Podcast Transcription

Steven Burkhart: I was like, Oh, I’m gonna impress them, I’m gonna be so well researched and learn about him. And then I go online and find nothing about you. And I thought it was so funny. So I would love for you to kind of unpack that a little bit like, you have a personal brand. You literally help people have personal brands. And yet, I find so little information about you as a person. I’m like, that’s so ironic. And yet, when I think about books, like, like, I don’t know, if you’re familiar with like, build a story brand, by Donald Miller. And some of those things that’s like, exactly what he talks about is that it’s not about you. It’s about your customers, and what you can do for them as a trusted adviser and guide. And so you’re kind of like the epitome of that in the sense that you have a personal brand and yet nothing about you personally. It’s really anywhere. And, like, I even like to search for your website for a bio, and I couldn’t find anything. Haha, yeah, no, it’s like this guy.

Phil Pallen: So I don’t do that many podcast interviews. I don’t have a strategy in place where I go and show up on podcasts like lots of other people do. I say yes, when someone has put effort into how they’ve reached out, you have said to me that you had been following me for a while and you sent me a video. And I knew that it mattered to you and that you appreciated me using my time in this way. And I said, Yes. So for me, I, I operate solely based on what matters most to my audience, I even say I feel I feel weird saying that word audience like I guess there are people that are watching me do what I do, or clients, I operate with what those people care about, those people appreciate when I am efficient, and I am considerate of their time. So you won’t find on my website a big long, you know, detailed bio, about who I am and where I’ve been. And, you know, I think it’s, um, it’s a bold assumption that I’m making to assume that you want to read that amount of detail of me.

Phil: So I challenged that a little bit by keeping it as concise as possible by email blast, my rule is write it, chop it in half. And any sentence that I’m saying in two sentences that could be said in one sentence saved in one sentence, I go back and edit, edit, edit, edit until it is absolutely as short as possible. I also don’t click Send on an email. Unless there’s something valuable in it. Beyond just self promotion, I include a lesson or a tip or some kind of even in a single sentence a strategy so that someone gets something from spending their valuable life’s minutes on me. And so I have had this feedback before. And I find it kind of entertaining people like your bio, it’s three cents and like, yeah, you don’t really need to know any more about me, and you want to talk to me, and we can talk about it, right? Because I’ll sometimes share little, little gems that people might not know. But then I always have these moments where I’m like, Oh, no, how many people actually know I’m Canadian? i wonder how many people know that my first, you know, work was an internship to become Charlie Sheen’s social media intern, and I was actually fired by Ryan Seacrest. That’s how my career started. And I have all these little kinds of little, you know, stories along the way.

Steven: What are the Easter eggs or whatever they called

Phil: Rags?

Steven: That’s what I was trying to Yeah, Easter eggs. Those are easter eggs?

Steven: Well, it’s so funny. So it’s so for me. When I think about a personal brand and and I’d love for you to correct me on this, since you’re the expert on this. For me, a personal brand is about the person because you kind of like get to know them. You trust them. That’s kind of like the entrance point in relationship building? How come you haven’t leverage that more? Is it just because of the fact of respecting people’s time? Or is it that like you said, it’s almost like almost cocky in a way to kind of assume that people want to know that much about you. But for me, that’s like, you know, like, I don’t know, like, I think of like, you have a picture with you and coffee and people like I like coffee to blah, blah, blah and then like starts a conversation. I know that’s a very over simplistic view of it. But have you just found that not to be true that like, Pete facts about you are actually that critically important for building your business?

Phil: Yeah, good question. I suppose I focus more on sharing my perspective on things and always trying to teach people something as opposed to sharing details about me but at the same time, I do that more on platforms like Instagram, Instagram, for me is like a little bit more of like a day. So I’m not as careful about what I don’t share on a platform like that, I assume that everyone out there is my friend. And they might be interested in, in, you know, me chronicling my travel, you know, whatever happens, I’m stuck in an airport, etc, I’ll tell that story on Instagram. But some of the others Yeah, I hold back a little more, because I make it more about my perspective and what I’m teaching. I guess I think also about my business. day to day, I am, you know, working with fairly high profile people on positioning building, promoting their brand people at all different stages of their development, but my biggest client is a 32 year old blogger from from Denver, and, you know, generated over a million dollars last year in lots of different ways. And my clients are busy people. So I guess what, you know, my longest client is a shark on Shark Tank, I guess. So when you say like, you know, are you? I’m not afraid to put that stuff out there. But I guess yeah, I operate with this intention of when I do have your time and attention the most valuable commodity online, I’m going to make sure it’s worth your while, I guess.

Steven: Yeah. Okay. Now, that makes sense. It was just for me, it was just the irony of the fact that you have like your name as a business. But it feels like a business page was just like, almost comical in the sense that I was like, This is not how I see most people presenting themselves as a personal brand. It’s like very much about them. And certainly there’s like benefit, focus and stuff like that. But I thought that was almost funny in a way where I was like, Huh, like, that’s really weird. He has a personal brand, and he doesn’t even have a bio, it just made me laugh. And not that you have to have one, obviously, it’s a little bit intentional on your part. And so now as a creator, I gotta say, you’re like content is super onpoint. Like your photography is incredible. I love it. I would imagine that’s all been very intentional on your part. But how did you start building that? Like, what did? What did? What are the things you started working through when you were building your own brand as far as having that attention to the detail and the imagery and the quality of what you’re putting out there? Because I know like, a lot of times people are like, oh, like, I get super good engagement from like shooting a video on my phone and stuff like that. But then I go to your site. And I see like, no, like, these are professionally done photos. Like these look really, really good. Super polished, super professional, super on brand. So yeah, walk us through like the whole process you went through and developing that.

