just wanted to go bigger, reach more people, have the bigger impact and certainly, you know, start new income streams as well. And so then I started just thinking about that and pouring myself into that.
I thought, yeah, you know what, that’s a mission I can really get behind. Cause I, you know, the internet has changed the game. And now anybody can get out there with their voice and really make a big impact. Yeah. When we can solve so many more problems, if we empower all of those voices. And so I just, I made a goal and I can pay you.
I’m going to make the absolute right, best frameworks and training for thought leaders who want to go bigger. That’s what I’ve been focusing on with my work the last few years.
A Framework for business
Talk to us about that framework because for a lot of people, I think the framework could still be the same, but they want to get their message out there.
There’s a lot of people that are listening to this, or they’re watching this and they’re saying, Hey, Where do I start? If I want to get my message out there, do I need a big email list? Do I need, you know, a product that’s been doing thousands already? Like, what does that look like? What would you recommend for somebody?
If I hopped on a call with you right now? And I said, Hey, you know what? I got a message. I got a story. Where do we start?
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah. The first thing that I always start with it’s actually two things and it’s kind of a vendor, excuse me, Venn diagram of two circles that really help us hone in on the positioning of the business and positioning as a marketing and branding term.
But it’s like, where are you going to sit in the marketplace? What do you want to be known for? And who do you want to serve? So it answers three questions. Who are you? Who do you want to serve and how are you going to serve them? So it all starts with knowing, first of all, in yourself, the vision that you want to create for the future, what do you want to be recognized for?
You know, getting very aligned with that vision for your own work and a legacy, if you will, but then everything else starts stemming from the audience. We would start talking a lot about who is your target audience? You mentioned the word avatar earlier, that gets used sometimes as well. And we’re not talking just demographics.
We’re also talking about like really knowing, okay, what. What are their top of mind pains right now, what’s motivating them, you know, what are they actively looking for and ready and wanting to invest in? You know, a lot of times I think we get, we talk about, Oh, what’s my topic, or what’s my niche or what my expertise and those, you know, those things are important to go to, but really it needs to start with like, who can, and I serve best in this world and who would I enjoy serving best?
Because if your messaging and your product and everything coming from a very audience and customer centric place. You’re gonna have a much easier time selling stuff for one, you’re gonna have a much bigger impact and you’re going to create greater value in the world. So it’s customer first and then product and messaging later.
So that’s where it starts is. You know, I have, even when I, whether I’m working with somebody who’s like, brand new, really do you know, maybe they’ve written a book and stuff, but they’re really pretty new at doing online stuff. Or whether I’m talking to somebody who’s got a seven figure business and been online for a while.
We’re always doing some work around positioning and digging back into their audience and having them not just run the surveys, but really have the right kinds of conversations with people in their market so that they can recalibrate and reconnect with what the market wants and then make sure that their offerings and messaging and brand and everything are aligning with that.
Well, obviously, still staying true to the vision and their strengths and goals they want as well. So it really starts with foundational stuff like that. It doesn’t, it’s not strategic, it’s not even tactical. You know, we don’t even talk about necessarily email this stuff. First. In fact, often I get people to launch a course and get going even before they have an email list because.
What are we as entrepreneurs, if we can’t create value and sell it. So let’s make that happen as soon as possible. That would be the next thing is once we get clear on the audience and we identify specific pain that they have, that, you know, you can solve for them, then it would be, let’s get a pilot course to the market.
And, you know, even if you don’t have a list, we can, you know, you can pound the pavement using social media, using your network, and you can get a handful of people to, I mean, maybe work with you for free, but even to pay you a little bit of something, just to prove that it’s like, Oh, people want this.
And then you start forming what your process is for working with them and adjusting it as you work with these initial people, get some initial testimonials, maybe some cash in the door, and that’s going to catalyze the rest of everything else. Then you can start building out the infrastructure of your email list and your funnels and other stuff.
And it’s like, know who you want to serve, get something to market and test it, make a bit of money, get some success stories, and then you can start building on that.
Okay. Is it truly a choice of just because there’s two different things, which is, on one side, you’re finding a problem, right? And you say, Oh, I can solve that problem, whatever it is, or is it, Hey, here’s the people that I want to choose to go after, which is kind of, I guess, goes from passing passion or profit, but which one would you say is most important in the beginning?
Should you go after your passion or your profit?
Jason Van Orden:
Well, it’s gotta be both. And I think that’s, you know, that’s why I said that, like that Venn diagram, I mean, we could say like the one side of the Venn diagram as you. And so that’s where passion needs to come in. It’s like, what are you? What’s your unique genius?
