On Purpose Episode 002 – Transcript – Pam Perry
Isha: Pam, thank you so much for joining us. I’ve been excited about this conversation since you said yes.
Pam: Yay, I’m excited, Isha. Thank you for so much for having me.
Isha: Well, when people tune in they heard a little bit about your background, but I’ve got to go back and get to the personal story here on how we connect. I got pregnant the week before I left for college. Went to college; ended up dropping out after the first semester. Planned to take a semester off and go back. And it didn’t work that way. Ended up out for one year and a half, but in that gap I met you.
Isha: And you were involved with an organization back in Detroit, Blacks in Advertising Radio and Television (BART). And I went to a meeting. I went to NABJ, National Association of Black Journalist meetings, and you were such an inspiration to me, because I looked at you and people like Randi Bullock. And it was just like, “Oh, my goodness, they’re living the lives that I want to live.” And you inspired me to do whatever I needed to do to get my butt back in college not matter how hard it was. And so, I thank you so much for you just being who you are in doing what you do, because it made a major difference in my life.
Pam: Wow. Thank you so much, Isha. Well, you know what? I just saw it in you, and that’s one of the things. God will just point it out, and just show me the people that really have the ‘it’. You know the ‘it’ factor, and you had the it factor, and it was like, “You know what? You just have to make it happen. What do you need? What resources do you need? What kind of connections do you need? Let’s make it happen.” Because you had the ‘it’ factor, and you were hungry. You just had a little bit more things you had to navigate than most other people that are 18, 19 years old. But you worked it out. You sure did.
Isha: Thank you.
Pam: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Isha: I appreciate you so much. So, now I want to make sure that … And I tell, my goal with this podcast is you know, I’ve been blessed to have some amazing people in my life. And I know that that’s not everybody’s story. And there are people out there, particularly who are starting businesses, who feel very alone in this process. And so, I want them to be able to virtually meet people like you, and to hear your stories, and to know, all right, I’m not in this thing by myself. Even if I never meet Pam face-to-face, the fact that I’ve heard her story now I feel connected to her too.
Pam: Uh-huh (affirmative). Good.
Isha: Let’s talk a bit about your entrepreneurial path. Tell us first of all, what it is that you do. We know PR is the thing, but you have taken that in so many different directions over the course of your entrepreneurial … and even in corporate. So, tell us a bit about that.
Pam: Well, the main thing that what Pam Perry PR does, PamPerryPR.com does, I do PR and marketing for authors, speakers, and brands, nonprofit organizations, churches. That primarily is what I do now, but it didn’t start there. It started really Ministry Marketing Solutions, roughly 20 years ago, and really it came from the standpoint that I had a heart to help ministries to really market and promote better. And primarily African-American ministries, because I worked for the Salvation Army before I got married and had a baby.
Pam: I worked for the Salvation Army; I was a Director of PR. So, I did the typical PR things; writing press releases, press conferences, events, the whole thing. I was part of the development department, and I did the whole PR thing, but after I had my child, my daughter, and I was like, “Hmm, I don’t really know if I really want to do this corporate thing.” I wanted really just … This is before people were really working from home, because it was really cool to go to a building, dress up, but I was like, “I don’t want to do that.” This was like in 2000. It was like, “I don’t really want to this.” Internet was just coming on. I said I’m going to try, and make this thing work.
Pam: Really, my first clients were primarily major churches. Then I became their Marketing Communications Department, so I was helping them brand, do PR marketing. Television had really just got big. We got the network here in the city. We got other Christian television stations were going on. I was part of NRB, which is the National Religious Broadcasters. I was a producer for a Christian Television Network, Christian Television Network here in Detroit, CTN.
Pam: So, I just really stayed in that whole space of ministry marketing, helping churches. And then the churches, the pastors who are writing books, and it became like, “Okay, then the pastors need to write books.” Then I was working with Christian publishers. Now, everybody knows that certain things start changing. Right, Isha? It was like the Internet changed everything. It wrecked the whole publishing industry.
Pam: So, at this point, the publishers weren’t hiring me as much, because people can self-publish their own books. If they can self-publish their own books, that means they can publish them, but they also have to market them. So, it really became from the standpoint of … Before, a publishing company could hire me, and say, “It’s $3,500 a month, so promote this book.” And they’ll do it for three months. It’s like, “Bam, okay, no problem, let’s do it. We’re everywhere, we’re on Moody Radio, we’re on TBN, we’re everywhere. Because I worked with Bishop Jakes and Creflo Dollar, just different major publishers. Worked for Zondervan, Moody, Harvest House, all the houses. I can’t even remember.
Pam: Anyway, but when it became time for these publishers to say we’re not publishing as many books. We’re making it so that the authors can really promote their books themselves, or the authors are promoting … or printing and promoting their own books. Then it was like, they can’t pay $3,500 a month. So, really, I became a PR coach. It’s like, “Okay, either you have time or you have money.” I was putting in the time to promote them. If they don’t have the money to pay for my time, so I was coaching them so they can do it themselves.
Pam: That’s where the PR coaching thing came on. I showed them how to work the Internet. I mean, it started with … We’re talking how to work MySpace, right? How to set up MySpace.
Isha: MySpace, I haven’t heard that in a long time!
Pam: Oh, MySpace. And they were like, “Okay.” Now, we’re talking about Christian authors and speakers, right? And they’re like, “The MySpace is from the devil.” And it’s like, “We haven’t got the Facebook yet.” I was like, “Well, people have to contact me directly.” Yes, boo, that’s what it is. You have a platform that you need to build out to your own audience. So, when they finally caught on, I mean, it’s like Kim Brooks, Stacey Harkin Adams, Victoria Christopher Murray. I mean, just all kinds of people were there.