Phil: Sure. So the only way can be what it is today. And certainly far from perfect. But the only way it can be that way is by starting and getting better. You have to start so when I look at my feed, which I have not archived, because for all those people look at it now and go, Wow, this is so beautiful. These pictures taken in, you know, 20 cities around the world. Some of the photos, my hair’s getting grayer. By the way, some of those photos, I need to be careful because they their hair in real life is a lot greater than it is in the photo. Some of them are like two, three years old, sir.

Steven: You’re catfishing them?

Phil:  Yes. But, you know, it didn’t look like that when I started. And I think by sticking with it, and having a goal in mind, you build on it and it gets better and better and better, the more you invest in it. So for me, I’m a terrible photographer, terrible photographer. I could never be like a triple threat in my business and do graphic design and do social media strategy. And photography couldn’t do it. So I learned early on that when you can’t do something, you need to hire someone else to do it. That’s better than the End of the story. When you know, when you’re not good at something, find someone who is good at it and rely on them to deliver that for you. So, in my training, I started to travel more. And when I started to do more content marketing, I thought, here’s something: Why would I when I’m in these cool cities, why would I arrange a photo shoot, I use a service called flytographer. The founder is a great friend of mine and it’s a really cool, Canadian based website that started as travel photography, capturing families on vacation but now they’ve expanded. I was one of their first creators if you will, people that need photography. And I did over 20 photoshoots with them. Oh wow all over the world. So I have a bank of photography that I pull from for those feed posts. Those take me the least amount of time. And for me it’s I care less about it looking perfect. I used to care more about that now and honestly I guess maybe as an agent, I just care less about it. I care less of the colors match perfectly and it’s totally on point and more just like get that post out there and get it done. For me it was more efficient. It was like Why? Like how can I just take care of this and not have to worry. Again, no, it sounds kind of like high drama, loud 20 photoshoots. I travel a lot, a part of my brand, but it’s just gone. It’s just taking care of the photos I’m posting this week in Colombia we’re taking two years ago. And no one knows I just can’t change my hairstyle. that frees up time for me to think about other things that only I can do or only I can think about. And I would say don’t you know, you gotta start, don’t worry about having a perfect aesthetic and having a perfect brand to start, really just start, I posted a real tab and posted a reel in ages. And it’s not that great. And as soon as I posted, I realized I had text that cropped out of the view from feed . It’ll get better the next time we do it. No stress, no stress, you just got to start.

Steven: So it’s kind of interesting, you would say that, because I feel like there is like these two camps and one is like, like, which is kind of where you’re at, which is get stuff out there get better over time. And then another camp, almost kind of like how you handle your emails, where it’s like you’re spending so much time making sure it’s exactly what it needs to be for, you know, quality control, because, you know, it’s like the idea of the competition out there. Because there’s no more gatekeepers is insane. Like, there’s like 720,000 hours of video getting uploaded to YouTube every day like, Can you really afford to put out something that’s not on point? And so what is kind of your thought process, right? Because your emails are super intense and super, like, edited? And then but you’re saying on the same side, maybe just start posting? So how do you toggle between those two things?

Phil:  You’re right, you, you’ve identified two camps. And yes, you’re right in saying actually that I sit in between both of them, I sit in between both of them, there’s an argument to be made on one side. So explore the one argument a second ago, which is this idea of starting, this is a marathon, not a sprint, you can’t get to mile 10 until you’ve run mile one, you’ve got to start even if it’s socks, it means the next one’s going to be better, great, you’re building your workflow, you’re becoming self aware, these are all great things that might not be as visible, but they matter how you’ll show up later on in the race. But I’ve made a business and a brand out of essentially, you know, I’m hired by people to create brands, for them their positioning, the visual brand that represents them online. So photography, brand identity website. And then the final stage is promotion. So giving people a strategy, you know, to be seen online to get in front of the right people. And so I’m not just going to say you can be as successful on your own learning things as you go, as you would be honestly hiring someone like me that’s been in it for 10 years, I’ve worked in 31 countries, over 300 clients and at least 2030 Industries.

Phil: So there’s an argument to be made on both sides. I think having a brand, having some direction and having some feedback from someone that doesn’t know you that well, that can look at what you’re doing a little objectively. I think that’s invaluable. And so typically, when I’m hired, when I’m hired by someone, they’ve reached a certain level of success in their business on their own. And they’re looking for help and feedback to get to that next level. And that’s typically what I provide, but it isn’t cheap. I mean, it’s you know, we’re on we’re on the higher end of like, personal branding, graphic design and those kinds of things. But that’s, that’s our world. So yeah, I sit in between those, I think, yes, there’s a lot you can learn by doing and you’ve got to start, but at the same time to have the framework you can get there quicker, you can become a musician, you know, in the music industry and try and build your own brand. Or you can go on American Idol, sorry, American Idol, and have the framework to get up to the top very quickly doesn’t guarantee success, but there’s a certain amount of framework, you know, and process there faster.

Steven: Well, absolutely. I mean, certainly you’re like the massive shortcut that people can take and say, like, hey, just don’t do this, this and this. And they could have spent two years trying that on their own to find out whether or not it was going to work. Because let’s be honest, you try something, you’re not going to find out right away. If it’s going to work, it’s got to have time to mature and develop and especially if what you’re doing isn’t awesome right away. It’s gonna take some time to perfect it, like you mentioned. So I guess if I were to be a little bit more tactical. And my question for you about content quality over publishing, is that based more on the platform itself, because like you said, Instagram is I feel the same way where Instagram to me is Like a lot more casual, like, especially when Instagram first came out, I would see someone’s website if to see if they were professional and go to their Instagram to see if they were cool. Like, that’s how I would evaluate things. And because Instagram was just much more casual, is that kind of how you evaluate how risky like how, what kind of filter you put on the content you put out? So obviously emails are very important to you. That’s getting sent out assumably to clients, and then maybe far more interested people than what might see on your Instagram. Is that how you process it?