What are your strengths? What’s your vision? What do you want for your legacy? What do you want for your lifestyle? And then the other piece of the Venn diagram is another circle. It’s like. The audience, what are their pains? What do they need? What do they want most? What do they ready? I need to spend money on and invest time and energy in.
And so if you take those two circles, you essentially have passion from you and what could be profitable because the marketplace wants it and looks at it and you can help the marketplace with that. And so where those two circles. Overlap. Like that’s where your strategy lies when you’re making decisions about what’s my next offer or my first offer for what’s my messaging.
what social media platforms should I be using? I mean, everything’s strategic needs to fall right in the middle of where those two circles overlap, overlap. And that’s what I call an aligned strategy. And sometimes people come to work with me already have successful businesses and they’re just like, yeah, something’s off something.
Doesn’t feel great. I’m not enjoying teaching my courses anymore. Whatever the case may be. And that’s where I bring them back. And I have frameworks to check in with both of those circles, again, recreate the Venn diagram and then usually looking at they’re like, okay. Yeah, I can see why I’m not happy in my business anymore.
So let’s adjust this, this and this and get, bring it back into the center where it’s going to be, you know, passion and profit again.
A Framework for business
I love it, man. That’s knowledge in itself. Thank you for talking about that. and that’s something that I think that everybody can incorporate into their lives, right? If figuring out who I am, what do I want?
And then on the other side, how can I serve, what are the people’s pain points? And that’s something that, yeah, hopefully somebody does that today. I think I’ll actually be doing that today as well. And just really getting a lot more clear on that. I think anybody can. The other question that I have is for you.
Generalist Vs Specialist
Do you think that it’s more value in being a generalist or specialist?
Jason Van Orden:
Oh, I’m very much a strengths focused person. you know, I’ve mentioned strengths. I might’ve used, I use a lot. I can’t remember if I’ve used it today is unique genius. and so really that is about specialist and not just in, again, it goes beyond like what your topic and your expertise are, but even just like, You know, some people are activators where they’ll jump real quick and just dive right in and try at the moment they have an idea.
And that definitely, yeah. As its strengths in its place. And if that’s who you are, then you should embrace that. And then if you need to ever reign that in, or you’re not good at other things, you know, bring people in to support you in that. I actually happened to not be most entrepreneurs are like Quickstart activator.
Let’s do it. I actually happened to be more of a, you know what, I’m going to do a lot of research. I’m going to look at systems, I’m going to find a good path, you know, and I think that’s why a lot of entrepreneurs like to work with me is I have experienced as an entrepreneur myself and I also didn’t have those complimentary skills that, you know, that can really kind of balance out.
So the point I’m trying to make here is I think the answer to your question is that, I I’m all about strengths and specializing and knowing where you are strong, and how you operate. And how you and the people you serve and the topics that you, that you teach. and if we go to generalists and we’re, we’re working with weaknesses and that’s going to hold us back and, our messaging is unclear.
People won’t know if they’re actually, you know, if we’re the right fit for them. So a specialist all the way.
Got it. Okay. And that’s a big topic and I love to get into it because that’s something that I think a lot of people struggle with. If they feel like they have a lot of talents, I feel like, you know, they want to be a complete package, especially, you know, when you’re looking at some of it.
Obviously we talk about people like Jeff Bezos. We talk about Richard Branson, a lot of these big time people. And now when you look at them, they look to be generalist. Right. And I think the argument could be said that they may be started out as a specialist maybe, but that’s where I always ask from somebody who is an expert and you work with a lot of entrepreneurs.
Do you see a lot of success and people that are just specialists or do you see success in generalist as well?
Jason Van Orden:
. I’d like to speak to that cause that’s a really good point. Yeah. I think when you, when you start out, it’s even more important to be, you know, the specialist and very, very clear those other examples.
you know, let’s, let’s, let’s take you on Musk as an example. and I wish I could think of like an example of a woman or something, because it seems like we’re always talking about the dudes, but that’s my Elon Musk. I mean, he, you know, he came from PayPal and now he’s got space X, but he’s also got Tesla.
So it’s like, okay, he’s all over the place. But at the same time, Elon Musk has a pretty specific brand. So in a lot of ways, whether it’s Richard Branson or, you know, other entrepreneurs like that, that have gotten to a certain point, there’s different stuff that they have, their fingers ended up under that umbrella.