Pam: Actually, it started crushing it online, they realized that, oh, my God, I can have a tribe. This is way before Seth Godin talked about tribe. And this is way before Michael Hyatt talked about platform. Okay? I should have written that stuff down, but I’m dealing with my black people. And it’s like I’m just trying if you don’t go. It’s like, “I just have time to write the book, and talk about the tribe and the platform.” But it was like, “I know that’s what you have to do.” So, I would then coach them for four weeks at a time, sometimes six weeks. Sometimes they would just stay on as a coach and client. And that would really work for my business model for a long, long time where I just really coached.
Pam: Now, every once and a while, I would have a Christian publisher would say we’d like you to work with one of clients. And they were major clients at that time like I said: Jakes, or Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, Dr. Cindy Trimm. But that was far in between. I was like, “Okay, in order to make this work, we have to figure out a different business model.” So, that’s what I did. It went from MinistryMarketingSolutions.com to PamPerryPR.com, and primarily doing the coaching one-on-one with people. And that was really it, and I probably stayed about there till about 2012 or so. In between 2011, 2012 when markets still was changing a little bit. Everybody then at this point was kind of up to speed, and so many people were teaching social media. Everybody was a social media expert. Everybody was this and that. I was like, “Oh, my God.” They are not social media experts. They got 12 people following them on Twitter, and now they’re experts. I was like, “What is this?”
Pam: And so, really, at that point, I really backed out, and I said, “You know what?” My daughter was graduating from high school. I said, “You know what? I’m going to go take a job.” And I actually became the Marketing Director for the African American Museum. I did that for two years, and I just stayed in there. And I did a few little bit coaching clients, but I was like, “You know what? I’m going to incubate right now for a couple of years doing that thing with the museum.”
Pam: And I realized I was unemployable. I was like, “I really did not like working for people.” And I was like, “That’s why I had been working for myself for all this time.” I like the work. They probably could have been the client. But being in there every day, I realized that my mindset was not the same as a typical … I could do things a lot faster. When you work for yourself, you do things differently, and you come a little scrappier, a little hungrier, or you just move a little bit faster.
Pam: Anyway, so I stayed there for a while. I really liked the museum, but then I mostly came back, and I changed my business model. And I’ve got a magazine that I’m publishing now. I do a mentoring program; I do Masterminds. So, it’s changed little bit. I do a little bit of coaching, but it’s a little bit different now, because it seems like everybody’s a coach, and they really don’t have the experience that, I don’t think … I just look at people, and it’s like, “Just because you put up pretty pictures on Instagram does not make you a six-figure coach.”
Isha: Come on, now!
Pam: So, anyway, we can go on … I should talk about those things that people say they are that they’re not, but I just know that I came back, because I knew that people would trust me. And I saw the people getting ripped off on things. I was like, “You know what? I put together the Pam Perry Mentoring program. They can have access to me online.” All my materials, all my secrets are there. The magazine is a way to really help promote speakers and authors, and that was it. That’s really the main thing that I said. And then for those that want to go up a step, then we have the Mastermind where I actually work with people one-on-one in the capacity. And that’s it. That is my business model now. Will it be like this five years from now? We don’t know. It may change, but I’m very …
Pam: Because I am an entrepreneur, you kind of could see where things go. You keep your feet and your ear to the ground, and kind of know what’s coming up next. And I have online course that I’m creating. So, that sort of thing. You just kind of … You change as the market changes, and you change … And also, too, I change as I get bored. So, if I get bored doing something, if a family change, I don’t want that anymore. That’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur, I think. Be your own boss.
Isha: One of the things that you mentioned that’s so important, and if you miss this, you need to zero in on this. When you got to the point that the business model wasn’t working for you anymore, either it wasn’t bringing in the revenue that it used to, you got bored, you took the time to figure out, okay, what’s next. And I see so many people that will get stuck in that thing, and it’s not working. And they think, “Well, if I just work harder. If I just work harder.” But it’s not working. Working harder at something that doesn’t work is not going to make it work. Talk to me about that incubation period where you stepped back to figure out, okay, where is Pam Perry PR going next?
Pam: Really, you know the two years when I took time out and I got back in corporate, I realized too this whole world of side hustles. In 2000, people … When I stepped out, and said I’m going to do work for myself, it was like, “I’m working for myself full-time.” This whole side hustle thing, I realized, that everybody at work has a side hustle. I was like, “Oh, my God. This is really different.” I mean, even though I had some speakers and authors that had other jobs, but their whole thing was to really go full-time.
Pam: And so, during that two years, I just really just kept looking online and looking to see what people are with pain points are, what their problems were. How I can fit in? And it just really … I just really paid more attention to it. And I would advise people, say, well, I just quit my job, and I just found a work for … I said, “Well, you know what? It’s different in 2000 than it is today.” The Internet’s a lot more noisier, and a lot more crowded. So, I wouldn’t suggest that. I said when I did it, I said Myspace was the thing. I said now Internet is everywhere. I said I would really just take a look at that.