Phil: Yeah, great question. I love to talk about this. So for starters, I like to think of content strategy. In this way, every single personal brand is made up of two things content, what you say, personality, the unique way that you and only you deliver that content or that information. And it can’t be one without the other. So no one is going to buy into you solely based on content, in my opinion, even people that skew heavy into the content, someone like Neil Patel, there’s still 10% of personality that makes that content unique to that person and keeps them coming back for more of May. And so that For starters, is what you want to think about in terms of being self aware of where you are on that sliding scale of content, personality, almost like a ratio, okay. When we decide where we want to show up on mine, I see different content models. I’ve been talking about this recently, but different kinds of content models that people approach. So someone who’s just getting started, might have five hours a week to, you know, spend online or spend promoting themselves. Maybe they split that time evenly, like a pie, you know, you know, across five platforms one hour a week, let’s say for this example. I think that’s good for starters, but it can become overwhelming quickly. And you kind of find that you can’t become a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Phil: So what I find people then progressing into with some feedback of you know, here’s where my audience is. Here’s where I like creating super important. I think people make decisions way too much on things like, oh, there’s more professional people on LinkedIn. So I’m going to prioritize that platform. There’s professional people on tik tok as well. There’re less professional people on Tick tock, which means you’re more likely to find them, in my opinion. So I care less about like, here’s where your audiences are based on demographics, and more, where do you like to create? And where are you going to, you know, shine. So someone like me, you already picked up on this, which is cool. I have three platforms that I prioritize Instagram, because I enjoy it, email, because that’s where the money is. And YouTube, mostly because it increases my discoverability. And it is the number one driver for email signups for me. So I also studied broadcast journalism. And I really like, I really like it. I also have a podcast. And that’s, you know, selfish reasons for that to Lauren, and I might get my colleague to get on, you know, set up like this. And we’re able to just plow through ideas and discussions that then I can repurpose in many different ways. So I guess you could say, four, but you know, long form content is podcasts and YouTube, I can’t delegate to someone to show up on YouTube.

Phil: For me, it has to be me, but I enjoy it as well. And so those are the three that I prioritize, and those are the ones that I spend my limited minutes on the rest, I delegate the rest to delegate, you know, I don’t write my own LinkedIn posts. I don’t write blog posts, because I don’t like it. Um, so I delegate the others, I focus on what I feel are most important. And then so I’m that little in between content model if the first is an even spread. The second is, you know, prioritizing and three. The final model that I would say that I see often is when people focus on one platform for six months or a year and they become super good at one thing and they grow it fast. That’s what I think you have to do nowadays, to grow quickly. I have some friends on Instagram one is at the Lucas O’Keefe is a great example of that. He grew to 75,000 followers on Instagram in a year because he was focused on it and became a master. And so yeah, I’m not that spread myself across a few because I feel like in order to do my job, I got to I got to be in the trenches. I got to know what’s happening to be able to tell people about it. So that’s, yeah, that those are three models that I describe and you know, people can think about which one applies best for them. One is not better than the other.

Steven: Well, it’s so funny to be completely transparent. I struggle with that a lot because when I find that it’s done Then I guess I’m in good company. Because of the fact that I’ve literally been on LinkedIn for that very reason, because I was like, okay, it’s, it’s literally just professionals, women hope. And so I’ve started posting content on there, but a lot of it’s been like video content that I’ve made elsewhere on YouTube or whatnot. But it’s definitely like, not the most fun, I actually find Instagram to be the most fun for me. And yet, I’ve kind of avoided it for that very reason of like, oh, like, Instagram is kind of a smorgasbord of people, right? And I’m not sure that’s going to be the right place for me. But at the same time, realizing the fact that I have strengths, you know, personality, or what have you that are gonna shine better on some platforms than another. But it’s hard to also justify, like, hey, like three quarters of the people who see this are never going to buy anything. And that’s kind of a tough pill to swallow, too. So it’s been acid super challenging to kind of realize what the right answer is, and maybe there’s not a right answer. But you seem to definitely swing more on the, what your strength is, as opposed to the place.

Phil: Yeah, I mean, you don’t have to do any of these things, I can show you people that have been very successful in life that have no social media presence. But I think, you know, if you’re going to spend time doing it, you should enjoy it. And ideally, it’s productive. So it’s productive. If where you’re creating, ideally, there’s going to be people who might discover you and might want to buy from you, right? So I think it’s a balancing of those things I would say to you, we were all our own worst enemy. And you might identify with me some of the things that I do well, on social media, when I think about it myself, the first thing I think of are all the things that I don’t do, well, I miss a week of content, because I was busy with clients or I posted a reel today that I that is not great. And I immediately go to this, we all do this, we go to this place of like, here are all the things I’m not doing right, or I’m not doing as good as everyone else. Other people don’t see that. Other people don’t see that they don’t think about it, they don’t. They don’t, they’re not aware of it in a way that we are all aware of our own. You know. And I think I’m my comment to you would be give yourself time and permission to figure out the platforms that are right for you based on where you like creating and where other people are. without it being a rush, I don’t need an answer from you by Friday, I don’t want you to spend the time exploring and seeing what feels good after not just one try. But like, you know, a few a few attempts. And then you’ll start to get some feedback. And you’re going to be naturally guided to the platforms that are best for you. But you have to have permission. I’m giving you permission to spend the time to figure that out.

