Well isn’t this a fun little plot twist. Today we’re going to be hearing from one my mentees, Bailey Stanworth. Just to get you acquainted, Bailey is the founder of @playdigital, & the host of the podcast @whatdayisitpodcast.
If you’re an influencer who is ready to elevate your brand, you should definitely check out Bailey’s content.
Ok, so first off Bailey is a dynamic HUSTLER. If you follow my Instagram, you might’ve seen that I announced I’ll be choosing 2 new mentees for 2021, so what better time to have Bailey come on & share her experience & give you all a peek into the mentorship program.
In this post, Bailey gets REAL into it & shares what she has learned about staying consistent, branding & engaging with your audience, plus my top tips that stuck with her.
With that, let’s welcome Bailey to The Skinny Confidential.
K. Holy shit. I’m writing a blog post for The Skinny Confidential. I remember being a reader back in 2011 when Mini Delites were a thing & now here I am, 9 years later having wrapped up a 6-month mentorship with Lauryn.
Ok, not just A mentorship… an invaluable, no BS, productive af, growth focused, once in a lifetime mentorship to be exact.
Before I dive into all the details ( because we know Lauryn loves a good detail ) on what I learned being a TSC mentee, I wanted to take a hot second to introduce myself so you know who the f is actually talking here. So HI SKINNIES! I’m Bailey :).
I’m going to try to sum up who I am & what I do in a pretty, pink little nutshell without overwhelming all of you because, well… let’s just say it’s the question I hate answering on first dates because it’s a looooong answer.
I’m a Canadian, psycho dog mom to a Boston Terrier named Banks. She’s blind in one eye & snores like a freight train, but she’s my life. I’m also a vegan who loves podcasts/audiobooks, balancing workouts with the latest episode of BravoTV anything, telling my dog how cute she is and online shopping. Most of my time though is spent running my two 2 businesses: PLAY Digital ( a digital media agency dedicated to brands of all sizes ) and What Day Is It? Podcast aka your digital version of happy hour ( PS – Lauryn is a past guest and there’s a WILD story that comes along with that. EP#26 ) & recently sold a third business ( state of grace. which you might recognize the cheeky little pieces from Lauryn’s IG ) this past Summer.
Ok now that you know I’m a real human, let’s get into how this mentorship came to be…
Basically, it all started when I was in my 7th year of working as a Marketing Director for a local clothing company & feeling really blahhhh. I’m someone who loves personal development & growth & NEEDS to be challenged creatively. I had been PLAYing ( …get it? ) around with the idea of starting my own thing & wasn’t totally sure what that looked like yet, but was always very inspired by Create & Cultivate, The Mayfair Group & Be Social as creative hubs because they just GOT IT.
They weren’t stiff or cookie cutter agencies. They were cool, edgy, fun & still providing services & value all while creating some serious buzz. I knew I wanted to do THAT. At the same time though I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave a full time income & take a chance on myself because… YIKES.
Then something happened & as cli-fucking-ché as this sounds, I will never forget where I was, what I was doing & how I felt in that moment when it did.
I was laying in a hotel bed in Vegas, post 12 hour work day wearing my oversized t-shirt that I religiously sleep in with a sheet mask on because… skincare. I didn’t just start reading TSC yesterday after all!
It was midnight & I 99% should have been sleeping, but classic me, I was scrolling IG when Lauryn’s stories came up. She was talking about her current mentee & being the strategic genius that she is, gave a CTA ( call to action ) to her followers to go comment on her latest post on WHY they wanted to be her next mentee.
I hummed & hawed over it while letting the hyaluronic acid refresh my casino air dried out skin. And then, I decided to shoot my shot because I have always, & will always, be a big believer that when you really want something, someone saying no ( or nothing at all ) will ALWAYS be better than never knowing.
So being the chronic over-achiever that I am… your girl not only commented on Lauryn’s post, but I also DM’d her ( which I was lucky to know would be “seen” because Lauryn was actually following me from a time when I tracked down a pair of One Teaspoon jeans that Charlotte McKinney was spotted in that Lauryn had been searching for… yeah, I should probably mention I’m a really good internet stalker ). And because again, I am an overly ambitious psycho, I sent this email to make sure Lauryn knew… I wanted this fucking mentorship.