Pam: And so, by looking at what other people were doing, I left over two years and said, “Well, where can I fit in?” Where is it that my audience is, and what is it they need help with? And so, it took time, because what happens is people then still come to you. I’m still sending out emails, and so people had the same questions, or the same type of people were coming to me. And that’s when I realized, and said, “Okay, I’m called back to doing my own thing, but I’m called to do it differently.” And the mentoring thing seemed to help, because what they really needed was not just a bootcamp, which is what I was doing. They want to be Pampered so, I guess, that’s way too much. I work a full-time job that I hate. So, I don’t want to get off work, and go to a doggone bootcamp.
Pam: I knew that that model didn’t work anymore. So, they would get off of work, and then would want to go through the material, and be mentored. And that’s where the Facebook groups happen; I have it private. So, that part, and then the people that came to me weren’t necessarily Christian. Well, they still are Christian, but they’re not necessarily pastors anymore. But they’re just people that have a message. People who have been experts for a long, long time in their career, maybe 20, 30 years. And they want to do something else, either their bored, burned out, or want to retire. I call them the encore career. They’re primarily women.
Pam: Now, if they’re my age, they aren’t really as savvy as being online in terms of the systems, and things like that. I mean, if I tell them do a podcast, some of them will be like, “Well, what is that?” So, part of it is just really training their mindset, and their mentality so then they can really take their expertise and put it online, and then they go forward from there. And I say that they’re all like older, but a lot of them are … They’re all baby boomers, and typically my customer is usually PhDs or lawyers or someone who’s been in a professional career, and they really want to change it, and really make a difference at this point. Not just like I just want to sell something, but I want to make a difference, and this is my legacy business. This is what I want to leave behind.
Pam: And so, a lot of them are saying, “Well, you’ve been doing this for so long? How do you get 25,000 people on Twitter?” Okay. I tell people you can’t do what I do, because I did it for 20 years. It’s been a long time now. It’s like they struggle to get 300 people on Twitter. I said, “But I was on Twitter in 2007 and 8.” I was on Twitter a long time ago. So, really explain to them how to market today, how to market now, how to market to your own tribe, how to find your tribe. I have one lady, the other day I was talking with, and she wanted to … She said, “I have to get a sales funnel. I have to get on Facebook. I have to create a Facebook group. I have to do Instagram.” So, who’s your target? Oh, my target is principals of high schools. Okay, well, they’re probably not going to be on podcasts or on Twitter or on Facebook. You need to create your own tribe with these people.
Pam: And so, her strategy, that we sat down and we talked about how to reach her goal, had nothing to do with social media at all, at all. But she saw all these shining lights of people online, and so you can do a blog and then you can send the blog to the principals. I said, “But more than likely they’re not going to bump in to find you on Facebook, and say, ‘Oh, we’d like to hire this person to come in and do our training.'” No, because then principals aren’t on … they’re not looking like that.
Isha: Exactly. I mean, particularly when you’re doing something innovative, people don’t even know to look for you, because they don’t even know that the solution to that problem exists yet in the form that you’re serving it up.
Pam: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, it’s just really interesting to really find that when people see other people doing things, they see it, but they don’t understand their sales funnel underneath. They don’t understand who their target customer is. They’ll just say to me, “Pam, I want you to build me a website, just like that.” I was like, “But do you know what they’re doing with that website, what the point of their website is?” Just because they have a lot of pretty pictures it’s still a business strategy that they probably have that we don’t know anything about. Let’s look at your strategy and build a website from that.
Isha: And that’s one of the things that really comes with the wisdom of being in this game for so long, because they’re people that may say, “Okay, I did and this worked for me.” And so then they become that expert, that coach, whomever, because this worked for me so now I’m going to teach you to do what I did. But there’s no guarantee that their solution is going to work for you, because who they are is different. Their audience is different. Their personality …
Isha: Everything about them is different, so there may be bits and pieces that you can take that may work for you, but you have to step back and figure out what works for you. And I see so many people that will say, “Well, these are the five steps you must follow.” No. That may have worked for you. When people call something a best practice, somebody at some point determined this was the best practice. Why can’t you create the next best practice? Because that may not be best practice for you. We just have to get out of these cookie-cutter approaches to everything; to the way we create our business models, the way that we market, all of it. And figure out what works for us and the people that we’re serving.
Pam: And you know they say the best form of advertising is word of mouth, and word of mouth is very personable. So, marketing really does have to appear to be personable. It can’t be cookie-cutter, because then it won’t work.
Isha: And haven’t you noticed too, because of just the proliferation of the Internet, and it is so noisy now, that people are starting to back off of it. And now, it’s I want that personal touch. I want to sit down with somebody; I want to look somebody in their face. It’s funny. I just had this conversation with a client, and I’ve been coaching for almost 10 years, and I’ve never done video calls. I don’t like to do face-to-face, even if I’m working with somebody in my office, or in my town. Just because of flexibility. That was what I built my business on. I wanted flexibility because I travel. But she was like, “Well, can’t we at least just do a Skype call, because I just want to see you?”
Pam: Was she baby boomer?
Isha: No. She’s actually a millennial, but I think because everything is so distant, and everything is Internet. Everything is online. People are wanting that more personal connection. It’s like the pendulum is swung so far one direction, now we’re coming back in the other direction.
Pam: I think so, too. Because I’ve seen a lot authors doing not book signings, because they used to just do these virtual book launches, and these virtual blogs tours and all that. But not now they’re actually doing mini-workshops, and they’re going from city to city. And they’re doing mini-workshops in actual cities, and people like that. And that’s a thing with speakers too. Speakers magazine were actually physically going to the cities, actually meeting with the people, actually talking to people, because it is so much online. And people … There is a big distrust, especially around baby boomers, of stuff online. And like, “I don’t know. I have to see them.” It’s that whole thing that you do need to have more personal touch.