Steven: Right. Now, that makes sense. I know we certainly enjoyed tik tok quite a lot. That’s been super fun. So it’s been a challenge to take a concept and shove it inside of a minute. But it makes you better at being more concise. I suppose. So. So I’m kind of curious, though, just as like a, like another kind of tactical thing for people who are doing marketing who are listening in is you say that you like, Don’t make all the content that people see. So do you make like your YouTube videos, and then give it to your blogger and say, Hey, turn this into a blog? Or how exactly does that work?

Phil: So I will delegate where possible, particularly for things that are time consuming, because I don’t have a lot of time. At any given time, I’m juggling, I’d say between eight to 12 client projects, and that’s what pays the bills. So right off the bat time and attention, social media will sometimes have to take a backseat or a secondary or tertiary role in that. And that’s just the way it is. Although I will say very recently, I’ve been getting more brand deals for YouTube and for Instagram, those kinds of things. So this is kind of a new vertical that I’m exploring and it feels kind of good to drag things that were in the content to do list up to the client to do list because I’m getting paid for it. Even if it’s not a lot of money. That’s kind of rewarding, right? So I delegate where I don’t have time to do it. And or someone can do it better than me. I don’t. So a YouTube video takes five hours. And I’ve experimented with different workflows to land on one that I like, unlike other creators, I script everything that I say, okay, everything that I say I have a teleprompter. I’ve worked and studied broadcast journalism. I mean, I worked when I moved out to LA in 2011. I worked with TV hosts and I was trained in that world. So I know how to read from a prompter.

Phil: For me, it takes less time to sit, focus and either dictate or type depending on my mood, a script in a structure that I’ve defined, and then I read it, and filming the video is the thing that takes the least amount of time, right? He minutes and I can do videos normally in one take. Done easy, I do two of them every single week, and I’ve done that for a year, then it’s hands off. So once I have scripted it, read it from the prompter and written the description of the video because I know not gonna want to do it later I do it right when I’m writing the script of it, then I hand it off. I’ve got a graphic designer that does the thumbnail in my Canva account for me, video editor that will take the footage and look at the script. And I’ve also saved any of the graphic elements to make his life easier. So I do that as well, when I’m writing the script is like, you know, this week, I’m showing you an influencer platform called bribe, you know, and I point to it, I’ll make sure he’s got that logo in the folder rather than him having to go and chase that around. But ya know, after the video is filmed, I’m done. Then I just have to post it. Even then I know, I don’t watch it back or anything like that I like, Oh, well learn next time. Right. So I delegate those things. But yeah, if I did everything myself, I wouldn’t have time to be as present everywhere. Also, you mentioned my emails, I write my own emails, right?

Steven: Right, my own. If that’s where the money is, you don’t want to outsource that.

Phil: Exactly. And sometimes I’ll have people on my team like Lauren, who works with me, she’s a copywriter, so she’ll say, No, let me rework that. If it’s like a longer one, then I’ll show it to her and she’ll help me write sales emails. I’m terrible at writing sales copy, terrible. I’m like, really bad at selling things. No, I’m good at selling things. I just don’t like being salesy, I guess and she’s really good at finding that balance. So she writes all of those. That’s awesome. I’m just like, I like the emails that are like, here’s something free, here’s a new video, here’s a podcast, I’m going live on Instagram, like, I like those ones. But when I have to sell something, you know, I’m like, Oh, I need help. So you just kind of know where you’re strong. And you got to know, where can you delegate to make sure that you’re operating in your area of genius, I tie?

Steven: Yeah, for sure. And I think the one thing that I’ve and I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well, since you have like a bit of a team is people don’t get how much time and effort and brain space it takes just to make sure that like you’re casting vision, and as the right is going to the right place. Because you’re not just doing the work anymore. You’re like getting people to see what you’re seeing so that when they do the work, they kind of land in the right place. And that takes a massive amount of time and effort. And you got to give yourself the brain space to actually do that. Or you end up like doing a terrible job of giving direction to your team. Because you don’t even know where you’re headed because you haven’t even had the time to think about it.

Phil: Yep, that’s I mean, I still find myself in that place occasionally. But I think one one thing that helps is to be really organized with your week, your structure. So I will not do phone calls on Mondays. Mondays are no phone call day for me. And that’s because I don’t want Sunday scaries B, I just need to. And I need to have that day to focus on my own stuff, or else I won’t post. I won’t be active on social media. Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s a Tuesday at the time we’re recording this. Those are phone call days for me, I’ll do podcast interviews, anything like this, and interacting with a human virtually happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I might add that now everyone’s used to working virtually, yeah, prior to all of this. This was still how I worked. 2020 was my best year in business. The pandemic was work wonders for me, it sounds awful. But it was very good for our business and people realizing Damn, I’m at home, oh, my God, I want to create this new business that I’ve been thinking about, now’s the time to actually do it. And we had like a waiting list last year of clients and we were totally full. But this is how I’ve always worked. Yeah, I’ve always loved traveling. I love being in Colombia, because then I have a better excuse not to meet you in real life. I don’t want to meet you and I don’t even want to go to dinner. I don’t want to meet you and you can get paid for it and realize I don’t want to commute there. It’s just inefficient. And we’re a small business. We’ve got a lot of things on our to do list. And I am a big fan now that everyone is starting to wake up and realize that actually this is an amazing way to be productive by eliminating some of these little time socks like sitting in a car going somewhere. And now, right now. So this is how I’ve always done it.

Steven: It’s so funny that you say that because when I was first starting in, my start in video was at weddings. And so I remember at the beginning, I was like seeing all these weddings in Italy and all these other like, gorgeous locations, and I’m like, Oh my gosh, it’d be so amazing to be like a travel, wedding videographer. And then I took my first plane flight to do that. And I’m like, this is stressful. Also, I’m getting paid almost the same for like, like four times a headache. And granted, it was for a friend and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was my pleasure to be able to go and do that. But as it being a career move, I was like, Nah, not happening. So I feel that because the travel is just, it’s so exhausting. And like, you know what I mean, it’s all this extra wear and tear on you when you could be doing so many other things.