But often if you look at it, their core, the things they stand for that they’re interested in, I mean, Musk, he’s on a mission to change energy, to, you know, to, to change how humanity lives. You know, I think he’s trying to help take us to Mars. He’s trying to help change how we run our cars and gain electricity.
And so. All of his activities are, are actually pretty congruent with that brand when you look at it. So they’re there and I do see this even at a smaller level, you don’t have to be the billionaire, whatever to, to get to that point. I do see entrepreneurs at a time. Like they are the specialist who teaches people, you know, something highly specific, like, you know, yoga for, for stretching and staying, you know, Pliable or whatever with your, with your body, but then they might get to a point where they’re a little bit more about, you know, they also are bringing in personal development and they, you know, they decide they want to talk about more than just stretching and yoga.
And, you know, I think you get to a point where your brand can start standing for other things and still be clear. but yeah, when you’re first starting out and the more that the less you have resources to like, like money and stuff and connections to inject into your business for visibility, that sort of specificity is really going to help.
With standing out and that’s why it’s going to be really important to, to have that, that specialist kind of attitude and approach, but even Elon Musk, I’m sure there’s a lot of things that he doesn’t do because either it’s not congruent with his brand or also he’s just, it’s not his strengths or interest in, he brings other people in to help him with those things.
Right. So, yeah, there’s a little more clarification, I guess, on that too, is, is there is a time that I think you can expand, but. Specializing is still a part of that, if probably that makes sense. So
yeah, no, it really does. And I think I bring this up because this is something that I’ve even, you know, thought about over the last couple of years.
Once you feel like you have talents, you feel like you want to help people in, in multiple different ways, but then. When you look at this and you say, you understand that revenue, and as they always say, the riches are in the niches or the niches, however you want to say it. But then at the end of the day, the biggest people, it seems like that they do have multiple brands.
And if you say like, okay, Elon Musk or Richard Branson, or I was even watching a video from will Smith. And he said, you know, his mission statement has always just been to improve lives. Right. So that’s very broad. Right and how he does it. It’s very broad. And so you look at this and you start to wonder, and here’s something else that now say, and I made a podcast interview about this, but, it was like, do you watch any basketball at, are you a sports fan at all?
I, you know, I haven’t kept on the last few years, I used to play a lot of basketball, so I mean, I’m familiar with basketball.
Got it all good. Do you, I’m sure you know who Steph Curry is, right?
Jason Van Orden:
You don’t know who Steph Curry is? he’s now the three point champion over the last five or six years, he has been known as, probably the best shooter in the NBA, at least in the current era.
Right. And, some would even argue to say that he’s been the best shooter ever, but that’s for another argument. But anyway, so I asked a buddy of mine who said, you know, Hey, he wanted to be the best. Specialist in his field. And I said, well, and he’s a basketball fan. And I asked them, I said, well, let me ask you the question.
would you say the Steph Curry’s the best shooter ever? And he said, , yeah. And I said, okay, would you agree maybe the best shooter ever?
He says, yeah. I said, well, let me ask you, would you ever take Steph Curry over LeBron? Or would you take Steph Curry over, you know, Michael Jordan? He said, no, absolutely not. And I said, well, why not? And he said, well, because with LeBron, you get the total package.
And I was like, Okay. So it kind of made my point, but I wanted to see obviously what his rebuttal would be.
I feel like just like you said, and this is just what my opinion for a lot of people, it’s that same thing of what you said, you go to school, you get a good job. It’s the norm, right? That’s, that’s what it’s taught. But then when we look at it, why a lot of people, and this is just my opinion. And I love to hear your thoughts on it.
While a lot of people don’t have Fortune 100 companies is because they don’t model after Fortune 100 people. Right. Like how many times do we model our businesses off of Tesla and Elon Musk or Richard Branson or anybody else? Who’s a billionaire. Because if you look at those, even with Berkshire Hathaway at the top level of the parent company, he probably owns what 400 companies now, no, he didn’t start with all 400 companies, but even Jeff bezos.
How long did he just market books before he said, listen, me specializing in books, ain’t going to work. I need to go become a household name, but your thoughts on that.
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah. Well, if you take Jeff Bezos as an example, I mean, he, there is a certain ethos there, and even though they’ve bought a, you know, and they, they went to more expanded and they bought up Zappos and other, you know, whole foods and other things.
Right. they’ve always been about pushing customer experience. To a new level. now we can talk about all the, you know, it’s another topic to talk about the politics of that and how to fix his employees. But when it comes to customers, like customer experience is the through line, right? So like there’s a consistency of specialization there and you can see it in all their decisions.