Pam: The coworking spaces are really, really big. Before people would say, “Well, I like to work from home.” It could be lonely if you’re not used to being working from “home,” and it can be lonely. So, the coworking spaces, I think, has helped people not to feel so lonely working alone. And I think that is people are trying to ‘un-cocoon,’ if that’s a word.
Isha: That’s a good word. ‘Un-cocoon,’ I like that.
Pam: So that they can actually meet with people one-on-one, whether it is a Mastermind, face-to-face, or they do a yearly even, or they have quarterly. Or like you doing … You do support meetings, support groups where people meet once or twice a month. The meetups are really huge, oh, my God. The whole meetup thing, I set up a meetup, I think it was last year, whatever, and it became overwhelming because so many people wanted to be in the meetup. And I was like, “Oh, my God. Everybody wants to meetup face-to-face.” A meetup is like you meet at the Starbucks. I was like, “Wow.”
Pam: And that’s when I realized that people really do want that whole face-to-face. And the meetup is a great platform to use. If you want to setup a meetup, I haven’t really delved into it really good, but if you do want to do meetups, that’s a great platform there. How they systemize everything, and the reminders, and the connections is really, really great. But it can be overwhelming. If that’s not part of your business model then don’t do it. I did it just to test it, and I was like, “Whoo, this is way too much.”
Pam: So, you can meet up. You can find a meetup; you don’t necessarily have to create one. You can find a meetup where your target market hangs out. I thought that was cool. I really like the way you could search and meetup, and say, Oh, these people … like these speakers meet, Toastmasters, whatever. They meet every Wednesday at the university. You know? Some of them go, “Oh, okay.” The meetups are really big, and people do like the personal touch. That’s why live has taken off. That’s why people like Facebook live. They like Periscope. That’s why people like Instagram live.
Pam: They just want to see somebody live. They want to see the unprofessional video. Because if you could put up a YouTube and it’s got all these cutouts and music and all that kind of stuff, but they want to see someone actually live. So, from YouTube videos to really cute and crafty and really edited to like, “I’m live; I’m coming on.” I mean, you still could have a script, but they still want to see you in real time. And that’s where it is.
Isha: And I think that’s the thing that kept so many people from putting themselves out there is they felt like they had to perfect, and they had to be polished, but now the focus really is on the authenticity.
Pam: Transparency and authenticity; it is. I can’t think of the lady’s name, but her authenticity and transparency really made her phenomenal like a Periscope queen, or Periscope viral. She actually got on Periscope and said, “Today, I’m going to quit my job.” So, she’s like, “I’m going to quit my job, and I’m going to call my boss.” She called her boss, she said, “Today is going to be my last day, and I’m quitting.” Her boss is like, well, you know. And she did it live on Periscope, and I’m like, “Oh, my God.” Anyway, it went viral. I can’t think of what lady’s name is, but she had been doing her side hustle for a while, and then all of a sudden, and she was like, “Today is the day that I’m going to work full-time.” And it went viral, and of course, her business took off with people like, “I want to do the same thing. I want to be able to call my boss live, and quit.”
Pam: Another lady took her wig off, she was like, “I am going to come clean. I have alopecia, and I want people to know that I’m really transparent.” So, anyway, it became really big. She was on CNN; she came on Today show. I was like, “That is a lot of authenticity and transparency.” People are holding back a whole lot of stuff. I’m like, “Oh, my God.” But that breaks through the clutter. I said it breaks through the clutter. I was like, “This is my real hair.” So, I can’t take no wig off. Okay. I’m not going to call nobody on the air, and just front them off on the phone. I think that’s rude. So, the best I could do is just to be real and tell you from experience what I’ve gone through, and that’s just the way it is.
Pam: The authenticity and transparency is what people need online, and the more real you are, the better. And I just think that with women sometimes we just have to be a little bit careful in terms of protecting our children, or our locations, where we are, just to be safe. There are people who are stalkers and things like that. So, don’t give out too much information, because there are people that watch you for … and they can figure … You know, some evil people out there. So, I just say with women just be a little bit careful about how much information you divulge. You can say, “Oh, I’m going to Las Vegas.” But don’t really put down the hotel. Okay, because somebody could be crazy, and say, “Oh, she’s in Vegas. I’m going to show up in her room.” So, just certain things like that just to be kind of careful about in terms of transparency and authenticity.
Isha: Right. So, let’s go back, you were talking about the encore folks. People that have amassed experience, and wisdom, and results, and they’re looking to share that as their legacy now. One of the things that I found in working with this audience is that there’s this, kind of like what I was talking about before, this desire to be perfect. And so, it becomes, well, what if I write a book and they don’t like it? What if it doesn’t help anybody? What if this doesn’t work? Who’s going to listen to me? And just say, well, I have to … It even goes back to, oh, I’ve got to get another degree. I’ve got to take another class. I’ve got to get another certification.
Pam: Oh, Jesus. You must be talking about my client. They all want another degree. They love education, anyway. So, they will always get certified or want another certification or another degree. And I have to tell them to stop it. Stop it. It’s good enough, right now. Let’s go. Put yourself in it. You have to test the waters. I said, “Think of it as a real life laboratory.” And this is an encore career, so maybe if in your career you had a company manual, but you are writing your own company manual, right now. So, let’s just go in a lab, put it together, and if it don’t work, you can change it next week. It’s not going to be perfect. And so, what they like about me is that I’m not perfect, they said, “Well, you sent out an email and it had a typo.” I said, “But it didn’t stop no sales.”