Phil: I experienced the same thing in a speaking world. So speaking at conferences, when the world is normal is something I do a lot of the first year when I decided that this was something I wanted to do. I committed to speaking for free. For a year, I’ll do it. Anyone who will have me, ideally will cover my hotel and flight all show up. And I’ll do it. And I did that for a year and traveled. And that’s where I started to go, Oh, actually, this is really fun. Like I could be working in all of these places, at least in the eyes of the IRS and places but also getting to experience the world. But what’s so funny now it’s like, if you’re not paying me, I am not moving from this chair to go right here this country, I make a few exceptions. So the last travel destination I went for speaking at a conference was Cairo. And they covered all my expenses. I didn’t get paid for a period to cover all my expenses, and I got to go to the pyramids, and they covered all of the cost of me sitting on a camel to go see the view of all four pyramids was amazing.

Steven: Yeah, no kidding.

Phil: That was the last time I made an exception. And I don’t see myself even after that, I don’t see myself. Yeah, it’s just not worth it. You got to be you’ve got to guard your time. And the busier you get, the more disciplined you need to be to follow the rules that you create for yourself. So a few weeks ago, I made an exception, I had a brand audit, which I get paid 15 $100 to do on a Wednesday morning. And it really screwed me up for the rest of that focus day. I’m used to focusing on Wednesdays and honestly, it wasn’t worth the money to lose that day on what I knew I wanted to do. And so I learned, just from that one instance, it’s like, yeah, you think all the money’s great, all of this is great. But the more busy you become, the more discipline you need to be to follow the rules that you create for yourself.

Steven: So man, there’s so many places I want to take this because oh, man, so well. So let’s talk about momentum a little bit. And then I’d like to double back to Instagram. So obviously, momentum is hugely important to you. Because that’s to me exactly what you’re describing about your Wednesday. Your Wednesday was good. You got something done. You made money, but you lost momentum. Yeah. So how is it like? What’s a process that you go through to build momentum? Obviously, that’s like a daily thing, but like, personally, but obviously, your business itself has momentum too. What do you do to like, move that thing forward? What do you do to build momentum?

Phil: I am not the most disciplined person in the world, believe it or not, I just am not. And so I have to build those, you know, instruments around me, some of those are people that probably wouldn’t appreciate being called an instrument, but you have to have those things around you to keep yourself accountable. So here’s an example when I’m working with a client, yes, it’s to create a website. Yes, it’s to create a brand, but it’s to do it in a certain amount of time. And it’s to do it well. You know, in terms of output, it’s done right. And so you in the middle of a project, it’s never just about creating a website, we become accountability partners for our clients. And we work through all different kinds of things.

Phil: We jokingly call it brand therapy. Sometimes the clients say wow, this feels like therapy, because it really is unpacking a lot of things like goals and competitive advantages and distractions and all different kinds of things. Like as we have clients who cry, we’ve, you know, we’ve seen it all. Um, I think in order to keep up momentum, you need to be disciplined or you need to find discipline, and you need to find accountability, which is oftentimes in someone else. It’s the difference between going to a gym and walking around, going okay, this place feels on familiar and I’m not even sure where to start to also having, you know, going back and having a personal trainer say, Okay, here’s what you’re going to do, and I’m going to watch you do it right now do it. We play the role of accountability partner for our clients. But I think even if you’ve got a buddy or you’ve got someone in your industry, you can play that role and support each other. I think that’s key, I think it’s key to have that kind of accountability somewhere. I’m in a mastermind with three or four other like minded, you know, business owners, all women, we have a lot of fun.

Phil: Everyone’s in a, you know, different lane. And I find that that helps me, that’s bi weekly. So we skip a week, and that’s nice. But even one hour a week, just say, okay, vocalizing here’s what I’m doing. And here’s what I’m going to get done by Friday. It’s like, I don’t know, it’s, it’s wonder. So I think discipline, if you don’t have that, then have people around you, you know, that will help motivate you or keep you disciplined and accountable. And you can find that in yourself. Great if you can find it in someone else, which is more normally the case. Even better, I have one more thought on this. So I find organization helps. Rather than keeping all my crazy ideas stored and posted notes all around me, I have a task management tool, Asana. And that’s why we as a team, keep track of everything we’re doing. To add a layer to that, not just looking at your to do list or you know, collaboratively with a team, I use a tool called every hour, which is an overlay on Asana, and that allows me to track my time. Okay? hugely important, even for people that are in their own business just operating themselves. Because there are an increasing number of things that will divert your attention.

Phil: And by going through the act of timing yourself doing a task, it keeps you more focused and more accountable. This isn’t for us, it’s sufficient. It’s not only how we bill for clients who work on retainers, so every single person on my team keeps track to the minute when they’re working on something. But I’m on the clock right now. I’m working right now, I’m recording a podcast interview with you. This is work readiness, psychological element to that, where I am saying this is just as important, as when I’m hopping over to a client and billing my minutes for that. Yeah, this is just as important. And I need to make time to be able to do things like this. Working on myself is not less important than working on my clients.

Steven: And it’s funny, how can you convince yourself of that,

Phil: I do it every day, every day. And by branding the days or organizing the days, it certainly helps. But timing yourself and then looking at the end of the month and going you know what? I know I did a lot this month, but I’m not exactly sure what I did. You’ve got all of that data there to look back and say you know what, go through that list and and highlight what you love doing. highlight what you hated doing and see if you can delegate some of those things that you hated.