Like they’re always pushing the ship. I mean, pre COVID they’re always pushing the window is shorter and shorter and shorter to get your stuff faster, especially here in New York. Like I can order like, could order stuff on Amazon and have it there that night. Right. So, That, that shows up throughout the ethos of it.
And so there’s a sort of specialization there, even though what they were selling expanded. So I guess it’s, maybe it’s probably not really mutually exclusive as in terms of like, are you a specialist or generalist? Cause we get, actually talk about this and all these specific areas of, of, you know, business and life and things like that.
But, Yeah, there’s also a time for different specialization or expanding. And we can talk about different strategies on that. I mean, that’s a, that’s a really big topic, but, I don’t know that that’s, that’s what I would say on that is yes, he expanded on what they were selling, but you can still see some through lines of what they’ve been about.
And it’s been there all along many, all these years in terms of what they focused on.
Yeah, and I would agree. And just like you said, I mean, there’s, there’s so many different parts that you could talk, talk about of how he got there and how long did he specialize before he went? I get all of that. I think the one thing that I would definitely agree on, no matter what, and it’s something that you mentioned in the beginning and it’s having a framework.
Right. A lot of the times, if you have the right framework, it can be, crossed over into other sectors. If you still have the right systems and processes in place in, right. Like you said, you have a mission at the end. His mission was always to be customer centric.
Specialist vs Generalist
Jason Van Orden:
So I think that that’s a great point that you brought up earlier.
For you, as you have, have you worked with so many entrepreneurs, where do you think besides the mindset piece, where do you think is the number one reason that they, the entrepreneurship or even small businesses don’t succeed?
Jason Van Orden:
They don’t sell soon enough. and that kind of goes back to when we were talking about, you know, first steps and look, I’ve been guilty as a, as an entrepreneurial coach and teacher in the past of, I don’t know, maybe it’s the way it needed to be. I mean, internet, business mastery, a lot of our, you know, the way we taught a decade or a dozen years ago to get people started, it was a lot of baby steps and we were, you know, taking people from.
And employee mindset and that’s all they knew to now thinking about, you know, getting to that. But I guess, you know, now that I’m working with people who are maybe a little bit, you know, have, have at least sold themselves as a consultant or a it’s like once you know that audience though, you need to get to selling something as quickly as possible.
And so what I’m saying is like, I used to teach like, Oh yeah, let’s get your website up. Let’s get your email list, set up. Let’s get all your infrastructure set up. And that stuff is still important. But if I could go back and redesign trainings that I, that I designed the toy, you know, 12 years ago, I would, you know, let’s like, let’s make something, have you sell it in whatever way possible, right?
It’s like it boosts your confidence. It proves that what you have is something people want to buy. It gets you some cash and it gets you to a, you know, a success story and a testimonial. So that’s, that’s really something that in the last four or five years, I’ve, I’ve flipped around. And, and any of my training and coaching workshops and things is I’m always like, okay, how can we get you to selling something as soon as possible creating value and selling it?
Got it. I love it. I love it.
Finding your voice in COVID times
Is there one type of business that you think right now, everybody should be looking into coming from a consultant standpoint, whether it’s like digital marketing agency, the Amazon business, becoming a consultant. is there any one thing that when people are struggling right now and they say, Hey, I have some, I just, I love to work hard.
You know, I knew I can serve people. What’s that one thing that you would say, look into this.
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah, well, I’m going to totally recognize my bias here in that. I love working with knowledge workers and experts, and I think, you know, I’ve helped experts since COVID hit, take stuff that was offline and get it online to replace their lost income.
Cause some of them, you know, things canceled and went away and they couldn’t right. And so the income evaporated and they needed to figure something out. And so they took it online very quickly, their expertise. So, you know, when you have, if you have an expertise in an area that kind of like knowledge worker, consultant, or coach or expert service provider, you can add and create income very quickly, packaging it up in different ways.
Right now. I want to recognize that that’s a bias because that’s what I teach and that’s what I do. But I also realize that not everybody, like that’s not their style of entrepreneurship. And I’m sure there may be some, I dunno, multilevel marketing thing right now that you could just totally take off with it.