I told myself, if I get this mentorship it’s the sign I need to quit my job & take a chance on myself. AND YOU KNOW WHAT FUCKING HAPPENED? Ok yeah, you probably guessed it. The next day Lauryn wrote back saying “Let’s do it.”
Fast forward to June 2019, which was when I started my mentorship with Lauryn, I was so freaking excited & nervous. I was almost a year into PLAY & had somehow also thought it was a good idea to launch a podcast as if there weren’t only 24 hours in a day ( jk, it actually was a great idea, I’m just a sleepy girl now ).
I remember my first call with Lauryn. We got RIGHT into it & I would expect nothing less from the queen of efficiency. Lauryn gave me a brief overview of how the mentorship would work, how we could make the most out of the calls, what her role was & wasn’t as a mentor & what my role was & wasn’t as a mentee. Then I had to make a decision… which business did I want to focus on? This whole time I had it in my mind that the mentorship was going to focus on PLAY because that’s what made me reach out in the first place, right? But when Lauryn asked me that question, my gut immediately went to the podcast. Who’s shook?
WTF. Why the podcast?
At the time I still had 3 businesses – PLAY Digital, state of grace. and What Day Is It Podcast. I knew that it wasn’t going to be state of grace. because while I believe there’s always something you can be doing better & challenging to grow within your business, I had a solid foundation & community built there already. I also was starting to feel confident in PLAY coming up on a full year of business. I felt like I knew the vision for the brand & how I could continue to grow the company.
But when I thought of What Day Is It? I knew the audio world was growing so quickly & so rapidly & that truthfully scared me. I didn’t want to invest all this time, energy & money & not do it RIGHT. Plus, I felt like I would be letting an amazing opportunity pass me by if I didn’t tap into the resources of two people ( aka Lauryn & Michael ) who were dominating the audio space week after week. So… I went with my gut & the podcast.
Now to make sure I bring all the V-A-L-U-E here I’m going to break down, not the calls I had with Lauryn, but the overall lessons & takeaways from the 6 month mentorship as a whole.
The Lessons I Learned as Lauryn Evarts’ Mentee:
♡ 1. Brand Foundation
Before we got too far ahead of ourselves in the mentorship, Lauryn really challenged me on our brand and who our audience was. We realized, we didn’t need to speak to everyone. That was actually completely counter productive. So we niched ( fun fact, us Canadians pronounce this NEESH ) down & dedicated ourselves to being a podcast for young, fun, curious women who want education without sacrificing the vibe of happy hour.
Lauryn’s Branding Questions:
+ What is your brand in a sentence?
+ Who is your audience? ( get specific – age, job, hobbies, cocktail of choice, car she drives, etc. )
+ Why is your audience listening?
+ How are you providing your audience value?
+ How are you different than any other podcast?
♡ 2. Pitch Yourself
One of my first homework assignments from Lauryn was to reach out to 100 podcasters ( which I had to do a total of 3 times, 300 emails Skinnies. 300 emails. ) to pitch doing a pod swap. It clicked the second time she asked me to do this… *queue light bulb moment*… you should always be pitching yourself. Lauryn’s reasoning was that when you reach out to 100 people you’ll maybe hear back from 20… welp, we ended up hearing back from about 80 the first time ( LOL ) so that kept us pretty freaking busy & is proof to what I said earlier: SHOOT YOUR SHOT because someone saying no (or nothing at all) will ALWAYS be better than never knowing.
Lauryn’s Tips for Pitching Yourself:
+ Don’t be boring.
+ Make sure the ask also has a give ( ie. if we’re asking to come on someone’s podcast we’re also offering them a spot on ours ).
+ Be prepared to follow through.
+ Add something fun & visual like a one page PDF Media Kit.
+ Big isn’t always better. Every new audience you can put yourself in front of is an audience you didn’t have yesterday.
+ Leverage past guests/content. Don’t be afraid to show off who you’ve worked with to further future opportunities. Think of it as your resume. You want to highlight the best & people want to see/work with the best of the best.
+ Repeat, repeat, repeat.
♡ 3. Be Fucking Interesting
We all know Lauryn loves to get her mind turned on by something new & interesting, so it was no shocker when this came up in the mentorship. No one wants to hear the same questions that are already being asked or that you can Google. It’s been done. I’ll give you an exact example from a phone call I had with Lauryn:
Don’t start off a podcast by asking a guest “So tell us who you are…” Get right into something that will hook the listener like “Hey Lauryn, how’s pregnancy sex with Michael?”