Steven: Right? Well, I think even as a leader, it’s awesome too, even with having like the task manager, project manager, whatever you want to call it. Just because to your point that we talked about earlier today, you only see the things that you aren’t doing well are the things that are missing out or the The next thing that needs to get done. And for something like your team that can get really exhausting, because all you’re looking at is problems and being able to have a time to like and celebrate what you did, I think is super awesome. Because I’ve definitely had that to where like all I had was phone calls. And I’m like I never once got to sat down on my computer, knock out some work. And you’re beating yourself up about it. You’re like no, like, I made phone calls a day. Like I built relationships, I networked. I did a podcast like that clearly matters. But you have to like to convince yourself of it. Because it’s not like quote unquote, work. And I don’t know what your work experience before you had your own business was but you know, most people’s work is very well defined. Like you come in at nine you leave a five you have these tasks, you have a boss that tells you if you did a good job or not. Like it’s very clear, like other people are really shaping what you’re doing. But when you’re a business owner, you have to like to create all those things yourself. And sometimes it’s difficult to do and convince yourself that doing three podcasts in a row was actually very important for your business, and you should feel really good about it. But you also weren’t making graphics for a client. Yeah, so then it’s like, you know, how do you feel just as good as about that is you did those other things and it’s all that head game.

Phil: That’s it. I mean, that’s it. That’s I don’t know if that ever will go away. Because there are people I just had this conversation with on another podcast that I was recording and she was speaking almost in a way of admiring how I do everything that I do. And I’m constantly thinking man, there’s so many things That are so far down on my to do list I haven’t even touched yet. And again, it’s what we’re talking about is this, like outside perception, and then the inner perception. They say, people hear your voice differently than you hear your own voice. And it’s kind of that idea, right? It’s kind of that idea that like, we always focus on what we haven’t done, and people on the outside like, oh, wow, your photos are beautiful. Oh, wow, your social media all the time, like, well, it’s just I don’t know that that ever goes away. I don’t know that it ever goes away. But you learn how to control it and manage it and be productive still.

Steven: Right? It’s, it’s a head trip, that’s for sure. It’s always good to hear that when people are like, you don’t want to be controlled but people’s perspectives are because obviously, you got to like to be true to your own values. But it sure is good to hear that sometimes from people like hey, well, it looks like you’re super busy, or it looks like what you’re doing is really cool. And you’re like, yeah, I guess it is? Yeah.

Steven: Like, keep going, keep going. So okay, so I gotta put you on the spot a little bit. I don’t know if it actually is putting you on the spot. But as I looked at your website, you’ve got like three different courses that you do. One of which is Instagram. Now for me, I feel like people are increasingly frustrated with Instagram, because of algorithm changes, UI changes, just in general is becoming an obviously an increasingly saturated place to be producing content. Is that just because people just don’t have any clue what to do on Instagram? And, you know, taking something like a course or just doing the right strategy is all this really necessary? And it just was easier before now people are mad that it’s not easy? Or is it actually like really becoming a gnarly place to try to make it?

Phil: Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. I think there’s an argument that could be made about each of those points that you’ve expressed, here’s my perspective on Instagram, and part of why I chose that platform to create a course on again, I said, the beginning of this podcast and my audience are busy working professionals. Instagram, I would say is the platform right now that is most likely to rob you of your time fits perfectly into what we’re talking about, in terms of platform that is most likely to rob you of your time, although clubhouse is coming up pretty fast. And that department, right? Instagram has been very strategic with how they’ve grown, they’ve knocked out competitors, simply by copying what other platforms are doing and making it work incentivizing. You know, for people to do those things on their platform. Instagram is not one social media platform. It’s five social media platforms, feed stories, live igtv reels, oh, there’s more that the last category is more because there’s more than five. So there’s guides, there’s, I mean, there’re so many different features and things that they launch and do that it’s hard to know where to even start. Yeah, it’s hard to know where to even start. And so the reason I made a course about it was to teach people that framework, you’re a busy working professional, here’s how you need to understand how it works.

Phil: And here are some tools that will help you do it, some templates and really a structure, I teach in about two hours of exactly how to think about it, and how to keep up with the demands of this platform. So that’s kind of my perspective on Instagram. However, we can say all that and it can be intimidating, and it can be challenging. But where’s the first place nowadays, they’re going to look to decide if you’re cool to decide if you’re legit. When I post a client project that I’ve spent hours mocking up for my website, I’d say probably 10 times the amount of people see it when I post on Instagram and see it on my website. This is just this is the reality of it. It’s like it’s kind of a necessary evil. So I kind of teach a process that allows you to manage this necessary evil, while not taking too much away from what you do for a living.

Steven: Hmm, okay. Yeah, I remember when stories first came out on Instagram, and that was a big buzz. Because if I remember correctly, the algorithm was different for stories than it was the feed, because it was a new feature that they were rolling out. And so it was a little more forgiving than others. And obviously, reals are in some way, despite the fact that it’s like half the length as a competitor for like TikTok and some of those other things. So I’m sure the algorithm is a little bit more forgiving on that than it is now stories in the feed. So maybe you’re a better person for that. But is the algorithm different? For reels? Um, from what you can tell?

Phil: Yeah, I mean, I would say, Yes, I would say right now, yes, it’s a newer feature and people are finding, I guess if the metric you’re looking at is views, certainly reels are getting potentially more views than other forms of content. Could that change in the future? Yes. When will the real course be normal? It will. But yeah, I mean, that’s the new shiny object on Instagram right now. For sure. Yeah. But this is what Instagram does. I mean, stories were born from Snapchat, let’s not forget, I mean, even the idea of saving a post on Instagram that was taken from Pinterest, the ability to go live was taken from Facebook, YouTube, any of these other platforms that have live streaming first. They just take everything that everyone else is doing, and they try to keep you on their platform. Let’s see what happens. Right with love house, you know, if there’s going to be an audio focused live, whatever, I don’t know. We’ll see. But yeah, I mean, I think the thing with Instagram is, if people complain about the algorithm, I think that’s the wrong thing to complain about. The algorithm is designed to give people content that they like and want to see more of. So the algorithm is based on a lot of things, it’s based on who you’re dealing with. It’s based on what posts you’re liking and commenting and saving and sharing. The algorithm is serving people in a great way, it’s giving people the content they want to see. So if the algorithm is not working for you, then you need to create better content, and of story, you need to put more time and energy into conversation and engagement.