That was your thing. Or. you know, my brother, he buys, he goes and buy stuff at Walmarts and all these stores, and he comes back to Amazon and sells, you know, all of it, like sometimes a five to 10 times markup. Right. And he loves that. He loves looking at the numbers and like looking through old books and he scans it. He’s like, Oh my gosh, I can buy this for a buck and I can sell it for 20, you know? And that’s like, he totally. I don’t think that that would interest me. So really the question I would bring it back. If somebody was asking me that I’d say, okay, well, I need to know more about what it kind of comes back to that Venn diagram, right.
And the circle that’s you. So it’s like, well, what interests you? What are you curious about? Where, what are your strengths? What gets you going? Right. And so, but, you know, in terms, there, there is a lot of opportunity on the internet and I do love creating knowledge or information products. Cause. there’s a lot of people out there looking for information and help and leadership, and there’s a huge margin on it.
Right. You can create it once and you can make a lot of money off of selling courses and things because the value is there and people will pay for it. Whereas, you know, and again, not saying that physical good business, it’s not a good one, but you know, different margins when you’re buying physical goods or making physical goods and sell.
I mean, so, but by no means, would I feel like, try to shoehorn somebody into a knowledge worker, information, marketing business, if like. They just had no interest in being that, you know, face of something or voice of something or running and facilitating group coaching calls, or, you know, if that just wasn’t for them, then you know, that they’d want to talk to somebody else, I guess.
So there’s my very qualified answer to your question.
You definitely dropped value there with how one thing that that has struck me is, for a lot of people when they first get into business. And then when they become, they feel like that there’s not a place for them. And it seems like you’ve always found your place, right?
You, you jumped and did a couple of different things from the podcasting world to helping other people to now consultants and you’ve jumped a lot of things. How do you think that you’ve been able to navigate that to never feel like you were an imposter?
Oh, I felt like it was imposter plenty. And actually I still do sometimes.
So that’s, that’s something interesting. No, right. And you can find a lot of famous people who actually still feel like imposters, sometimes to be going and imposter syndrome quotes, and you’re gonna find all kinds of celebrities. They’re like, yeah, every time I’m on set. You know, I don’t, I don’t want to put words in somebody’s mouth, but if it was like Tom Hanks or somebody like, yeah, I’m still waiting for somebody to come up and say, you know, you’re get out of Hollywood, you’re a fraud, you know?
So that’s something to realize it doesn’t just go away. But, I would say, how was I able to, I mean, it was, not always, and I’m not always perfect at this, but if I look back and go, when I was able to push forward and do it, it was following that curiosity and building, being willing to experiment.
Whether it was when I quit my job and experimented with real estate investing or decided to experiment with doing my first, you know, workshop, live workshop or experimented with putting a course online or experimented with starting a podcast, or then, you know, fast forward and, and had wasn’t happy.
And so I. Stepped away from a successful business to experiment with other things. It was following my curiosity and always looking at like strategy and growth as what’s my next best hypothesis based on what I think will work well for me. And also what I’m just kind of driven to, you know, eager to, to check out and find, you know, see if it see if it can work for me.
So, that’s what I would encourage people to do.
FInding your voice in COVID times
Got it. I love it now, podcast. And you got out of podcasting, you know, right before essentially it was blowing up. But now I know that you do have another podcast, which you kind of just started. when you look back on it, do you wish that you would’ve just stayed the entire time, you know, and not let it go?
Or Present and future of podcasting
where do you see podcasts and going over the next five to 10 years?
Jason Van Orden:
Yeah. I don’t wish that I had stopped with the same show, even though it had success in a nice large audience. it was just, it wasn’t the right fit and it wasn’t, it was no longer.
And again, you know, if anybody hears this who used to listen to that podcast, I loved our audience and I appreciated helping them in everything. Right. But it just wasn’t the audience that I, I needed new challenges. I need to change it up. I needed to focus. On on things elsewhere. And I’m, you know, I’m still in kind of a similar thing, but the audience has shifted.
And what I focus on is, has shifted. Right? So when, so, you know, it took me started, I guess it could have started a podcast right away, but I chose to experiment with other things. And maybe that was because I had been doing podcasting for so long now, ultimately a few years later I’ve decided, well, I’m really good at it.
I miss it. And sure. Sometimes I’m like, Oh, it would have been cool. Maybe I should have started one and right away, because now I’d have four years on it. And it would be that much farther ahead than I am right now with my, a new podcast. Right. I’m not a totally starting from scratch. I still have people who follow me from past ventures, but it’s, you know, my new podcast is not to the level that my last podcast was at yet in terms of listenership.