Isha: I love it.
Pam: So, it didn’t stop no sales, people still bought. I mean, some of it is like it’s forgiving. It’s forgiving, so you’re not going to be penalized. They’re so used to being in a corporate world, maybe, where they were penalized, and so I know that kind of because I worked … the last time I worked in the corporate world, I kind of got that feeling of how stressful it can be, and how horrible sometimes these bosses can be, and they just feel penalized. And so, they’re always on that CYA kind of mode, and it’s just horrible. I said, “You’ve got to release that, and just realize this is your business.” This is the way you want to do it. You could be as casual with it as you want. “May not be sloppy,” I said, but it’s forgiving.
Pam: Because it’s just social media. It’s not brain surgery, so just kind of let it go. You’re not going to start out looking like Oprah with your master class, just get your first course up. Okay? And then the next course will be better. Then the next course will be better. I said, “But if your first course looks like that five courses down the road, that’s a problem, but you want to always improve.” But you can’t improve if you don’t start. I always see people start somewhere. I mean, I always tell people, I said, “If you want to know how to podcast, start with Blog Talk Radio first. That’s where I started.” Start that, then you can go onto the whole I have to get a host thing. I have to get edited, and I have to get a better mic. And I said, “Sometimes start with your podcast with doggone phone.” Let’s get going. It’s like, “Quit trying to be perfect.”
Isha: That’s right. That’s right. What’s that tool that they have now … I’ve got it on my phone somewhere. Where it’s basically you can use the app, and you talk, and it uploads it, and you essentially-
Isha: Thank you, Anchor. Yes. That’s a great place to start. No technology necessary.
Pam: Yeah, just do Anchor. Download, use on my phone now. I try to do one every Monday. Yeah. I try to do one every Monday. Just Anchor, you just talk on your phone. Sounds really good. You can even add music to the background. I do Anchor; I do it every Monday. It’s called Motivation Monday. And it’s five minutes, and it’s on iTunes. So, you google Pam Perry podcast. That pops up. Did it take a whole lot of equipment? No. It just took getting started. So many things, so many productivity tools. I mean, you got Evernote, you got Hootsuite.
Pam: So, when people try to give me excuses, I usually give them a tattoo, and kind of like show that on play. We got an app for that. We got a tool. You got a problem with that? Well, I don’t know how to get my book written. I said, “Well, you can have it transcribed.” Well, who’s going to transcribe? I said, “I got you somebody.” I tell them, I say, use Fiverr or use Upwork, something. I mean, the excuses can go away, because the technology is there to help. I said, “Don’t get overwhelmed with the technology.” First, figure out what you want to do, then I’ll find you the technology tool.
Isha: Right. So, you hear that? No excuses folks. No excuses. You just have to start.
Pam: Just start it. Just start it, and just know it won’t be perfect. It’s okay.
Isha: I was thinking back over your career and imperfection. What comes to mind as one of the biggest mistakes that you had in your career or business?
Pam: I would say when I started hiring people, and I hired this one particular young lady. And she was working out really good, and basically you bring people in. At that point they kind of see what you do. They see your immediate connections. They see all behind the curtain. So then, of course, she was my first “employee,” contractor, whatever. And I didn’t have the right paperwork in place, didn’t have the nondisclosure. I didn’t have any of the paperwork. It was just like, okay, I interview you. I like what you do. This is what you’re going to do, whatever, whatever. Anyways, to make a long story short, she came in my business, almost tried to replicate everything I did. She’s out there talking about she did this. She put people … I was like, “What?” So, it really hurt me, because I thought she was my friend, but she met all my contacts. She had all my database. She had my clients; she took one of my clients. And said, “Well, I can do what she’s doing, but I can do it for a lot less.”
Pam: Yeah. That was bad, so it taught me to have the paperwork in order. I needed a HR person to probably look at some stuff before I actually start bringing in people. So, that was a really big shift. It took me a long time to really get over it, and I really at that point, I worked myself to the bone, because I didn’t want anybody else in my business. I was like, “Oh, my God, they’re going to just steal everything.”
Pam: I eventually did hire a VA, and it took me a long time to really trust people, because of this, like, “I don’t want you to get in my database, or I don’t want you to know passcodes, or whatever.” I mean, it was just some of the … I mean, they literally traveled with me too, when we were going to MegaFest and things like that. I mean, they would turn around, and then just write them and let them know that they were open for business, and doing the same thing I did, and just basically for less cost. So that was the biggest thing. That was pretty major.
Isha: How did you get over that hump to learn to trust again? Because, certainly, you can’t stay in that place.
Pam: Yeah. I have a good VA. I have the right paperwork. So, eventually the paperwork just kind of showed, and even when I brought in interns, they all signed the same paperwork. And just basically you learn to trust. You give out certain things one by one, but I do have to ask for paperwork. If I had the paperwork, she could not have done that. And I don’t think that was maybe her intention to do that. I don’t know. At this point, I don’t know if her intention was to really do that, but I left the door wide open.
Isha: What are some of the things that you’ve learned about yourself over this 20-plus year process as an entrepreneur?
Pam: I’m the type of person I will sit still with a journal, with a notepad…I’m a journal queen. And I would journal it out until I figured it out. And that’s just been … And then once I figure out, I move on. It’s like, “Oh, okay. Well, I have to move.” And I’m not afraid of change. So that’s part of why I love working for myself is that if I see something not going right, I can change it. And I’m not afraid to change it. It’s like I’ll read a book. I’ll go to a conference. I’ll get a mentor; I get another coach. I’ve hired several coaches over the years, and some of them hurt my feelings, but they were so true. And I’ve had some coaches that were kind of gangster. I was like, “Yeah. You ain’t a real coach.” I don’t know what kind of stuff … I was reading too much of this stuff online.