Phil: People like to look at me, bro, broadcasting, these are all the things I’m doing go look at my Oh, my real like, you know, I want 1000s of views, etc. It’s like, well, no one cares what you’re doing. Put the time in, to turn social media from broadcast into a conversation and go, you know, for example. Look at people in your industry, other users that are doing something similar to you have a look at their comments on their top performing posts. Look at the people that are commenting, maybe the pinned comments are really thoughtful comments, follow those people reach out to them and say, Hey, I saw your, you know, or, you know, comment on one of their posts and say, I love your perspective on personal branding, I’d love to connect, I mean, now you can have quick replies on Instagram. So you can already have that typed up and literally just click and send that and then that person if if we know that that person is a brand hero or a you know a super fan or someone else who creates like you, then there’s a good chance they’re going to become a super fan of you. That’s the kind of thing that can have a powerful compounding effect in terms of engagement. People complain about the algorithm, I’m like, No, the algorithm is not a problem, your content is a problem.

Steven: So it’s kind of just like the idea that you could be a lazy marketer and make it an Instagram before. And that’s just no longer the option. Correct.

Phil: I would wholeheartedly agree with that.

Steven: That’s fair. Yeah, it’s just it’s it’s funny just to hear the outcry about it. And people want to go to different places and whatnot. But maybe it’s more a case of they want to continue to be a lazy marketer somewhere else. And realistically, I mean, like, in all honesty, tick tock is kind of that place right now where they’re like, it’s, they obviously have a very advanced algorithm, I can literally like something in my feed that will change in real time. That’s insane. But at the same time, I know plenty of people who have blown up on there, and it’s just like, whatever you’re making, just I’m sorry, it’s just it just isn’t that cool. But somehow it makes it and gets in front of the right people or whatnot. And so that’s kind of like the place of both where you can be a lazy marketer and still get views that make you happy. But as a strategic marketer, I’m sure it’s much better. Are you on Tick Tock right now?

Phil: Yeah, yeah, okay, I am, I don’t create much on Tick tock, because it’s not a priority platform for me, I’d love to become one. I’d love for it to become one. But there’s only so many hours in the day, and I want to do the platforms that I am on. Well, but it is on my list. It is like in my content creation Doc, like I look at it every week and and said, you know, make one tick tock. It says, I don’t often do it. You’re like, Yeah, I know. Well, it’s I wish I had the time for it, but I don’t. But I am starting to play a little bit more with reels. And so I think that’s going to set me up to create on that platform as well.

Steven: Yeah, that’s not a bad idea. I’ve heard rumors that completion rate on Tick Tock is super important, just like it is with anything else. Like obviously, even with YouTube completion rate is important. But I know there is an argument being made that shorter tic tocs are better to go just not only because of keeping people’s attention for that long. They don’t necessarily want to watch a one minute video, but also because the completion rates going to be higher and so you’ll actually rank better?

Phil: Yes

Steven: I don’t know how to say what I say any shorter than a minute. So I don’t know, I guess maybe I just have to do more part ones and part twos. But

Phil: I think that you learn how to do that. So when I think about social media, I think about how it can serve you selfishly. So the reason I podcasts, for example, is I don’t care if anyone listens to my podcast, honestly, I don’t if they want to listen to it fantastic. And we have lots of well not lost, but we have hundreds of people who listen every single week, I do very little promotion for it. But my business partner and I get on the phone like this. We’re creative, we have a discussion, and then that becomes the inspiration for so many other things that I do. I think the same thing about Tick Tock. Yeah, I mean, if you have a tick tock that goes viral, I had one that went viral with over 5 million views. And I’ve only made about six tic tocs in my life. And the benefit of creating on Tick tock, yeah, I mean, sure, you get lots of views and followers, it’s a little bit like Monopoly money, but you become better as a creator to create micro content. Short Form content makes you a better creator, to have to create within 15 seconds, you will become a better content creator with every single post you create. That’s what I like about that platform the most.

Steven: That’s fair, we kind of have to because if you want to make content and then repost it to real, so you got like 30 seconds or less, or maybe it’s like 25, it’s super short.


I think Reels is 30 seconds. Now, when it launched, it was 15 seconds, I think, right? 30 seconds.

Steven: How generous of them. Well, cool, wait, we were kind of running short on time. So I just wanted to kind of wrap it up with just this idea of like, so the podcast, which we haven’t mentioned the name of, it’s the death of nl podcast. And the idea is you don’t want to make vanilla content, you want to make content that stands out. And so obviously for you, it’s literally your job to make people stand out. You’re doing personal branding, and just branding in general. If you had to give just like two or three things that you have found that really help people stand out, as they’re building their brand and putting their name out there for the first time. What would those things be? Because obviously, there’s just a huge amount of people trying to make it, it’s really hard to stand out.