Again, no one wants to hear something they’ve already heard. It’s a waste of time & a snooze fest.
Lauryn’s Tips for Being Interesting:
+ Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions, make the guest a little uncomfortable.
+ Don’t be too structured, the audience should feel like they’re listening in on an intimate conversation.
+ Make sure you are always adding value ( ie. lesson, tip, product review, etc. )
+ Get specific. Don’t just tell your audience you love coffee. Tell them HOW you like it. Like me, with 1 scoop WithinUs Collagen Coconut Creamer, 1 tsp Moon Juice Pearl Powder, 1/2 scoop of Ingrid Kenny’s Gangster Chic Inulin & FIRST thing in the morning. Like before anyone even breathes in my presence.
♡ 4. Get That Money Honey
Well actually, the conversation with Lauryn went a little more like, don’t expect to get that money honey until about 3 years down the road. I think this was brought up at LEAST once every Mentee Call we had. I could tell it was important for her to ingrain this in me, not to discourage me, but to give me a reality check that I had to be doing this as a passion first & a source of income second… actually, last. I get it, it can be tough because GIRL’S GOTTA EAT so along with Lauryn’s tips I’m going to share a few of my own to push through this part of launching a pod ( or whatever your creative outlet is ).
Lauryn’s Tips for Money Mindset:
+ Don’t start a blog/podcast/creative channel with the intention of making a dime from day one.
+ Go in with the mindset that you won’t make money from sponsors, etc. until a few years into building your brand.
+ Don’t start taking sponsors just to make money. You have to value the integrity of your brand & the trust of your audience more than dollar bills.
+ When you do start making money. Don’t touch it. Reinvest it into the business to continue to grow.
Bailey’s Tips for Money Mindset:
+ Don’t put value on sponsors. This is not what makes your podcast a “success”. For me I value our friendships ( what we call our listeners ) & the connection we get to have with our guests SO much more. Money can’t buy that shit!
+ Find something that drives you & is your *WHY* behind what you do. For us it’s the conversation & connection we get to have with everyone we come into contact with. This is why we never record remotely. Sitting down face to face with our guests & being able to experience the energy & conversation in person is our big WHY…well until Covid forced us to do otherwise.
+ Get creative so you don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money to grow your brand in the early stages. Ask your guests to donate promotional products for giveaways, go into the Apple store and pull up your podcast on every display device for free exposure, air drop your episodes the next time you’re out in public, invest in equipment that does the job but isn’t state of the art ( you can find our equipment here, which didn’t break the bank ). Basically think outside your bank account.
♡ 5. Pump Out That Content ( aka Distribution )
This is easily where I learned the most & had to shake things up in regards to strategy & systems. In Lauryn’s opinion, there is no such thing as too much distribution & I 53829% agree. There are a lot of tips & tricks here, but I think one thing that really was a game changer for me was not focusing distribution solely on the new content, but looking at it as a vehicle for the entire brand. You’re going to get new audience members daily as you grow, so sharing older content ( & the value that comes with it ) is just as important as distributing the new new.
Lauryn’s Tips for Distribution:
+ Using social channels to push new & old content daily ( duh ).
+ Creating visual assets for IG stories & feed that create a sense of curiosity ( ie. think of TSC Podcast’s video teaser clips Lauryn always shares ).
+ Leveraging current/relevant events to promote previous episodes ( ie. we had Mykenna Jean from The Bachelor on our podcast before she was cast. Monday’s when The Bachelor airs we capitalize on this & share stories with audio clips from the episode to drive downloads ).
+ Don’t think because you posted once, you’re done. The more, the better.
+ Make it easy for guests to share on their social channels. Provide them with social media assets, links, etc. so it’s a no brainer.
+ Send your guests a calendar invite reminder for the day the episode goes LIVE. Make sure to set an alert.
+ Give a CTA ( call to action ) in every episode that asks your audience to tell a friend, share the episode, anything that will get them spreading the word. If they love your brand, chances are they know other people who will too.
+ Business cards aren’t dead. Get some fun business/promotional cards ( check out ours below ) & leave them at places your target audience will go. For us it’s nail salons, restaurant bathrooms, trendy workout classes, health food stores, etc.
+ If you have a personal brand or sister brand use ALL of your channels to cross promote. For us there is never an episode that goes live that isn’t shared on both our podcast social AND our personal social channels.