Pam: But the coaches that I’ve had have been really, really good. And they’ve really helped me a lot, and I realized too that I’m not a numbers person. So, I hired someone to handle all that part of the business, the administrative side, because I can’t do that. If you get in tax situations, that is not fun. You definitely want to have someone to handle that if you cannot handle that. So, you just learn yourself: what you’re good at, what do you like to do. You do that, and what you don’t like, you delegate. And so, I don’t care if I have to delegate 20% of my profit to someone to do it, because I know that I will mess it up. I don’t mind it. It’s fine.
Isha: One of the things too is when we invest so much energy trying to do things that we aren’t good at, because we don’t want to pay somebody. How much of your productivity are you giving away? Because not only are you spending the time sucking at something that somebody is at some point going to have to come behind you and clean up anyway. That’s time and energy that you’re taking away from the thing that you are good at. And how much money is that costing you?
Isha: But I think we can be so quick to think, “Well, I can’t afford that?” Well, how much does it cost? Factor that into your business plan. So, I have to sell this many books so I can hire a VA, and you just work that into your plan versus, well, I have to wait till I can afford … No, I’m going to make myself afford it, because I can’t grow without it. I have gotten so much stuff done on Fiverr or for literally 5, 10, 15 dollars that had I tried to play graphic artist on my own, because that was what it would be … Or any other number of things. Man, how much time would I have wasted?
Pam: That is so, so true. Now, some people like to struggle and do that. I don’t. I always say you can either learn it from mistakes or mentors. I’d rather learn from a mentor, and pay even a mentor then to learn from a mistake.
Isha: Going back to figuring out what you’re good at, in my book Five Rules to Win Being You, one of the things that I talk about is figuring out your Tale of the TAPE – your talents, your abilities, your passions, and your experiences. And by doing that you can maximize your strengths and minimize those weaknesses, and really find your lane so you can serve the world in a way that other people can’t. So, let’s talk about Pam Perry’s Tale of the TAPE. Pam, it’s quite obvious that communicating is a talent of yours, but what would you say are your talents. So, say that you’re just naturally good at, you don’t have to work at it; you just flow in those areas.
Pam: I would probably say extemporaneous speaking, and I didn’t realize that I was good at that until I saw … Well, say for instance I joined Toastmasters. And they always have these things called table topics, and they had the prepared speeches, which was okay. And then they had the extemporaneous ones, which is table topics. I always wanted table topics. I love doing extemporaneous. I don’t know what that was about, but I loved doing extemporaneous. And they were like, “You bring so much energy.” I was like, “I just like the immediate feedback.” So, sit and prepare for the speech, write it, and rehearse it three or four times. It’s just that will bore me. I was like no. I don’t want to do that.
Pam: Writing, it’s been always just a simple thing to do. Like I said, I’ve got journals. It’s not necessarily like I want to write a novel. I’ve never had that passion, like, “Oh, I want to write a novel, and be like Terri McMillan” I write quick. I get the point across. I just like writing. That’s just one of the main things.
Pam: And communicating. I mean, that was always just…I love magazines. So, me having a magazine is just so natural. I just love magazines, because one is continually always changing. It’s every month. And there’s always different sections, and it’s just a lot of variety. So, for me putting together the magazine is not hard. A lot people say, “Oh, my gosh, you have a magazine.” It’s not hard for me. The only thing that’s hard is just really getting the other materials from the other people, which is like, “Why can’t you have a bio?” So, I’m helping people write their bios and things like that. But those are the main things.
Pam: I just really like people, and really like speaking. I like conferences. That’s why speakers is one of the things where I go to conferences, because I like conferences. It’s almost like I’m trying to create the life I love. It’s like, “Okay, so this is the stuff I love.” This is the stuff I’m going to do.
Pam: If it’s like I need an intern, and she tells me what she’s doing or what she’s into, then automatically my brain just goes to where she needs talk to this person, whereas my husband, and the reason why I know that is that my husband, Marc, he will know the same people and not make the same connection, at all. And he’ll go like, “I didn’t even think about that.” I was like, “Yeah. They need to meet such and such.” She’s like, “I didn’t think about that.” And it’s like, “Oh, I do think like that.” That’s like always … I think like that all the time with making that connection.
Pam: So, if someone says … a young lady I was talking to today, she says, “Well, I got this thing, Kingdom Empowerment.” I said, “Well, you need to really get into this magazine called Kingdom Empowerment.” She never heard of it. I was like, “You need to get in that magazine.” I mean, it’s just a quick Google check. I mean, I’m not even in that lane, but it was just some of those things where it’s just like, “You are really doing conferences on Kingdom Empowerment. You probably need to write a column for this magazine called Kingdom Empowerment.” That’s just like straight A to B to me, but it never occurred to her.
Pam: Those are just natural things, because my brain constantly takes in new information, but it takes it in to connect to other things. It’s almost like a mind map, where it’s like, “Okay, these are the bundles together.” So, I bundle stuff together, and people together. It’s like, “Okay, this is how they can make that stronger.” So, if they make that stronger, they need to meet. I think that’s really what BART was about. People meeting, and then I knew that Dawn Spencer and Joe needed to meet. Or that this person and that person needed to meet. It was just that type of thing.