Phil: It’s really hard to stand out, I think there’s a few things. First thing I would say is self awareness. When we talked earlier about content to personality ratio, be really aware of what makes you great. I often ask when I’m giving a presentation, I asked the audience two questions, what makes you great? And what makes you memorable? Okay, what makes you memorable is ideally, you know, something really unique to you and how you talk about things or the way you know, etc? What makes you memorable? Why are people going to think about you? Why are you going to be top of mind instead of someone else. So self awareness is the first thing. The second would be rules, discipline, framework, process, workflow, any of those things. For me, anything visual, anything visual, with how I show up online is taken directly from my brand board. And that is essentially a long layered Photoshop file with my logos in it my colors, typography, print and web examples that my designer has designed for me and I, my job is to follow the rules. He’s a mock something up in there, I simply follow it and the more I deviate from what’s shown there, the more something I create looks like it’s not from me. So someone like you, who has connected with me and consume my content, everything looks and feels cohesive, because it looks the same. And then you hear me and then it sounds the same, right? Whether it’s written or it’s spoken, it all feels cohesive. It’s a lot like online dating, if you consume my profile. And when I show up in real life, I’m nothing like how I portrayed myself online. That’s never a positive experience. Ever.

Steven: That’s never a positive experience, unless it’s better than your profile. And they’re like, Okay,

Phil: I guess but I think even then, I mean, people wouldn’t have moved forward with the date if it wasn’t impressive to start with. That’s fair. Yeah. I mean, I think you want to put your best foot forward online to increase the conversion of those dates to increase the conversion of those audiences, those listeners, etc. Those are the two most important things. It’s self awareness, you know, and discipline or framework rules. I sometimes call it creating rules for yourself and then follow them.

Steven: That’s, I think that’s fair. So what so then I’ve got to ask, what do you believe is your memorable thing that makes you stand out?

Phil: Hmm, I should have a good answer for this, but I’m so busy thinking about everyone else. Oh, at Ah, I guess Think about it for myself. Okay, I have an answer. I’m ready. Let’s see if my answer is consistent with how you would answer this question about me. I think what’s memorable about me is I’m not afraid to inject my personality into what I do. Be it humor or honesty. That balanced with efficiency. conciseness, saying what needs to be said in the fewest number of words possible, I think is pretty unique and memorable about the way that I show up online. Yeah.

Steven: Okay. Cool. That’s exciting. Thank you for sharing that. I know that you’re putting me on spot a little bit.

Phil: No I like, I like it. I like it. I think it’s fun. It’s fun, because these conversations like this are really valuable. Because even something like this, if I was really smart, I would have hit record on my own line here. And I could have this transcribed and I could write 200 tweets, from this conversation. This is the perfect kind of environment for creating content, because we’re essentially strangers with similar interests. And that setup leads to really interesting conversation. So I appreciate you having me, Oh, absolutely.

Steven: I can send you whatever you want from this.

Phil: Great. Send me when it’s done when it’s when it’s posted. And I’ll post it out and all of that.

Steven: Well, we transcribe everything, because we bake in captions and stuff like that. And so I can send you the transcript if you want.

Phil: Sure. That’s

Steven: If that’s helpful for you.

Phil: It is helpful look at us content creators, like,

Steven: Dude, it’s, it’s about maximizing your effort, you know what I mean? And that’s kind of like the whole point with your traveling. It’s like, okay, you’re in this place. It’s beautiful. You’re there, you might as well do something with it, you know, if so, like you said, You’re already there. You’re, you know, you’re at somewhere for a conference. Now you’re working somewhere interesting. Now you’re doing a photo shoot. So now you have content, ideas, networking, all that can happen, just because you went somewhere for a conference. I think that’s a pretty efficient use of time.

Phil: So that’s me. Yeah.

Steven: Well, dude, with the amount of content you have to make to stay online, it’s just you have to be efficient. It’s just not possible to keep up with that. Otherwise.

Phil: It’s overwhelming. Really? Could you just share with everyone different places they can find you online, your Instagram handle on those things, we’ll make sure to put that in the video, show notes, and so on and so forth. But just let people know how to find you. Love it. So if you made it this far, in the podcast episode, you might as well go over to Instagram and say hello, send me a DM at Phil Pallen. We also podcast so my colleague and my co host, Lauren and I have a podcast called brand therapy. We have over 100 episodes where we work through branding challenges. We also learn from smart people on particular topics that interest us, for our listeners, I send out emails, so that’s philpallen.co/list. They’re short. They’re actionable. worksheets, videos, you know, all different kinds of things like that. And YouTube, yeah, if you’re interested in learning more about, for example, Instagram strategy, I have a YouTube channel youtube.com/Phil Pallen. And then as you mentioned, I’ve got three courses on my website, philpallen.co content mastery, Instagram mastery, and email mastery. Those are interesting topics for you, I’ll make sure I give you a promo code that you can put in the show notes. So people get 50% off, do it. Now that’d be super good. Guys, be sure to do that. As we discussed. Instagram is a place you can’t do lazy marketing. So take the course. So you can figure it out.

Steven: So I’m quite sure I’ll probably be running through some of your courses as well, because, well, you just can’t get too good at the things that make you money. Can you

Phil: Know, exactly. I love that because you learn for yourself. But also even if you’re working with clients, yeah, it’s in the mouse is like people learn something, then they can actually make money from love that.

Steven: Dude, everything that we learn for ourselves, then we know works when we make a suggestion. It’s not just an idea that we found in a blog post. It’s like no, like, we post a tick tock so when we say you should be on Tick Tock is because we are like, we value it enough that we spend time and money to do that. Cool, man. Well, thank you so much for your time. I know we went a little bit over but I appreciate it very much. And I know I got a lot out of it. So I know other people that when we post this and chop this up and put it all over the place, people will too.

Phil:  So thank you very nice to share it whenever you’ve got it ready. I’ll blast it out to people.

Steven: I appreciate that. Thank you.

Phil: Awesome. have such a good day and I’ll chat with you soon. Awesome, man. Thanks. Thanks again. Bye bye later.