Anywhere. All. The. Time.
♡ 6. Engaging With Your Audience
Something that Lauryn taught me, & I think a lot of people need to rewind & focus on this more, is that instead of chasing new followers we need to give our attention to the audience we have already built. These individuals already have an investment in you & your brand; they are more powerful & will help grow your audience faster than you spending your time chasing new followers while your current ones lose interest. Whether it’s 10 followers or 1M, engaging with your audience is crucial.
Lauryn’s Tips for Engaging:
+ Set up a secret Facebook Group dedicated to your community ( drive your audience here by offering insider only info/giveaways/etc. in the group ).
+ Ask questions ( use IG stories, polls, questions box, etc. ) to involve your audience in content.
+ Respond to comments & DMs every day. My guess is all of you have received at least an emoji or heart eyes response from Lauryn.
+ Give a CTA in IG stories that brings your audience back to your feed. Lauryn is the QUEEN of this.
+ Incentivize your audience. It doesn’t have to be a huge giant giveaway, but getting branded stickers or promo items checks off not only audience engagement, but also branding & distribution.
+ Treat them like your friend.
♡ 7. Keep It Consistent
I can still hear Lauryn saying “NEVER MISS A WEEK” when it comes to content. “One thing I see all the time is people getting to episode 100 & then dropping off the face of the earth.” She told me this more than once. Whether you’re busy or discouraged or tired or sick… ‘suck it up’ was the moral of the story if you’re someone who’s serious about growing a brand. You have to, have to, have to, ( one more time ), HAVE TO keep it consistent or the harsh reality is people will find someone else who is.
Lauryn’s Tips for Consistency:
+ Delegate – get an intern to help with the basic things like creating social assets, emailing guests, etc.
+ Post every day on all channels.
+ Switch up what you’re sharing & the CTAs you’re giving.
+ Be patient with results.
Alright, welp. There you have it. My mentorship in a blog post. Every freaking detail of it.
So in summary, what did Lauryn teach me?
1. Have a solid brand that you know inside and out and use as the foundation of everything you create.
2. Pimp yourself out and cross promote with similar audiences while adding value for others.
3. Snooze fests don’t stand out.
4. Money is great but it can’t be the WHY behind your brand.
5. Distribute. Distribute.
6. Become friends with your audience and give them quality time.
7. Show up intentionally everyday and be patient.
SKINNIES, thank you so much for taking the time to read this long ass recap of my mentorship with Lauryn, but I know you all appreciate the details & value like the true TSC readers that you are.
Ok a few last things before you’re finally rid of me…
Because I found so much value in my mentorship with Lauryn, I want to pay it forward ( something she encouraged me to do ) & take on a mentee of my own!!!!!!! I would love to mentor a Skinny who is in the Podcast/Ecommerce/Marketing space, so if you’re up for it & interested, I’m going to give you a true TSC call to action.
HOW TO BE MY MENTEE: comment on my latest IG post over at @baileyjst & tell me WHY you want to be mentored by me!
I can’t wait to hear your stories & work with one of you!
A Note To Lauryn:
The words “thank you” just seem like bullshit because they do zero justice towards how I feel about the time, energy, knowledge, selflessness, care & kindness that you have given me over the past 6 months… actually that’s a lie, you still to this day continue to check-in with me; whether it’s to congratulate me on selling my biz or share a book recommendation. It’s been about 6 years since I became a Skinny & your love for your community is unparalleled.
Thank you for challenging me, inspiring me, teaching me, being patient with me & championing me. Your support & expertise has allowed me to grow personally & professionally more than I ever thought. This will be one of those experiences that I look back on & still need to pinch myself. From the bottom of my sarcastic, wine spilling, laptop killing, dysfunctional soul. THANK FUCKING YOU. I can’t wait to get a spicy marg the next time I’m in LA ( since you were secretly preggos & not drinking the last time ) & meet the new boss in town aka Zaza. xx
Also – something I feel like every TSC reader needs to know – pat the back of your hands after applying your serums to press the leftover skincare into the skin. SAME GOES FOR SPF. Hands age the fastest. You’re welcome.
Oh yeah… and be sure to stalk me!
As I mentioned earlier, we are choosing 2 new mentees for 2021, so if you’re interested reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with MENTORSHIP 2021 in the subject line.
+ check out these tips for launching a podcast in 2020.
++ hear from Deepa about being a TSC mentee too!