Pam: Once people show me their talents and gifts, what they want to do. Then it’s like, “Okay, then I can help you.” And if they don’t know, I can kind of help them bring that out, but most people have to be authentic. Because most people they won’t tell you what they really want to do. They’ll say, “I really don’t know.” It’s like, “Yeah, you do.”
Isha: You know. You’re afraid to say it.
Pam: You’re just afraid to say it. You really do. So, I can’t help people like that. It’s like, “I don’t really know what I want to do.” It’s like, “Okay. You’re not 12; you really do know what you want to do, if you’re over 25 years old.” So, if you’re over 25, I think you really do know what you want to do, but you just don’t want to say it.
Isha: Right. So, let’s talk about that A in the Tale of the TAPE, your abilities. What are those things that you are naturally gifted at, but you work hard at and you’ve learned to be good at? And not just the jack of all trades stuff, but stuff that you’ve learned to be definingly good at.
Pam: I guess you would say … I mean, the whole social media thing. I didn’t grow up like that. For many years, I just had a secretary or admin, and I didn’t do any of this stuff. I remember the first computer I had, and they came in, and they put it on my desk. And I was like, “Oh, put it over there.” Don’t put it on my desk. Put it over there. I was like, “I don’t type.” I was like, “Put it over there.” And it was … I think about it now, I’ve got to call my old admin, her name is Margie. And, anyway, I mean, just a lot of things that was really funny like doing all of the stuff like writing, and the whole social media space, and html code. Just really just breathing it in, and taking it in.
Pam: And just at the moment I’ve become an early adopter. So, if someone says, “Okay, you have to put it on Dropbox, whatever.” I was the first person using Dropbox, or. And that’s what I think, like, “What? What is a Dropbox?” So, just a lot of stuff is early, and so the productivity tools. I mean, someone says, “You can use Evernote.” And I’m just going to start using Evernote. It’s like, “Well, you just heard about that yesterday.” I’m like, “Yeah, but it’s okay. I could still use it today.” What? Am I going to wait two weeks to use it? I mean, someone suggested it, I’m going to use it.
Pam: People just think that’s really weird being a baby boomer, you’re so quick to be an early adopter on things. From someone who didn’t even know how to use a computer to this point is pretty amazing, because now people come to me, and say, “Oh, can you show me how to do that?” And it’s so natural for me to want to learn that I can’t figure out why people don’t want to learn, or why they can’t learn. So that’s really the main thing. Because there’s so many tech tools that people can use that will help them.
Isha: Tell us about … So, that P in the tale of the tape, your passions. What are those things that you are just crazy passionate about?
Pam: Books. Books. My house is the house of books. Books and magazines: motivational books, business books, marketing books. I probably have, I’m not kidding, probably about 5,000 or so books in this house. Probably, all related to motivation and marketing. Yeah. Probably, at least, I’m looking at some of them now.
Isha: So, next time I’m in Michigan, I know I just need to come to the library of Pam, go shopping…get a library card…
Pam: Yeah. I do. I do. They’re everywhere. They’re in the back of my library. They’re books in the bathroom. They’re like part of the decoration of the house, they are. When we bought this house it was one the things, I’m like, “Does it have a library?” But e-books changed everything, so I could have … I can now have 500 books on my iPhone. It takes up big space, but I still like hard books. I’ve got three books with the title ‘Launch’ in the writing. This one is Launch by Micheal Stelzner. This one is Launch by Scott Duffy. This is Launch. This is Launch, and then he’s got another one called Launch by Jeff Walker.
Isha: But see that’s a perfect example of when you have people, they’re like, “Oh, well, I can’t write a book about that or I can’t do this, because there’s already so many people doing it.” You just held up three books with the same title, and you bought all three of them, and I’m sure you learned different things from all three.
Pam: Oh, yeah. Definitely. Definitely. Scott definitely was first, and he taught Jeff, and then Jeff is friends with Michael. So, I want to know what all three of them have to say, because I’m helping people launch. I help people launch their brand, launch their books, launch you know launch. So, that’s like those three, and so my husband goes, he says, “How do you read?” And I read really fast, so I don’t read it word for word, but I get out of it what I need to. That’s why I need to have the physical book versus an e-book, so I can read this really, really fast, and take the notes, and take it, and say okay. But I still have it in my library.
Pam: Those are the things, so I’m really passionate about books. I always have been, and that’s why I like working with authors and speakers. I mean, well, do you want to do marketing for a dentist or do you want to do marketing for a lawyer? I could, but probably would not be passionate. But I could probably apply some of the same skills, but I’m really passionate when I’m talking with an author or a speaker who’s passionate about their message, because I’m passionate with their message too.
Isha: So, the last letter in the Tale of the TAPE – your experiences. And when I talk about experience, not just where did you got to school, where did you work, what have you done, but what are the things that have happened in your life, good or bad, that have really shaped the way that you see the world, and they way that you relate to people?
Pam: I guess, the main thing is that you realize that nothing is that serious, no matter what. So, say for instance, that you are working in a business, and you’re like, “Oh, my God. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” And you’d be set up and you worry about it, and you just know that you’re going to be okay. No matter what you …
Pam: I mean, it could be times when I was like, “Oh, my God. My contractor says his plan is up at the end of the month. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” And sure enough, another client will come in, and say, “Okay, I want you to do this.” It’s been like that. I can see that over and over again in my life, just how God is just always like, “Okay, you think you’re going down the road, you’re going to fall off,” but it’s like, “No. Keep your faith; it’s going to all work out.” And it always does down to the last minute, so have to keep your faith on that. You really do, because it could be … Sometimes it’s hilarious. It’s like, “Okay, God, you’re going to really wait till the last minute on that?” He’s last, “Last second, okay.” And it will be fine.