So, you know, and that’s just the reality of the matter. Now where is podcasting. So, so yeah, I mean, we can look back and go like, Oh, I could’ve should’ve would’ve but yeah, same time, you know, maybe that would have come at the expense of putting time and energy into other things that were important for still leading me to where I am right now.
So it was just, again, very much in a spirit of experimenting and trying other things at that time. So where is podcasting going now? Well, I still think there’s a lot of them opportunity in podcasting. It’s gonna be very, very interesting to see what happens in the next few years, especially with people like Spotify getting into the game.
So we’ve got some big players now. It used to just be Apple, the 800 pound gorilla. And while there’s still, you know, while they’re at the top, we’ve got new directories and tools and things that are really starting to shake up the game and it’s made a lot. Easier for people to start podcasts and put it out there.
Right. I think missing right now is really good discovery engines for people who want it to listen to podcasts. And what I mean by that is there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts in iTunes, but the truth of the matter is it’s just this kind of like relatively small percentage that gets most of the visibility.
Yeah. And their directory on their, you know, hot lists and top charts and stuff. And unless you’ve managed to get up there, you know, How are people going to hear about your show? Well, I think what’s already happening right now is, you know, the days are gone of create a podcast, throw it into iTunes and other directories, and you’re going to start getting some traction that works, you know, several years ago that worked when I started in 2005.
Now it’s like podcasting is just one channel for your content. It’s one piece of your platform. Right. I love podcasting. It’s at the top of my content, what I call my content workflow, meaning, you know, I can create shows regularly, but then that all trickles down into, you know, I have people who take quotes out of it and make images and things, and that goes on Instagram and on LinkedIn and other places.
It’s just a channel for who I am and what I want to say. It’s one of my primary channels, but then it’s syndicates in a lot of different ways. so I think podcasting still going to be around. And then I think there are other channels that are there and will continue to show up once we haven’t even heard of yet.
You know, Tik Tok. Wasn’t even a thing a few years ago. Now here it is. Yeah. I’m not saying you need to go do tick tock, but like, you know, those will keep going. And so, you know, just going to need to be more integrated in your content and platform mix as you move forward is, is, is one of the big changes I already see happening.
Present and future of podcasting
Man. I love it. This has been a phenomenal episode and I appreciate so much of your wisdom. There is somebody out there that’s listening right now that is inspired by you. that wants to go on blaze their path. You know, they don’t mind pivoting, but they have that little voice in their head. And that little voice maybe says that they’re not strong enough.
They’re not smart enough or maybe they just don’t have enough resources. What’s the one thing that you say to them to get them to just take action.
Jason Van Orden:
well, I, I would say start with that circle of you in that Venn diagram. And within that, you know, it’s, it’s do some work on, you know, and do some work on unique genius and figuring those things out because when you really start tapping into, and I’ll give a resource here in a second, but when you really start tapping into, well, what are my strengths?
What is my unique genius? And getting familiar with that? That starts boosting your confidence and you start thinking, okay, you start looking differently at the ways you could show up and create something in the world. so I actually have a process I use with clients for visioning and unique genius.
And I’m happy to share that with your audience. They can go to your uniquegenius.download. So that’s a URL, uniquegenius.download, and that will take you to a landing page where you can get like a unique genius kit. And, you know, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing this for a little while, you will get a lot out of going through.
There’s multiple different exercises. You can pick the ones that feel good to you, but it’s gonna be hugely insightful. And you’re going to find places in any way. They’ll give you guidance, direction, confidence. It’ll help you recalibrate your business. If things feel like they’re off. I think that’s really important for everyone to do, and I always do it with all my clients because it’s so important.
So that would be my recommendation.
Got it. Love it. Love it. Alright, man. Well, if people want to stay connected with you, where can they find you?
Well, since we’re on a podcast and people are already listening to a podcast, I guess I’d invite them. They clearly like podcasts, or they can go check out my podcast, which is called Impact, which is all about how to grow a thought leadership business and brand a one of the easiest ways to find that it’s going to Jasonvanorden.com and then just click on the podcasting and the navigation.
And that’ll take you. You can get there easily to whatever platform you like to subscribe to. And do listen to the podcasts so, that would be my, invitation and then of course sign up for my email list. If you want to, I put a lot of great out content there, but that those are the two best ways to, to keep up with me.
And what I talk about.
Cool. We’ll definitely have those links in the show notes, and we really appreciate you coming on. My man, you’ve dropped so much value, so much insight, and it’s been a pleasure to have you remember dream nation and the dream we trust, but we must take action. Otherwise it’ll only merely be a fantasy.
We’ll see you on the next one