Pam: I remember a point in time where I got a call to produce a TV show that won an Emmy, Jeff Miller Show. And his show, not Transitions but another show just called Talking with Jeff Miller, or something like that. And we produced, I think, it was 13 shows. And we won an Emmy for that. That wasn’t on my list; I didn’t know that was coming. Just one day he called me out of the blue. He asked me, he said, “Would you be interested in producing the show? This type of show?” I said, “Sure.” And we worked our butt off. He paid me really, really good, and we won a local Emmy for that. And I was like, “Wow.” And I didn’t know it was coming. I mean, that really was where I really love TV production, then I ended up working for CTN, which is another Christian Television Network, producing their shows, you local shows. So, that’s why producing podcasts and lining up guests for that is like really, really fun.
Pam: I mean, so I just always … Just keep your options open. Don’t be so stringent. Keep the faith. I mean, if you have skills and talents and abilities, you have a passion, you know you’re good at what you are going to do, it’s all going to work out. If you work; the thing is if you work.
Isha: Yes, and I tell you that is an important thing that people of faith need to remember. I have been preaching this thing for the past year. Look, you can pray, you can trust God, but you’ve got to do for work. You cannot be trusting God to do what you can do for yourself, just because you’re being lazy, or scared, or whatever it is.
Isha: So, two final, very quick questions for you. Number one, what is your personal definition of success?
Pam: I really think for anybody is doing what you love. Really, just doing what you love, and getting paid to do it. I don’t know what success would mean to anybody else. I mean, it’s doing what you love, and getting paid to do it. I tell that to my daughter. That’s it, because even if you got paid to do something you really hated, that’s not success. But if you do what you love and you don’t get paid, that’s not success either. But when you’re getting paid, it’s really success.
Isha: Ramen noodles get real nasty after awhile.
Pam: It’s really simple. But people just have to figure out what they love. That’s the main thing. They have to figure out their purpose. So that’s probably the hard part. And that’s a whole other thing when somebody else can help him post him on, but it’s like you should at lease know yourself to know what you’re called to do.
Isha: So, last question: What advice would you give to someone who was just getting started in their entrepreneurial journey?
Pam: I would say go intern or get a mentor or coach early. And when I say that, so someone says, “I want to really start a business doing boots.” Okay, so I want a shoe store. Okay, this is like, “Well, have you ever worked for a shoe store? Do you know anybody in the shoe business?” It’s just that whole simple thing like it’s a whole network and language you have to learn, and they can shortcut stuff for you.
Pam: Or someone says, “Well, I really want to be the next Daymond John, because he started with FUBU.” I said, “Well, okay, go work for a company.” Intern with them, or get someone that knows them, or get a mastermind of people who have that same … I mean, it’s amazing to me how people just the lack of resources that they think they go into that they don’t have.
Pam: So, they’re trying to do something that’s like, “You know, there’s been 16 other people I personally know that have had this same type of business.” Really? Yeah. I could introduce you to them, but you went on and did your thing. So, it’s like, “You’re now failing at it, but they could have helped you earlier.”
Pam: Even something as … I mean, that’s just something totally new. But for the most part, I would say getting a coach is probably the hardest thing for people to really understand to do. And a coach will keep you on point, make you disciplined, you will then show up and do the work because you’re paying them. It’s just it really is in that day, so if you’re starting out as entrepreneur, even if you’re doing it “as a side hustle,” you still need someone that can mentor and coach you.
Pam: I see one of my clients. She is doing so well, and she tells me all the time, she says, “You help me so much.” But she’s doing so good, but she was a hairstylist. She came in my PR bootcamp a couple times and when I look at what she’s doing; she’s doing a podcast, she’s got an association, she’s got a magazine, she’s doing book launches of anthologies of other hairdressers, she teaches other hairdressers how to monetize their business of beauty.
Pam: Oh, my God, she’s just doing so good. I was like, “Look at Sharla go.” And I look at her on … She’s not in a major city. She’s in South Carolina, but it’s an international such and such of hair, you know. And she’s got memberships site, and all of that. And I just look at her, I said that’s when you know, it’s like, “Oh, those seeds planted really bloom.” So, you get really, really excited when you see that happen, because now she’s mentoring other people. She’s teaching them how to use online tools, and who to do … I was like okay!
Pam: So, that’s really the main thing. She’s doing what she loves. She loved the business of beauty; she loved being a hairdresser, but it was something more. So, she … After 20 years or so, you get bored with it. It’s like, “Okay, what do you do next?” And basically she wrote a book. That was her first step. I told her to do a book. And then from there, she did the podcast. And from there, she’s doing other stuff. Some things are taught and some things are caught, and she caught a lot.
Isha: I tell you, this conversation has flown by for me. I’ve just enjoyed hearing the war stories, and all of the wisdom that you get from doing the same thing consistently on purpose for 20 years. And so, thank you for the gift that you bring to the world, and the impact that you’re making, and for sharing your time with our audience here today.
Pam: Oh, thank you. And I’m so proud of you, Isha. Thank you for having me on. You are just doing it good. I’ve been seeing your stuff that you do really, really good. I am just so proud of you.
Isha: Thank you so much.
Pam: And I look forward to seeing you soon.
Isha: I’m looking forward to it too.